05/19/15

Weekly Featured Profile – Chris Michalakis

KeyWiki.org

Chris Michalakis

Chris Michalakis is a Detroit, Michigan labor leader and socialist activist.

He is the former president of the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO Central Labor Council. Prior to that position, he served as the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer and worked for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 876, as their state-wide Legislative and Political Director. He serves on the board of Progress Michigan and the advisory board for the Restaurant Opportunity Center of Michigan. He is also active in the Michigan Alliance for Immigrant Rights and the Trade Union Leadership Council.

Michalakis is the youngest serving CLC president of a major metropolitan area and the first foreign-born CLC president. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a student at Wayne State University. Chris also serves on the Steering Committee for the D4 Collaborative (Doing Development Differently in Detroit) – including serving on the Food Policy Task Force. In January 2011, he was named a “Michigan Influencer” by Campaigns & Elections Magazine.

In 2011, Michalakis was heavily involved in Occupy Detroit.

Michalakis is involved with two of Michigan’s most influential Marxist groups – Democratic Socialists of America and the Communist Party USA.

In November 2013, Michalakis co-chaired Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America‘s thirteenth annual Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs Dinner at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn.

In 2013, Michalakis also keynoted the Missouri Communist Party’s annual Hershel Walker ‘Peace & Justice’ Awards Breakfast,

Michalakis attacked the influence of money in politics, especially in the Republican Party and highlighted the role of its far-right corporate funders in forcing ‘Right-to-Work’ onto Michigan workers.

“For years, the DeVos family, the Koch brothers, the Waltons – here in Missouri you have a guy by the name of Rex Sinquefield – have been putting in obscene amounts of money to create organizations like the Tea Party, Americans For Prosperity, the Republican Governors Association, etc.”

“And they have been funding all of these organizations not out of the kindness of their hearts,” Michalakis said, “but because they expect a return on their investment.”

“The Missouri legislature is currently debating so-called ‘Right-to-Work’ legislation, paycheck deception and attacks on prevailing wage laws. Fortunately, Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon, has vowed to veto these and other anti-worker bills if they make it to his desk.”

Michalakis summed-up his remarks, “The Right Wing celebrated when Michigan fell and became a ‘Right-to-Work’ state. I want to make them regret that that happened.”

Michalakis acknowledges that an early mentor was leading Michigan Communist Party member Carl Reinstein.

He also serves as a member of the Communist Party USA‘s speaker’s bureau Speak Progress.

(more…)

03/12/15

Catholic Church Captured by “Progressive Forces”

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Armando Valladares, Castro’s political prisoner for 22 years, said his Catholic faith was strengthened behind bars by hearing young Catholics shouting “Viva Cristo Rey,” for “Long Live Christ the King,” and “down with communism!” as they faced the firing squad. It has been his hope that Cuba would one day be free of communism. But he is far less hopeful now that Pope Francis has taken measures that he says “objectively favor the political and ecclesiastical left in Latin America” and could undermine the “Christian future of the Americas.”

Meanwhile, Marxist writer Richard Greeman has written an extraordinary article, “Catholicism: The New Communism?,” arguing that “progressive forces” have  “captured” the Vatican, and that Francis is conducting a “purge” of traditional elements, such as those loyal to anti-communist Pope John Paul II.

Valladares, author of Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag, was the United States Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission under the Reagan and Bush administrations. He writes in a recent column that Francis was the “most eminent architect and mediator” of the Obama administration deal with Cuba that will “now provide the repressive apparatus of the Cuban regime with rivers of money and favorable publicity.”

He goes on, “We are witnessing one of the greatest examples of media sleights-of-hand in history: From a well-deserved image of aggressor, a regime which for decades spearheaded bloody revolutions in Latin America and Africa and continues to spread its tentacles in the three Americas, has been craftily made to look like a victimized underdog.”

He says the responsibility lies with the unexpected rise of a Francis-Obama “axis” in foreign affairs that benefits Marxist governments throughout Latin America.

Valladares, who received the Citizen’s Presidential Medal from President Ronald Reagan, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in communist Cuba in 1960 for being philosophically and religiously opposed to communism. He was tortured and kept in isolation for refusing to be “re-educated.” He was released after 22 years in prison, in 1982, when international pressure was brought to bear on the regime.

Valladares says it’s not just the Cuba betrayal that concerns him. He notes that Francis overturned the suspension of Nicaraguan priest Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, a former communist Sandinista foreign minister and a leading pro-Castro figure in liberation theology.

