Archive | August, 2012

Fundraiser and discussion on criminalization of Dissent in Canada Sept. 13th

31 Aug

Fundraiser and discussion on criminalization of Dissent in Canada

Thursday Sept. 13th 9 pm
460 Spadina Toronto by College

Speakers Include OCAP, Dan Kellar (charged for Blogging), Megan Kinch (independent journalist) Julian Ichim and more.
All funds go to help Pay Ichims legal fees for g20 blogging charges.

Come out and hear people talk about the criminalization of dissent here in Canada, with a focus on the attack on grassroots organizers post G20. Learn how people are targeted and criminalized based on their politics and learn about upcoming legal battles and political struggles here in Canada and how you can support.

All Welcome

Home is wherever Im with you!!!!

29 Aug

Dedicated to those who I care about, you know who you are.

Home, for someone like me, the idea of a steady home may seem strange. Given the fact that my political organizing means i travel alot, and like to be the one who finds people, as opposed to the one to be found, to someone else the idea of home and Julian are an oxymoron.

To me the word home means a place where I feel save and loved, and before my moms death, whether I lived in Guelph, Stratford, Inuvik, Toronto etc. Whenever I would visit my mom that was where my home was. A place where I could let my guard down, be myself, say what I actually think and know that I am cared about.

After my g20 arrest, getting bailed out and being forced to live in Kitchener with my mom, and later my dad, 2 months later after her death, My parents house in Kitchener was forced to be my home. My legal address, where the cops could come and find me whenever they wanted.

After my moms death, that house no longer felt like home. Not that I dont love my dad, I really do and try my best to help (and sometimes irritate) him, but it no longer feels like home.

The living room where she always use to hang out is now emptier, the halls where we would debate and sing songs, now seem quietly silent (unless its me making the noise), and the backyard where her and my grandma use to garden is now overrun with weeds.

Some important person once said that you can never go back home (i dont remember his name, nor do I give a fuck) and in some ways he is right. As much as I love my dad I could never go back to that home, as it was, nor will that building ever feel like home.

To me home is when I come to kick it and no matter how sad I am or no matter what I am facing I am greeted with a hug, a smile and if I am lucky a cup of wine or something harder. Home is that place where we sit down, watching something corny like buffy and cheer for spike, or watch really stupid horror movies and make fun of the protaganist cause they are two stupid to escape and let themselves be killed by a bunch of kids.

Home is where no matter what we sit outside, I smoke like chimney and no matter how broke I am there is always a pepsi with ice. Home is where we cook food and am made fun of cause all my foods are hotsauce, cheese tomatos and mayonaise.

Home, to me is the place where I know I am safe and loved, home is wherever Im with you.

Vanier Institute For Woman Served Judges Order To Allow Mandy Hiscocks To Testify At My Court September 18th

28 Aug

On August 28th at 4 pm Marilyn Sinclair, Secretary of the Superintendent of Vanier Correctional Centre For Woman was served an order signed by Justice Clarke stating that the prison must bring Mandy Hiscocks to my court date on September 18th to appear as a witness on my behalf.

This legal document was first handed to a guard who started to insult me and the wording of the document, despite the fact that it was looked over by three lawyers, a legal secretary and signed by a judge. After being served this document and I asked for her name she refused to give it, later calling in the secretary of the Superintendent of the institution to accept service of this document.

I would like to thank Mandy Hiscocks, who will be seriously inconvenienced by this for agreeing to testify on my behalf and assisting me in demonstrating my lack of guilt in the coming hearing. Once again she has demonstrated the selflessness and compassion that she is well known for.

25 000 people say no to Liberal agenda, Report on teachers demo at Provincial Legislature

28 Aug

On Aug 28th various segments of the working class, including Steelworkers local 1005 joined teachers and supporters on the lawn of the provincial parliament, Queens Park to stay no to the back to work legislation that the provincial Liberals are ramming through before the Sept. 6th by election that will take place in Kitchener Waterloo and Vaughn.

About 25 000 people with banners and placards gathered to hear speeches and denounce this attack not only on the teachers but the whole working class.

Todays demonstration shows that the people of Ontario are sick of the neo liberal offensive pushed for by the Liberals and Conservatives and are demanding that there basic rights be respected. The rally ended with folk music as people were singing Billy Brag, as well as a commitment by all to reject this austerity agenda being forced on the backs of the working class by our so called political leaders.

August 27th info Picket To Free Price and Corey a success!!!!

28 Aug

On Aug 27th, a diverse group of people met outside the British Consulate to hold a rally and info picket to free Irish Republicans Marian Price and Martin Corey and end Internment in Northern Ireland.

Protestors had banners and flyers, and many people responded enthusiastically. The staff at the British consulate, going home for the day were not so enthusiastic, neither were intelligence services, nor security which kept on taking notes of what was going on.

over three hundred leaflets were distributed and one passer-by was so outraged that he went up to yell at those taking notes.

We will continue to raise the issue here in Canada until they are free!!!

KW Basics Meeting a Success

27 Aug

Today people met at noon to discuss the next steps to putting together a paper that reflects the community. After reviewing the constitution of Basics people agreed that they want to get on board and create a paper that meets the needs of the community.

