Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

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Stupid American

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This is a savage witty attack on USA President Donald Trump.

Europeans, like North Americans, are resisting buffoonish and stupid racist leaders – Viktor Orban of Hungary, Boris Johnson of Britain – and outright leader of the pack, Arlene Foster from the north of Ireland.

“Europeans often look down on Americans and make fun of us. That in itself may be more of a stereotype and a joke than it is real…or at least it was before Donald Trump became president.
The idea of Donald Trump being president was a joke. The Simpsons had it as a joke in one episode because it was so ridiculous. Lisa Simpson was president, who is a cartoon and not a real person, and that’s less ridiculous than a Trump presidency. Though in that episode, Lisa had to rebuild the nation after a Trump presidency.
But yeah, Donald Trump is a joke. But Europe, like American liberals and the few Republicans who put their nation before a cult, recognize he’s more than a joke. He’s dangerous. However, as dangerous as he is, gatherings of world leaders are still caught on hot mics mocking the guy who claims he’s restored international respect to our nation.
Europe has done a much better job with the coronavirus than our nation. While we have 4 percent of the world’s population, we have 25% of coronavirus cases. The virus is spiking in the deep south and our more liberal states in the northeast are enacting quarantines for visitors from those states. Europe may take it one step further.
Europe looks at us and they see our president, the ultimate ugly, stupid, arrogant American. And what do they see now? They see an ugly American denying a virus isn’t as bad as it is. They see a stupid American telling people to drink bleach and take a medication that can kill them (Hey, if Europe is afraid of a drug, you don’t wanna go near it). They see an arrogant American mock people for wearing facemasks. They see an incredibly ugly, stupid, arrogant American president (sic) say we have fewer cases of coronavirus when we have fewer tests. They see an idiot who believes tests create cases.
And now, the entire continent is considering banning each of us from entering. What’s next? Stiffed by Canada? Will Mexico build a wall and make us pay for it (probably)?
Europe may not like us very much but they love our money and for us to come over and eat their snails. But when they see our leader (sic) exhibit the very worst of us, Europe is all like, “Nope!” They don’t want dirty Americans to re-contaminate their nations where people actually believe in science.
I don’t blame them.”

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The struggle has moved far “Beyond Bernie” | International Socialism Project

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Mainstream USA politics is dominated by the Republican and Democratic parties, which are a Tweedledee-Tweedledum option.

An antidote for the radical left can be an erupting mass movement – a factor largely absent from the American continent for decades, but suddenly back in play since police officer Derek Chauvin choked gentle giant George Floyd to death in Minnesota.

The Black Lives Matter Movement has swept through the American continent, and detonated anti-racist protests across the globe, including Ireland.

First example : a wonderful mural in Tallaght, a working class district of Dublin, the constituency of RISE radical left TD Paul Murphy.

Annemarie Blake’s Mural Honouring George Floyd, Tallaght, Dublin

Second example : large Black Lives Matters demonstrations at the Ballsbridge American Embassy, a prosperous part of Ireland’s capital city.

Black Lives Matter Demonstration, USA Embassy, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Before the eruption of mass street-level struggle in the States, many sectors of the radical left made a valiant effort to break their isolation by critically supporting a left-wing candidate, Bernie Sanders, using the label of a Tweedledee party, the Democrats. Read the rest of this entry »

American Biden-Democrat “Hostility” to Trump – Not the same as “Opposition” – A Highly Recommended Article

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At times readers of online political commentary despair going through useless drudge that can be found on the internet. But if you keep at it, watch for sources you know are usually solid and reliable, you find excellent material. This article came to the attention of the Tomás Ó Flatharta blog via an FB friend Suzi Weissman.

https://www.kpfk.org/on-air/suzi-weissman/

It is a devastating, withering, attack on the Biden-Democrat “hostility” to the Trump administration – which is not the same as opposition. A stunning catastrophe looms now in the USA as the Trump Government “opens up” this land to the Covid-19 Monster at the Door of New York. Now, more than ever, the USA radical left must look towards the November 2020 General Election, and attempt to offer a credible alternative to the Evil Biden-Trump Tweedledee Monster. Shame on Bernie Sanders. The article concludes :

Bernie’s consistent criticism falls flat these days as he loyally signs on to the party consensus while trying to push additions and improvements. AOC is a lone voice in the wilderness daring to cast the occasional no vote.

