STOP SECOND ASSAULT ON JEJU ISLAND

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VETERANS FOR PEACE RESOLUTION 2013-11:
KOREA, STOP THE SECOND U.S. ASSAULT ON JEJU ISLAND

Submitted by Eugene E Ruyle, VFP Chapter 162

Whereas, the volcanic island of Jeju, off the southern coast of Korea, famous for its extraordinary beauty and pristine environment, is a favorite honeymoon destination for newlywed couples and an unparalleled global ecological treasure, with UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites, UNESCO Global Geological Parks, and a designated Global Biosphere Reserve; and

Whereas, Gangjeong Village, on Jeju Island, is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which are endangered, lava rock freshwater tide pools, endangered soft coral reefs, sacred natural sites, and nearly 2,000 indigenous villagers, including farmers, fishermen and traditional women divers, that have relied upon the surrounding marine and terrestrial environment for nearly 4000 years; and

Whereas, the people of Jeju were subjected in1948 to one of the most genocidal campaigns of “pacification” in postwar history at the instigation and direction of the US Military Government in Korea, when paramilitary terror, scorched earth policies, forced relocations, mass rapes, massacres, exterminations, and other atrocities killed up to 80,000 civilians (one third of the population) and burned 90% of its villages to the ground; and

Whereas, the US Military has been a continuous and unwanted occupying force on the Korean peninsula in open and blatant contravention of the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement; imposing its political, economic, cultural, and military will on the Korean people in order to expand U.S. military and economic presence and influence in the region; and

Whereas, the South Korean government has contracted with Samsung, a multinational conglomerate, for the construction of a massive, 50 hectare, deep water military naval installation near Gangjeong Village, designed to house more than 8000 marines, 20 warships, including US Nuclear-armed Aegis Missile Destroyers, as well as US nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, and

Whereas, according to the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Status of Forces Agreement between South Korea and the United States, the US military retains wartime command over all of South Korea’s military, and would therefore obtain operational control of the Gangjeong military facility; and

Whereas, this construction is directly and irreparably harming the biodiversity, culture, economy, and welfare of the village and indigenous villagers by forcing relocation of villagers from their traditional farmlands and denying coastal access to their habitual fishing and diving grounds; and through its destruction of sacred natural sites, burial grounds, soft coral reefs, farmlands, groundwater, ocean water and habitat, soil quality, fishing grounds, and natural springs; and

Whereas, overseas military bases are the visible instruments of US militarism, imperialism and the war economy, undermining the lives and livelihoods of local people, imposing a violent culture of commodification and exploitation of women and girls, and creating a “base economy” of prostitution, gendered violence, and “service” industries; and

Whereas, the residents of Gangjeong Village, having voted by a 94% majority to oppose the naval base, have been using every possible democratic and legal means to block construction, including petitions, lawsuits, non-violent civil disobedience, hunger strikes, protests, vigils; risking their lives and personal freedom in the face of overwhelming repression by police and security forces, as well as hired thugs; and

Whereas, the Korean people understand that this deep water Naval Base is designed a key component of Obama’s Pacific Pivot, a platform for the projection of US military throughout the region and threatening other regional powers, thus escalating the danger of war and potentially destabilizing the entire Asia-Pacific region; and

Whereas, the construction of this naval installation violates every principle and value of our Veterans for Peace mission that includes restraining our government from intervening, overtly or covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations, reducing and ending the arms race, and the abolishment of war as an instrument of foreign policy, and

Whereas, a peace team from Veterans for Peace, sent to Jeju Island as part of the international effort to support local protestors, were refused entry by Korean security officials without cause in March 2012;

Therefore Be It Resolved that Veterans For Peace, meeting at its national convention in Madison, Wisconsin in August, 2013, reaffirms our solidarity with the villagers of Gangjeong in their opposition to the construction of this Naval Base and urges the Obama Administration and Congress to stop construction of the Jeju Island Naval Base as a first step toward a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula and East Asia.