Story ideas included the recent rise of people dieing from heroin in our community, the austerity budget that the Liberals have passed, and various international issues like internment.

All in all the meeting was a success and shows people s determination to break the silence on our living conditions.

Che Guevara, Cuba: Historical exception or vanguard in the anticolonial struggle?

26 Aug

Che Guevara
Cuba: Historical exception or vanguard in the anticolonial struggle?

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Spoken: April 9, 1961
First Published: unknown
Source: The Che Reader, Ocean Press, © 2005.
Translated: unknown.
Transcription/Markup: Ocean Press/Brian Baggins
Copyright: © 2005 Aleida March, Che Guevara Studies Center and Ocean Press. Reprinted with their permission. Not to be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Ocean Press. For further information contact Ocean Press at info@oceanbooks.com.au and via its website at http://www.oceanbooks.com.au.

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The working class is the creative class; the working class produces what material wealth exists in a country. And while power is not in their hands, while the working class allows power to remain in the hands of the bosses who exploit them, in the hands of landlords, the speculators, the monopolies and in the hands of foreign and national interest groups, while armaments are in the hands of those in the service of these interest groups and not in their own hands, the working class will be forced to lead a miserable existence no matter how many crumbs those interest groups should let fall from their banquet table.
— Fidel Castro

Never in the Americas has an event of such extraordinary character, with such deep roots and such far-reaching consequences for the destiny of the continent’s progressive movements taken place as our revolutionary war. This is true to such an extent that it has been appraised by some to be the decisive event of the Americas, on a scale of importance second only to that great trilogy — the Russian Revolution, the victory over Nazi Germany and the subsequent social transformations and the victory of the Chinese Revolution.

Our revolution, unorthodox in its forms and manifestations, has nevertheless followed the general lines of all the great historical events of this century that are characterized by anticolonial struggles and the transition toward socialism.

Nevertheless some sectors, whether out of self-interest or in good faith, claim to see in the Cuban Revolution exceptional origins and features whose importance for this great historical-social event they inflate even to the level of decisive factors. They speak of the exceptionalism of the Cuban Revolution as compared with the course of other progressive parties in Latin America. They conclude that the form and road of the Cuban Revolution are unique and that in the other countries of the Americas the historical transition will be different.

We accept that exceptions exist which give the Cuban Revolution its peculiar characteristics. It is clearly established that in every revolution there are specific factors, but it is no less established that all follow laws that society cannot violate. Let us analyze, then, the factors of this purported exceptionalism.

The first, and perhaps the most important and original, is that cosmic force called Fidel Castro Ruz, whose name in only a few years has attained historic proportions. The future will provide the definitive appraisal of our prime minister’s merits, but to us they appear comparable to those of the great historic figures of Latin America. What is exceptional about Fidel Castro’s personality? Various features of his life and character make him stand out far above his compañeros and followers. Fidel is a person of such tremendous personality that he would attain leadership in whatever movement he participated. It has been like that throughout his career, from his student days to the premiership of our country and as a spokesperson for the oppressed peoples of the Americas. He has the qualities of a great leader, added to which are his personal gifts of audacity, strength, courage, and an extraordinary determination always to discern the will of the people — and these have brought him the position of honor and sacrifice that he occupies today. But he has other important qualities — his ability to assimilate knowledge and experience in order to understand a situation in its entirety without losing sight of the details, his unbounded faith in the future, and the breadth of his vision to foresee events and anticipate them in action, always seeing farther and more accurately than his compañeros . With these great cardinal qualities, his capacity to unite, resisting the divisions that weaken; his ability to lead the whole people in action; his infinite love for the people; his faith in the future and with his capacity to foresee it, Fidel Castro has done more than anyone else in Cuba to create from nothing the present formidable apparatus of the Cuban Revolution.

No-one, however, could assert that specific political and social conditions existed in Cuba that were totally different from those in the other countries of the Americas, or that precisely because of those differences the revolution took place. Neither could anyone assert, conversely, that Fidel Castro made the revolution despite a lack of difference. Fidel, a great and able leader, led the revolution in Cuba, at the time and in the way he did, by interpreting the profound political disturbances that were preparing the people for their great leap onto the revolutionary road. Certain conditions were not unique to Cuba but it will be hard for other peoples to take advantage of them because imperialism — in contrast to some progressive groups — does learn from its errors. The condition we would describe as exceptional was the fact that U.S. imperialism was disoriented and was never able to accurately assess the true scope of the Cuban Revolution. This partly explains the many apparent contradictions in U.S. policy.

The monopolies, as is habitual in such cases, began to think of a successor for Batista precisely because they knew that the people were opposed to him and were looking for a revolutionary solution. What more intelligent and expert stroke than to depose the now unserviceable little dictator and to replace him with the new “boys” who would in turn serve the interests of imperialism? The empire gambled for a time on this card from its continental deck, and lost miserably.

