Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

cast away illusions, prepare for struggle!

Thinking on How to Move Outa Hell

[As the first days of the Trump regime take shape, the lurch from the ways things have been is shocking and angering many who have never considered the path now unfolding.  Old plans and assumptions have been tossed into irrelevance.  As the great revolutionary Karl Marx once noted about earlier crises, “All that is solid melts into air . . . . and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.”  Anxiety has spilled into the streets across the US and around the world, and millions discuss and debate the situation and what to do about it.  A powerful analysis begins to dissect what is happening, and chart the contours of the pathways out of the hell that the majority of people face–for many, a continuation and intensification of ago-old nightmares, now joined by many millions more whose lives have been roughly and rudely interrupted, with no prospect of returning to an idealized past.  Moving forward against this tide is the challenge that fills the air. We have received, and share, this article as a first step in joining the debate at hand. — Frontlines ed.]

Build and Fight: Beyond Trump and the Limitations of the United Front

by Kali Akuno and Doug Norberg

On Inauguration Day, we note the considerable range of the opposition to Trump, from traditional activists to very mainstream folks. In many respects the opposition mounted was unprecedented, on a day where patriotic and jingoistic hyperbole is typically concentrated and loudly broadcast more than at any other time, and when, traditionally, new Presidents make appeals to the heart and to democratic unity while all who know how false the claims are, bite their lips, party, and hope for the best. The opposition struggling to find expression is broad and deep. But, nearly all expressions of opposition are resorting to traditional methods of reformist oriented protest while millions of people throughout the United States and the world are discussing and debating how they are going to survive and resist the emerging Presidential regime of Donald Trump and the rise of right-wing populism and a resurgent “America first” white nationalism. Continue reading

Fifty Years Later, Black Panthers’ Art Still Resonates

The Black Panther Party was founded 50 years ago in Oakland, on Oct. 15, 1966, and within two years it had chapters across the country. The New York Times is taking this opportunity to explore the Black Panthers’ legacy, through their iconic use of imagery and how they were covered in our own pages.

The Black Panther Party is often associated with armed resistance, but one of the most potent weapons in its outreach to African-Americans in cities across the country was its artwork. In posters, pamphlets and its popular newspaper, The Black Panther, the party’s imagery was guided by the vision of Emory Douglas, its minister of culture.

His art came from many sources. As a teenager in San Francisco during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Douglas found himself incarcerated at the Youth Training School in Ontario, Calif., where he got involved with its printing shop. He went on to study graphic design at San Francisco City College, where he developed a deep interest in the Black Arts Movement, the artistic arm of the Black Power Movement.

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A Different View: New IMF Rules To Isolate China and Russia?

[The IMF has, says Congress and the NYTimes, become more inclusive of China and Russia (see previous Frontlines post, https://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/ny-times-on-the-liberalizing-of-the-international-monetary-fund/).  But others, looking deeply, see the new IMF rules as counter-attacks on Chinese and Russian other-imperialist initiatives.  See this lengthy article for more details. — Frontlines ed.]

The IMF Changes its Rules to Isolate China and Russia

by Michael Hudson, CounterPunch, December 15, 2015

The nightmare scenario of U.S. geopolitical strategists seems to be coming true: foreign economic independence from U.S. control. Instead of privatizing and neoliberalizing the world under U.S.-centered financial planning and ownership, the Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration on the basis of Russian oil and tax exports and Chinese financing. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank programs that favor U.S. suppliers, banks and bondholders (with the United States holding unique veto power).

Russia’s 2013 loan to Ukraine, made at the request of Ukraine’s elected pro-Russian government, demonstrated the benefits of mutual trade and investment relations between the two countries. As Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov points out, Ukraine’s “international reserves were barely enough to cover three months’ imports, and no other creditor was prepared to lend on terms acceptable to Kiev. Yet Russia provided $3 billion of much-needed funding at a 5 per cent interest rate, when Ukraine’s bonds were yielding nearly 12 per cent.”[1] Continue reading

