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Raise Your Voice: Contradictions within the popular front

Raise Your Voice: Contradictions within the popular front

By PETER MOLENAAR Peter Molenaar Readers will recall that, owing to internal contradictions, everything exists in motion, both coming and going; changing under the influence of external factors. Our “popular front” form of resistance is no exception to the rule. Yes, indeed: “the lesser of two evils sometimes rises to the level of a necessity.” But, given the opposing camps within the Democratic Party, we must reckon with certain consequences of our actions. Positively speaking, though, we of the fifth district should feel very proud for having elected Ilhan Omar to the U.S. Congress. Already, Ilhan has achieved a degree of planetary fame, for having slapped the face of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (and all Trump supporters) who are hell-bent to destroy our country by dividing us. And now, from within the Progressive Caucus, Ilhan has joined hands with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in support of a Green New Deal. Should we all join hands to preserve our planet for future generations? However, as a member of the Minneapolis Regional Retirees Council under AFL-CIO direction, my own electoral activity was focused on supporting Dean Phillips in the 3rd district. From the standpoint of the Popular Front, my energy was well invested (Erik Paulsen, the Republican, had supported the $trillion-plus tax break for the billionaire bunch). But, Mother Earth has her own perspective on the man I helped to elect. Actually, Dean Phillips is a straight-up bourgeois type who finds Trump to be an embarrassment to his social class ”“ okay, well and good. However, he has joined the “business friendly” caucus of the Democratic Party and he stands opposed to a Green New Deal. Why? Because he opposes mandates! Meaning: He will support a degree of market tinkering to entice private capital investment, but he will oppose a massive federal investment in public renewable energy utilities. Hey, Xcel Energy only recently converted to [...]

State Fair Angst

By Peter Molenaar “Angst” is a German word which has achieved vernacular status in the contemporary English.  It means:  anxiety with a little depression thrown in.  For our purposes, the word connotes an omnipresent but less than full-blown anxiety, which normally remains repressed by the requirements of daily living. To the discerning eye, an under-current of angst was revealed among the gathered “masses” at this year”'s State Fair.  We are the masses.  Unfortunately, our angst has become a playground for dishonest politicians. So, the annual reaffirmation of Minnesotan identity has passed.  The cow barn displayed again the Jersey Cow with beautiful eyes and baby face.  The sheep were proudly groomed, snow-white and alert.  Even the hogs were giddy. (more…)

Pull Together

By Peter Molenaar Given the unprecedented economic, political and military power of the U.S. ruling class, it may seem like a pipedream to believe that we “ordinary” folks can advance socially even by small increments. But when the foundations of this colossal power are examined, definite weaknesses are revealed. First, the system of corporate-capitalism is malfunctioning big time. Witness: the Wall Street meltdown, massive unemployment, stagnant wages, fruitless wars, and the developing life-threatening environmental crisis. Second, only 1% of the population now owns over half of all stocks and bonds and the richest 5% holds 60% of all our country”'s wealth. In reality, there are a few thousand families with hundreds of billions in assets who control the main financial, manufacturing, extraction, media, communications, transport, aerospace and real estate corporations. Clearly, the wealth behind the power is concentrated in the hands of an extremely tiny group. (more…)

Against Finger Pointing

by Peter Molenaar Scientific reminder: The totality of existence (i.e. ”˜matter”') is in motion”¦this is true because all phenomena are a manifestation of a self-contradictory unity of opposing forces (i.e. matter is ”˜dialectical”'). So then, to understand something one must begin by uncovering the main contradiction within it. Secondly, one must ascertain the dominant aspect of this contradiction (i.e. the relationship of forces must be examined). Thirdly, one must examine the relative development of the opposing aspects as might be correlated with environmental influences (i.e. external factors are the conditions of change, internal contradictions are the basis of change). Fourthly, one must determine (or judge) the “tipping-point” (i.e. quantitative change) beyond which the dominated aspect becomes the dominant (i.e. qualitative change). To continue”¦ No phenomenon can be fully understood apart from its historic development, potential future development, and interconnection with the totality. Those who proceed otherwise are said to be “metaphysical”. Unfortunately for the human condition, the formal logic derived from a narrow and one-sided approach results in an ”˜idealistic”' departure from rationality. So then, with regard to President Obama”'s “failings”, whose interests are being served by the trendy groundswell of smug indignation which flows now from the ”˜left”'? Readers might recall my recent column “Irony of Ironies” which asserted: “We elected Obama to save capitalism (to save capitalism from the capitalists!) until such time as a viable socialist vanguard emerges in conjunction with the requisite mass movement”. Which is to say: not every moment of every day constitutes a ”˜revolutionary situation”'. Or, as Lenin himself indicated: contradictions within the ruling class acquire an elevated significance [...]

Guacamole Dip

by Peter Molenaar With considerable frequency, the convenient Lake Street Latin food offerings prevail as the most satisfying answer as to what to eat next. A fat burrito with a side of guacamole does the trick. Invariably, it is observed, a corn chip with a lush dollop of the guacamole enters the mouth first. Savored with eyes closed, it is said to be a short cut to heaven. The naïve person will google guacamole for the recipe only to find hundreds of variations. The ripe avocado shall be extended with some ratio of mayonnaise, and or sour cream, cream cheese, or even yoghurt. For flavor bits, one might add diced tomatoes, chile peppers, onions, garlic, pimentos, black olives, grated cheese, or even a hard boiled egg. Lemon or lime juice? Cilantro, coriander, cumin, salt, sugar, red or black pepper? Okay. But what? During Superbowl 44, most of us were racing to the bottom of our guacamole dip while transcending “the grudge” to become Who-Dat-Nation fans. This we did even as another race to the bottom went unnoticed. I am referring to the ongoing worldwide race to the bottom on wages and working conditions. Two days before the Super Bowl, a global workers”' rights advocate and watchdog group issued a report about the sweatshop in El Salvador where the $80 Peyton Manning jerseys were sewn. The workforce there, about 80 percent women, are paid the equivalent of 10 cents an hour. They are in essence forced to work over 60 hours a week with no overtime pay. A workers”' spokesperson stated: “When we were making these jerseys we didn”'t even have time to go to the bathroom, nor to drink water. Sometimes we didn”'t even leave for our breaks so as not to fall behind in the work. The factory is very hot. By afternoon we are dead tired.” Such is the logic of capitalism, especially the de-regulated “free trade” variety favored by the dominant wing of “our” capitalists. Meanwhile, the [...]

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