to Capital-Centred Political Economy
Opposition to Capital-Centred Political
Human-Centred Political Economy
The book, The
Production and Reproduction of Value and Its
Realization by K.C. Adams will be published soon. It elaborates
human-centred economic theory as an alternative to capital-centred
economic theory by presenting the modern terms, expressions and
used by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). The book is
important contribution to the work to change the direction of the
and usher in the new. For instance, to wage the ideological struggle
the neo-liberal defeatist world outlook when analyzing economic
or writing economic articles, it is of utmost importance to oppose
and capital-centred theory and its terms and expressions.
Capital-centred political economy
of production such as buildings and machines as fixed capital, and
wholly consumed in the production process as circulating capital. This
hypothesis is necessary to distort the social consciousness of the
and middle strata. The hypothesis places means of production as capital
instil in the brains of workers and intellectuals the notion that
capital is the
driving and necessary force in the creation of modern means of
the production of all goods and services. Without capital no modern
production would occur is the story workers are told endlessly.
This hypothesis is a fraud. Means of production are the
product of the
work-time of those human beings who make them. Capital is a social
that enslaves the actual producers, the working class, to owners of
working class in the social relation is the actual producer of goods
including means of production but does not own or control what it
Means of production of
pre-capitalist economic formations were the
products of the actual producers of those systems back to communal and
pre-class times. Capital was not necessary at those times to produce
production and is not needed in contemporary times, which is the time
Owners of capital were only necessary as a social force
to move society
out of feudal petty scattered production and introduce the generalized
science and technology to production. Once the move was complete their
existence as a social class became unnecessary. The time when they
obsolete has long passed. The working class is the social force now
to complete the transition from petty scattered production to
integrated production on a global scale governed with new relations of
production in harmony with the socialized economy.
The terminology based on
capital was necessary to
explain the new
political economy of capital in contrast to pre-capitalist economic
in particular feudal relations of production. This theory was developed
the requirements of the working class in its nascent form. As the
matured and became capable as a social force to move society to
past the transitional economic formation of capitalism, it became
develop a new human-centred political economy.
Imperialist propaganda now
often refers to fixed capital as costs. This
degeneration reflects the wrecking, retrogression, parasitism, decay
that have become constant features of the imperialist economy.
theory reflects the degeneration in the economic base and the
politics, which is fighting to retain the transitional form of
its necessary transformation to the new.
The working class is now
charged with the responsibility
to develop its
theory consistent with the need of the working class to assume its
leading political, economic and social position in society. In the
terms that have been developed to date, which are referred to as
human-centred political economy, means of production are not fixed
and certainly not fixed costs but fixed transferred-value.
The use of capital-centred or imperialist terms serves
to block the adoption
of the terms, expressions and theory of human-centred political
is a form of promoting anti-consciousness. The working class movement
cannot afford to cling to capital-centred and imperialist theory, terms
and expressions. Rather, it must participate in developing new theory
suitable for the twenty-first century and a mature working class, a
social class ready and poised to lead the world forward to socialism,
the emancipation of the working class, and the elimination of social
classes and class society.
How Does the Issue of Inequality Pose Itself?
There is a lot of talk nowadays about creating a just
society by addressing income inequality or inequality of opportunity.
All of it serves to cover up that so long as the aim of society is to
pay the rich, make the most powerful monopolies competitive on global
markets and push a vicious neo-liberal anti-social offensive to
eliminate all traces of a public authority in favour of monopoly right,
the rich will get richer and the poor poorer. Obscene wealth is
accumulating at one pole while the ranks of the poor increase,
including the percentage of people in abject poverty. Far from
addressing inequality, it has become enshrined.
First, it is important to take note of what is meant
when speaking of inequality. Inequality is both natural and social.
Inequality stems from the vast variety of natural abilities of
individuals, and the class privilege that permeates the capitalist
social system and its division between the working class and owners of
accumulated social wealth. Natural inequality is related to natural
ability. Social inequality is related to social class privilege either
inherited through hereditary right or acquired through natural right.
Natural inequality of
individuals is not something to change or abuse but rather nurture so
that everyone finds their place in society and contributes to the best
of their abilities. Society must guarantee the flowering of the natural
ability of all and not allow class privilege to negate or misuse it for
narrow self-serving purposes. This can be accomplished if social
inequality or class privilege is restricted and those in the ruling
elite are deprived of the power to use the state and their positions of
economic and political control to oppress and exploit others and
deprive them of their rights and needs.
Myriad statistical studies reveal that class status has
a profound effect on natural ability and whether it blossoms or withers
and dies. Social inequality negates the broad development of individual
ability, which for many individuals is lost to them, the general
interests of society and the public good. The working class and its
political representatives reject this waste and fight for the rights of
all and their empowerment. People have rights by virtue of being human;
fundamental to this is the right of each and all to contribute to
society to the best of their abilities and in return have society in a
harmonious way guarantee their rights and needs.
When members of the working class with natural ability
or for other reasons break through the glass ceiling of class privilege
so to speak, such as President Obama, they are encouraged through
wealth and status to join the ruling capitalist elite ideologically and
politically, and use their new-found class privilege to consolidate
their positions and that of other members of the ruling class in
opposition to the working class.
The negation of social inequality for selected
individuals of the working class paradoxically strengthens and
consolidates social inequality within society as a whole. It nurtures a
section of working people dedicated to their new-found class privilege,
who use their own acquired substantial resources and influence and the
power of the state to deprive the collective of humanity from
exercising its right to be according to everyone's abilities and needs,
and the interests of society. Members of this section become ideologues
for social inequality and class privilege, as they, through natural
right have negated their own individual social inequality and gained
the "American" or "Canadian" dream, and now trumpet their new-found
class privilege with fanatical zeal.
The leader of the federal Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau,
who inherited his social class privilege, is quoted in the Huffington Post saying:
"The greatest of these principles [of the Liberal Party]
is equality of opportunity. It is key to all the others. To be
successful, we Liberals need to be the voice for the millions of
Canadians who share this belief, who believe that in a fair society,
hard work should pay off. [...]
"Leadership is about setting priorities based on
principle. I believe that there is no more important principle than
equality of opportunity -- and the progress it generates -- for
individual Canadians, and for Canada."
