What We Stand For

The Communist Party of Indiana CPUSA struggles for socialism: to better the lives of Indiana's working families, to protect and extend labor's ability to organize, for the needs of women, children, immigrants (documented and undocumented), the disabled, LGBT, and all people who strive for affordable quality health care, housing, and education. We stand against racism in all its forms. We stand for jobs for all. We stand for peace. We support all who struggle world wide for the dignity and self-determination of the majority of their nation's people and against imperialism, occupation, and exploitation for private profit.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

United for Peace and Justice: Take Action to Protest Israeli Attack on Gaza

Take Action to Protest Israeli Attack on Gaza

Mid-morning Saturday, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched a series of deadly air strikes on the occupied Gaza Strip. As we write this, an estimated 275 people have been killed. Hundreds of innocent people have been wounded. According to news reports today, Israel plans to keep these attacks going and has brought scores of tanks to the border with Gaza.

These Israeli attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip which has been going on for years and has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life. All of this is happening in the most densely populated and one of the poorest areas of the world.

Israel is carrying out these attacks with F-16 fighter jets and missiles provided by U.S. taxpayers. From 2001-2006, the United States transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts to fly its fleet of F-16's. In July 2008, the United States gave Israel 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel. Last year, the United States signed a $1.3 billion contract with Raytheon to transfer to Israel thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and 'bunker buster' missiles.

Israel's lethal attack on the Gaza Strip could not have happened without the active military and political support of the United States. We need to take action now to protest this attack and demand an immediate cease-fire.

The U.S. Campaign to End the Israel Occupation (a member group pf UFPJ) has issued an action alert with these suggestions -- we urge you to take action today!

* Contact the White House to protest the attacks and demand an immediate cease-fire. Call 202-456-1111 or send an email to comments@whitehouse.gov.
* Contact the State Department at 202-647-6575 or send an email by clicking here.
* Contact your Representative and Senators in Congress at 202-224-3121 or find contact info for your Members of Congress by clicking here.
* Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor. To find contact info for your local media, click here.
* Organize a local protest or vigil and tell us about it at congress@endtheoccupation.org.
* Sign our open letter to President-Elect Obama calling for a new U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine and find out other steps you can take to influence the incoming Administration by clicking here.

In addition, the Middle East Children's Alliance (another member group of UFPJ) is working with health organizations in Gaza to procure the most-needed medicines and send them directly to Gaza with the help of the Free Gaza Movement. You can make a secure online contribution now.

Background Information

Below are three articles you may want to read for background information and reports on the Gaza crisis.

'If Gaza Falls...', Sara Roy, Professor at Harvard's Center For Middle Eastern Studies and author of 'Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict'.

'Gaza Massacres Must Spur Us To Action', Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of 'One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse' (Metropolitan Books, 2006).

'Report on Gaza', Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Update December 22, 2008.

Monday, December 29, 2008

CPUSA Denounces Israeli Attacks In Gaza

CPUSA Denounces Israeli Attacks In Gaza

The Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) emphatically denounces the Israeli attacks in Gaza, which have left several hundred dead and unknown numbers wounded. The attacks have been carried out with a total disregard for the safety of children, women, old people and other noncombatants and are the latest phase in a brutal campaign to strangle the people of Gaza by blockading them and denying them access to basic necessities. The pretext stated by the Israeli government, namely the resumption of the Hamas rocket attacks, is far out of proportion to the damage being inflicted on innocent people by the IDF bombings. What is more, the Israeli government has telegraphed plans to continue the bombings and follow them up with an invasion by ground forces.

The Communist Party of Israel has suggested that the current Israeli attacks are a demagogic move related to the current electoral campaign in that country, as well as perhaps being intended to present the incoming Obama administration with a fait accompli, making it more difficult for Obama to adopt a new approach to the Israel-Palestine issue. The CPUSA denounces the Bush administration for the verbal and material support it is rendering to the Israeli agression. We demand an immediate end to the Israeli attacks, and we endorse the call of the Communist Party of Israel for sanctions on that country and on its leaders. We call on the incoming Obama administration to make a radical change in US policy on the Israel-Palestine issue, and to pressure the Israeli government to return to honest negotiations toward a two-state solution.

National Committee, Communist Party USA

Israeli Aircraft Continue Raids on Gaza; Arab Anger Rises

The New York Times today reports that
In a third straight day of deadly air strikes against the emblems and institutions of Hamas on Monday, Israeli warplanes pounded targets in Gaza including the Interior Ministry while the Israeli army declared areas around the beleaguered enclave a “closed military zone.”
According to George Dwell, Public Relations Contact for the Indiana "Yes We Can" Coalition for Peace and Justice,
The people of Gaza were already suffering horribly under the Israeli blockade. As the United Nations pointed out on November 19, 2008, 'the restrictions deprived Palestinians of "basic human rights". The use of Israeli state power against the Palestinian people is illegal under international law, and is a human tragedy of immense proportions.

According to the New York Times, "The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said more than 50 of the dead were civilians...."

The article continued "In a statement on Monday, the Israeli army said some areas around Gaza had been declared a “closed military zone,” a move which some analysts depicted as a potential precursor to a ground offensive."

Frank Berzimla, member of the Communist Party of Indiana CPUSA, said "The issue of the Israeli attacks on Gaza is not an issue of Israel fighting for its life. The Israeli attacks are applications of disproportionate state force against an oppressed people living under a blockade, and who have endured unending oppression since Israel started seizing Palestinian land, controlling the natural resources in the area, attacking every manifestation of real self-determination on the part of the Palestinians, and generally acting as a proxy for US imperial aspirations in this oil rich area. It is incorrect to see this through the lens of a Muslim/Jewish conflict. It would be more appropriate to see the Palestinian struggle in Gaza and in Palestine as a whole as an anti-imperialist struggle akin to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa or the struggle of African states against the yoke of colonial exploitation."