NY Times on the “Liberalizing” of the International Monetary Fund

[The IMF and the World Bank are key instruments of the finance/montary/credit-debt management of the entire world.  Enacted at the end of WWII to establish US leadership of the world imperialist system, both IMF and WB have come under endless criticism and challenges over the decades, but the emergence of new imperialist powers from post-socialist Russia and China has posed historically-contending  blocs-in-formation as unprecedented dangers to the once-presumed “permanent” US hegemony.  Both IMF and WB have become increasingly tattered and less effective instruments, as challenges have grown.  Congressional reforms aimed at a more durable structure for the IMF are hailed by the media-of-empire NY Times in the following editorial, which writes, strategically, ‘If the fund and the World Bank are to remain relevant and be truly global organizations, they cannot be seen as European and American fiefs.’ — Frontlines ed.]

Congress Gets Out of the I.M.F.’s Way

By The New York Times EDITORIAL BOARD, December. 22, 2015

The House went into holiday recess after passing a measure that included ratification of International Monetary Fund reforms.

After five years of Republican foot-dragging, members of Congress last week ratified an agreement that will increase the capital of the International Monetary Fund and give developing countries like China and India a greater say in the organization.

This should strengthen the fund at a time when its expertise is needed to help revive a slowing global economy. In 2010, the Obama administration negotiated an agreement with other countries to double the I.M.F.’s capital to about $755 billion, so it could lend more money to troubled countries like Greece and Spain. The changes also gave more voting power in the fund’s management to China, India, Brazil and Russia while slightly reducing the clout of European countries and the United States. Continue reading

World Bank: Massive Displacements with “Development” Masks

[The World Bank, an instrument of the US-led reorganization of the world imperialist system since World War II, has enabled the maintenance of neocolonial systems with successions of comprador and puppet regimes around the globe.  The suffering brought under the “development” slogan in the mis-named “developing nations” has brought displacement to hundreds of millions who, in response to such oppression, have continually and repeatedly rebelled.  Even the superficial credibility of present-day World Bank has been challenged, and so, the World Bank aims to put lipstick on the pig. — Frontlines ed.]
CounterView, Wednesday, December 23, 2015
World Bank decides action on “sweeping failures” in rehabilitating people affected by projects funded by it

Fishing community in Gujarat “affected” by World Bank power project

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a powerful group of cross-border journalists, has appreciated that, after years of delay, the World Bank has initiated “action to address sweeping failures in its oversight of development projects that force people from their land or harm their livelihoods.” Continue reading

U.S.: Growing Waves of Collective Migrant Resistance

Hundreds launch hunger strike at immigrant detention center in Adelanto, Calif.

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2015

Immigrant advocates say hundreds of men have launched a hunger strike at an immigrant detention center in the high desert city of Adelanto, Calif., making it the fourth immigrant detention facility in the United States where protesting detainees have refused food in recent weeks.

Attorneys for some of the men and advocates with a detention center visitation group say more than 300 men stopped eating Oct. 30 to protest conditions at the center. They said another group of detainees joined them in the strike on Wednesday. Continue reading

Women Migrants on Hunger Strike in Texas

Image result for T. Don Hutto detention center

Hunger Strike at Texas Detention Center Swells Into the Hundreds

Image result for T. Don Hutto detention center

by Kanya D’Almeida, Race and Justice Reporter, RH Reality Check

November 2, 2015

The number of hunger strikers at a Texas immigrant detention facility has swelled to almost 500 since last Wednesday, an Austin-based advocacy group revealed in a phone call with RH Reality Check.

When news of the protest action broke on October 28, about 27 women at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, 35 miles east of Austin, were reportedly refusing their meals.

While grievances ranged from abusive treatment by guards to a lack of medical care, the women, hailing primarily from Central America, were unanimous in their one demand: immediate release.

The strike snowballed over the weekend, according to Grassroots Leadership, an organization that forms part of a larger umbrella group known as Texans United for Families (TUFF).