Trudeau wants to change inequality of opportunity so
that certain individuals through natural right can join Canadians like
himself who have either inherited positions of power and class
privilege through hereditary right or acquired their positions, wealth
and power through natural right. Trudeau says inequality of opportunity
negates the possibility of people, especially those who are hard
working and possess ability, fulfilling their dream of upward mobility
to either professional status with high incomes or becoming owners of
accumulated social wealth and leaving behind the working class not only
in class position but also importantly in thinking, outlook, ideology
According to Trudeau, unfair inequality of opportunity
causes yet more inequality and loss of hope in the Canadian dream of
acquiring social wealth and class privilege. The solution is "equality
of opportunity" or "intergenerational mobility" to strengthen the
status quo of class privilege and collective inequality through keeping
alive the dream of negating social inequality for those who work hard
or who in a banal way overcome it by winning a lottery or engaging in
criminal activity and corrupt practices.
The neo-liberal position on inequality denies its
reality within the natural and social conditions. Natural inequality is
not a human weakness but a source of great strength and possibility for
the advance of all human beings and the general interests of society.
Social inequality and class privilege are expressions of the division
of society into antagonistic social classes. It will persist as a
backward condition of life for as long as social classes and class
privilege remain intact.
The ruling class uses its accumulated social wealth and
capitalist state to deprive working people of their rights and block
them from opening a door to progress towards democratic renewal and
their empowerment, and from creating conditions of social equality and
the flowering of all: From each and all according to their abilities,
to each and all their rights and needs guaranteed by society.
The neo-liberal way perpetuates social inequality and
Out for People's Empowerment and Democratic Renewal!
Our Future Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All!
Why All the Fuss over Piketty's Book on
Bourgeois media have caused quite a stir over Thomas
Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century since it
September 2013. Piketty is a professor at the École des hautes
sciences sociales (EHESS) and professor at the Paris School of
both in France. The media's promotion of Professor Piketty's 695-page
on political economy is not surprising as it defends the capitalist
and neo-liberal globalization. The Guardian proclaimed him "certainly
influential intellectual of 2014," while the Financial Times called his
"business book of the year"; The Economist crowned him the "Marx of
modern times," and the German press has devoted many pages to him. AFP
goes so far as to describe these fawning accolades as "Pikettymania,"
that his sold-out seminars have earned him the standing of a "rock star
economy," whatever that means.
This "Pikettymania" is not
reserved for the monopoly media. Piketty has
also been received by Obama's advisers and given standing by at least
Nobel Prize winners, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz. He outlined his
via Skype to Bill Gates, AFP also reports.
Shocking perhaps is that this infantile adoration for
the man and his book
extends to certain social forces claiming to be progressive. They seem
not listened to Piketty's own words in interviews with the CBC and
"Making more people capitalists and owners, that is exactly what I am
for," he said in a May 23, 2014 interview with Amanda Lang on CBC's
Lang & O'Leary Exchange."
So, why all the fuss over Piketty's book on political
His own description of the content and that of the
hundreds of reviews
show that perchance these forces who consider themselves progressives
taken in by the clever marketing ploy to have the book appear similar
early editions of Karl Marx's Capital even to the point of using
In his book Piketty sings the praises of neo-liberal
monopoly capitalism. He certainly does not shy away from repeating his
reactionary views whenever asked. As if excusing himself to the
showing his credentials as a loyal member of the ruling elite, he
major policy objective of a global tax on wealth is both to relieve
coming from the very poor, which threatens to explode in anger, and to
neo-liberal globalization from those who might be dreaming of an
"The risk [of extreme inequality]," Piketty added in his interview on
that some countries will choose to turn against globalization."
Have these forces, which call themselves progressive
become so stunned
within the retreat of revolution that the mere mention of "inequality"
makes them lose their bearings? Whatever personal contributions they or
parents have made to humanity during the last 150 years in the fight to
society forward amount to a hill of beans for Professor Piketty. In his
world, he is oblivious to the human factor and its central decisive
productivity cures all that ails society according to Piketty, and if a
snag is met
and monopoly capital becomes too big for its britches, a destructive
devastating economic crisis will set it straight. Relations of
are those? It appears the professor believes a slave exists without a
master, a serf without a landlord, and a worker under capitalism
Such a book has no connection with historical reality,
the working class
or with any people fighting for their rights. It seeks to inspire those
detached from the needs of the people, history and the revolutionary
movement. The professor dismisses as inconsequential the efforts of all
in the trade union and popular movements not to mention the communist
movement. Gone from the historical record is the 1871 Paris Commune and
the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution; wiped clean from memory is
first attempt to build a nation under the control of the working class
peasants as defined by Lenin and Stalin, which resulted in the direct
contradiction between socialism and capitalism, the flow of revolution
spread of the communist movement throughout the world and an upsurge of
the people's resistance. Gone as well from Piketty's capital-centred
the revolt in the colonies; disappeared are the heroic efforts of all
united to defend themselves and others against fascism and militarism,
ended in the people's victory in 1945.
Not only is the memory wiped clean but also the
theoretical advances towards Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought.
reduces all to a study of growth in the productive forces compared to
existed before without comment on the intervention of the people and
consciousness to change the situation in their favour.
Absent is the fundamental contradiction of class society
between the forces
of production and the attendant relations amongst those who acquire
living within the specific historical conditions. The dialectic of
forces within specific historical conditions is absent in Piketty's
replaced with the notion of constantly rising productivity and
periodic episodes of destruction of capital in the modern era through
To declare that social inequality exists within class
society is certainly not
earthshaking or enlightening. The earliest division of humanity into
classes immediately brought forth social inequality amongst classes and
that enforces the exploitation of the oppressed class and the
domination of the
ruling class. To eliminate social inequality and class privilege
emancipation of the working class and the elimination of classes and
society. Piketty contends without hesitation that such a development
be good, because for people to be inventive or entrepreneurial,
him, requires the prospect of becoming rich, powerful and privileged.
perpetuate the status quo and not allow the human factor/social
to gain traction amongst the working class, a powerful state is needed
entrench class privilege and the inequality of the exploited, and block
resistance of the working class from maturing and gaining its own
human-centred outlook on political, economic and social affairs.
imagines no other alternative motive force is possible because his mind
stuck within the capitalist relations of production from which he sees
To identify in precise terms the social force within the
that can lead society forward to new social relations in harmony with
advanced productive forces is necessary and noteworthy. That is what
did in his writings, identifying the modern proletariat as the only
of leading the building of the new. Marx not only wrote about it, he
working class in practical politics to bring the new into being,
with an advanced ideology and social consciousness as a guide to action.