The Indiana "Yes We Can" Coalition for Peace and Justice calls for all-out protests across Indiana to say "No Invasion of Gaza; Stop the Bombings; End US economic and military support for Israeli Aggression".

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Miles manifestaron hoy a traves de Israel exigiendo el inmediato cese de la criminal ofensiva militar israeli en la Franja de Gaza

From: Communist Party of Israel Sunday, December 28, 2008

www.maki.org.il mailto:info@maki.org.il


Miles manifestaron hoy a traves de Israel exigiendo el inmediato cese de la criminal ofensiva militar israeli en la Franja de Gaza

Miles manifestaron hoy a traves de Israel, convocados por el Partido Comunista de Israel y su frente Hadash (Frente por la Paz y la Igualdad) exigiendo el inmediato cese de la criminal ofensiva militar israeli en la Franja de Gaza. La primera manifestación se realizo en horas del mediodia en Nazaret y en la misma participaron 3 mil habitantes de esta ciudad de la Galilea. El diputado de la bancada Hadash, Mohamed Barakeh, emplazó al Gobierno israelí a "detener de inmediato el crimen de la Franja de Gaza".

"La escalada no traerá la calma y la tranquilidad. Es inconcebible para los palestinos de Gaza vivir entre la hambruna y el bombardeo. El Gobierno y el ministro de Defensa intentan sacar rentabilidad política con vistas a las elecciones a costa de la sangre palestina", dijo. En horas de la tarde se realizaron otras manifestaciones y concentraciones en las localidades de Um El-Fajem, Sh'famr (Shfaram), Arara e Ifya. En la ciudad de Haifa se realizaron dos manifestaciones, la primera al mediodia en el barrio de Wadi Nisnas y la segunda en la tarde en el Monte Carmelo.

En Tel-Aviv se realizaron dos manifestaciones. Una ayer, en visperas de la ofensiva y otra hoy, en la cual se dieron cita dos mil habitantes de esta urbe. La marcha que comenzo en horas de la noche frente a la cinemateca del centro de Tel-Aviv finalizo con el corte de la Avenida Kaplan, frente al cuartel general de Tzahal (el ejercito israeli) y el Ministerio de Defensa y se saldo con varios detenidos. El diputado comunista Dov Khenin, que encabezo las manifestaciones de ayer y hoy exigio el procesamiento judicial por crímenes de guerra del ministro de Defensa israelí y lider laborista, Ehud Barak. "Barak quiere conseguir votos a cambio de sangre palestina", dijo. En las manifestaciones de Tel-Aviv participaron tambien miembros de Meretz (afiliado a la Internacional Socialista) que protestaron contra la dirigencia partidaria que apoya la criminal accion del Tzahal.

De acuerdo a la ex-diputada comunista Tamar Gozansky que marcho en las dos manifestaciones realizadas en Tel-Aviv "solo una solucion politica basada en una paz justa que reconozca el derecho a la autodeterminacion del pueblo palestino, pondra fin a las hostilidades. No estamos de acuerdo con el bombardeo de poblaciones civiles, tanto israelies como palestinas, pero todo tiempo que continue la ocupacion, continuara la violencia. Nuestro partido proclama que es menester poner fin a la ocupacion de los territorios palestinos, acabar con el cerco impuesto a la Franja de Gaza, desmantelar los asentamientos israelies en los territorios y resolver la cuestion de los refugiados palestinos acorde con las decisiones de las Naciones Unidas. Solo un Estado Palestino soberano e indenpendiente con Jerusalen Oriental como capital - podra garantizar la paz para los dos pueblos".


The Communist Party of Israel Condemns Deadly Attacks on Gaza and Calls for International Mobilization


From: Communist Party of Israel Saturday, December 27, 2008
www.maki.org.il mailto:info@maki.org.il


The Communist Party of Israel Condemns Deadly Attacks on Gaza and Calls for International Mobilization

The Communist Party of Israel and Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) condemns today’s deadly attack by the Israeli Air Force on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the killing of over 150 Palestinians. The CPI calls on Communist and Workers parties and social movements throughout the world to mobilize against these Israeli war crimes and demands that the international community implement sanctions against Israel and indict Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and other Israeli political and military leadership for these blatant war crimes, committed as part of Israel’s election process.

Today's Israel’s military attack is part of the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip. Israel is exploiting the last moments of the Bush administration to implement the deadly but ineffective imperialist policy of utilizing military force to effect political change. Demonstrations against the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip are planned for the Israeli major cities, and demonstrations will be conducted tonight in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nazareth. Yesterday (Friday), hundreds demonstrators attended a rally in central Tel Aviv to protest the expected Israeli military operation to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. The rally was organized by the Coalition against the Gaza Siege and Hadash (Democratic Peace and Equality Front – Communist Party of Israel).

"I suggest that we go the other direction," said Hadash Knesset Member Dov Khenin, a leading member of the Communist Party of Israel. "Our power is our tragedy. One powerful blow will not bring the end. They will respond with rockets and eventually we'll embark on an all-out war. Going in the other direction means reinforcing the lull, securing a ceasefire, and lifting the siege that only serves to unite the population around Hamas."

"A genuine peace process will be engaged in vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas," he said. "What's tragic here is that it's possible. We just need the desire."