What’s left are endangered and desperate people daring to walk off the job and appealing to their peers for support. We the people are on our own and must find our own way forward without waiting for leadership that doesn’t exist. By shedding illusions to the contrary, we open up new possibilities.

Hostility Is Not Enough – Resistance is Not Futile

An internal government document circulating in the United States projects a surge in coronavirus cases and a sharp rise in daily deaths by June 1, the New York Times reported, even as President Donald Trump urged states to lift restrictions in place to quell the pandemic.

The document, based on modelling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, projects that COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, will kill 3,000 Americans a day by the end of May, the Times said on Monday, up from a current daily toll about 2,000. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/model-projects-fold-increase-coronavirus-cases-200504185028572.html

Hostility Is Not the Same As Opposition – Resistance is Needed

There is hostility, which is not the same thing.

Opposition implies a critical analysis and an alternative program, that is, an examination of what is being done wrong, why this is so, and what should change. On all three points, the loudest non-Trump voices offer confusion, distraction, and hypocrisy, not leadership around which a movement could cohere.

What is wrong? Read the rest of this entry »

Vietnam: 45 Years After the War Finally Ended – Country Joe McDonald’s Passionate Woodstock Anti-War Song Inspires Presidential Candidate Howie Hawkins

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How refreshing! Howie Hawkins, an eco-Socialist candidate in the November 2020 USA Presidential General Election, recalls a funny, sarcastic and moving Country Joe McDonald song which went worldwide in 1969 after a stunning live performance at the Woodstock Rock Music Festival. The biting realism spoke to hundreds of millions, motivating them to act in thousands of ways against the Washington War Machine.

Country Joe Rouses the Woodstock Audience in 1969:Against the Vietnam War

I can’t remember when, exactly, I first heard McDonald’s brilliantly sung call to action – probably before attending my first USA Embassy Demonstration in Ballsbridge Dublin against the Vietnam War.

I was shocked, and pleasantly impressed, to meet some some fellow school students at this venue – one of those “what are you doing here? moments” – and was even more stunned to see my teacher of Italian, Sydney-Bernard Smyth, reciting his own poems from the platform.

The anti-capitalist spirit of McDonald’s song is captured here :

Come on wall street don’t be slow
Why man this war is a go-go
There’s plenty good money to be made by
Supplying the army with the tools of its trade
Let’s hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong

A strength of the Hawkins account is that the support he offered to the anti-imperialist cause is and was critical – the national liberation struggle led by the Vietnamese Communist Party and its leader Ho Chi Minh was a just cause, but it was not perfect or flawless. This practical intellectual framework is badly needed today. Many people outside Ireland watch the Donald Trump led horror story in America, and the honourable, but flawed, electoral left-flavoured opposition which was headed by Bernie Sanders. Sanders now takes sides in a useless reactionary contest between TweedleBiden of the Democrats and TweedleTrump of the Republicans, bringing to mind the dismal and barren electoral contest between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Many enduring lessons were taught in the USA and across the globe by the mass movement against the Vietnam War. – John Meehan

