US threatens China, Iran and the EU

ANSWER coalition protest against US aggression towards Iran

Hardly a day passes without President Trump and the US government threatening another country: North Korea, China, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Russia, Syria, Iran and the European Union (the list goes on) have all been warned. Threats are accompanied by sanctions, blockades, trade wars and military manoeuvres; either the disobedient get back in line and do what they are told – or else. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, US ruling class strategy sought to prevent any power or combination of powers challenging its dominance, either globally or regionally. With the US’s relative economic decline this proves increasingly difficult to achieve. We are witnessing the intensification of inter-imperialist rivalries. Two world wars warn us that the dangers are real. TREVOR RAYNE reports.

 

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US abortion under attack

Serious attempts are underway across the US to criminalise abortion. Since the beginning of 2019 at least eight states have introduced extreme, restrictive legislation. This ranges from legislation which makes abortion illegal in almost every case from conception, to so-called ‘heartbeat’ bills which would make abortion illegal from about six to eight weeks of pregnancy – before most women even know they are pregnant. The aim of those driving through this legislation is to force the issue to the Supreme Court, which now has a conservative majority, with a view to overturning the landmark Roe vs Wade case of 1973 which legalised access to abortion across the United States. But they are already facing mounting resistance, both on the streets and in the courts. Rachel Francis reports.

 

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US evicts solidarity protesters defending Venezuelan Embassy

On 16 May, in breach of the United Nations Charter and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, police in the United States stormed the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC, arresting four supporters of the Bolivarian revolution. The activists – from CodePink, the ANSWER Coalition and Popular Resistance – had spent weeks inside at the invitation of Venezuela’s government to prevent it from being taken over by the US-backed opposition.

 

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Elliott Abrams – the perfect criminal

The new US Special Envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, has an extensive history of promoting the destabilisation of progressive governments around the world. A strident anti-communist, Abrams has funded death squads across Latin America and supported regimes involved in atrocious violations of human rights. Ria Aibhilin reports.

Abrams started his political career in the Democratic Party, working on the McCarthyite Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1975. After failing to be chosen for any of the top jobs in Jimmy Carter’s administration, in 1980 he switched sides and campaigned for Ronald Reagan. He soon rose through Republican ranks to become Assistant Secretary of State for International Organisation Affairs in 1981. Within a few months he had been promoted to oversee human rights and humanitarian affairs. He later joined both Bush administrations, helping the second to orchestrate the coup-attempt against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002 and the Iraq war in 2003.

 

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US: a warning written in numbers

The US is ramping up its military spending while threatening China economically and militarily. The US ruling class wants to compensate for its waning economic power with military superiority, in order to retain its global dominance. Combining the threat of an all-out trade war with belligerent warnings and manoeuvres is intended to force China to yield to the US. Trevor Rayne reports.

 

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Trump backs down on government shutdown

Protest on the US-Mexico border in solidarity with the migrant caravan, November 2018

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 268 February/March 2019

On 25 January President Trump agreed to reopen the US government after its partial shutdown which had lasted over a month, the longest in US history. Some 800,000 US government employees have gone without pay. Government workers were queuing at food banks. President Trump would not agree to a budget to fund government departments because Congress has not approved $5.7bn for building a wall along the US border with Mexico. Trump retreated, but said that if the US Congress does not agree to build the wall the government will be shut down again on 15 February and he threatened to declare a national state of emergency, bypassing Congress, and have the US military build the wall. While the US President, mimicking the Emperor Nero, stakes his reputation on this folly, the World Bank warned: ‘storm clouds are brewing for the global economy’.

 

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The racist attack on migrants

The migrant caravan is made up of people fleeing violence and poverty created by US imperialism

US President Trump’s aggressive and racist attacks on the most recent caravan of migrants heading to the United States, shows the utter contempt that US imperialism has for the poor and the oppressed. In this latest case Trump simply concocted a stream of lies to generate hysteria over immigration that would attract votes to his Republican Party in the US Mid-Term elections. He failed; but despite the fact that Republicans lost the House of Representatives in the middle of a Republican president's first term for the first time since 1954, Trump’s racist attacks on immigrants will continue. Alvaro Michaels reports.

 

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Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, US political prisoner

Protesters-gather-outside-the-Criminal-Justice-Center-after-a-court-hearing-for-Mumia-Abu-Jamal-in-Philadelphia-on-Monday-Oct-29-2018

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a revolutionary journalist, former Black Panther and political prisoner. He is currently on ‘slow death row’, life imprisonment without parole, after being falsely convicted of the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. His life is a case study in the US black liberation struggle and the brutal state repression against it.

