10 Reasons We Need Medicare-For-All as a Human Right

An article from In These Times lists 10 stats showing why Medicare-for-All would provide and protect a human right. As you know, healthcare is currently going unaddressed under capitalism.

28,300,000 – People uninsured in the United States in the first quarter of 2018.

530,000 – Estimated number of families who file bankruptcy each year due to medical issues and bills

44% – Americans who didn’t go to a doctor when they were sick or injured because of cost, according

34% – Cancer patients who borrowed money from friends or family to pay for care in 2016

79% – Increased death rate for cancer patients who filed for bankruptcy in 2016

$75,375 – Cost of a heart bypass operation in 2016 in the U.S.

$15,742 – Cost of a heart bypass operation in 2016 in the Netherlands

$1,443 – U.S. per capita spending on pharmaceutical costs in 2016, the highest in the world

840% – Increase in spending for insulin from 2007 to 2017 on Medicare Part D (Medicare’s prescription drug plan)

$5,110,000,000,000 – Estimated 10-year cost savings of the single-payer healthcare system proposed in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act

SMASH CAPITALISM NOW!

The Intercept: Report Finds Much Higher Civilian Death Toll in Raqqa, Syria

There is a myth that our airstrikes are so surgical do to laser targeting, advanced intelligence abilities, and other technologies that civilian deaths (or, “collateral damage”) are rare.

But these reports from Amnesty International and Airwars report differently due to better investigation techniques and a lack of U.S. PR concerns.

Also notice how quoted military leaders say these reports are aiding ISIS. Unreal…

Amnesty International and Airwars offer the most methodical estimate to date of the death toll from the U.S.-led battle to retake the city from ISIS.
— Read on theintercept.com/2019/04/25/coalition-airstrikes-in-raqqa-killed-at-least-1600-civilians-more-than-10-times-u-s-tally-report-finds/

Links to “The Battle of Algiers”

If you have not seen Pontecorvo’s 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, I both admonish you and, yet, envy you.

I admonish you in that you have not done enough research into revolutionary art to have found this film. Yet, I envy you because you have yet to get that first breath of excitement when viewing the film the first time you only have once.

TBA is an intentionally grainy, black and white film shot in documentary style with a revolutionary heart. It is directed by Gillo Pontecorvo dramatizing the Algerian urban guerilla fighters during the fight for independence against the French colonialists. It concerns the guerilla tactics used by the NLF (FLN) and French paratroopers sent to quash the violent uprising which lasted for those three years.

Independence would finally be won by the Algerians in 1962, but this film centers around three years of bombings, assassinations, and torture allowing the French forces to end the most violent phase of the fighting.

Below are two links you can use to view the film. Watch Now!:

https://youtu.be/f_N2wyq7fCE

https://www.kanopy.com/product/battle-algiers-0

America in El Salvador’s Crisis

This is an excerpt from What Uncle Sam Really Wants, by Noam Chomsky. WUSRW is a compilation of talks and interviews by Prof. Chomsky that took place between 1986-1991. I downloaded the file from the library section over at libcom.org. It explains the U.S. role in crimes against humanity committed by right-wing paramilitaries during the eighties in El Salvador.

After reading this, think about what responsibility the United States has in the humanitarian crisis on the border today. These are the destabilizing actions of the past that led to what poor Salvadorans are running from today:


1970-1990: The war of counter-insurgency in El Salvador

Noam Chomsky on the ultra-violent war of the right-wing regime in El Salvador against grassroots resistance of workers, peasants and liberation theologists – socialist clergymen and women.

The crucifixion of El Salvador

For many years, repression, torture and murder were carried on in El Salvador by dictators installed and supported by the US government, a matter of no interest in the US. The story was virtually never covered. By the late 1970s, however, the government began to be concerned about a couple of things.

One was that Somoza, the dictator of Nicaragua, was losing control. The US was losing a major base for its exercise of force in the region. A second danger was even more threatening. In El Salvador in the 1970s, there was a growth of what were called “popular organisations” – peasant associations, cooperatives, unions, Church-based Bible study groups that evolved into self-help groups, etc. That raised the threat of democracy.
In February 1980, the Archbishop [libcom – though nominally part of the Catholic Church, they did not receive the backing of the Vatican] of El Salvador, Oscar Romero, sent a letter to President Carter in which he begged him not to send military aid to the junta that ran the country. He said such aid would be used to “sharpen injustice and repression against the people’s organisations” which were struggling “for respect for their most basic human rights” (hardly news to Washington, needless to say).
A few weeks later, Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying a mass. The neo-Nazi Roberto d’Aubuisson is generally assumed to be responsible for this assassination (among countless other atrocities). D’Aubuisson was “leader-for-life” of the ARENA party, which now governs El Salvador; members of the party, like current Salvadoran president Alfredo Cristiani, had to take a blood oath of loyalty to him.

