Date   

Re: American history is a parade of horrors — and also heroes, LATimes OpEd

Walter Lippmann <walterlx@...>
 

This is a full-page feature, the main article in the opinion section of today's Los Angeles Times.

As always, Stephanie Coontz provides so much to think about. She takes on the more influential opponents of a truthful telling of the history of the United States in several US state legislatures. They are trying to legally ban the full truth from public education in their states.

There are also some lesser, but noisy echoes of these on the political left, like the SWP, WSWS etc., though she's far too diplomatic to call them out by NAME.

More importantly, she provides an astute way of answering the "black or white" rejection of what's been called "critical race theory". I hope everyone will read, ponder and share her essay widely.

EXCERPT: If our histories refuse to acknowledge the extent and brutality of the injustices that accompanied our nation’s founding, how can we or our children honor the idealism and courage of those who struggled to implement and enlarge the revolutionary demands for equal rights? And if we don’t understand the way people’s belief systems can change, how can we hope to build on the best parts of our heritage and rise above the worst? That’s why an unflinching account of American history can actually give us hope for the future.

Stephanie Coontz, a professor emerita of history at Evergreen State College in Washington, is the author of the forthcoming book “For Better AND Worse: The Problematic Past and Uncertain Future of Marriage.” This piece is adapted from the essay “Why Learning the History of Slavery in America Doesn’t Have to Be Depressing.”


Re: Colombia lurches to the left

Walter Lippmann <walterlx@...>
 

p.s., which Trotskyist tendency will be first to denounce Petro's government as a "popular front", peddling class collaboration and illusions in the possible reform of capitalism? 


Re: Colombia lurches to the left

Walter Lippmann <walterlx@...>
 

Wow, Anthony! This is so inspiring to read! And all the more so when we read right after Petro's victory that the right-wing did NOT claim fraud, and that Petro didn't have a majority in the parliament. Now, from your report, which I plan to share on the CubaNews list, he has assembled a majority.

Evidently, the powers that be in Colombia must figure that the Uribistas simply cannot run a competent administration which they may hope Petro can do. Please tell us what the dominant capitalist media have been saying about these developments. Am I right that the left doesn't have a daily newspaper like Mexico's LA JORNADA or Argentina's PAGINA 12?

Finally, I've been thrilled to read peace talks with the ELN, the National Liberation Army, will resume in Havana. Cuban president Diaz-Canal has already met with representatives of both sides. Considering that happened after the 2016 peace agreement with the FARC, this is all the more significant.

 

In addition, and especially important is this, a giant blow against Washington:

The Colombian foreign minister affirmed that his country rejects the denomination of Cuba as a State sponsor of terrorism with which it has been tried to ignore the contribution of the Caribbean nation to the peace negotiation process. "We are here for the opposite. We aspire to restart negotiations on the path to peace proposed by President Petro in this land.

As Cubans often say, "No es fácil" (It isn't easy), so there's no doubt difficulties facing Petro's team will be forthcoming, but he seems off to an excellent start, that's my sense.

Thanks again for a truly inspiring report. I can't wait to hear more. I'm glad you're there and can provide us with more detailed analyses as you have here. THANKS.

Here are two reports on the peace process with the ELN:
https://groups.io/g/cubanews/message/19717
roups.io/g/cubanews/message/19770

 

 

Walter Lippmann
https://groups.io/g/cubanews


p.s., which Trotskyist tendency will be first to denounce Petro's government as a "popular front", peddling class collaboration and illusions in the possible reform of capitalism? 




.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 







===============================
WALTER LIPPMANN
Los Angeles, California
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews


walterlippmann.com
https://groups.io/g/cubanews
facebook.com/walter.lippmann.33

"Cuba - Un Paraiso bajo el bloqueo"
===============================

-----Original Message-----
From: <marxmail@groups.io>
Sent: Aug 14, 2022 9:14 PM
To: <marxmail@groups.io>
Subject: [marxmail] Colombia lurches to the left

 

Colombia lurches to the left

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and Bernie Sanders has been elected President of the United States, AND his supporters have won a majority in the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

Or

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been elected President of France, AND his supporters have won a majority in the Sénat and the Assemblée nationale.

No, you rub your eyes, this is not real! It must be a dream!

But something like it has just happened in Colombia. Last Sunday, on Siete de Agosto (August 7), Gustavo Petro was sworn in as the 32nd president of Colombia. You could say that he is the second left wing president of Colombia, if you count Simon Bolivar, the liberator, as the first. In any case, his swearing in marks a tectonic shift in modern Colombian politics.

Although it is way too early to predict whether Petro’s government will be successful, he has already succeeded where others failed in the past. First of all he managed to get elected in a country known for assassinations of left wing candidates as well as thousands of left wing activists.

 

And, so far, he has not been killed.

 

Second, no coups d’état have been attempted and none appear to be on the horizon.

 

Petro has also managed to put together a broad coalition government that features cabinet ministers from almost every political party in the country. (The one major exception is the party of former President Alvaro Uribe known as the Centro Democratico.) That coalition has also given him a majority in the Chamber of Representatives and in the Senate, something that I personally believed was impossible before it happened.

 

Imagine again, the new Sanders government in the United States. Sanders has appointed AOC to be the Secretary of State, Paul Krugman is the new Secretary of the Treasury, Elizabeth Warren is the new Secretary of Commerce, Deb Haaland continues on as Secretary of the Interior, the new Attorney General is Chesa Boudin, Kirsten Sinema is the Secretary of Health, and the new Secretary of Homeland Security will be Liz Cheney.   

 

At first glance you might think that old Bernie has gone off his rocker, but at second glance, you might think that wily and pragmatic old Bernie has put together a coalition to help him pass his legislative agenda through Congress and calm the fears of big business at the same time.

 

The imaginary analogy falls apart when you look more closely at the political regimes of the two countries. The United States has an antique crisis ridden tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum constitutional two party system. Colombia’s antique crisis ridden tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum constitutional two party system cracked up and failed in the 1980’s producing the 1991 Constitution and a new crisis ridden multiparty system.