“What are we fighting for?” – Country Joe McDonald
When I had to prepare for a 7th grade classroom debate on the Vietnam War in Spring 1965, President Johnson had begun escalating the war with the massive bombing of Operation Rolling Thunder and the deployment of a few thousand Marines to Da Nang, the first of what would become nearly 200,000 US troops by the end of 1965 and over 500,000 in 1968. I learned that the US had signed the 1954 Geneva Accords, which provided for an election in 1956 to unify Vietnam and establish an independent government. But I also learned that the US had prevented the election because it knew the winner would be Ho Chi Minh, the Communist leader of the Viet Minh, the nationalist coalition for independence that had defeated the Japanese and then the French imperialists. The Viet Minh controlled the North, but the French had retaken the South when the Japanese left with US military support from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations until the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and gave up their colonies in Indochina. I read the 1945 “Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence from Japan and France.” Ho had drafted and modeled the proclamation after the American Declaration of Independence in consultation with operatives from the OSS (predecessor of the CIA), who had been helping the Viet Minh fight the Japanese during World War II. None of this was on the nightly news, which broadcast Johnson’s justifications for the war. I was outraged at the hypocrisy of the pro-war US political leaders who talked of democracy and self-determination but were opposing it in Vietnam. What are we fighting for?
When the Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, all of these violations of America’s professed values were more thoroughly documented by internal Pentagon documents. What also became clear in those leaked documents is that US political leaders knew the whole time that the US could not defeat Vietnamese nationalism and win the war. Yet they continued to send young Americans to die in Vietnam so they didn’t appear soft on Communism in domestic politics. What are we fighting for?
When my draft number came up in 1972, I enlisted in the Marine Corps and in the GI resistance to the war. When I got to Quantico for bootcamp for officer candidates, I was training with a lot of Vietnam combat veterans now in college on the GI bill and coming back in the Marines to become officers—and most of them opposed the Vietnam War. They loved the anti-war anthem of the Navy veteran, Country Joe McDonald. His “Feel Like i’m Fixing to Die Rag” captured the hypocrisies of the US war in Vietnam and the spirit of the anti-war movement inside as well as outside the military. For the military rank-and-file, the song gave voice to their real feelings about how they were treated as expendable pawns by the military brass and the country’s political leaders. What are we fighting for?
It took 19 years after the 1956 election that the US prevented for the Vietnamese, with the assistance of the anti-war movement and the GI resistance, to finally expel the last US forces 45 years ago on April 30, 1975. US leaders said we were fighting Communism. Washington’s aggressive war the cost of lives of nearly 4 million Vietnamese. The Communists won and today preside over a predominantly capitalist economy. What are we fighting for?
Today multinational corporations from the US, China (Vietnam’s millennial-old colonial nemesis), Japan, South Korea, and other nations locate factories in Vietnam to exploit cheap labor and environmental laws so lax and unenforced that the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap, who had led the Vietnamese People’s Army in defeating the Japanese, French, and finally US occupiers, became Vietnam’s most prominent a environmental, pro-democracy, and anti-corruption dissident, criticizing Vietnamese state and party leaders on these issues until his dying day in 2013 at the age of 102. What were we fighting for?
And what are we fighting for now? It’s not for us regular people. We are not why the US now has over 800 foreign military bases. We are not why the US is officially engaged in 7 endless wars and covert special operations in well over 100 foreign countries. We are not why the US is continuing to impose economic sanctions on countries that need aid and trade right now to fight the coronavirus. The US war machine is not about defending Americans in our homeland. It is about making the world safe for profiteering by US-based global corporations.
What are we fighting for? We should be fighting to dismantle the US Military/Industrial Complex. Instead being the world’s military empire, we must demand that the US become the world’s humanitarian superpower. Let’s make the US use its wealth and knowledge in a multi-lateral Global Green New Deal that reverses climate change and provides for the basic needs of all. Let’s make friends, instead of enemies. Let’s make peace, instead of war.
— Read on howiehawkins.us/vietnam-45-years-after-the-war-finally-ended/

An accidental beginning :

The audience largely ignored his eight-song set. His tour manager said that since nobody was paying attention, why not do the number he was saving for tomorrow night? The singer walked back out, alone, and called to the masses, “Give me an F!”

That got their attention. They knew the routine. The crowd at Woodstock, half a million strong, rose to their feet and joined in Country Joe McDonald’s antiwar war cry, chanting along from the opening expletive all the way to the “Whoopee! We’re all going to die” capper. Captured in Michael Wadleigh’s Oscar-winning 1970 documentary “Woodstock,” the three rousing minutes of Mr. McDonald’s acoustic version of “The ‘Fish’ Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag” became the premier Vietnam War protest anthem.

