Tuesday, March 19, 2019

3211. Poem: The Seed

By Jamie K. Reaser, "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World," March 17, 2019

The Seed
If I am the embryo of the seed,
let me call this in which I am planted
my Mother’s womb.
Here I am held.
Here I am nourished.
Here I am the possible human.
My umbilical chord is my root structure –
anchoring me to ancestral knowledge
and into the rich, organic detritus
of eroded lives
and savory fecal matter.
Everything that once was is a resource.
Rain – the joy and grief of the world –
soaks and softens me.
Without it I become hardened, and
have no hope of intimacy with the light.
I must be cracked open to grow.
My limbs are the structures through which
my soul can reach, extending itself,
simultaneously longing to receive
and lamenting the ephemeral nature
of my gifts.
I show up because it’s how I pray.
I unfurl because it’s how I answer prayers.
I grow branches and leaves so that 
we have a place to meet.
I can bear flowers and fruit,
delicate, fragrant, and aphrodisiac sweet,
but not without having known relationship.
This is a place of co-creation.
Only the lonely believe in solitary forces
and the adversarial stance of their 
own mid-day shadow.
So, you see, these seeds of mySelf
that I place in your hands…
These are my way of saying, “I believe in you.”
I’m asking you to do the next planting.
(c) 2012-2019/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press
Image: Pawel Jonica
Follow Talking Waters on FB or http://www.talkingwaters-poetry.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 17, 2019

3210. Trump Administration Loosens Sage Grouse Protections, Benefiting Oil Companies

By Coral Davenport, The New York Times, May 15, 2019
The sage grouse, known for its distinctive mating dance.CreditCredit Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management.
The Trump administration on Friday finalized its plan to loosen Obama-era protections on the habitat of the sage grouse, an imperiled ground-nesting bird that roams across 10 oil-rich Western states.
The plan, which would strip away protections for the bird on nearly nine million acres of land in the West — making it easier for oil and gas companies to drill on that land — was first detailed in a draft proposal published in December.

The sage grouse plan is the latest step in a series of moves by the Trump administration to promote oil and gas drilling on public land, in support of what President Trump has called a policy of American “energy dominance.” The architect of the plan, David Bernhardt, is a former oil lobbyist who now serves as acting head of the Interior Department.

Mr. Trump has nominated Mr. Bernhardt to formally assume the position of interior secretary.
“The plans adopted today show that listening to and working with our neighbors at the state and local levels of government is the key to long-term conservation and to ensuring the viability of local communities across the West,” Mr. Bernhardt said in a statement on Friday.

Environmentalists criticized the plan as a giveaway to the oil and gas industry that would devastate the nesting habitat of the bird.

“By punching oil-rig-sized loopholes through these plans, the administration will drive the sage grouse closer to an endangered species listing,” said Jesse Prentice-Dunn, policy director for the Center for Western Priorities, an advocacy group. “Unfortunately for the grouse, Bernhardt is also leading a charge to gut the Endangered Species Act.”

Mr. Bernhardt has led an effort to overhaul the 1973 law, which was designed to protect the nation’s wildlife. He has pushed for changes such as requiring the federal government to take into account the economic impact of placing a species on the endangered species list. Currently, the law only requires that regulators take into account the scientific evidence showing whether a species is threatened.

Under a sage grouse plan put forth in 2015, during the administration of former President Barack Obama, oil and gas drilling was banned or limited in 10.7 million acres where the bird lives, under a stringent designation known as “sagebrush focal areas.” The new plan would limit that designation to all but 1.8 million acres, mostly in Oregon and Montana.

Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon, a Democrat, offered praise for the protections in her state afforded by the Trump administration’s plan.

“Balancing sage grouse habitat protection and economic development requires mitigation of negative impacts,” she said. “This agreement is a critical step that marks a shift away from planning toward active conservation and landscape management to protect this iconic species. Oregon’s bounty is beautiful and worth continuing to protect and fight for.”

