JACK O’DELL, PRESENTE!

By Jim Campbell

Jack O’Dell died peacefully at 11:30 PM Pacific Time, Vancouver, BC, Canada, October 31, 2019 in the company of his family.

Jack was one of a ‘central cadre’ of Movement activists whose role and function were quiet but essential, vital and invaluable. His recent book CLIMBIN’ JACOB’S LADDER edited by Nikhil Pal Singh is witness to his centrality.

Jack’s lifetime of Civil Rights activism had its roots in the 1940’s beginning in the Merchant Marines followed by community activism in Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama. With the emergence of the Montgomery Movement and the student-led Sit-ins, his base of participation shifted to New York City. This was during the late 1950’s and the earliest modern-day organizing of the March on Washington under the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Jack was privy to the birth of FREEDOMWAYS, Dr. WEB DuBois’ last project before departing this country for Ghana. Jack wrote anonymously, mostly, throughout the magazine’s twenty-five year lifetime. He was a Professor at the Antioch Putney Center in Washington, DC; an Adviser to both “Presidential Campaigns of Jesse Jackson; and, recently, author of The Democracy Charter the latest framework for Movement Activists to discuss and organize around in their struggle for a substantive democracy in this country. To all intents and purposes, this is Jack’s challenging legacy agenda to ‘The Movement’ and all who are active in this patriotic endeavor.

On a personal note, Jack was a close Comrade in our long span of reading, studying and discussing from one campaign to the next over a sixty-year period. In essence, his wisdom and broader world experiences were an educator in its root meaning: leader. His patience in organizing with attention to comprehensive details in conjunction with overall strategic goals broaden and deepen the effectiveness of all who worked with him. He was consistent in his lifetime study and application of the science of dialectical materialism and leaves that example for all of us.

On a very popular TV Program in the tri-state area of New York City during the 1960’s, Herbert Aptheker was asked to describe his relationship with Dr. DuBois. After a long pause, Herbert replied in a choked voice, ‘He was my father.’ With Jack’s death, I now fully understand what Herbert meant.

Jack was my political father.

Jack O’Dell, PRESENTE!”

Opposing the US New Cold War on China

 

China warns Hong Kong protesters not to ‘play with fire’
 
Notes on Understanding the Crisis in Hong Kong and role of the Left in the US

By Duncan McFarland

LeftLinks

o Hong Kong is capitalist; the People’s Republic of China is a country self-identified as in the primary stage of socialism with a Marxist-Leninist political system.  This is a major political contradiction and Hong Kong people are divided in their feelings about being part of China.

o Hong Kong Island was seized and colonized by Great Britain in 1842 as a result of the Opium War, Kowloon peninsula taken by the British later, and the adjacent New Territories leased for 100 years in 1897.  In 1997 sovereignty reverted back to China according to a joint agreement.  The handover stipulated a 50-year period in which Hong Kong would have a high degree of autonomy while China would control foreign relations and defense.  This agreement did not, however, resolve the political contradiction.  Having the character of a pragmatic, short term fix, the agreement is ambiguous as to what will happen to Hong Kong in 2047 when the arrangement ends.

o Hong Kong, long a British colony, has never had democracy.  Its political system is not fully democratic according to bourgeois standards, because the legislature and chief executive are not elected by one-person, one-vote.  Neither is there full democracy according to the Chinese socialist system, because there are no people’s congresses in civil society nor democratic centralism in a ruling communist party.  The hybrid system is a pragmatic patchwork; it is understandable that many people in Hong Kong want developed democratic institutions and that young people want more say in decision-making.

o The political forces and trends in Hong Kong are very complicated.  The protest movement consists of those seeking democratic reforms within the context of China’s policy of one-country, two systems; second, people who want an independent (capitalist) Hong Kong; third, a small group of anarchists and “thugs” initiating confrontation.  There are also counter-revolutionary “protesters” working with US imperialist agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy, which for many years in Hong Kong has been actively promoting anti-communism and a color revolution in Beijing.

