Lessons from a lowly virus

https://fighting-words.net/

By David Sole, May 23, 2020

Severe stress on an individual organism will often expose weaknesses in its physiology. But that same stress may often also bring out hidden strengths. What is true of the individual is also true of a social organism or society. The coronavirus, small as it may be, is teaching many lessons to the people of the United States.

Labor Creates All Wealth

Trade unionists for decades sung the labor movement anthem “Solidarity Forever” (by Ralph Chaplin, 1915). Most vocalists may not have gotten as far as verses 3 and 5, or paid much mind to the words if they did sing them. But the current pandemic, unprecedented in modern history, with the mass shutdowns and stay at home orders has given real meaning to the traditional song. It reads

“It is we who plowed the prairies, built the cities where they trade, dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid. Now we stand outcast and starving ‘midst the wonders we have made, But the union makes us strong.”

A bit later in the song,

“They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn, But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn. We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn, That the union makes us strong.”

This song summarizes the Labor Theory of Value, discovered by the bourgeois economist (when these were still honest investigators) David Ricardo and made famous by the great socialist thinker Karl Marx. One can see the panic among the corporate/banking elite and their paid politicians who, with the pandemic still in full swing, are stampeding workers back to unsafe jobs. Every worker can clearly see that it is our class that does the work, it is our class that makes profits for the “idle drones” (another term from Solidarity Forever) and it is our class that makes every wheel turn. The mass media, for a moment, is describing “essential workers” and “heroes” those very workers who previously got no attention and miserable wages and working conditions.

Bailouts for Whom?

The rapid onset of the pandemic and the shutdown of massive sections of the economy quickly caused a crisis for the two main classes in this capitalist society. Workers either lost their jobs or were laid off in the millions, losing their income. Most working class families have very little economic cushion to fall back upon in such a situation. The capitalist class – the so-called 1% (more properly 0.1% or 0.01% of the population) – found that they were no longer extracting “surplus value” (in Marxist terms) from the labor of their workers and faced catastrophic decline of their profits….

Diego Rivera Detroit Industry Murals North Wall

Diego Rivera Detroit Industry Mural – North Wall. | Detroit Institute of Arts

MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS & FORECLOSURES: CANCEL THE RENT NOW!

Moratorium NOW! Coalition

MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS & FORECLOSURES CANCEL THE RENT

Today, the Covid-19 crisis and the economic disaster that is ensuing in its aftermath, is no less an emergency for poor and working people than the 1930’s depression.

During the 1930’s depression, governors and legislatures placed Foreclosure Moratoriums in 25 states including a 5 year moratorium in Michigan. The Michigan Moratorium Act suspended foreclosures and empowered the judge to set the mortgage payment at an amount the homeowner could afford.

When challenged by the banks, the 1930’s moratoriums were upheld as constitutional by the US Supreme Court in the case of Home Building & Loan Association v Blaisdell, 290 US 398 (1934). The Supreme Court held:

“The sovereign right of the Government to protect the lives, health, morals, comfort and general welfare of the people, is paramount to any rights under contracts between individuals.” The foreclosure moratoriums were also upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court in Russell v Battle Creek Lumber Co, 265 Mich App 649 (1934).”

Pursuant to the emergency powers vested in the governor by Michigan law, and in order to protect the lives and general welfare of the people in this unprecedented emergency: Governor Whitmer can and must:

  • Place a Moratorium on all Evictions in Michigan for one year or longer if the emergency continues;
  • Place a Moratorium on all Foreclosures in Michigan one year or longer if the emergency continues;
  • Place a Moratorium on all utility shutoffs including water shutoffs in Michigan for one year or longer if the emergency continues;
  • Place a moratorium on all mortgage, rental and utility payments in Michigan for one year or longer if the emergency continues. During the moratorium, payments are suspended until an affordable housing payment is implemented, constituting of not more than 30% of household income to cover rent, mortgage, homeowners’ insurance, property tax, utility and water payments. The mortgage moratorium will cover residential properties including properties subject to rent by landlords owning 4 or less properties.

Moratorium NOW! Coalition

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June 14, 2020, Online: Commemorate the Life & Legacy of Che Guevara!

Commemorate the Life & Legacy of Che Guevara!

The Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade
>> Commemorates the Life and Legacy of ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA <<

ONLINE WEBINAR
Sunday June 14 – Che Guevara’s Birthday!
4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET

Revolutionary leader Che Guevara once said, “volunteer work is a school for building consciousness”. These words have inspired Cubans and people around the world, and in this spirit the Che Guevara Brigade is named for him. Since 1993, the Che Guevara Brigade has organized 27 annual brigades from Canada to Cuba, bringing hundreds of brigadistas to Cuba.

Join the webinar to hear speakers from Cuba and Canada, discussing Che Guevara’s ideas and his legacy today! This will also be an opportunity to find out how you can travel to Cuba on the 27th Che Guevara Brigade, November 15-30, 2020.

Featuring speakers from Cuba and former Che Brigade Brigadistas!
> Guivel Orozco Ortega – Deputy Head of Mission and Counsellor, Cuban Embassy in Ottawa, Canada
> David Aldama Pando – Third Secretary, Cuban Embassy in Ottawa, Canada
> Yamil Martínez Marrero – Canada Desk of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP)
> Janine Solanki – National Coordinator of the Che Guevara Brigade
> Dave Thomas – Chair of the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association – Niagara, former Che Guevara Brigade Coordinator
> Claudia Peralta – Coordinator of the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association – Calgary, former Che Brigade Brigadista, Che Brigade Committee member and organizer with the Calixto Garcia Brigade
> Haily Fox – Former Che Brigade Brigadista and pre-medical student at York University in Toronto
> Bronwyn Cragg – Participant in the 2019 Anti-Imperialist Solidarity Conference in Cuba, executive member of the Canadian Network on Cuba, and University of Toronto student.

REGISTER ONLINE AT:
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/4715902781366/WN_rRKpvSJcSMC7NYaBO0vFyQ

Interested to find out more about the 2020 Che Guevara Brigade to Cuba?
Visit www.canadiannetworkoncuba.ca/brigade for more information or to register, or contact Che Brigade coordinator at chevolbrigade@gmail.com or 778-881-6156

Organized by the Che Guevara Brigade Committee of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC).
The Che Guevara Brigade is a project of the Canadian Network on Cuba, a network of Cuba solidarity organizations across Canada promoting friendship and solidarity with Cuba and the Cuban people.
www.canadiannetworkoncuba.ca

May 25-31, 2020: From the Belly of the Beast! Week of Struggle Against US Imperialism

From the Belly of the Beast! Week of Struggle Against US Imperialism

ILPS US country chapter invites you to participate in an International Week of Struggle Against US Imperialism from May 25 to May 31!

Amid the pandemic, peoples and nations are rising up and asserting their interests and demands as corporations and governments gear up for a “new normal” under the same system. With more than a century since Lenin’s seminal work on imperialism was initially released, we continue to see the ongoing relevance and vital importance of building a broad proletariat-led movement to smash imperialism.

As US-based peoples, we are one with the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia: to fight back and defeat US intervention and fascist reaction.

We want an end to the old system of imperialism, plunder and war. We want real change.

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May 30, 2020: Milwaukee Cancel the Rents/Mortgages Car Caravan

MKE Cancel the Rents/Mortgages Car Caravan

Now is the time to act to cancel rents and mortgage payments for tenants, homeowners, small landlords, and other small businesses!

The patchwork of city and state moratoriums on evictions are not enough. As these moratoriums are lifted and the rents come due — we will still not have the money!

Join thousands of people across the country in car caravan protests on Saturday, May 30th to demand the cancellation of rent, mortgages, and all debts to landlords for the duration of the pandemic. Protesters will adhere to social distancing guidelines and requirements, including wearing masks, which have been established to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak.

At least 30 percent of renters will be unable to pay their rent on June 1st. No one should lose their housing for any reason in this crisis! The rents and mortgages must be canceled! Make the banks pay!

The Party for Socialism and Liberation – Milwaukee is joined by Milwaukee Socialist Alternative, Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union (MATU), and tenants and homeowners across the city.

If you agree with the call to Cancel the Rents and Mortgage Payments for tenants, homeowners, small landlords and small businesses, join us on Saturday, May 30!

Schedule:
11:00 am – Gather / Prepare
11:30 am – Speakers / Press Briefing
12:00 pm – Caravan Departs

We will be beginning the protest at the Alliance for Peace Center, 1001 E Keefe Ave, and driving for about 30 minutes around Milwaukee’s North Side neighborhoods.

A full map will be attached in the comments below.

Please bring signs, banners, flags, and decorate your cars to make sure the message is seen and heard!

For questions and endorsements contact: milwaukeepsl@gmail.com

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