Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Capitalism means environmental destruction -- fight for socialism!

Global warming, caused by greenhouse gas emissions, is leading to a climate crisis that threatens to kill off thousands of species, shrink coastlines, drown islands and cause widespread drought, famine and disease. Yet neither the Democrats nor the Republicans offer any real solution to this planetary crisis.

The Democrats call for emissions reductions, advocating market-based “cap and trade” programs, which involve selling emissions credits. Emissions credits systems allow polluters to buy the “right” to emit a certain amount of greenhouse gas. If the corporation does not use up the credit, it can sell the credit to another corporation, allowing them to emit more gases. Under the capitalist system, working people have no say in determining how much pollution is acceptable, even though climate change will, in the short term, disproportionately affect working-class people and poor countries.

The major candidates also explicitly or implicitly support the expansion of biofuels. These are fuels made out of biological sources, like corn, soy or palm oil. While these sources are all renewable, they also are food sources. Diverting food to fuel has resulted in rising food prices and other problems in countries throughout the world. In addition, the production and use of biofuels does not result in lower carbon emissions than the equivalent amount of fossil fuels.

Capitalism is the greatest threat to our environment. Capitalist corporations are allowed to continue polluting to cut costs and make more profit. As long as we live in a society where profits are prioritized over people’s needs, our planet will continue to be destroyed.

The La Riva/Puryear presidential campaign fights for the interests of working-class people. We demand immediate action to stop global warming. We call for mandatory emissions controls on big corporate polluters. Comprehensive public transportation programs must be created and fully funded to create jobs and take millions of cars off the road. There must be a rapid transition to using safe renewable energy sources. Energy conservation measures must be implemented now. Energy use in the United States could easily be reduced by 28 percent using low-cost measures and existing technologies to make buildings more energy efficient.

The La Riva/Puryear campaign believes that the only lasting solution for our environment is the socialist reorganization of society. Socialism is a system based on national and international, ecologically sustainable planning where the profit motive has been removed from the picture. Eliminating the tyranny of private corporate profit as the dominant feature controlling economic development opens the door to true working-class democracy. That is what we mean by “people over profits.” Rational social and economic planning, rather than production for the “market,” is the only method for the implementation of scientifically supported solutions to global warming.

Get involved in the campaign!Contact the Party for Socialism & • 202.543.4900 •

Statement on the Israeli siege of Gaza

The complete sealing-off of Gaza by the Israeli government is an act of collective punishment, a crime against humanity under international law. The Bush administration, which on occasion has hypocritically invoked international law to justify aggression against a targeted country, is fully backing the inhuman Israeli blockade. So too are the leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas of the world with 1.5 million people living in just 360 square kilometers. The impoverished population already was suffering from shortages of food, medicine, fuel and other basic goods before the tightened blockade stopped all shipments into or out of Gaza. Now, the people face the threat of starvation. The great majority of Gaza residents are from refugee families, driven out of other parts of Palestine when the state of Israel was created in 1948. Deprived of their land, more than 70 percent of Gaza’s population is dependent on international agencies for food.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the World Food Program—the two main relief agencies operating in Gaza—have stated that unless the blockade is lifted, fuel shortages will compel them to cease operations by the end of the week.

The Israeli government claims that it took action because of Palestinian rocket attacks. This is merely a pretext. On Dec. 23, 2007, Israel rejected Hamas’s call for a ceasefire. Since then, Israeli air and ground attacks have killed dozens of Palestinians and wounded hundreds more in Gaza, most of them civilians. In 2007, 373 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and the West Bank, compared to just 13 Israeli deaths.

The Israeli blockade is a blatant violation of international law. Article 33 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention reads, in part: "No protected person [civilian] may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

Collective punishment is a war crime. Imposing a blockade on the population in Gaza is undeniably a form of collective punishment. The U.S. government, which gives billions of dollars in military and economic aid to Israel every year, shares the guilt for this war crime.