 

In the 15 years following the implementation of the new Constitution, the old Conservative and Liberal parties fell apart. They still exist, but alongside them there are now 19 other parties or groups represented in the Chamber of representatives.

 

Colombia Chamber of Representatives 2022.svg

Political groups

Government (114)

·           Liberal (33)

·           Historic Pact (31)

·           Party of the U (15)

·           Civil Conflict Victims (13)

·           PVA (14)

·           Commons (5)[a]

·           Colombia Renaciente (1)

·           MAIS (1)[b]

·           CJL (1)

Independents (55)

·           Conservative (28)

·           CR (18)

·           Civil Conflict Victims (3)

·           Dignity (1)

·           Juntos por Caldas (1)

·           MIRA (1)

·           New Liberalism (1)

·           Oxygen Green Party (1)

·           Raizal (1)

Opposition (19)

·           CD (15)

·           LIGA (3)

·           Miguel Polo Polo (1

 

 

The Pacto Historico

 

Within that new system, a series of big tent left electoral coalitions that included the Communist Party, MOIR (the largest Maoist organization), M-19, and various smaller organizations formed and began to win elections, especially in the capital city of Bogotá, but also in various other cities around the country. It named itself the Polo Democratico, and then the Polo Democratico Alternativo, and won three mayoral elections in a row in Bogotá until it blew up in the 2011 corruption scandal of the administration of Mayor Samuel Moreno.

 

Moreno was the leader of the one party in the Polo, ANAPO, that was not part of the socialist left but was instead the descendant of the movement of former President and dictator Rojas Pinilla.

 

After that scandal, the Polo split in two. Petro was in favor of expelling Moreno, but the supporters of the Communist Party and MOIR resisted. Colombia Humana was born out of that split, and in the next Mayoral Election it trounced all other parties, including the shell of the Polo that remained.  

 

Petro’s term as mayor swirled with controversy. Without a majority in the city council, and facing a hostile national government and mass media, Petro failed to accomplish most of the major goals of his administration. Nevertheless, he expanded public education, neighborhood food kitchens, programs for women, programs for the LGBTQ community, shut down the bull ring, and forced the next city administration to begin construction of the city’s long delayed metro mass transit system.

 

His biggest accomplishment was the establishment of Colombia Humana as the main left wing electoral party with mass support in the working class neighborhoods of Bogotá and other cities, and with growing support in the labor movement, indigenous communities, Afro-Colombian communities, and strong support among feminists, LGBTQ activists and in the environmental movement.

 

On that basis, Petro and Colombia Humana organized the electoral coalitions that ran Petro as its presidential candidate in 2018 and 2022.

 

The 2022 coalition, Pacto Historico included almost all of the labor movement, almost all of the elements of the old Polo Alternativo Democratico, plus the main indigenous organizations, and significant support among Afro-Colombian communities, feminists, LGBTQ activists and the environmental movement.

 

By itself, the Pacto Historico has the potential to become a new type of mass social democratic party. At this point, it lacks an internal democratic structure of its own, and functions through negotiations of the leaders of its component parts with Gustavo Petro orchestrating the tensions and the negotiations.

Despite the hostility of all of the mass media, Petro and his vice Presidential running mate Francia Marquez were elected in the second and final round of voting on June 19th of this year with 11,277,407 votes (50.47 %). His right wing opponent,  Rodolfo Hernández, received 10,562,894 (47.27 %).  Out of 39,002,239 eligible voters, 22,637,351 (58%) voted, a better turnout than in all recent elections including the first round of this year’s election. In the earlier legislative elections, the Pacto Historico won election of 16 of its candidates for the 107 seats in the Senate, and 25 of the 171 seats in the Chamber of Representatives.

Following the legislative elections in March, Petro and the Pacto Historico began working on the formation of a broad coalition government in anticipation that Petro and Marquez would be elected. The keys to their strategy were negotiations with figures in the other parties and shaping the presidential campaign message to win over supporters from the other political parties.

During the presidential election campaign, the crisis in the main right wing party, the Uribista Centro Democratico deepened as they dumped one candidate after another. All of the other parties begin to debate whether they should support Petro, support Hernandez, or abstain. In the end, most of the parties supported Hernandez, but leaders from the Liberals, Conservatives, Partido de la U, Centro Esperanza, and smaller parties – together with many of their followers -- switched to supporting Petro against the official party leaderships.

Petro’s campaign explicitly rejected the notion that socialism is on the agenda in Colombia.

Petro’s speeches emphasized that he is against expropriations, for capitalism, for peace in Colombia, and for democracy.

He proposed an ambitious program of reforms based on the central idea of making a rapid transition from production and consumption of fossil fuels while simultaneously increasing domestic agricultural and industrial production with import substitution and industrial policy. He promised to reform the pension, medical, and education systems, to institute land and agricultural reform, to finally implement the peace agreement that was signed between the FARC and the Santos government, to initiate peace negotiations with the ELN and FARC dissidents, to reform the military and police, and to renew diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

The Inauguration

I watched most of the inauguration on TV last Sunday. It was definitely not the usual and traditional ceremony with marching soldiers and Very Important People speaking and politely applauding each other’s speeches. Instead, it was a series of events held in parks and public places all over the country. I watched one segment from a very small town in Santander. A lot of local farmers were celebrating Petro’s election, and also demanding that he do something about the high prices of fertilizers. I saw another segment from Popayan with lots of traditional music. Then, I saw a young woman rapper rapping away at one of the parks here in Bogotá.

 

The main event was held in the Plaza Bolivar, and it featured a lot of the traditional pomp and ceremony. However, Petro insisted on a few key changes. 

 

First of all, everyone, common people and dignitaries alike, sat in the plaza at the same level. The only exceptions were the Very Important Foreign Guests including King Felipe VI of Spain, who was sitting right next to Gabriel Boric, the new young leftist President of Chile. Notably absent were representatives of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela who had been prevented from coming by the outgoing Duque government.

