Sunday, April 5, 2020

Fidel Castro Addresses Jubilant Crowds During the March to Havana After the Triumph of the Revolution -- Daily LIFT #166

Fidel Castro Addresses Jubilant Crowds During the March to Havana After the Triumph of the Revolution -- Daily LIFT #166

Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis, US Aggression Against Venezuela, India & more -- The Week in News and Opinion March 29 - April 5

This week's list of articles, news items, visuals and opinion pieces that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of  March 29 - April 5

Unsurprisingly this week's edition begins again with a very large roundup of news and left opinion about the capitalist coronavirus crisis and its impact on working people globally. There are a number of links related to such topics as the worker fightback in the United States, the unfolding humanitarian crisis in India and the new attacks and aggression by the US imperialists against Venezuela. The Featured Article link at the start looks at how the coronavirus class war has already begun.

We have tried to arrange this coronavirus news thematically and to touch on many different areas of concern.

Featured Article:

The Coronavirus Class War Has Already Started

"The very collapse of American unions in recent decades means that the stabilizing force of organized labor is gone, making wildcat strikes the weapon of choice in this new class war. America may be heading into a period of working-class militancy unlike anything it has experienced since the 1930s and ’40s."

Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis:

Not on the Backs of Workers! -- The Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis News on The Left Chapter

Why coronavirus could spark a capitalist supernova

"Today capitalism itself is bankrupt"

The race to find a coronavirus treatment has one major obstacle: big pharma

Living in climate crisis: the pandemic and the need for revolution

Chomsky: Ventilator Shortage Exposes the Cruelty of Neoliberal Capitalism

The coronavirus crisis has exposed the ugly truth about celebrity culture and capitalism

Britain's communists sign open letter on international response to Covid-19

Whether in the UK or the developing world, we're not all in coronavirus together

Pope Francis warns of ‘a viral genocide’ if governments put the economy before people amid coronavirus pandemic 

Coronavirus embarrassed Trump and Bolsonaro. But the global right will fight back


Trump’s “blame China” campaign is an effort to dodge responsibility

You Don’t Need to Believe China About China’s Coronavirus Success

China Refutes US Accusations of Hiding Extent of Virus Deaths

China delivers 10,000 coronavirus kits to Palestine

US Blockade Prevents Medical Supplies From Reaching Cuba

ECLAC Urges the U.S. to Lift Sanctions Against Venezuela, Cuba

Sanctions are crippling Iran's fight against coronavirus

Cuba, Venezuela, Iran: U.S. imperialism wants to let them die

Cuban doctors in South Africa fight against Covid-19

St. Kitts and Nevis Thanks Cuba for Its Aid Against COVID-19

Nicaragua and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite pandemic, U.S. government threatens intervention in Venezuela

Chinese Specialists Arrive in Venezuela to Combat Coronavirus


Venezuela Blasts US 'Transition' Plan as 'Tutelage'

Venezuela Rejects US Attempts to Send Navy Ships Near Its Coast

CPUSA condemns U.S. criminal charges against Maduro

Morrison shuts down parliament, hands nation to corporations (Australia)

Assassination of Communist Party of Philippines official, comrades condemned

Philippines's Duterte threatens to shoot those causing 'trouble' amid coronavirus

"It is becoming more and more evident that Socialism is the alternative" - Statements from India

India’s failed lockdown: devastating the poor, weakening the fight against COVID-19

For India’s Laborers, Coronavirus Lockdown Is an Order to Starve

Lockdown crisis in India: a people's perspective of Covid-19

Outcry as Migrants in India Are Sprayed With Disinfectant

Primark and Matalan among retailers allegedly cancelling £2.4bn orders in ‘catastrophic’ move for Bangladesh

Colombia: ELN Announces Ceasefire Over COVID-19

Bolivians Unable to Quarantine, Protest All Over the Country

France To "Temporarily" Nationalize Companies Hit by COVID-19

Spain: Catalonia Wants Cuban Health Workers to Fight COVID-19

Italy sets aside €400m for food vouchers as social unrest mounts

THE POOR NEED HELP…measures put to curb COVID-19 crippling the poor – M’membe (Zambia) 

The rightwing Christian preachers in deep denial over Covid-19's danger

Leaked Amazon Memo Details Plan to Smear Fired Warehouse Organizer: ‘He’s Not Smart or Articulate’

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio orders investigation of Amazon’s firing of strike organizer

'A perfect storm': US facing hunger crisis as demand for food banks soars

Corporate Media Ignores How Privatization of US Hospitals Explains Lack of Beds, Ventilators

Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear

NYC nurses, clutching photos of dead colleagues, demand better protective gear on pandemic’s front line

The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients.