Prior to our military victory they were suspicious of us, but not afraid. Actually, with all their experience at this game they were so accustomed to winning, they played with two decks. On various occasions emissaries of the U.S. State Department came, disguised as reporters, to investigate our rustic revolution, yet they never found any trace of imminent danger. By the time the imperialists wanted to react — when they discovered that the group of inexperienced young men marching in triumph through the streets of Havana had a clear awareness of their political duty and an iron determination to carry out that duty — it was already too late. Thus, in January 1959, the first social revolution in the Caribbean and the most profound of the Latin American revolutions dawned.

It could not be considered exceptional that the bourgeoisie, or at least a part of it, favored the revolutionary war over the dictatorship at the same time as it supported and promoted movements seeking negotiated solutions that would permit them to substitute elements disposed to curb the revolution for the Batista regime. Considering the conditions in which the revolutionary war took place and the complexity of the political tendencies that opposed the dictatorship, it was not at all exceptional that some elements adopted a neutral, or at least a nonbelligerent, attitude toward the insurrectionary forces. It is understandable that the national bourgeoisie, choked by imperialism and the dictatorship — whose troops sacked small properties and made extortion a daily way of life — felt a certain sympathy when they saw those young rebels from the mountains punish the mercenary army, the military arm of imperialism.

Nonrevolutionary forces did indeed aid the coming of revolutionary power.

A further exceptional factor was that in most of Cuba the peasants had been progressively proletarianized due to the needs of large-scale, semimechanized capitalist agriculture. They had reached a new level of organization and therefore a greater class consciousness. In mentioning this we should also point out, in the interest of truth, that the first area in which the Rebel Army operated (comprising the survivors of the defeated column who had made the Granma voyage) was an area inhabited by peasants whose social and cultural roots were different from those of the peasants found in the areas of large-scale, semimechanized Cuban agriculture. In fact the Sierra Maestra, the site of the first revolutionary settlement, is a place where peasants who had struggled against large landholders took refuge. They went there seeking new land — somehow overlooked by the state or the voracious landholders — on which to earn a modest income. They struggled constantly against the demands of the soldiers, always allied to the landholders, and their ambitions extended no further than a property deed. The peasants who belonged to our first guerrilla armies came from that section of this social class which most strongly shows love for the land and the possession of it; that is to say, which most perfectly demonstrates the petty-bourgeois spirit. The peasants fought because they wanted land for themselves and their children, to manage and sell it and to enrich themselves through their labor.

Despite their petty-bourgeois spirit, the peasants soon learned that they could not satisfy their desire to possess land without breaking up the large landholding system. Radical agrarian reform, the only type that could give land to the peasants, clashed directly with the interests of the imperialists, the large landholders and the sugar and cattle magnates. The bourgeoisie was afraid to clash with those interests but the proletariat was not. In this way the course of the revolution itself brought the workers and peasants together. The workers supported the demands of the peasants against the large landholders. The poor peasants, rewarded with ownership of land, loyally supported the revolutionary power and defended it against its imperialist and counterrevolutionary enemies.

In our opinion no further exceptionalism can be claimed. We have been generous to extend it this far. We shall now examine the permanent roots of all social phenomena in the Americas: the contradictions that mature in the wombs of present societies and produce changes that can reach the magnitude of a revolution such as Cuba’s.

First, in chronological order although not in order of importance at present, is the large landholding system. It was the economic power base of the ruling class throughout the entire period following the great anticolonial revolutions of the last century. The large landholding social class, found in all Latin American countries, generally lags behind the social developments that move the world. In some places, however, the most alert and clear sighted members of this class are aware of the dangers and begin to change the form of their capital investment , at times opting for mechanized agriculture, transferring some of their wealth to industrial investment or becoming commercial agents of the monopolies. In any case, the first liberating revolutions never destroyed the large landholding powers that always constituted a reactionary force and upheld the principle of servitude on the land.

This phenomenon, prevalent in all the countries of the Americas, has been the foundation of all the injustices committed since the era when the King of Spain gave huge grants of land to his most noble conquistadores. In the case of Cuba, only the unappropriated royal lands — the scraps left between where three circular landholdings met — were left for the natives, Creoles and mestizos.

In most countries the large landholders realized they couldn’t survive alone and promptly entered into alliances with the monopolies — the strongest and most ruthless oppressors of the Latin American peoples. U.S. capital arrived on the scene to exploit the virgin lands and later carried off, unnoticed, all the funds so “generously” given, plus several times the amount originally invested in the “beneficiary” country. The Americas were a field of interimperialist struggle. The “wars” between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the separation of Panama from Colombia, the infamy committed against Ecuador in its dispute with Peru, the fight between Paraguay and Bolivia, are nothing but expressions of this gigantic battle between the world’s great monopolistic powers, a battle decided almost completely in favor of the U.S. monopolies following World War II. From that point on the empire dedicated itself to strengthening its grip on its colonial possessions and perfecting the whole structure to prevent the intrusion of old or new competitors from other imperialist countries. This resulted in a monstrously distorted economy which has been described by the shamefaced economists of the imperialist regime with an innocuous vocabulary revealing the deep compassion they feel for us inferior beings. They call our miserably exploited Indians, persecuted and reduced to utter wretchedness, “little Indians” and they call blacks and mulattos, disinherited and discriminated against, “colored” — all this as a means of dividing the working masses in their struggle for a better economic future. For all of us, the peoples of the Americas, they have a polite and refined term: “underdeveloped.” What is underdevelopment?