Despite his credentials as a political prisoner turned human rights activist and powerful voice for freedom, his column on the Obama-Francis “axis” has received very little attention. An associate says it seems “too politically incorrect,” an apparent reference to the fact that Francis is a global media star for identifying with the poor, and that liberals and conservatives alike are reluctant to criticize him.

Valladares, however, says the pope has gone far beyond taking up the cause of poor people. His column notes that Francis personally attended something called the World Meeting of Popular Movements last October in Rome. “It gathered 100 revolutionary world leaders, including well-known Latin American professional agitators,” Valladares points out. “The meeting turned out to be a kind of marketing ‘beatification’ of these Marxist-inspired revolutionary figures.”

One of the participants in the Vatican event was Evo Morales, the Marxist President of Bolivia who dedicated his election victory last year to Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the late Venezuelan Marxist ruler, Hugo Chávez.

The Vatican’s own description of the meeting referred to changing “an economy of exclusion” and “an idolatrous system of money.” The statement went on, “Together we want to discuss the structural causes of so much inequality (inequidad) which robs us of work (labor), housing (domus) and land (terra), which generates violence and destroys nature. We also want to face the challenge Francis himself sets puts [sic] to us with courage and intelligence: to seek radical proposals to resolve the problems of the poor.”

Valladares isn’t the only one to notice the “radical” or leftward drift of the papacy. Greeman’s article wondering if Catholicism is the “new communism” appears in New Politics, a socialist magazine “committed to the advancement of the peace and anti-intervention movements” and which “stands in opposition to all forms of imperialism…”

New Politics has strong links to the Democratic Socialists of America, a group that backed Barack Obama’s political career from the start. Its “sponsors” include Noam Chomsky, Frances Fox Piven, Michael Eric Dyson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West and the late communist historian Howard Zinn.

Greeman notes that the world’s Catholic Bishops have “explicitly pointed to capitalism as the basic cause of impending global catastrophe,” in the form of climate change, and have “called for a new economic order.” He was referring to a group of Catholic Bishops who met at the U.N. climate talks last December and blamed “the dominant global economic system, which is a human creation,” for global warming. They argued for “a new financial and economic order” and the phasing out of the use of fossil fuels.

Greeman says the Bishops’ attack on capitalism was generally ignored, even on the left, and he understands why. There have been so many “rapid changes” coming out of Rome “since the ascension to the Throne of Saint Peter” by Pope Francis that it is hard to keep up with them, he says.

Francis will issue a Vatican document, known as an encyclical, on climate change in June or July.

Greeman writes that these “radically anti-capitalist Catholic positions” have got him wondering whether Catholicism is “the new Communism,” Rome “the new Moscow,” and the church “the new Comintern.” The term “Comintern” refers to the Communist International, an association of national communist parties started by Lenin.

Growing up as a “red diaper baby” during the Cold War, Greeman writes, Catholicism was “synonymous with militant anti-Communism.” But changes that started coming years ago in the church have been accelerating under Francis, he writes. He attributes some of this “change” to Francis, who is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a Jesuit, which is a “progressive” religious order whose “solid organization and discipline” and “attempts to take over the Church” go back centuries.

Greeman refers to the Catholic or “universal” Church as “the only actually existing organized world-party,” whose “vast wealth and influence are now in Francis’ hands.” He writes about “the capture” of the church by “progressive forces,” a development which opens up “huge possibilities for human liberation and perhaps a chance for the planet to avoid climate catastrophe.” He believes Francis “and his allies” are now conducting a “purge of the apparatus” in the Vatican.

Writing in Links, an international socialist journal, Canadian activist Judith Marshall discusses meeting the pope during the World Meeting of Popular Movements and witnessing his presentation to the group. “Pope Francis’ forthright statements on the social ministry of the church hearken back to the 1960s and 1970s when liberation theology was such a dynamic force in promoting struggles for social justice, particularly in Latin America,” she wrote. “The symbolism of a World Meeting of Popular Movements which brought a multitude of the poor right into [the] heart of the Vatican has not been lost on those looking for a resurgence of liberation theology.”

Liberation theology was manufactured by the old KGB to dupe Christians into supporting Marxism.

She also insisted that Francis “has arguably made the Papacy the most radical and consistent voice in pointing to the profanity of global inequality and exclusion. He has also repeatedly named the inordinate power of multinational corporations and finance capital as key factors in reproducing global poverty and destruction of the planet.”