Monday, March 11, 2019

3209. The Path to Climate Justice Passes Through Caracas

By David Swartzman and Quincy Saul, Counterpunch, March 11, 2019
Caracas, February 2011: Hugo Chavez celebrating the 12th anniversary of the taking office as the President of Venezuela
It is critical to understand how blocking the regime change agenda with respect to Venezuela is integrally connected to confronting the challenge of climate change.
Fighting the Media War
Today we are all witness to the subversion and slander of one of our best hopes. Venezuelans call it “the media war.” Karl Marx called it “the war of calumny undertaken by the lying power of the civilised world,” and went on to describe how “all the sluices of slander at the disposal of the venal respectable press were opened at once to set free a deluge of infamy in which to drown the execrated foe. This war of calumny finds no parallel in history for the truly international area over which it has spread, and for the complete accord in which it has been carried on by all shades of ruling class opinion.”
These words of Marx describe an older media war –  a war against the International Workingmen’s Association, which later became known as The First International. Today they could be applied seamlessly to the media war against the democratically elected government of Venezuela and the revolutionary process it represents. And the comparison is historically and politically sound, because Venezuela was host to the founding in 2017 of the First Ecosocialist International– a piece of world news which has been all but completely drowned out in the furor to topple the only government in the world which has laid out a comprehensive plan for an ecosocialist mode of production “to preserve peace in the planet and save the human species.”
It hurts us to read and write about Venezuela today. A tyrannous troika of mendacity, ignorance and laziness rules with near impunity in the world or journalism; from Fox News to the BBC, from CNN to the Guardian, from Amnesty International to the Committee to Protect Journalists, from John Oliver to Jacobin Magazine. We would much prefer to write about how we have been moved to joy and courage and compassion by the mass popular democratic movements in this country. We would prefer to write about the sense of goodwill, hope, and inspiration which emanates from the grassroots Venezuelan revolutionary process. As Che Guevara said, revolutionaries are guided by great feelings of love.
The central purpose of this article is to discuss how the Green New Deal and other climate justice initiatives in the global north have so much to learn and gain from the Bolivarian revolution. But before we can trace this connection, before we can share our love, the way must be cleared of the deception which prevents hearts from beating together across borders. In the face of the scorn which is being heaped upon the Venezuelan revolution today, we must enter the fray and draw our pens to fight in this media war. If our language is sharp, it is because we are at war, a war which calls for sound and fury commensurate to the tales told by idiots.
Will the real shithole countries please stand up?
As many other commentators have detailed, the self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido – for whom billions of dollars belonging to the Venezuelan people have been expropriated by US and British banks – is a virtually unknown figure in Venezuela,. He simply declared himself sovereign, not even during an election year, and not according to any law. The speed and shamelessness with which the leaders of so many countries have abandoned any pretense to democracy, in their official recognition of Guaido, is rather remarkable. But let’s start by clarifying that this rejection of representative democracy only currently afflicts a minority of the world.
Once the EU came out for Guaido, it really seemed to some people for a moment that the whole world was against Maduro and against democracy in Venezuela. While most are not quite as shameless as Bono, a lot of people in the USA and Europe still really do believe that “we are the world.” However the fact fremains that it is only a minority of the world’s population which has tossed democracy into the dustbin of history. No one in Africa or Asia has recognized Guaido as legitimate. Is it that these countries don’t count? (Do black lives matter?)
There is something to be learned from this. A map compiled by Venezuela Analysis reveals, for anyone who cares to investigate, who the real shithole countries are. Perhaps we should not be surprised. In the moment when so-called liberal democracies around the world elect fascist leaders, they have reminded us that democracy is not on their agenda. So be it: Vassal states of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your souls.
Neither Guaido nor Maduro?
With that said, a few paragraphs are also necessary to address certain sources, in Venezuela and internationally, who reject both the ongoing coup attempt, and also the current government: “Neither Guaido nor Maduro!” This discourse too must be discerningly dissected before we can lay the basis for solidarity between global climate justice activists and the Venezuelan revolutionary process.
There is a strange phenomenon taking place in the international left media, in which leftish reporters seem to be getting all their news from the right. Even Amy Goodman stooped to this in an interview with Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza, citing studies by the IMF and Human Rights Watch, each of which has a well-documented history of sowing chaos and counterinsurgency in Venezuela. But the prize for a leftwing newspaper with a rightwing research wing goes to Jacobin. “Maduro was not democratically elected,” proclaimed a recent article– a lazy lie which has been repeated about every single election in Venezuela since Chavez first came to power, despite extensive reports and denunciations of international observers. [1] Phrases such as “the extent of popular power in Venezuela has diminished significantly in recent years” are published without a trace of evidence. In the hegemony of “human interest”  journalism, personal anecdotes eclipse historical analysis, and no one seems to note the demonstrations of thousands of people in support of Maduro. It is a surreal situation in which the masses of working-class Venezuelans are invisibilized in favor of solidarity with their simulacra.
Here’s another gem from Jacobin: “Opposition to Maduro is now common not only among upper and middle classes (as it has been for some time), but also among the popular sectors. Polls indicate that most Venezuelans want Maduro out”. The first claim is unsubstantiated in any way. Widely available videos and photos of opposition demonstrations reveal quite the opposite – they are lily white and racist to boot; they wave US and Israeli flags, and glorify Trump. And then a poll carried out by a think tank based in Washington DC is cited as an example of Venezuelan popular will! But perhaps it is folly to focus on this magazine which rejects the politics of its namesake; which emerged from Trotskyism only to wind up as the loyal opposition to multicultural capitalism.[2] Better to focus on other voices, which are taken more seriously on the international stage.
When it comes to the radical Venezuelan anti-Chavista/anti-Maduro intellectuals on the left, it is our experience that these voices are restricted to the marginal enclaves of the urban intelligentsia. These perspectives are articulated, in our experience, by professional intellectuals without organizations or bases; those who Antonio Gramsci called “‘vanguards’ without armies to back them up, ‘commandos’ without infantry or artillery.” But to an undiscerning foreign observer, especially those who read only English, these voices carry a greatly disproportionate weight compared to the forces they represent within Venezuela. We’ll limit ourselves to one example. Edgardo Lander is one of the more honest critics. (We share and applaud his ecosocialist philosophy, but not any of his arguments or tactics in relation to the government in the current conjuncture.) He admits in a recent article: “It’s not much more than a dozen people so it’s more of an opinion group… We aren’t a party, we don’t have a lot of people we can call upon to rally but we manage to have some impact in terms of public opinion… To be honest, the Citizen’s Platform itself has no mass capacity to mobilise”. Thus it is disconcerting and deplorable to observe the analysis of these isolated intellectuals repeated abroad – from Amandla Magazine in South Africa to ecosocialist collectives in South Asia – as if they were the spokespeople of the revolutionary masses.
