Progressive Calendar 06.10.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2010 15:09:33 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   06.10.10

1. Nurses strike       6.10
2. Eagan peace vigil   6.10 4:30pm
3. Northtown vigil     6.10 5pm
4. Single payer bash   6.10 6pm
5. NO DNC in Mpls      6.10 6pm
6. The Corporation/f   6.10 7pm
7. Rethink Afghanistan 6.10 7pm
8. AntiWarMN meets     6.10 7pm
9. Info into action/f  6.10 7pm
10. Pentel/Governor    6.10 8pm

11. Charles Young   - Does the ruling class really want to commit suicide?
12. Dennis Rahkonen - Gaza is in our hearts
13. Mark Drolette   - It's amazing what decades of shit can do
14. Dimitris Fasfalis - Class struggles heat up in Greece

--------1 of 14--------

From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at]>
Subject: Nurses strike 6.10

On Thursday June 10th, 12,000 nurses are prepared to walk out in an
historic strike that will be the largest in US history.  The battle is
over adequate staffing to ensure patient safety and pensions.  In these
times of economic crisis, hospitals are calling for further squeezing of
working people, while they rake in bigger profits.  We need to stand
together to support our sisters and brothers who are taking a stand.

Join Nurses on the picket lines for their one-day strike!
Picket Line Details
7 am on June 10 through 7am June 11. (Picket lines active 24 hours)
7am - 3pm
3pm -11pm

-Abbott Northwestern/Minneapolis Children's/Phillips Eye Institute:
Chicago Ave between 26th and 28th Streets, Minneapolis
-Fairview Riverside Hospital, 2450 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis
-Fairview Southdale Hospital, 6401 France Ave S, Edina
-Methodist Hospital, 6500 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park
-North Memorial Medical Center, 3300 Oakdale Ave N, Robbinsdale
-Mercy Hospital, 4050 Coon Rapids Blvd., Coon Rapids
-Unity Hospital, 550 Osborne Road NE, Fridley
-St. John's Hospital, 1575 Beam Avenue, Maplewood
-Bethesda Hospital, 559 Capitol Blvd, St. Paul
-United Hospital/St. Paul Children's, Smith Avenue, St. Paul
-St. Joseph's Hospital, 45 W 10th St., St Paul
To RSVP for the vigil and/or a picket-line shift by contacting Anna at
anna [at], or 612-379-4206, x102.
Complete, up-to-the-minute details are available at

Welfare Rights Committee PO Box 7266, Mpls MN 55407 pho: 612-822-8020 main
email: welfarerightsmn [at] alt email: welfarerights [at]

--------2 of 14--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 6.10 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.

--------3 of 14--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 6.10 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------4 of 14--------

From: Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition <info [at]>
Subject: Single payer bash 6.10 6pm


The MN Legislature is wrapping up the 2010 legislative session, though a
special session is still possible given the budget deficit and the recent
MN Supreme Court decision reversing the Governor's unallotment. Either
way, the wrangling at the state legislature has made the case for the MN
Health Plan abundantly clear; until health care coverage is guaranteed,
Minnesotans will remain vulnerable to political bickering and the poorest
and sickest will risk losing coverage with every budget shortfall. Despite
this fragile reality, we have much to celebrate. We added bill co-authors
and passed critical committees this session. A single-payer / MN Health
Plan resolution was overwhelmingly adopted at the state DFL convention,
and single-payer was well received at the Green Party and Independence
Party conventions. One IP delegate remarked, "This is the most important
issue being presented here." We agree. We plan to celebrate the hard won
accomplishments of the past year at our upcoming June 10th fundraiser. I
hope you will join us.

Amy Lange Executive Director

Sun You won't want to miss our Summer Single-Payer Celebration a
fundraiser to benefit MN Universal Health Care Coalition and Physicians
for a National Health Program- MN Chapter!

Thursday June 10th 2010
6:00-8:30 p.m.
Doors Open 5:30
Program begins 7:00
Downtown University Club
340 Cedar Street, Saint Paul 55101

Enjoy the musical talents of T Mychael Rambo, and Papa John Kolstad and
hear Senator Sharon Erickson Ropes, co-author of the Minnesota Health Plan
and Donna Smith, legislative advocate for National Nurses United /
California Nurses Association, featured in the movie Sicko, on the way
forward for single-payer.

The first ever MUHCC Single-Payer Leadership Award will be presented to
the honorable Senator John Marty. Come celebrate the accomplishments of
the single-payer movement and gear up for the steps ahead.

Live and Silent Auction      Light dinner      Dessert     Cash
Purchase Tickets $55.00 per person
for questions: email info [at] or call 651-641-4073

--------5 of 14--------

From: luce <luce [at]>
Subject: NO DNC in Mpls 6.10 6pm

The City of Minneapolis has put in a bid to get the 2012 Democratic
National Convention. If this sounds like a horrible idea to you, come to
an open meeting to start strategizing ways to lose the bid and spare our
city the pain of another convention.

First planning meeting with the goal of losing Mpls the 2012 DNC bid
Thursday, June 10, 6pm
Basement of Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis

They say they're "Resourceful, Ready and Reliable," but we are too!

