Washington, DC: Protesters say ‘U.S., OAS, hands off Venezuela!” May 31, 2017


On May 31, the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of American States (OAS) met in Washington, D.C., to further their interventionist agenda against Venezuela. 

Activists from the International Action Center, Baltimore Venezuela Solidarity Committee and Workers World Party joined with other groups to stand in solidarity with Bolivarian Venezuela outside the meeting.

At this meeting the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro promoted sanctions against Venezuela – a tactic which the U.S. ruling elite, the Penagon and the government have used against countless countries to undermine and destroy people’s gains. Sanctions are war! 

We should never forget that Venezuela is the 4th largest oil producing country. It is imperative that all justice minded people come together to say no to intervention in Venezuela and to defend the Bolivarian revolution.

Stop the U.S. and OAS interference and destabilization campaign against Venezuela! Defend President Maduro and the people against the right-wing violence and coup attempts!

Photos by Basma Gregg, Rasputin Hair Arawakan & Sharon Black


Solidarity with Moscow Uprising in New York City, October-November 1993.

Top two photos: An emergency action in solidarity with the Moscow Uprising was held at the Russian Mission to the UN in New York City on October 4, 1993, organized by Workers World Party.

Bottom photo: Protest against the Yeltsin-U.S. massacre in Moscow and imprisonment of communist workers was held on November 8, 1993, in New York. The action was called by the newly-formed Campaign for Solidarity with Labor in Russia, initiated by WWP.

anonymous asked:

Why did Rosa Luxemburg oppose the right to self-determination?

For a few reasons, firstly she identified the fact that “national self determination” is a utopian myth, there is no possibility for national independence within the framework of international capitalism - this was true when she wrote and it’s even more obvious today. Even calling it a “right” betrays the bourgeois liberal origin of the concept, self determination is a question of power, not abstract “rights”. She was also concerned by the “social patriotic” elements within the second international which she correctly identified as reactionary while Lenin was joining with Kautsky to defend them. 

She was also correct to point out that Marx and Engels’ support for things like Polish independence were based on an analysis of the material conditions which existed at the time, and that now Marx’s words were being deployed by reactionary dogmatists in an anti-marxist way, in order to cede ground to nationalism without basing their ideas on an analysis of the international situation (new stage of capitalist accumulation, revolution in Russia etc) Again she was proven right by history, as Bolshevik support for ‘self determination’ led directly to counter revolution… She explains this brilliantly in The Russian Revolution, in fact you should read the ‘nationalities’ chapter on self determination because she puts it much better than I can paraphrase. For example:

“While Lenin and his comrades clearly expected that, as champions of national freedom even to the extent of ‘separation’, they would turn Finland, the Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, the Baltic countries, the Caucasus, etc., into so many faithful allies of the Russian revolution, we have witnessed the opposite spectacle. One after another, these ‘nations’ used their freshly granted freedom to ally themselves with German imperialism against the Russian revolution as its mortal enemy, and under German protection, to carry the banner of counter-revolution into Russia itself (…)

To be sure, in all these cases, it was really not the “people” who engaged in these reactionary policies, but only the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois classes, who – in sharpest opposition to their own proletarian masses – perverted the “national right of self-determination” into an instrument of their counter-revolutionary class politics. But – and here we come to the very heart of the question – it is in this that the utopian, petty-bourgeois character of this nationalistic slogan resides: that in the midst of the crude realities of class society and when class antagonisms are sharpened to the uttermost, it is simply converted into a means of bourgeois class rule. The Bolsheviks were to be taught to their own great hurt and that of the revolution, that under the rule of capitalism there is no self-determination of peoples, that in a class society each class of the nation strives to “determine itself” in a different fashion, and that, for the bourgeois classes, the standpoint of national freedom is fully subordinated to that of class rule. “

- Rosa Luxemburg

anonymous asked:

A friend keeps recommending "The Black Book of Communism" to me. Have you heard of it, and if so what do you think about it? (Sourses are also appreciated!) Thx ~S

Oh no, that book is total garbage. Like, just from a historical perspective, that book is fucking terrible. The “criticism” section of the book’s Wikipedia article does a pretty good job of summing up why, but you can also check out all the sources that are cited in that section if you want more in depth take-downs. Basically, the book totally inflates the death toll under the Soviet Union and Maoist China, and it tries to equate Nazi Germany with the Soviet Union (which is absolutely ridiculous, especially considering that the Soviet people risked way more and died way more than anyone else to defeat the Nazis). The book also doesn’t touch on any other form of communism but Marxism-Leninism and Maoism, so it rings pretty fucking hollow for anarchists, especially considering that anarchists were also killed en masse in the Soviet Union and Maoist China and that book doesn’t mention it whatsoever.