A dwarf with an enormous head and a swollen chest is “underdeveloped” inasmuch as his weak legs or short arms do not match the rest of his anatomy. He is the product of an abnormal formation distorting his development. In reality that is what we are — we, politely referred to as “underdeveloped,” in truth are colonial, semicolonial or dependent countries. We are countries whose economies have been distorted by imperialism, which has abnormally developed those branches of industry or agriculture needed to complement its complex economy. “Underdevelopment,” or distorted development, brings a dangerous specialization in raw materials, inherent in which is the threat of hunger for all our peoples. We, the “underdeveloped,” are also those with the single crop, the single product, the single market. A single product whose uncertain sale depends on a single market imposing and fixing conditions. That is the great formula for imperialist economic domination. It should be added to the old, but eternally youthful Roman formula: Divide and Conquer!

The system of large landholding, then, through its connections with imperialism, completely shapes so-called “underdevelopment,” resulting in low wages and unemployment that in turn create a vicious cycle producing ever lower wages and greater unemployment. The great contradictions of the system sharpen, constantly at the mercy of the cyclical fluctuations of its own economy, and provide the common denominator for all the peoples of America, from the Rio Bravo to the South Pole. This common denominator, which we shall capitalize and which serves as the starting point for analysis by all who think about these social phenomena, is called the People’s Hunger. The people are weary of being oppressed, persecuted, exploited to the maximum. They are weary of the wretched selling of their labor-power day after day — faced with the fear of joining the enormous mass of unemployed — so that the greatest profit can be wrung from each human body, profit later squandered in the orgies of the masters of capital. We see that there are great and inescapable common denominators in Latin America, and we cannot say we were exempt from any of those, leading to the most terrible and permanent of all: the people’s hunger.

Large landholding, whether in its primitive form of exploitation or as a form of capitalist monopoly, adjusts to the new conditions and becomes an ally of imperialism — that form of finance and monopoly capitalism which goes beyond national borders — in order to create economic colonialism, euphemistically called “underdevelopment,” resulting in low wages, underemployment and unemployment: the people’s hunger.

All this existed in Cuba. Here, too, there was hunger. Here, the proportion of unemployed was one of the highest in Latin America. Here, imperialism was more ruthless than in many countries of America. And here, large landholdings existed as much as they did in any other Latin American country.

What did we do to free ourselves from the vast imperialist system with its entourage of puppet rulers in each country, its mercenary armies to protect the puppets and the whole complex social system of the exploitation of human by human? We applied certain formulas, discoveries of our empirical medicine for the great ailments of our beloved Latin America, empirical medicine which rapidly became scientific truth.

Objective conditions for the struggle are provided by the people’s hunger, their reaction to that hunger, the terror unleashed to crush the people’s reaction and the wave of hatred that the repression creates. The rest of the Americas lacked the subjective conditions, the most important of which is consciousness of the possibility of victory against the imperialist powers and their internal allies through violent struggle. These conditions were created through armed struggle — which progressively clarified the need for change and permitted it to be foreseen — and through the defeat and subsequent annihilation of the army by the popular forces (an absolutely necessary condition for every genuine revolution ).

Having already demonstrated that these conditions are created through armed struggle, we have to explain once more that the scene of the struggle should be the countryside. A peasant army pursuing the great objectives for which the peasantry should fight (the first of which is the just distribution of land) will capture the cities from the countryside. The peasant class of Latin America, basing itself on the ideology of the working class whose great thinkers discovered the social laws governing us, will provide the great liberating army of the future — as it has already done in Cuba. This army, created in the countryside where the subjective conditions for the taking of power mature, proceeds to take the cities, uniting with the working class and enriching itself ideologically. It can and must defeat the oppressor army, at first in skirmishes, engagements and surprises and, finally, in big battles when the army will have grown from small-scale guerrilla footing to a great popular army of liberation. A vital stage in the consolidation of the revolutionary power, as we have said, will be the liquidation of the old army.

If these conditions present in Cuba existed in the rest of the Latin American countries, what would happen in other struggles for power by the dispossessed classes? Would it be feasible to take power or not? If it was feasible, would it be easier or more difficult than in Cuba? Let us mention the difficulties that in our view will make the new Latin American revolutionary struggles more difficult. There are general difficulties for every country and more specific difficulties for some whose level of development or national peculiarities are different. We mentioned at the beginning of this essay that we could consider the attitude of imperialism, disoriented in the face of the Cuban Revolution, as an exceptional factor. The attitude of the national bourgeoisie was, to a certain extent, also exceptional. They too were disoriented and even looked sympathetically upon the action of the rebels due to the pressure of the empire on their interests — a situation which is indeed common to all our countries.

Cuba has again drawn the line in the sand, and again we see Pizarro’s dilemma: On the one hand there are those who love the people and on the other, those who hate the people. The line between them divides the two great social forces, the bourgeoisie and the working class, each of which are defining, with increasing clarity, their respective positions as the process of the Cuban Revolution advances.

