Sunday, March 28, 2010

Legal People

Who is a Legal Person?
Everyone was born into this world.
But the place where you are born
determines if you are legal or illegal.
This is what they say in the newspapers.

The land in this country was stolen from Native Americans.
The government violated over 400 treaties with these people.
Now they claim that people
not born on this land are illegal.

The government allowed African people
to be kidnapped and sold as slaves.
Millions were born on this land.
Yet these slaves had no legal rights.

The land in the South-West belonged to Mexico.
This land was stolen from its owners.
Today the government that stole this land
calls Mexican people illegal aliens.

When working people go on strike
they can go to jail for violating an injunction.
Born in this country or not,
the government considers workers on strike to be criminals.

Many people struggled for a better world.
They protested for civil rights and against wars.
Some of these people were murdered.
They thought they engaged in a legal activity.

Why do people come to live in the United States?
Is it because they like to take jobs away from workers?
Or do they want the chance to make a living?
Why can’t they make a living in other countries?

In 1911 the United States gave
money and weapons to the Mexican government.
This aid helped to crush a revolution
that attempted to improve the lives of the people.

In the 1950’s the U.S. armed forces went to Korea.
They murdered millions of people in that nation.
Today many Koreans come to the U.S.
for a chance to make a living.

In the 1970’s the U.S. armed forces went to Vietnam.
They murdered millions of people in that nation.
Today many Vietnamese come to the U.S.
for a chance to make a living.

The U.S. government gave the military forces
in El Salvador one million dollars every day.
70,000 people died as a result.
Many from El Salvador come to the U.S.

Although the officials in Washington
caused many of the problems in the world,
these same officials
call people from other nations illegal.

So, who is a legal person?
Someone who doesn’t violate the law is legal.
But the laws favor those who have a lot of money.
So, people with wealth are the ones who are legal.

Corporations make huge profits
due to the labor of all working people.
When workers make less, they make more.
This is how their system works.

Since no worker has full legal rights in this system,
aren’t all workers in a sense illegal?
Don’t we all need full legal rights?
What is wrong with demanding
a place in the sun for everyone?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Solidarity Constitutes What Life Is All About

When human beings first entered the world

people lived in equality.

Everyone worked

so that all could survive.

For over one-hundred-thousand years

this is the way it was.

Women and men did all the work,

and their labor was appreciated.

Then we began to farm the land.

This meant that the crops needed

to be defended against others who wanted those crops.

And this is how wars began.

At this time a farmer would invite

a neighbor to share a meal.

This was called hospitality.

But this hospitality was different from the equality of the past.

Because of an accident of nature

some people might succeed in farming

while others would not.

So people worked for the successful farmers.

This is how slavery began.

The slave was like a family member

and treated with respect, but not as an equal.

And they began to call this charity.

Then the successful farmers discovered

that they could grow rich by going to war.

By defeating another people they could

steal booty and capture many slaves.

A few gained enormous wealth

and treated slaves as less than human.

They lost all desire to work

and preferred to live in opulence.

But the slave was a human being

who had the ability to think.

Rather than endure continuous humiliation and torture

many slaves chose to fight back.

The slave had no possessions,

and could not offer hospitality or charity.

In order to convince slaves to struggle

they needed to use reason.

If all slaves united,

they had the potential to be free.

This meant they had to act in solidarity.

One for all and all for one.

There were thousands of slave rebellions

in the history of the world.

The one which occurred on the island

of Haiti was the only one to succeed.

But there were other revolutions

for independence throughout the Americas.

Each one benefited humankind.

They were possible because of solidarity.

Then there were movements of

workers demanding decent living conditions.

There were those who demanded that people

with a dark skin color be treated with human rights.

A movement erupted to end the war

against the people of Viet Nam.

Another broke out so that women would have the power

to choose if they were to become mothers.

All these movements were effective

because of thousands of acts of solidarity.

The same solidarity that existed

for a million years before we became civilized.

But today they tell us that success

is the result of individual effort.

If you study diligently, work hard,

and do what you are told, you can succeed.

But the rich get richer,

and everyone else struggles to get by.

How could this be any different

when the top priority is maximum profits?