--------6 of 14--------

From: Carol Masters <cmasters [at]>
Subject: The Corporation/f 6.10 7pm

The acclaimed film "The Corporation" will be shown at Holy Trinity Lutheran
Church June 10, Thursday, 7 pm. Free will offering.

--------7 of 14--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: Rethink Afghanistan 6.10 7pm

Please plan to join us next Thursday at the Parish Community of St.
Joseph, 8701-36th Avenue N., New Hope, to see the respected documentary,
"Rethink Afghanistan." We will begin promptly at 7 PM.  Like all of our
programs, this is free and open to all who are interested.

This DVD is being provided to us by Bob and Lu Carman and this is what
they had to say about it:

Rethink Afghanistan is a Robert Greenwald documentary film (DVD),
introduced by Senator John Kerry, and consisting of thought-provoking
commentary by many different persons in the USA, Afghanistan, Pakistan and
India who are knowledgeable and very much involved in efforts and
organizations dealing with Afghanistan. The various narrators and
commentators deal with many different aspects of what has happened and
what is happening in that country, and the video background is gripping in
what it shows of the reality of life for the Afghan people. Whatever one's
conclusion about continuing US military involvement in Afghanistan has
been, this film should inform your thinking about that country and US
efforts and involvement there. It is not a film one "enjoys"; it is a film
which will leave you "rethinking" about Afghanistan, and one you'll be
glad to have seen.

--------8 of 14--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject:  AntiWarMN meets 6.10 7pm

New Members Meeting*
Thursday, June 10th @ 7pm @ our office - 1313 5th St. SE, room 112 C in the
University Technology Building, Dinkytown - Minneapolis*

Come help organize against the war on Afghanistan and against US
intervention across the globe. we will be focusing at this meeting on how
we'll be participating in GLBT Pride this summer.  Come to an Anti-War
Committee meeting designed for new people!

--------9 of 14--------

From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at]>
Subject: Info into action/f 6.10 7pm

Film: 10 Tactics for Turning Information Into Action - June 10
June 10, 2010
University of MN Law School - Mondale Hall
Room 25
229 19th Ave S

This 50-minute film, "10 Tactics for Turning Information into Action,"
includes stories from more than 35 rights advocates from around the world
who have successfully used information and digital technologies to create
positive change. The film is produced by Tactical Technology Collective,
an international NGO helping human rights advocates use information,
communications and digital technologies to maximize the impact of their
advocacy work. Following the film, there will be a discussion on how we
can incorporate any of these new ideas and tactics into our own work here
in Minnesota.

This screening is sponsored by the New Tactics in Human Rights Project (of
the Center for Victims of Torture) and the University of Minnesota Human
Rights Center.

Free and open to the public.
CONTACT Kristin Antin kantin [at]

--------10 of 14--------

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: Pentel/Governor 6.10 8pm

Ken Pentel/ Erin Wallace for Governor Campaign Meeting
Learn about the three mandates of the campaign and how you can help.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
Location: Java J's, 700 N. Washington. Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55401

***** PRESS RELEASE ******

For Further Information: Ken Pentel, Governor candidate, 612-387-0601,
kenpentel [at]
Erin Wallace, Lt. Governor candidate, 612-385-1621, yoyolives [at]
Ken Pentel for Governor Campaign - Ecology Democracy Party

Ecology Democracy Party Endorses Ken Pentel for Governor

The newly founded Ecology Democracy Party has endorsed Ken Pentel in his
fourth run for the gubernatorial office in Minnesota.  May 08, 2010 marked
the formation of the Ecology Democracy Party through their inaugural
statewide convention at Brookview Park in Golden Valley, Minnesota.  Ken
Pentel won the Ecology Democracy Party endorsement for Governor with Erin
Wallace as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor.  On June 1, 2010,
Minnesota's Secretary of State affirmed that Mr. Pentel had enough
signatures to be placed on the November ballot for Governor with Ms. Erin
Wallace as his running mate.

The Ecology Democracy Party grew from the already flourishing Ecology
Democracy Network, established by Ken Pentel over the last two years while
bicycling over 6,000 miles, grass roots organizing around the State.  The
Ecology Democracy Party's Mission Statement reads in part that it "is
established to transition the thinking and action in our culture from a
human- to an ecologically-centered approach in relation to how we manage
or relationship with our home, planet Earth.  The Ecology Democracy Party
will restore a harmonious and sustainable relationship with our natural
environment through a structural change of the fundamentals of Minnesota
Government." A source in the new political party indicates this change is
to be brought about through the following three Ecology Democracy Party
mandates:  establishment of an ecology-based economy for Minnesota,
implementation of proportional representation for the State House, and
removal of private and corporate money in the people's government of

Ken Pentel is a Minnesota native and former Green Party gubernatorial
candidate who worked for Greenpeace for 11 years and for the Minnesota
Green Party for 12 years.  Ken is known for campaigning and organizing
around the state on bicycle.

Erin Wallace, a graduate from the University of Minnesota, resides and
works in Minneapolis as a funeral director.  She will be speaking in the
metro area while Ken campaigns across the State on bike and canoe.