The vacant Comfort hospital ship is a symbol of our coronavirus failure

Las Vegas Hotels Are Empty: The Homeless Are in a “Socially Distant” Parking Lot




10 Million Americans Lost Their Jobs In Two Weeks Because of Coronavirus


Hate Crimes Against Asians Surge in US Amid COVID-19: FBI

The rightwing figures pushing Trump's 'back-to-work' policy despite pandemic

They’re putting our lives at risk to build stadiums and condos?

General Electric Workers Walk Off the Job, Demand to Make Ventilators

Amazon’s Whole Foods Workers to Launch Nationwide Strike

Gig workers forced to strike over lack of coronavirus protection

U.S. Communists demand Trump use Defense Production Act, say coronavirus exposes capitalism’s failings

Victoria grocery workers demand hazard pay amid COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19: Union of B.C Indian Chiefs urges halt to Coastal GasLink pipeline work

- Petition: Stop all Construction on Coastal GasLink, Site C and Trans Mountain: risk of COVID 19

Holes in the safety net: CERB and EI coverage falls short

COVID-19: A third of unemployed Canadians will receive nothing from either EI or new CERB

Public testing for COVID-19 crippled by privatization: The case of Alberta

- ‘It is a very dire situation’: At least 600 nursing, retirement homes in Canada have coronavirus cases

Truck drivers are being denied basic necessities as they deliver essentials in this pandemic

Implement a rent moratorium now, or face rent strikes across Canada

‘We Have Always Been Disposable’: the Structural Violence of Neoliberal Healthcare


Does Brazil already have a new “acting President”?

Brazil: Opposition Unites Against President, Demands His Removal

Brazil's Bolsonaro isolated, weakened by coronavirus denial

Bolsonaro denounced for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court


Mel Watkins 1932 - 2020: In Memory

Ellen Page expresses frustration with 'absolutely horrifying' environmental racism in N.S.

A man in mental distress died after police used a taser on him

Alberta government announces billion-dollar pipeline giveaways after mass public-sector worker layoffs


Chile: Young Fighter's Day Protests Begin Despite Curfew


Colombia: Violence Against Social Leaders Continues


Glezos, the Greek resistance hero who tore swastika from Acropolis


Hungary approves extra government powers, with no end date

New school curriculum raises eyebrows in Orban's Hungary

Israel / Palestine:

With the World Pre-occupied With Coronavirus, Israel Pushes a West Bank Land Grab

United Kingdom:

U.K.: Keir Starmer Succeeds Corbyn as Leader of the Labor Party

United States:

“It Shattered My Life”: Former Joe Biden Staffer Tara Reade Says He Sexually Assaulted Her in 1993

For Elite Democrats, Joe Biden’s Candidacy Means Ditching #MeToo

AOC breaks with Bernie on how to lead the left

The stimulus bill includes a tax break for the 1%

Trump says Republicans would ‘never’ be elected again if it was easier to vote

US troops vacate K1 base in Iraq’s Kirkuk province

There’s nothing pro-life about exploiting a pandemic to further a political agenda


Venezuelan Leader Pens Open Letter to US Public

Brazil’s ex-President Lula on Venezuela: Maduro is democratic, Guaidó should be in prison, US blockade kills civilians

Going After Maduro

Trump’s Narcoterrorism Indictment of Maduro Already Backfires

Venezuelan Attorney General Summons Juan Guaido Over Coup Plot

Former Venezuelan General Hands Himself over to US Authorities

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Mel Watkins 1932 - 2020: In Memory

Mel Watkins, a radical economist, leading Canadian political thinker, lifelong social justice advocate and one of the founders of the Canadian left nationalist movement the Waffle just over 50 years ago, died on Thursday, April 2 at age 87.

His impact and influence on Canadian left economic thinking and the political landscape since the 1960s has been both profound and lasting.

Since his passing tributes have been pouring in in his honour and memory.

We share links to a few of these here.

Rest in Power Mel. As Canadian Dimension put it, a life well lived.

Mel Watkins: A Life Well Lived

Andrew Jackson, Canadian Dimension

Mel Watkins, who passed on April 2, was a wonderful human being, a friend and mentor, the leading left economist of his or indeed any generation in Canada, and, not least, a committed democratic socialist and political activist. He will be greatly missed. But his life leaves behind an inspiring legacy.

