Date   

Re: Is America experiencing an unofficial general strike? Jack Rasmus & Robert Reich

workerpoet
 

I think the growing movement(s) demanding action on climate change will have the numbers and reach the unavoidable conclusion that must become anti-capitalist by necessity. Climate action cannot be separated from social justice, 


Re: How the Taliban came to power — again. | Emile Schepers | Communist Party USA

Andrew Stewart
 

“… the nature of this conflict was a reactionary, imperialist and colonialist war of aggression against the Afghan people. In turn, from the Afghan point of view, the conflict had the character of a progressive, national liberation, and anti-colonial war of defense.”
Yeah okay.


The Unvaccinated May Not Be Who You Think (NY Times)

Jim Farmelant
 


The author, Zeynep Tufecki, used to be one of the moderators of the Marxism that preceded this one. In fact, I think she used to sometimes post here back in the early days.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/15/opinion/covid-vaccines-unvaccinated.html

The failure of the United States to vaccinate more people stands out, especially since we had every seeming advantage to get it done. As early as the end of April of this year, when vaccines were in dire short supply globally, almost every adult who wanted to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in the United States could do so, free of charge. By June, about 43 percent of the U.S. population had received two doses while that number was only about 6 percent in Canada and 3 percent in Japan.

Now, just a few months later, these countries, along with 44 others, have surpassed U.S. vaccination rates. And our failure shows: America continues to have among the highest deaths per capita from Covid.

Science’s ability to understand our cells and airways cannot save us if we don’t also understand our society and how we can be led astray.

There is a clear partisan divide over vaccination — Republicans are more likely to tell pollsters that they will not get vaccinated. Some Republican politicians and Fox News hosts have been pumping out anti-vaccine propaganda. The loud, ideological anti-vaxxers exist, and it’s not hard to understand the anger directed at them. All this may make it seem as if almost all the holdouts are conspiracy theorists and anti-science die-hards who think that Covid is a hoax, or that there is nothing we can do to reach more people.

Real-life evidence, what there is, demonstrates that there’s much more to it.

Almost 95 percent of those over 65 in the United States have received at least one dose. This is a remarkable number, given that polling has shown that this age group is prone to online misinformation, is heavily represented among Fox News viewers and is more likely to vote Republican. Clearly, misinformation is not destiny.

Second, reality has refuted dire predictions about how Americans would respond to vaccine mandates. In a poll in September, 72 percent of the unvaccinated said they would quit if forced to be vaccinated for work. There were news articles warning of mass resignations. When large employers, school districts, and hospital systems did finally mandate vaccines, people subject to mandates got vaccinated, overwhelmingly. After United Airlines mandated vaccines, there were only 232 holdouts among 67,000 employees. Among about 10,000 employees in state-operated health care facilities in North Carolina, only 16 were fired for noncompliance.

The remarkable success of vaccine mandates shows it is not firm ideological commitments that have kept everyone from getting vaccinated, and that the stubborn, unpersuadable holdouts may be much smaller than we imagine.

 

Let’s start with what we do know about the unvaccinated.

There has been strikingly little research on the sociology of the pandemic, even though billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on vaccines. The assumption that some scientific breakthrough will swoop in to save the day is built too deeply into our national mythology — but as we’ve seen, again and again, it’s not true.

The research and data we do have show that significant portions of the unvaccinated public were confused and concerned, rather than absolutely opposed to vaccines.

Some key research on the unvaccinated comes from the Covid States Project, an academic consortium that managed to scrape together resources for regular polling. It categorizes them as “vaccine-willing” and “vaccine-resistant,” and finds the groups almost equal in numbers among the remaining unvaccinated. (David Lazer, one of the principal investigators of the Covid States Project, told me that the research was done before the mandates, and that the consortium has limited funding, so they can poll only so often.)

 

Furthermore, its research finds that the unvaccinated, overall, don’t have much trust in institutions and authorities, and even those they trust, they trust less: 71 percent of the vaccinated trust hospitals and doctors “a lot,” for example, while only 39 percent of the unvaccinated do.

Relentless propaganda against public health measures no doubt contributes to erosion of trust. However, that mistrust may also be fueled by the sorry state of health insurance in this country and the deep inequities in health care — at a minimum, this could make people more vulnerable to misinformation. Research on the unvaccinated by KFF from this September showed the most powerful predictor of who remained unvaccinated was not age, politics, race, income or location, but the lack of health insurance.

The Covid States team shared with me more than a thousand comments from unvaccinated people who were surveyed. Scrolling through them, I noticed a lot more fear than certainty. There was the very, very rare “it’s a hoax” and “it’s a gene therapy,” but most of it was a version of: I’m not sure it’s safe. Was it developed too fast? Do we know enough? There was also a lot of fear of side effects, worries about lack of Food and Drug Administration approval and about yet-undiscovered dangers.

Their surveys also show that only about 12 percent of the unvaccinated said they did not think they’d benefit from a vaccine: so, only about 4 percent of the national population.

In law, “dying declarations” are given special considerations because the prospect of death can help remove the motivation to deceive or to bluster. The testimony we’ve seen from unvaccinated people in their last days with Covid, sometimes voiced directly by them from their hospital beds, gets at some of the core truths of vaccine hesitancy. They are pictures of confusion, not conviction.

One woman who documented her final days on TikTok described being uncertain about side effects, being worried about lack of F.D.A. approval, and waiting to go with her family to get the shot — until it was too late.

Or consider Josie and Tom Burko, married parents who died from Covid within days of each other, leaving behind an 8-year-old daughter. They hadn’t taken the pandemic lightly. They were “100 percent pro-vaccination,” a close friend told The Oregonian afterward, but Josie reportedly had a heart murmur and chronic diabetes and worried about an adverse reaction. Tom reportedly had muscular atrophy, and similar worries. Afraid, they had not yet gotten vaccinated.