Cristina Parker, immigration programs director for Grassroots Leadership, told RH Reality Check that one striker who contacted the organization Sunday night to brief them on the situation used the Spanish expression “casi todo,” suggesting that nearly all of the roughly 500 detainees are now observing the strike. Continue reading

Assata Shakur: “I Am a 20th Century Escaped Slave”

Although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal

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My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.  Continue reading

For Black America the Dream is a Nightmare

Kali Akuno was the Coordinator of Special Projects and External Funding for the late mayor Chokwe Lumumba in Jackson, MS. He is the author of the organizing handbook Let Your Motto Be Resistance and wrote the preface to the report Operation Ghetto Storm. He is an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) (http://www.mxgm.org), former co-director of the US Human Rights Network, and served as executive director of the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund based in New Orleans, LA. Kali currently resides in Jackson, MS.

Real News interview with Kali Akuno, transcript:

For Black America, the Dream is a Nightmare

JARED BALL, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome, everyone, back to the Real News Network. I’m Jared Ball here in Baltimore.We are joined again by Kali Akuno, veteran activist of many formations, but who joins us today to talk about a new film he’s working on, An American Nightmare: Black Labor and Liberation. As it is described, this is a documentary series exploring the roots of anti-black racism in the United States and asks the key questions: how can black communities defend themselves against deeply ingrained structures of racism? And how can they build collective resistance and unite with people of all races, nationalities, and ethnicities to root out racism, white supremacy, and dismantle the structures that make them necessary?Kali Akuno, welcome back to the Real News.

KALI AKUNO: Pleasure to be here.

BALL: So in the trailer for your documentary you start with this juxtaposition of sorts between Malcolm X and Barack Obama. And I’m wondering how this in fact sets up the rest of the film.

AKUNO:  That’s a good question. Just to give a little background, when we first started conceptualizing this project and started working on it, it was originally entitled The Myth of a Post-Racial America. And it was really focusing on trying to kind of teach a younger generation about how race is being constructed and what role it plays within the United States, within this empire. After Mike Brown, and the movement that has emerged to kind of confront different aspects of white supremacy, namely police terror and police violence being committed against black people and the extrajudicial killings being committed against black people, we started shifting up. Because that quickly exploded that myth, and even the state and the different forces of mainstream capitalist media had to expose the racism still very much alive and well in this society. So we said we needed to go a little bit deeper and get at the different, the underlying structures, that shape white supremacy and this society.And so what we’re really trying to do with this juxtaposition of Malcolm and Obama, there it’s really followup on that clip by [sister Melina] who’s saying that many people thought in 2008 that a particular historic kind of turnabout had occurred, and that black people had arrived at some kind of new pinnacle with Obama’s election. And what she’s really breaking down, I think quite excellently, is that even if Malcolm X had been elected, the U.S. presidency and the U.S. empire is what it is. And there’s not much agency that exists within that office except to kind of do the tactical and some of the strategic operations of managing the empire.And so what we really want to set up is that we have to look at the United States on a much deeper level to understand what this project is about, where it’s going, and where African people in particular fit into it. Continue reading

The Once-friendly Skies Now Rain a “Secret” War

VIEWED FROM HIGH ABOVE, Chabelley Airfield is little more than a gray smudge in a tan wasteland. Drop lower and its incongruous features start coming into focus. In the sun-bleached badlands of the tiny impoverished nation of Djibouti — where unemployment hovers at a staggering 60 percent and the per capita gross domestic product is about $3,100 — sits a hive of high-priced, high-tech American hardware.

Satellite imagery tells part of the story. A few years ago, this isolated spot resembled little more than an orphaned strip of tarmac sitting in the middle of this desolate desert. Look closely today, however, and you’ll notice what seems to be a collection of tan clamshell hangars, satellite dishes, and distinctive, thin, gunmetal gray forms — robot planes with wide wingspans.

Unbeknownst to most Americans and without any apparent public announcement, the U.S. has recently taken steps to transform this tiny, out-of-the-way outpost into an “enduring” base, a key hub for its secret war, run by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), in Africa and the Middle East. The military is tight-lipped about Chabelley, failing to mention its existence in its public list of overseas bases and refusing even to acknowledge questions about it — let alone offer answers. Official documents, satellite imagery, and expert opinion indicate, however, that Chabelley is now essential to secret drone operations throughout the region.