That is what Lenin did in organizing the working class
of Russia to lead
the masses out of the horrors of World War One and into a
project under the control of the worker and peasant state. That is what
Bains did in Canada. He led the communist and workers' movement to re-
establish its Marxist-Leninist revolutionary side in opposition to
collaboration and liquidation. Internationally this revisionism and
liquidationism was most clearly seen in the degeneration and collapse
Soviet Union into pseudo-socialism and social imperialism in the 1960s.
Comrade Bains led the working class and its allies towards building the
firmly upholding the human factor/social consciousness in all their
The world is in the period
of the retreat of revolution. That is no reason
to go crazy unconcerned and abandon our forebears who gave us so much
the practice and theory of revolution. Just like them during the
of the flow of revolution, it is up to us to analyze the objective
calmly and mobilize the working class to defend its rights and organize
alternative that favours the people. It brings nobody honour to run
latest bourgeois fad in political and economic affairs.
Piketty says the data he has gathered using powerful
computers show the
rate of return on capital (r) is greater than the rate of economic
growth (g) and
inevitably leads to concentration of wealth in fewer hands and greater
inequality. Hardly a dramatic insight. How does stating the obvious
working class with the serious business of organizing for change
new? Instead of hailing Piketty, the forces who now bow at his altar
ask him to explain why the rate of return on capital would enjoy such
increase against the law of a falling rate of profit that forces a
return on capital because of productivity and the rebellion of the
defence of their rights and against exploitation.
Without admitting the damaging consequences of its
right has forced its will against the economic laws of capitalism and
power of the state to have its way. To overcome the law of a falling
profit, to defeat its competitors at home and abroad and those who
rule, monopoly capital wages predatory wars to steal from weaker
invents all sorts of financial shenanigans to fleece the unsuspecting
even fellow members of its social class, seizes markets, raw material
workers to exploit and regions to dominate in direct challenges to its
competitors, the people and the natural environment, for which even
admits the chickens eventually come home to roost. Monopoly capital is
by anti-consciousness with regard to the devastating effects of its
which result in greater economic crises and global conflict. Its
overwhelm all other thinking and considerations.
Monopoly capital is in a constant battle against the
competitors and the law of a falling rate of profit and it does not
harm or catastrophes it causes to satisfy its narrow private interests.
capital refuses to solve any problem facing the people and economy
it is too busy sorting out how to circumvent the law of a falling rate
and crush all who threaten its empire no matter how dire the
Piketty drags us through a description of what he
fancies went on during
the past and what he imagines will transpire in the future. All this
occurs it seems without any participation of the people in defending
rights, without any organized conscious class struggle of the working
improve its claim on the value it produces and to build the new,
rebellions of the colonies and without much thought given to exactly
monopoly capital manages to circumvent the economic law of a falling
profit and the disastrous effects this brings to society.
The only thing of importance to Piketty is that "r" was
and remains greater
than "g" for better or worse subjected only to an occasional policy
such as his global wealth tax, economic crisis and war, and that is the
word on the matter of where we are and where humanity is heading. In
world, the dialectics of nature, class struggle and the human
consciousness have played and play no role, and some people to their
have fallen for this fraud.
"R" can only be greater than "g," if monopoly right has
its way and leads
the people of the world to oblivion. "R" can only be greater than "g,"
working class does not organize itself and lead its allies to uphold
and deprive monopoly right of its power to block the people from
The working class has had enough of this capital-centred
economics; it needs and demands its own independent thinking and human-
centred economics. Understanding of economics and politics comes from
of finding out through acts of conscious participation in organized
struggle to build the new. Only within the cauldron of organized
struggle can the working class find a way forward.
In the News
Descent into Unprecedented State of
Anarchy and Violence
As horrendous as the attack on the French magazine Charlie
Hebdo was, most alarming is the fact that France has descended
unprecedented state of anarchy and violence. The people are held
its crisis-ridden measures which only further deepen the all-sided
which France is mired.
On January 7, according to reports, two gunmen broke
into the offices of
satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and opened
killing 12 people and wounding 11 others. Numerous arrests were made
throughout France while the police conducted a manhunt. By the end of
week, a full-scale occupation of the community of Dammartin-en-Goele,
kilometers northeast of Paris, where the two suspects were said to have
hostages in an industrial building, resulted in the killing of the two
by police forces. Meanwhile, all kinds of other attacks,
and bomb alerts occurred simultaneously throughout France, including
on mosques; the killing of a 25-year old police officer and wounding of
municipal worker in Montrouge, a southern suburb of Paris; and the
a supermarket at Porte de Vincennes, east of Paris, where an armed man
at least five hostages. The siege at Porte de Vincennes lasted three
ended with the killing of the suspect and four hostages.
Results of a grenade
attack on a kebab restaurant in Villefranche-sur-Saone, January 8,
This is just one of the instances of anarchy and violence
breaking out in France
following the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
Following the January 7 attack, French authorities
raised the national terror
alert to its highest level and deployed soldiers in Paris through the
transport system, at media offices, mosques and other places of
worship. Repeated demonstrations have been convoked at Place de la
République in Paris, including a gathering of 35,000 people on
the day of the attack, as well as in Toulouse, Nice, Lyon, Marseille
and Rennes. This has all been accompanied by massive media
disinformation about the suspects' motives, links and whereabouts as
well as official hysteria and confusion-mongering about the nature of
the attack and how the danger to the people poses itself.
The police mobilizations, lock-downs and occupations of
neighbourhoods are a tragic reminder for the French people of the state
powerlessness they experienced during the occupation of France in
What to make of these events? A hue and cry has been
raised about the
need to protect freedom of expression. Canada's Prime Minister said the
aim of those who committed these barbaric acts "is to usurp the rights
freedom-loving people everywhere, including the fundamental right of
of expression." "This barbaric act, along with recent attacks in
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and Ottawa, is a grim reminder that no
immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around
world... Canada and its allies will not be intimidated and will
continue to stand
firmly together against terrorists who would threaten the peace,
democracy our countries so dearly value. Canadians stand with France on
dark day," the Prime Minister's statement said.
French police at the
site of a grenade attack on a mosque in Le Mans,
January 8, 2015.