 

It’s easy to say that all these people should have been more informed or sought advice from a medical provider, except that many have no health care provider. As of 2015, one quarter of the population in the United States had no primary health care provider to turn to for trusted advice.

Along with the recognition of greater risk, access to regular health care may be an important explanation of why those over 65 are the most-vaccinated demographic in the country. They have Medicare. That might have increased their immunity against the Fox News scare stories.

One reason for low vaccination rates in rural areas may be that they are “health care and media” deserts, as a recent NBC report on the crises put it, with few reliable local news outlets and the “implosion of the rural health care system” — too few hospitals, doctors and nurses.

Plus, let’s face it, interacting with the medical system can be stress-inducing even for many of us with health insurance. Any worry about long-term side effects is worsened by a system in which even a minor illness can produce unpredictable and potentially huge expenses.

Then there is the health system’s long-documented mistreatment of Black people (and other minorities) in this country. Black people are less likely to be given pain medication or even treatment for life-threatening emergencies, for instance. I thought of those statistics while reading the poignant story of a Black physician who could not persuade her mother to get vaccinated because her mother’s previous interactions with the medical system included passing out after screaming in agony when a broken arm got manipulated and X-rayed without sufficient care for her pain.

While the racial gap in vaccination has improved over the last year — nonwhite people were more likely to express caution and a desire to wait and see rather than to be committed anti-vaxxers — it’s still there.

 

In New York, for example, only 42 percent of African Americans of all ages (and 49 percent among adults) are fully vaccinated — the lowest rate among all demographic groups tracked by the city.

This is another area in which the dominant image of the white, QAnon-spouting, Tucker Carlson-watching conspiracist anti-vaxxer dying to own the libs is so damaging. It can lead us to ignore the problem of racialized health inequities with deep historic roots but also ongoing repercussions, and prevent us from understanding that there are different kinds of vaccine hesitancy, which require different approaches.

ust ask Nicki Minaj.

About a month ago, the rap artist made headlines after tweeting that she was worried about vaccines because she had heard from her cousin that a friend of his had swollen testicles after being vaccinated. (Experts pointed out that, even if this had happened, it was most likely caused by a sexually transmitted disease.) She was justifiably denounced for spreading misinformation.

But something else that Minaj said caught my eye. She wrote that she hadn’t done “enough research” yet, but that people should keep safe “in the meantime” by wearing “the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one.”

“Wear a good mask while researching vaccines” is not the sentiment of a denier. She seemed genuinely concerned about Covid, even to the point that she seemed to understand that N95s, the high-quality masks that medical professionals wear, which have the “2 strings that grips your head & face,” were much safer.

Lazer said that the Covid States Project’s research showed that unvaccinated people who nonetheless wore masks were, indeed, more likely to be Black women. In contrast, those who were neither vaccinated nor masked were more likely to be Republicans, and more likely to be rural, less educated and white. (Among the vaccinated, Asian Americans were most likely to be still wearing masks.)

Lazer also highlighted an overlooked group with higher levels of vaccine hesitancy: young mothers. They were hesitant, both for themselves and their children, an alarming development especially if it starts affecting other childhood vaccinations. Similarly, from real-life data, we know that only a little more than one-third of pregnant women are vaccinated, which has led to many tragic stories of babies losing their mothers just as they are being whisked into the neonatal intensive care unit after an emergency cesarean section.

It may well be that some of the unvaccinated are a bit like cats stuck in a tree. They’ve made bad decisions earlier and now may be frozen, part in fear, and unable to admit their initial hesitancy wasn’t a good idea, so they may come back with a version of how they are just doing “more research.”

We know from research into human behavior but also just common sense that in such situations, face-saving can be crucial.

In fact, that’s exactly why the mandates may be working so well. If all the unvaccinated truly believed that vaccines were that dangerous, more of them would have quit. These mandates may be making it possible for those people previously frozen in fear to cross the line, but in a face-saving manner.

Research also shows that many of the unvaccinated have expressed concerns about long-term effects. Consider an information campaign geared toward explaining that unlike many drugs, for which adverse reactions can indeed take a long time to surface, adverse effects of vaccines generally occur within weeks or months, since they work differently, as the immunologist Andrew Croxford explained in The Boston Review. Medical professionals could be dispatched to vaccination clinics, workplaces and stores to get that point across. (Yes, medical professionals are overwhelmed, but the best way to reduce their burden is to vaccinate more people.) This would let some hesitant people feel like they had “done their research,” while interacting with a medical professional — the basis for more trust.

Finally, consider something hidden amid all the other dysfunction that plagues us: fear of needles.

Don’t roll your eyes. Prepandemic research suggests that fear of needles may affect up to 25 percent of adults and may lead up to 16 percent of adults to skip or delay vaccinations. For many, it’s not as simple as “suck it up”: It’s a condition that can lead to panic attacks and even fainting. During the pandemic, a study in Britain found that as many as one in four adults had injection phobia, and that those who did were twice as likely to be vaccine-hesitant. Research by Covid States shows that about 14 percent of the remaining unvaccinated mention fear of needles as a factor.

Countries with far higher rates of vaccination, Canada and Britain, have responded by mobilizing their greatest strength: a national health care system. Cities in Canada held clinics aimed especially at people with such anxiety, which included privacy rooms and other accommodations. Britain’s national health care system offers similar accommodations.

I’ve yet to find a systematic program in the United States addressing this fear. Worse, much of our public communications around the vaccines feature images of people getting jabbed with a needle, even though that can worsen anxiety.