Thousands of peasants and urban poor took part in a commemorative mass a decade later, along with many foreign bishops, but the US was notable by its absence. The Salvadoran Church formally proposed Romero for sainthood.

All of this passed with scarcely a mention in the country that funded and trained Romero’s assassins. The New York Times, the “newspaper of record,” published no editorial on the assassination when it occurred or in the years that followed, and no editorial or news report on the commemoration.

On March 7, 1980, two weeks before the assassination, a state of siege had been instituted in El Salvador, and the war against the population began in force (with continued US support and involvement). The first major attack was a big massacre at the Rio Sumpul, a coordinated military operation of the Honduran and Salvadoran armies in which at least 600 people were butchered. Infants were cut to pieces with machetes, and women were tortured and drowned. Pieces of bodies were found in the river for days afterwards. There were church observers, so the information came out immediately, but the mainstream US media didn’t think it was worth reporting.

Peasants were the main victims of this war, along with labour organisers, students, priests or anyone suspected of working for the interests of the people]. In Carter’s last year, 1980, the death toll reached about 10,000, rising to about 13,000 for 1981 as the Reaganites took command.
In October 1980, the new archbishop condemned the “war of extermination and genocide against a defenceless civilian population” waged by the security forces. Two months later they were hailed for their “valiant service alongside the people against subversion” by the favourite US “moderate,” José Napoleón Duarte, as he was appointed civilian president of the junta.

The role of the “moderate” Duarte was to provide a fig leaf for the military rulers and ensure them a continuing flow of US funding after the armed forces had raped and murdered four churchwomen from the US. That had aroused some protest here; slaughtering Salvadorans is one thing, but raping and killing American nuns is a definite PR mistake. The media evaded and downplayed the story, following the lead of the Carter Administration and its investigative commission.

The incoming Reaganites went much further, seeking to justify the atrocity, notably Secretary of State Alexander Haig and UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. But it was still deemed worthwhile to have a show trial a few years later, while exculpating the murderous junta – and, of course, the paymaster.

The independent newspapers in El Salvador, which might have reported these atrocities, had been destroyed. Although they were mainstream and pro-business, they were still too undisciplined for the military’s taste. The problem was taken care of in 1980-81, when the editor of one was murdered by the security forces; the other fled into exile. As usual, these events were considered too insignificant to merit more than a few words in US newspapers.

In November 1989, six Jesuit priests, their cook and her daughter, were murdered by the army. That same week, at least 28 other Salvadoran civilians were murdered, including the head of a major union, the leader of the organisation of university women, nine members of an Indian farming cooperative and ten university students.

The news wires carried a story by AP correspondent Douglas Grant Mine, reporting how soldiers had entered a working-class neighbourhood in the capital city of San Salvador, captured six men, added a 14-year-old boy for good measure, then lined them all up against a wall and shot them. They “were not priests or human rights campaigners,” Mine wrote, “so their deaths have gone largely unnoticed” – as did his story.
The Jesuits were murdered by the Atlacatl Battalion, an elite unit created, trained and equipped by the United States. It was formed in March 1981, when fifteen specialists in counterinsurgency were sent to El Salvador from the US Army School of Special Forces. From the start, the Battalion was engaged in mass murder. A US trainer described its soldiers as “particularly ferocious….We’ve always had a hard time getting [them] to take prisoners instead of ears.”

In December 1981, the Battalion took part in an operation in which over a thousand civilians were killed in an orgy of murder, rape and burning. Later it was involved in the bombing of villages and murder of hundreds of civilians by shooting, drowning and other methods. The vast majority of victims were women, children and the elderly.

The Atlacatl Battalion was being trained by US Special Forces shortly before murdering the Jesuits. This has been a pattern throughout the Battalion’s existence — some of its worst massacres have occurred when it was fresh from US training.

In the “fledgling democracy” that was El Salvador, teenagers as young as 13 were scooped up in sweeps of slums and refugee camps and forced to become soldiers. They were indoctrinated with rituals adopted from the Nazi SS, including brutalisation and rape, to prepare them for killings that often have sexual and satanic overtones.

The nature of Salvadoran army training was described by a deserter who received political asylum in Texas in 1990, despite the State Department’s request that he be sent back to El Salvador. (His name was withheld by the court to protect him from Salvadoran death squads.)

According to this deserter, draftees were made to kill dogs and vultures by biting their throats and twisting off their heads, and had to watch as soldiers tortured and killed suspected dissidents — tearing out their fingernails, cutting off their heads, chopping their bodies to pieces and playing with the dismembered arms for fun.