On Jan. 23, in a courageous act of mass defiance, tens of thousands of Palestinians living in Gaza broke through the blockade at the Gaza-Egypt border and were able to obtain some supplies. The remainder of Gaza remains blockaded.

The La Riva/Puryear presidential campaign demands an immediate lifting of the Israeli blockade, an end to U.S. aid to Israel and self-determination for the Palestinian people. The candidates plan to join the emergency protests to "End the Israeli Siege of Gaza" being organized across the country on Jan. 25-26.

Vote PSL in 2008!

Unlike the corporate-funded candidates who say the war in Iraq will end “some day” in the distant future, Gloria La Riva and Eugene Puryear, running on the presidential ticket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), have been building a movement of millions of people to demand U.S. out of Iraq NOW! They have helped organize the biggest demonstrations against the Iraq war in the last few years.

This is a rich man’s war. It is a war to dominate the oil-rich Middle East. Only the banks, corporations and oil monoplies benefit. It is the sons and daughters of the working class who are sent to kill and be killed. Those who started this war and continue to fund it should stand trial for crimes against the people.

Bush gets a pass every day from the two-faced Democrats in Congress even though he is responsible for sending hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their graves with tens of thousands of U.S. GIs also killed or horribly maimed.

The politicians and corporate bosses have a message for working people: salute the flag, stop thinking, and send our loved ones to fight in imperialist wars. They proclaim we “are one nation” when they want to drag workers into the next war of aggression.

But these same capitalists and political opportunists will turn around and shut down factories, lay off tens of thousands of workers, and slash healthcare benefits and pensions if they believe it will add to the super-profits for the corporate elites and bankers.

In the last 20 years, unions have been attacked by the bosses, industries have shut down, and workers’ wages have plummeted. The cost of living has skyrocketed while wages and incomes have dropped. Landlords, banks and real-estate speculators have turned cities and towns into places where it is impossible to live, with rent and the cost of buying a house beyond the reach of more and more people.

What can change this situation? If we look back at the history of the United States, it is when the people, both workers and the poor, joined together to fight injustice and abuse, that real change has come about.

The bosses and politicians try to whip up racism as a way to keep the working class divided. This divide-and-conquer tactic has been used since the founding of this country. Slavery, the genocide against the original peoples of the Americas, brutal colonialism, and the super-exploitation of immigrant labor were the sources of wealth for the white racist capitalist ruling class in the United States.

The only way they could keep their power, their fortunes and incredible privilege is to get one set of workers fighting another. This is the historic function of racism as a key element in the growth of modern-day capitalism in the United States. The use of racism as a key divide-and-conquer strategy explains the virulent attack on immigrants and immigrant rights.

Although the civil rights movement ended legal apartheid in the United States, racism today is just as vicious as ever. The La Riva/Puryear campaign is part of a larger struggle to unite all workers against our real enemies.

The African American community and other people of color won rights through the great civil rights movement. Workers and the unemployed, who organized and struggled for the right to a union and for better wages and working conditions, won Social Security, unemployment benefits, and other social programs in the 1930s. Women and lesbian/gay/bi/transgender people achieved great gains through struggle.

But these changes can be rolled back as the bosses go on the offensive to increase profits and increase exploitation.

Every person in this country could have the right to free education, free health care, affordable housing, and a decent-paying job with full benefits.  But to realize these simple demands will require a true revolution.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a working-class party organized by and for working people. We are socialists active in every struggle that affects working and poor people at home and abroad. We believe that an organized and militant people’s movement can achieve great changes—necessary changes—that improve the lives of working and oppressed people.

As socialists, we fight for a different kind of society. We fight for a society where people’s needs are no longer a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder. We fight for a society where housing, health care, education and a job are a right. We fight for socialism.

The PSL is running candidates in 2008, Gloria La Riva for president and Eugene Puryear for vice president and local candidates in several states.

Get involved in a campaign that puts people first, not profits. Contact us to find out more.