 

The second change was that Petro had requested that the ceremonial sword of Simon Bolivar, known as the liberator of Colombia and other Latin American countries, be present at the ceremony. Outgoing President Duque refused the request. In 1974, M-19, the guerrilla organization that Petro belonged to in his youth, had stolen the sword from a museum as a symbolic act announcing its intention to regain Colombian liberty from the anti-democratic government.

 

The symbolism of having it present at Petro’s inauguration was lost on no one, least of all Duque.

 

As soon as Petro was sworn in, and before he made his inaugural speech, he announced his first official action as President: bring the sword to the ceremony immediately. The crowd in the plaza, the dignitaries, and the millions watching on TV had to wait 15 minutes. The sword was delivered by the Presidential military guard plus gun wielding members of La Guardia Indígena.

 

The symbolism was clear to all present and watching.

 

On inauguration day Petro made two speeches: one to the crowd immediately after the sword arrived, and another later at the swearing-in ceremony for newly appointed ministers. In the first he reiterated and elaborated on the program he had campaigned on. In the second he talked about eliminating the political plums that have been built up within the government bureaucracy to provide jobs for the untalented children of the rich and powerful, and he made it clear to his new ministers that there will be zero tolerance of corruption in the Petro administration.

 

The Cabinet and the Coalition

 

Petro has clearly matured as a political leader since the days when he was mayor of Bogotá. As mayor he faced a hostile city council which prevented him from implementing many of the reforms he wanted to make. At the same time, he paid too little attention to consolidating his own political movement, then known as the Movimiento Progresista, and fell out with most of the other leaders whom he had gathered around himself.

His new cabinet, and his appointments to other key government posts, reflect the lessons Petro has drawn from his experience.

You can divide his appointments into three groups: those drawn from the components of the Pacto Historico itself, individuals from other parties with excellent technocratic reputations, and politicians from other parties who will help gain votes in the legislature for Petro’s legislative agenda.

Eleven of the 34 key appointments have gone to people from the Pacto Historico: 5 from Colombia Humana, 2 from the Communist Party, 2 from MAIS, and one each from the Unión Patriótica and the Polo. They include Francia Marquez, the new Vice President, who will also be the Minister of a new Ministry of Equality, plus the ministers of the environment; mines and energy; health; culture; commerce, and sports. Two other key appointments, the heads of the government programs for victims of the armed conflict and for restitution of lands stolen during the armed conflict have gone to leaders of MAIS, one of the indigenous components of the Pacto.

The key members of other parties who have been appointed for their expertise in certain areas where they have broad agreement with the Pacto include José Antonio Ocampo as the new Minister of Finance, Iván Velásquez as the new Minister of Defense, and Alvaro Leyva as the new Foreign Minister.

Ocampo is a member of the Liberal Party who has served in previous governments, has been a director of the country’s central bank, and has served as Executive Director of CEPAL at the United Nations. He is currently on leave from his position as a professor at Columbia University in New York. He describes himself as a social democrat, but not a Petrista.

His most important roles are to calm the fears of international finance, and to help pass a major tax reform. During the campaign, Petro repeatedly talked about a reform that would bring in 50,000,000,000,000 pesos (approximately USD 12,500,000,000 at current exchange rates) in additional revenue to the Colombian government- mostly by taxing the rich. Ocampo’s version will only bring in half that amount, but he insists that figure is non-negotiable. The money is needed to pay off the country’s foreign debt, which grew enormously under the Uribista governments, and to finance Petro’s energy transition and major reforms.

Alvaro Leyva is a member of the Conservative Party who has played central roles in government peace agreements with M-19 and the FARC as well as being one of the most important authors of the current constitution. His job is to oversee the new peace negotiations with the ELN and FARC dissidents, and the process of reviving diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Iván Velásquez is not affiliated with any political party. His entire career has been spent investigating, prosecuting, and convicting paramilitaries, drug dealers, members of Congress, and military officers for corruption and crimes against humanity. He sent more than 50 members of Congress to jail. He is hated by the Uribistas and has had his life threatened many times. Most recently, he worked for the United Nations prosecuting corruption in Guatemala. He is widely feared by the Uribistas and by many officers within the military which he will now oversee.

A key trio in the new government will be Francia Marquez, Vice President and Minister of Equality; Susana Muhamad, the highly qualified new Minister of the Environment and a long time Petro team member from his days as Mayor of Bogotá; and Irene Vélez Torres, the new Minister of Mines and Energy who is an environmentalist and human rights advocates rather than a mining or petroleum engineer. She is a close political ally of Marquez. This trio will lead the implementation of the Pacto’s environmental and energy transition policies.

To date, they do not have a plan for the eight year transition away from fossil fuels, so the challenge they face is enormous. Currently, 70% of Colombia’s energy consumption is from fossil fuels while most of the other 30% is from hydroelectric dams.

I will continue this in another post as soon as possible.

Anthony

 


Colombia lurches to the left

Anthony Boynton
 

Colombia lurches to the left

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and Bernie Sanders has been elected President of the United States, AND his supporters have won a majority in the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

Or

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been elected President of France, AND his supporters have won a majority in the Sénat and the Assemblée nationale.

No, you rub your eyes, this is not real! It must be a dream!

But something like it has just happened in Colombia. Last Sunday, on Siete de Agosto (August 7), Gustavo Petro was sworn in as the 32nd president of Colombia. You could say that he is the second left wing president of Colombia, if you count Simon Bolivar, the liberator, as the first. In any case, his swearing in marks a tectonic shift in modern Colombian politics.

Although it is way too early to predict whether Petro’s government will be successful, he has already succeeded where others failed in the past. First of all he managed to get elected in a country known for assassinations of left wing candidates as well as thousands of left wing activists.

 

And, so far, he has not been killed.

 

Second, no coups d’état have been attempted and none appear to be on the horizon.