Tim Brown, a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org and expert on analyzing satellite imagery, notes that Chabelley Airfield allows U.S. drones to cover Yemen, southwest Saudi Arabia, a large swath of Somalia, and parts of Ethiopia and southern Egypt. Continue reading

Rihanna and Mick Jagger party as gold-rush mood grips Havana

[Big predators with deep pockets and smiling faces are crowding in……. — Frontlines ed.]

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN, Associated Press , October 18, 2015

Tourists sit in the popular O'Reilly 304 Bar in Old  Havana, Cuba, Oct. 13.  Cubans with money and foreign backers are furiously rehabbing old homes into micro-hotels complete with high-end restaurants and conference rooms for business meetings.

Tourists sit in the popular O’Reilly 304 Bar in Old Havana, Cuba, Oct. 13. Cubans with money and foreign backers are furiously rehabbing old homes into micro-hotels complete with high-end restaurants and conference rooms for business meetings. The Associated Press

HAVANA — By midnight, the basement of one of Havana’s hottest clubs is packed wall-to-wall for a private concert by one of Cuba’s biggest pop stars.

Squeezed among the usual crowd of sleek young Cubans and paunchy, prowling European tourists, the owner of one of New York’s hippest restaurants discusses his new Havana boutique hotel project. At the bar, a Swiss venture capitalist describes meeting with Communist Party officials about partnering on a marina complex. An Ohio woman who runs a bespoke guide service for wealthy Americans shows her clients iPhone photos of the private villa where they will have a waterfront paella dinner the next day.

The foreigners visiting Havana used to be Canadians and Europeans on cheap beach package tours and left-leaning Americans on dutiful rounds of organic farms and neighborhood health clinics. Ten months after the U.S. and Cuba declared the end of a half-century of official hostility, the mood in Havana has changed.

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“Red Nation” in New Mexico: “Native Lives Matter”

Cowboy, Rabbit and Border Town Violence

Will A “Hugo Chavez-type” End the Filipino Revolution?

[The question arises: Can populist rhetoric sway hearts and minds without petrodollars?  —  Frontlines ed.]

Joma sees Duterte as Pinoy-version of Hugo Chavez

October 10, 2015

UTRECHT, The Netherlands: Jose Maria Sison, the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), made himself clear—he did not endorse Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as his preferred next president of the Philippines.

“But how can I do that when he did not yet declare that he is running for president?” he said laughing, in front of him a cup of brewed coffee sitting cold – untouched – on a long white table, the ‘centerpiece’ inside the office of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) here. Continue reading

‘Homeland is racist’: artists sneak subversive graffiti on to TV show

Street artists say they were asked to add authenticity to scenes of Syrian refugee camp, but took chance to air criticisms of show’s depiction of Muslim world.  Caram Kapp, one of the street artists hired by the US television show Homeland, explains why he and his colleagues daubed subversive graffiti on one of the show’s sets in Berlin. Kapp, who is based in Berlin, and the other artists were hired to add authenticity to a scene set in a refugee camp, but instead they wrote ‘Homeland is racist’ in Arabic. Kapp says they disagreed with what they see as a reductionist portrayal of Arabs and other minorities in the show

Three graffiti artists hired to add authenticity to refugee camp scenes in this week’s episode of Homeland have said they instead used their artwork to accuse the TV programme of racism.

The graffiti here says: ‘Homeland is racist.’

The graffiti here says: ‘Homeland is racist.’ Photograph: Courtesy of the artists

In the second episode of the fifth season, which aired in the US and Australia earlier this week, and will be shown in the UK on Sunday, lead character Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, can be seen striding past a wall daubed with Arabic script reading: “Homeland is racist.”

Other slogans painted on the walls of the fictional Syrian refugee camp included “Homeland is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh” and “#blacklivesmatter”, the artists – Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone – said in a statement published online.

The graffiti on the left says: ‘Freedom … now in 3D’. The one on the right says: ‘Homeland is watermelon’ (which is slang for not to be taken seriously).

The graffiti on the left says: ‘Freedom … now in 3D’. The one on the right says: ‘Homeland is watermelon’ (which is slang for not to be taken seriously). Photograph: Courtesy of the artists

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