Remembering Mel Watkins

Jonathan Sas, Broadbent Institute 

On April 2nd, political economist and giant of the Canadian left, Mel Watkins, passed away.

As a professor at the University of Toronto in 1963, Mel published a landmark academic article called “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth.” To witness the madness of the Jason Kenney government in Alberta today—the utter capture of policy-makers by oil companies and inability to diversify out of resource booms and busts—is to understand the enduring relevance of his Innis-inspired work on the staples trap.

Below: "Watkins explains the Waffle alternative, January 1972"

Report in the "Pro Tem" student newspaper from the Glendon campus of York University on a meeting held by the Waffle, the Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada, at which Mel Watkins spoke. The photo is of Mel and one of the Waffle's other founders, James Laxer, who died in 2018


Jan Malek, Council of Canadians

The Council of Canadians is saddened to learn of the passing of one of our founding members, Mel Watkins.

A professor emeritus of economics and political science at the University of Toronto and a passionate advocate for social justice, he shared his ideas broadly through teaching, writing and activism.

A Tribute to Mel Watkins

Peter Puxley, Broadbent Institute

Mel Watkins is dead and Canada is the poorer for it.

This is not a dispassionate assessment, but nonetheless true. He was my friend and an important influence and example for me and so many others who had the good fortune of knowing and working side by side with him.

Below: Mel Watkins and James Laxer, a still from the CBC documentary "What's Left?" which was a CBC look at the NDP and the Waffle in 1969.

You can watch the video at this link:

The part about Mel and the Waffle starts at around the 39:13 mark.

Remembering political economist Mel Watkins

Karl Nerenberg, Rabble

Canada is facing critical shortages of necessary medical supplies right now, but if the country had heeded the advice, five decades ago, of political economist Mel Watkins, we might be far more self-sufficient today.

Below: Political cartoon from the Waffle era:

Friday, April 3, 2020

"It is becoming more and more evident that Socialism is the alternative" - Statements from India

Image from mass Left Front rally 2019
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation, Revolutionary Socialist Party and the All India Forward Bloc released a joint statement today calling for the government of India to "Attend to People’s Concerns on a War-Footing".

In it they note that the situation for many millions of people in the country is becoming increasingly desperate:
Scores of people have lost their sources of livelihood. The exodus of migrant workers from urban centres has shown the degree of unsettling of people’s livelihood that this sudden lockdown announcement caused. There is an urgent need to stop the growth of widespread hunger and malnutrition. The COVID-19 pandemic feeds on such conditions of the people. The promised Rs. 5000 to all Jandhan, BPL and unorganized workers must be transferred immediately. The central government must provide 35kgs per family to all migrant workers and poor, with or without ration cards, from the 7.5 crore of stock of food-grains, all across the country. Proper health care facilities for the migrant workers and others who have travelled from various parts must be put in place. Effective and hygienic quarantine facilities must be established in all parts of the country. Police brutalities on migrant workers must be put an end to and strict action must be taken against those who gave such orders.  
The statement also calls for immediate provision of food to the needy in urban areas, help for state governments, large scale testing for Covid-19 and for the government to intervene to end the stigmatization and even criminalization of victims of the pandemic as well as fighting fake news and rumours. "The central government should urgently intervene to ensure that this fight against COVID-19 is a fight in which all of us are united and determined to defeat it."

Of major concern are:
During the lockdown increasing reports are now appearing of growing shortages of essential commodities and medicines. There is no clarity on the movement of trucks carrying essential goods across the states. This must be set right immediately and all essential requirements of the people must be met.
There is a growing genuine complaint from the health workers who are courageously discharging their duties, of the lack of personal protective equipment and medicines. They must be provided immediately.  Equipments like Ventilators must be acquired urgently on priority. These must be augmented by the central government urgently.
On Thursday,  March 2  D. Raja, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India, released a statement  that ends:
Humanity in fact is confronting a health disaster of gigantic proportions. The Corona pandemic has been infecting and affecting people of every nation from Asia (China) to America and from Europe to Africa.
The worst hit is the poor and working people in every country. This pandemic has exposed the inherent character and cruelty of the Capitalist social order.
The capitalism at its neo-liberal stage now has led to an unprecedented inequality and injustice. Housing, health care, education and employment are not guaranteed as fundamental rights of the people. Neo- liberalism has been promoting consumerism and individualism ruthlessly.  It has been destroying the social consciousness of human beings to have concern for the fellow human beings. Private property and profit cannot uphold the ideal values such as  ‘we and ‘’ours’.
The corona pandemic has raised many fundamental long term questions about the alternatives before the humanity and immediate issues to tackle the current crisis. Socialization of health care, housing, education and means of production has become a fundamental question in the present context...
...It is becoming more and more evident that Socialism is the alternative. It is the future and hope.
You can read the full statement at: 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Glory to the First Cosmonaut Gagarin! -- Daily LIFT #165