 

Petro has also managed to put together a broad coalition government that features cabinet ministers from almost every political party in the country. (The one major exception is the party of former President Alvaro Uribe known as the Centro Democratico.) That coalition has also given him a majority in the Chamber of Representatives and in the Senate, something that I personally believed was impossible before it happened.

 

Imagine again, the new Sanders government in the United States. Sanders has appointed AOC to be the Secretary of State, Paul Krugman is the new Secretary of the Treasury, Elizabeth Warren is the new Secretary of Commerce, Deb Haaland continues on as Secretary of the Interior, the new Attorney General is Chesa Boudin, Kirsten Sinema is the Secretary of Health, and the new Secretary of Homeland Security will be Liz Cheney.   

 

At first glance you might think that old Bernie has gone off his rocker, but at second glance, you might think that wily and pragmatic old Bernie has put together a coalition to help him pass his legislative agenda through Congress and calm the fears of big business at the same time.


The imaginary analogy falls apart when you look more closely at the political regimes of the two countries. The United States has an antique crisis ridden tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum constitutional two party system. Colombia’s antique crisis ridden tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum constitutional two party system cracked up and failed in the 1980’s producing the 1991 Constitution and a new crisis ridden multiparty system.

 

In the 15 years following the implementation of the new Constitution, the old Conservative and Liberal parties fell apart. They still exist, but alongside them there are now 19 other parties or groups represented in the Chamber of representatives.

 

Colombia Chamber of Representatives 2022.svg

Political groups

Government (114)

·           Liberal (33)

·           Historic Pact (31)

·           Party of the U (15)

·           Civil Conflict Victims (13)

·           PVA (14)

·           Commons (5)[a]

·           Colombia Renaciente (1)

·           MAIS (1)[b]

·           CJL (1)

Independents (55)

·           Conservative (28)

·           CR (18)

·           Civil Conflict Victims (3)

·           Dignity (1)

·           Juntos por Caldas (1)

·           MIRA (1)

·           New Liberalism (1)

·           Oxygen Green Party (1)

·           Raizal (1)

Opposition (19)

·           CD (15)

·           LIGA (3)

·           Miguel Polo Polo (1

 

 

The Pacto Historico

 

Within that new system, a series of big tent left electoral coalitions that included the Communist Party, MOIR (the largest Maoist organization), M-19, and various smaller organizations formed and began to win elections, especially in the capital city of Bogotá, but also in various other cities around the country. It named itself the Polo Democratico, and then the Polo Democratico Alternativo, and won three mayoral elections in a row in Bogotá until it blew up in the 2011 corruption scandal of the administration of Mayor Samuel Moreno.

 

Moreno was the leader of the one party in the Polo, ANAPO, that was not part of the socialist left but was instead the descendant of the movement of former President and dictator Rojas Pinilla.

 

After that scandal, the Polo split in two. Petro was in favor of expelling Moreno, but the supporters of the Communist Party and MOIR resisted. Colombia Humana was born out of that split, and in the next Mayoral Election it trounced all other parties, including the shell of the Polo that remained.  

 

Petro’s term as mayor swirled with controversy. Without a majority in the city council, and facing a hostile national government and mass media, Petro failed to accomplish most of the major goals of his administration. Nevertheless, he expanded public education, neighborhood food kitchens, programs for women, programs for the LGBTQ community, shut down the bull ring, and forced the next city administration to begin construction of the city’s long delayed metro mass transit system.

 

His biggest accomplishment was the establishment of Colombia Humana as the main left wing electoral party with mass support in the working class neighborhoods of Bogotá and other cities, and with growing support in the labor movement, indigenous communities, Afro-Colombian communities, and strong support among feminists, LGBTQ activists and in the environmental movement.

 

On that basis, Petro and Colombia Humana organized the electoral coalitions that ran Petro as its presidential candidate in 2018 and 2022.

 

The 2022 coalition, Pacto Historico included almost all of the labor movement, almost all of the elements of the old Polo Alternativo Democratico, plus the main indigenous organizations, and significant support among Afro-Colombian communities, feminists, LGBTQ activists and the environmental movement.

 

By itself, the Pacto Historico has the potential to become a new type of mass social democratic party. At this point, it lacks an internal democratic structure of its own, and functions through negotiations of the leaders of its component parts with Gustavo Petro orchestrating the tensions and the negotiations.

Despite the hostility of all of the mass media, Petro and his vice Presidential running mate Francia Marquez were elected in the second and final round of voting on June 19th of this year with 11,277,407 votes (50.47 %). His right wing opponent,  Rodolfo Hernández, received 10,562,894 (47.27 %).  Out of 39,002,239 eligible voters, 22,637,351 (58%) voted, a better turnout than in all recent elections including the first round of this year’s election. In the earlier legislative elections, the Pacto Historico won election of 16 of its candidates for the 107 seats in the Senate, and 25 of the 171 seats in the Chamber of Representatives.

Following the legislative elections in March, Petro and the Pacto Historico began working on the formation of a broad coalition government in anticipation that Petro and Marquez would be elected. The keys to their strategy were negotiations with figures in the other parties and shaping the presidential campaign message to win over supporters from the other political parties.

During the presidential election campaign, the crisis in the main right wing party, the Uribista Centro Democratico deepened as they dumped one candidate after another. All of the other parties begin to debate whether they should support Petro, support Hernandez, or abstain. In the end, most of the parties supported Hernandez, but leaders from the Liberals, Conservatives, Partido de la U, Centro Esperanza, and smaller parties – together with many of their followers -- switched to supporting Petro against the official party leaderships.

Petro’s campaign explicitly rejected the notion that socialism is on the agenda in Colombia.

Petro’s speeches emphasized that he is against expropriations, for capitalism, for peace in Colombia, and for democracy.