This motion to Stop The Second U.S. Assault On Jeju Island, Korea passed unanimously in our local East Bay Chapter #162. It was then sent it to our national office. The National Board unanimously recommended a “Yes” vote, and put it on the agenda for our national meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, in August 2013. The Conventions approved in in a non-binding vote by acclamation. It was then sent out for the mail vote and passed overwhelmingly, 714 Yes to 16 No.

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Peace and Freedom Candidate Supports ANSWER Statement on Syria

Born in the anti-racist and anti-imperialist struggles of the 1960s, the Peace and Freedom Party has opposed every U.S. foreign adventure since Vietnam. Our Platform takes an uncompromising stance on

Peace and International Justice: The drive for greater profits by multi-national corporations which direct U.S. foreign policy is a major cause of war. We stand for peace between nations and the right of all peoples to self-determination. We support an ongoing socialist transformation everywhere. We therefore call for:

  • The U.S. to renounce nuclear first strike, and take the initiative toward global disarmament by eliminating all of its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
  • No U.S. intervention anywhere. End all support and aid to repressive regimes and all military and police training aid everywhere. End efforts to destabilize foreign governments. End U.S.-directed economic warfare against other countries. Abolish the CIA, NSA, AID and other agencies for interference in other countries’ internal affairs. Withdraw all U.S. troops and weapons from all other countries.
  • Stop all U.S. arms exports and trade.
  • Dissolve all military pacts.
  • Convert from military to peaceful production; reallocate the resulting “peace dividend” for social benefit.
  • Abolish the Selective Service System.
  • No weapons in space.

As a candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party, therefore, I support the following statement from the ANSWER Coalition. (The ANSWER Coalition was formed immediately after 9/11 with the goal of building a mass movement to oppose U.S. imperialist policy.)

Why we oppose U.S. and Israeli intervention in Syria

Statement by ANSWER Coalition  May 23, 2013

israeli-airstrikes-syria

Israeli air strikes on May 5 near Damascus

Having overthrown the governments in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011, the U.S. government has sought to topple the Syrian government during the past two years. The CIA has been the coordinating agency for massive weapons shipments from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to armed groups fighting to topple the Syrian government.

The conflict in Syria that began more than two years ago was fueled by a wide range of grievances, some legitimate, some reactionary. But the armed rebellion inside the country is today inextricably bound to imperialism and the most reactionary regimes in the Arab world. Its aim is to destroy a secular, nationalist government that U.S. leaders view as an obstacle to their goal of dominating the entire Middle East.

The United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling vast quantities of arms, money and supplies to the Syrian opposition, and training thousands of anti-government fighters in Turkey, Jordan and elsewhere. On May 5, Israel heavily bombed an area close to the capital, Damascus.

Harsh economic sanctions have been imposed on Syria. The United States and its allies have waged a worldwide campaign to isolate and demonize the Syrian government.

Outside support has sustained the opposition, but not brought it victory. Thus, the leaders of the U.S.-organized “National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces” and the “Free Syrian Army” have been making repeated and urgent appeals for more direct imperialist intervention, including an air war against their own country. Those appeals have become even more urgent due to losses suffered by the splintered opposition forces in recent weeks.

“Friends of Syria”: another face of imperialism

Stepping up the imperialist-led campaign, on May 22, the so-called “Friends of Syria” met in Amman, Jordan. Led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the other “Friends” at the meeting were the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The open aim of the “Friends” is the overthrow of existing government in Syria. Its concluding statement speaks of “supporting the legitimate rights of the Syrian people” and “a new Syrian constitution with equal rights for all.”

This supposed concern for “human rights” in Syria is nothing but the crassest cynicism.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Jordan are all police-state, absolute monarchies, sustained in power by U.S. support. Saudi Arabia has never had an election, women are forbidden to drive cars and public beheadings are a frequent occurrence. Britain and France are the former colonizing powers in the region, striving to retain their influence today. Germany and Italy shared in the colonial division of Africa; half the population of Libya died under Italian rule during World War II. Turkey has long repressed the Kurdish population inside its borders, as well as unions, leftist parties and other progressive organizations. The Egyptian government is suppressing the opposition as it seeks to consolidate its power.