Imperialism has learned the lesson of Cuba well. It will not allow itself to be caught by surprise in any of our 20 republics or in any of the colonies that still exist in the Americas. This means that vast popular struggles against powerful invading armies await those who now attempt to violate the peace of the sepulchers, pax Romana. This is important because if the Cuban liberation war was difficult, with its two years of continuous struggle, anguish and instability, the new battles awaiting the people in other parts of Latin America will be infinitely more difficult.

The United States hastens the delivery of arms to the puppet governments they see as being increasingly threatened; it makes them sign pacts of dependence to legally facilitate the shipment of instruments of repression and death and of troops to use them. Moreover, it increases the military preparation of the repressive armies with the intention of making them efficient weapons against the people.

And what about the bourgeoisie? The national bourgeoisie generally is not capable of maintaining a consistent struggle against imperialism. It shows that it fears popular revolution even more than the oppression and despotic dominion of imperialism which crushes nationality, tarnishes patriotic sentiments, and colonizes the economy.

A large part of the bourgeoisie opposes revolution openly, and since the beginning has not hesitated to ally itself with imperialism and the landowners to fight against the people and close the road to revolution. A desperate and hysterical imperialism, ready to undertake any maneuver and to give arms and even troops to its puppets in order to annihilate any country which rises up; ruthless landowners, unscrupulous and experienced in the most brutal forms of repression; and, finally, a bourgeoisie willing to close, through any means, the roads leading to popular revolution: These are the great allied forces which directly oppose the new popular revolutions of Latin America.

Such are the difficulties that must be added to those arising from struggles of this kind under the new conditions found in Latin America following the consolidation of that irreversible phenomenon represented by the Cuban Revolution.

There are still other, more specific problems. It is more difficult to prepare guerrilla groups in those countries that have a concentrated population in large centers and a greater amount of light and medium industry, even though it may not be anything like effective industrialization. The ideological influence of the cities inhibits the guerrilla struggle by increasing the hopes for peacefully organized mass struggle. This gives rise to a certain “institutionalization,” which in more or less “normal” periods makes conditions less harsh than those usually inflicted on the people. The idea is even conceived of possible quantitative increases in the congressional ranks of revolutionary forces until a point is someday reached which allows a qualitative change.

It is not probable that this hope will be realized given present conditions in any country of the Americas, although a possibility that the change can begin through the electoral process is not to be excluded. Current conditions, however, in all countries of Latin America make this possibility very remote. Revolutionaries cannot foresee all the tactical variables that may arise in the course of the struggle for their liberating program. The real capacity of a revolutionary is measured by their ability to find adequate revolutionary tactics in every different situation and by keeping all tactics in mind so that they might be exploited to the maximum. It would be an unpardonable error to underestimate the gain a revolutionary program could make through a given electoral process, just as it would be unpardonable to look only to elections and not to other forms of struggle, including armed struggle, to achieve power — the indispensable instrument for applying and developing a revolutionary program. If power is not achieved, all other conquests, however advanced they appear, are unstable, insufficient and incapable of producing necessary solutions.

When we speak of winning power via the electoral process, our question is always the same: If a popular movement takes over the government of a country by winning a wide popular vote and resolves as a consequence to initiate the great social transformations which make up the triumphant program, would it not immediately come into conflict with the reactionary classes of that country? Has the army not always been the repressive instrument of that class? If so, it is logical to suppose that this army will side with its class and enter the conflict against the newly constituted government. By means of a more or less bloodless coup d’état, this government can be overthrown and the old game renewed again, never seeming to end. It could also happen that an oppressor army could be defeated by an armed popular reaction in defense and support of its government. What appears difficult to believe is that the armed forces would accept profound social reforms with good grace and peacefully resign themselves to their liquidation as a caste.

Where there are large urban concentrations, even when economically backward, it may be advisable — in our humble opinion — to engage in struggle outside the limits of the city in a way that can continue for a long time. The existence of a guerrilla center in the mountains of a country with populous cities maintains a perpetual focus of rebellion because it is very improbable that the repressive powers will be able, either rapidly or over a long period of time, to liquidate guerrilla groups with established social bases in territory favorable to guerrilla warfare, if the strategy and tactics of this type of warfare are consistently employed.

What would happen in the cities is quite different. Armed struggle against the repressive army can develop to an unanticipated degree, but this struggle will become a frontal one only when there is a powerful army to fight against [the enemy] army. A frontal fight against a powerful and well equipped army cannot be undertaken by a small group.

For the frontal fight, many arms will be needed, and the question arises: Where are these arms to be found? They do not appear spontaneously; they must be seized from the enemy. But in order to seize them from the enemy, it is necessary to fight; and it is not possible to fight openly. The struggle in the big cities must therefore begin clandestinely, capturing military groups or weapons one by one in successive assaults. If this happens, a great advance can be made.