He proposed an ambitious program of reforms based on the central idea of making a rapid transition from production and consumption of fossil fuels while simultaneously increasing domestic agricultural and industrial production with import substitution and industrial policy. He promised to reform the pension, medical, and education systems, to institute land and agricultural reform, to finally implement the peace agreement that was signed between the FARC and the Santos government, to initiate peace negotiations with the ELN and FARC dissidents, to reform the military and police, and to renew diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

The Inauguration

I watched most of the inauguration on TV last Sunday. It was definitely not the usual and traditional ceremony with marching soldiers and Very Important People speaking and politely applauding each other’s speeches. Instead, it was a series of events held in parks and public places all over the country. I watched one segment from a very small town in Santander. A lot of local farmers were celebrating Petro’s election, and also demanding that he do something about the high prices of fertilizers. I saw another segment from Popayan with lots of traditional music. Then, I saw a young woman rapper rapping away at one of the parks here in Bogotá.

 

The main event was held in the Plaza Bolivar, and it featured a lot of the traditional pomp and ceremony. However, Petro insisted on a few key changes. 


First of all, everyone, common people and dignitaries alike, sat in the plaza at the same level. The only exceptions were the Very Important Foreign Guests including King Felipe VI of Spain, who was sitting right next to Gabriel Boric, the new young leftist President of Chile. Notably absent were representatives of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela who had been prevented from coming by the outgoing Duque government.

 

The second change was that Petro had requested that the ceremonial sword of Simon Bolivar, known as the liberator of Colombia and other Latin American countries, be present at the ceremony. Outgoing President Duque refused the request. In 1974, M-19, the guerrilla organization that Petro belonged to in his youth, had stolen the sword from a museum as a symbolic act announcing its intention to regain Colombian liberty from the anti-democratic government.

 

The symbolism of having it present at Petro’s inauguration was lost on no one, least of all Duque.

 

As soon as Petro was sworn in, and before he made his inaugural speech, he announced his first official action as President: bring the sword to the ceremony immediately. The crowd in the plaza, the dignitaries, and the millions watching on TV had to wait 15 minutes. The sword was delivered by the Presidential military guard plus gun wielding members of La Guardia Indígena.

 

The symbolism was clear to all present and watching.

 

On inauguration day Petro made two speeches: one to the crowd immediately after the sword arrived, and another later at the swearing-in ceremony for newly appointed ministers. In the first he reiterated and elaborated on the program he had campaigned on. In the second he talked about eliminating the political plums that have been built up within the government bureaucracy to provide jobs for the untalented children of the rich and powerful, and he made it clear to his new ministers that there will be zero tolerance of corruption in the Petro administration.

 

The Cabinet and the Coalition

 

Petro has clearly matured as a political leader since the days when he was mayor of Bogotá. As mayor he faced a hostile city council which prevented him from implementing many of the reforms he wanted to make. At the same time, he paid too little attention to consolidating his own political movement, then known as the Movimiento Progresista, and fell out with most of the other leaders whom he had gathered around himself.

His new cabinet, and his appointments to other key government posts, reflect the lessons Petro has drawn from his experience.

You can divide his appointments into three groups: those drawn from the components of the Pacto Historico itself, individuals from other parties with excellent technocratic reputations, and politicians from other parties who will help gain votes in the legislature for Petro’s legislative agenda.

Eleven of the 34 key appointments have gone to people from the Pacto Historico: 5 from Colombia Humana, 2 from the Communist Party, 2 from MAIS, and one each from the Unión Patriótica and the Polo. They include Francia Marquez, the new Vice President, who will also be the Minister of a new Ministry of Equality, plus the ministers of the environment; mines and energy; health; culture; commerce, and sports. Two other key appointments, the heads of the government programs for victims of the armed conflict and for restitution of lands stolen during the armed conflict have gone to leaders of MAIS, one of the indigenous components of the Pacto.

The key members of other parties who have been appointed for their expertise in certain areas where they have broad agreement with the Pacto include José Antonio Ocampo as the new Minister of Finance, Iván Velásquez as the new Minister of Defense, and Alvaro Leyva as the new Foreign Minister.

Ocampo is a member of the Liberal Party who has served in previous governments, has been a director of the country’s central bank, and has served as Executive Director of CEPAL at the United Nations. He is currently on leave from his position as a professor at Columbia University in New York. He describes himself as a social democrat, but not a Petrista.

His most important roles are to calm the fears of international finance, and to help pass a major tax reform. During the campaign, Petro repeatedly talked about a reform that would bring in 50,000,000,000,000 pesos (approximately USD 12,500,000,000 at current exchange rates) in additional revenue to the Colombian government- mostly by taxing the rich. Ocampo’s version will only bring in half that amount, but he insists that figure is non-negotiable. The money is needed to pay off the country’s foreign debt, which grew enormously under the Uribista governments, and to finance Petro’s energy transition and major reforms.

Alvaro Leyva is a member of the Conservative Party who has played central roles in government peace agreements with M-19 and the FARC as well as being one of the most important authors of the current constitution. His job is to oversee the new peace negotiations with the ELN and FARC dissidents, and the process of reviving diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Iván Velásquez is not affiliated with any political party. His entire career has been spent investigating, prosecuting, and convicting paramilitaries, drug dealers, members of Congress, and military officers for corruption and crimes against humanity. He sent more than 50 members of Congress to jail. He is hated by the Uribistas and has had his life threatened many times. Most recently, he worked for the United Nations prosecuting corruption in Guatemala. He is widely feared by the Uribistas and by many officers within the military which he will now oversee.

A key trio in the new government will be Francia Marquez, Vice President and Minister of Equality; Susana Muhamad, the highly qualified new Minister of the Environment and a long time Petro team member from his days as Mayor of Bogotá; and Irene Vélez Torres, the new Minister of Mines and Energy who is an environmentalist and human rights advocates rather than a mining or petroleum engineer. She is a close political ally of Marquez. This trio will lead the implementation of the Pacto’s environmental and energy transition policies.

To date, they do not have a plan for the eight year transition away from fossil fuels, so the challenge they face is enormous. Currently, 70% of Colombia’s energy consumption is from fossil fuels while most of the other 30% is from hydroelectric dams.

I will continue this in another post as soon as possible.

