Friday, January 31, 2020

Victorio Codovilla, Yelena Stasova and Ho Chi Minh, Moscow, 1961 -- Daily LIFT #115

Victorio Codovilla, Yelena Stasova and Ho Chi Minh, Moscow, 1961 -- Daily LIFT #115

A remarkable photo from the 22nd Congress of the CPSU in Moscow, 1961. 

Codovilla was one of the founders of the Communist Party of Argentina in 1918. He was in Spain during the civil war and died in exile in Moscow in 1970. 

Stasova was a legendary revolutionary who joined the Bolsheviks right at the start in 1903. She became a member of the party's Central Committee prior to the revolution in 1917 and served in a variety of positions after it. When she died in 1966 (at age 93) she was the last surviving member of the party's Central Committee from when the revolution triumphed.

Ho Chi Minh needs no introduction.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Saskatchewan NDP wants to consult with business before committing to banning replacement workers because of course it does

Unifor leader Jerry Dias arrested on the Co-op picket line
Against the backdrop of one of the most significant labour disputes in Saskatchewan  -- and even arguably Canada as a whole -- in many years the provincial NDP has let it be known that to the great rallying cry "which side are you on" their answer to workers is, for now, no one's.

The ongoing Co-op refinery lockout has seen heightened union militancy due to efforts by the company to break the union by using replacement workers. This has led to union roadblocks, arrests of senior union leaders, threats by the police and courts and a refreshing stance of unity by many national union leaders.

While it is both perfectly obvious that this entire confrontation would have been avoided if the province had anti-scab legislation -- and while such legislation is a basic and fundamental demand of the union movement that you would think would be reflected by Canada's alleged party of labour, the NDP -- the provincial NDP is refusing to commit to such legislation in the unlikely event it were to ever win power.

David Forbes, labour critic for the Saskatchewan NDP "said the NDP will discuss any proposals with “both sides,” presumably meaning employers and labour. He expects the current lockout at the refinery will provide “a lot of lessons learned.”"

With all due respect, Mr. Forbes, those lessons were learned a very long time ago and that comment is bullshit. It is yet another in the endless examples of the NDP seeking to claim it will be a fair and unbiased manager of the capitalist state. Forbes even used the disgraceful and reactionary term "stakeholders" when talking about workers and the bosses as if there is somehow two sides to labour disputes like the Co-op one or something akin to equality in power and influence between unions and corporations.

Ontario anti-poverty activist John Clarke called out the Saskatchewan NDP on Twitter for this and actually got a response from its leader.

If it has been seen to "level the playing field" and "avoid lengthy disruptive labour disputes" then why does it need to be "explored". Why not simply advocate for it as, obviously, it "levels the playing field" in favour of workers and unions.

But that is exactly what the NDP is worried about. Simply advocating for this might make the party appear to be too pro-worker or as on the side of workers and they can't have that.

Corporate and fossil fuel industry quisling Rachel Notley showed this old and tired rule from the NDP playbook when on her very first day in "power" in Alberta she said ""I'm going to be making phone calls today to leaders within the energy industry to begin those conversations. They can count on us to work collaboratively with them."

Of course, industry is totally uninterested in working collaboratively with unions, workers or the NDP, but why not just sell the farm in advance? It is a time-honoured NDP tradition.

As I have noted before "At times it is like the so many New Democrats and their supporters who love to share the 'Mouseland' parable that Tommy Douglas made famous have entirely missed its point. It is not going to be a government by and for the mice if it wants to find "common cause" with the cats.'

When it comes to the struggle between corporations that have not had as much power as they do now for decades and workers who have not had so little, if you say you want to talk to "all stakeholders" and "both sides" you are on the side of the bosses.


Russian Delight: A Cookbook of the Soviet Peoples w. Borscht, Givech, Lamb Plov & more -- Vintage Cookbook TBT

Vintage Cookbook: Russian Delight: A Cookbook of the Soviet Peoples, V. V. Pokhlebkin

Publication Details: Pan Books, 1984

The only thing that is unfortunate about this exceptional and fascinating cookbook is its English language title that implies that it is about "Russian" cuisine. While Russian cuisine is certainly a part of the book, it has so much more than that. In fact, it is one of the most diverse and multicultural cookbooks I have yet to come across.

Russian Delight is actually a look at the various national cuisines that existed across the entire Soviet Union and its fifteen republics. This cuisine was as varied as one would imagine given that it encompasses dishes from places such as Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, etc.

The book was first published in the USSR in 1978 and then translated into English in 1984.

It has so much to offer that it is really a must to track down for anyone interested in regional cooking, food history or the Soviet Union. Dishes and recipes from every republic are featured as is an introductory overview to each one going into its background, the features of it, the specific ingredients more favoured in each, different techniques and other aspects. 

I have already made some dishes from the book and posted them on The Left Chapter with Moldavian Barbecued Chicken and Georgian Beef Chakhokhbili. I have plans to make more.

Today we are going to look at at least one dish from each republic. I have tried to make it interesting and different with dishes like Stuffed Pig's Stomach from Belarus, Herring with Sour Cream from Estonia and Beetroot Mkhali from Georgia.

(Click on images to enlarge)



Byelorussia (Belarus)








Kazakh and Kirgiz Cuisine




Students and the African Liberation Movement, International Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 14-18 February 1971 w. Photos and an interview w. Amilcar Cabral

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

Leaflet: Students and the African Liberation Movement, International Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 14-18 February 1971

Flowing out of a conference held in Helsinki in 1971, this booklet looks at the struggles and circumstances of the national liberation and anti-imperialist movements at the time in Africa. It has reports about the fight in countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa as well as extensive sections, with interviews and photographs, from the parts of Guinea-Bissau and Angola that had been liberated already by freedom fighters.

In the sections about the liberated zones we learn of the efforts of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde Islands (PAIGC) and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola's (MPLA) to defeat the brutal NATO and American backed Portuguese colonial forces, to build medical and educational facilities, vaccination campaigns and other steps.

There are interviews and quotes from a number of revolutionary leaders including Amilcar Cabral of PAIGC. This includes a lengthy excerpt from a discussion with Cabral that was held in January, 1971. Cabral is regarded as one of the great anti-imperialist writers and thinkers of the African and global anti-colonial struggle. Fidel Castro once said of Cabral that he was “one of the most lucid and brilliant leaders in Africa, who instilled in us tremendous confidence in the future and the success of his struggle for liberation.”

Tragically Cabral was assassinated January 20, 1973, only eight months before Guinea-Bissau became independent.

"Naturally Salazar, his substitute Caetano, and the Portuguese in general, as well as some of the Western press present us as great terrorists and Communists paid by Moscow, Peking, Havana and so on. We think that if really being a Communist means to fight for the independence of one's country, for freedom and for the right to progress, then this is very good propaganda for Communism," Cabral says. A reminder that the western media has always demonized and lied about anti-imperialist and socialist movements and governments just as it does today about countries like Venezuela and Bolivia.

(Click on scans to enlarge)