Let’s be clear – critiques of the bourgeois, colonial state and the political economy inherited by the Chavista regime are rich and diverse throughout the country; these critiques are articulated mostly by outspoken Chavistas, who very often quote Chavez and Maduro on this subject. But we have yet to encounter a grassroots mass movement which denounces the Maduro government as illegitimate or authoritarian. The accusation of “authoritarianism” in the name of international solidarity is odd alongside near-total silence about the constant killings of social movement leaders in neighboring countries,and especially odd when it comes from people who are citizens of countries that are engaged in systematic torture and outrageous war crimes. While authoritarianism can be diversely defined, we will not deign to denounce claims that the Venezuelan government is a dictatorship; the so-called radical critics are invited to consult a dictionary.
We earnestly ask these radical anti-Chavistas – what purpose do their words serve in the current conjuncture? With which grassroots movements are they concretely in solidarity? Do they write for foreign NGOs or for popular newspapers? Who benefits when ecosocialists like Lander stage meetings with proto-fascists like Guaido? These “radical critics” who are lionized abroad but have no significant popular support at home, appear to want to criticize their cake and eat it too; to live in a revolutionary process but criticize it from the academic sidelines. Meanwhile, for those anti-Chavista critics living in the United States, it is difficult to stomach the spectacle of their posturing: Good citizens of a ruthless empire which is actively working at every level to overthrow a foreign democratically elected government, who take it upon themselves to denounce that foreign government for not being “radical enough”. Who is not being radical enough, really?
In this deeply complex and decisive historical moment, we share the humility of Lenin when he said: “I don’t know how radical you are, or how radical I am. I am certainly not radical enough. One can never be radical enough; that is, one must always try to be as radical as reality itself.” We too would like to witness the demolition of the bourgeois state, and the abandonment of the rentier petroleum and mining economies which are a legacy of colonialism. But we don’t believe a new mode of production can emerge by making demands and denunciations. We are not particularly outraged that Chavez and Maduro have failed to reverse 500 years of colonialism in a couple decades of a constitutional revolution. We struggle for solidarity with a path towards the future based on the realities of the world we live in today. Our 2015 proposal for the solarization of the Venezuelan economy and Mercosur (“An Ecosocialist Horizon for Venezuela; A Solar Communist Horizon for the World”) outlines such a proposal.
The Green New Deal in World-Systemic Perspective
One of us has been writing extensively for over a decade about how a Green New Deal (GND) should be embraced by ecosocialists as a site of class struggle.[3] Now that the GND is getting a lot of attention as a potential prevention program to avoid catastrophic climate change, it is important to note the contributions of the Green Party of the United States (GP) to making the link between the GND, climate change and the U.S. imperial agenda. Howie Hawkins, an ecosocialist, ran for Governor of New York with a GND in his platform starting in 2010, and the two Presidential campaigns of Dr. Jill Stein, which brought the vision of a GND to the attention of millions, made a significant impact. The GP’s  GND includes cutting the military budget and ending the imperial U.S. foreign policy which is in utter contradiction to the agendas of both the Republican and Democratic Party leadership. Nevertheless, there is growing dissent in Congress with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) vigorously challenging Elliot Abrams in a recent hearing, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) standing out. And because of the assassination of Khashoggi and their murderous war in Yemen, the U.S./Saudi alliance is now under attack in Congress.
But in the Western Hemisphere, foreign policy consensus still prevails, so the Democratic leadership is currently giving a pass to the Trump coup threat to Venezuela. Only someone completely brainwashed by the imperial mass media can believe that this regime change agenda is actually in place because of humanitarian concerns – with Trump, Pompeo, Bolton and the war criminal from the Reagan era Elliot Abrams at the helm, noting that Venezuela has the biggest oil reserves in the world. There is little doubt that these political instruments of militarized fossil capital want this oil extracted. In an interview on Fox Business, Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton was open about the US- led coup in Venezuela being motivated by oil and corporate interests. Bolton said, “We’re looking at the oil assets…We don’t want any American businesses or investors caught by surprise. …we’re in conversation with major American companies now that are either in Venezuela, or in the case of Citgo here in the United States…It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. We both have a lot at stake here making this come out the right way.”
Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world: “With 300,878 million barrels of proven reserves, Venezuela has the largest amount of proven oil reserves in the world. The country’s oil is a relatively new discovery. Previously, Saudi Arabia had always held the number one position.  The oil sand deposits in Venezuela are similar to those in Canada. Venezuela also boasts plenty of conventional oil deposits. Venezuela’s Orinoco tar sands are significantly less viscous than Canada’s, so the oil sands there can be extracted using conventional oil extraction methods, giving it a considerable advantage over the Northern American rival in terms of capital requirements and extractions costs.” (World Atlas: World’s Largest Oil Reserves by Country”)
Extraction of this huge reserve would be a climate killer, while defeating the imperial agenda driving the Venezuela coup will potentially make an important contribution to global climate security. Venezuela must be left to determine her own destiny, making possible an alternative scenario, upon which the fate of the biosphere may hinge: that most of the oil reserve will stay in the ground, while a small fraction will be used as an energy source for a solar energy transition for Latin America. While Venezuela’ leaders may continue brag about their huge reserve, they surely know that most of it must remain in the ground to be consistent with Venezuela’s own ratification of the Paris Agreement, not to mention its own Plan of the Homeland, recognizing that much more radical curbs on greenhouse gas emission than presently committed are imperative to keep warming below the goal of 1.5 degrees centigrade.
As a major oil producer, Venezuela has the potential to significantly contribute to a solar energy transition, using this fossil fuel with the lowest greenhouse gas emission ratio to energy consumed as an energy source to replace itself. Venezuela could lead a wind/solar power transition in Latin America using a small fraction of her liquid petroleum reserves, while still gaining revenue from oil exports as well as contributing to the same energy transition globally. Implementing this approach would be a critical component of Venezuela’s self-identified path of ecosocialist development. The proven reserves of conventional light to heavy oil in Venezuela are estimated to be 39 billion barrels, (excluding 259 billion barrels of extra heavy oil in the Orinoco basin)[4], although the further expansion of this reserve has been neglected in recent years, particularly since the downturn in the economy following the sharp fall in the price of oil and sanctions regime imposed by the U.S. We have estimated that it is possible to reach the goal of ending energy poverty – necessary for a high quality of life for 400 million people in what were the Mercosur countries – and moreover that this can be achieved in 15 years or less, using 0.15 billion barrels of this oil per year to create a solar power infrastructure.[5]