Ken Pentel quote:  "The people who mobilize and vote for Erin and I should
know that if we are elected, our three mandates will form the basis of how
we will govern.  These are; the establishment of an ecology-based economy
for Minnesota, implementation of proportional representation for the State
House and lastly, a game-changer in this great State, the removal of
private and corporate money in the people's government of Minnesota.  In
the course of this campaign and beyond, it will be the responsibility of
the people in the field who mobilized, and all those who vote for us, to
give us the backbone to see this through. We know Minnesotans are up to
the challenge and we look forward to earning and maintaining their trust
and confidence."

Paid and Prepared for by the Ken Pentel for Governor Campaign P.O. Box
3872 Minneapolis, MN 55403

--------11 of 14--------

Does the Ruling Class Really Want to Commit Suicide?
A Hell of Their Own Creation
June 10, 2010

Last March I went to the Left Forum in New York, which is a yearly
gathering of liberals, progressives, anarchists, socialists, communists,
hippies, punks, mystics, conspiracy theorists and anti-conspiracy
theorists who are all trying to figure out how to get to a decent future
from the indecent present. Nobody, of course, knows how to do that. There
may not even be a path to a decent future from the indecent present, but I
always find the Left Forum hopeful because a few thousand people in one
place are at least putting their minds to the problem.

The panel discussion I most wanted to see (out of 300 or so) was called
"The Crisis That Gives the Capitalist Class Nightmares," because Michael
Hudson was speaking. Whenever Hudson writes something, I read it, because
he's one of a tiny number of economists with academic credentials who
predicted the present debt crisis. (Apparently not predicting crises is
necessary for tenure in most economic departments these days.) At the
panel, he explained that when labor is squeezed to the point that it can't
purchase anything, the capitalist is left with nothing to invest in,
except more debt, and so we end up with Wall Street creating ever more
complicated, ever more leveraged, ever more worthless junk for its
gambling habit. When this collapses, as it must, half the hospitals in
Latvia (which Hudson advises) have to shut down for lack of funds.

The next guy to speak was Hillel Ticktin, an emeritus professor of Marxist
Studies at the University of Glasgow. Whip smart, grumpy and funny,
Ticktin expanded on the theme of "fictitious capital," as Marx called
money made from money with no value added. Ticktin said we had reached the
last stage of empire with this humongous array of empty numbers in
computers that is our economy and recommended we all read Volume 3 of
Capital. Then he closed with a question: "Does the ruling class really
want to commit suicide?"

Every time I have watched the news since March, I think back to that
question and have an anxiety attack.

Because, yes, the ruling class is trying to commit suicide. In and of
itself, this would be a great boon to mankind. Imagine if the ruling class
admitted their abject failure to get anything right, and did the honorable
thing. Top management at Wall Street, the elite of both major parties,
their lobbyists, the big pr firms, the worst hacks of the corporate press,
most CEOs and COOs - what if they all just got in a big bathtub, conceded
defeat and opened up a vein like Frank Pentangeli in The Godfather II? Who
would miss them?

So suicide isn't the problem, exactly. The problem is that they don't know
they're trying to kill themselves, and it doesn't occur to them to behave
honorably. The ruling class is not Frank Pentangeli. The ruling class is
the husband who is failing at work, having his home foreclosed, his car
repossessed, his children are getting humiliated at school because they
aren't wearing the right clothes, the self-help books have failed, the
church offers no solace, television won't acknowledge his existence--so he
shoots his wife and four kids and then puts the gun in his mouth.

Thus the problem is murder suicide. The husband wants to kill the only
people in his life more powerless than himself, because they are living
reminders of his own shame.

Let me spell that out. The ruling class is the husband. Everyone who works
in the productive economy is the wife and four kids. The ruling class
wants to commit suicide because it has so completely failed and because
everything it believes is so obviously wrong. One part of the ruling class
brain knows it doesn't do anything worth doing, and another part of the
ruling class brain doesn't want to be reminded and lives in terror of
being exposed. This is called denial. To keep the denial in place,
evidence of failure must be destroyed. If you, oh reader, are the living
evidence of ruling class failure, it is a dangerous situation.

The ruling class wrecked the economy. That was a stupendous failure, but
at least they were wrecking a social construct that deserved wrecking.

Organizing labor on the principle that the guy with the most money gets to
tell everyone else what to do--how did that come to be considered a good
idea? How did that get equated with freedom? Every major religion warns
against greed, and somehow most of the United States has come to believe
that letting the greedheads run everything is efficient.

That's so 20th century.

The bigger problem is that the ruling class, in its murder suicide frenzy,
is killing nature. Nature is not a social construct. It's really there.
It's alive. As such, it is too painful for the ruling class to look at, so
they are killing it. Anything that reminds them of life, anything that
isn't money, has to go.

It's a mistake to fetishize all this evil and project it onto BP. BP is
one sociopath in a culture of sociopathy. If you read its "plan" for
dealing with oil spills in the Gulf, as some enterprising reporters did
for the Associated Press, it is a contemptuous joke from beginning to end.
It is full of bizarre lies and mistakes. The corporate flunkies who
accepted it at the Minerals Management Service should be in prison. The
company that wrote it, the company that had no plan whatsoever for dealing
with a deep blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, cares about brown pelicans like
Joran van der Sloot cares about young women.

