Club Editorial 3/12/2021

Peace, No War!

Communist and socialist parties characteristically move step by step toward larger goals. What’s required now is immediate action in the cause of peace, no war, no nuclear war.

Governmental leaders and their backers are all too comfortable with inflicting death, suffering, and misery on a massive scale. They offer rationales, but these are fashioned for the moment and, given the consequences, are irrelevant.

The prospect now is of war with no end in sight, in a highly unstable region. That the United States and Iraq trade attacks heightens the risk of regional expansion and escalation. An attack-retaliation style of military posturing may soon be entrenched to the point of defining U.S. confrontations with China or Russia.

The prospect now is of war with no end in sight, in a highly unstable region. That the United States and Iraq trade attacks heightens the risk of regional expansion and escalation. An attack-retaliation style of military posturing may soon be entrenched to the point of defining U.S. confrontations with China or Russia.

The U.S. government on February 25 bombed a Syrian government installation along Syria’s border with Iraq. People died. It was responding to bombings of U.S. military installations in Iraq attributed to Iran.

 U.S. soldiers appeared on the CBS program 60 Minutes on February 28.  They were survivors of an Iranian missile attack January 8, 2020 on U. S. installations at the Al Asad Airbase in Iraq. No U.S. troops were killed. The attack followed a U.S. drone attack in Baghdad five days earlier that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

The survivors communicated the terror they experienced. They described painful, debilitating aftereffects. Major Alan Johnson, speaking to reporter David Martin, mentions: “Knocked the wind out of me followed by the most putrid tasting ammonia tasting dust … After the blast wave and debris came the flames … The fire was just rolling over the bunkers, you know, like 70 feet in the air … We’re going to burn to death.”

He continues: “Finally, you know, hours later we realized, ‘We have a mass casualty event here of traumatic brain injury.’” Now he experiences “Headaches every day, horrible tinnitus or ringing in the ears. PTSD. … I still have nightmares.”

According to Rogers, the attack led to more than 100 cases of traumatic brain injury. Purple hearts were awarded.

Johnson’s account is a jolt. But so too are reports of children, woman, men in combat zones who, already living in misery, are killed or incapacitated for life. Their numbers are countless.

We know missiles can deliver nuclear weapons. We note that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, signed by 86 nations and ratified by 54 nations, took effect on January 22, 2021. Nuclear-armed nations, like the United States, disregard it.

To know what horrors may lie ahead, to see what’s on planners’ drawing boards, and to hear a sector of the resistance movement, consult the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space at http://space4peace.org/. Bruce Gagnon of Bath, Maine is the coordinator.

The worldwide peace movement is a multitude. But not everyone goes to the root of the matter and studies the causes of war. We of the Communist movement do that. We factor in war-makers’ profiteering, imperialist ambitions, and/or lust for natural resources belonging to someone else. When or if such incentives are known to great numbers of potential victims, the struggle for peace gains strength.

This perspective informs Liam O’Flaherty’s story The Discarded Soldier. It appeared in the Daily Worker in 1925. Liam and his brother Tom, were members of the CPUSA.

The narrative begins: “The Discarded Soldier had crawled to his garret to die. He lay on his ragged bed.” Continuing: “Poor Discarded Soldier. Poor useless cannon fodder. Poor scrapped tool of capitalism. But a few years back, he was a strong youth …”  The author is not subtle.

The O’Flaherty brothers came from the Aran Islands, off the western coast of Ireland. Liam was a founding member of the Irish Communist Party and author of the novels Famine (1937) and The Informer (1935). He was seriously wounded in the trenches in World War I and. The Discarded Soldier may be read here and also here, with additional biographical information.


Maine’s Labor Historian, Charles Scontras (1928-2021): His Contribution, by Chris McKinnon

Historians had long neglected Maine’s diverse working class. That changed in the 1960s when Charles A. Scontras, a young historian at the University of Maine, set out to rescue the State’s laboring classes from what the legendary British Historian E.P. Thompson once called, “the enormous condescension of posterity.” In the 1950s, British and other EuropeanContinue reading “Maine’s Labor Historian, Charles Scontras (1928-2021): His Contribution, by Chris McKinnon”

Stopgap Methods Won’t Fix Migration Challenge, by Tom Whitney

The continuing press of migrants from Mexico and Central America arriving at the U.S. southern border has forced the Biden administration to send Vice President Kamala Harris south on a negotiating mission. According to The New York Times, “She will work with the leaders of Central American governments.” Armed with “billions of dollars,” she willContinue reading “Stopgap Methods Won’t Fix Migration Challenge, by Tom Whitney”

‘Lighting a fuse’: Amazon vote could spark more union pushes by Joseph Pisani and Bill Barrow from ‘People’s World’

What happens inside a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, could have major implications not just for the country’s second-largest employer but the labor movement at large. Organizers are pushing for some 6,000 Amazon workers there to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on the promise it will lead to better working conditions, better pay,Continue reading “‘Lighting a fuse’: Amazon vote could spark more union pushes by Joseph Pisani and Bill Barrow from ‘People’s World’”

Universities Now Need Govt Approval for Online International Events on India’s ‘Internal Matters,’ from The Wire.

Revised guidelines issued by the MEA and education ministry appear to extend rules applicable to physical events – for which foreigners require visas to come to India – to online conferences and seminars that don’t involve any travel to India. New Delhi: In a new restriction on academic freedom at the country’s publicly-funded universities, professorsContinue reading “Universities Now Need Govt Approval for Online International Events on India’s ‘Internal Matters,’ from The Wire.”

There Are So Many Lessons to Learn from Kerala: The Eleventh Newsletter (2021), Tricontinental

Dear friends, Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. Indian farmers and agricultural workers have crossed the hundred-day mark of their protest against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They will not withdraw until the government repeals laws that deliver the advantages of agriculture to large corporate houses. This, theContinue reading “There Are So Many Lessons to Learn from Kerala: The Eleventh Newsletter (2021), Tricontinental”

Recurring Political Crisis in Haiti Connects with US Racism, by Tom Whitney

Haiti faces serious political crisis. The country has experienced great political difficulties ever since gaining independent nationhood in 1804. Impaired governance stems in large measure from U.S. meddling over many years.  We examine the current crisis and the basis for U.S. zeal to curtail Haiti’s future. Mass demonstrations have continued intermittently since mid-2018, when twoContinue reading “Recurring Political Crisis in Haiti Connects with US Racism, by Tom Whitney”

ICE, Migrant Children, and Maine, by Raina Overskride

The Biden administration is opening up a facility near Carrizo Springs, Texas where the U.S. Immigrations, Customs, and Enforcement Agency (ICE) will be holding unaccompanied migrant children. The facility, formerly a camp for oil field workers, was used briefly by the Trump administration in 2019 for the same purpose. The news is depressing and disappointing.Continue reading “ICE, Migrant Children, and Maine, by Raina Overskride”

Maine Medical Center Nurses Want a Union, Need Support, by Sheila Malone RN

Nurses at Maine Medical Center (MMC) in Portland, the region’s preeminent referral center, have taken steps to organize a union.  On their behalf, the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA) in January petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to authorize a secret vote on forming a union for the hospital’s 1600 nurses. Ballots mailed to MMCContinue reading “Maine Medical Center Nurses Want a Union, Need Support, by Sheila Malone RN”

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