But of course militarized fossil capital has other plans –  namely the destruction of the Bolivarian Revolution, coupled with extracting this huge oil reserve, regardless of the climatic and environmental consequences. And Cuba is explicitly next on the list for regime change; the fossil empire continues to plot the elimination of this example of ecosocialist transition, noting her vigorous conversion to agroecologies and cooperative ownership.[6]
And not coincidently, the US imperial regime change agenda is also aimed to Iran, which ranks 4th in proven oil reserves with 158,400 million barrels, behind U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Canada.[7] Europe is resisting U.S. pressure to terminate the Iran nuclear deal, but in a reprise of the Monroe Doctrine, Europe is now supporting the U.S. regime change agenda.
Only a resurgent global movement can block this outcome. This challenge should be considered by climate and energy justice activists, and all those supporting the GND initiative in the US Congress, the growing Sunrise movement in particular. Finally, blocking the Trump coup against Venezuela would be an important step to undermining the power of the Military Industrial Complex. The US military is both the biggest polluter and also the biggest obstacle to freeing up resources necessary for a robust GND and creating a global regime of cooperation – so necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change in the ever-shrinking time we have left.
However, we must be on our guard, and be careful students of history. Like the New Deal before it, the GND’s devils are in its details. The New Deal famously left out women and African Americans, and less famously sealed the systematic de-radicalization of the US labor movement.[8] Similar dangers present themselves to climate justice activists today in the context of the GND. All the more reason to engage in the debates and struggles around and for the GND, as we have insisted from the beginning; not as a compromise, but as a class struggle.
Over a decade ago, one of us wrote: “The path to climate security must pass through Gaza, i.e., climate security for humankind will only be achieved with the end of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, termination of Israeli apartheid regime, and the full realization of the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people.”
The argument still stands, more than ever. Today, noting the historic solidarity between the Venezuelan revolutionary process and the Palestinian people, we must add that the path to climate justice must pass through Caracas; i.e., climate justice for humanity will only be achieved if the world’s largest reserves of fossil fuels are mobilized for a continental and then global energy transition; that this is only possible with the termination of the US war of counterinsurgency and destabilization against the Venezuelan government, allowing them to focus their attention on the full realization of an ecosocialist mode of production. The legal, scientific and spiritual mandate for this ecosocialist revolution are articulated by the government in the Plan of the Homeland (2013-2019) by an independent coalition of scientists in the National Strategy for the Conservation of Biodiversity (2010-2020) and by the global grassroots alliance constituted in the First Ecosocialist International (2017-2517).
Does anyone who is serious about global climate justice have another proposal? Those who “stand for” neither Guaido nor Maduro are not forthcoming with a strategy to prevent climate catastrophe. Venezuela is the only country in the world with the energy resources and political-legal structure necessary to launch a revolutionary global energy transition against its class enemies. (Perhaps those who despise Maduro would prefer to trust the infrastructure development necessary for climate justice to the royal family of Saudi Arabia?) The international left has still not awoken to the fact that the largest oil reserves in the world are under the legal control of an ecosocialist government, whose current supreme power is neither Guaido’s national assembly nor Maduro’s executive government, but a constituent assembly composed of representatives of the working classes. It’s past time to wake up.
Those of us around the world who are looking for a way to save the biosphere, from Extinction Rebellion to the Sunrise Movement to the Green New Deal, should make it a top priority to join in concrete solidarity with both the revolutionary process of Venezuela and the government it has repeatedly elected. The farcebook spectacle of dueling proclamations of “I stand with” / “I stand against” (when it is obvious to all concerned that everyone is in fact sitting down in front of their computers) would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high and the consequences so tragic. Not only history, but the geologic record itself, will record our actions and inactions in defense of climate justice, whose fate is played out today on the streets of Caracas. Meanwhile, the people of Haiti are showing the world what real international solidarity looks like – thousands of people in the streets.[9]
The path to climate justice passes through Caracas, but it doesn’t stop there. It passes through and into the countryside, where a radical rural renaissance is taking place with the formation of ecosocialist communes in every bioregion. A new socio-territorial order, as called for by Chavez in his final “Strike at the Helm” speech to his ministers, and a return to Mother Earth, as articulated in the Combined Strategy and Plan of Action of the First Ecosocialist International, awaits the solidarity it deserves.
David Schwartzman is the co-author of The Earth is Not for Sale.
[1]  Jacobin goes on to list a number of “frauds,” each one of which is parroted from the bourgeois press: Jacobin uncritically cites CNN, BBC, and the Wall Street Journal. Each of these claims has been denounced in detail by reporters and journalists. Like the cartography of an empire imagined by Jorge Luis Borges, a comprehensive denunciation of each of these articles would necessarily be as long as the original articles themselves. The monolingual culture of the US left is no excuse; each of these allegations have been extensively covered on Venezuela Analysis and Telesur English, among other sources. With international solidarity like this, who needs counterinsurgency?
[2] A more honest standard of Trotskyism is upheld by the Fourth International. We do not agree with much of this either, but a full counter-analysis is not possible within the confines of this essay. We can only suggest that it takes a serious study of dialectics and the inter-penetration of opposites, to begin to understand philosophically how the far left joins forces with the far right in moments of historical crisis.
[3]  “Green New Deal: An Ecosocialist Perspective,” by David Schwartzman, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 2011. See also the presentation “Green New Deal: System Change and Energy Transition,”2014, among others.
[4]  IESA (2016). Venezuela Energy in Figures 2014-2015, Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración, Venezuela, p. 21.
[5]  Schwartzman, D. and Saul, Q. (2015). An Ecosocialist Horizon for Venezuela: A Solar Communist Horizon for the World, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 26 (3), pp. 14-30. The current production of crude oil in Venezuela (January 2019) is 1.5 million barrels/day, equivalent to 0.5 billion barrels/year, a decline from 0.9 billion barrels/year in 2016;  https://tradingeconomics.com/venezuela/crude-oil-production.
[6]  See chapter 8 in Schwartzman, P. and D. Schwartzman. 2019. The Earth is Not for Sale: A Path Out of Fossil Capitalism to the Other World That is Still Possible. Singapore: World Scientific.
[8]  “Whose New Deal? The New Deal from the Standpoint of its Victims,” by Quincy Saul, Smashthisscreen, 2011 http://smashthisscreen.blogspot.com/2011/03/whose-new-deal.html
[9] “Haiti’s Unfolding Revolution is Directly Linked to Venezuela’s,” by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberte, February 2019: https://haitiliberte.com/haitis-unfolding-revolution-is-directly-linked-to-venezuelas/