The chorus of energy companies denying global warming wasn't killing
nature fast enough for BP, so it invited nature into a hotel room and
strangled her.

A prophecy: At some point this summer, a hurricane is going to blow
through the Gulf of Mexico. It's going to drown New Orleans in
carcinogenic sludge, again, and a day later it's going to be raining tar
balls on Nashville. People all over the South will go to church and demand
that Jesus save them. Jesus will choose this moment to make his return to
earth: "Hey, I told you 2000 years ago that it's easier for a camel to
pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. I
told you that the poor are blessed. I told you that as you treat the least
of these, you have treated me. That means if you oppress the poor, you
oppress me. That means if you drown pelicans in oil, you're drowning me.
But you didn't read that part of the New Testament. You only read that
weird symbolism in the Book of Revelations and argued about nothing while
the ruling class destroyed everything. You came to believe that my
teachings were somehow consistent with capitalism. I mean, where did you
get that from? I'm the guy who threw the money changers out of the temple.
You think the money changers of Wall Street are going to save you when the
ocean dies? You think I'm going to save you with some kind of rapture and
vacuum the believers into heaven? Not a chance. But you do have a choice.
You can deal with the ruling class now, or you can burn in a hell of your
own creation".

CHARLES M. YOUNG is a founding member of the collectively-owned,
journalist-run online newspaper His work, along
with that of colleagues John Grant, Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington, can
be found at

--------12 of 14--------

Gaza Is in Our Hearts
by Dennis Rahkonen
June 10th, 2010
Dissident Voice

Perhaps the greatest of all historical ironies - reflected in hypocrisy
assuming gargantuan proportions - rests with how those who were so
horribly victimized by the Holocaust essentially hold a Gestapo outlook
toward Palestinians today.

Good and evil have traded places, an astonishing transition brought about
by concretizing the "Never Again!" reaction to what European Jewry
experienced under Hitler to such a dogmatic hard line, myopically advanced
by an increasingly extremist Israeli leadership, that much of Israel's
population simply can't recognize what's plainly evident to most of the
rest of the world.

Namely, that its constant refusal to accede to the moral imperative of a
unitary Palestinian homeland - always brutally rejected with the facile
"threat to Israel's existence" rationale - objectively makes the Jewish
state our planet's worst, most unyielding human rights violator at this
moment in time.

As it has been, unconscionably, for the past sixty years.

It's that crazed one-sidedness, the bastard product of errant emotion and
worse politics, that made Israel think it was correct to dispatch
helicopter-borne commandos, with guns blazing, onto a humanitarian aid
flotilla peacefully moving through international waters at night.

It's why Gaza is cruelly, illegally blockaded in the first place, as
collective punishment for its populace freely voting to be represented by
Hamas, which has resulted in vengefully savage deprivation having to be
endured within one of the most densely-packed locales on earth.

The impact of that vengeance should offend everyone.

In late 2009, 60 percent of Gazans were "food insecure," as determined by
the UN's World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization.  An
additional 17 percent were deemed susceptible to food insecurity.

The UN Relief and Works Agency notes:

The number of Palestine refugees completely unable to secure access to
food and lacking the means to purchase even the most basic items, such as
soap, school stationary and safe drinking water - has tripled since the
imposition of the blockade in June 2007.

Two-thirds of those facing hunger are children, who suffer escalating
levels of malnutrition and stunted growth. Anemia among infants aged 9 to
12 months reaches 65.5 percent, according to a World Health Organization

Due to the blockade, there's been virtually no reconstruction of homes
obliterated in the 2008-09 Israeli attack upon Gaza. The UN Development
Program points out that, a year after that assault ended, at least 20,000
Palestinians were still displaced from the almost 3,500 homes the Israeli
aggressors destroyed. Less than 20 percent of schools had been rebuilt.

Let's not forget that Gaza is where globally outlawed white phosphorus
descended,  bringing fiery death to noncombatant civilians screaming in
terror below, as just the most egregious portion of the many war crimes
that Israel was documented by Human Rights Watch, and others, to have
engaged in during Operation Cast Lead.

What's especially galling is how Israel, and its unabashed apologists,
invariably resort to the use of one odious charge against their critics,
no matter how valid their complaints actually are, to attempt to obviate
their credibility.

They're always said to be anti-Semitic ranters, never mind how much blood
of innocents sickeningly covers Israeli hands!

When people of good will and conscience from all corners of the earth
arrive at the same outraged conclusions, based on an insistence that
morality not be chopped to pieces by double standards, they're simply
dismissed as Jew haters.

But, right along, both within Israel and elsewhere, countless progressive
Jews have been at the forefront of principled protest.   They clearly
appreciate that the surest way to spread the most viral, true
anti-Semitism is for Israel to continue policies that make Jews seem to
fully conform with the worst stereotypes that have often been maliciously
hurled their way.

This much should be very evident:

The most reactionary elements of the Israeli Knesset and the
ultraconservative Netanyahu clique can't be right while all those incensed
multitudes protesting in streets and public squares in far-flung countries
are wrong.