 

In researching, I was inundated with stories from people who struggled with this fear and were often unable to find help. Some women said they were treated like drug seekers because they asked for a single anti-anxiety pill to get through a shot. (They also said their male family members and friends had an easier time.) It may seem hard to believe that people might risk their lives over seemingly small fears, but that’s exactly how people behave in many situations.

Of course, there are some people who it seems will never be persuaded. One strategy that has been shown to work is to highlight deceptive practices. In campaigns to keep teens from smoking, advertisements pointed out how the tobacco industry manipulated people. For Covid, the unvaccinated could be shown that they have been taken in by people who have misled them even while those people themselves got vaccinated.

Just recently, there was a brief glimpse at how Fox News actually looks behind the camera: Everyone in the office was wearing masks, even as the hosts have often talked about the alleged tyranny of it all. Stars like Tucker Carlson rant against vaccines, even as their network says that more than 90 percent of full-time employees have been vaccinated. Realizing that one may have been conned and manipulated by opportunists who do not practice what they preach may — just may — be the breakthrough for some.

Responding to our societal dysfunctions has been among the greatest challenges of this pandemic, especially since this includes a political and media establishment stirring up resentment and suspicion to hold on to power and attention in an increasingly unresponsive political system.

Anger — and even rage — at all this may be justified, but deploying only anger will not just obscure the steps we can and should try to take, it will play into the hands of those who’d like to reduce all this to a shouting match.

Instead, we need to develop a realistic, informed and deeply pragmatic approach to our shortcomings without ceding ground to the conspiracists, grifters and demagogues, and without overlooking the historic inequities in health care and weaknesses in our public health infrastructure. It’s not all fair, and it is not a Hollywood ending, but it’s how we can move forward.

 

 

 

 
 
Image
 
 


Ten Years After Occupy, We Have a Left That Matters | Hadas Thier | Jacobin

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 


Re: How the Taliban came to power — again. | Emile Schepers | Communist Party USA

Michael Karadjis
 

Agree the article is "extraordinary". Extraordinarily simplistic. Far too ordinary actually.

For example the article says:
"So the last Soviet troops were withdrawn in 1989, but Najibullah managed to hang on to power until 1992. Meanwhile the Pakistani-sponsored Taliban faction of the guerrillas grew in strength and took over the government in Kabul in 1996 and executed former president Najibullah."

This is just another example of leftist wish-theory, whereby you should create facts to fulfill your wishes. You wish all bad stuff (US imperialists, feudal landlords, reactionary Islamists) to be in one neat category so you can support the other team.

Of course, the Taliban were not a "faction of the guerillas", ie a faction of the US-backed Mujahideen guerillas who fought the Soviets in the 1980s and came to power in 1992. Because they did not yet exist. On the contrary they were formed in 1994 as a popular-based insurgency *against* the US-backed Mujahideen warlords. The fact that they were just as reactionary Islamists, if not more so, is besides the point.

If you don't get that, you are even more likely to get the fact that the Taliban fought historically one of the longest wars against US imperialism in history, 2001-2021 (while also fighting those same ex-Mujahideen warlords who the US restored to power in 2001). It may not be a pleasant fact that this record goes to a very reactionary Islamist organisation. It doesn't make them supportable.

But manichean 'anti-imperialist' thinking says you have to support whoever is "anti-imperialist." So that's where leftist wish-theory comes in handy - you actively deny the reality, and instead spout nonsense that "the US created the Taliban" etc (and then explain what happened later by employing liberal "blowback" theory). Easier than dealing with difficult realities. 


On Sun, Oct 17, 2021 at 3:46 PM RKOB <aktiv@...> wrote:

This is, how shall I say, an extraordinary article!

The title is “How the Taliban came to power — again.” Nevertheless, it does not say A SINGLE WORD about the Taliban’s 20 years of struggle against the U.S. occupation!

Not only this. The whole “analysis” starts with the British in the 19th century and stops with 2001. And this despite a considerable length of more than 1,500 words!

How can such an absurd presentation be explained? Obviously, it is because the CPUSA – like many other Stalinist parties in the world – attempts to present the victory of the Taliban not as a result of their struggle against the U.S. occupation but rather as a conspiracy of Washington in order to bring their agents to power!

So much for dialectics and materialism in the outlook of Stalinism!

For those interested, here is a link to a pamphlet which criticizes such an approach of many leftists.

Afghanistan and the Left: Closet Social-Imperialism

A critique of reformist and centrist forces which are outraged about the Taliban’s victory against the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan

A Pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting, 24 September 2021

https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/afghanistan-and-the-left-closet-social-imperialism/

(for those who prefer to read it in Spanish language: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/afghanistan-and-the-left-closet-social-imperialism/#anker_5)

 

 

Am 16.10.2021 um 07:04 schrieb Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo:

https://www.cpusa.org/article/how-the-taliban-came-to-power-again/






Re: Is America Experiencing an Unofficial General Strike?

John Reimann
 

Farans Kalosar writes: "People keep suggesting that something like the gilets jaunes is a great idea. I disagree." I think he misses the point. At least for myself, it's not that I think a confused and chaotic movement like the gilets Jaunes, or any other form of a rebellion, is a great idea or not. It's a matter of what I think is likely, how the movement is likely to develop. Neither I nor all the recipients on this email list taken together really has much of a choice, has much influence in the matter. The question is how we try to influence what develops.

As for myself, it seems possible that a rebellion of the rank and file within the unions is now developing. How far this will go and with what outcome is impossible to predict at this point. But if it develops further, that would be huge.

John Reimann

--
“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook


Re: How the Taliban came to power — again. | Emile Schepers | Communist Party USA

Jim Farmelant
 


Michael,

As the People's World article points out the 1973 coup was launched by a cousin of the Afghan king, who declared the country to be a republic, with himself as the president. His coup was supported by Afghan communists but he later turned on them. That led to the 1978 coup which was launched by left-wing army officers. But the Afghan left's base was apparently almost exclusively urban, and not rural, thus leaving the rural masses under the control of the large landowners and Muslim clerics, neither of which supported the reforms that were being enacted by the communist regime in Kabul.