Saturday, March 9, 2019

3208. An Ecosocialist Green New Deal: Guiding Principles

Humankind has reached a moment of existential crisis. Human activity is causing disastrous climate disruption and Earth’s sixth mass extinction event, triggering critical losses of biodiversity. We are already locked in for global warming that will have catastrophic effects, and we are on a slippery path to our own extinction. The 2018 Special Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns unequivocally that “without societal transformation and rapid implementation of ambitious greenhouse gas reduction measures, pathways to limiting warming to 1.5°C and achieving sustainable development will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.”
Yet, the crisis we face exceeds ecological breakdown. Deepening inequality, suppressed democracy, precarious jobs, racial and gendered violence, border hostility, and endless wars make up the terrain on which climate destabilization will be unleashed. The most vulnerable members of society will be hit hardest, first, and suffer most.
We must solve the climate crisis and the inequality crisis together. Climate remedies in the context of austerity will produce a popular backlash, as we see in the yellow vest protests against a fuel tax. Corporations profiting from fossil extraction have long worked to turn workers against environmentalists, claiming that clean energy would be a job killer. But working class and poor people’s quality of life, gravely threatened by climate disruption, would greatly improve in a just transition.  Because corporate capitalism rewards extraction to concentrate wealth, it must be replaced by a sustainable economy. A Green New Deal can begin the transition from exploitative capitalism to democratic ecological socialism.
The urgency and scale of the crisis we face demand solutions that meet the magnitude of this moment. The ineffectual gradualism and corporate obedience demonstrated by the U.S. government’s climate response has proven to be a dead-end for humanity. We need rapid, systemic transformation that heals the stratification of wealth and power while putting decarbonization and justice at the forefront.
We need a Green New Deal. We demand a Green New Deal, and we demand that it serve people and planet—not profit.
For too long, our livelihoods have been undermined by the pursuit of profit. Land expropriation, mass murder, and slavery on a vast scale built the great fortunes, the markets in cotton and industrial goods, and the system of finance and extraction that are with us today. Their legacy is plain to see. People are starving while we throw away food. Buildings are empty while people sleep on the streets. Working class communities, especially those of color, are being poisoned by polluting industries that are wrecking the climate, all for the sake of making the rich richer.
We can no longer allow our lives and liberation to be undermined by an extractive system that uproots wealth from nature, communities, workers, and vulnerable peoples, while imposing onto them all of the costs. We will no longer allow corporate monopolies and their political servants to control the resources we need and the outcome of our lives. We demand justice and power for The People to determine our future—a future that belongs to everyone living and yet to live.
Future generations are entitled to a beautiful planet with a vibrant natural world that can sustain a good life for all people.  Creating a fully ecological society will require a revolutionary transformation to replace the capitalist social order based on exploitation and oppression with a new society based on cooperation, equity, and justice. A Green New Deal must serve as a bridge toward this future. To that end, we support the resolutions introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the House and Sen. Ed Markey in the Senate while recognizing that they are conversation starters—not complete and adequate blueprints. Their proposals are facing fierce opposition from corporate politicians and nervous ridicule from Wall Street pundits, but the opportunity to campaign for a radical and effective Green New Deal remains in our hands. Comments by the Climate Justice Alliance and the Indigenous Environmental Network advance the vision of what a Green New Deal rooted in a truly just transition should look like.
The radical Green New Deal we need will not be introduced in a single bill or resolution—it can only emerge from the grassroots struggles of working people and social movements. Together with our allies, we can organize a powerful multi-faceted movement to catalyze the major left turn in American politics and massive structural changes that are necessary to ensure climate justice and human survival.
Because we see the fight for the climate as a struggle against capitalism itself and the myriad forms of oppression which sustain it, we propose to organize within Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and without around the following guiding principles for a radical Green New Deal:
1.) Decarbonize the economy fully by 2030. We need to set a more ambitious timeframe than the IPCC 1.5°C pathways suggest because of the United States’ historical responsibility for carbon pollution, because highly industrialized societies have the greatest capacity to rapidly reduce emissions and afford the shift from endless fossil-fueled growth to regenerative systems, and because faster decarbonization will give us the greatest chance of avoiding more catastrophic climate tipping points. We must mobilize all carbon-intensive sectors of the economy to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions at the source, and to scale up processes that safely and naturally draw down and remove excess carbon from the atmosphere—not as market-based “offsets” for ongoing emissions, but to begin restoring a safe climate for all.
2.)Democratize control over major energy systems and resources. Nationalize fossil fuel producers to phase them out as quickly as necessary—no new fossil fuel projects can be authorized or built. Socialize fossil-dependent industries so that they can be scaled back or transformed to fossil-free processes. Establish public ownership of utilities and the electric grid, and support energy cooperatives and community solar and wind projects for democratic control of the shift to 100% renewable energy. Shift from monoculture and factory farms to diversified agroecology. Expand municipal and state public banks, finance community land trusts, and end water privatization. Reinvest in and expand national parks; vastly expand national forests, grasslands, and wildlife preserves to enable natural carbon capture; and preserve public lands for future generations. Encourage replacement of individually-owned vehicles and short-haul air travel with expanded regional and high-speed electric rail, free public transit, shared vehicles, bicycles and other non-fossil-fuel modes of transportation in ways that benefit disadvantaged communities. The future is a public good, not a private luxury.
3.) Center the working class in a just transition to an economy of societal and ecological care. Guarantee a job with union wages and benefits to everyone who wants one by creating millions of public sector jobs and funding massive direct investments to build decarbonized infrastructure in critical sectors like renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, soil and ecosystem restoration, environmental impact mitigation, and climate adaptation while also expanding support for low-carbon care sectors like healthcare, education, and domestic work. Empower workers with stronger labor protections and rights to collectively organize. Promote worker-owned and worker-controlled cooperatives and enterprises at all levels of the economy. Ensure workers’ democratic control over the use of technological innovation and automation at work. Reduce the work week and guarantee substantial, paid parental leave and vacation time for all workers.
4.) Decommodify survival by guaranteeing living wages, healthcare, childcare, housing, food, water, energy, public transit, a healthy environment, and other necessities for all. Ensure market forces do not displace frontline and working class communities from their neighborhoods by implementing universal rent control, and work cooperatively with communities in the line of climatic danger to relocate to safer grounds.  Make college education free so everyone has access to learning skills that may better facilitate the rapid transition of society. Ensure land and resources are prioritized for building resilient communities and ecosystems for the many, not the few.
5.) Reinvent our communities to serve people and planet, not profit. Facilitate the creation of neighborhood transition councils as hubs of distribution, education, participatory planning, and democratic decision-making. Prioritize funding for projects that build community health and wealth, beginning with working class, racialized, and Indigenous communities that are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and collective struggles for environmental justice. Decriminalize, decarcerate, and demilitarize spaces across all areas of society. Legally and materially empower communities to meet human needs in ways that redress social and environmental injustices, including economic, racial, colonial, and gender-based oppression. Work within cities, towns, and rural communities to provide better and more sustainable lives through improved land use, sprawl repair, and support for household and neighborhood downshifting. Fund targeted cleanup efforts to address environmental injustices and meet a demand of clean air, water, and soil for all. Help communities plan resilience and prepare for climate shocks, material shortages, and other consequences of blowing past planetary boundaries.
6.) Demilitarize, decolonize, and strive for a future of international solidarity and cooperation. Enact policies and join in treaties to meet the existential threat of climate change and abandon the doomed strategy of global military domination. United States treaty commitments must account for our historical responsibility for the largest total and per capita greenhouse gas emissions, which will drive climate change for generations to come. Build consensus throughout the Global North for decarbonization targets that greatly outpace those of less industrialized countries, which have contributed the least to and will suffer the most from global warming. Welcome refugees, share life-saving technologies freely, and provide mitigation and adaptation resources requested by peoples in the Global South to whom we are materially and energetically indebted. Recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, with rights to free, prior, and informed consent before activities that will affect their territory or environment. Accept the decisions of Indigenous communities regarding the construction of future green infrastructure projects that impact their lands and the living beings they support. Remove United States military presence, influence, and occupation around the world; end military aid and arms exports; and demilitarize our borders.
7.) Redistribute resources from the worst polluters with just and progressive taxes on the rich, on big corporations, and on dirty industry, as well as by diverting funds away from policing, prisons, and our government’s bloated military budget, which have nothing to do with defense of people living within American borders and everything to do with maintaining imperial dominance over other nations and capitalist control of the world’s resources. United States monetary policy has financed endless wars and wealth extraction by elites for long enough—it’s time to use it to fund the transformation we need.  
These guiding principles are just a beginning, not an endpoint, for DSA’s engagement in the campaign for a Green New Deal. We agree with the call of CJA to develop a Green New Deal process that is transparent, inclusive, and democratic. We must warn all politicians that we will not accept a watered-down Green New Deal that they exploit as a mere electoral slogan. They will either fight for the radical Green New Deal that emerges from our coalition or be exposed as collaborators with the ecocidal elite who have no concern for our future.
Our role is to help build a militant mass working-class movement that is powerful enough to secure human flourishing for all beyond the critical next decades, not just survival for some. Together, we can break the power of capitalists and guarantee the regeneration of a vibrant natural world that is home for humanity—and all forms of life—for many generations to come.