He was joined by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard who
said "never shall
we bow to these acts of intimidation, violence and hatred." The entire
language media in Quebec joined in what they called an act of
solidarity with Charlie Hebdo by printing cartoons
the Prophet Muhammad,
claiming it was to defend freedom of expression. Newspaper headlines
declared the attack on Charlie Hebdo "An Act of War" and
out "Freedom of Expression Under Attack" and "Growing Fear of
Islamophobia." The usual expert panels of Radio-Canada and TVA were
brought in to demand more security measures and justify the assault of
governments such as the Harper dictatorship on privacy and other
English language media, including the CBC and The Montreal
Gazette, owned by Postmedia, did not carry the cartoons saying
policy is to respect the sensitivity of Muslims but they also described
it as an
attack on freedom of expression. In an editorial, the Gazette
the most fitting reply is Voltaire's famous declaration, "I may
what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Whatever stance these forces have decided to take to
show solidarity with
the victims of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, all of them have
common the view that the fight of the peoples of the world today is not
between the Old and the New but between an alleged good and an alleged
between allegedly progressive and civilized forces in the world who of
happen to be of European descent against an allegedly backward Islamic
fundamentalist world of terrorism. The fact that the methods used by
the so-called civilized world to fight the uncivilized world are the
same as those they claim to decry is to remain hidden. Those methods
have long been repudiated by the peoples of the world yet the so-called
civilized world admits to torture to secure intelligence, the use of
violence to sort out problems between nations, revenge-killings,
preventative arrests and indefinite detention. These are not methods to
secure the peace.
outright state terrorism to further the aims of destabilizing rivals
spheres of influence. But besides this, what is most irrational, to say
is to speak of "freedom of speech" to promote a content such as that
by Charlie Hebdo which contains not one shred of
In fact, what is called the legitimate satirical content
Hebdo is not only despicable and pathetic but anti-social. It is
because it is designed to incite passions to gain notoriety. It is
it uses one of the great ideals of the enlightenment movement --
speech -- to push obscurantism on a scale as great if not greater than
by the Church in medieval times. It is anti-social because its aim is
to promote backwardness and fratricidal wars.
All of it reveals the profound crisis of the European
nation-state that has
been imposed on all countries in the world. While it emerged in the
struggle against medievalism in the European context, today it has been
dismantled only to be replaced with every medieval dictum possible,
Might Makes Right and no power to the people; no rights, only
due process of any kind; only the ability of those who have usurped
power by force to declare people to be outlaws and suspend their rights
and do the same to entire countries and peoples. The
state arrangements the reactionary forces are inciting the
Europe and the Anglo-American world to defend are totally out of whack
the requirements of the peoples of all countries in the world in the
century. Progress requires enlightenment. Is that not what the men and
of the Renaissance taught us when they ushered in the Age of Reason? Is
not what Voltaire was saying when he espoused the rights of man all
Shame on the official circles including the major
newspapers in Canada and Quebec for promoting backwardness and
obscurantism in the name of freedom of expression. If they believe in
why do they not tolerate the promotion of what they call Islamic
views? Who decides which views should be given freedom of expression?
is the question.
After the Second World War, no fascist views were to be
of expression. Humanity so decided. It was written in their blood.
who have seized power by force have overthrown all the enlightened
and views humanity has brought forth since feudalism was overthrown and
peoples striving for empowerment made their mark. Once again, it is the
peoples striving for empowerment who must prevail. The battle of
democracy must be fought all over again. Out with the Old! In with the
1. Regarding the Enlightenment, French Wikipedia
"The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement launched
in Europe in
the eighteenth century (1715-1789), which aimed to overcome
and promote knowledge. Philosophers and intellectuals encouraged
through intellectual exchange and opposition to superstition,
intolerance and abuse of
Church and State. The term 'Enlightenment' was established by custom to
bring together the diverse manifestations of this set of aims, trends
or sensibilities and historical actors." (Translated by TML.)
Regarding the origin of "freedom of expression":
"Freedom of expression goes back to the Western world.
It is a secular tradition, republican and democratic, that began to
emerge in the late seventeenth century. Before, it was a freedom
reserved for royal authorities, stately or religious.
"Freedom of expression is probably more associated with
the French Revolution. The 1789 French revolutionaries claimed that
freedom because, for them, it was a fundamental freedom that was
essential to the establishment of the new regime. The French people
were freed from the trusteeship of absolute monarchy. Their
representatives in the National Assembly saw everyone, men and women,
as equal and having the same fundamental rights. In this sense, the
National Assembly passed the Declaration of the Rights of Man and
and of the Citizen, August 26, 1789. From then on, all the actions of
authorities had to respect the simple but fundamental rules enshrined
in the Declaration, which was intended to avoid the abuse of power.
French law does not recognize, strictly speaking, freedom of
expression, but articles of the Declaration implicitly show the idea of
'freedom of expression.' Article 10 says, 'No one should be anxious
about their opinions [...] provided their
demonstrations do not disturb the public order established by the law.'
Article 11 states, 'The free communication of thoughts and opinions is
one of the most precious rights of man; any citizen may therefore
speak, write and publish freely, subject to responsibility for the
abuse of this freedom as shall be defined by law.'" (Ensemble scolaire
Le Mirail de Bordeaux, translated by TML.)
Rabid Demonization of
Popular Resistance as "Terrorism"
Coupled with the unprecedented ramping-up of a
of anarchy and violence as we have seen in France this week, is the
demonization of popular resistance as "terrorism" -- especially in
of military conflict across wide swaths of the Middle East. It has
more imperative to continue categorically condemning actual terrorist
as the attack on Charlie Hebdo while differentiating such
from acts of just and necessary popular resistance as seen in Palestine.
There have been a number of attentats similar
to those in
Paris in the UK over the last several months, including the slaughter
daylight of a serving soldier near his base in the East End of London.
Government and the media there routinely hype each of these events as
"Islamic terrorism" to confound the legitimate resistance struggles
revenge-seeking and acts of random terror.
This week there is the chaos in France with three
following the attack on Charlie Hebdo -- one at a Kosher
store, one near Charles de Gaulle airport and one near the Eiffel
authorities closed Paris' ring road, equivalent to closing the 401
Toronto. Amongst other objectives, that act seems aimed at isolating
biggest of the Muslim suburbs from "proper Frenchmen" inside the arrondissements.
A few weeks ago we saw the incidents at
St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa
being used to hype up an entire atmosphere of anarchy, violence and
uncertainty. In Quebec in the wake of this week's Paris events, there
a renewed demonizing of "Muslims" as evil outsiders. The U.S. and
establishment are up to something very dark. Many are losing their
We condemn the latest terrorist outrages. We condemn
their stooges deliberately mixing up terrorism and acts of just and
popular resistance such as the Gazans' resistance to Israeli
Regardless of their claims to be interested in protecting freedom of
those governments and their agencies have been fuelling the general
atmosphere of anarchy and violence, and are to be condemned first and
foremost for such incitements.
