Category Archives: Culture

Final Four: Does the Plantation Return to Atlanta this Saturday April 6th?

By Comrade Read

As college sports fans gear up for the culmination of the annual march madness NCAA division 1 men’s basketball tournament, this year to be decided at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, we offer two articles by Dave Zirin on the hyper-exploitation of top flight college athletes. The article paints the NCAA as a good ol’ boys network with corporate sponsorship, making millions, if not billions, off the labor of student athletes.

Last week, Kevin Ware of the Louisville Cardinals, suffered one the most horrific injuries I’ve ever seen on a basketball court. It was so shocking that CBS executives ordered the network to stop replaying the footage as Kevin received emergency care. How much will Mr. Ware receive for this game where he fractured his tibia in half to the point it was left dangling off the end of his knee? Nothing, not one penny, unless you’re like the good ol’ boys who feel that the scholarship he receives is “enough”.  With no income and very little time to find a part time job, these unpaid student workers often resort to taking money and benefits from boosters and fans of the school they play for.

Click this link for more context on the injury of Kevin Ware.

Terelle Pryor, formerly of Ohio State, now a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders – exchanged some sports equipment and jerseys, his own property unless you ask the NCAA, for some tatoo work. And because this happened while he was still working for Ohio State, he was kicked off the team and forced to give up his scholarship. For Terelle, who was planning on entering the NFL draft, this wasn’t overly devastating, but for the Ohio State football team he left behind, they were forced to deal with NCAA sanctions which put them out of contention for a national championship for a specified length of time.

That is the nature of the cartel formerly known as the NCAA. It is high time for these student workers/athletes to have an organization that represents their interest as students who work and generate profits for their University and this cartel (NCAA). Just like Graduate School Assistants (GSA) in the University of California recently organized under the United Auto Workers Union (UAW), student athletes need to unionize in order to demand proper compensation and benefits for their labor. Until this a reality, its safe to say the plantation will definitely be returning to Atlanta this weekend and every sports weekend of major NCAA sports. Tune in,  and check out the link to the article below for more context on this “wicked” (Desmond Howard quote) and hyper-exploitative system.

http://www.thenation.com/article/173307/ncaa-poster-boy-corruption-and-exploitation?page=0,0

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Capital milking its system – poetry from a comrade

When I lived briefly in North Carolina and Wisconsin, I worked as a farm hand and fruit picker in some very prolific farming communities. I worked alongside Amish, immigrants, and high-end industrial farmers and made a point to jot down notes every day from my conversations and observations. A few years later, I came across my old notes, and rearranged them into a longer dairy capitalismstream-of-consciousness specifically about the Dairy-Industrial-Complex; a configuration of all the players involved in dairy production. The poem has no conclusion or clear ending; it is merely a commentary on the deterioration of health and food production for profit. This type of Industrial-Complex shows the absolute necessity for the complete unity of class struggle and ecological struggle.

In the Industrial-Complex, the global domino effect, in a global competition for greater profit, imported milk is condensed, canned, and distributed without charge to the poor countries of Mali, Niger, and Yap. The canned milk, though labeled “Nor forSale” in English, is sold in the local markets.
The amount of canned milk for sale worldwide depends on the economic conditions in North America, Europe and the South Pacific.
It depends on how much milk Nestle, Hershey or Kraft buys for their annual production and on the fluctuating value of the dollar, yen or Euro, which maintains its colonial ties to the CEFA in West Africa.
It depends on the consumption of milk in the rich countries; how hot the summer is and how much ice cream people eat.
It depends on the world’s annual yield of soybeans, one of the major competitors of milk products.
It depends on the consumption of corn for ethanol, for cow feed, for high fructose corn syrup.
It depends on Michelle Obama’s “War on Obesity” and the Department of Health’s concern for any diseases in raw milk.
It depends on the black market of raw dairy products, the costs of middle men, transportation costs and the popularity of whole foods stores.
It depends on the dairy subsidies and foreign aid appropriations made by U.S. congress; the food policies of the United Nations high commissioner for earthquake victims in Haiti and Pakistan; and the mercurial aid programs of religious and other private charitable organizations all over the world.
In the beginning, it started with the small farmer, bought out by a factory farm. The crops are then rotated annually- three years soy beans, one year corn, and again. The sprays; the pesticides.
It started with the land purchase. Forty acres and 30,000 cows, all walking around in their own feces; milking machines; tasers; small, confined spaces.
It started when the soil depletes and the factory farm moves to a different area. When a corporate hustler gives a high five to a politician who sells out their state’s land for a competitive profit.
And in the end, it changes the nature of the landscape, the culture of the towns, the priorities of local governments, monopolization of local economies. We see Walmart, green-washing, and cancer. The soil is sick and it runs off into the water. The people are sick and rush to Walgreens for prescriptions. The plants are sick- tomato and cucumber blight.
It ends with cultural phobias- bacteria is harmful and must be eliminated. Adding chemicals, taking out proteins, homogenization, pasteurization, skim, fat free; a culture of fat phobias.
When we get back to canned milk in Mali, we see advertisement. When Nestle suffers, they tell mothers that breast feeding is unhealthy. So buy our powdered milk products for life longevity, for child’s health!
A suffered profit perpetuates the war on the Global South, the class struggle, the prioritization of profit over decent milk in elementary schools, over growing cancer cells, over fractured communities, and brainwashed understandings of health.

