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Friday, December 14, 2007


 

A liberating holiday present


No matter what your religion, if any, or the religion of your family and friends, if any (that's if your family and friends have any religion, not if you have any family and friends ;-) ), most of you are going to be giving presents at this time of year. And what better way to get under Bill O'Reilly's skin and help make his imaginary "War on Christmas" real than by giving out subscriptions to a socialist newspaper?

I briefly noted back in June the appearance of a new paper, Liberation, a paper published by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (many of whom I know from working in the antiwar and Cuban solidarity movements in San Francisco). The way the paper works is this - first, most of the material appears on the website, updated a few times a week. Then, every two weeks, a "real" paper is published in both physical (paper) and electronic (PDF) formats. The downloadable version is free, and there's a cost for the physical version, but of course it's the latter that would make a nice gift. And, as much as I read online, there's nothing like something you can hold in your hands and read.

What prompts me to write this post isn't just the approaching gift-giving season, but a spate of articles which just appeared online, which really illustrate the breadth and quality of the writing. Here's the briefest of summaries:

"Why the U.S. backs Kosovo 'independence'", an article which summarizes the history of the imperialist assault on Yugoslavia (something newer activists may know little about, even though it occurred as recently as the Clinton administration) and bringing us up to date with the attempt of the U.S. and its allies to force through "independence" for Kosovo.

"Struggle to free Mumia gets media, legal boost" demonstrates the value of continued struggle on the part of activists to break through the one-sided treatment of all "enemies of the state" by the media, and updates us on the very real prospects of a new trial for a clearly unjustly convicted man.

"Rising hunger sours holiday cheer" covers the phenomenon of hunger (35 million people in the U.S., billions worldwide) in a world in which there is enough food to feed every single person. It includes a section on the subject of charity which could be taken straight from one of my all-time favorite books, "The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists":

Charities are an essential feature of capitalist functioning precisely because they provide an alternative to this type of political movement. They give society a safe way to let off steam, telling workers that the only way to address hunger is through individual handouts and not social movements, and a way for the capitalists to repair their image and alleviate class hatred.
Other articles, all equally interesting, on Iran, "Imperialism and Kurdish self-determination", the conflict between the environment and capitalism (no, it's not my article), crime, and the U.S. antiwar movement and the way forward. Another article from last week, also well worth reading, is an analysis of the referendum defeat in Venezuela.

And over and above the education that such articles provide, with luck they may be the trigger that stimulates you, or a family member or friend, to take up Stephanie McMillan's entreaty:

It’s time for us to muster our courage, for each of us to decide how we will most effectively engage, and dedicate the rest of our lives to fighting for the survival of all life on Earth.


Why stop here? There's more...

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