New precedent opens legal path for Mumia

In 2016 the US Supreme Court found in Williams vs Pennsylvania that a prosecutor involved in seeking the death penalty cannot subsequently judge an appeal in that case. The judge in the Williams case was Ronald Castille, who is also crucial to Mumia’s case, having been a senior Assistant District Attorney (DA) during Mumia’s 1982 trial, and a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice throughout Mumia’s 1995-2008 post-conviction appeals. In a petition submitted on 29 October 2018, Mumia’s legal team argued that this should invalidate those appeals and enable fresh applications. According to Workers’ World, current DA Larry Krasner (a Democrat elected in 2017 on a platform to ‘end mass incarceration’ and overturn wrongful convictions) is withholding evidence vital to the current stage of Mumia’s case.

 

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Trump’s foreign policy: reactionary, predatory and imperialist

Donald Trump

This is a problem which has been challenging governments across the world. It’s not clear that Donald Trump himself has a straightforward answer. His 25 September speech to the United Nations General Assembly gives up a few clues. Trump claimed that the United States had a policy of ‘principled realism’: ‘America’s policy of principled realism means we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies, and so-called experts who have been proven wrong over the years, time and time again.’ Trump has mentioned this ‘policy’ before on four or five occasions, but this was the most prominent. What is he talking about?

 

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Are socialists finally making gains in the US?

Democratic socialists supporting Bernie Sanders in the US

The US midterm elections on 6 November had the highest voter turnout (49.3%) for midterms since 1914 – and the highest ever campaign spending at $5.2bn. These elections are for members of Congress as well as state governors and other local officials. President Donald Trump had staked himself on Republican victory, encouraging voters to pretend that his name was on the ballot paper. Holding rallies across the country, Trump flouted traditional norms against a sitting President making partisan attacks and endorsements during midterm elections. His domineering tactics did not pay off. Though the Republicans slightly expanded their control of the Senate, the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, gaining at least 39 seats. These included members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a reformist group seeking to drag the Democrats left, in particular towards supporting a universal healthcare system. WILL HARNEY reports.

 

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Democrat election success feeds off resistance to Trump

A voter casting their ballot in the US midterms 2018

The US midterm elections are over. Cynics often joke that the United States has the finest democracy that money can buy. This year’s election cycle confirmed that, raising some $5.2bn – the largest amount ever raised for a midterm election. The Democrats raised $2.5bn and the Republicans $2.2bn. The remaining $450m was spent by third parties and independents. Women gave $300m to Democrats compared with $90m to Republicans. The securities and investment industry – the finance capitalists – contributed $329m, favouring Democrats 53% to 47% for Republicans.

 

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US prisoners strike against slavery and disenfranchisement

US Prison strike

Between 21 August and 9 September 2018, US prisoners in at least 16 states staged work strikes, boycotts, hunger strikes and other protests in a co-ordinated action to highlight a set of agreed demands. The protest was highly politicised, as reflected in its start and end dates: the 47th anniversaries of the murder of black revolutionary prisoner George Jackson by prison guards in San Quentin, California, and the uprising 19 days later at Attica prison in New York state. Nicki Jameson reports.

The US prison system is the biggest in the world, with some 2.3 million people behind bars, and organising across it is a mammoth task. Learning from a similar co-ordinated protest in 2016, the prisoners and their supporters were well organised to ensure the message was diffused as widely as possible, both in the US and internationally, despite the predictable lack of any significant mainstream media coverage.

 

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Trump: utter reaction amidst the chaos

ACLU protest over divided families

Trump’s chaotic, reactionary administration has had a busy couple of months bolstering reaction and trying to silence criticism and opposition as it staggers from one self-inflicted crisis to another. Trump’s lie count, since becoming President, is now more than 3,000. The White House personnel department’s revolving door continues to eject staffer after staffer excoriated for specious reasons. Palestine, international trade, migration, the Mueller investigation in to alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, the US judiciary and media have all come under assault, even as personal and political scandals swirl around this President. STEVE PALMER reports.

 

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The death of John McCain

Protest against US aggression towards Iran

The death of John McCain, a US Vietnam War veteran and political reactionary on 25 August was met by an outpouring of mostly inaccurate praise and sympathy.  Despite McCain’s disputes with current US president Donald Trump, he can only be viewed by progressives as a shameless warmonger.