Khenin added that it is "essential to secure a prisoner swap that would include Gilad Shalit." When asked why fewer Israelis object the war in Gaza, he said: "People lost their hope. They realize that what's happening is bad, yet they think there's no other option. Yet we are not destined to be the victim of history." Another rally participant, the former MK Tamar Gozansky, said: "Two years ago we protested at the same site, before the Second Lebanon War. We were ostracized and referred to as traitors. Yet several months later, all the people who made fun of us carried their own signs to Rabin Square and protested against Olmert's policy. I really hope that we won't have yet another reason to say: 'We told you so.'" In an earlier statement, MK Khenin said: "A comprehensive war in Gaza is dangerous and unnecessary and will put the lives of thousands of Gazans and westernNegev residents at risk"." War is not the solution to the Kassam rocket problem," he continued. "There is another way: a real truce agreement. Not just a cease-fire, but also ending the Gaza blockade and easing the extreme suffering of a million-and-a-half people."


WPC denounces the murderous Israeli attack against Palestinians in the Gaza


From: World Peace Council, Saturday, December 27, 2008



WPC denounces the murderous Israeli attack against Palestinians in the Gaza

The World Peace Council denounces to the international community the today's murderous military attack of Israel againt Palestine in the Gaza Strip,during which more than 200 Plaestinians lost their lives. This criminal air strike against innocent civilians, against the same Palestinians who are now for weeks under the Israeli siege and blockade, is one more proof for the inhuman and brutal regime of Israel.The war drive policy of Israel is killing the Palestinians in a slowly genocide, fully supported and endorsed by the powerful imperialist forces in the USA and the EU.

The WPC calls upon all peace loving forces in the world to express their protest and condemnation against the Israeli regime, against the injustice which is lasting already 60 years against the Palestinian people.

The WPC underlines the moment of the Israeli aggression, only few weeks before the Parliament elections in Israel, which shows once more the immoral character of the regime which does not hesitate to use hundreds of dead Palestinians for the internal electoral campaign.

The WPC reaffirms its support to the PLO, as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people to whom we express our firm solidarity and call for unity and resistance against the aggressions. The only just and viable solution can come with the establishment of an independent State of Palestine within the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The injustice against Palestine will not last for ever!

Free and Independent Palestine!

The Secretariat of WPC Saturday 27th December 2008

Pinched patients may forgo care: Doctor visits are casualties of the economy and rising costs

The Indianapolis Star is reporting a decline in physician revenues as Hoosiers forego medical care in a recession environment.

Physician offices are seeing declining revenues as patients, worried about their own financial health amid the economic downturn, put off appointments or fall behind on medical bills.

While some patients are kept away from doctors' offices because they lack health insurance, others have coverage but face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs from co-payments and high deductibles.

That both those with and without health insurance are foregoing needed health care is indicative of the basic problems in the US healthcare system, a system which is increasingly making it difficult for anyone regardless of insurance coverage to get needed care.

Revenue at physician offices in 12 Midwest states, including Indiana, fell almost 9 percent this year compared with last year, according to data from Sageworks, a North Carolina company that tracks sales of U.S. privately held companies.

"What may be different in this downturn compared with previous ones is the fact that health care has become so much more expensive," said Peter Cunningham, a senior fellow with the Center for Studying Health System Change, a Washington-based research group. "Families have very little cushion in their budgets for health-care expenses."

According to a recent study by the group, one in three families reported problems paying medical bills when their out-of-pocket health spending totaled just 2.5 percent to 5 percent of family income.

Working families in the United States are unable to meet their health care needs. The best solution for this is to restructure the health care industry to be similar to those of all other industrialized countries, and create a single payer system that gets rid of the bloated costs for insurance administration that eat up 1/3 of our health care dollars without providing any services.

About 45.7 million Americans, including 717,000 in Indiana, are uninsured. But that number could rise as the economic downturn continues.

When the richest country in the world can't provide health care to its citizens, fundamental change is clearly required.

White House Puts Onus on Hamas to End Escalation of Violence

The New York Times today reports
As world leaders called on Saturday for an end to the Middle East violence, the Bush administration issued blistering criticism of Hamas, saying the group had provoked Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza by firing rockets into southern Israel.
Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said that Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, was responsible for the outbreak of violence and called its rocket attacks ”completely unacceptable. These people are nothing but thugs,” he said. “Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas.”
There is irony in the Bush administration, the administration that has claimed the right to invade anywhere and kill anyone, that tortured people in the name of protecting freedom, that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and has attacked targets inside Pakistan, and which threatened to invade Iran, talking about "thugs."

Regardless of the Bush administration's characterization of the Hamas party, Hamas has demonstrated in democratic elections that it represents the people of Gaza. In fact, until 12/19 there was a cease fire on Hamas's part that was nearly complete, but the Israelis did not respond by lifting its blockade of Gaza, a blockade which makes it nearly impossible for the people there to meet there most basic needs.

The US administration's policy of one-sided political, economic, and military support for the Israelis denies the underlying justice of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. It must be noted that no Israelis died due to Hamas rocket fire during the truce period. Israel killed and wounded over 800 people in their bombings yesterday. This is disproportionate response.

As reported in the International Herald Tribune,
Though Israel had been threatening to end its policy of restraint that saw only limited strikes against rocket launchers and squads in recent days, the timing of the raid came as a surprise to Gazans. It came in mid-morning, when official buildings and security compounds were filled with personnel and children were at school, and not, as many had anticipated, at night.

The people that were killed in the Israeli bombings were not "terrorists", they were human beings. As the Tribune reports, the dead included construction workers, traffic police, and children.
At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, scores of dead bodies were laid out in front of the morgue waiting for family members to identify them. Many were dismembered.

Inside the hospital, relatives carried a five-month old baby who had suffered a serious head wound from shrapnel. Overwhelmed, the hospital staff seemed unable to offer help.

At the Gaza City police station, at least 15 traffic police who had been training in a courtyard were killed on the spot.

Tamer Kahrouf, 24, a civilian who had been working on a construction site in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City, said he saw his two brothers and uncle killed before his eyes when the Israeli planes bombed a security post nearby. Kharouf was wounded and bleeding from the head.

Women were wailing as they searched for their relatives among the dead. Sawsan Al-Ajab, 50, was looking for two sons, aged 32 and 24, who both worked at the Gaza police station.