The Real Implications for People and Their Rights After
on Charlie Hebdo
Whether or not the French state and/or "far right" are
implicated in the
attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, it
certain similarities to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. World
in 2001. As in the United States in 2001, the French monopoly
sections of the financial oligarchy (as well as those of the U.S and
taking full advantage of the attack on the magazine to obfuscate
have been at least partially successful so far in mobilizing people on
basis to support their agenda of interference and aggression in the
to escalate racist attacks against specific members of the population
and to intensify surveillance and control of the population as a whole.
while, diverting attention from the increasingly severe economic and
crisis in which they are mired, in the hopes that they can make the
for the crises that they alone are responsible for.
It is informative to look at the history of the Charlie
(summarized by Wikipedia), in order to better clarify what
has been -- intentionally or otherwise -- in promoting the above agenda.
Magazine Editors at First Appear to Be Progressive
In 1996, three of the staff members/editors
of Charlie Hebdo
Cavanna, Stéphane Charbonnier and Philippe Val) gathered and
signatures of people who supported a ban on the Front National -- the
nationalist political party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972,
as "far right" and "anti-immigrant" (specifically non-European
The proposed ban was on the basis that statements and policies of the
National contravened five articles of the Declaration of the Rights of
of the Citizen (a document drawn up after the bourgeois democratic
of 1789 in France). In addition to the anti-immigrant stance of that
major policies included "economic protectionism" (support for
of certain industries) and a strict "law and order" agenda. According
to Wikipedia, its policy toward deportations of
immigrants is "more
moderate today than it was at its most radical point in the 1990s."
An About Face
The seemingly progressive stance of the
weekly, however, changed sharply around the year 2000, when one of its
journalists "was sacked after she had protested against a Philippe Val
which called Palestinians 'non-civilized.'" Then, in 2006, the magazine
reprinted the twelve racist cartoons of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten
which ridiculed the Prophet
engendering the "controversy" that deeply divided the people of
also added more such cartoons of its own. A number of Islamic
sued the editor Val for publishing racist material.
Calling the cartoons "overt provocations," the French
Chirac stated, "Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else,
particular religious convictions, should be avoided." Future President
Sarkozy, on the other hand, "sent a letter to be read in court
support for the ancient French tradition of satire," while
"expressed his support for freedom of expression." In 2007, Val
was acquitted by the courts. The magazine published another provocative
edition in November 2011, following which their Paris office was
in the middle of the night, and its website hacked. In September 2012,
magazine published yet more cartoons of Muhammad, some of them
pornographic, at which time "riot police surrounded the office to
from possible attacks."
On January 1, 2015, according to the New York
Charbonnier, the current editor of Charlie Hebdo published a
taunting cartoon entitled "Still no attacks in France," featuring "a
a Muslim fighter saying, 'Just wait -- we have until the end of January
present our New Year's wishes.'" Then on January 7 came the mid-morning
attack on the magazine's editorial board.
According to International Business Times,
could make for favorable polling numbers for Le Pen" whose party has
"reiterated its condemnation of Islam, and called for the reinstatement
Cynical Use of Principle of "Free Speech"
numbers of people have been mobilized to condemn the attack on Charlie
Hebdo, but not on the basis of getting to
the bottom of
what exactly happened, why it happened and who is responsible. Rather,
are being mobilized in an anti-conscious and hysterical manner to
they are supporting the principle of "free speech." The "free speech"
editors of that magazine were claiming to uphold, which was tied to
stance that "they are against religion in general" was, in fact, based
libertarianism dating from the eighteenth century in France. Many of
in Charlie Hebdo hearken back
to libertine novels of the eighteenth century
featured pornographic cartoons and prose depicting priests and nuns.
The claim to be exercising free speech by the editors of
Hebdo in the twenty-first century, however, when the absolute rule
and State has long since been abolished, is disingenuous at best. Is it
up for your rights" and "exercising the right to free speech" to attack
sensibilities of the members of a particular minority group in the
Rather, exercising such a "right" is a libertarian license to do
exactly what one
feels like doing whether or not this be at the expense of other members
society. In the final analysis, a libertarian call to the right to free
speech in the twenty-first century, is a call for bourgeois individual
rights at the expense
Human Rights Must Mean More than Bourgeois Individual
In writing about the issue of nation-building in
Hardial Bains touches on the issue of the relation between individual
and the collective rights of the members of a society in the
"There came a time when a break took place with the
people were then defined according to their individual rights ...The
so that all the resources available to society would be directed
greater glory of individual rights. However, this then blocked the
Harmonizing individual rights with those of the
collective rights of
else in the society can be realized only through formulating a new
and developing a new political mechanism to make that possible.
1. According to Reseau Voltaire, which describes itself
as "a web of non-aligned press groups dedicated to the analysis of
international relations," Charlie Hebdo was established in
1992, with secret
the office of then French President François Mitterrand. Charlie
Hebdo was a member of Reseau Voltaire before withdrawing in 1997
over a disagreement with the network. At that time, Charlie Hebdo was
campaigning for a complete ban of the right-wing Front National (FN).
Meanwhile Reseau Voltaire defended the right to association of FN
while campaigning for the prohibition of its armed wing the DPS.
the relationship between Charlie Hebdo and the network
deteriorated. Charlie Hebdo attributed the 9/11 attacks to Al
Qaeda and launched a vicious anti-Islamic campaign. For its part,
Voltaire maintained that the official version of events was
attributed the attacks to a faction of the U.S. military-industrial
in 2007, the director of Charlie Hebdo became close to then
President Nicolas Sarkozy, giving instructions to remove the chairman
Reseau Voltaire, who then went into exile.
2. TML Weekly, January 3, 2015, No. 1.
"Nation-Building in Canada Can Mean Only One Thing," TML
Weekly, January 3, 2015, No. 1.
"Charlie Hebdo," Wikipedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Hebdo, retrieved January 8, 2015.
"National Front (France)," Wikipedia,
_history_and_relations_with_Jewish_groups, retrieved January 8, 2015.
A False Flag Operation?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of
the Treasury in the
Reagan Administration and associate editor of the Wall Street
Journal, in an article posted on his website on January 8 wrote
terrorist attack in Paris was a false flag operation "designed to shore
France's vassal status to Washington."