 

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US:Trump stirs it up again

100,000s demonstrated during Trump's visit to Britain

Donald Trump has once again been putting the cat amongst the imperialist pigeons. At the NATO summit in Brussels on 11 July, he claimed that Germany was a ‘captive of Russia’, because of its reliance on Russian fuels, and complained that the ‘allies’ were not spending enough on their military. They had to increase their spending by January 2019 or else the US would go it alone, he implied. He arrived in Britain on 12 July and immediately insulted his hosts: in an interview with The Sun newspaper, he criticised the British government’s approach to Brexit, threatened to stall a trade deal with the US, attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and pondered the possibility of Boris Johnson as PM. Then, within hours, he reversed himself, dismissing his interview as ‘fake news’, and generously announced that ‘whatever you do [about Brexit] is OK with me, that’s your decision’. He also reversed himself by implying that a Brexited Britain could enjoy some kind of trade deal with the US. Throughout Trump’s visit thousands of people volubly demonstrated against him and his presidency wherever he went.

 

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Socialism is the cure!

What explains the rise of a fascistic narcissist like Trump and the welcome he received from the British government? US capitalism has been in a state of stagnation for years, unable to restore profitability to an economy in relative decline. A section of the US ruling class has decided that now is the time to take drastic action to ‘Make America Great Again’ with a severe programme to restore profitability: attacking working class living standards, slashing state spending, rolling back regulation, waging trade wars and intensifying US imperialism’s exploitation of the rest of the world. Trump is the perfect man for the job: racist, chauvinistic, misogynistic and anti-working class through-and-through.

 

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Greensboro Trials

CWP member with a fallen comrade in Greensboro

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no.7, November/December 1980

The trials in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, stemming from the assassination of five leading members of the Communist Workers Party in November 1979, are turning out to be the most important political case of the Eighties. In the Greensboro events, beginning with the killings and continuing through the trials that are still in process, are expressed all the vital elements of the crisis of US imperialism and the necessity of a revolutionary solution.

Greensboro

One-third of all textile workers in the United States work in the state of North Carolina, which has the lowest percentage of workers belonging to unions and where the lowest hourly industrial wage rate prevails. Moreover, ten per cent of the country's estimated 10,500 Ku Klux Klan members live in the state of North Carolina.

 

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Trump starts trade war with China

It’s been another busy two months in the life of the Trump presidency, as Steve Palmer reports.

The revolving door at the White House continues to spin at a dizzying pace, expelling former loyal Trump aides, and sweeping in their replacements, with startling frequency. The reclusive Communications Director, Hope Hicks, who never communicated, found herself on the way out after telling a Congressional committee that she told ‘white lies’ for Trump during his election campaign. Gary Cohn, Director of the National Economic Council and Trump’s chief economic adviser, resigned after disagreeing with Trump’s tariff policy (see below). His replacement is Larry Kudlow, a one-time Chief Economist at the investment bank Bear Stearns until he was fired in 1994 because of his cocaine habit. Kudlow has had no economics training and built a successful career as a conservative TV commentator and pundit plugging long debunked ‘supply-side’ economics – clearly ideal material for the White House team.

 

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Trump administration continues reactionary offensive

woman anti trump protest san francisco
Millions of women throughout the US marched on 21 January in opposition to Trump

Donald Trump’s presidency continued along its eventful and regressive path in the two months covering the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, starting with the progression of the Republican tax cut bill into law and ending with the Democrats caving in on immigration issues. Steve Palmer reports.

Let’s review events. The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act was passed and signed into law by President Donald Trump on 20 December 2017. The Act cuts the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. It includes special concessions for ‘pass-through businesses’, which include many property companies, such as those owned by Trump, who is likely to benefit personally by hundreds of millions of dollars. The tax cut generally redistributes income from the poor to the rich – and will increase the federal deficit, which currently stands at about $20 trillion, by some $1.5 trillion.

 

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The US opioid epidemic

Opioid Map

The United States is in the midst of an escalating epidemic of opioid-related drug addiction and overdose-related deaths. Between 2000-2015, more than 500,000 mostly white working-class people, in small towns and rural communities, died prematurely from both illegal and legal opioid drug use. But legal prescription opioids now kill more people than both heroin and cocaine combined. The responsibility for this lies with criminal pharmaceutical companies which manufactured the opioids, bribed doctors to prescribe them, and, playing down the risks, pushed them onto the public in the pursuit of profit. There is no end of the epidemic in sight, and it is having devastating consequences.