Food Sovereignty, a Manifesto for the Future of Our Planet: La Via Campesina

Richard Fidler
 

The following official statement was issued October 13 by the International Peasants’ Movement, La Via Campesina, to “mark 25 years of our collective struggles for food sovereignty.” The organization’s members include, in Canada, the National Farmers Union (NFU) and in Quebec, the Union Paysanne. Today, October 16, is the Global Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and Against Multinational Corporations. – R.F.

Food Sovereignty is a philosophy of life.

It offers a vision for our collective future, and defines the principles around which we organize our daily living and co-exist with Mother Earth. It is a celebration of life and all the diversity around us. It embraces every element of our cosmos; the sky above our heads, the land beneath our feet, the air we breathe, the forests, the mountains, valleys, farms, oceans, rivers and ponds. It recognizes and protects the inter-dependency between eight million species that share this home with us.

We inherited this collective wisdom from our ancestors, who ploughed the land and waded the waters for 10,000 years, a period in which we evolved into an agrarian society. Food Sovereignty promotes justice, equality, dignity, fraternity and solidarity. Food Sovereignty is also the science of life – built through lived realities spread across countless generations, each teaching their progeny something new, inventing new methods and techniques which sat harmoniously with nature.

As holders of this rich heritage, it is our collective responsibility to defend it and preserve it.

Full: https://lifeonleft.blogspot.com/2021/10/food-sovereignty-manifesto-for-future.html

 


Food Sovereignty, a Manifesto for the Future of Our Planet: La Via Campesina

Richard Fidler
 

Today, October 16, is the Global Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and Against Multinational Corporations. – R.F.

Food Sovereignty is a philosophy of life.

It offers a vision for our collective future, and defines the principles around which we organize our daily living and co-exist with Mother Earth. It is a celebration of life and all the diversity around us. It embraces every element of our cosmos; the sky above our heads, the land beneath our feet, the air we breathe, the forests, the mountains, valleys, farms, oceans, rivers and ponds. It recognizes and protects the inter-dependency between eight million species that share this home with us.

We inherited this collective wisdom from our ancestors, who ploughed the land and waded the waters for 10,000 years, a period in which we evolved into an agrarian society. Food Sovereignty promotes justice, equality, dignity, fraternity and solidarity. Food Sovereignty is also the science of life – built through lived realities spread across countless generations, each teaching their progeny something new, inventing new methods and techniques which sat harmoniously with nature.

As holders of this rich heritage, it is our collective responsibility to defend it and preserve it.

Full: https://lifeonleft.blogspot.com/2021/10/food-sovereignty-manifesto-for-future.html

 

 


Revolt at John Deere — Ties to a Radical Past | Toni Gilpin | LAWCHA

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 


When Italy’s Communists Made Comics for Children | Juri Meda | Jacobin

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 


Re: How the Taliban came to power — again. | Emile Schepers | Communist Party USA

RKOB
 

This is, how shall I say, an extraordinary article!

The title is “How the Taliban came to power — again.” Nevertheless, it does not say A SINGLE WORD about the Taliban’s 20 years of struggle against the U.S. occupation!

Not only this. The whole “analysis” starts with the British in the 19th century and stops with 2001. And this despite a considerable length of more than 1,500 words!

How can such an absurd presentation be explained? Obviously, it is because the CPUSA – like many other Stalinist parties in the world – attempts to present the victory of the Taliban not as a result of their struggle against the U.S. occupation but rather as a conspiracy of Washington in order to bring their agents to power!

So much for dialectics and materialism in the outlook of Stalinism!

For those interested, here is a link to a pamphlet which criticizes such an approach of many leftists.

Afghanistan and the Left: Closet Social-Imperialism

A critique of reformist and centrist forces which are outraged about the Taliban’s victory against the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan

A Pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting, 24 September 2021

https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/afghanistan-and-the-left-closet-social-imperialism/

(for those who prefer to read it in Spanish language: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/afghanistan-and-the-left-closet-social-imperialism/#anker_5)

 

 

Am 16.10.2021 um 07:04 schrieb Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo:


John Deere Put Temporary Workers On The Factory Floor...

Gibbons Brian
 


... It's Going About As Well As You'd Expect

https://jalopnik.com/john-deere-put-temporary-workers-on-the-factory-floor-1847872374

Comments that follow article worthwhile to take in

Brian Gibbons


The Belmarsh Tribunal Comes To London / Stand-Ups for Assange

Charles Keener
 



The War on Terror is put on trial in London through the Belmarsh Tribunal.

Just after the bombshell revelations about the CIA plot to kidnap and assassinate WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange while he sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the Progressive International comes to London with the first physical Belmarsh Tribunal. The intervention comes ahead of Assange’s extradition proceedings, which are set to continue in London’s High Court from 27 to 28 October 2021.
Inspired by the famous Russell-Sartre people’s tribunal, the Belmarsh Tribunal places the War on Terror on trial and holds the US government accountable for its war crimes. It is named for the London prison that has held Assange in permanent confinement for the last two years, as he faces extradition to the US, whose government plotted his assassination. The Belmarsh Tribunal will hold its first physical proceedings in London on the 22 of October 2021 at the Convocation Hall, Church House, Westminster, which was used for sittings of parliament during the Second World War.
The Belmarsh Tribunal will gather leading figures from politics, the law and journalism, to shed light on the US crimes that were revealed by WikiLeaks – torture, violence, illegal spying – but also to speak about the existing crimes of both US and UK against Julian Assange for exposing their illegal and unjustifiable actions. Among the speakers who will appear both in physical presence and via “live-stream” are Tariq Ali, Renata Ávila, Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Jeremy Corbyn, Rafael Correa, Özlem Demirel, Deepa Govindarajan Driver, Daniel Ellsberg, Selay Ghaffar, Markéta Gregorová, Heike Hänsel, Srećko Horvat, Ken Loach, Annie Machon, Stefania Maurizi, John McDonnell, Yanis Varoufakis, Ben Wizner and Eyal Weizman.