Anthony


American history is a parade of horrors — and also heroes, LATimes OpEd

Dayne Goodwin
 

American history is a parade of horrors — and also heroes
by Stephanie Coontz, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 14, 2022

Stephanie Coontz, a professor emerita of history at Evergreen State College in Washington, is the author of the forthcoming book “For Better AND Worse: The Problematic Past and Uncertain Future of Marriage.” This piece is adapted from the essay “Why Learning the History of Slavery in America Doesn’t Have to Be Depressing.”

Even if you have access to the LATimes piece i recommend reading the superior original essay; url here:
https://discover.hubpages.com/education/Why-Learning-the-History-of-Slavery-in-America-Doesnt-Have-to-Be-Depressing
here are two brief excerpts (first one near beginning and second at the end):
  .  .  .
Typical of such bills are those introduced in the Florida and South Dakota Senates in January, mandating that American history “be defined as the creation of a new nation based largely on the universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” They prohibit the use of material suggesting that any individual “bears responsibility for… actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin” or that makes anyone “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” on account of such past actions.

This is a new twist on the long-standing efforts of political demagogues to stoke white racial anxieties. Over the past 100 years we have heard claims that “they” are coming to rape “our” wives and daughters, take “our” jobs, waste “our” tax money, steal “our” wallets, and murder us at random. Now, it appears, they’re also coming to hurt our feelings!
   .  .  .
If our histories refuse to acknowledge the extent and brutality of the injustices that accompanied our nation’s founding, how can we or our children honor the idealism and courage of those who struggled to implement and enlarge the revolutionary demands for equal rights? And if we don’t understand the inconsistencies and fluctuations in people’s belief systems, how can we hope to build on the best parts of our heritage and rise above the worst? American history shows that people can change their minds when dedicated activists make the effort to explain why and how we can build a more just world.
  #  #  #

btw in the 1970s Stephanie Coontz was a national leader of the Young Socialist Alliance/Socialist Workers Party and of the national anti-Vietnam war movement.  This is mentioned in wikipedia's reference -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephanie_Coontz
"Coontz earned a B.A. from the American History Honors Program (1966) at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a member of the campus political party SLATE and participated in the civil rights movement and the Free Speech Movement. Attending the University of Washington on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, she earned a Master of Arts in European History (1970). Abandoning further graduate work, she joined the staff of the National Peace Action Coalition, later becoming a National Coordinator; they focused on building peaceful, legal demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Before returning to full-time teaching in 1975, Coontz also had a leadership role in the Young Socialist Alliance, a Trotskyist youth group of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). By the late 1970s, however, Coontz had parted company with the SWP."

- but not by Coontz at her own self-references i.e. personal website: https://www.stephaniecoontz.com/
This home page has a link to "a complete list of her books" which is not a complete list as it does not include the collection of her excellent essays "Life in Capitalist America" published by SWP publisher Pathfinder Press in 1975 (this book is not listed at Pathfinder Press either, which must be an interesting story in itself).  With a bit of diligence you can find "Life in Capitalist America" still listed at Amazon books and readily at bookfinder.com.  Another essay "What Socialists Stand For?" published in 1973 as a "Young Socialist Alliance pamphlet" is still also listed at these sites and there is a copy available at Bolerium Books (in San Francisco):
https://www.bolerium.com/pages/books/73836/stephanie-coontz/what-socialists-stand-for

I've found "What Socialists Stand For" useful recently in introducing young people to the socialist movement.  I met a young woman a few years ago who was reading Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" (1963) and gave her a copy of Coontz's 2011 book "A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s" before following up with "What Socialists Stand For."  She joined the DSA and is now - like many DSAers - exploring widely to find an effective revolutionary socialist path forward.


Poor Quality Charter School Applications Are Common | Dissident Voice

Andrew Stewart
 


It’s Not Just Trump — LBJ Took Classified Documents Too

Dennis Brasky
 

Johnson wanted to stop Americans from learning about Nixon’s Vietnam treason and his own lawless surveillance.

THE FBI’S SEARCH on Monday of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home has rightfully been huge news. According to the Washington Post, the FBI took action because Trump had left the White House in January 2021 with government documents, and while Trump returned 15 boxes of items to the National Archives earlier this year, officials had come to believe that “either the former president or people close to him held on to key records.” Following the recent search, the FBI took away another 12 boxes of material.

 

Remarkably, however, none of the voluminous news coverage about this has mentioned a parallel to Trump’s behavior: When Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency ended in 1969 and he was replaced by Richard Nixon, Johnson ordered an underling to surreptitiously take highly classified material with him on his administration’s exit.

The silence about this may be because the whole episode makes both political parties look horrendous. Democrats appear as feckless cowards who believed that Americans couldn’t handle the truth about their own country. Republicans seem to be criminals and quasi-traitors who were happy to see tens of thousands of American soldiers die if it suited their purposes.

The story dates back to the 1968 presidential campaign. The GOP nominee was Nixon, who had served as Dwight Eisenhower’s vice president. The Democratic candidate was Hubert Humphrey, Johnson’s vice president.

By that time, about 30,000 Americans had been killed in the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese were dead. Anti-war protests in the U.S. and across the world were intense, and polls showed that a majority of Americans had come to believe sending troops to Vietnam had been a mistake. The war was a key factor in Johnson’s decision not to run again.

However, as the November 5 election drew closer, Johnson believed that there was a significant chance to reach an agreement to end the war on terms acceptable to the U.S. Johnson also knew that any signs of momentum toward such an agreement would boost Humphrey’s chances of winning.

Nixon was, of course, also well aware of this. We now know that Anna Chennault, a top GOP fundraiser and head of “Republican Women for Nixon,” had been in touch since at least August with the South Vietnamese government, urging it not to go along with any peace efforts.

On October 22, 1968, top Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman jotted down orders from Nixon. “! Keep Anna Chennault working,” Haldeman wrote. “Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do.”