Friday, March 8, 2019

3207. U.S. Gears Up for War on Venezuela

By Jeff Mackler and Bruce Lesnick, Socialist Action, March 5, 2019
February 19 protest in Santo Domingo, D.R., against U.S. intervention in Venezuela. 
Photo: Tony Savino / Socialist Action
The relentless U.S. imperial beast has embarked on a full-scale, openly declared, bipartisan regime-change war aimed at overthrowing Venezuela’s democratically elected government headed by President Nicolás Maduro.
Top U.S. officials—from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton and special envoy Elliot Abrams of Iran/Contra infamy, to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and pretend socialist Bernie Sanders—almost daily take to the airwaves, with the world’s corporate media cheering in lockstep, insisting that “all options are open,” including overt war via direct U.S. military intervention.
Sanders demanded that Venezuela open its borders to “humanitarian aid,” while DSA Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez waffled on the issue.
There are only two sides in the present conflict, period. One either supports the victory of the Maduro government over the U.S. onslaught, or one sides with the imperialist aggressors. There is no third option! And since the imperial U.S. war machine serves the same wealthy 1% that is responsible for cutbacks, austerity, exploitation, repression, and devastation in the U.S., the effects of a defeat of the Venezuelan people would be keenly felt by all working people here at home. This is why we must mobilize to demand:
• U.S. Out Now!
• End the Sanctions!
• Hands Off Venezuela!
President Trump’s most determined thrust toward war was set for Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Colombian border town of Cúcuta and at a manufacturing site at the Brazilian border, where U.S.-financed and orchestrated “humanitarian aid” conveys attempted to force their way into Venezuela, without success. The move was thwarted by Bolivarian National Guard forces and thousands of Venezuelan workers, peasants, and youth who blockaded the various bridges leading into their country.
The planned imperialist intervention was designed to serve as spectacular media opportunity depicting “murderous” Maduro forces turning back unarmed “humanitarian aid” trucks filled with food and medical supplies bound for the “starving people” of Venezuela.
Center stage in this crudely-orchestrated scenario was assigned to the U.S. and CIA-appointed puppet “president” Juan Guaidó, who slipped into Colombia to lead what was touted as a massive rebellion against the Venezuelan government. The high point of the event was projected to be mass desertions from the Bolivarian Armed Forces and Guaidó’s return to Venezuela, via a U.S. escort to be sure, as the nation’s new president. A vivid eyewitness account was presented by the weekly Latin American Summary (Resumen LatinoAmericano) in a Feb. 23 on-the-scene article entitled, “Bolivarian Venezuela Scores Another Strategic Victory”:
“Suddenly, as they rolled across the bridge on the Colombian side, they [the “aid” trucks] were set on fire by a group of guarimberos [road blockers] who sprayed the vehicles with gasoline while they were being filmed and photographed by many reporters.
“But since the hegemonic media are the violent advance units of mass mind poisoning, they invented another matrix of lies by accusing Chavismo supporters of starting the fire. What’s more, they told us that it was the members of the Bolivarian National Guard, who were stationed far from the scene, who were to blame for this clumsy action. And this morning every major corporate news agency from the National Public Radio (NPR), New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, the Guardian on down were reporting this as the gospel.
“What they didn’t say is that the thugs ‘hired’ by the opposition addicted to Guaidó and protected by the Colombian police (there are videos on the internet as evidence) became irate because things didn’t go well and they didn’t get paid their agreed upon fees. That’s why a hooded mob gave the ‘contractors’ a good beating. This also happened to Guaidó supporter Congressman José Antonio Olivares, who was hit in the face and head by a group shouting, ‘thieves, pay what you promised.’”
March 2019 Venez. Miami (Marty)
Hands Off Venezuela demonstration in Miami, Fla., on Feb. 18. (Photo: Marty Goodman / Socialist Action)
In a Feb. 27 address to the UN Security Council, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza claimed that some of the “aid” trucks sent to Colombia’s border with his country were found to contain nails and wire—which could be used in constructing barricades. He produced photographs to back up his assertions.
Antiwar activists may remember how in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan’s Deputy National Security Adviser, Elliot Abrams, and his CIA cohorts used planes with fake Red Cross markings to send arms to the Contras, who were fighting to overthrow the popular government in Nicaragua, violating U.S. and international law in the process.
In the end, Guaidó, who now calls for direct U.S. military intervention, was compelled to admit that his “humanitarian aid” gambit was a failure, as was his boast that 600,000 Venezuelans would mobilize in Caracas to demand the government’s resignation. The small groups that did take to the streets in Caracas threw rocks at government soldiers. Guaidó’s claim that some 400 Venezuelan soldiers had deserted to his side was left unsubstantiated; the Venezuelan government put the figure at 20.
U.S. economic warfare
While Guaidó’s hoped-for triumphant re-entry into Venezuela as the nation’s savior proved to be farce, the real war waged by the U.S. against Venezuela remains deadly serious. The sanctions and related economic measures imposed by the U.S. against oil-rich Venezuela have been draconian, if not unprecedented. These include instructions to all U.S. banking institutions to seize hundreds of billions of dollars in Venezuelan accounts and transfer the funds into accounts payable to puppet president Guaidó.
The details of this have been well documented. Here it is sufficient to report that the full force of the U.S. leading capitalist banking elites, from the Bank of America to the J.P. Morgan Chase financial behemoths, have joined in stealing funds generated from the sale of Venezuelan oil in the U.S. and around the world. Add to this the U.S.-pressured decision of the British ruling class to sequester Venezuelan gold deposited in British banks to the tune of $1.3 billion, and the severing of Venezuelan access to the world’s lending institutions, and you have nothing less than a U.S.-led war against the Venezuelan people.