The Palestinians have been displaced, had their homes and land seized, endure a wall built by Israel that separates families and prevents Palestinians from getting to work in Israel, have been enduring a blockade and ongoing attacks by Israel for generations now.

All US economic and military support for Israel must be ended immediately, and a negotiated peace that respects the Palestinians right to self-determination implemented on the basis of the appropriate United Nations resolutions.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israeli Attacks Leave More than 225 Dead - Attacks Must Be Protested

There were national and people's protests around the world against the brutal attack by Israel on the Palestinian people in Gaza. 5000 people protested in Istanbul, Beyoglu, Turkey. Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations condemned the Israeli attacks.

Israeli military officials said the airstrikes, which went on into the night, were the start of what could be days or even months of an effort to force Hamas to end its rocket barrages into southern Israel. The operation could include ground forces, a senior Israeli security official said.

Palestinian officials said that most of the dead were security officers for Hamas, including two senior commanders, and that at least 600 people had been wounded in the attacks.

As reported by the New York Times,
The center of Gaza City was a scene of chaotic horror, with rubble everywhere, sirens wailing, and women shrieking as dozens of mutilated bodies were laid out on the pavement and in the lobby of Shifa Hospital so that family members could identify them. The dead included civilians, including several construction workers and at least two children in school uniforms.

Palestinian officials said that most of the dead were security officers for Hamas, including two senior commanders, and that at least 600 people had been wounded in the attacks.

Opening the routes to commerce was Hamas’s main goal in its cease-fire with Israel, just as ending the rocket fire was Israel’s central aim. But while rocket fire did go down drastically in the fall to 15 to 20 a month from hundreds a month, Israel said it would not permit trade to begin again because the rocket fire had not completely stopped and because Hamas continued to smuggle weapons from Egypt through desert tunnels. Hamas said this was a violation of the agreement, a sign of Israel’s real intentions and cause for further rocket fire.

The Bush administration refuses to call for an end to the attacks.
But in strong terms, the Bush administration blamed Hamas for the violence and demanded that it stop firing rockets.

The Israeli attacks are heinous crimes against humanity and need to be protested. The Bush administration's one-sided support for the Israeli in the face of this and so many other attacks on the humanity of the Palestinian people demands the staunchest protest. The Bush administration must demand the Israelis end their attacks on the Palestinians immediately. The Palestinians must be treated with humanity and respect, all blockades and economic impediments to self-determination must be removed, and a negotiated peace based on the rights of the Palestinians as guaranteed under various UN resolutions must be implemented. All US economic and military support for Israel must be halted immediately.

Cuban Five Case to go to U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, Dec. 25 — The appeal of the Cuban Five, the anti-terrorist fighters held as political prisoners in the United States, is to be brought before the Supreme Court before January 30, according to one of their defense lawyers.

René González, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino and Fernando González have been imprisoned since September 12, 1998 for infiltrating counterrevolutionary organizations in Florida to prevent acts of terrorism against Cuba, Prensa Latina reports.

In an interview with the National Committee to Free the Five, attorney Richard Klugh said that the appeal will ask for all of their sentences to be reviewed, following the decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to deny a change of venue, incorrect conduct by prosecutors and the improper and discriminatory jury selection.

In Klugh’s opinion, the venue is one of the main aspects that need to be reviewed, in line with U.S. law itself and in any legal system.

"If you have a judge or jury who is likely to be influenced by local passions and pressure, what you have is a mob rule and you don’t have justice in any sense," he said, referring to the original trial of the Five in Miami.

Klugh noted that, in relation to this appeal, the defense has the assistance of attorney Thomas Goldstein from the legal firm Akin Gump, a lawyer of vast experience in Supreme Court cases.

Translated by Granma International

Israeli Attack Kills Scores Across Gaza

Tragically, the New York Times reports that the Israeli Administration has once again attacked Gaza in an attempt to stop Hamas, the organization with the support of the people of Gaza that continues to fight the Israeli occupation. As the NYT reported,
At least 155 Palestinians were reported killed in a massive attack by the Israeli Air Force on Saturday. The White House did not condemn the raid but called on Israel to avoid civilian casualties.
According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, at least 195 Palestinians were killed. The White House response continues the US one-sided support for Israel that virtually guarantees that there can be no peace in the middle east.
For its part, Israel said the strikes would not only continue, but that they would be intensified.
These air strikes are unjust attacks by an occupying force against the people in the territories over which it exerts control. While Israel does not have troops deployed in Gaza at this time, it maintains the right to attack at will, and has controlling influence over natural resources and the economy of the area.

While standing against any civilian deaths on either the Palestinian or the Israeli sides, the Communist Party of Indiana CPUSA is partisan for any oppressed people, and stands with the Palestinian people against the continuing attacks by Israel, which occur with the financial and political support of the United States administration.

Neither peace nor Israeli security can be achieved by Israeli bombing of the Palestinian people. Only negotiation and respect for the rights of the Palestinians to self determination can achieve that goal.

Stop all US support for Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. Demand a just resolution of the struggle between the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples that recognizes the rights of the Palestinians to contiguous land, to make East Jerusalem their capital, implements the right of return, and protects their rights as defined under various United Nations resolutions.

Rick Warren and Same-Sex Marriage

Rick Warren and Same-Sex Marriage

As many already know, President-elect Obama has selected Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and evangelical pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, to give the invocation at the Presidential Inauguration next month.