Still, we would not dare to say that victory would be denied to a popular rebellion with a guerrilla base inside the city. No one can object on theoretical grounds to this strategy; at least we have no intention of doing so. But we should point out how easy it would be as the result of a betrayal, or simply by means of continuous raids, to eliminate the leaders of the revolution. In contrast, if while employing all conceivable maneuvers in the city (such as organized sabotage and, above all, that effective form of action, urban guerrilla warfare) and if a base is also maintained in the countryside, the revolutionary political power, relatively safe from the contingencies of the war, will remain untouched even if the oppressor government defeats and annihilates all the popular forces in the city. The revolutionary political power should be relatively safe, but not outside the war, not giving directions from some other country or from distant places. It should be within its own country fighting. These considerations lead us to believe that even in countries where the cities are predominant, the central political focus of the struggle can develop in the countryside.

Returning to the example of relying on help from the military class in effecting the coup and supplying the weapons, there are two problems to analyze: First, supposing it was an organized nucleus and capable of independent decisions, if the military really joins with the popular forces to strike the blow, there would in such a case be a coup by one part of the army against another, probably leaving the structure of the military caste intact. The other problem, in which armies unite rapidly and spontaneously with popular forces, can occur only after the armies have been violently beaten by a powerful and persistent enemy, that is, in conditions of catastrophe for the constituted power. With an army defeated and its morale broken, this phenomenon can occur. For that, struggle is necessary; we always return to the question of how to carry on that struggle. The answer leads us toward developing guerrilla struggle in the countryside, on favorable ground and supported by struggle in the cities, always counting on the widest possible participation of the working masses and guided by the ideology of that class.

We have sufficiently analyzed the obstacles revolutionary movements in Latin America will encounter. It can now be asked whether or not there are favorable conditions for the preliminary stage, like, for example, those encountered by Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra. We believe that here, too, general conditions can facilitate these centers of rebellion and specific conditions in certain countries exist which are even more favorable. Two subjective factors are the most important consequences of the Cuban Revolution: the first is the possibility of victory, knowing that the capability exists to crown an enterprise like that of the group of idealistic Granma expeditionaries who successfully struggled for two years in the Sierra Maestra. This immediately indicates there can be a revolutionary movement operating from the countryside, mixing with the peasant masses, that will grow from weakness to strength, that will destroy the army in a frontal fight, that will capture cities from the countryside, that will strengthen through its struggle the subjective conditions necessary for seizing power. The importance of this fact is demonstrated in the huge number of “exceptionalists” who have recently appeared. “Exceptionalists” are those special beings who say they find in the Cuban Revolution a unique event which cannot be followed — led by someone who has few or no faults, who led the revolution through a unique path. We affirm this is completely false. Victory by the popular forces in Latin America is clearly possible in the form of guerrilla warfare undertaken by a peasant army in alliance with the workers, defeating the oppressor army in a frontal assault, taking cities by attack from the countryside, and dissolving the oppressor army — as the first stage in completely destroying the superstructure of the colonial world.

We should point out a second subjective factor: The masses not only know the possibility of triumph, they know their destiny. They know with increasing certainty that whatever the tribulations of history during short periods, the future belongs to the people; the future will bring about social justice. This knowledge will help raise revolutionary ferment to even greater heights than those prevailing in Latin America today.

Some less general factors do not appear with the same intensity from country to country. One very important one is the greater exploitation of the peasants in Latin America than there was in Cuba. Let us remind those who pretend to see the proletarianization of the peasantry in our insurrectionary stage, that we believe it was precisely this which accelerated the emergence of cooperatives as well as the achievement of power and the agrarian reform. This is in spite of the fact that the peasant of the first battles, the core of the Rebel Army, is the same one to be found today in the Sierra Maestra, proud owner of their parcel of land and intransigently individualistic.

There are, of course, characteristics specific to the Latin American countries: an Argentine peasant does not have the same outlook as a communal peasant in Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador. But hunger for land is permanently present in the peasants, and they generally hold the key to the Americas. In some countries they are even more exploited than they were in Cuba, increasing the possibility that this class will rise up in arms. Another fact is Batista’s army, which with all its enormous defects, was structured in such a way that everyone, from the lowest soldier to the highest general, was an accomplice in the exploitation of the people. They were complete mercenaries, and this gave the repressive apparatus some cohesiveness. The armies of Latin America generally include a professional officers’ corps and recruits who are called up periodically. Each year, young recruits leave their homes where they have known the daily sufferings of their parents, have seen them with their own eyes, where they have felt poverty and social injustice. If one day they are sent as cannon fodder to fight against the defenders of a doctrine they feel in their own hearts is just, their capacity to fight aggressively will be seriously affected. Adequate propaganda will enable the recruits to see the justice of and the reasons for the struggle, and magnificent results will be achieved.

After this brief study of the revolutionary struggle we can say that the Cuban Revolution had exceptional factors giving it its own peculiarities as well as factors which are common to all the countries of the Americas and which express the internal need for revolution. New conditions will make the flow of these revolutionary movements easier as they give the masses consciousness of their destiny and the certainty that it is possible. On the other hand, there are now obstacles making it harder for the armed masses to achieve power rapidly, such as imperialism’s close alliance with the bourgeoisie, enabling them to fight to the utmost against the popular forces. Dark days await Latin America. The latest declarations of those that rule the United States seem to indicate that dark days await the world: Lumumba, savagely assassinated, in the greatness of his martyrdom showed the tragic mistakes that cannot be committed. Once the antiimperialist struggle begins, we must constantly strike hard, where it hurts the most, never retreating, always marching forward, counterstriking against each aggression, always responding to each aggression with even stronger action by the masses. This is the way to victory. We will analyze on another occasion whether the Cuban Revolution, having taken power, followed these new revolutionary paths with its own exceptional characteristics or if, as in this analysis, while respecting the existence of certain special characteristics, it fundamentally followed a logic derived from laws intrinsic to the social process.