Starbucks Workers Are Organizing — and Management Is Worried | Faith Bennett | Jacobin

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 


Cuba responds to Miami-based provocation. The unconventional war against Cuba continues | Charles McKelvey | Cuba-Network in Defense of Humanity. In defense of the truth and plurality information:

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 


H-Net Review [H-Diplo]: Monteith on Walker, 'Jamaica Ladies: Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain's Atlantic Empire'

Andrew Stewart
 



Best regards,
Andrew Stewart

Begin forwarded message:

From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-review@...>
Date: October 16, 2021 at 8:44:42 AM EDT
To: h-review@...
Cc: H-Net Staff <revhelp@...>
Subject: H-Net Review [H-Diplo]:  Monteith on Walker, 'Jamaica Ladies: Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain's Atlantic Empire'
Reply-To: h-review@...

Christine Walker.  Jamaica Ladies: Female Slaveholders and the
Creation of Britain's Atlantic Empire.  Williamsburg  Omohundro
Institute of Early American History and Culture and Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 2020.  336 pp.  $22.95 (paper),
ISBN 978-1-4696-5879-7; $90.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4696-5526-0.

Reviewed by Kathleen E.A. Monteith (University of the West Indies)
Published on H-Diplo (October, 2021)
Commissioned by Seth Offenbach

_Jamaica Ladies_ explores the roles of free and freed women--white
and those of mixed African and European/British ancestry--as both
colonizers and slaveholders in Jamaica in the period from the second
half of the seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century. Mining a
variety of sources, Christine Walker argues quite convincingly that
women were an integral part of the creation of a society and economy
based on enslavement. Indeed, as stated by Walker, "if merchants and
sailors oversaw the purchase and transportation of captive Africans,
then free and freed women acted as the handmaidens of empire, weaving
these captives into the warp and weft of colonial societies" (p. 5).
Walker extricates women's lives, thoughts, and actions by craftily
and deftly employing a "gendered-eye" analysis of information
contained in letters, business accounts, wills, parish registers,
inventories, maps, and plans to provide deeper understanding of
Jamaica's early society and economy. In so doing, Walker challenges
previous interpretations of the lives of free and freed women in
early British colonial Jamaica, providing compelling evidence and
nuanced analyses of their economic role and lives in this period.
Walker convincingly shows colonial free and freed women to have been
"powerful agents of enslavement and colonialism," far from being
marginalized and exploited within a dominant male society. Indeed,
she shows that "female slaveholders wielded novel and significant
legal, social and economic and cultural autonomy, which they enacted
wisely and outside the household" (p. 9). Walker argues that they
were able to do this because the normative European/British gender
ideologies and proscriptions of women's roles never took root in
societies such as Jamaica's, which were dominated by black African
enslavement. Hence the understanding of what a "lady" was, in the
European/British context, was not replicated in the colonial slave
context.

_Jamaica Ladies _consists of an introduction and six simply titled
chapters, followed by a conclusion. Chapters 1 and 2, titled "Port
Royal" and "Kingston" respectively, establish the presence of more
free women than free men, in relatively significant numbers, than
were previously thought to have existed. Walker notes that in "Port
Royal" during the second half of the seventeenth century, free women
and children made up one-half of the permanent population; free men,
35 percent; and enslaved people, 16 percent (p. 42). For Kingston, in
1731, the ratio was more balanced, with 516 white women and 607 white
men being recorded (p. 72). Within these bustling urban commercial
centers, while others lived on the margins, impoverished or just
scraping by, some free (both white and women of color) or freed women
were active participants in the burgeoning slave economy,
participating in the transatlantic trading system, running successful
businesses, not only taverns and lodging houses, but also retail
textile establishments, providing credit to others, and specializing
in the importation of manufactures from Europe, the Middle East and
Asia (p. 44).

By providing granular detail on their economic activities, Walker
craftily and deftly challenges the stereotypical view of the role of
women in late seventeenth- and mid-eighteenth-century colonial
Jamaica, when the plantation economy and society was being
established and during which time a significant amount of wealth was
being generated, in which businesswomen were active participants.
That women, including married women, operated on their own account is
established, with Walker illustrating that some decidedly avoided
coverture to operate as independent agents or "femes sole." This
might very well have been for practical purposes given the high
mortality rates of the period, but it also demonstrates their agency
in managing their business affairs, forming partnerships with men and
other women, and advancing credit to others.

The type of wealth and fortune that some were able to amass is
illustrated with reference to Anna Hassall. Walker opens her second
chapter with a fascinating description of the extravagant and
self-orchestrated burial of Anna Hassall, who died at age
thirty-seven in 1750, in London's Westminster Abbey. Having taken
control of her husband's mercantile business following his death in
1748, Hassall continued the business with skill and acumen,
demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the markets for the
goods she traded in. Walker suggests that Hassall, who was raised in
Kingston, learned the craft of business from her mother, Sarah
Shanks, who herself ran a successful business enterprise which among
other activities included investments in privateering activity and
money-lending to affluent sugar estate owners. Hassall's wealth and
fortune, like that of her white male counterparts, afforded her the
ability to become an absentee owner with her relocation to England,
from where she continued to manage her Jamaican business affairs
until her death.