If you want some good historical sources about the atrocities that were committed by the Soviet and Maoist governments, here are some much better ones. These all either rely on actual primary sources or are themselves primary sources (sorry M-L-Ms):

“For two decades the supporters of Bolshevism have been hammering it into the masses that dictatorship is a vital necessity for the defense of the so-called proletarian interests against the assaults of counter-revolution and for paving the way for Socialism. They have not advanced the cause of Socialism by this propaganda, but have merely smoothed the way for Fascism in Italy, Germany and Austria by causing millions of people to forget that dictatorship, the most extreme form of tyranny, can never lead to social liberation. In Russia, the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat has not led to Socialism, but to the domination of a new bureaucracy over the proletariat and the whole people. …
What the Russian autocrats and their supporters fear most is that the success of libertarian Socialism in Spain might prove to their blind followers that the much vaunted "necessity of dictatorship” is nothing but one vast fraud which in Russia has led to the despotism of Stalin and is to serve today in Spain to help the counter-revolution to a victory over the revolution of the workers and the peasants.“
- Rudolf Rocker, The Tragedy of Spain (1937)

The Articles of Confederation have been assigned one of the most inglorious roles in American history. They have been treated as the product of ignorance and inexperience and the parent of chaos; hence the necessity for a new constitution in 1787 to save the country from ruin. In so interpreting the first constitution of the United States and the history of the country during its existence, historians have accepted a tradition established by the Federalist Party. They have not stopped to consider that the Federalist Party was organized to destroy a constitution embodying ideals of self-government and economic practice that were naturally abhorrent to those elements in American society of which that party was the political expression.
—  Merrill Jensen, The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774-1781
quoted in Sheldon Richman, America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, p.53

The struggle between those who possess social power and those who do not, between freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed is a war fought with many and varied weapons. Of highest importance are ideas, weapons in an ideological warfare by which every class struggling to maintain its grip on the world tries to justify its position morally and rationally, while those fighting to overturn the social order produce their own self-justificatory ideology as a counter-weapon.

If the revolution succeeds, that revolutionary ideology becomes transformed into a weapon of consolidation and conservation whereby yet further revolutionary challenges to the new dominant class can be resisted. Nothing better illustrates the historical progression of such ideological weapons than the revolution that created the twentieth century market-industrial society.

The society of Europe before the seventeenth century (with the exception of certain mercantile Italian republics) was characterized by a static, aristocratic scheme of relations in which both peasants and landowners were bound to each other and to the land and in which changes in the social positions of individuals were exceedingly rare. Persons were said to owe their position in the world to the grace of God or to the grace of earthly lords. Even kings ruled Deo gratia, and changes in position could only occur by exceptional conferrals or withdrawals of divine or royal grace. But this rigid hierarchy directly obstructed the expansion of both mercantile and manufacturing interests who required access to political and economic power based on their entrepreneurial activities rather than on noble birth.

Moreover, the inalienability of land and the traditional guarantee of access to common land inhibited the rapid expansion of primary production and also maintained a scarcity of labor for manufactories. In Britain, the Acts of Enclosure of the eighteenth century broke this rigid system by allowing landlords to enclose land for wool production and simultaneously displacing tenants, who then became the landless industrial workforce of the cities.

At the same time in France, the old ‘nobility of the sword’ was being challenged by the administrative and legal hierarchy who became the'nobility of the robe’ and by the rich commoners of banking and finance. The bourgeois revolution was brewing, a revolution that was to break assunder the static feudal-aristocratic bonds and create instead an entrepreneurial society in which labor and money could more freely adapt to the demands of a rising commercial and industrial middle class.

But the bourgeois revolution required an ideology justifying the assault on the old order and providing the moral and intellectual underpinnings of the new. This was the ideology of freedom, of individuality, of works as opposed to grace, and of equality and the inalienable rights to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ Paine, Jefferson, Diderot, and the Encyclopedists were the ideologues of the revolution, and one theme comes through in their writings: the old order was characterized by artificial hierarchies and artificial barriers to human desire and ambitions and those artificial barriers must be destroyed so that each person can take his or her natural place in society, according to his or her desire and ability.

This is the origin of the idea of the 'equal opportunity society’ in which we now supposedly live.
Yet the bourgeois revolution that destroyed those artificial barriers seems not to have dispensed with inequality of station. There are still rich and poor, powerful and weak, both within and between nations.