In another case, an admitted member of a Salvadoran death squad associated with the Atlacatl Battalion, César Vielman Joya Martínez, detailed the involvement of US advisers and the Salvadoran government in death-squad activity. The Bush administration has made every effort to silence him and ship him back to probable death in El Salvador, despite the pleas of human rights organisations and requests from Congress that his testimony be heard. (The treatment of the main witness to the assassination of the Jesuits was similar.)

The results of Salvadoran military training are graphically described in the Jesuit journal America by Daniel Santiago, a Catholic priest working in El Salvador. He tells of a peasant woman who returned home one day to find her three children, her mother and her sister sitting around a table, each with its own decapitated head placed carefully on the table in front of the body, the hands arranged on top “as if each body was stroking its own head.”

The assassins, from the Salvadoran National Guard, had found it hard to keep the head of an 18-month-old baby in place, so they nailed the hands onto it. A large plastic bowl filled with blood was tastefully displayed in the centre of the table. According to Rev. Santiago, macabre scenes of this kind aren’t uncommon.

People are not just killed by death squads in El Salvador — they are decapitated and then their heads are placed on pikes and used to dot the landscape. Men are not just disembowelled by the Salvadoran Treasury Police; their severed genitalia are stuffed into their mouths. Salvadoran women are not just raped by the National Guard; their wombs are cut from their bodies and used to cover their faces. It is not enough to kill children; they are dragged over barbed wire until the flesh falls from their bones, while parents are forced to watch.

Rev. Santiago goes on to point out that violence of this sort greatly increased when the Church began forming peasant associations and self-help groups in an attempt to organise the poor.

By and large, the US approach in El Salvador has been successful. The popular organisations have been decimated, just as Archbishop Romero predicted. Tens of thousands have been slaughtered and more than a million have become refugees. This is one of the most sordid episodes in US history – and it’s got a lot of competition.

From What Uncle Sam Really Wants, by Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky is of course an American citizen, and so “we” and “our” refers to the US. The article has been edited slightly by libcom – US to UK spellings and a few small details have been added for the reader new to the topic.

6 New STL Images!

SIX new image posts this week for the STL image gallery over at Google Photos. Follow the link below to get all six of the new ones plus all previous uploads. For your propaganda use of your choice. See ya next week!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TUomKrYbsYCMEWC59

FUNYT!: NYT Opinion Page Water’s Down Far Left Possibilities

I have been searching over at the New York Times Opinion Page for the words “Trump socialism.” I read through the search results to learn what the point of view of the “Paper of Record,”or the liberal elite, feel about the radical left, and I was greatly disappointed. (Find four of the most relevant articles below).

The majority of the op-eds mention, especially among young people, that socialism is getting a better favorability rate than maybe ever before. Polling even shows that people under 30 have a higher liking towards socialism than to capitalism. But in ingesting the context around this polling data, the writers were giving socialism an extremely watered-down treatment.

They are starting to state, just a little, that a social democratic direction for the country is preferable to our current brutal and oppressive system which the bourgeoisie labels as “capitalism” (Remember, it’s capitalism for the masses, socialism for the rich. No “laissez faire” there). But yet I hated to here that so many of the authors were advocating the pointless, suffering-inducing, gradual style of a movement towards socialism through the means of a social democratic movement among politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders. This is a totally unacceptable strategy.

As I read through these articles, they all outlined how Trump and the rest of the GOP are out to produce another “red scare” to frighten people away from any type of movement towards a real leftist system. It is time for the people to act. We don’t need little barbs in our editorials reassuring people we’re not Venezuela, or that Lenin or Trotsky will not be our new “Founding Framers.” We need to take a real step towards true equality and justice and move towards socializing big business, such as utility companies and manufacturers, which live off the blood of the workers. We need real change, right now. We need to take it to the streets and strike while the iron is hot. With such a high favorability of socialism among the young we do not need any gradual, long-ended social democratic candidates in Washington to eventually change the system over a hundred-year period.

Let’s get it together, NOW!

Radical Change is What We Need: Statement 2/2

A far-left system is the best form of government for the working class to live under. So what we need to do is smash the current, so-called Democratic system we have now that is controlled by the 1%. What to replace it with?

Put a transition government in power: A group or party to move us through the steps of building a new, just society. We must support responsible leaders to take us through the ideological battle with those who will want to keep the old capitalist system in place, namely, the rich and powerful.

But during this time, we may sacrifice some of our freedoms for a short amount of time during the conflict between the rich the workers. Freedom of the press, free speech, freedom to demonstrate maybe stopped for a certain amount of time because we need to crackdown on these current so-called rights because they are controlled by the rich and their dominant ideas which wish to maintain the current, corrupt system. For example, freedom to demonstrate, like a general strike, which means everyone in every occupation goes on strike, will be fought against by the rich by replacing striking workers with scabs, i.e., people who will take the striking workers’ jobs. And believe me, demonstrations will be met with violence from the authorities.

Yet, we must watch the transition leadership very closely.