Why can’t we organize society

based on human needs,

the way our ancestors did,

working so that everyone benefited?

We can build descent homes for all.

Give quality education to all.

Provide health care to all who need it.

So that everyone will have their place in the sun.

A society built on the foundation of solidarity,

one for all and all for one.

This same characteristic

that allowed humanity to survive for a million years.

Love is a profound emotion.

It is usually reserved for individuals.

Solidarity is the love of all human kind,

and the willingness defend those who are abused.

Solidarity is the human characteristic

that has enabled us to advance throughout history.

Solidarity has never been easy,

but it is the essence of human life.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ernesto Che Guevara

A Determined Pursuit for Justice

His parents chose to live on their own,
away from civilization,
so he was born close to the jungle of Argentina,
where safety depended on the pistol and the machete.

He had a strong mind,
but his lungs were weak.
The family moved to the cool air of Alta Garcia,
so Ernesto could breath.

His asthma prevented Ernesto
from attending school,
so he stayed at home
reading books and playing chess.

His family was of the middle class,
but they had no money.
Ernesto learned of the disparity
between rich and poor.

Once he was having dinner
at the home of an affluent family.
Someone spoke affectionately of Winston Churchill.
Ernesto countered that he was just another “rat pack politician.”

He wanted to see the world outside Argentina,
and traveled throughout the Americas.
He visited the largest copper mine in the world, Chuquicamata,
where Chilean miners toiled for Kennecott and Anaconda.

He returned home to become a medical doctor,
but preferred the road to the prospect of a comfortable life.
In Guatemala he found a government
that attempted to right the wrongs of Latin America.

He also saw U.S. bombers murdering people
for the United Fruit Company.
He sought asylum in the Argentine Embassy,
and decided he would never ask for asylum again.

In Mexico he found Fidel and joined the Cuban Revolution.
Eighty-two freedom fighters sailed to Cuba.
Only twenty-two survived an ambush,
but La Revolucion continued.

One might have thought
that the freedom fighters didn’t have a chance.
But in the Americas struggles appearing to be impossible
have overcome the most stubborn obstacles.

Native Americans waged war
for hundreds of years to defend their culture.
Hundreds of thousands gave their lives
to end chattel slavery.

The thirteen colonies ended British rule.
Haitian slaves ended the rule of Napoleon.
The leaders Bolivar and San Martin
drove Spain out of South America.

Gomez, Marti, and Maceo
overwhelmed Spain in Cuba.
And all these struggles proved
that the seemingly impossible could happen in the Americas.

So the twenty-two organized a revolution
against a numerous and heavily armed government.
But that government murdered 27,000 human beings,
and there were people willing to give their lives for a change.

Many in the army were guajiros, or subsistence farmers.
While the affluent enjoyed themselves in Havana,
the guajiros were prematurely aged, and toothless.
The children had distended bellies, parasites, and rickets.

Although he was from Argentina,
Ernesto Che Guevara became a commander.
He fearlessly attacked the enemy,
placing the struggle before his own life.

Che never asked others to do what he would not.
He was hardest on the best soldiers,
and they gave him their complete loyalty.
These were the ingredients of the Cuban Revolution.

They endured bullet wounds, hunger, rain, sore feet, and insect bites.
They stayed on the move to survive.
After years of struggle,
they broke the enemy’s will to win.

Batista flew out of Havana,
and the revolutionary army marched in.
Those who had murdered the people went on trial.
The new army became the true servant of Cuba.

Since his youth Che studied Karl Marx.
He felt that Cuba
needed to be independent politically and economically.
The U.S. government didn’t agree.

Che met with Esso and Texaco.
He asked them to refine Soviet oil.
They refused.
Cuba nationalized the refineries of Esso and Texaco.

Che felt that human beings living
under a capitalist system could not reach their potential.
His most important aspiration
was to “see man liberated from his alienation.”

Che had a wife and four children.
He was a leading minister of the Cuban government.
He gave up all of this to continue
the seemingly impossible struggle of guerrilla warfare.

Che attempted to lead a struggle
aimed at alleviating the abject poverty of Bolivia.
He knew the odds were against him,
but continued to risk his life for a chance at victory.