Glory to the First Cosmonaut Gagarin! -- Daily LIFT #165

Soviet Poster 1961.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Who Assassinates the Third World Leaders?, Cuban Poster -- Daily LIFT #164

Who Assassinates the Third World Leaders?, Cuban Poster -- Daily LIFT #164

A Cuban poster from around 1980 that is all too relevant still with examples like the Yankee imperialists placing a bounty on the head of Venezuelan President Maduro.

TTC Workers, the Coronavirus, Wet'suwet'en, Cuba & more -- February and March on The Left Chapter in review

February 1 seems like an awful long time ago!

February and March saw 149 posts of various kinds on The Left Chapter.

The posts have, needless to say, become dominated in the last 2 to 3 weeks by the capitalist coronavirus crisis and the fight to prevent workers being the ones who pay for it. You can see a roundup of these posts at: Not on the Backs of Workers! -- The Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis News on The Left Chapter

Before the crisis exploded we had some special features such as a series of daily posts of vintage photographs of Che Guevara during the month of February. These were from a Soviet archive and you can see them all at: 32 Photos of Che Guevara from 1943 - 1967.

The period also saw the launch of Nathaniel Laxer's podcast Hellworld. The most recent episode was Exile -- Hellworld #7.

Aidan Monis, a teacher in Toronto, contributed the powerful Teachers change kids' lives: An Open Letter to Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.

If you have an article, editorial, analysis, recipe or story you would like to contribute there are details on how to do so on our Submissions page as well as at the end of this post.

There were a large number of articles that came very close to making the list such as 4 Tweets tell the tale of another week in the life of the NDP and Stop the falsification of history and persecution in Poland!.

Our top food related post (in terms of hits) was: Marinated Steak and Swiss Sandwiches on Rye

Thanks very much to all our readers and contributors.

Without any further ado, here are the top six posts, in terms of hits, from February and March.

1) TTC plans to eliminate the subway guard and when people hear about it they are not happy

Did you hear the news? After raising fares and hiring more goons, trying to shame riders with idiotic, condescending new fare evasion posters and admitting that the Eglinton LRT construction  is running way behind schedule, it turns out the folks running the TTC are planning to get rid of the subway guard position on subway trains.

Read more!

2) Panic buying and hoarding are a function of capitalism

As the capitalist coronavirus crisis unfolds and people across North America (and around the world) face quarantine for two weeks or more coupled with the prospect of lost income, we have seen scenes of what has been described as "panic buying" as well as instances of hoarding. People are stalking up on food -- especially non-perishables like canned goods and pasta -- as well as, most famously, on items like toilet paper.

Read more!

3) Art and Artists of the Soviet Crimea, 1957 -- 15 Paintings

Published in 1957 in the USSR this folder of 15 cards looked at the art and artists of the Soviet Crimea. The works here were painted between 1946 and 1956.

Read more!

4) 18 Postcard Images of Soviet Stavropol, 1972

Published in 1972, this packet of 18 particularly vivid photographs showed images of the Russian city of Stavropol which is south of Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd. At this time it was a rapidly growing administrative, cultural and industrial city with a population of around 250,000.

Read more!

5) RCMP launches violent raids into Wet’suwet’en territory

The RCMP launched a violent pre-dawn raid into Wet’suwet’en territory this morning in British Columbia to enforce an injunction on behalf of Coastal GasLink against land defenders.

Read more!

6) "The miracle we are performing...could not be performed in a capitalist society" -- Cuban socialism's remarkable accomplishments despite the criminal, imperialist blockade

February 7 marked the anniversary of the imposition of the illegal and criminal, imperialist economic blockade of Cuba by the United States in 1962. Over the course of the last near sixty years of trying to strangle the Cuban economy and destroy its socialist system as a viable alternative in Latin America it has cost the Cuba at least $130 billion US according to the United Nations.

Read more!

Do you have a left point-of-view or opinion, event or petition, a recipe or a story you want to share?

Send them to The Left Chapter via!