Rick Warren has compared abortion to the Holocaust, teaches that women must be under male authority including forbidding female employees of his church from supervising men. equates homosexuality to pedophilia and incest, and is a creationist believing that evolution did not occur. At one point, the Saddleback Church's web site stated: "someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at [sic] a member at Saddleback." http://www.americablog.com/2008/12/rick-warren-pulls-anti-gay-language.html

On the question of same sex marriage, Rich Warren has said:

"The issue to me is... I'm opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage." http://politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/7900/

There have been a variety of definitions of marriage over the last 5,000 years depending on religion, time, and community. There are instances in the Bible of "one guy having multiple wives" in marriage. The definition of marriage for which Rick Warren claims 5,000 years of precedence and for which he claims universality is but one of many definitions for that institution in that time. In fact, the implication of the universality of the christian experience, that the christian experience should be definitive in a legal sense in this country, denies the wide variety of religions, experiences, and communities that live in this nation, which is built on a foundation of the separation of church and state. In the United States, people who commit to building a life together should be supported and celebrated in our society, regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnic background, or religion.

We support the President-elect in working to bridge the divides of the culture wars and unify a country tired of a political discussion that too often hides underlying political interests and struggles behind a cultural facade. This particular choice, however, puts a representative of the most backward, inhuman, exclusionary, and retrograde thinking front and center in an event at which the President-elect would not be the keynote speaker except for the inclusive and humanistic efforts of many millions of people. Rick Warren actively works to organize thousands and actively educate many more to condemn that which they don't understand, and to stand against the most basic understandings of the humanistic trends in this country out of which any effective solutions to this nation's social and economic challenges will arise. The ideas that Rick Warren champions are odious to those who believe in diversity of human experience, that science is a valid methodology for discovery and for expanding human understanding, and who struggle for progress in meeting social challenges.

The Indiana District of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA)

-- stands against those aspects of Rick Warren's teachings which equate sin with sexual orientation, assert divine revelation over rational evaluation, or attack the humanistic and inclusive joining together of all people to advance the needs of working families in this country

-- fully supports the rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, to join in marriage with the partner of their choosing, with full access to all services that marriage implies and legally mandates, all protections under the law that marriage offers, and the social recognition and support that a public declaration of love and commitment demands.

-- rejects attempts to create artificial barriers between communities by distinguishing between those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. All people have the right to partner with the person of their choosing, to marry, and to have all the services and protections available to anyone married accorded to them.

-- supports according equality under the law to same sex partners in the areas of child custody, adoption, and providing foster care.

-- supports the right of all people to have their health needs met regardless of sexual orientation or ability to pay, including the health needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered. The general health needs of all women must also be protected and expanded, including access to abortion services, contraception, and any other health-related service without regard to age, sexual orientation, or ability to pay.

-- protests the selection of Rick Warren to offer the invocation at the presidential inauguration, while celebrating the selection of Reverent Lowery to provide the benediction.

We unequivocally support the struggle in the State of Indiana and nationally to make same-sex marriage legal, without any limitations or prejudice under the law.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tax Restructuring an Important Component of Fiscal Renewal

The Indianapolis Star editorial No new taxes: It's that simple gets it wrong. The editorial claims
One of the first things Mitch Roob made clear in his new job as Indiana's economic development director is that the state doesn't plan to raise taxes, despite a sour revenue forecast. He was echoing the sentiments of his boss, Gov. Mitch Daniels, who understands that tax increases are counterproductive in a recession.

The editorial points out Governor Daniels attempted at other times to raise taxes on wealthier Hoosiers. It also details some ways that other governors are attempting to increase revenues.

However, without any explanation or discussion of the underlying thinking behind the claim, the editorial concludes that
Tax increases have the opposite effect, diverting money from individuals to governments, which is a particularly bad idea in a recession.

There is no basis for this conclusion. The role of State and Federal government in a fiscal crisis of this magnitude is to help those in need, provide all the services required for working families and the disabled to meet their needs, and to support federal initiatives to kick-start the economy. While some politicians, including Governor Daniels, may be ideologically adverse to accepting this responsibility and helping working people, its time they set aside their ideological blinders and looked at the realities of life for large numbers of Hoosiers.

As detailed in other posts to this blog, poverty and near poverty are rampant in Indiana. Vasts numbers of children live in families that are having a very hard time keeping it together. There is a hugely disproportionate distribution of wealth. There is no way out of the current fiscal crisis without some redistribution of wealth from the very rich to meet the needs of the impoverished and working people. New, highly targeted, taxes are the best and fastest way to achieve that goal in the current situation.

The Indianapolis Star editorial, and possibly Governor Daniels, may wish that the mantra of "No New Taxes" would be accepted as obvious on the face of it, but they would be wrong. The regressive methods that the editorial details to scare people, as in the mistaken efforts by New York Governor Paterson in raising fees and use taxes that disproportionately impact the poor and working families, are inappropriate responses to the current crisis. Regressive efforts to respond to the fiscal crisis will just prolong that crisis by making it harder for the majority of people to function economically. The only way to raise the funds needed is a highly progressive taxation structure that disproportionately impacts the very rich. This country, and the state of Indiana, needs to set aside concepts of taxation equality or "taxes are bad" or "no new taxes" and start talking about redistributing wealth away from the top 1% of the US population which has so disproportionately benefited from the economic activity of the last thirty years, and applying it to meet the needs of the majority of Hoosiers.

Its time to insist that State government do more than provide lip service to meeting the needs of the working poor. The statistics show that there are too many poor and hungry living in our State. Let's look to Robin Hood as a role model, and work for a more equal distribution of the wealth as the only way to meet the needs of the working, disabled, hungry, and impoverished children and adults who are the majority of Hoosiers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

United for Peace and Justice "Yes We Can" Campaign

The largest coalition of peace organizations in the United States, United for Peace and Justice, held its 4th National Assembly in Chicago from December 12-14, 2008. One of the main results of the Assembly is the "Yes We Can" campaign, a
four-month campaign kicking off on January 19th, MLK Day, and building to an April 4th national mobilization in the financial centers of New York City connecting war and the economic crisis.
The goals of this important compaign include "a new set of national priorities rooted in the vision and values of Dr. Martin Luther King: A world without racism, poverty or war." The campaign reaches out to all, and especially those who participated in the Obama campaign, in an effort to realign the priorities of this country from war to meeting the needs of the people.
This campaign seeks to mobilize a new base of people who have been inspired by Obama and want to see an end to war with that money going to fund housing, healthcare, education, jobs and a radically different environmental policy. So much hope and inspiration despite the most challenging of economic and environmental times needs to be nurtured with lots of opportunities to learn and grow.