"The suspects can be both guilty and patsies. Just
remember all the
terrorist plots created by the FBI that served to make the terrorism
to Americans," he wrote.
He said that the French economy is suffering from the
sanctions against Russia. "Shipyards are impacted from being unable to
Russian orders due to France's vassalage status to Washington, and
aspects of the French economy are being adversely impacted by sanctions
Washington forced its NATO puppet states to apply to Russia."
Dr. Roberts stated that French President François
Hollande this week said
that the sanctions against Russia should end. "This is too much foreign
independence on France's part for Washington."
He added that the CIA has apparently resurrected a
policy that it followed
against Europeans during the post-WW II era when the U.S. spy agency
carry out attacks in European states and blame them on communist
Dr. Roberts said now the U.S. agencies have planned
false flag operations
in Europe to create hatred against Muslims and bring European countries
under the U.S. sphere of influence.
He noted that "the attack on Charlie Hebdo was
an inside job
and that people identified by NSA as hostile to the Western wars
Muslims are going to be framed for an inside job designed to pull
firmly back under Washington's thumb."
Anniversary of Devastating Earthquake in Haiti
Haitians Step Up Their Fight for
Independence and Democracy
Protests in Canada
following the earthquake in Haiti denounce the cynical use of the
humanitarian crisis by Canada, the U.S. and France for self-serving
On January 7, Ezili Danto, executive director of the
Leadership Network, was interviewed on Vancouver Co-op Radio's Discussion.
the important developments leading up to January 12, 2015, the
anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake and the date set for the
dissolution of Haiti's lower house of parliament. The following
her interview describe the growing movement of the Haitian people to
their independence and democracy from U.S. rule and its crucial tasks
time. Danto explained that January 12, 2015 appears to be a point of
convergence for the Haitian people in their struggle against the
puppet presidency and military occupation and that 2015 brings the
of victories for Haiti in affirming its right to be.
Danto described the U.S.
military occupation since the 2004
U.S.-Canadian-French coup against the elected President Jean-Bertrand
explained how the occupation used the 2010 earthquake to strengthen its
"Right now we have had a U.S. occupation in Haiti since
2004 -- direct
U.S. occupation outsourced to the UN peacekeepers, in a country where
is less violence than the Dominican Republic, which is the other side
island, in a country that has no war. The United States is in Haiti at
moment behind UN guns and NGO false benevolence. At the moment we are
at this conjuncture, where on January 12, 2015 the Parliament of Haiti
dissolve. Michel Martelly, the puppet president [was] put in power by
in 2010, right after the earthquake. There was a big earthquake that
in Haiti on January 12, 2010. Right after that earthquake, 316,000
were killed in less than a minute -- the greatest catastrophe the world
known in terms of numbers of people dead in that amount of time.
"It was at that time that the U.S.-led 'shock doctrine'
forced the Haitians
to go into elections, and the person that became president was a Compas
named Michel Martelly, who was part of the Duvalierist cabal back in
He was someone who worked with the army, someone who was right wing,
probably someone who in normal times would not have been elected by
Haitians. Literally, there was less than 17 per cent of the population
and within that 17 per cent of the population that was voting, a lot of
ballots were blanks. Hillary Clinton, who was at that point in time
of State under Barack Obama, flew down to Haiti and basically said to
Parliament leader, 'You ratify this [election] or lose your Visas' and
been going on ever since.
"Now we're in 2015. Since Martelly has come into power,
acted as a dictator, with the UN as his guns, taking the place of the
bloody army, and has never held elections for Parliament. He got into
in May of 2011. Normally the Parliament is made up of 30 Senators and
Deputies in the lower house. There was a third of this, only 20
Senators, at the
time that he got into power in May 2011. His first constitutional act
have been to hold elections for the other third of the Senate and for
offices and so forth.
"Since Michel Martelly has got into power in Haiti,
there have not been
any elections. The reasons why we wrote the piece that says what has to
happen is to impeach Martelly, is that for the last three years people
on the streets, protesting against Martelly in various ways; he's held
Carnivals, but no elections. He's spent money on Carnivals, he's spent
on flying to various places, promoting a lot of what the United States
in office for -- which is a neo-liberal economy, where you privatize
assets, and where you have an export economy, and development is
where you take fishermen's land and give it to the wealthy tourist.
he calls development.
"So we're at a point right now where there's going to be
a dissolution of
Parliament on January 12, 2015, because there has not been an election.
have been two lawyers in Haiti and others who have brought many
charges against the Martelly family. There's a judge that died under
circumstances; there were, until last week, many political prisoners.
people are asking for those things to happen.
for resignation of Prime Minister Lamothe and President Martelly,
Port-au-Prince, December 13, 2014.
"As of right now we have a situation where the Prime
Minister of Haiti
has resigned due to the pressure on the streets; today the Supreme
Justice has resigned because of this stuff; and Martelly is faced right
only 20 Senators: they are at this moment the only functioning,
Parliamentary branch, because the Deputies, the 92 that are left, are
session, and when they come back in session, all their terms will be
There will not be any Parliament, it is about to be dissolved.
"For a lot of demonstrators who were on the streets, the
government along with the U.S.-trained, Canadian-trained Haitian police
been doing what they are doing in Ferguson, Missouri. They have
police that they have trained -- Haitian police -- and they have been
foul water, tear gas and so forth, at students and those people
Duvalierist-type dictatorship in Haiti that has been implanted by the
international community, and the OAS and those that are doing this
legitimizing of the elections to have a front that we have a democracy.
"What we said at the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network
is that in order
to avoid bloodshed and further unconstitutionality, the best thing for
Senate, which is the only legal authority that's left, is to impeach
are under occupation, and all elections, we believe, are delegitimized,
Senate is one of the only legal spaces in place where Haitians could
'Based on the Haitian Constitution, the people have taken a referendum,
illegal person, we want him out, we want the corruption gone.' We
that in order to avoid the bloodshed, the best thing to do is for those
Senators to come together and impeach Martelly.
"But I think that the situation has gone way past that
at the moment. We
wrote this two weeks ago. The situation is moving very fast. At the
we are told that there are U.S. Marines that have landed in Haiti
don't know if they are there to keep Martelly in power, or if they're
take him out on a plane to go the way that Duvalier went back in 1986."