The USSR tried this idea out, with calling the transition government the “vanguard party” and it led to history’s greatest monster, Josef Stalin, coming into power. Stalin came to power under the force of the newly suppressed rights and became a dictator who committed such crimes that are too many to list here.

So, take this warning seriously. The government of and for the people can be high-jacked if we do not make leaders accountable.

What the people of the working class need to do is smash the current corrupt system controlled by the rich and powerful and replace it with responsible leaders who can lead us through the war of ideas, and probably against violent suppression. And this will mean a crackdown on some of our most cherished freedoms, but they will be returned in time once the rich and powerful have their control over us destroyed. Yet we must keep our eyes on this transition party because a rising leader or group could use the loss of these freedoms to create a dictatorship.

This is what we need.

Radical Change is What We Need: Statement 1/2

As I have stated in the subtitle and the About section of this website, Sparking The Left comes from a radical leftist point of view. And I do not use the term “radical” as a negative designation but as a realistic description of our current situation for the current system needs radical change.

The forms that make up a radical or far left system of government here at STL are socialism, communism, anarchism, and all their subsets.

Do not close this tab after reading that!

I know what people think of when hearing of far-left systems: Stalin, gulags, purges, mass starvation. But those are the result of authoritarianism rather than of a radical leftist government. A true form of socialism, much less communism or anarchism, has not been practiced in history. And what a true form of a radical leftist system is about is putting power in the hands of the workers.

Workers should own the companies they work for because they are the ones who are doing the labor. Right now, major stock holders on Wall Street own and control our factories and corporations but do nothing but sit and collect profits while we get crumbs. They don’t unload trucks, sort freight, work a cash register, fill orders, or what-have-you, for often at more than 40 hours a week. The fruits of our labor have been torn away from the rightful owners; that is us, the workers.

If a far-left system were to be won, the new government would take power over, or socialize, the factories and corporations in the name of the people. And when the time is reached, they will be democratized for and by the workers. But I know what you are thinking right now. You’re saying, “How can a corrupt system like ours ever turn over the power to the workers?” The answer is we smash the current approach; the so-called democratic system. It must go.

Now which form of a far-left government we construct in its place is up for debate, and, in all honesty, I’m not sure which exactly one should be. But what I do know is right now socialism is the best form of government possible. In general, I believe the best practice for creating our new society is that we must take the best ideas from socialism, communism, anarchism, and, yes, our current capitalist-state to create a new, truly democratic government. And we must leave behind the Gulags, purges, and mass starvation.

In conclusion, the view of this blog comes from the radical leftist point of view. I take the best ideas of the four forms of government outlined above to build a fairer system for the working class. And although it sounds extreme, our current so-called democratic system must be smashed.

“No!” to Corrupt Voting System, “Yes!”to Taking It to The Streets

The official stance of Sparking The Left is that voting in so-called democratic elections is useless. It is taking part in a corrupt system.

This opinion is based upon the fact that I would never waste my vote for either of the two dominating political parties out of respect for my own personal dignity.

You probably miss it in the media because it is so common that the media does not report it: Candidates host fundraisers at places like Goldman Sachs and/or JP Morgan Chase all of the time for campaign contributions. They also raise money from special lobbying groups, too, like the pharmaceutical industry and automaker groups. This is every presidential candidate, every leader in Congress, and both the Democratic and Republican party in whole. It’s just the nature of the corrupt beast. They get ridiculous amounts of cash from Wall St so they remain too big to fail. Pharmaceutical prices remain sky high. The auto industry makes cars in the cheapest way by doing the bare minimum to keep cars safe and reduce the amount of pollution they omit. And deregulation is at the center of it all.

Wall St. and special interest groups are not concerned with the well-being of the country. Don’t get that wrong. They are capitalists. They are insuring their financial and/or cultural interests. This is a way of keeping the working class under control. You may think that you are first in the minds of our leaders, but you’re not. This system puts in politicians who are funded and lobbied by individuals and business groups so as to keep their interests first and foremost.

And remember this: One party doesn’t care about the poor; the other party pretends to care about the poor. Don’t think candidates of either party has not sold their soul to Wall St. They hold huge debts to big business and use it as a trade-off: they rule in the interest of those donating large campaign fund amounts.

Therefore, the official stance of STL is to abstain from voting.

If you consider voting a good vehicle for change, go ahead. I’m not here to force my opinion on you. But STL believes in protests, occupations, direct action, mass actions, strikes, and general strikes. The effectiveness of street politics through solidarity is more powerful than participating in our voting system when such a radical change is needed. Voting is just crumbs thrown to us by the rich and powerful to keep us calm and obedient so we don’t threaten the real decision holders: the elite rich.

5 New STL Images!

Five new images for the peoples’ cause!

You can also find the entire collection, past and present, at the link below:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TUomKrYbsYCMEWC59