Very importantly for those of us active in the peace movement, the document describes specific objectives around which to build an action agenda. These objectives include:

Keep the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and our call to end these wars - on the front burner.

Turn up the heat to bring the troops home now by amplifying voices of Iraq Veterans, military families,Iraqis and Afghans. Because the 6th anniversary of the war in Iraq is within this time frame, that would be a major opportunity to highlight our call.

Expose the costs of war and connections between issues. Activate people to demand cuts in the military budget and the use of that money to fund housing, healthcare, education, jobs and infrastructure. Offer alternatives to the “war on terror” through a call for diplomacy and respect for international law.

Collect X # of signatures by using a tool (petition, survey, postcard, ideas for how to re-shape the federal budget) to engage people in one-on-one conversation, build lists and other capacity building efforts, and to deliver a strong national message to Congress on April 6th.

As the goals above highlight, this campaign continues to focus on the fundamental conflict between meeting the concrete needs of working families in the United States and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A timeline of events associated with the campaign so far includes:

January 17-19: KICK-OFF - MLK Holiday Weekend - Posters for marches and a flier talking about the connection between war and poverty and economic collapse.

January 20: Inauguration Day - distribute Peace Signs and messages in DC for visibility along the parade route and all around town.

February 15: Possible Nationwide Day of Education and Outreach w/ tool – common theme to be determined

February 27: Power Shift Conference and No Foreign Bases Conference - both in DC. UFPJ presence to connect with activists and promote campaign.

March 8: International Women’s Day - Possible Nationwide Day of Activity focusing on the cost of war on women, possible lobby day on war and women’s issues.

March 19: 6th Anniversary of the War in Iraq - local actions on and around the anniversary, focusing on the economic and human costs of the war – re-affirming our movement’s call to end the war and bring all the troops home now!

March 31: Possible Day of Local Activity on Cesar Chavez’s birthday.

April 4: King’s Assassination and Anniversary of Beyond Vietnam Speech - National March in NY calling for a re-ordering of economic priorities.

April 6: Delegation and Press Event in Washington DC to deliver signatures to Congress and White House.

In some larger cities, a effort to learn from the Obama Internet activities has resulted in attempts to utilize a more networked organizational model, for example creating a network of small neighborhood or geographically defined organizations. These organizations can focus on building local membership and creating small coalitions in that limited area geographic area. The issues of peace and a reordering of the national priorities toward meeting the needs of the mass of working families provide a focus. Included in these outreach and coalition efforts, the neighborhood groups are reaching out to the folks who show up for different Internet based virtual organization events by organizing and/or participating in those events.

These times are full of hope and promise. Yes we can work together to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring all the troops and contractors home, leave no bases behind, and provide financial help to the Iraqis and Afghans to rebuild their war ravaged homes. Its time to reorder our priorities to meeting the needs of working families here in the United States rather than wasting huge amounts of money on immoral and unjust wars on behalf of imperialist greed that result in destruction and death in foreign lands and unending pain for those who survive there.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Governor Daniels Asks Indiana State Workers to Sacrifice

Continuing the trend of trying to offset the cost of today's economic crisis on the backs of working people, As reported in the Indianapolis Star, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has
asked police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public employees to make a personal sacrifice: voluntarily forgo their pay increases for 2009.
Given the disproportionate distribution of wealth in this country, there is no reason to ask working people to sacrifice until there have been significant efforts at a redistribution of wealth, particularly targeting the wealthiest 1% of the nation.
The request came in the wake of the governor's decision earlier this month to freeze the wages of state workers, including his own, in hopes of reducing a projected $763 million state budget spending gap through June.
State workers are struggling already. The Federal Poverty Threshold is $21,200 for a family of four in Indiana. The median family income in Indiana of $47,422 is defined as "low-income" because it is just over 200% of the of the poverty threshold. Many state employees earn significantly less than that. In fact, poverty is widespread in Indiana.

As reported by Suite101.com:

The major cities that have reached critical poverty levels (50% above the state average) are the following:

* Bloomington (29.6%)
* East Chicago (24.4%)
* Gary (25.8%)
* Marion (16.9%)
* Muncie (23.1%)
* South Bend (16.7%)
* Terre Haute (19.2%)
* West Lafayette (38.3%)

In a State administration where a Clerical Assistant 4 grosses $24,437 after many years of working at the State, asking State employees to forego their raises is wrong. In a state with rampant poverty, it is not helpful to resolving the economic crisis to deny State workers raises.

There is no doubt that States are struggling in the face of lowered tax payments due to unemploymnet rates raising, people buying less, and other reasons. Unlike the Federal government, States can't print money. However, States can take some important steps including overturning constitutional or legal requirements for a balanced budget, creating new community initiatives to meet working family's needs such as free community health clinics, three free meals for children in school even when schools are closed for classes, lengthening the time schools stay open so parents don't have to pay for child care, providing ongoing unemployment payments until the economic crisis is over and there is full employment, providing free lifelong education from kindergarden through post-graduate and continuing education, and active lobbying with the Federal administration for funds to support these types of programs that benefit working families.