The U.S. government was terrified of Che.
They knew that he could win.
That might signal the end of their rape of Latin America.
They spared no expense to stop him.

Che was murdered by an order from Washington.
But his example lives
with those fighting for freedom all over the world.
Because they can kill a body, but not an idea.

Contributions of Native Americans

Some of the Things They Took From Native Americans
There was a time when
the so-called Indians were the only
people who lived in the Americas.
Then came the Europeans.

For hundreds of years
Native Americans defended themselves
from the theft of their lands
and the attempted destruction of their culture.

What was the culture
that hundreds of Native American nations
were so determined to defend?
What were some of the things they lost?

The Spanish found gold and silver in
Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia.
They forced Native Americans to mine
those riches and sent them to Europe.

The gold and silver from the Americas
mined under horrible conditions
was the foundation of the political economic system
of capitalism throughout the world.

More important than gold and silver
was the food Europeans found in the Americas.
Much of the food we eat was originally
farmed by Native Americans.

When Europeans began to use the potato
They had more time for other kinds of work,
and this also aided
in the development of capitalism.

Lewis Henry Morgan was intrigued
by lifestyle of Native Americans and lived with the Iroquois,
whose real name is the Ho-de-no-sau-nee,
and are also known as the League of Six Nations.

Morgan, with the help of the Seneca,
Ely S. Parker found that this community
was completely different
from the so-called civilized society he lived in.

Women had real political power
and had the right tell the political
leaders known as sachems
that they would not be sachems any more.

In this community everyone shared
in the work and private property was unknown.
Europeans called Native Americans “Indian Givers”
because all their possessions were shared.

The communist, Frederick Engles
read Morgan’s work and concluded that
the family, private property, and the state
were all creations of the capitalist system.

The psychologist, Erik Erikson also studied
Native Americans and compared
their style of life
to the lifestyle of civilized society.

Erikson made his studies at a time
when Native Americans had been militarily defeated
and forced to live on horrible reservations.
Yet what he saw was truly remarkable.

He found that the Oglala Lakota
and the Yurok people collectively
raised their children
taking much of the pressure off of the mothers.

In these societies children were encouraged to explore.
They were also nurtured in a way where
young people became confident in
carrying out their responsibilities.

Adults had a sense of purpose
because they all played important
roles in teaching the younger generation.
Erikson then looked at civilization and concluded:

If children are not nurtured in their first year,
they will become mistrustful.
If children are not becoming independent in their second year,
they will develop shame and doubt.

If children are not made to feel confident
when they take on responsibility,
they will feel anxious and guilty.
Children need to think logically, or they will feel incompetent.

Teenagers need to be allowed to explore
many roles in order to establish an identity.
Without an identity the teenager will feel lost.
If teenagers don’t learn intimacy, they will feel isolated.

If adults don’t feel they are teaching
the younger generation,
they will stagnate.
And if they do not feel a sense of integrity, they will feel despair.

Today parents have the sole responsibility for their children.
Women are the ones who
have taken on most of this responsibility,
and this is indeed a daunting task.

Today women are paid about 75% of the wages of men.
All workers toil for longer hours
so one percent of the population
can own half of the wealth in the United States.

The government asks children to
pledge allegiance to a flag
which allegedly represents one nation,
under God, with liberty and justice for all.

Yet one out of every four prisoners in the world
lives in a jail located in the United States of America.
And the world’s superpower is located on a planet
where half of the human race lives on $2 per day or less.

Under these conditions, is it any wonder
that people have feelings of mistrust, alienation,
isolation, incompetence, a lack of identity,
stagnation, and even despair?

But these were only some of the reasons why
Native Americans defended their way of life.
Today we know that the first nations
used over two-hundred plants for medicines.

Hundreds of years after these medicines
were used by Native Americans
western medicine claimed
that they were the ones who discovered these treatments.

Mark Twain was a writer who
argued that the Shoshone were
“. . . the wretchedest type of mankind
I have ever seen up to this writing.”

Mark Twain also lived at the time
of the assassination of President Garfield.
A doctor examined the bullet wound to Garfield,
but didn’t clean his hand before the examination.