 

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Immigrants attacked again in the US

 trumptfp3

President Trump’s recent abusive remarks about El Salvador, Haiti and African states sharply brings home again the relation between nominally independent states and the imperialist powers in this neo-colonial ‘globalised’ world. On 8 January Trump announced the decision to end ‘temporary protected status’ (TPS) from July 2019 for 260,500 Salvadorans and 46,000 Haitians legally working in the US, so cutting off the flow of their remittances to El Salvador and Haiti, removing the central purpose for these workers’ migration to the US, and, ironically for US banks, the dollars that allow the countries to pay their international debts.

These moves ignore objections from the US Chamber of Commerce, representing companies who profit from this highly exploited labour. The Salvadorian labour force participation rate is 88%, 25 percentage points above the US average, and their unemployment rate is 5%. Salvadoran TPS holders have 45,000 mortgages.

 

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Trump and US Capitalism - Beyond the clowning

trump clowning

Clowns distract us and amuse us, whether in the circus, or in the White House. The liberal media are preoccupied with Trump’s tweets: whether stupid, ignorant, fascistic, they’re always unpredictable and good for gossip. But they cloud what is really going on. Behind the apparent chaos, discord, investigations and lies, a coherent plan is unfolding. Beyond the clowning and beyond the tweets, the US ruling class is undertaking a comprehensive remodelling of US capitalism, making it even more exploitative, aggressive and anti-people. Steve Palmer reports.

Trump has demanded that regulatory agencies delete two rules for every new one introduced. Incinerating protections for workers and consumers, the Trump administration is transferring even more power to finance capital, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and fossil fuel companies by weakening regulation, changing legislation and modifying tax policy. A Regulatory Accountability Act is in process which will make it immeasurably easier for capitalists to gut, challenge and delay consumer and worker protections. Class action law suits against banks will be forced into arbitration – a much more favourable arena for the banks, since many of the arbitrators come from the industry. Agencies are increasingly populated by ex-lobbyists as ‘advisors’, who ensure that it is corporations, not working people who gain under Trump.

 

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US and North Korea: nuclear threat returns

North Korea nuclear missile threat Trump

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – North Korea) is demonised and its leader, Kim Jong-un, is abused by mainstream media around the world. People are being prepared to accept the possibility of all-out war against the DPRK. Given its relative economic decline, US imperialism intends to use its unrivalled military superiority to maintain its global hegemony. DPRK defiance cannot be tolerated. Its refusal to submit to the US results in its portrayal as dangerous. Since its formation in 1948 the DPRK has been under threat of annihilation. Historically and strategically, US confrontation with the DPRK leads to confrontation with China and Russia, with which DPRK shares borders. Trevor Rayne reports.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on 19 September, US President Trump threatened to ‘totally destroy’ the DPRK and then condemned Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba. He brought Russia and China into target saying, ‘We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea.’ This caricature of a cartoon villain was putting the world on notice.

 

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US athletes defy Trump’s racism

NFL Trump

In an unprecedented display of solidarity, over 200 National Football League players from most of its 32 teams knelt in protest during the national anthem before their games on 24 September. This collective act of defiance came after US President Donald Trump attacked NFL players who have protested against racist police brutality, the latest example of which came on 16 September when a police officer was acquitted of murdering 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith in St Louis, Missouri. At a Republican rally in Huntsville, Alabama on 22 September, Trump said: ‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired!”’

 

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Letter from a prison in Connecticut

prison Connecticut

Here in Connecticut, things have become very bad for prisoners serving lengthy sentences. Public attention has been focused on prisoners serving the shortest sentences, which, of course, makes sense in that one would hope to prepare those most imminently to be released to be given as many ‘tools’ as possible to give them the best shot at successful re-entry; but the public likely is not aware that the resources being directed to this newfound belief in rehabilitation are drawn directly from programmes and services that were directed at prisoners with lengthy sentences.

 

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Charlottesville: fighting white supremacists

wwpcharlottesville2

President Trump’s defence of white supremacists following the 11 August confrontation between racist neo-fascist groups and anti-fascists in Charlottesville, Virginia, continues to create divisions within the US ruling class. While Trump seeks to reassure his reactionary electoral base that he remains committed to their interests, major sections of the ruling class are horrified that his stance will merely stoke the fires of class opposition. They do not care about the daily racism experienced by people of colour: their concern is to restore conditions of profitability on the backs of the working class with the minimum of resistance. Amy Liu reports from Phoenix, Arizona.

 

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Charlottesville eyewitness: ‘Sticking together to battle white supremacy’

wwpbannercharlottesville.jpg

Workers World Party comrade Taryn Fivek's eyewitness account from the counterprotest of the white supremacist march on Charlottesville, Virginia, on 12 August, which ended in the brutal murder of IWW comrade Heather Heyer (originally posted on workers.org).