Johnson’s national security adviser, Walt Rostow, received a tip about the Republican meddling from his brother Eugene on October 29. A Wall Street friend, Eugene Rostow reported, had told him that Nixon’s efforts had been discussed at a luncheon for bankers that included an unnamed financial figure close to Nixon. “The prospects for a bombing halt or a cease-fire were dim,” the figure said, “because Nixon was playing the problem … to block.” In what would seem to confirm every left-wing belief about how the world works, the bankers, in possession of this tip that Nixon was preventing an outbreak of peace, held a “professional discussion” about how the situation would “affect the stock market and the bond market.”

In response, Johnson ordered his factotums to have the FBI monitor Americans in contact with the South Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C. The next day, October 30, the FBI told the White House that its wiretap revealed that Chennault had spoken with the South Vietnamese ambassador, who told her that something “was cooking” but asked her to come by the embassy because he wisely didn’t want to speak about it on the phone. Chennault said that she would visit after a lunch for “Mrs. Agnew,” the wife of Nixon’s running mate, Spiro Agnew.

On November 2, the FBI further reported to the White House that Chennault had contacted the South Vietnamese ambassador with a message from “her boss”: “Hold on, we’re going to win.” The bureau then said that Chennault had left Washington for New York and that it would “undertake discreet surveillance” while she was there.

The question for Johnson then became what his administration should do in response. On November 4, he spoke with national security adviser Rostow, Defense Secretary Clark Clifford, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk. They all agreed that they should take no action at all.

Why? Because, as Clifford argued, “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I would think it would be inimical to our country’s interests.” Johnson responded: “I have no doubt about that.” (You can read the entire conversation and even listen to the scratchy recording of it here.)

The next day, Nixon was indeed elected president. He barely beat Humphrey in the popular vote, 31.8 million to 31.3 million, a margin of 0.7 percent of the total votes cast. A few days later, the FBI sent the Johnson administration a memo describing a meeting between an informant and a South Vietnamese military attaché at the embassy in D.C. The attaché had said that the goal of “Saigon was to help presidential candidate Nixon, and that had Saigon gone to the conference table, presidential candidate Humphrey would probably have won.”

Nixon was inaugurated on January 20, 1969, and moved into the White House. But before Johnson vacated the premises, Rostow, at Johnson’s request, gathered up the incendiary documentation of Nixon’s treachery and how it had been proved by surveillance of Americans ordered by the president himself. Then Rostow walked out the door with it. Johnson, he later wrote, “asked me to hold [it] personally.”

What the Johnson administration had done was, in a sense, “legal,” given that there were essentially no laws governing the U.S. surveillance state before reforms in the 1970s. Nevertheless, everyone involved was aware that what they’d done could be seen as scandalous. On the November 4 phone call, Rusk said that revealing the fruits of the FBI’s spying “would be very unwise. I mean, we get a lot of information through these special channels that we don’t make public. I mean, for example, some of the malfeasances of senators and congressmen. … I think that we must continue to respect the classification of that kind of material.”

The Vietnam War eventually ended in 1975, essentially on the same terms as had been available in 1968. Tens of thousands more Americans died, as did a far higher, uncountable number of Vietnamese. During this time, the war further metastasized to Cambodia, where the Nixon administration ramped up a bombing campaign that dropped 2.7 million tons of ordnance on that poor, rural society. This was more than the 2 million tons of bombs the U.S. had used during all of World War II. The extraordinary devastation plausibly led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge and the subsequent Cambodian genocide.

That’s the downside. The upside is that Nixon got to be president, and Americans’ innocence about how politics works was preserved.

After Johnson’s death, Rostow put his documents in a sealed envelope and gave them to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, with instructions that the envelope was to be opened “not earlier than fifty (50) years from this date June 26, 1973.” In other words, if Rostow had gotten his way, we would only be finding out about this conspiracy next year, in 2023, or even later. Rostow told the library that if it felt 2023 was too hasty, it should “re-close the file for another fifty years.”

Fortunately, the library opened the envelope in the 1990s, although some of the material has yet to be declassified. Nixon lied about what he’d done over and over again until his death in 1994, with many partisans deriding the facts as a preposterous conspiracy theory. It was only in 2016 that Nixon’s direct involvement was finally proved beyond a doubt.

It seems unlikely that the public records Trump took with him on his way out the door could be as momentous as those Johnson tried to excise from history. But given the degree to which U.S. presidents are willing to deceive us, we shouldn’t count anything out just yet.

https://theintercept.com/2022/08/11/trump-fbi-mar-a-lago-classified-documents-lbj/



Why Is Iran Executing So Many Prisoners?

Dennis Brasky
 


Re: ‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong

Mark Lause
 

Perhaps it's a matter of expectations, but I didn't dislike the book.  I read it mostly for the effort at a prehistory synthesis, and less for the quality of the synthesis than data brought together by the authors.


Re: ‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong

Mark Baugher
 

On Aug 14, 2022, at 8:33 AM, Michael Pugliese <michael.098762001@...> wrote:

https://www.youtube.com/c/WHATISPOLITICS69/about , which , at times
gives some background.
Thanks.

They have almost six hours of _The_Dawn_of_Everything_ videos! Personally, I prefer text rather than wasting so many electrons.

Mark


Re: ‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong

Mark Lause
 

I found the about tabs almost always disappointing.  They seem to often not even give the name.


On Sun, Aug 14, 2022, 11:34 AM Michael Pugliese <michael.098762001@...> wrote:
On Sun, Aug 14, 2022 at 6:53 AM Mark Lause <markalause@...>
wrote:  That's a good video overall.  Does anybody know anything about
the channel?

YouTube channels always have an About tab.
https://www.youtube.com/c/WHATISPOLITICS69/about , which , at times
gives some background.
https://www.patreon.com/whatispolitics . Their recommended channels,
via their homepage,
https://www.youtube.com/c/WHATISPOLITICS69/channels , has an eclectic
selection , ranging from liberals, such as
https://www.youtube.com/user/SamSeder , to Stalinoids,
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1h2TzFcz238HBbwLBYbQOw, the
ineffable Esha.