Art & Revolution: Thoughts of a young artist from East Oakland

Attached are a couple images of drawings as well as an image of a shirt that a young radical comrade has produced.  He’s chosen to remain nameless for security purposes.  Below is a brief statement from him about the connection between art and revolution.  We look forward to much more from this comrade.

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I made this shirt for the communist collective Advance the Struggle because I saw the communist symbol and recognized that it could easily be used to spell out ATS; the communist symbol is the mainlogo for the marxist/communist tendency.  It’s a good way to intrigue people; from an artists’ perspective, I think of logos and what people see the most; if you separate it (the hammer and sickle) and force people to have to think about it to get it then it intrigues people. 

Art is an easy way to display what you think; it doesn’t have to be hella complex like in a text; art has been in movements throughout history and will always be . . . it’s an easy way of depicting a movement and a movement’s thoughts.  There is less censorship in art; the only censorship is your own imagination; you can use humor and irony; there’s a lot of freedom in art. 

photo (20)

Graffiti is in a way counter to the state; you don’t have to get permission from the state to do what you want; it shows that people have freedom, and it removes the fear that people have of the state; it shows that we can put our own message, whether it’s explicitly political or not.  

Even if it’s not explicitly political, it’s still political because it shows by the artists’ action that you’re going against the state; Graffiti is taking back space, it’s taking over occupied space that capital has taken over; Graffiti is showing love for our city and for the working class; we’re showing respect for ourselves by showing that we have the power to control our own city and our own space.  photo (19)

 

Lee Majors – “Dats What They Say”

Finding Our Revolutionary Agency: A Reflection on Peacock Rebellion’s “Agen(c)y”

by Mara

The NonProfit Industrial Complex

Image from an excellent zine and comic book on the NPIC posted at http://zeeninginlaos.wordpress.com. Click the picture to check it out!

I’ve grown up in the bay area and my political development started when I worked for a nonprofit. I was about 19 years old, had gotten kicked out of my parents house for drug use and related family conflicts revolving around mental health, and had to find work in order to pay my newly acquired housing expenses. Not having many marketable skills aside from being bi-lingual, I turned to Craig’s List and eventually got a series of interviews that lead me to an after-school tutoring job at a public school in Oakland. The program was funded and organized through a social justice nonprofit.

It was through my work at this nonprofit that I met people who were politicized around issues in education, pedagogy, and racial justice. Though no one helped me develop my politics through direct mentorship, being around a scene of people who had radical ideas and were doing work with working class students encouraged me to follow my interest in working students to the point where I decided to finish community college and get a teaching credential. It was through this process that I started researching people like Paulo Freire and through this being opened up to the world of revolutionary theory and history . . .

How many people have become radicalized through nonprofits? Found them to be useful forums for expressing radical political energy? How many have found them to be incredibly limiting and de-politicizing after spending some time in them? Continue reading

Video

Boca Floja – Autonomo

Blood Shed of the Innocent – Sounds of the South

Artists from political hip-hop collective Sounds of the South

With the chorus of ‘eighteen years and we’re still the victim’ this song from political hip-hop collective Sounds of the South represents in English and native tongues the hypocrisy of the post-Apartheid regime in South Africa. The African National Congress was a political party central to ending apartheid, making use of political strikes as one of its most powerful tactics. This tactic must be used here in the USA. But without a communist goal, all the best tactics in the world will loop back to capitalism and all its horrors.

Nelson Mandela was the first black president of South Africa under the ANC but its plain to see the dictatorship of capital still reigns supreme. The National Union of Miners has always been a pillar of the ANC, but today they work hand in hand with capitalists to put down workers’ righteous struggle. With our own black president, with our own popular “Democratic” party, and with our own sell-out unions, we in the US feel South African proletarian pain.