Sent to scout ahead where people were forming up to march, my comrade Nate and I were consulting with a journalist we knew in the street. Suddenly there was a very loud noise, which I first thought was a bomb, followed by a lot of screaming. The noise turned out to be the sound of a car hitting bodies not more than 15 feet from us.

 

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US: Trump administration in chaos

us protest

Divisions in the US ruling class are becoming more open as the Trump administration faces the impossible task of dealing with the US’s position as a relatively declining imperialist power in an unending economic crisis. In a few weeks, Trump has managed to alienate sections of his own party, attacked his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and pushed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer into resigning his post. He has isolated the US on climate change by withdrawing from the Paris Accord. He has criticised South Korea and China for steel dumping, and condemned the EU for protectionism. Organised working class resistance is needed. The recently-announced People’s Congress of Resistance is offering a way forward as a movement of principled opposition, and hopes to mobilise widespread support by the time it convenes in Washington in September.

 

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Free Leonard Peltier!

freelp

June 1975: Two FBI agents enter Jumping Bull, Pine Ridge Reservation, to question a man over an alleged theft of a pair of boots. A fire fight breaks out which lasts 8-10 hours. Both agents are killed. Leonard Peltier, who was present at the scene, flees to Canada. The shootout sparks the biggest FBI manhunt known to date.

June 2017: Leonard Peltier is serving two consecutive life sentences for first degree murder of the two agents. He is 72 years old. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, the European Parliament and Amnesty International have all said they consider him to be a political prisoner, who had an unfair trial, and have called for an urgent appeal.

Divide and rule

The Native American community in the 1970s was divided between those supporting the government-backed Bureau of Indian affairs (BIA) and the ‘traditionalists’, who opposed it. Established in 1824, the BIA provided contract and grant-based assistance for matters such as education, social services and infrastructure. Its critics maintain that it was funded with the specific purpose of destroying their language and land, and that its priority was assimilation. It is a misconception of reservation life to imagine that Indians can live easily on the money from the land lease agreements and the bleak reality of reservation life is one of absolute grinding poverty, with essentials such as petrol and bread completely unaffordable. I personally witnessed some of this devastation myself when I visited a Blackfoot reservation in the Rockies, writes Leah Jai-Persad.

 

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Trump, Russia, climate change and resistance

US anti trump protest

The spectre of Russia is haunting Donald Trump. Putin and Russia seem to be on a special pedestal – apparently above any criticism from Trump, while he lashes out at Mexicans, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, climate change ‘theorists’, the ‘mainstream press’, satirical TV shows, the US judiciary, the CIA, the FBI, Barack Obama, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and just about anybody else. Investigations by both the FBI and the US Congress into the Trump campaign and administration links with Russia are in progress. What is going on? Steve Palmer reports.

Before the Presidential election last year, there appeared to be evidence of attempts by Russia to influence the outcome. Before and after the election, key figures around Trump have taken part in meetings, disclosed and undisclosed, with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and other significant Russians. When he recently met with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and Ambassador Kislyak, Trump excluded the ‘mainstream’ US press, but allowed in a photographer from a Russian state news agency. Subsequent rumours claim that Trump gave highly classified information to Lavrov and Kislyak and described former FBI chief Comey, whom he had just fired, as a ‘real nut job’.

 

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Cuban Five speak about US prisons

gerardo cuban5 US prison
Gerardo Hernández (center) of the Cuban Five at Victorville prison in 2006, with fellow prisoners.

In December 2014, the remaining three of the five men known as the Cuban Five were released from their US prison sentences and returned as heroes to socialist Cuba. They had been imprisoned since 1998 on a range of spurious charges, following their arrests for espionage. The Five were indeed spies, but their mission was to protect Cuba by monitoring counter-revolutionary organisations in Miami, not to spy on the US government. Following their release they spoke to Pathfinder Press about their experiences; that discussion has been reproduced as the pamphlet ‘It’s the poor who face the savagery of the US “justice” system’ – the Cuban Five talk about their lives within the US working class.

 

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Environment Campaign List

  • Climate protests – a breath of fresh air >

    ‘We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses Read More
  • RCG joins Youth Strike 4 Climate - 15 March >

    On 15 March, more than a million school and college students, along with teachers and other supporters joined the second global Youth Strike 4 Climate (click for background on the Read More
  • World has 12 years to solve climate change >

    On 8 October 2018, the world’s leading climate scientists warned in a report for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that there are only 12 years for global Read More
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