She says Francis met with several Marxist activists from Latin America and even met privately with President Morales of Bolivia who “stressed how Mother Earth had become ill from capitalism,” and that “under the prevailing global economy, the planet would actually do better without humans—but humans need the planet.”

In a previous meeting Morales told the pope, “For me, you are brother Francis.” The pope responded, “As it should be, as it should be.”

01/24/15

Top Communist Admits: Communist Party ‘Utilizes’ the Democratic Party – a Lesson for Constitutionalists

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

New national chair of the Communist Party USA, Chicago man John Bachtell, has admitted that his Party “utilizes” the Democratic Party “to advance its agenda.”

John Bachtell

John Bachtell

Writing on the People’s World website, Bachtell explains that much of the left wants to abandon the Democratic Party (as much of the “right” wants to abandon the GOP) to form a radical third party.

In an article entitled A radical third party? I agree! Bachtell explains:

Certainly, there’s widespread disillusionment with both the Democratic and Republican parties. That’s reflected in the latest Pew Research poll: 38 percent of voters describe themselves as independent, 32 percent as Democrats, and 25 percent as Republicans. In 1991, the three were approximately equal.

While acknowledging that both major parties are heavily influenced by Wall Street, Bachtell sees a big difference:

However, it’s not enough to make sweeping generalizations about the Democratic and Republican parties. It’s true both parties are dominated by Wall Street interests, but it’s also necessary to see how each party differs, particularly their social bases and how this affects their policies.

While the Republican Party is led by the most reactionary sections of Wall Street capital including the energy extractive sector and military industrial complex, it also consists of extreme right-wing elements including the Tea Party, white supremacists, social conservatives, right-wing evangelicals, climate deniers, anti-reproductive rights groups, etc.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party is also home to labor, African Americans, Latinos, other communities of color, women, most union members, young people, and a wide range of social and democratic movements. These constituencies exert influence on party leadership and hold positions at all levels.

Therefore, it makes sense, according to Bachtell, for the Communist Party to stick with the Democrats until a viable third party is feasible. To Bachtell, progress towards socialism is possible only after the “right” is soundly defeated.

The Communist Party’s tactics for political independence rest on several interrelated elements. First, they occur within the constraints of the two-party system. We don’t operate in a parliamentary system which allows proportional voting. Instead, winner takes all, and during the general election it usually comes down to voting for one of two candidates most likely to win.

That means candidates are backed by coalitions. Under these circumstances voting based on purity of positions is not a viable tactic. Coalition forces may disagree with a candidate on one or another issue, but find they must support candidates for strategic reasons – to advance issues and create a more favorable terrain of struggle.

Our tactics also occur within the framework of our strategic policy of building a broad coalition to defeat the extreme right, which we see as the main danger to democracy and social progress, embodied within today’s Republican Party. There are voting constituencies that presently support the GOP that have to be won over. Such an approach sees the need to actively challenge right-wing and GOP ideas that influence sections of the people, especially working-class whites, for example, through hate talk radio. This includes racism and intolerance which are key issues dividing the working class.

We see this as one of the stages in the long struggle for advanced democracy and socialism. Without decisively defeating the most reactionary sections of monopoly capital, disintegrating Republican Party support at every level, it’s hard to see winning more radical and advanced programs and policies and waging a fight against the monopoly class as a whole.

We envision a prolonged process toward political independence, with many turns, advances and defeats, utilizing many forms, resulting in a radical third party based in labor, working-class neighborhoods, communities of color, and democratic movements. Such a coalition third party must extend its reach beyond urban areas, to suburbs, exurbs, rural areas, and in “red” states and congressional districts.

Until that glorious day arrives, the Communist Party will continue to “utilize” the Democrats:

First, we are part of building the broadest anti-ultra right alliance possible, uniting the widest array of class (including a section of monopoly), social and democratic forces. This necessarily means working with the Democratic Party. This differentiates us from those left groups who underestimate the right danger and overestimate the readiness of key class and social forces to bolt the Democratic Party.

Second, our objective is not to build the Democratic Party. At this stage we are about building the broad people’s movement led by labor that utilizes the vehicle of the Democratic Party to advance its agenda. We are about building the movements around the issues roiling wide sections of people that can help shape election contours and debates.

The Communist Party often upsets less mature Marxist groups because of their refusal to abandon the Democratic Party, despite not always getting every item on their agenda immediately.