Reality reveals the precise opposite.

The key difference in all this is that Israel's retrograde leaders have
Gaza in their bomb sights, and squeezed within the stranglehold of a
dreadful embargo, while those calling for an end to the terrible
depredations and denials imposed upon it, and on all Palestinians, hold
Gaza in their hearts.

Universal solidarity supporting eminently just causes may see passionately
desired success temporarily deferred, but the fine impulses behind the
best human sentiments invariably triumph.

Of this we can be assured.

Freedom is coming to Gaza, and a fully independent Palestine will
unquestionably rise!

Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive
commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the
'60s. Read other articles by Dennis, or visit Dennis's website.

--------13 of 14--------

It's Amazing What Decades of Shit Can Do
by Mark Drolette
June 9th, 2010
Dissident Voice

My whole life, to a certain age, I believed "Israelis good, Palestinians
bad". That's because that's all I heard when I was growing up, either from
my parents or from TV or from newspapers or from adults or from wherever.
It was the meta-narrative: Israelis good, Palestinians bad. In 1967, when
I was eleven, Israel's smashing victory in the Six Day War was a wonder to
behold and a cause for celebration. The plucky little guys had won, and
won resoundingly. Take that, you stupid camel jockeys!

I knew of the Holocaust, of course, and was repulsed by it. Who wouldn't
be? I asked the standard question: How could something like that happen?
How could an entire population stand by and watch as a megalomaniacal
leadership ratcheted up the lunacy daily, until rights had been stripped,
property stolen and myriads murdered?

I couldn't fathom it. Until, that is, the Bush/Cheney junta systematically
used 9/11 to shred what little remained of the Constitution and sent the
U.S. crashing fool-speed ahead down the path of neo-fascism. Then,
fathoming commenced. But I digress.

Or do I?

Through no fault of the U.S. media or my formal education, I came to learn
about Israel and its "special relationship" with the U.S. In dribs and
drabs, I learned about Zionism. Over time, I learned about
neoconservatives. (Often redundant.) I learned about AIPAC and the (not
so) great influence these all have had on American foreign and domestic
policies. I learned that what Israel's champions decided was best for
Israel was often not best for Americans.

I learned this was just tough shit.

I learned about the Balfour Declaration, the Stern Gang, Irgun, the King
David Hotel bombing, Deir Yassin, Nakba, the USS Liberty, Mossad, Sabra
and Shatilla, "A Clean Break," the bulldozing of olive groves and homes,
white phosphorus, torture, collective punishment, humiliation, assault,
murder, annexation, settlements, Rachel Corrie.

I learned that a favorite activity of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is
to smear feces (theirs) all over, well, everything inside Palestinian
buildings they've overrun. This is apparently great fun.

I'm not so hot on Israel anymore.

So what changed my view? Why, Israel, of course. Or rather, the actions of
its government and military. It seems fairly clear: Israel takes the
approximately four billion U.S. taxpayer dollars it's given annually to
subjugate an entire population, while its "leaders" provide evermore
risible justifications (as well as a stiff-as-you-please collective middle
finger) to anyone who dares question their chosen nation's God-given right
to imprison, brutalize and kill as many people as necessary so it can take
their shit. (Maybe that's why they leave so much in return.)

But perhaps I'm being unfair. After all, what other nation possessing 150
nuclear warheads and one of the best-equipped (we can safely leave out
"well-trained") armies on the planet wouldn't feel threatened by a
boatload of peace activists in international waters bringing food,
medicine and clothing to an impoverished ghetto?

Poor Israel. Their troops were only defending themselves, you know.
Against dangerous people (terrorist sympathizers!; cue theme to The Hate
Boat) with clubs and sticks who, amazingly, took offense at being
assaulted by armed troops dropping from helicopters in the middle of the

I know what you're thinking: "Armed? But the Israelis were only carrying
paint guns!" And how do we know this? Because Israel says so. Hear what
one brave wounded IDF goon, sorry, soldier, tells ABC News:

"I was armed with a paint gun and had no other weapons. It was a civilian
paintball gun that any 12-year-old can play with. We didn't come for war,
we just came to tell please stop, move the vessel back".

I believe him. Don't you? Because (repeat after me): Israelis good,
Palestinians bad. And, being the good guys, Israelis would never lie.

Except constantly.

The Israelis were defending themselves? The activists provoked the attack?
The good and well-meaning soldiers, with the highest reluctance of course,
were forced to execute, I mean, shoot people because they'd
incomprehensibly been set upon while slithering down ropes bearing
children's toys? (Which, shazam!, turned into lethal weapons, just like
magic.) Hmm. Perhaps we should see what the law (yes, that pesky thing)
says about Israel's actions. (Not that that would matter much - or at all
- to Israel.)

According to Jewish Peace News, Linda Brayer is "a human rights lawyer who
specializes in the laws of war and international law in representing
Palestinians and who lives in Haifa". She writes:

The attack took place in international waters against ships flying under
national flags of countries with which Israel is not at war, namely
Turkey, Greece and the United States..

Since no state of war existed at the time, the attack on these vessels
constitutes an act of war against those governments under whose flags the
vessels were sailing..