Indeed, a U.S. Army document published in September 2008 by Wikileaks demonstrates that the U.S. government sees economic aggression as a key component of its warfare strategy.
On Feb. 25, Vice President Pence demanded that all Latin American countries “freeze the assets of Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA.” Pence, according to the Feb. 25 New York Times, “also warned some countries in the region that have conspicuously sought to remain neutral in the crisis convulsing Venezuela that they cannot remain so, singling out Mexico and Uruguay.” The endlessly pontificating and threatening Pence declared, “We believe there can be no bystanders. No one on the sidelines of this, particularly in our hemisphere.”
Despite Guaidó’s abject failure at the border, the U.S. persists in demanding that its allies accept Venezuela’s being effectively expelled from the world economy. Insisting on the present legitimacy of the historic U.S. imperial credo embodied in the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, Trump’s partisan warmakers proclaim that Venezuela is today situated in the U.S. “backyard” and, therefore, barred from exercising its sovereign rights as a nation.
In the same breath, they assert that Venezuela’s dire economic straits, including major food and medical shortages and a raging inflation, are of Venezuela’s own making! “The nation with the largest oil reserves in the world,” according to the cynical imperialist interveners, “can’t feed its own people.” Nothing could be further from the truth!
Pence announced that U.S. military planes were consciously violating Venezuelan airspace to find future “humanitarian aid” access routes into Venezuela from Brazil and Colombia.
“There is no turning back,” Pence insisted, declaring that, as in Libya, where U.S./NATO and allied forces from Qatar and other Gulf State monarchies destroyed the infrastructure of that nation and murdered thousands, including its president Muammar Gadhafi, the U.S. was seeking to construct yet another “coalition of the willing” to do its bidding.
With the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela makes a prime target for U.S. profit-hungry corporate titans. However, there’s another dimension to the current aggression. U.S. oligarchs, who represent a tiny portion of the population but wield the lion’s share of political and economic power, cannot abide any group stepping out of line, be it at home or abroad. Though they pretend to support democracy, in truth, democratic rule by the majority is to the ruling rich like a cross to a vampire. They will never give up their power and privileges voluntarily, regardless of the wishes of the other 99% of the population.
The current attack on Venezuela demonstrates what happens when a majority democratically decides to defy the dictatorship of the wealthy 1%: at such a time, those at the top shed their democratic masks and strike out with vicious, deadly force. While mobilizing today to defend Venezuela’s democratic right to self-determination, working people in the U.S. would do well to remember this lesson of who really supports democracy and who really promotes violence.
The U.S. is no newcomer to engineering coups in Venezuela. Its 2002 effort, backed to the hilt by the Bush administration, lasted for 48 hours and included the arrest of President Hugo Chavez by a core team of U.S.-paid generals. In the intervening hours before massive mobilizations forced Chavez’s release, the coup makers passed 49 decrees abolishing the government’s progressive social measures while privatizing Venezuela’s oil industry, all in the name of returning the country to economic and social stability.
Similarly, the U.S.-engineered 1973 coup against the popular Salvador Allende government in Chile put the rightist General Augusto Pinochet in power. Capitalist stability was restored by Pinochet’s slaughter of 60,000 Chilean workers herded into a sports arena or otherwise murdered out of public view. The string of U.S.-backed coups in the region also includes Haiti in 1991 and 2004 and Honduras in 2009.
Cuba calls for worldwide mobilizations
Anticipating the possibility of another such regime-change slaughter, the Cuban newspaper Granma published a government statement entitled, “It is imperative to halt the imperialist military adventure against Venezuela.” Cuba’s revolutionary government called for massive worldwide mobilizations in support of Venezuela’s sovereignty.
On Feb. 23, the “humanitarian aid” invasion date set by Trump and Co., an estimated 150 antiwar protests, mostly in the U.S., demanded, “U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!” and “No to a U.S. Coup!” The Oakland, Calif., demonstration of 200 activists, initiated by a broad range of antiwar and social justice forces, including the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), won the unanimous endorsement of the delegates to the San Francisco Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
To the consternation of U.S. officials, Cuba, as well as Iran, Russia, and China—all sanctioned or threatened with severe economic measures by the U.S.—joined forces to deliver tons of food and medical supplies to beleaguered Venezuela. Russian and Chinese agreements to expand purchases of Venezuelan oil are justly seen by the Maduro government as vital and widely viewed, regardless of motivation, as mutually beneficial.
Estimates of the cost of the U.S. economic war against Venezuela exceed $7 billion this year and is expected to rise to $30 billion in the years ahead.
No doubt the solidarity of revolutionary Cuba, itself invaded (in 1962), embargoed, and blockaded by the imperialist beast for nearly 60 years, is widely seen among Latin America’s working masses as an example of socialist politics in action. It was revolutionary Cuba that, along with Venezuela in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina had devastated much of New Orleans, offered to send serious humanitarian aid to the people of that city, including vast numbers of doctors and medical supplies. U.S. officials rejected this “no strings attached” offer.
In contrast, today, the strings attached to the phony U.S. “humanitarian aid” include a military invasion, conquest of Venezuela, and its return to colonial status. Demonstrating his extreme imperial arrogance, Trump bragged that Cuba and Nicaragua were next in line for colonial conquest.
Venezuela’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, while stating that the events of Feb. 23 demonstrated that “the momentum of the coup is over,” took great care to make clear that Venezuela was incapable of resisting a full U.S. invasion. Venezuela’s sole defense, he stated, was in the expected solidarity of the Latin American people, a factor that he obviously held high in cautioning that a U.S. invasion would extract a great political price across the continent. Arreza added that should a U.S. invasion become a reality, the Venezuelan people would defend their country with their lives.