In "Plantations," the third chapter, Walker demonstrates that free
women in the early eighteenth century were also more involved in the
daily management of not just small-scale, non-agricultural
enterprises but also of medium-sized sugar estates, such as Spring
and Barbican in St. Andrew parish. This was previously overlooked,
Walker points out, perhaps because of the way in which information
was recorded at the time, leading to an obfuscation of the presence
of women as owners, part owners with relatives, and managers. A
closer reading of manuscript surveys, maps, and plans reveals that
plantation agricultural enterprise in this period was not the sole
preserve of men, and that women were far from being "weak and
ineffective victims" (p. 128). Indeed, as demonstrated by Walker,
their management ethos concerning enslaved labor was no different
from that of their male counterparts. Walker concludes that women
like Mary Elbridge, part owner with relatives of Spring sugar estate;
Priscilla Guy of Guy's Plantation; and Sarah Williams of Williams
Plantation help lay "the groundwork for what was to become the most
profitable and most exploitative agricultural economy in the British
empire in the eighteenth century" (p. 119).

In the fourth chapter, "Inheritance Bequests," Walker gleans
information from censuses and wills written by women that reveals
their wishes and instructions concerning the disposal of their
property, thereby elucidating societal dynamics among the inhabitants
of Jamaica during the period 1665-1761. They also reveal colonial
women's use of British laws and precepts to avoid coverture, which
married women were subject to, thus making sure they maintained
control over their property. In so doing, colonial women evidently
challenged the legal definition of marriage whereby the wife was
subsumed under the husband's identity.

In chapter 5, "Nonmarital Intimacies," Walker illustrates the
accepted norm of sexual permissiveness which resulted in a high
proportion of children born to single women, white and free and freed
women of color. She notes the importance of baptism in ensuring
freedom for a child, as well as conferring "legitimacy" and
"respectability" within this context. "Manumission," the final
chapter, illustrates through an examination of women's wills the
reasons for manumission. Walker concludes that manumission
"transitioned people from positions of marginality to greater
belonging and incorporation" in Jamaican society (p. 264). In so
doing, it may very well have assisted in maintaining the status quo,
while ultimately serving to undermine it in the long run.

Overall, this is a rich and compellingly well-researched book that
builds on excellent work in the field and makes a major contribution
to scholarship on women in the early colonial slave context. It
elucidates just how complex slave societies were, and how free and
freed women contributed to the creation of that complexity. In that
regard, it underscores the contribution women made to the
creolization process in Jamaican society. _Jamaica Ladies_ is an
essential study of the gender, social, and economic history of the
island and region as a whole.

_Kathleen E. A. Monteith is professor of Caribbean history at the
University of the West Indies, Mona. Her most recent publication is
_Plantation Coffee in Jamaica, 1790-1840_ (2019). Her other
publications include _West Indian Business History: Enterprise and
Entrepreneurship_ (2010); _Depression to Decolonization: Barclays
Bank (DCO) in the West Indies, 1926-1962_ (2008); and _Jamaica in
Slavery and Freedom: History, Heritage and Culture _(2002)._

Citation: Kathleen E.A. Monteith. Review of Walker, Christine,
_Jamaica Ladies: Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain's
Atlantic Empire_. H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews. October, 2021.
URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=56373

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States
License.



Cherry-Picking Polls to Hide Public Support for Biden's Spending Plan | David Moore | FAIR

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 


Myanmar: is ‘D-Day’ upon us? Or is the INUG betraying the revolution?

Cort Greene
 


Myanmar: is ‘D-Day’ upon us? Or is the INUG betraying the revolution?

15 October 2021

Twitter, Kriang Krai

On 7 September 2021, the self-proclaimed Interim National Unity Government (INUG) declared a state of emergency and declared a civil war against the military junta. It is not difficult to declare war online by announcing a state of emergency. It is even easier for those who are safely in exile in the United States. If you have a good internet connection, you can declare war at the stroke of a keyboard.

Before INUG announced this state of emergency, there was a false hope among many people in Myanmar that all of the anti-junta militias would wage an insurrection on 'the same day' against the junta. Many also expected INUG would call for D-Day when the PDFs and guerrilla armed forces are ready to fight against the junta. After that, victory will ensue. This rumor was spread by the so-called online social influencers, who are also diehard supporters of NLD and the INUG. The latter’s pronouncement on 7 September, then, renewed this hope among the people.

However, carrying out an armed uprising to overthrow a military dictatorship is not as simple as making an announcement online. Even a child knows this fact. Everyone knows that armed insurrection is a serious matter, and not something you can suck out of your thumb artificially at will at any moment. Yet the INUG and their supporters often wrote that the cruelty of those “war demons” in the “fascist” military is so intolerable that the people have no choice but to answer their call to take up arms.

The despicable cruelty on the part of the military of course cannot be disputed. However, if it could be simply toppled by a call to the people to fight their cruelty, revolutions would occur across the whole world overnight and the world we all aspire to could have been realised long ago.

An armed struggle cannot be waged based on sentimentality alone. Marx once said that insurrection is an art and it must be taken seriously. Lenin added:

“To be successful, insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class. That is the first point. Insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people. That is the second point. Insurrection must rely upon that turning-point in the history of the growing revolution when the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height, and when the vacillations in the ranks of the enemy and in the ranks of the weak, half-hearted and irresolute friends of the revolution are strongest. That is the third point.” (Marxism and Insurrection, Lenin, September 1917)

Just one month before the 1917 October uprising, Lenin reiterated Marx’s teachings that insurrection must be treated as an art and he specified the objective conditions under which an insurrection could be called for. In September 1917, Lenin urged the Bolshevik Central Committee to conclude that an armed uprising was on the order of the day, for all three objective conditions had been fulfilled. In the same letter, however, he also explained that there was no such situation on 3-4 July, and that the insurrection could not have been successful at that time.