As the dominant world power over the past 70 years, the United States has carried out genocidal wars from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq, leaving tens of millions dead, wounded and displaced. In addition, U.S. military and intelligence forces have intervened hundreds of times in countries around the world, and today the United States maintains more than 900 military bases on every continent. Death by U.S. drone is today a regular and terrorizing feature of life for people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The “Friends” are in reality a criminal gang who have no concern whatsoever for the interests of the people of Syria – or any people anywhere, for that matter.

Say no to U.S./NATO and Israeli intervention

An international peace conference on Syria has been jointly proposed by Russia and the United States, and is tentatively set to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, in June. It is not clear yet whether it will actually take place.

Regarding the proposed conference, the “Friends of Syria” statement ended by threatening, “[U]ntil such a time as the Geneva meeting produces a transitional government, they [the “Friends”] will further increase their support for the opposition and take all other steps as necessary.” By “transitional government,” the “Friends” mean one absent the present leadership. In other words, until there is “regime change,” they will escalate the war.

The anti-war movement in the United States has a duty to unequivocally oppose all forms of intervention by the United States, the other imperialists and their clients, and to support the right of the Syrian people to determine their own future, free from imperialist intervention.

ANSWER Coalition Web Page:
http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/why-we-oppose-us-israeli-intervention-syria.html

Eugene Ruyle, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at California State University, Long Beach, was the Peace and Freedom candidate for State Assembly in 2012 in the 15th District (Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond), winning 25,167 votes, or 13.2% of the total. Ruyle is preparing another campaign for 2014. For further information, visit his campaign web site at ru4peace.wordpress.com or contact him at cuyleruyle [at] mac [dot] com or 510-428-1578.


A Call for Debt Cancellation

Debt is a tie that binds the 99%. As individuals, families, and communities, many of us are drowning in debt to Wall Street for the basics of life, food, housing, education, and health care. Even those of us who do not have personal debt are affected by predatory lending through our friends and families. Our essential public services are cut because our cities and towns are held hostage by the same big banks that have been bailed out by our government in recent years. Entire nations are suffering because of crushing debt to the World Bank and IMF, creating new forms of international slavery.

Debt keeps us isolated, ashamed, and afraid—of becoming homeless, of going hungry, of being crippled or killed by treatable illness, or of being trapped in poverty-level jobs. Those facing foreclosure, medical debt, student debt, or credit card debt feel alone, hounded by debt collectors, and forced into unrewarding work to keep up with payments.

In contemporary society, not only are students, consumers, home buyers, the sick and elderly drowning in debt, but also city and state governments, even whole nations, are in debt to the 1% and Wall Street. This is nothing new. Credit has played a crucial economic function for thousands of years. However, since control over the credit, banking and monetary systems has been in private hands, credit and debt have been used to enslave working people and the poor for thousands of years.

Resistance to such slavery is also as old as history. Debt cancellation is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian social teaching as well as socialist and anarchist thought. The Book of Leviticus refers to the Year of the Jubilee, in which all debts are cancelled, all slaves are freed, all land is restored to its original owners, and community is restored. Such debt cancellation is well documented in ancient Mesopotamian history.

This ancient social teaching has given rise to groups—such as Jubilee 2000 at the WTO protests in Seattle and the Jubilee USA Network—that call for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The teaching of socialism also stresses the need for working class control over the credit system. The Communist Manifesto tells us that, as the working class organizes as a class, it “will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class.” The specific measures include: “Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

The Paris Commune of 1871 attempted to implement this by issuing a decree providing for payment of all debts in installments over three years and abolition of interest on them. Marx termed this a “sagacious settlement” (The Civil War in France).  The Commune was crushed by French troops within three months and therefore unable to implement this decree.