Socialist vs. “pink” revolutions?
Venezuela’s “pink revolution”—as with all of Latin America’s recent experience with the political rule of social-democratic, reformist, or left nationalist governments that promised to improve the lives of the working masses without fundamentally challenging their nation’s capitalist and private property foundation—has proved to be inadequate to the task.
John Pilger’s Feb. 22, 2019, Counterpunch article entitled “The war on Venezuela is built on lies” makes this absolutely clear. Pilger, a longtime admirer and friend of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and a sympathetic, anti-imperialist friend of Venezuela, explains in great detail what has been widely viewed as Venezuela’s democratic electoral process and its significant social achievements.
But Pilger’s balance sheet includes this painfully accurate yet contradictory statement: “For all the Chavistas’ faults—such as allowing the Venezuelan economy to become hostage to the fortunes of oil and never seriously challenging big capital and corruption—they brought social justice and pride to millions of people and they did it with unprecedented democracy.”
The iron laws of capitalism, whether in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world, repeatedly demonstrate that advancing the interests of the vast majority is inherently incompatible with defending the prerogatives of the minority ruling-class capitalist elite. Venezuela is a classic case in point. The Chavez/Maduro governments, as Pilger painfully notes, “never seriously challenged big capital,” that is, the overwhelming ownership and control by the “1 %” of Venezuela’s major industries—including its oil, partial “nationalizations” notwithstanding—its land, banking, and related financial institutions, basic resources, systems of transportation, shipping, etc.
Venezuela’s land largely remains the private property of big landowners. Its oil resource, vast as it is, remains dependent on imperialist ownership and control of the necessary infrastructure—refineries, pipelines, transport, etc.—to bring it from the ground to the market place. Indeed, Venezuela’s thick oil is largely incapable of passing through its pipelines without the importation and utilization of refined U.S. oil products to sufficiently dilute Venezuela’s crude.
In short, the Chavez/Maduro project of “coexisting” with capitalism left it incapable of developing a rounded economy capable of producing its own food—Venezuela imports almost all of its food—and instituting a semblance of planned and balanced economic growth aimed as satisfying human needs as opposed to capitalist profits. Today, 70 percent of Venezuela’s economy remains in capitalist hands, not to mention some 70 to 90 percent of its media.
Rhetoric aside, Venezuela is no socialist economy. The rhythms of its economic, and therefore social development, are contingent on the exigencies of the world capitalist market. When world oil prices, always manipulated by the U.S. and a few of the most powerful oil producers, plummeted from over $110 per barrel to less than $40 over the past decade, Venezuela’s economy suffered greatly and become increasingly subject to imperialism’s ever-deepening destabilization measures.
The Chavez government’s conscious decision to avoid any fundamental break with capitalism left it unprotected, as was the case with similar reform-minded governments in Brazil (Lula), Ecuador (Correa), Nicaragua (Ortega), and all the others. The Chavistas sought to coexist with the “boli-bourgeoisie” (Venezuelan capitalists) who occupied essential parts of the government infrastructure and were included in Venezuela’s United Socialist Party. Capitalism and government corruption are inseparable. In a true socialist society, real power resides in the democratic ownership, operation, and control of society’s wealth and resources by the working-class majority.
In contrast to Venezuela’s reform-minded but capitalist-committed Chavistas, Cuba’s socialist revolution of 1959 proceeded to rapidly, in Fidel’s words, “nationalize the capitalist class down to the nails in the heels of their boots.” It quickly established a planned economy based on meeting human needs, not capitalist profits; it distributed the land to the long-oppressed and exploited peasantry; and it armed its population to defend all of those gains. In consequence, Cuba’s proud revolutionary achievements remain largely intact and a shining example to oppressed people everywhere, despite more than a half-century of U.S. imperialist efforts to restore it to its former neo-colonial status.
The way forward for Venezuela
Venezuela today stands at the threshold of social change. It can take the Cuban route and move toward a fundamental break with capitalist domination or it can continue on the dead-end path of “peaceful” co-existence with an imperialist-backed internal capitalist elite. The latter course, as history has repeatedly demonstrated, is a sure road to disaster.
Genuine socialist revolution, established via direct and democratic rule of the working-class majority, requires the formation of a deeply-rooted mass revolutionary socialist working-class-based party with a program and cadre that have absorbed the lessons of history and are prepared to challenge capitalist/imperialist rule fundamentally. While such a party does not exist in Venezuela today, the conditions for its formation, given the deep radicalization brought on by the immediate threat of a U.S. invasion and the experience of millions with the failures of previous reformist projects, are propitious.
In the current context, the best defense is a good offence. There is nothing the Venezuelan government can do to placate the rapacious capitalists in the U.S. or within Venezuela. Appeasement will not work. Power must be met with power. And the only source of power within Venezuela that can match the imperial behemoth at the gates is an emboldened, organized, mobilized working class headed by a mass revolutionary socialist party.
A defeat for working people in Venezuela at the hands of the U.S. ruling rich would be a setback for working people the world over. The social forces attacking Venezuela are the same as those blocking efforts to seriously address climate change; the same as those promoting mass incarceration, racism, sexism, deportations, homophobia, and economic inequality; the same as those attacking unions and pushing austerity; the same as those advocating endless war. U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!