“I never had a plan for a career in music, so Woodstock changed my life,” Mr. McDonald, now 75, said in an interview from his home in Berkeley, Calif. “An accidental performance of ‘Fixin’-to-Die,’ a work of dark humor that helps people deal with the realities of the Vietnam War, established me as an international solo performer, then the movie came out and the song went on to become what it still is today.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/opinion/country-joe-vietnam-woodstock.html

The Two Versions of Bernie Sanders

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This online exchange is between an American Correspondent Louis N Proyect and some of Louis’s online friends including David McDonald. It makes a lot of practical political sense to me. – John Meehan

“There are two versions of Bernie Sanders – There is the old Bernie Sanders who mounted a quixotic campaign for the Democratic Presidential Nomination as a Democratic Socialist who refused corporate cash and excoriated Democrats. And there is the new Bernie Sanders who dutifully plays by the party’s rules, courts billionaires, refused to speak out in support of the lawsuit brought against the DNC for rigging the primaries against him and endorses democratic candidates who espouse the economic and political positions he once denounced.

Sanders, although he knew by September 2016 that the process was rigged, said nothing to his supporters. He was tacitly complicit in the coverup. It was left to one of the architects of the fraud, Donna Brazile, to reveal the scam. But by then it was too late.

Sanders’ capitulation in the face of overwhelming evidence of the rigging of the nomination process was political and moral cowardice. He missed the historical moment, one that should have seen him denounce a corporate-dominated party elite and walk away to build a third party candidacy.

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An Evil King Rules an Afflicted Land: Coronavirus and the Depression in America – New Politicsm

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American Author and Activist Dan La Botz writes a grim assessment of the CoronaVirus Epidemic in America, and the related economic depression.

We in America live in what resembles some medieval fairy tale. An evil and maniacal king rules the plague stricken land. The wicked lords in the corrupt parliament rob the public coffers to enrich their cronies. The tribunes of the people, mostly venal and foolish, are alternately deceived or suborned by the King and the lords. Meanwhile many people are sick and many dying. The bodies pile up. The soothsayers blame it on the foreigners and plan pogroms. The mills have stopped; the inns and taverns have closed. Peasants rebel here and there but the plague prevents a general rebellion. Word has it the situation is the same in neighboring kingdoms all around.

That’s a fairy tale of course. What’s the reality? The United States now has nearly one million coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths, more of both than any country in the world. We have an unemployment rate of 20 percent, the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The two together represent what is perhaps the greatest crisis in American history, an absolutely unprecedented event: a catastrophe. And it may only have just begun.

As the coronavirus has swept across the country bringing illness to hundreds of thousands and killing tens of thousands, Americans have been shocked by the failure of government, business, and the health system. As the number of sick mounted, there were not enough hospitals, not enough hospital beds, not enough ICUs, not enough ventilators. Hospital personnel have lacked gowns, masks, and respirators. As hospital workers fall sick or die there are not enough health workers to replace them. Some seven thousand elderly died in private nursing homes. The disease is now rampant in prisons. It is rife in meat packing plants, with 725 cases at the Smithfield plant in South Dakota. Twenty-six U.S. Navy ships have crews with coronavirus, including 850 sick on the huge 5,000-crewmember U.S.S. Roosevelt. Everywhere essential workers—bus drivers, garbage collectors, grocery cashiers, delivery workers—became sick and many have died, and neither business nor the governments that regulate these companies acted quickly to save them.
— Read on newpol.org/an-evil-king-rules-an-afflicted-land-coronavirus-and-the-depression-in-america/

The most depressing part of this analysis comes at the end, where the activities and analysis of the largest organisation on the American Activist Left, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is described. Read the rest of this entry »

The SWP (USA) and Social Distancing: a Study in Abnormal Political Psychology

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Spacers, many of them religious groups in the USA, have placed themselves in grave danger by defying Covid-19 social distancing advice. One group of spacers, studied here by Louis Proyect, is politically motivated.

COUNTERPUNCH, APRIL 10, 2020 In the photo below, dated March 15, 2020, you will see a group of mostly senior citizens defying the call for social …

The SWP and Social Distancing: a Study in Abnormal Political Psychology

A doctor commented

It will be very sad, if somewhat ironic, were some these SWPers to end up having memorial meetings of their own because of their attending this one. As for closing meetings prior to the governmental instructions, I was instrumental in cancelling all social meetings for the support group that I help run for people with a neurological illness, a couple of weeks prior to the British government’s lock-down, on the basis that meeting in cafés was not a good idea, particularly for people with underlying health problems. As the SWP’s membership makes even me look somewhat young, and seeing how the Corona virus is especially dangerous to older folk, I would have thought that cancelling public meetings before having to by way of government fiat, would have been a good idea for the SWP to have implemented.