This is not the time to deny public workers their often desperately needed raises. Restore the raises, stop privatization of State programs, and provide for the needs of working families in Indiana.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Central Indiana Home Sales Down

According to the Indianapols Star article Hope rises for Central Indiana home sales in 2009,

home sales in Central Indiana dropped 29 percent during November compared with the same month last year
. For the year, home sales are down 16%.The article predicts that home sales will rise in 2009 due to the lowest mortgage rates in 50 years. However, if the current trends in job loss and economic decline are not stemmed, the cuts in mortgage rates will have minimal effect on home sales. Further, as the article points out, the rate cuts have the effect of
cutting the cost of buying a home mortgage and giving homeowners with good credit an opportunity to refinance their mortgages.
The key phrase there is "homeowners with good credit." In order to encourage a widespread renewal in the home market, its important to keep up the push for government intervention to create and protect jobs at living wages. Its also important to recognize the impact of falling home prices.
The average sales price in the 13-county study fell from $143,182 to $128,867, a 10 percent drop, from November 2007 to November 2008.
When a home owner with a mortgage can't sell their house for as much as the mortgage buy-out they are effectively locked into their home. This issue needs to be addressed. At the end of the day, the current economic crisis has not responded to fiscal stimulous efforts. This is a structural crisis that can only be resolved by putting working families back to work at a living wage, providing universal quality affordable health care, and protecting people's retirement funds and expanding Social Security benefits, including raising Social Security retirement payments.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Check out the youtube videos catching Police vandalizing small shops

Film of Agents Provocateurs in Action
December 22 2008, 11:23 AM


Respond to this message

Greek Cops breaking shops
December 22 2008, 11:57 AM

This version has a brief blurb in English. the video was taken by Greek TV apparently:

Respond to this message

Mechanisms of repression
December 22 2008, 11:29 AM

Statement by the PO of the CC of KNE: The obvious and «hidden» mechanisms of repression will finally fail. We are greeting the thousands of young men and women, workers, schools and university students who participated and demonstrated in huge blocks of the KKE and KNE, stating their outrage for the cold-blooded murder of 15 year old boy named Alexis and the intensity of state repression.

We express our condemnation to all the Greek people and youth an organized plan of intimidation , creation of images of chaos, arsons, disasters that have nothing to do with the spontaneous outbursts of anger among young people. We have to face a well trained, mechanism well-known to the state services and the parties of the plutocracy. The effort to hit and disband the rally of the KKE and KNE in the center of Athens, has failed.

We stress the necessity all the political youth wings to take a clear position condemning this mechanism. This is designed in order to be taken new measures of repression against the labor movement. These well-known provocateurs had as an umbrella the block of SYRIZA throughout the whole demonstration. Such forces that are caressing provocateurs and fish in dirty water are contributing to the objective of struggling youth and labour movement.

The only appropriate answer is people and youth not to hang their heads .Now more than ever a response is necessary by the organized movement, self guarded, politicized movement against the power of monopolies and imperialism.

Everybody today and tomorrow will participate in the organized demonstrations of the Coordinative Body of Struggling Unions of Schools in all cities of Greece!
Everyone to participate in the all workers strike on Wednesday !

The obvious and «hidden» mechanisms of repression will fail.

Athens, 8-12-2008

The Press Office of the CC of KNE


Demand Illiana Highway Be Built

The Indianapolis Star, in an article titled Stimulus money may spur Illiana highway, is reporting today that the Obama plans for infrasture investment have revived hopes that the Illiana highway will be built. This highway
would loop from Chicago's southern suburbs through southern Lake County to link with I-65
A feasability study is due to be released next year.

There are concerns that the State of Indiana will not participate in this infrastructure project, killing it, because the Governor wants the state's share of the funding to be provided by private funding. According to state Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso):

"The Daniels administration likes an Illiana Expressway, but they want it privately funded, and money isn't exactly flowing at the moment," he said.

This is likely to be an issue with other infrastructure initiatives as well. The working people of Indiana deserve to see these large infrastructure projects implemented, and the jobs they represent created. The state should ensure this and similar projects happen and should not use the pretext of not having state matching funds to undermine President-elect Obama's fiscal stimulus package.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Recession Hits Indiana Kids Early and Hard

It says a lot about how a society functions when its children are among the earliest and hardest hit in an economic crisis. As the Indianapolis Star reported today in an Associated Press article titled Recession hitting Indiana's needy children:
...Indiana children felt the effects of the recession in its earliest stages, with more than a third eligible for free or reduced-price lunches this year.
The 2008 Kids Count in Indiana Data Book released today by the Indiana Youth Institute showed the percentage of K-12 students in Indiana eligible for free lunches and text books rose to 29.7 percent this year and those eligible for reduced-price lunches rose to 8.0 percent.
The report further highlights the overall financial crisis for working people that I discuss in my prior posting. The statistics on children receiving help are staggering in their implications for the struggles of working people in Indiana today, but continue a trend that tracks the growing inequality in the distribution of wealth. As reported in the article:
The latest percentage of children living in households so needy that they qualify to receive free lunches and text books was a full 1.5 percentage points higher than the 28.2 percent eligible in 2007 and compared with 25.8 percent as recently as 2004. The percentages have risen steadily each year in that span.

The statistics continue, addressing county by county disparities and looking at the next tier up on the economic scale, children who are eligible for partial support for lunches.

County-level data provided by the institute showed more than half of the schoolchildren in two counties, Marion and Fayette, qualified for free textbooks and lunches or reduced-price lunches. Marion, which includes Indianapolis, is the state's most populous county. Fayette County, in east central Indiana, has been hit hard by manufacturing layoffs.

Another county, Grant, also hit by manufacturing layoffs, had 49.9 percent of schoolkids qualify for the subsidized lunches.

Only one county, Hamilton in Indianapolis' affluent northern suburbs, had fewer than 10 percent of schoolchildren qualify for free lunches and textbooks, with 7.6 percent eligible.