Because this attack was carried out in international waters, the status of
the relationship between Hamas, or any other Palestinian body, and the
state of Israel is of no relevance whatsoever. Likewise, neither the
blockade of Gaza nor Israel's claims and legal interpretations regarding
it has any bearing on its acts of aggression in international waters..

It is irrelevant what Israeli ministers, generals, admirals, or soldiers
thought or intended. The test is in what they did. What they did was
engage in acts of war using weapons of war in international waters against
vessels that are protected not only in peacetime but also in times of war.
Israel has therefore committed both crimes against the peace and crimes
against humanity."

Every single act carried out by the Israeli military forces in
international waters on May 31, 2010, are unqualifiedly and absolutely
violations of international law.

Too bad Brayer's so wishy-washy. But I think, with effort, we can infer
her meaning:

Israel fucked up. Big-time.

To Israel, I say: the world is on to you. Even kept-in-the-dark and
brainwashed Americans are beginning to see you for what you are: A
cowardly, soulless bully who's so busy crying "Anti-Semitism!" (no, sorry,
dears; it's simply pro-justice) that not an atom of reason can slip into
your tone-deaf collective consciousness. Here's my fantasy: The U.S. snaps
the purse shut on you and unequivocally condemns your unconscionable,
homicidal actions. I realize Sarah Plain has a better shot at saying
something comprehensible before this occurs, but it's a nice dream.

'Cause here's the deal: Enough is enough. Enough lies, enough excuses,
enough murder, enough destruction, enough occupation, enough apartheid,
enough brutality, enough faux victimhood, enough state terror, enough of
the U.S. kissing Israel's ass.

That's right. Enough shit.

P.S. Long-time reporter Helen Thomas has resigned over her recent
videotaped comments (part of which were "Tell [Israel] to get the hell out
of Palestine"), remarks that the Obama administration was lightning-fast
to condemn as "offensive and reprehensible".

A White House condemnation of Israel's murder of nine peace activists is
yet to be detected.

Mark Drolette writes in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at:
mdrolette [at]

--------14 of 14--------

Class Struggles Heat Up in Greece
By Dimitris Fasfalis
b u l l e t
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Workers in Greece today stand in the forefront of the converging European
class struggles against big capital's attempt to make working people pay
the costs of its crisis.

Mobilizations against this austerity drive are spreading across Europe. In
France, strikes and demonstrations were held on May 27 and a day of
actions is planned for June 24. In Portugal, 300,000 working people
demonstrated in the streets of Lisbon on May 30 to express their rejection
of the socialist government's austerity plan. In Spain, public employees
took to the streets on June 2. In Italy, a national demonstration was held
in Rome on June 5, with strikes and other actions planned up to June 14.
In Great Britain, the unions and left-wing organizations are organizing a
day of demonstrations on June 22. In Romania public employees took to the
streets on June 4.

The ongoing resistance in Greece shows labour activists and militants of
the anti-capitalist left that their struggles can create new paths forward
in determining the outcome of the present economic crisis. The latest
24-hour general strike in Greece, held on May 20, registered a success of
the labour movement in overcoming the propaganda campaign of the mass
media and the slanders coming from the PASOK (Pan-Hellenic Socialist)
government. More than 50,000 people took to the streets in Athens and
demonstrations were held in the country's major urban centres.[1] Public
school teachers took part massively in the Athens demonstration. The
participation in the strike was very high in the public sector but less so
in the private. The major trade union federations also organized a day of
meetings on June 5. This fight is far from over.

The general strike and demonstrations on May 5 were an overwhelming
success. Launched by the General Confederation of Workers in Greece (GSEE)
and the state employees' trade-union (ADEDY), the appeal to cease work for
24 hours was observed massively by both public and private-sector workers.
Demonstrations were held in all the major cities across Greece except
Larissa: in Tripoli and Patra in the Peloponnese, in Ioannina and
Igoumenitsa in Epirus, in Herakleion (Crete), and also in Salonika, the
metropolis of Northern Greece, where thousands of demonstrators took to
the streets.

It is in Athens, however, where the largest demonstrations were seen. The
streets of central Athens were taken over by a human flood of some 250,000
citizens. Its components reflected the working class of the Greek
metropolis in all its diversity: workers of the private sector, such as
those of the Skaramanga shipyards of the Piraeus, workers of the public
utilities and the state, such as those of the electricity company (DEI),
the teachers and the nurses of the public health system, unemployed and
retired workers, immigrant and undocumented workers, university and
high-school students. The slogans coming from the ranks of the
demonstration all expressed the people's refusal to pay the costs of the
capitalist crisis triggered by global finance: "No to the anti-workers
tempest,. .No to flexibility, yes to the 35-hour workweek,. .Workers,
arise! They're taking everything we got,. .We paid their profits, we will
not pay their crisis.".[2]

Thirty-year old Johanna demonstrated to "say no to the IMF. They want to
make us believe that they had to come here [to "rescue" state finances],
but I do not believe it in the least. Who would accept such treatment?"