Also noteworthy is the work of the anarchist anthropologist David Graeber, who played an important role in the formation of Occupy Wall Street. Graeber concludes his book, Debt: The First 5000 Years, by writing: “It seems to me that we are long overdue for some kind of Biblical-style Jubilee: one that would affect both international debt and consumer debt. It would be salutary not just because it would relieve so much genuine human suffering, but also because it would be our way of reminding ourselves that money is not ineffable, that paying one’s debts in not the essence of morality, that all these things are human arrangements and that if democracy is to mean anything, it is the ability to arrange things in a different way.” (p. 390)

The Occupy movement has given rise to Strike Debt, formed to organize debt resistance and imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits. Strike Debt Bay Area organized Oakland’s First Debtors’ Assembly on February 2, 2013, and is continuing to organize in the Bay Area.

Thus, the issue of debt cancellation is increasingly being raised within the social justice movement. The Platform of the Peace and Freedom Party does not as yet address the staggering student, consumer, and mortgage debts that are crushing working class families in California and elsewhere, but our Summary Platform already includes the following call to expropriate the banks: “Social ownership and democratic control of industry, financial institutions, and natural resources.”

Such socialization of the institutions of finance and credit would lay the basis for an open and democratic process to cancel those debts that are found to be illegitimate and unjust, a process that would undoubtedly focus on most student debt and the excessive fees, fines, and usurious interest rates associated with predatory lending. Perhaps this could be done through community Debt Cancellation Boards similar to, but more effective than, the Rent Control Boards in various cities in California and elsewhere. Or perhaps some other form of direct action might be appropriate.

The call for debt cancellation is a revolutionary proposal, appropriate for a socialist party such as Peace and Freedom. There have been significant efforts to reform the abuses of our credit and monetary systems, but such reforms can only temporarily relieve the abuses of what is essentially an exploitative, corrupt, unstable, and unjust financial system. These abuses, and the human suffering they entail, will continue as long as capitalism continues and as long as money, banking, and credit remain in the private hands of the 1% and are not under open and democratic control to serve the people.  That’s why we need socialism. This call for debt cancellation is intended to move us toward this goal.

Eugene Ruyle, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at California State University, Long Beach, was the Peace and Freedom candidate for State Assembly in 2012 in the 15th District (Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond), winning 25,167 votes, or 13.2% of the total. Ruyle is preparing another campaign for 2014. For further information, contact him at cuyleruyle [at] mac [dot] com or 510-428-1578..

 


Peace and Freedom Candidate Supports Strike Debt Bay Area and the Second Debtors’ Assembly

As we gear up for our 2014 electoral campaigns, it is crucial that we support those we want to support us. I can’t think of an organization more worthy of our support than Strike Debt. Growing out of Occupy Wall Street, debt resistance strikes at the heart of the capitalist system as they work toward the creation of “a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits.” “Strike Debt supports the creation of just and sustainable economies, based on mutual aid, common goods, and public affluence. We owe the financial institutions nothing. It is to our friends, families and community that we owe everything.” Strike Debt’s vision here is quite compatible with Peace and Freedom’s socialist platform call for “Social ownership and democratic control of industry, financial institutions, and natural resources.”

Strike Debt Bay Area Announces
Bay Area’s Second Debtors’ Assembly
Saturday, May 18  ~  2:00 – 5:00 pm

Unite Here, Local 2, near Civic Center BART
209 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco (MAP)

On Saturday, May 18th, Strike Debt Bay Area will host the Bay Area’s Second Debtors’ Assembly. (The beautiful poster for it created by SDBA organizer Sandy Sanders is shown below.)

StrikeDebt

As individuals, families, and communities, most of us are drowning in debt for the basic things we need to live, including housing, education, and health care. Even those of us who do not have personal debt are affected by predatory lending. Our essential public services are cut because our cities and towns are held hostage by the same big banks that have been bailed out by our government. All of us are outraged that big banks don’t have to pay their debts, but we do.

Debt keeps us isolated, ashamed, and afraid—of becoming homeless, of going hungry, of being crippled or killed by treatable illness, or of being trapped in poverty-level jobs. Those facing foreclosure, medical debt, student debt, or credit card debt feel alone, hounded by debt collectors, and forced into unrewarding work to keep up with payments.