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Copyright: © 2005 Aleida March, Che Guevara Studies Center and Ocean Press. Reprinted with their permission. Not to be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Ocean Press. For further information contact Ocean Press at info@oceanbooks.com.au and via its website at http://www.oceanbooks.com.au.

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Price and Corey rot in jail while the orange walk the streets!!!!

25 Aug

The internment of Marian Price and Martin Corey at the behest of Owen Patterson due to the fact that they are Republicans is a crime against humanity that everyone who states that they believe in justice or freedom should be outraged about. Yet many so called civil rights groups refuse to take a stand or say anything due to the fact that they state they are against violence and the ideology of Corey and Price is a barrier to the peace process in Northern Ireland.

This view, that there can only be peace if Republicans give up their politics is absurd and flys in the face of logic and justice. What these forces are really doing is putting the blame on the victims of colonialism and repression and criminalizing people for simply believing that they should have the right to determine their own destiny.

What sort of peace is this if the peace can only last if Irish people believe what they are told and if they disagree they can be arrested , tortured, held in isolation without cause or without trial? To me this is not peace but state repression and colonialist genocide through political assimilation.

The word peace imply justice and fairness and as one can see in the case of Price and Corey, there is neither justice nor fairness, but rather repression and criminalization of thought and politics.

In the case of Corey, in particular Britain has shown that the courts can and will be ignored when they dont play the role the imperialists want and that the ruling of a judge can be ignored and vetoed simply on the say so of the unelected British Secretary of State Owen Patterson.

The Irony of all is this is that as we speak the UVF and the Orange Order are currently attacking peaceful nationalists, and with the blessing of the PSNI/RUC are perpetrating hate and violence in Belfast. During the Visit of the Queen, these same forces attacked with hammers and machetes peaceful protestors, women and children on Black Mountain for simply displaying their flag.

Why are these lovers of peace silent as these crimes are being perpetrated? Where are these lovers of peace when the Orange Order march through Irish neighbourhoods inciting violence and hate?

All those who truly love peace and justice must speak out and condemn this hypocrisy. FREE PRICE AND COREY!!!!END INTERNMENT NOW!!!!!

please contact Owen Patterson and Demand that they be set free!!

patersono@parliament.uk

Mandy Hiscocks Prison writing, Danger is better then Jail

25 Aug

Danger is Better Than Jail
Published by mandyon Thu, 2012-08-23 13:20mandy’s blog

The following story is based on informal conversations and an interview with an inmate being detained by Immigration Canada and not for any (alleged) contravention of the Criminal Code. Unless I refer to myself personally I wasn’t a witness to any of the events described. I wrote her story as it was told to me and she approved the final draft. The language barrier was quite a challenge, and I’d like to thank the other Russian-speaking inmates on our range for their help with translation.

I should point out that for safety reasons I had some misgivings about printing the person’s real name, but after a long discussion she assured me that she really wanted it to be there. After thinking about it more and in consultation with people on the outside, I decided to change the name after all. It’s been done without her knowledge or consent and I still feel conflicted about it.

On June 4, 2012, Tatyana arrived at Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario on a flight from Latvia. She came to Canada with a valid passport and a letter she’d had translated into English, explaining that she was seeking political asylum. At the airport she was sent to the office of the Canadian Border Services Agency, who questioned her, took her passport, and then left her to roam the airport overnight. The next day she met with them again, and was questions some more. There was no lawyer present during these meetings; sometimes an interpreter was provided (over the phone) and sometimes not. The June 5 encounter ended with her in handcuffs, and she was put into a car and driven to Vanier Centre for Women. She wasn’t told she was being taken to jail – although the handcuffs were an indication something was wrong – and to this day she doesn’t understand why she’s here. I asked her what she expected would happen when she stepped off the plane. “I thought I would speak with someone, an official, about political asylum and they would say yes or no. If they said no, I would buy a ticket and go back.” She suspects that maybe Immigration Canada thought she’d try to stay illegally “but that is not my way. I told them I’d go back.” At the airport she wasn’t a prisoner, she was left to wander – so they obviously couldn’t have been that worried.

At Vanier, worrying is policy. “Immigration Holds for Removal or Extradition” are one of four categories of inmates who cannot be moved off maximum security, ever. Regardless of circumstances or behaviour they are seen to be a flight risk. Tatyana was placed on 2F where there are currently a lot of women dealing with immigration issues, many of them from Eastern Europe.