A profound feeling of injustice is driving the crowd's protests. Yannis, a
thirty-year old professor, explained to l'Humanit reporter:

"Everyone feels that there is no justice. The money is there but they do
not want to go and get it... I do not see another way out: they offered us
only one option".[3]

The stakes of the movement against the IMF/European Union/Greek PASOK
government austerity plan were explained by Ilias Vretakou, vice-president
of the ADEDY union:

"We're sending from Athens a message of struggle and resistance to workers
of all the European countries, against the barbarism of capital markets,
governments and the European Union. The government, the IMF and the
European Union have decided to drive the workers, and Greek society, to
the most savage social barbarism that we have ever known. They're
levelling workers and society down to the bottom. They're stealing our
wages, they're stealing our pensions, they're stealing our social rights,
they're stealing our right to life. They're imposing the law of the jungle
in work relations,... reducing the wage rate for extra hours. They make it
possible for employers to lay off an older employee and hire, with the
same money, three or four young workers under precarious conditions".[4]

This speech drew enthusiastic applause from the crowd that had just booed
away the GSEE leader Panagopoulos, criticized by rank-and-file unionists
for reluctance to fight the austerity measures in February.[5] Among the
other speakers, Claus Matecki (of the German union DGB) and Paul Fourier
(of the French General Confederation of Workers) also aroused vivid
applause, especially when the latter declared: "Today, we're all Greeks!
Thank you and good luck".[6]

Among the political forces of the Left, the Coalition of the Radical Left
(SYRIZA) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) participated massively in
the protests. The social-democrats (PASOK) did not have an organized
presence, despite internal stirrings among the left-wing of the party in
face of the austerity plan implemented by the PASOK government.

Many among the demonstrators voted PASOK in October 2009. They are now
disappointed and angry to find out that the triumphant Left that drove out
of government the right-wing corrupt government of Kostas Karamanlis (New
Democracy) gave in, without any fight whatsoever, to the neoliberal
politics of finance capital. Dimitra, a retiree residing in the Athens
region, hoped that the PASOK victory would "make things better".
Disappointed, she's furious when she thinks of PASOK Prime Minister George
Papandreou: "When I think that I've voted for this moron!"[7]

Media coverage of the May 5 demonstrations was centred on the
"koukouloforoi," the "masked ones," who physically attacked symbols of
market mass culture and finance capitalism. The Marfin bank on Stadiou
street in downtown Athens was attacked by Molotov cocktails and burned.
Three employees of the bank lost their lives in the fire. The Marfin staff
were compelled to work that day despite the call to strike and were
literally locked into the bank. There was no emergency exit plan, making
their evacuation all the more difficult.

The response of the labour movement was immediate and crystal clear. In
the evening of May 5, the ADEDY president explained that these "fascist
practices aim to scare people at a time when mass struggle is necessary to
halt the measures that throw the life of Greeks into hardship".[8] The
following day, May 6, a mourning crowd gathered at Syndagma Place, in
front of the Bouli (Greek Parliament), to denounce the adoption of the
austerity plan by the elected representatives of the National Assembly.[9]

This spark of street violence is not unrelated to popular exasperation
toward the Papandreou government. The austerity plan imposed on the Greek
people by the financial markets - the leading financial institutions, the
IMF, and the European Union - is a blatant denial of national sovereignty
and democracy. Furthermore, the government has stood its ground since
February and refuses to heed the message echoing from the streets.
Instead, it heightens the authoritarianism of the austerity plan: once it
has been adopted by the National Assembly on May 6 (by the votes of the
PASOK socialists, of New Democracy and the nationalist-racist LAOS), it
will be implemented through a series of orders from the Finance Ministry,
leaving no room for parliamentary interference and limiting the elected
representatives of the people to a purely formal advisory capacity.

The plan's lack of democratic legitimacy thus opens the door, in some
components on the fringes of the social movement, for concepts of the
legitimacy of street violence (clashes with the police, burning of various
symbols of the capitalist order, etc.). The party of the capitalist order
headed by PASOK has thus as a corollary the violence of the
"koukouloforoi" in the mobilizations. Quite apart from the "masked ones,"
the blatant authoritarian drive of the austerity measures nourishes an
acute anti-parliamentarian tendency within sections of the workers.
movement. Slogans such as "Let it burn!" or "Give the thieves to the
people!" were shouted several times in the demonstration. Dozens of
demonstrators have also attempted to cut through the security lines of
Parliament, before being violently pushed off by police forces.[10]

Looking Before and After May 5

The May 5 actions registered a success because they were prepared: the
united mass mobilization was not a spontaneous response, but rather the
result of three months of mobilizations by workers' unions. As early as
February 24, the union movement engaged itself in fighting the announced
austerity plan, thus denying the ruling class and its spokespersons a
monopoly of information and politics. It is precisely that criticism,
carried out through actions in the streets and workplaces, which has
allowed the social movement to communicate possible scenarios other than
the one written by finance capital. Hence, the reactionary and
demobilizing notion that this plan is a necessary evil has been shaken,
opening the way for a popular counterattack.