The percentage of students eligible for reduced-price lunches rose slightly to 8.0 percent this year from 7.9 percent last year.

Among the other indicators in the report:

-- The percentage of children under age 18 living in poverty rose to 16.6 percent -- about one in six statewide -- in 2005, the most recent year for which data was available.

-- The number of children enrolled in the Hoosier Healthwise state medical plan for low-income children rose by nearly 9,000 children from 2006 to 2007 and has more than doubled since 2000.

The rate of child abuse and neglect cases per 1,000 children under age 18 fell nearly 10 percent to 11.9 percent in 2007 from 13 percent in 2006.

There is no doubt that the working people of Indiana are being hit hard by this recession. We need to work together, to unite, to win union jobs at living wages, and support all unionization efforts. We further need to demand that government services be expanded in this time of crisis and need, not contracted to achieve fake goals of "fiscal responsibility" or a "balanced budget". Its time to put people before accounting, and stop playing games with the lives of the working families of Indiana.
Union wants to organize Indy hotel workers

By Jeff Swiatek

Hotel workers in Indianapolis plan to march with state and city elected officials Wednesday to publicize a union organizing campaign at three city hotels.

The march from Monument Circle to the Statehouse from 4:30 to 6 p.m. is organized by United Here, a hotel workers union.

It is trying to organize workers at the Westin and Hyatt Regency hotels Downtown and the Sheraton Indianapolis North at Keystone at the Crossing.

Union spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel said that the absence of unionized hotels in Indianapolis has helped keep hotel wages low compared to neighboring cities with unionized hotels, such as Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati.

"This city has invested a huge amount of money into its hotel and convention business," she said, but hotel workers "are like second-class jobs even in the Midwest standard of wages."

The union says the starting wage for a housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis is $7.25 an hour, compared to Hyatt housekeepers in Chicago who earn $14.25 an hour and must clean fewer rooms a day.

White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire

In a New York Times article today, yet more evidence that the current financial crisis is not an accident of life but the result of policy intersecting with forces in the underlying economic system. According to the article:

“The Bush administration took a lot of pride that homeownership had reached historic highs,” Mr. Snow said in an interview. “But what we forgot in the process was that it has to be done in the context of people being able to afford their house. We now realize there was a high cost.”

The question as to why people can't afford homes is one that is seldom asked in the context of the bailout. Lately people have been attacking the United Auto Workers (UAW) as if they were the reason why the major USA-based automakers are failing. In fact, UAW labor comprises aproximately 8% of the cost of a car according to Frank Hammer of La Prensa - San Diego in his excellent 12/19/2008 artice Don’t Let Them Destroy Our Union . The UAW itself has a FAQ on The truth about UAW members and the U.S. auto industry.

So why is the Heritage Foundation arguing in their 11/19/2008 article by James Sherk that the Auto Bailout Ignores Excessive Labor Costs? Because of their class perspective. Their analysis represents the thinking of those who would continue the slide in real wages that is one of the major reasons working people can't pay their mortgages today. The Heritage Foundation, and those whose thinking it represents, don't like the fact UAW workers can retire with decent benefits, have seven weeks vacation, have what Sherk characterizes as "Gold Plated" health care, and so forth.

While the distribution of wealth gets more and more lopsided in this country, and the wealthiest 1% of the country has seen its share of the wealth grow from 10% in 1979 to 21.8% in 2005, the Heritage Foundation demands yet more concessions and give backs, any wage or benefit being ripe for attack from those who only think of stock price and dividends and for whom wages are merely a cost to be contained rather than a family building a life.

When people live on credit because their wages are not meeting expenses, when families no longer have the money to buy the stuff they need for day to day living and are making choices between food and medications, or children can no longer attend college because there is no money available for savings and college costs continue to grow beyond the reach of most of working families, something is structurally wrong, and the priorities of the economic and political system need to be reevaluated in favor of working people and putting people before profits.

As the New York Times article indicated:

Today, millions of Americans are facing foreclosure, homeownership rates are virtually no higher than when Mr. Bush took office, Fannie and Freddie are in a government conservatorship, and the bailout cost to taxpayers could run in the trillions.

The solution to the financial crisis must go beyond bailouts to a struggle to protect and expand labor's right to organize starting with winning the Employee Free Choice Act, to the redistribution of wealth to make our society more economically just, and a commitment by all segments of the society to building a world where working families are not under constant attack for trying to meet their needs. A healthy family life requires vacation, quality affordable health care, lifetime access to affordable education, housing, and a healthy environment. Working families should be able to meet these needs through their labor regardless of the desires of the rich to get yet richer.

The Heritage Foundation says that
UAW workers understandably want to preserve the standard of living to which they have become accustomed, but that standard is not sustainable in a competitive economy. Congress should not tax all Americans in order to maintain UAW workers' affluent lifestyles.

Today the working people of the United States through our tax code and economic structures are maintaining the affluent lifestyles of the wealthiest 1% at levels beyond anything a UAW member has ever dreamed of achieving. According to The Forbes 400 the richest 400 people in the United States have $1.57 trillion -- yes, that is trillion dollars. The richest 400 people alone have more than double the money that is proposed by President-elect Obama for creating 3 million new jobs. You might want to read that again and think about its implications next time you hear that union members need to give up their vacations and health care.

The answer to the financial crisis does not lie in making workers more productive, cutting wages, cutting government services, or layoffs. The answer to the financial crisis lies in increasing the democratic nature of our economic system, redistributing the wealth through tax changes, guaranteeing a living wage that will support working families in a healthy life, providing quality affordable health care and housing for all, and in an age of rapid change providing access to lifelong education for all. Peace is a prerequisite for all of this, along with a green economy, infrastructure that supports the needs of the current population, an end to all forms of racism, and policies that are pro-immigrant regardless of legal status.