Immigration Canada came to speak with her three times during her detention. The first time no lawyer was present; the other two were the only times her lawyer came to the jail to visit her. She described the opportunity to speak with counsel in private as “very brief” and her overall experiences with her lawyer as frustration and confusing. She was unsure where the lawyer came from or how she was assigned to the case – it seems she just showed up one day with the people from Immigration Canada. I asked Tatyana how her relationship with her lawyer was and she said “There was no relationship. She didn’t do anything. Every time I tried to call her I could never reach her.” On June 14 during her second meeting with Immigration Canada, she signed a document that withdrew her claim for refugee protection, essentially signing off on her own deportation. I asked her why, and she told me that she believed that in Canada refugee protection and political asylum were not the same thing. Her lawyer was present at that time and said nothing, except that she should be on her way home within a few weeks.

Confused about the reason for her detention and seeking help and information, Tatyana had tried to call the Latvian embassy. Unfortunately all calls from jail are collect and the embassy (like many embassies and consulates, shockingly) does not accept them. So she asked her Vanier social worker for help, hoping to place a call from her office. Instead she was told the social worker would make the call herself. She doesn’t know if that ever happened, but in any case nobody from the embassy got in touch. Not knowing what to do, on June 22 she began a hunger strike. She put a note in to management explaining that she would refuse to eat until she could speak to the Latvian embassy. The guards either couldn’t care less that she wasn’t lining up for meals, or they were openly hostile. I watched one male guard freak out and scream at her: “TAKE YOUR TRAY! I don’t care what you do with it, but I have to put it in your hands. SO TAKE IT FROM ME!” Covering his ass, basically, while not bothering to give a fuck about why she wasn’t eating. In cast it wasn’t until the fourth day that a guard actually came in to talk to her about it. At the end of the conversation she was escorted to her cell by the guard and a white shirt, told to pack up her stuff, and then escorted off the range. I asked her where they were taking her. She didn’t know. “That’s not your concern,” I was told, to which I replied “Actually it is my concern.”

For one thing, we were worried about her. People get punished for protesting here, and seg is no doubt a rough place if you don’t speak fluent English. In addition she had asked me to get in touch with her lawyer somehow to tell her about the hunger strike and to keep her posted should anything happen. Anyway, later I was taken off the range and given a talking to by both the guard and the white shirt. When they do this they make you stand with your back against the wall and then they stand way too close. I was told to mind my own business and not to be concerned with the business of others. “Well that’s the whole problem with the world, isn’t it?” I say. “That everyone’s only concerned with themselves. I don’t play that game.” (Shit, I’m thinking, I hope I don’t get thrown in the hole for this.) I was told that if I’d interfered with an inmate removal when it was “about something important” I’d have gotten a misconduct. I suppose we’ll call that the Giving A Shit misconduct, shall we?

As it turns out there was no real need to worry after all. The guard was indeed concerned and being helpful. (the first one in four days!) and Tatyana was seen by a doctor and finally given the opportunity to speak to someone at the embassy – 22 days after she was detained at the airport. The embassy told her they would oversee the deportation procedures. Within a week Tatyana was back on 2F.

On July 8, she signed a waiver of application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. I asked her what that meant, and she didn’t know. “They told me to sign it for my deportation.” She had no idea what the text of the waiver said – neither Immigration Canada nor her lawyer ensured that it be translated for her – but she was told it would make her ticket home come faster. So she signed, “because I didn’t want to keep sitting in jail.”

On July 17 Tatyana received notification from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that her ticket had been booked. She would fly back to Latvia on July 19. On July 18 she was told the flight had been canceled. She got angry; she yelled; she was sent to the hole. She’s back on 2F now, with a new deportation date of July 22. She doesn’t know if it’s for real this time.

She is still bewildered by what’s happened to her. Why could she not just have bought her own ticket back if Canada wouldn’t grant her political asylum? Why did she spend a month and a half in jail waiting to be deported? Why didn’t her lawyer explain things? She’s glad, after all the waiting and uncertainty, that something is happening. I once asked her if she’d be in danger if she went back. “Yes. But danger is better than jail.” So what will she do? “I’m looking for another country now. Because I can’t stay in Latvia.”

* * *

Tatyana left the range on July 22. Presumably she was taken to the airport. Tatyana, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re okay and I wish you all the best. Thank you for sharing your story. Again, I’m sorry for using a fake name, but I would hate for something shitty to happen to you because of this blog post.

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Report on Aug 23rd save the Schoolhouse demo by OCAP!!!

24 Aug

On Aug 23rd at Moss Park poor people, activists and those in the Shelter system had a rally to save the Schoolhouse Shelter which is being closed down as part of the city of Toronto’s plan to gentrify the east end.

The Schoolhouse, one of the only wet shelters in Toronto has been open for decades and is one of the only homeless shelters that takes a harm reduction approach to alcohol. Given the fact that it is situated on George St, a poor neighbourhood that is slowly being surrounded by yuppie condos, closing the school house is part and parcel of removing poor people from the east end and a direct attack on the community.

After several speakers, people began to march chanting “save the school house” and ‘one two three four this is fucken Class war”. When the march went down george st residents cheered and one lit off fire crackers.

After dropping several banners, protestors entered a place next to “the street that Toronto forgot” aka George St. and wheatpasted over the big condo advertisements “This should be affordable housing. All in all the demo was a success and showed the state the capacity that poor people have to mobalize and fight!!!!