Re: the Mar-a-Lago Search and "Political Furies"

Michael Pugliese
 

"Take, for example, the nuclear secrets Trump had. Given his
subservience to Putin as well as his utter corruption, it’s not
impossible that he was planning to turn it over (for money) to Putin."
Via https://oaklandsocialist.com/2022/08/14/the-mar-a-lago-search-and-political-furies/
.

"Meanwhile in Russia: Putin's mouthpieces on state TV are taunting
America about "Top Secret" documents sought during the raid of Trump's
estate, which they claim had to do with the newest nuclear weapons
developed by the US and gleefully imply that Moscow already got to see
them." Via https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews/status/1558289365004128264?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1558289365004128264%7Ctwgr%5Ef74ffe119d78d10f83ef5ca3abdb2b21e8da7bbd%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.alternet.org%2F2022%2F08%2Frussian-propagandist-mar-a-lago%2F
, which was an embedded hyperlink from ,
https://www.alternet.org/2022/08/russian-propagandist-mar-a-lago/
,"Russian propagandists claim Moscow has been 'studying' Mar-a-Lago
nuclear documents 'for a while' "

"In a Dec. 5, 2019 interview, Trump told Bob Woodward: “I have built a
nuclear—a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country
before…” Woodward wrote that he confirmed this with sources who were
surprised Trump had disclosed it. (Rage, p. 185)"
https://twitter.com/BySteveReilly/status/1558115504966991873?s=20&t=YagSVtFC16-aXYrBVCLx5w
, https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-brags-about-secret-nuclear-weapons-system-in-woodward-interview
, more see,
https://twitter.com/search?q=trump%20woodward%20nuclear%20&src=typed_query&f=live


Re: ‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong

Michael Pugliese
 

On Sun, Aug 14, 2022 at 6:53 AM Mark Lause <markalause@...>
wrote: That's a good video overall. Does anybody know anything about
the channel?

YouTube channels always have an About tab.
https://www.youtube.com/c/WHATISPOLITICS69/about , which , at times
gives some background.
https://www.patreon.com/whatispolitics . Their recommended channels,
via their homepage,
https://www.youtube.com/c/WHATISPOLITICS69/channels , has an eclectic
selection , ranging from liberals, such as
https://www.youtube.com/user/SamSeder , to Stalinoids,
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1h2TzFcz238HBbwLBYbQOw, the
ineffable Esha.


Re: the Mar-a-Lago Search and "Political Furies"

Walter Lippmann <walterlx@...>
 

Walter Lippmann says, "Sorry, but this is ACTUAL US history from someone who tried to conduct a putsch at the US capitol with the participation of most of the members of the Republican Party, now captured by its fascistic wing.
==========================================================
According to John Reimann:
"This is the stuff of a second-rate spy thriller, not actual US history! 





.



the Mar-a-Lago Search and "Political Furies"

John Reimann
 

“The Justice Department is unleashing political furies it can’t control.” So wrote the editors of the Wall St. Journal on the day after the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. They are wrong. Those “political furies” were released years ago. The FBI search, while it will further feed those furies, is only a symptom of them.

How could it happen that a former president could abscond with: 1 set of “top secret/SCI” documents, 4 sets of “top secret” documents, 3 sets of “secret” documents, and 3 sets of “confidential” documents? How could it be that included in these documents is, reportedly, even nuclear secrets? How could such documents be stored in the basement of a country club? This is the stuff of a second rate spy thriller, not actual US history!

Why did Trump abscond with this material?
https://oaklandsocialist.com/2022/08/14/the-mar-a-lago-search-and-political-furies/

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


Re: China and the U.S.: War Games in a Tense World (Left Voice)

Walter Lippmann <walterlx@...>
 

WALTER LIPPMANN says, "Thanks, Mike"

You've clarified that you support for an separate, independent, Taiwan.

 

=====================================================
MICHAEL KARAJIS declares:
Wow. Who can believe that Walter raises Harlan County when talking of the global rivalry between the bloody and rapacious ruling classes of the US and China. Harlan County was about which side are you on, workers or bosses. I know which side I'm on in every country in the world. As in the US, in China on the side of the brutally repressed working class, not the billionaires in your rotten piece of class-enemy junk called the "CCP". Harlan County my foot. I'm with the entire ONE FIFTH of the Chinese population who are the "floating population" of rural to urban to rural insecure working class population who have zero rights and zero security in China's capitalist bonanza land, ripe for super-exploutation, blood, sweat and death. I guess Walter thinks it would be a service to proletarian humanity to send them to die and kill in Taiwan against the resistance of the 20 million Taiwanese workers who will defend their democratic rights to organise against any attempt by the CCP capitalist dictatorship to rob them of it. Never mind Walter and your Harlan County fantasy, while the hyper-exploited floating population is paying with their blood in Taiwan, the multi-million strong  Chinese capitalist class in the CCP will be laughing all the way to the bank, as I guess is necessary as they are, in the CCP's words, the "advanced productive forces". 


Re: ‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong

Mark Lause
 

That's a good video overall.  Does anybody know anything about the channel? 



Re: ‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong

Mark Baugher
 

On Aug 14, 2022, at 12:16 AM, stevencolatrella@... wrote:

I strongly recommend the ongoing series of takedowns of the book on the YouTube channel "What is Politics ?".
Thanks. There are about a half-dozen Youtube titles by that name; I assume you mean this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZqyXSkHeeM

Mark


Re: ‘The Dawn of Everything’ gets human history wrong

stevencolatrella@...
 

Thank you for posting these. There is a lot that is valuable in the book,  but it is deeply flawed,  and indeed has both prehistoric and historical human history all wrong. The Peasants Revolt of 1381 alone refutes much of their major thesis about all ideas of democracy coming from Indigenous Americans,  appealing as that idea is. I strongly recommend the ongoing series of takedowns of the book on the YouTube channel "What is Politics ?". 


On a Lighter Note--MAGA Tempest in a Chamber Pot . . .

Farans Kalosar