How is this to be explained? We might suppose that the inequalities are structural, that the society created by the revolution has inequality built into it and even depends upon that inequality for its operation. But that supposition, if taken seriously, would engender yet another revolution. The alternative is to claim that inequalities reside in properties of individuals rather than in the structure of social relations. This is the claim that our society has produced about as much equality as is humanly possible and that the remaining differences in status and wealth and power are the inevitable manifestations of natural inequalities in individual abilities.

It is this latter claim that has been incorporated from an early stage into the ideology of the bourgeois revolution and that remains the dominant ideology of market industrial societies today. Such a view does not threaten the status quo but, on the contrary, supports it by telling those who are without power that their position is the inevitable outcome of their own innate deficiencies and that, therefore, nothing can be done about it.

—  Richard Lewontin

anonymous asked:

How could you make Westeros more democratic, or meritocratic, without pushing the nobility into rebellion? Give more power to Guilds maybe, let cities and their urban classes become more wealthy/powerful?

Well, democratic and meritocratic are not the same things; got to be careful when thinking about virtues and political systems, because a lot of people from 18th century liberals to the present day fox themselves by blurring those categories.

So I’m torn between my Team Smallfolk side and my historian’s side. My Team Smallfolk side says we go full Wat Tyler, let the nobility rebel, and then crush them like we’re Flemish artisans. My historian’s side says that revolutions can go backwards and that change is often gradual and long-term (but also that it often goes in a process of “punctuated equilibrium” where you have to push as far as you can in the moment, but always being careful that you push for what’s sustainable). 

I would say that you build on existing institutions: 

  • First, institutionalize the Great Councils of Westeros, as a quasi-representative body that embodies an alternative principle of legitimacy beyond the right of blood or conquest, and which seems to operate under the principle of all lords being equal (that’s something you can build off of. (Likewise the Kingsmoot, the elections of the Night’s Watch, etc.) Eventually, build the Great Councils into something akin at least to the Tudor Parliament if not yet at the level of the Parliament of the 17th century. 
  • Second, extend the tradition of “any knight can make a knight” and the quasi-revolutionary nature of the knight’s oath. On a cultural level, encourage storytelling about Ser Duncan the Tall and other knights who expressed their virtues by defying their superiors rather than obeying them. Expand the class of knighthood down into the elite of urban society by making guild masters, burghers, etc. knights. This should create a class of people who have something to lose from the old order coming back, who can mobilize other people to fight counter-revolution. Eventually, give all knights representation on the Great Councils - although the principle of “one lord, one vote” might have to shift to something more elective, because getting everyone in one room is hard enough already. 
  • Third, restore the reforms of Aegon V, whatever they may be. Really work on enforcement, so that the law is uniform whether it’s under the king’s eye in the Crownlands or out in Dorne or in the far North or out in the Westerlands. Work to extend royal justice vis-a-vis the right of pit and gallows, perhaps compromising with the local lords by letting them recommend candidates for justiceships. Eventually, work to expand the idea that individuals and communities have inalienable rights - perhaps building off of the ideology of the Seven that we’re all children of the Gods, etc. 

ultra-acid-fairy  asked:

Wait so what is actually happening in Venezuela?


*Note: There’s a short list of acronyms explained at the bottom of the post.

*I would much appreciate if you (anyone reading this) could reblog this post to raise awareness on the matters without the bias of mainstream media. Also, comment me anything inaccurate I could have written, any further information you can contribute or any other questions about the topic.

What’s happening right now as in recent news?

Some (very few) soldiers (some of them weren’t even soldiers) declared themselves in rebellion against the government, to “restore the constitutional order” and claiming that “the peoples shall rebel against the “”tirany”” of President Nicolás Maduro”, following the «Operación David».

Basically, they called for the military, police and civilians to disobey the actual constitutional and democratic order to overthrow it even by violent means, because they consider everyone that supports or doesn’t directly oppose the government and structures of the state “military objectives” that should by fought with “every firepower available”(these are literal words).

These people (around a dozen or so) held a military base in Valencia, Carabobo have been arrested and the base has been taken back by the army loyal to the government, so everything is back to normality for now.

The “rebels” called for other battalions to join them taking up arms against the government, but no one supported the insurrectionists (even if the opposition is saying that they did in some places to spread a false believe that a notable part of the army supports their counter-revolution and try to facilitate a future coup d’état).

What’s happening in the grand scheme of things and why did these people do that?

Well, that’s a complicated question that I’m not able to answer in detail being that I’m not Venezuelan nor I’m well informed in the affairs of the legal system of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela or know their Constitution and recent history, but I’ll try my best.