Strike Debt is building a movement to challenge this system while creating alternatives and supporting each other. At the Debtors’ Assembly we will come together as a community and begin to rethink debt, not as an issue of individual shame, but as a political platform for collective resistance and action. Come to the Assembly to learn about tools for escaping the closing walls of debt, to share resources and skills, and to magnify our assembled energy. As we share our experiences we can begin to take back from the financiers what they have taken from us: our freedom and our future.

Debt resistance is just the beginning. Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits.

ORGANIZATION INFO: Strike Debt Bay Area is the local chapter of Strike Debt, an international movement of groups working to build popular resistance to all forms of unjust debt. Strike Debt has organized the Rolling Jubilee, the Debt Resistors Operations Manual, and local debtors’ assemblies. Strike Debt supports the creation of just and sustainable economies, based on mutual aid, common goods, and public affluence. We owe the financial institutions nothing. It is to our friends, families and community that we owe everything.

Strike Debt Bay Area Web Page

Eugene Ruyle, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at California State University, Long Beach, was the Peace and Freedom candidate for State Assembly in 2012 in the 15th District (Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond), winning 25,167 votes, or 13.2% of the total. Ruyle is preparing another campaign for 2014. For further information, visit his campaign web site at ru4peace.wordpress.com or contact him at cuyleruyle [at] mac [dot] com or 510-428-1578.


Socialism: Word of the Year for 2012

Socialism: Word of the Year for 2012

Two words, socialism and capitalism, shared the top spot for lookups in 2012, shedding light on “topics and ideas that sparked the nation’s interest,” according to a recent report from Merriam-Webster, Inc.  The dictionary publisher cited the healthcare debates and presidential race as contributing factors, but interest in socialism and capitalism is bound to increase as Americans feel the continuing pain of economic crisis.

Unfortunately, Merriam-Webster does not provide a reliable guide to the meaning of these important political concepts. A better place to look for guidance is the Platform of our nation’s oldest and largest ballot qualified socialist party, the Peace and Freedom Party of California. Here, you’ll find the following:

 The Peace and Freedom Party, founded in 1967, is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality. We represent the working class, those without capital in a capitalist society. We organize toward a world where cooperation replaces competition, a world where all people are well fed, clothed and housed; where all women and men have equal status; where all individuals may freely endeavor to fulfill their own talents and desires; a world of freedom and peace where every community retains its cultural integrity and lives with all others in harmony. We offer this summary of our immediate and long-range goals:

Socialism: We support social ownership and democratic management of industry and natural resources. Under capitalism, the proceeds of labor go to the profits of the wealthy few. With socialism, production is planned to meet human needs.

To us, socialism is workers’ democracy, including the principle that all officials are elected, recallable at any time, and none receives more than a worker’s wage. Socialism can only be brought about when we, the working class, unite and act as a body in our own interests. Our goals cannot be achieved by electoral means alone. We participate in mass organization and direct action in neighborhoods, workplaces, unions and the armed forces everywhere.

As an open, multi-tendency, movement-oriented socialist party, Peace and Freedom does not impose on its members a single, rigid view of socialism or the strategies and tactics of how to achieve socialism. We agree, however, that socialism is necessary and that it will open up a democratic decision-making process for appropriate use of resources and distribution of labor.

While Americans may be mis-educated and mis-informed about socialism, this is not the case in the rest of the world. The world’s two most populous countries, China and India, have both incorporated socialism into their constitutions, while socialist and communist parties regularly get strong support throughout Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Most recently, we have seen the electoral victory in Venezuela of the successor of Hugo Chávez, Nicolas Maduro of the United Socialist Party. Socialism is not dead, contrary to some pundits, but remains alive and very much on the global agenda.

As socialists in the heartland of global imperialism, we have a special responsibility to our comrades around the world: shut down the war machine and make the transition from capitalism to socialism as rapidly and painlessly as possible.

Eugene Ruyle, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at California State University, Long Beach, was the Peace and Freedom candidate for State Assembly in 2012 in the 15th District (Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond), winning 25,167 votes, or 13.2% of the total. Ruyle is preparing another campaign for 2014. For further information, visit his campaign web site at ru4peace.wordpress.com or contact him at cuyleruyle [at] mac [dot] com or 510-428-1578.


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