Another politically motivated individual who ignored physical distancing Covid-19 Advice was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Keep Your Distance!

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 11, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Undaunted Sanders Supporters Announce They’ll Continue Presidential Campaign Without Candidate

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USA : Bernie Sanders Campaign for President Over, Dead, Extinct. November 2020 Main Candidates TweedleTrump & TweedleBiden. Does Radical Left propose Credible Presidential Campaign for November 2020? Sanders sits on 100 million $$$ – TweedleBiden SlushFund???

Satire, very accurate satire, very close to the bone :

NEW YORK—Stressing that they would not allow a minor bump in the road to prevent them from delivering true change, the nation’s undaunted Bernie Sanders supporters announced Wednesday that they would continue his 2020 presidential campaign without the candidate. “Time and again, the mainstream media has predicted the end of this campaign, and they will again try to spin losing our only candidate as the clear conclusion of Bernie’s run for the presidency—but they could not be more wrong,” said Peter Symanski, a 27-year-old Sanders supporter who echoed the sentiment of thousands across the country while describing the Vermont senator’s decision to drop out of the race as “an insignificant setback” on the path to bringing a progressive vision to the Oval Office in 2020. “They said this race was over after South Carolina, they said it was over after Super Tuesday. But with or without our candidate, we will soldier ahead with our plan to bring true change in November. This race isn’t close to over.” At press time, the unwavering followers of Sanders went on to vow that if they did not find success this year, they would likely keep running the 2020 campaign until the end of the decade.
— Read on www.theonion.com/undaunted-sanders-supporters-announce-they-ll-continue-1842759626

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Debate: How Can We Continue the Bernie Revolution and Build a New Political Party?

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The Bernie Sanders Campaign to win the Democratic Party Nomination for President in the November 2020 General Election is Dead. Over. Extinct.

Radical left activists in the USA are debating where to go next. Let’s hope they achieve something worthwhile – the Biden V Trump contest is a miserable dead-end – unfortunately Bernie Sanders is choosing TweedleBiden instead of TweedleTrump.

While the COVID-19 crisis might throw the Democratic primary election into turmoil, it appears very likely that Bernie Sanders will not be able to win the Democratic nomination. This poses a question starkly to Sanders supporters — how can we best continue the momentum of Bernie’s historic campaign? Two petitions were initiated recently to address this question — one by Socialist Alternative’s Kshama Sawant and another petition by some DSA activists. Both petitions argue for Sanders supporters to build a new political party but present different strategies for the steps needed to form a new party.

In response, socialist activist Jacob Smith wrote the following critique of the petition by DSA activists. Bobby Lambertz, one of the initial signers of the petition of DSA activists, replies below. We are pleased to publish this exchange as part of our commitment to facilitating constructive debate on important questions facing the socialist and working-class movements.

The Case for a New Party
— Read on reformandrevolution.org/articles/debate-how-can-we-continue-the-bernie-revolution-and-build-a-new-political-party/

Joe Biden Staggers Into The Evil of Two Lessers Saloon

Sanders-Corbyn: a consolatory daydream of a small begining rather than a not-so-big end.

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Corbyn and Sanders vow to crack down on fossil fuel firms ...

The Corbyn-Sanders phenomena has reached its conclusion. The road to socialism is not a short cut through the softer alternative ruling party firmly in the grip of well-connected politicians and apparatchiks.

But, you might say, what is the difference between these adventures outside the revolutionary stockade and Syriza’s in Greece, which I supported? This: the battle between those who wanted real change and those who didn’t was not decided in Syriza until Tsipras consolidated his capitulation to Brussels; the defeat of Corbyn in the blood-soaked and knighted British Labour Party and of Sanders in the blood-and-money-soaked Democratic Party was a forgone and foreseeable conclusion.

Corbyn and Sanders (good men and true) could begin in the autumn of their lives their great new historical contribution of founding and nursing new and groundbreaking independent socialist political parties. Could.

Des Derwin

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 8, 2020 at 8:20 pm