Danto described the state of the popular forces in Haiti
today and the
demands of the movement of the people against the U.S occupation:
"[Jean-Bertrand Aristide] was the first democratically
President. [Fanmi Lavalas] is his political party. But since 2004, when
taken on a plane by U.S. special forces and deported back to Africa,
Lavalas political party has not been allowed to go for elections.
Aristide returned to Haiti seven years after the coup d'etat of 2004.
a very politicized people; they are very participatory about what is
in their country. The reason that we have this sort of convergence of
happening -- this pushing of Martelly and Lamothe to resign to the
where the resignation is close -- is because of the popular movement.
popular movement includes what is generally known as the Lavalas
which is larger than the political party of President Aristide. It is
of pro-democracy folks in Haiti, who may come from different points of
but who are about not having dictatorship and institutionalizing the
"[Senator Moïse Jean-Charles] is one of the most
vocal folks who are
leading the people on the streets right now to talk about a couple of
"What they are asking for is the resignation of the
puppet government of
Haiti, for the MINUSTAH, the UN 'peacekeeping' force in Haiti, to leave
they're the military arm of the U.S. occupation -- and they're asking
NGOs to leave. [The NGOs have] been in Haiti for decades and we've
had zero growth, zero infrastructure for public health and so forth and
because they do not have any accountability to the public, only to
memberships, and those memberships are located overseas. It is the new
that, post-Cold War, the United States controls the internal affairs of
countries, by destroying the infrastructure and then by making the
dependent by bringing in charity as the new infrastructure. That
discriminatory because who that charity supports will be people who are
right wing, more about supporting U.S. imperialism... Folks don't quite
understand that the NGOs are very politicized because they're funded by
governments who are funding them for a particular reason.
"The Fanmi Lavalas movement is very, very powerful -- it
is one of the
most powerful political movements. It is the most powerful political
they were allowed to run in the elections today. It's more than likely,
they put up someone ridiculous, that they will win, because of the
the Haitian people have had with regards to President Aristide. But
very new and dynamic young lawyers and people who have distinguished
themselves in the last ten years outside of the Fanmi Lavalas party,
the party was forbidden to run in elections.
"We at the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network see and
to folks around the world that MINUSTAH, the UN Chapter 7 peace
enforcement force that has been in Haiti for seven years has left us
development, and lots of human rights abuses, including bringing
us in October 2010. This has killed over 10,000 poor Haitians, and has
infected all of our waterways and over 850,000 Haitians. That's what
humanitarians have brought us. And this is after the earthquake and the
amazing trauma of that. We are at a conjuncture right now, a
where on January 12, 2015, it will mark the fifth year anniversary of
earthquake, and the dissolution of the parliament. Because of all of
see, finally, opportunity maybe to push to get rid of MINUSTAH, to try
our sovereignty back, and everybody's pushing towards that right now."
Danto's appraisal is that events point to a strong
possibility of a
breakthrough for Haitians in their fight for empowerment and a
"Of course, it's always ominous when U.S. forces land in
Haiti, and we
are at this juncture. So many people have already died in the last 10
fighting to get to this point. But, I'll give you an example: there are
lawyers, André Michel and Newton St-Juste, and this is
they are asking Bill Clinton to account for the $10 billion that was
from 2010. For 18 months he was a co-chair of the Interim Haiti
Commission. And that's very exciting, because for the first time we're
outward. It's not an internal fight, it's 'here are our traditional
is what they're doing.' It's clearer now, whereas before we didn't
that. I think that's very interesting that we have this sort of
happening. Right now, January 12 is coming. Lots of media only come to
Haiti once a year, when the earthquake anniversary comes along, to do
little feel-good stories, but one of the big stories is what happened
money, to that $10 billion.
"These two young Haitian lawyers... have been able to
get many Haitians
out of jail in the last three weeks because of the uprising of the
were going to the streets, and the U.S. occupational forces, led by the
government, would arrest them and throw them in prison. Martelly has
ruling by decree since he got in. The international community ignored
emboldened it. But today, the forces of all this media are coming in
over the world, coming to talk about what happened -- it's the fifth
anniversary: what has been done, how many people are still on the
much housing, where has the money gone, what's going on with jobs and
forth. We have that conjuncture, we have the UN Security Council coming
Haiti on January 23 [to evaluate MINUSTAH], so you have all this
and at the same time you have these young Haitians who are in the
almost every day.
"I see that this group of Haitians are much more
what the export economy is all about, how it destroys the local
they're much more cognizant that with the NGOs, 99 cents of every
they collect goes back to them, only one cent goes to the Haitian
They understand all of that. They don't want that kind of aid, they
them there. I think that's a new thing and I hope that it continues, I
the United States doesn't brutally silence these people with death. I
think I see
a change. We hope not too many more people die. We hope that it's not a
bloodbath coming up in the next three weeks."
All Out to Support
the Haitian People's Fight to
Independence and Democracy!
Defender of Puerto Rico's Right to Independence
U.S. Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera
A worldwide campaign for the
release of Puerto
Rican patriot and political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is
underway. Unjustly sentenced to 55 years in prison by the U.S.
colonial power for his just and principled stands to defend the
dignity and sovereignty of the Puerto Rican people, López Rivera
has been imprisoned for nearly 34 years, 12 of them in solitary
confinement. He has held to these positions in the face of this
hardship while at the same time being a model prisoner. This
steadfastness and fidelity to the cause of the Puerto Rican
people has been recognized throughout Latin America, the
Caribbean, the U.S. and around the world by all the forces who
are fighting for dignity, justice and independence and against
Uruguayan President José Mujica, in an open
letter to U.S.
President Barack Obama sent in early December 2014, highlighted
significant cases of unjust imprisonment by the U.S., including
López Rivera. A former guerilla, Mujica himself spent 13 years
a political prisoner. This letter led to negotiations with the
U.S. for the release of López Rivera, which are ongoing. On
December 24, Marcia Rivera, a prominent academic and relative of
López Rivera who lives in Uruguay, announced through her
account that the liberation of the activist could come very soon.
Also that day, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla
said his government is also urging the U.S. to free the political
On January 4, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
offered to send
the U.S. imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López in exchange
for the freedom of López Rivera. Leopoldo López was
February after he helped launch a three-month wave of violent
opposition demonstrations seeking Maduro's ouster. This offer was a
response to remarks by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Maduro on
January 4 that the release of those Biden termed "Venezuelan
political prisoners" would be a prerequisite for any thaw in
relations between the two countries. During a televised speech
later that day, President Maduro said that "the only way I would
use my presidential powers [to release Mr. López] would be to
him on a plane to the United States, to leave him there, and that
they hand over Oscar López Rivera -- man for man." U.S. state
department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on January 7 that the cases
of Leopoldo López and López Rivera are not comparable,
effectively rejecting the offer.