There are also many people in Hong Kong who support China for different reasons: patriotic feelings for China, commercial ties, those who sympathize with socialism.  More recent immigrants have strong family connections to China, rural villagers near the border vote pro- Beijing and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions supports the government.  In addition to people of Hong Kong, transnational capitalists have considerable influence in different ways. China’s response can only be understood in the context of US imperialist strategy, which during the Trump administration has explicitly targeted China (and Russia) as principal adversaries.  US capitalism-imperialism wants regime change and friendly governments in those two countries.  The pivot to Asia initiated by President Obama and Hillary Clinton has surrounded China with military bases and alliances, including a major base in South Korea and support for revived Japanese militarism. Trump has initiated the trade war to pressure the Chinese economy.

China regards these policies as an extension of the colonial and imperialist efforts since the Opium War to break off parts of the country to weaken and subjugate it.

o Here is my take on the Five Demands currently put forward by the protest movement.

— First, the demand for direct elections for the legislature and chief executive will never be granted because China will not accept the possibility of the election of a pro-capitalist government committed to independence.  However, the Hong Kong government could engage in dialogue to expand democracy and engage young people short of conceding sovereignty.

— Another demand is for the resignation of Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.  I don’t have an evaluation of how she is doing her job; she has kept a low profile and does not want to call in the military to restore order.  It’s possible she could resign.

— A third demand is for an investigation into police brutality.  There could be an investigation into violence, including both police tactics and confrontations initiated by the protesters. — The protesters demand that the government not use the word “riot” to describe the protests.  This is reasonable because the protests are a mixture of peaceful actions and confrontations and cannot simply be described as a riot.

— Another demand is to permanently withdraw the extradition bill, which has been shelved for the time being.  This seems unreasonable to me because almost every country has extradition laws.  A better plan would be to propose a further revision of the bill.  The original extradition issue has been lost; a young woman in Taiwan was murdered and the alleged perpetrator fled to Hong Kong and is now arrested and in a Hong Kong jail.  Taiwan wants the person sent back to stand trial; the original extradition law was an attempt to fulfill this request.  Protesters oppose the bill because it could be used in the future to extradite people in Hong Kong to China; they say this could lead to political repression.  It could also be used to extradite people to China who flee to Hong Kong to escape the major anti-corruption campaign.

— Meanwhile, the government has demanded foreign governments (i.e. USA) cease interference.  CIA etc. involvement in the protest movement could also be investigated. In general, my view is that the Hong Kong government could be more flexible on initiating dialogue and compromise — they do hold state power.  However, it is understandable that the Hong Kong and Chinese governments regard sovereignty as non-negotiable; Hong Kong may have autonomy but not independence.

What is the role of the US Left?

— The US media has mostly an anti-China bias, petitions and rallies supporting the Hong Kong government are barely mentioned.  The Left should strive to understand all sides of the story for a balanced perspective.

— The people of Hong Kong and China are the ones to resolve the problems and issues.

— The role of the US Left is to call for an end to US militarism and intervention in all forms.  We want a policy of peace and friendly relations with China, not tension and conflict.  The US should cooperate with China on climate change and other issues.  The US should bring the troops home, make deep cuts in the military budget and increase support for social programs. Cease using Hong Kong as a base promoting a ‘color revolution’ and regime change.

— It is urgently hoped that matters will be resolved through peaceful dialogue and not violence.

The author wishes to thank the Massachusetts Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism for its input; he is also the coordinator of the China Study Group at the Center for Marxist Education in Cambridge.

DSA Erupts in the Media Nationwide

Compiled by Bob Roman

New Ground / Chicao DSA

DSA’s Taylor Jones was among the scheduled speakers at an anti-inaugural Human Rights rally, according to Sloane Smith at The Austin Chronicle. Nancy Benac at the Associated Press included DSA in a pre-inaugural report, as carried by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for example. A pre-inaugural political report by David Weigel at The Washington Post included DSA. Kristin Toussaint at Metro – Boston also mentioned DSA in coverage of upcoming Boston anti-Trump demonstrations.