To understand what’s happening right now, we must head back to the parliamentary elections of 2015.

The opposition (more specifically the MUD, Mesa de la Unidad Democrática) won 112 of the 167 seats of the National Assembly and the chavistas (the GPP coalition, Gran Polo Patriótico Simón Bolivar) won the other 55 seats. This granted MUD a two thirds majority, and even if the loss was democratically accepted by the GPP, the Supreme Court saw evidencies of fraud in the state of Amazonas, that conflicted with the election of three MUD members and a PSUV (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, major chavista party) member.

Because of that, the TS (Tribunal Superior, Supreme Court) declared as invalid the takeover of the seats mentioned before as a temporary measure, until further investigation would be made to solve the issue.

Despite of the TS’s decision, the AN ruled by the opposition didn’t obey the order and continued to take actions as a formed government with the inclusion of the suspended members by possible fraud, which led to any said action to be declared invalid by the TS.

Given that the AN was in contempt (en desacato, not following the law), the TS took over the legislative branch until they accept the court’s action, following the constitution and the laws of the State.

The opposition, whoever, said that this was a “move towards dictatorship” and considered illegitimate the takeover of the AN or any other mesurare by the official powers, which led them to disobeying the State order and so on.

With all this taken into account, having the opposition in constant violence against the State order, President Nicolás Maduro called for the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente (National Constituent Assembly, ANC for short) to reform the country and aiming for peace and stability. This is totally legal as the article 348 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela says that any of the following can call for the ANC: the President, the AN (not right now because it’s out of power by rule of the TS) with at least two thirds of the votes, at least two thirds of the Municipal Councils (more local-like governments), or at least 15% of the people that can vote.

The goal of the ANC, as the Constitution(articles 347 and 349) states, is the following: given that the people of Venezuela are the trusted with the original constituent power, they have the power to transform the State, create a new juridical order (legal system) and write a new Constitution.

What the citizens of Venezuela decide via the ANC is legitimate because the people have the power in Venezuela (a true factor in favor of the democracy in the country that few places in the world have, by the way), and so it can’t be taken down by the President or any other form of power.

Because the President himself made the call (which is totally legal and constitutional as mentioned before in the article 348) to the ANC, the opposition is nonsensically calling it a coup d’état and not taking it as legitimate, so they oppose any future ruling by it or in favour of making it possible. To show this opposition to the ANC, they (the MUD, the opposition themselves) called for a referendum with the following three questions:

1. Do you oppose and not know about the proposal for the Constituent (ANC) by Nicolás Maduro without the previous approval of the citizens of Venezuela?

2. Do you demand the National Armed Force and to every public worker to obey the Constitution and to back the decisions of the AN?

3. Do you want to elect new public powers and a new “national unity government” to return constitutional order through new elections?

First, let me show why these questions are not valid to begin with, and later I’ll explain why the voting itself was poorly made and not legitimate.

1. As the Constitution states, the President can make the proposal for the ANC, without the approval of any other members, as well as the AN could have made the call without the President, for example.

2. The Armed Force is obeying the constitution and its commander-in-Chief: the President Nicolás Maduro. The AN can’t be backed up by no one because it’s in  contempt and not following the law, so it’s powers are transferred to the TC following the Constitution.

3. The Constitutional order is in rule the entire time. The calling for new elections is made by the CNE, as the Constitution states. If the want to revoke any public office member or elect new ones, they could hold a legal and binding referendum, but they didn’t.

Let’s continue with what was done wrong in the referendum of the opposition:

This referendum was unconstitutionally called and so it didn’t have the backing of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE, National Electoral Council). Because of that, the opposition made up entirely the process of the referendum, without the complete and updated electoral census, without the means to validate the results (voting machines and other methods, which, by the way, are very transparent and reliable and few countries have) and without the means to detect electoral fraud at major scale.

Even that, the government let them do their “referendum” and major fraud was made: people were able to vote dozens of times, even with expired IDs or with the IDs of dead or other people (if it was made following the constitution and with the support of the CNE, the would scan the fingerprints and IDs), the voting records were literally burnt in the streets as soon as the voting was finished, which made it impossible to audit the liability of the results.

In summary: this voting lacks any legitimacy.

Following the calling for the ANC, the citizens of Venezuela were called to vote with all the means given by the CNE to verify the correct voting, to chose the 500 members of the assembly. Those 500 members consist of: 79 workers, 28 retired/pensionary people, 24 students, 24 representatives of the communes, 8 farmers and fishermen/fisherwomen, 5 disabled people, 5 businessmen/businesswomen, and 364 other citizens elected by each territory.