At that time:

“(1) We still lacked the support of the class which is the vanguard of the revolution.

We still did not have a majority among the workers and soldiers of Petrograd and Moscow. Now we have a majority in both Soviets. It was created solely by the history of July and August, by the experience of the ‘ruthless treatment’ meted out to the Bolsheviks, and by the experience of the Kornilov revolt.” (Ibid.)

That explains why in July the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin and Trotsky, tried to restrain the spontaneous uprising of the soldiers who came to them. In Petrograd, the capital city, they could have seized power. But they postponed it as they considered it premature. They adopted the tactic of “patiently explaining” to win over the majority of the vanguard* class of the revolution to their program.

(*NB: the word “vanguard’” was used widely during the period of the Burmese Revolution. Some groups of people used to call themselves a “vanguard” despite the fact that they were a handful of men. Some people described INUG as the “vanguard”. It is clear that they do not understand the real meaning of the concept of “vanguard”. Marx and Lenin firmly maintained that the vanguard class of the revolution is the working class, not the peasants, not the students - although they can be allies of the working class - and certainly not the bourgeois liberals.)

Lenin continues:

“(2) There was no country-wide revolutionary upsurge at that time. There is now, after the Kornilov revolt; the situation in the provinces and assumption of power by the Soviets in many localities prove this.”

“(3) At that time there was no vacillation on any serious political scale among our enemies and among the irresolute petty bourgeoisie. Now the vacillation is enormous. Our main enemy, Allied and world imperialism (for world imperialism is headed by the “Allies”), has begun to waver between a war to a victorious finish and a separate peace directed against Russia. Our petty-bourgeois democrats, having clearly lost their majority among the people, have begun to vacillate enormously, and have rejected a bloc, i.e., a coalition, with the Cadets.” (ibid.)

Are any of the objective conditions that Lenin examined present in the country today? Let us consider the situation.

The working class, the vanguard class of the revolution, had fought on the front lines since early February 2021. They fought on the streets, while the middle class liberals fell for the military’s false propaganda online, which said that this was not a coup - that the military (also known as “sit-tat”) were just holding power for a brief period, and that the masses should stay at home so as not to provoke them.

It is obvious which class is the vanguard of the revolution by just looking at this one fact. Not only that, but the general strike of the working class in all walks of life had paralysed the whole of society, bringing the rest of the oppressed people into the revolution.

2021 Myanmar Protest in Hleden Image public domainIn February and March, the working class fought back valiantly but was unable to form a revolutionary party made up of its most advanced elements. That is what allowed liberal bourgeoisie to occupy the position of leadership. / Image: public domain

This is what happened at the end of February and March. The working class fought back valiantly but was unable to form a revolutionary party made up of its most advanced elements. That is what allowed liberal bourgeoisie to occupy the position of leadership. This situation is similar to one where “lions are led by donkeys”, as the English saying goes.

So, what is happening to the vanguard class of the revolution in the present period? They are exhausted after such a long period of strikes and street protests, after seeing all their struggles fail to remove the military, and they are forced to work for the miserly wage of 3600 kyats (equivalent to US$2), which is lower than the official minimum wage of 4800 kyats (US$3) for eight hours a day.

To be successful, an insurrection must base itself on the vanguard class of the revolution. How can one expect the working class to launch this when they are in a state of exhaustion? How do you wage an armed uprising at a time when even trade unions cannot be organised? Or are we imagining here a scenario where one can simply drive the mass of urban population, and the working class in particular, into the jungle for military training to carry out an insurrection?

Marx and Lenin fully understood that it is not enough to have an uprising of the advanced class alone for the revolution to be successful. That is why they emphasised, as a second point, that there must be a nationwide revolutionary upsurge of the entire people.

We have to ask ourselves honestly whether there is such an upsurge in Burma. Yes, there was such a nationwide revolutionary upsurge in the last days of February and March, but not now. Does the flash mob activity of tens of people shouting for a few minutes: “Accept NUG, Reject Military” indicate that the revolutionary tide is on the rise? Or is it presently in deep decline? Everyone with a thinking brain knows what the answer to that question is.

As to the third point, that we must base ourselves on a turning point in the history of the growing revolution, what conclusions can we draw? By assessing if the revolution is growing or has ebbed, one can clearly see that there is a lack of the third condition.

The vanguard class is merely struggling for the means of subsistence so as not to die from starvation. The advanced ranks of the people are so weakened that they cannot even fight back against the daily forms of oppression in the workplaces. Is this situation a turning point in the history of a growing revolution or is it the period of suffering under the white terror of counter-revolution? It is necessary to make a sobre analysis of the current situation.

Marx and Lenin would have defined calling for an insurrection in such a situation as “Blanquism”. For those unfamiliar with this term, it can be understood as “adventurism”. Adventurism is usually a result of a leadership that previously attempted opportunistic tactics and failed miserably, only to swing to the ultra-left that would also lead to failure. There are many precedents of this in history. In the 1920s, Trotsky criticised the way that the bureaucratised Comintern led the Chinese Communist Party to go from adapting to the bourgeois KMT into leading premature insurrections against it:

“The strength of Marxism lies in its ability to foretell. In this sense, the Opposition can point to a complete confirmation of its prognoses by experience: first, concerning the Guomindang as a whole, then concerning the ‘Left’ Guomindang and the Wuhan government, and finally, concerning the ‘deposit’ made on the third revolution, that is, on the Canton insurrection. What other confirmation could there be of a correct theoretical standpoint?”

“The very same opportunist line which, by the policy of capitulation to the bourgeoisie, already brought the revolution, at its first two phases, the heaviest defeats, ‘grew over’ in the third phase, into a policy of adventurous attacks upon the bourgeoisie, and made the defeat final.”