DSA made Rachel Miller’s list of anti-inaugural to-do’s at Brooklyn Magazine, as we did in Madina Toure’s list at New York Observer, as we did in Eddie Pamintuan’s list at Sactown Magazine, as we did in Brenden Gallagher’s list at Merryjane, as we did in the editors’ list at Blunderbuss Magazine. Since Joseph Schwartz was included among Philadelphia’s 19 face of resistance at BillyPenn, so was DSA. DSA also made Talia Ergas’ list at Us Weekly. Now, will DSA become a fashion statement? Commodify your dissent with this decorative DSA membership! But Sarah Slamen at Texas Observer urged people to get active, and mentioned DSA, oh yes, as one of the possible alternatives.

Danielle DeCourcey included advice from DSA (among others) for first time protesters at attn:.

University of Oklahoma YDS staged an anti-inaugural demonstration, according to Hannah Pike at OUDaily. Adam Troxtell covered the same demonstration at The Norman Transcript. DSA was mentioned in Cynthia Moreno’s coverage of an anti-Trump demonstration at the California State Capitol at Vida en el Valle. John Ferrannini covered the same Sacramento demonstration and included DSA, at The State Hornet. DSA was part of the coalition of groups organizing 144 hours of protests in Sacramento, according to Dan Bacher at San Diego Free Press. Frank Torres’ coverage of an anti-Trump demonstration in Orlando, Florida, included DSA at The Orlando Political Observer. Alex Eng and Ryan Grewal included a quote from DSA’s Spencer Brown in their coverage of Boston anti-Trump protests at The Huntington News. Mass Live’s Gintautas Dumcius’ coverage of the Boston Commons protest also included DSA. The anti-Trump demonstration in New York was covered by Jake Offehartz for Gothamist, and mentioned DSA, as did Zach Williams at Chelsea Now. Sputnik News gave DSA full credit for organizing the anti-Trump demonstration in New York City, as did Jake Sigal at Pacific Press Agency. Is this the foundation for a conspiracy narrative? Well, funny you should mention it! None of this (including DSA) would be happening without George Soros, according to William Jasper at the John Birch Society’s The New American. A large contingent from DSA participated in the anti-Trump demonstrations in Philadelphia, according to Martha Woodall at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Layla A. Jones also included DSA in coverage of the Philadelphia anti-Trump demonstration at The Philadelphia Tribune. DSA was included Paul Schwartzman’s and David Weigel’s coverage of anti-Trump demonstrations in DC at The Washington Post. In India, Ruchir Ferroro Sharma mentioned DSA in connection with anti-Trump demonstrations at Swarajya magazine. The Young Democratic Socialists were involved in inaugural anti-Trump activities in Eugene, Oregon, according to Eric Howanietz at The Torch, likewise in downtown Kansas City, according to Emily Park at University News.

Gabby Bess’ interview with Winnie Wong about the Women’s March on Washington mentioned DSA, at Broadly. DSA made the photo gallery (#125 of 139) covering the Women’s March on Montana at Great Falls Tribune. Roqayah Chamseddine discussed some of the feminist politics surrounding the Women’s March on Washington at Shadow Proof, wherein DSA was mentioned. Art Forum provided several accounts of Women’s Marchs around the country, including an account from the DSA delegation in DC by Ed Halter. Paul Kengor managed to link Kim Il Sung, the Women’s March on Washington and DSA together at The American Spectator. An editorial at the Houston Chronicle mentioned DSA in connection with the Women’s March and opposition to Trump. At Case Western Reserve University’s The Observer, Eamon Sheehan and Christopher Nguyen mentioned YDS in their account of the Women’s March on Cleveland and on Washington. Nassau Weekly published a series of first person accounts of the Women’s March that mentioned YDS. Medill Reports Chicago posted an article and a photo gallery by Derek Robertson of DSA at the Women’s March on Washington. Robertson includes quotes from Clara Alcott and Peg Strobel.

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