So, in June 30th, even if the opposition abstained from voting their representatives or postulating themselves, and despite the violent means, threats, roadblocks, and many other impediments that tried to make people not to vote, millions of Venezuelans took part in a democratic choosing to reconstitute the country’s organisation.

This showed the strength of the Bolivarian Revolution across the country and the overall support for peace and for the legitimate sovereignty of the peoples government, something that the opposition will never be capable of having and so the only mean they have is the coward and mercenary style of U.$. backed paramilitary uprising, which will also be crushed by the courageous revolutionary people of Venezuela.

  • AN: Asamblea Nacional, National Assembly, parliament of Venezuela.
  • ANC: Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, National Constituent Assembly, where the peoples power lies in, to reform the country’s structure and Constitution.
  • CNE: Consejo Nacional Electoral, National Electoral Council, agency that manages electoral affairs.
  • GPP: Gran Polo Patriótico Simón Bolivar, chavista/bolivarian/left wing party coalition.
  • ID: Identity document, Cédula de Identidad in the case of Venezuela.
  • MUD: Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, opposition/center and right wing party coalition.
  • PSUV: Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, major chavista party inside the GPP.
  • TS: Tribunal Supremo, Supreme Court.

the funny thing about that list of left/right biases in the Google memo is that politics is never that simple or convenient, and you could easily slice it up in very different ways.

amazingly the list of biases doesn’t even mention the most obvious one: a bias for equality vs. a bias for hierarchy, the cornerstone of the left/right divide.

compassion for the weak vs. respect for the strong? compassion has been a part of conservative thought for a long time, typically expressed as a form of noblesse oblige from the strong to the weak, that doesn’t undermine the hierarchy but in fact reinforces everyone’s place in it.

inherently cooperative vs. inherently competitive? this seems like an odd way to express it; you might idolise cooperation or competition, but if you believed that humans were inherently one or the other then there would be no need to try to encourage or suppress these behaviours.

change is good vs. change is bad? depends on whether you’re facing revolution or counter-revolution, reform or backsliding, rebellion or invasion.

idealist vs. pragmatic, I think most people like to imagine that their idealism is at least backed by pragmatism, and few things are more idealistic than the idea of a hierarchy of God, king, and country.

in truth the politics that the author refers to as right-wing are specifically just a thin slice of modern American Libertarian alt-right mish mash, without much awareness of more traditional conservative thought, and the left-wing is a similarly impoverished take on whatever talking points they saw on Reddit.

overall the list of biases are carefully arranged to look balanced and equal, such that to have too much of one would be bad, underpinning the push for ideological diversity at the company level.

but a true push for ideological diversity would include calls for unionisation, equalising salaries across different roles, and dramatically boosting the ownership of the company by the people who work there, not just minor quibbles over the exact percentage of female staff!

bael-bard  asked:

What do you think about "There are no lemon trees Braavos" theory? Especially about the one that claims that house with the red door was actually in water garden. If Dany is destined to burn Water Gardens, that would give it more emotional weight. I also feel like it makes sense. Separating princes is smart, and Dorne was the biggest Targaryen ally.

Sorry, it’s a garbage fire. Allow me to count the ways.

1) “Trees did not grow on Braavos, save in the courts and gardens of the mighty.” Which is precisely where li’l Dany was living. 

2) There’s no indication that Dany and Viserys were ever separated. 

3) I see no reason for Viserys to later lie to Dany about where the house with the red door was.  

4) Unless you plan on launching the counter-revolution immediately, exile actually makes a lot more sense than squirreling yourself away somewhere in Westeros. 

5) Doran Martell is a hyper-cautious man, even as he gradually advances his plans. He was willing to send Arianne to Tyrosh to meet Viserys, in secret, under the guise of fosterage. It would be entirely OOC for him to have hosted Dany and Viserys in Dorne. 

6) And even if he did, why then send them away? Why give control of them over to Illyrio? It’s pretty clear that Varys and Illyrio aren’t in league with the Martells, after all. (Not yet.) 

7) Why wouldn’t Doran tell Quentyn this? It would’ve been such a helpful revelation for him to spring on Dany: I’m here to bring you back to your childhood home. We kept you safe, now we’re ready to help you win your birthright.

I’m sure there are more reasons that I’m forgetting, but that’s plenty. Like I said about the whole Mance = Arthur Dayne thing, this is inventing a mystery where there is none and solving it with nonsense.