Not having understood why the revolution failed, there can be the tendency to blame the working class itself for the failure, instead of understanding the need to build a mass revolutionary party of the working class. This in turn, can either lead to ultra-left tendencies or opportunist tendencies, or even a combination of both. And in both cases there is no independent role for the working class, which must either hope in salvation at the hands of the armed guerrillas or the liberals and reformists.

One should never play with insurrection

An armed uprising is a special form of the political struggle which is subject to special laws. Marx, who said to treat the insurrection as an “art”, also explained the principal rules of this form of struggle, as Lenin explained:

“(1) Never play with insurrection, but when beginning it realise firmly that you must go all the way.”

“(2) Concentrate a great superiority of forces at the decisive point and at the decisive moment, otherwise the enemy, who has the advantage of better preparation and organisation, will destroy the insurgents.”

“(3) Once the insurrection has begun, you must act with the greatest determination, and by all means, without fail, take the offensive. ‘The defensive is the death of every armed rising.’”

“(4) You must try to take the enemy by surprise and seize the moment when his forces are scattered.”

“(5) You must strive for daily successes, however small (one might say hourly, if it is the case of one town), and at all costs retain ‘moral superiority’. (Advice of an onlooker, Lenin, October 1917)”

If we apply the principles of both Marx and Lenin we can only conclude that the online insurrection announced by INUG is like digging one’s own grave!

Conclusion

The objective conditions necessary for a successful insurrection have been outlined above. None of them are present at this time. In addition, the INUG’s actions reveal an extremely unserious attitude towards insurrections, contrary to what Lenin advised above. This has the danger of driving the advanced layers to adventurist methods, which in the present conditions can have very serious consequences, including the unnecessary deaths of many courageous workers and youth.

They are artificially making an insurrection online. Those who are actually dying on the ground on a daily basis are the workers, the peasants and other oppressed layers who cannot flee to America as the liberals did.

Therefore, the only logical conclusion of all this is that the INUG is not a revolutionary vanguard, nor is it an ally in the revolution. This layer of reactionary opportunists has merely usurped a leadership position. We must expose their treacherous role carrying out a ruthless criticism of them and find the correct revolutionary strategy and tactics.

2021 Myanmar Armed Forces Day 16 Image Mil.ruThe bourgeois liberals of the INUG will never be consistent or serious in waging a war against the military, they are part of the capitalist class / Image: Mil.ru, Wikimedia Commons

We have to understand that the bourgeois liberals of the INUG will never be consistent or serious in waging a war against the military. This is due to the fact that they are part of the capitalist class, and while they have their differences with the military over how to run the country, they fear the revolutionary mobilisation of the masses more than they fear the military regime. The way they declared the civil war - without any real, serious preparation on the ground - reveals this abundantly clearly.

Things are, however, different when it comes to workers and youth activists who are sincere about waging an armed struggle that can lead to an insurrection and the overthrow of the regime. While we agree with their burning desire to topple the military, we must look at the present conditions objectively and see whether an insurrection is possible at this time. What we are discussing here is not whether we are for or against revolutionary methods, including insurrection, to overthrow the present regime. The discussion is about the concrete objective conditions we find ourselves in.

We need to look at what kind of revolution is necessary. Is it to be a democratic revolution that preserves capitalism intact and place the bourgeois liberals back in office, or ist it to be a socialist revolution which places the working class - in alliance with the peasants - in power?

If you study the works of Marx and Lenin, you will find that the Stalinist/Maoist “protracted warfare” strategy, which relies solely on the peasantry, is also flawed. The peasantry can be won to a genuine socialist revolution, as the Bolsheviks managed to achieve in the October Revolution, but the leading role belongs to the working class, as it did back in 1917. Where peasant guerrilla wars have succeeded, such as in China in 1949, the working class did not achieve healthy workers’ democracy. This also explains the present situation in China where capitalism has been restored, but that requires a more in depth analysis than can be given here.

The urgent task today is to return to the basic ideas of Marx and Lenin, understand the role of the working class in society and begin the building of a Marxist cadre organisation around which a future mass revolutionary party of the working class can be formed in the future when the working class and youth rise up again.

This road may seem arduous and long, but there are no shortcuts that can bring into being such a mass party. We must learn the lessons of the past, of our own past here in our country, the failed attempts at armed struggle in the 1950s and 1980/90s, and the experience of other countries as well.

Join Us

Join the International Marxist Tendency and help build a revolutionary organisation to participate in the struggle for socialism worldwide!

In order to join fill in this form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


Re: How the Taliban came to power — again. | Emile Schepers | Communist Party USA

Michael Meeropol
 

I find this article very interesting and informative (and depressing).   It raises the question of the "road(s) not taken" ---

Back in 1973, when domestic radicals (communists??) overthrew the King what could they have done differently so as not to provoke such a strong reaction from the rural populations?    

It appears both the Chinese and the Vietnamese (and the Cubans) by situating their movement among the rural population came to better understand them -- and therefore were able to work with them in the post revolutionary period (though remember, there was a pretty serious problem in the first round of (North) Vietnamese land reform in 1956).   The Afghans seemed to be attempting to imitate Stalin's treatment of the rural population during the push for collectivization but the Soviet military was obviously able to stifle whatever active resistance the peasants of Russia, Ukraine, and Byeolorussia put up whereas the urban based Afghanis were no match for the rural opposition and their American and Pakistani helpers.

The people of Afghanistan have paid a VERY HEAVY price for their strategic location and the ambitions of "great powers" in that region .... and unfortunartely, there is no positive end in sight.

On Sat, Oct 16, 2021 at 1:04 AM Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo <kklcac@...> wrote:

https://www.cpusa.org/article/how-the-taliban-came-to-power-again/



4881 - 4900 of 16903