As an experienced Communist, John Bachtell understands that in spite of difficulties and disappointments, the Communist Party agenda is far better served by infiltrating the Democrats than by marching in the streets yelling revolutionary slogans.

The Communist Party and their only marginally less radical Democratic Socialists of America allies can point to real achievements under their “friend” Barack Obama. Obamacare, illegal immigrant “amnesty,” the NEW START Treaty with Russia, negotiations with Iran, military budget cuts and recognition of communist Cuba, are all Communist Party policies, implemented through the Democratic Party.

Bachtell understands that to prematurely break with with the Democrats, on some Quixotic adventure of forming a new leftist third party, would almost certainly hand the next few elections to the GOP. He fears that a revitalized GOP, led by Ted Cruz, or some similar figure, would roll back most, or all of the Communist Party’s hard fought gains.

If US Constitutionalist conservatives and Tea Party activists can show similar political discipline and maturity, they will abandon plans for a suicidal third party agenda – for now. Instead they will work through the GOP, as the Communists have through the Democrats. Learn from the opposition. Utilize the GOP machinery and voting base to build a big Constitutionalist base inside the GOP. Build your strength, do as the Communists have done, primary any vulnerable GOP candidates who will not support your Constitutionalist agenda.

The Communists did that to Senator Joe Lieberman from Connecticut. Now, virtually no senior Democrats will buck the Communist line. They know the price.

So, the Tea Party and their allies need to take back the GOP for Constitutionalism and ensure that someone of the caliber of Ted Cruz or Scott Walker is the GOP Presidential nominee in 2016.

If that happens, Americans can have a second “Reagan Revolution” even better than the first. If it doesn’t, the Communist Party will have theirs.

If Constitutionalists fail and Jeb Bush, or some similar milksop becomes the GOP nominee, they should gather all their forces, leave the GOP en masse and run against him as a third party. At that point, Constitutionalists have nothing left to lose. They should also make it very clear to the GOP hierarchy and major donors that a third party will inevitably follow any further “dirty tricks,” or other attempts to frustrate the will of the people.

Less than a thousand hardcore Communist Party activists and their few thousand Democratic Socialists of America allies effectively dictate Democratic Party policy.

If the much larger Constitutionalist/Tea Party movement can learn from their opponent’s tactics and maturity, they can have a real shot at restoring the Republic.

The battle for America is not between the Democrats and the Republicans. It is between the Communists and the Constitutionalists. The Constitutionalists must better understand their opposition and borrow some of their tactics, if they want a chance of victory.

Trevor Loudon is an author, activist, and political researcher from Christchurch New Zealand.

He is best known for exposing the ties between a young Barack Obama and Hawaiian Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis, as well as exposing the communist background of former Obama “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones. Loudon’s latest book, The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress, is designed to expose, the comprehensive communist, socialist and extreme progressive infiltration of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

12/27/14

Weekly Featured Profile – Kevin Tyson

KeyWiki

Kevin Tyson

Illinois activist Kevin Tyson is a Christian, a communist, an activist and a Chicago Stock Exchange manager.

He is also a former co-parishioner with US President Barack Obama of the infamous Trinity United Church of Christ in South Chicago.

When the church’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, came under media attack for his extreme views in 2008, Tyson defended his pastor with the “race card.”

There’s a big element of racism involved in this… The black church itself is under attack.

At the 1998 Black Radical Congress in Chicago, one session was entitled – “Faith as a Weapon: Spirituality and the Role of the Church In The Radical Movement. What are the lessons we can learn from Nat Turner, Absalom Jones, Sojourner Truth, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Black ministers as leaders in the struggle? What is the history of spiritual motivation in the radical/liberation movement?”

Panelists included Democratic Socialists of America Marxists and Obama supporters Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright himself and Kevin Tyson.

In 1991, Kevin Tyson in Illinois was one of several hundred Communist Party USA members to sign the paper, “An initiative to Unite and Renew the Party” – most signatories subsequently left the Party after the December 1991 conference to found the breakaway Committees of Correspondence.

In 1994, Kevin Tyson in Chicago, was listed on a “Membership, Subscription and Mailing List” for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence,

However, Tyson, like many Chicago activists, seems to have drifted back to the Communist Party orbit.

In 2009, the Party’s Peoples Weekly World carried an article, “Saluting workers everywhere!”

Our unity makes Wall Street tremble.
Employee Free Choice and universal health care!
A ‘green’, demilitarized, democratized economy that works for all!

About seventy Illinois readers of the PWW signed the article, including Kevin Tyson.

(more…)