The president of the Committee for Human Rights in
Eduardo Villanueva, in a January 5 Inter News Service item, said
that the past year has been very productive in the struggle for
the liberation of López Rivera. He noted that last year, several
national political figures were allowed to visit López Rivera in
prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. These included Alejandro García
Padilla of the Popular Democratic Party; Senator Maria de Lourdes
Santiago of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, along with the
party's General Secretary Juan Dalmau; the leaders of the
National Hostos Independence Movement, Alejandro Torres Rivera
and Wilma Reveron; and the Rev. Rafael Moreno of the Council of
He stressed the importance of international
recent times by political leaders such as presidents Daniel
Ortega of Nicaragua; Raúl Castro of Cuba; José Mujica of
plus Nicolas Maduro and the late Hugo Chávez; and former
Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón. He also noted pronouncements by
the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the
International Social Forum in São Paolo and the Permanent
Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the
Caribbean. "This has increased the pressure on the Obama
administration which knows it has to be consistent in what it
says about human rights," said Villanueva.
January 6 marked López Rivera's 72nd birthday.
Boricua Human Rights Network and La Respuesta Magazine
organized a worldwide campaign to call for his freedom. The
campaign, "Birth of a Patriot, Star of a Nation," called for
100,000 messages to the official twitter accounts of U.S.
President Barack Obama, the White House and U.S. Justice
Department. The Network reports that the campaign reached 500,000
Meanwhile, A vibrant celebration was held in
Puerto Rico to mark
his birthday, where many speakers highlighted how López Rivera
an inspiration to them and an exemplar of the revolutionary
spirit of the Puerto Rican people. January 6 is also "Three Kings
Day" or the twelfth day of Christmas, and in Puerto Rico the
day's celebrations were dedicated to the freedom of López
Top: Celebration of Oscar
López Rivera's 72nd birthday in San Juan, Puerto Rico,
January 6, 2015. Bottom: Three Kings event in San Juan.
Many cultural, religious and political personalities are
demanding the immediate release of López Rivera. In a December
12, 2014 item for CounterPunch, Matt Peppe, points out
some of these:
"[In early December] at a concert in San Juan, reggaeton
René Pérez Joglar of the band Calle 13 brought
Clarissa on stage to read a letter pleading for her father's
"After winning the silver medal in judo in the Central
and Caribbean games in November, Augusto Miranda told the press:
'I want to use this forum for all the people of Puerto Rico and
the United States. It's an abuse what they've done to Oscar
Rivera, political prisoner. It's time to give him his
"The President of the Universidad de Puerto Rico (UPR),
Ramón Emeterio Walker, joined with students at the university to
call for López's release, citing 'humanitarian reasons' for what
Emeterio called a 'disproportionate' sentence.
"Human rights activists such as Nobel Peace Laureates
Desmond Tutu, Máiread Corrigan Maguire and Adolfo Pérez
have called on Obama to release López. [...] Tutu has said that
López's 'crime' was 'conspiracy to free his people from the
shackles of imperial justice.'"
In related news, fellow Puerto Rican political prisoner
Gonzalez Claudio is expected to be released from a U.S. prison on
January 15. Given a five-year sentence in 2011, he was originally
scheduled for release on September 7, 2014.
TML Weekly reiterates the demand for the U.S. to
Oscar López Rivera and to end its colonial domination of the
nation of Puerto Rico.
Oscar López Rivera,
Puerto Rican Independence Fighter
Born in 1943 in Puerto Rico, Oscar López Rivera
was a decorated
received a medal for combat for fighting in the Vietnam War. After
to Chicago where his family lived, he joined the struggle in the
Puerto Rican rights. He was a well-known community organizer who
attempted to improve living conditions in his community. He
acts of civil disobedience and peaceful militancy.
In 1976, he joined the underground struggle for the
Puerto Rico as a member of the National Liberation Armed Forces
In 1981, he was captured by the FBI on charges of
and for belonging to the FALN. When he was captured he declared himself
"political prisoner," exercising his right under the First Protocol of
Convention of 1949, which recognizes this right for people detained in
context of colonial occupation.
According to the protocol,
a prisoner of war cannot be
judged as a
common criminal, much less if the cause of such procedure rests in acts
relating to participating in anti-colonial struggle. The claim was
ignored by the
U.S. government, which sentenced López Rivera to 55 years in
accusing the imprisoned Puerto Rican activist of attempting to flee
("conspiracy to escape"), the authorities extended his sentence to 70
of which López Rivera has spent in total solitary confinement.
May 2014 marked the 33rd year in prison for López
Rivera. He is
remaining of the 13 imprisoned FALN militants. Former U.S. President
Clinton offered a conditional pardon in 1999 to the rest of the 13 FALN
members, but López Rivera refused out of solidarity because the
his release included 10 more years in prison, a deal not offered to two
"We had no other alternative to survive as a people. We
are talking about
a moment of great persecution and repression, and we wanted to survive.
used what they call 'armed propaganda' to carry the message of our
said López Rivera.
But he maintains that he has no regrets. "In my
experience, the first 18
years in prison have been terrible, so I thought that it would be
be released on good behaviour after everything they've done to me," he
On June 18, 2012, the United Nations Committee on
approved a resolution promoted by Cuba calling for recognition of the
of independence and self-determination of Puerto Rico. It also urged
to release the imprisoned independence fighters. The draft was
Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, and was passed by the
committee by consensus. The U.S. disregarded the UN resolution.
The Mandela of These Times?
The cause for freeing Oscar López Rivera has been
celebrated and supported by artists Calle 13,
Montañez, Ricky Martin, Chucho Avellanet, the filmmaker Jacobo
intellectuals, and world leaders in social and political movements.
Advocates for López Rivera compare his case to
former South African
Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned by a government that he considered
Recently, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro paid
homage to López Rivera.
"He has been in jail for 35 years. He is the Mandela of
these times. His
only crime was wanting an independent Puerto Rico ... He has been
ridicule, but he is the Latin American Mandela," Maduro said when he
leaving the UN Climate Change Summit which took place in New York.
The Venezuelan leader urged the U.S. to free this
whose only crime was "defending the star of dignity on the flag of our
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