On February 24, the first general strike responded to the austerity
measures announced by the government. In Athens, 45,000 persons were in
the streets; in Salonika, there were 10,000. In the Athens demonstration,
Dimitri, a 28-year old civil engineer, explained the reasons of the
mobilization: "We want a job, decent wages and a true social insurance
system. Our country has to respect European Union norms which are
unfair".[11] A second 24-hour general strike took place on March 11
coupled with demonstrations in the country's main cities.

The 24-hour general strikes (February 24, March 11, May 5 and May 20) were
without a doubt the most visible examples of the popular mobilizations
against austerity. But other actions, more limited in scope, have played a
crucial role in building up a momentum and ensuring continuity in the
resistance movement. Fabien Perrier, reporter of the French Communist
Party daily l'Humanit, underlined the atmosphere of social agitation that
took hold of Athens in the end of April: "In Athens, each day, the streets
are echoing the shouts of demonstrators and of angry professional

Many of these mobilizations helped to prepare for the general strike. For
instance, on March 5 mass meetings were held in many cities to build the
general strike of March 11. The meeting in Volos (a city on the coast of
Thessaly, north of Athens) brought together not only unionists but also
laid-off METKA workers, preceding a solidarity concert of many artists. In
the same manner, May 1 boosted the mass mobilizations before the May 5
general strike. The state employees. union (ADEDY) called state employees
to strike from May 4 for the same reason. Its call was followed, and
demonstrations were held on that day.

These limited mobilizations also allowed the labour movement to engage the
battle to win over public opinion. Many actions thus responded to the
government at each turn of the crisis. Hence, when George Papandreou held
a press conference on April 25 to announce he would trigger the European
mechanism of financial support, hundreds of demonstrators responded in the
streets of downtown Athens shouting: "The struggle of the people will
destroy the IMF slaughterhouse".[13] Two days later, on April 27, civil
servants were striking and teachers were camping on Syndagma Place, in
front of Parliament, to denounce the bleeding suffered by the public
education system. In the meantime, Piraeus harbour was blocked by a
24-hour strike of seamen following the call of their union, the PNO.

Step by step, what seemed inevitable in the minds of the majority became a
question to be settled by the relationship of forces. An opinion poll of
the Greek newspaper To Vima estimated the proportion of those against the
reduction of wages at 79.5% of the population.[14] Within the social
movement, participants are gaining in confidence, and the idea that the
outcome of the struggle is not yet settled is gaining ground. Despina, 27
years old, didn't take part in the May 4 demonstrations of public
employees. She underlined however to the Humanit reporter that "those who
are on the move are right: they have understood the stakes of this
movement. The civil servants are the first [direct victims of austerity
measures]; but all of Greece is going to suffer. The unions are united,
and the government is starting to shake".[15]

Every progressive-minded person hails Greek labour's resistance to the
dictatorship of finance capital. The mobilizations of the past three
months have been worthy of the political legacy of the struggle against
the junta dictatorship (1967-1974) and of the earlier resistance to
fascism. Many crucial questions are yet to be settled.

First of all, the strategy followed by the union leadership is open to
question. In the face of a government which refuses to heed the protests
of the people in the streets, and moreover compels parliament to implement
measures dictated from big business, isn't there a risk that repeated
24-hour strikes could become proof of the movement's powerlessness to
change the course of events? The labour movement in France suffered a
demoralizing setback in the spring of last year after three rounds of
24-hour general strikes. The outcome of events is not yet decided in

But time could be on labour's side, provided that its leaders have the
necessary boldness. How long, for instance, could the PASOK government and
its European counterparts hold on in face of an unlimited general strike
led by general assemblies of the mass movement?

A second question relates to the social movement's organizational
framework. Will it be able to unite into a single voice or platform? Will
it be able to establish a democratic and unifying organ speaking in the
name of its different components in the streets and ensuring autonomous
control of its mobilizations?

These questions seem crucial since they will determine during the coming
months the success or failure of labour's attempt to give birth to new
possibilities and thus fight off the fatality of neoliberal barbarism. The
stakes are high: the immediate future of the social state is being decided
today in the streets of Athens.

Dimitris Fasfalis is from Quebec, and is now living in Paris. An earlier
version of this article was published in French under the title: "La
rsistance sociale en Grce: bilan et perspectives". It has been translated
and updated by the author. This article published in conjunction with
Socialist Voice.

1. See .Grce, aprs la grve. by Andreas Sartzekis.

2. Avgi, May 6.

3. L.Humanit, May 6.

4. Avgi, May 6.

5. The first strike against the austerity measures was launched by the
state employees. ADEDY on February 11 while the GSEE top leadership
refused to join their forces, arguing that the interests of private sector
workers were not endangered by the government.s announcements. It is
useful to underline that Panagopoulos is a member of the Panhellenic
Socialist Movement (PASOK) headed by Prime Minister George Papandreou. In
face of the mounting pressure from the ranks, GSEE leaders rallied with
the ADEDY February 24 during the first 24-hour general strike. L.Humanit,
May 6.

6. L.Humanit, May 6.

7. L.Humanit, May 11.

8. Avgi, May 6.

9. Avgi, May 7.

10. Avgi, May 6.

11. L.Humanit, February 25.

12. L.Humanit, April 27.

13. Avgi, April 25.

14. L.Humanit, May 5.


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