President Garfield probably died because of an infection
caused by the dirty hands of this doctor.
The Shoshone routinely used a sterile
field in their surgical operations.

Native Americans grew hundred of plants
to treat specific medical conditions in various parts of the body.
Today western medicine develops blockbuster drugs
so the affluent can have lots of money.

Speaking of money, Native Americans
have never been paid for all of the contributions
they have made to the world.
But then someone said:

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kings horses and all the kings men
couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Capitalism will have a great fall just like Humpty Dumpty.
Working people, farmers, and Native Americans
all have the potential to transform the world,
so we can all live rewarding lives with liberty and justice for all.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Tecumseh Showed Us What Leadership Is All About

A meteor flew threw the night sky.
The Shawnee thought it looked like
the eye of a panther crossing the sky.
This was a powerful sign.

An infant was born on that night
at a time when the Shawnee needed a leader.
His father called the infant
the eye of a panther crossing the sky, or Tecumseh

Tecumseh lived up to the power of his name
and excelled in everything he did.
But when he first went into battle
he was too afraid to fight.

That was the last time
Tecumseh would ever run from a battle.
His enemies would wish
that he wasn’t so brave.

In the American Revolution
the Shawnee supported the British.
They felt the British were less likely
to steal their homeland.

The British surrendered Shawnee land
that didn’t belong to them.
The new American government
tried to take the land, but failed twice.

On the third attempt
the Shawnee were defeated
at the battle of Fallen Timbers.
The British betrayed Tecumseh’s people again.

His father and brother were killed
fighting to defend their homeland.
Before his brother died Tecumseh promised
never to sign a treaty with the U.S. government.

His family felt that
the government could not be trusted.
Although many of the chiefs signed treaties,
Tecumseh would never break his oath.

He led his followers to the new
Native American territory called Indiana.
They built a village on
the banks of the Tippecanoe River.

In this village Tecumseh developed a strategy
that recognized the only real power
working people have.
United we stand divided we fall.

He understood that the only way
for Native Americans to stop the theft
of their homelands was to unify all the tribes.
So he made an attempt to do the job.

This was not easy, for there were many tribes
who spoke different languages,
who made war against each other,
and who thought their enemy was too powerful.

But Tecumseh stood firm to his plan.
He traveled from the Ottawa in Canada,
to the Natchez and Chocktow in Louisiana,
to the Seminole in Florida, and to the Mohawk in New York.

He spread the word of unity
for the defense of all Native Americans,
or to allow the United States government
to steal all tribal lands.

Tecumseh felt “that a white man with a treaty
is like a dog who wants permission
to put his nose in the doorway
and smell the meat cooking inside.

‘Only my nose’ the dog promises
With each treaty
the dog got farther inside the doorway
and closer to the meat,
until all the meat was inside the dog.”

Many joined his movement
and came to the banks to the Tippecanoe.
Others honored their treaties with the government
and saw their lands stolen in later years.

The U.S. General Harrison waited until
Tecumseh traveled to the tribes in the south.
He was afraid to attack a Native American leader
who knew how to defend his people.

Tecumseh’s brother Open Door
attempted to defend the village
before his people were ready.
And the center of resistance was destroyed.

Tecumseh fought with the British again
in the war of 1812.
The Shawnee forces captured the U.S. forts
in Detroit and Chicago.

Many native people were incensed
by the treatment they endured from the Americans.
They wanted revenge.
So they abused and tortured their prisoners.

Tecumseh was horrified when he saw this.
He felt the abuse of prisoners degraded Native Americans.
He said he would never fight
with anyone who abused prisoners.

The U.S. prisoners in Detroit
spoke about how well
they were treated by the forces
under the command of Tecumseh.

No U.S. President ever
treated the prisoners of that nation
with the respect that Tecumseh treated his prisoners.
But Tecumseh was called a savage.

In the end, Tecumseh was murdered
in a battle at the Thames river.
His American enemies rejoiced
at the death of someone they thought was a bitter foe.

But Tecumseh spent his life fighting
for the dignity and respect of his people.
In his many struggles he redefined
what the word leadership means.