CCDS Statement on Puerto Rico

Deliver Aid to Puerto Rico Now, Remove All Tariffs and Fees!

Puerto Rico is suffering a humanitarian crisis of historic proportions. Hurricanes Maria and Irma left the people of the island without electricity, cell phone connections, clean water, food, medicines, and other items necessary for basic survival. Many communities remain isolated due to destroyed infrastructure. There have been an estimated 400 deaths , and that figure is certain to rise as infections spread from pathogens released by the destruction and the lack of potable water.

Now, over a month after the hurricane, Puerto Ricans are still without basic needs. Federal aid to these American citizens has been criminally slow and inadequate. The neglect of Puerto Ricans today rivals the mistreatment of African Americans in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. There is clearly a racist policy of discrimination in disaster relief. The U.S. Congress has passed a $36 billion disaster relief act but only a portion of that will go to Puerto Rico.

Cuba, which has a long history of international solidarity, offered aid for Puerto Rico but the Trump Administration refused it. Congress lifted the Jones Act for ten days, a token gesture to allow ships under foreign flag to carry goods from US mainland ports to San Juan. Much of those goods remain on the docks unable to reach the devastated communities. The scale of devastation demands a massive response to ferry life-saving goods inland. Hospitals cannot operate due to lack of power and lack of clean water. FEMA must mobilize the resources to address these problems.

The conditions which left Puerto Rico so vulnerable to this disaster are rooted in its colonial status. Years of tax relief schemes for U.S. businesses operating on the island devastated the economy before the hurricanes hit. Puerto Rico is burdened by $123 billion in bond commitments and unfunded pension obligations to banks and speculators

The Puerto Rican economy also suffers from the import fees imposed by the Jones Act. These fees hike the prices for Puerto Rican consumers that no other US resident pays. This practice has resulted in long term economic damage. The Puerto Rican government has sought to declare bankruptcy but was blocked by the federal government. A board was imposed to oversee the budget and force the colony to pay its bond payments by cutting social and infrastructure spending – a Federal collection agency for hedge funds and Wall Street speculators.

CCDS declares its solidarity with the Puerto Rican people and progressive forces who call upon the US government to demand:

1. Full mobilization of required equipment and supplies to Puerto Rico by FEMA

2. Provision of humanitarian aid, not loans, to rebuild the infrastructure.

3. Cancellation of the Puerto Rico debt.

4. Support the protections and rights for maritime workers codified in the Jones Act and remove all tariffs, fees, taxes, customs, and import fees imposed on Puerto Rico by the Jones Act.

10/27/17

Fight White Supremacy, Racism,and Fascism Everywhere!

CCDS Statement on Charlottesville

We condemn the white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally and violent assaults against anti-racist demonstrators which occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017, resulting in the murder of one anti-racist protestor and severe injury to over a dozen more.

We indict the Trump Administration for refusing to name and condemn the violence unleashed by the racist and neo-Nazi forces, while blaming both sides equally.

We believe Donald Trump and his key administrative advisors, such as Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, are directly responsible for the increase of white supremacist and Nazi violence. They emboldened the far right during the 2016 presidential campaign and have continued to promote white supremacy since Trump assumed office. Trump’s blaming both sides masks the reality of rising white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence across the country.

We mourn the loss of life and injuries suffered. Our deepest sympathy goes to the family and friends of the young woman killed and the families of the police officers who died in a helicopter crash while patrolling the area. We grieve with the 19 and possibly more anti-racist and anti-Nazi protestors who suffered injuries.

The white supremacist protestors in Charlottesville were not just Virginians. They came from cities and towns across the United States, reflecting the national scope of this right-wing threat to our people and democracy.

CCDS calls on all justice minded people everywhere to build a broad front against white supremacy, racism, and fascism and to build and fortify our organizations to fight the right.  There is no place for racism and fascism and in our country.

Paul Krehbiel
Rafael Pizarro
Harry Targ
Janet Tucker
Co-Chairs Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)

Statement of the Committees of Correspondence on the 2016 elections

Reflect, Revitalize and Resist

The movement for justice and progress in the U.S. has suffered a great setback. And the depth of the reactionary movement that led to this setback was underestimated by most on the left. It’s necessary to reflect on what it has taught us and about our shortcomings but it’s also vital to assess our strength to meet this great challenge.

The majority of Americans – whether through their votes or by sitting out the election – displayed a repudiation of business as usual in Washington. We believe that Bernie Sander’s campaign channeled the anger behind this sentiment in a progressive direction. It galvanized a new generation of voters and activists. We call on progressives to continue to support such true progressive elected officials – there are a few – but also to organize around the principles of that movement and not solely around these individuals.

Unprecedented marches are happening around the country. We unite with these and encourage participation by all. We call for unity of the great progressive movement that has been disorganized.  There is an urgent need of unity. We now must be humble enough to recognize that our sum is greater than our parts. We must renew our efforts at building this unity.

But perhaps most importantly, it is necessary to resist this immoral but effective minority in government and on the streets. We must repudiate the corrupt political system that has brought this about, fight the regressive efforts of that system and show that there is yet a passionate progressive majority that only needs unity to show effective strength.

The Committees of Correspondence stands prepared to join in this great task before us. We stand in solidarity with all those who are ready to fight the forces of reaction and project a future of equality of all people and justice for the many, over the enrichment of a few.