Pablo Picasso - Massacre in Korea
“In 2008 the South Korean Truth and Reconciliation commission found 1,222 instances of mass killings, with at least 215 of these involving U.S. troops or airplanes massacring unarmed civilians. At Cheongwon in central Korea, up to 7,000 people were slaughtered.”
The U.S. committed an uncountable amount of acts designated as “war crimes”, including widespread use of chemical and biological weapons such as the plague, and intentionally destroying hydroelectric dams that provided drinking water for 75% of the population. In total around 5 million Koreans lost their lives.
Remember No Gun Ri, Jeju, Yeosun, and the countless other instances of mass extermination by the U.S.
Pablo Picasso - Massacre in Korea
Disarm the pigs.
“If the U.S. imperialists attack us, they can not escape the fate of the damned ghost “
By Frederick Douglass
Independence Day Speech at Rochester, 1852
What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms- of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
Isaac Gagnon stepped off the school bus sobbing last October and opened his mouth to show his mother where it hurt.
She saw steel crowns on two of the 4-year-old’s back teeth. A dentist’s statement in his backpack showed he had received two pulpotomies, or baby root canals, along with the crowns and 10 X-rays — all while he was at school. Isaac, who suffers from seizures from a brain injury in infancy, didn’t need the work, according to his mother, Stacey Gagnon.
“I was absolutely horrified,” said Gagnon, of Camp Verde, Arizona. “I never gave them permission to drill into my son’s mouth. They did it for profit.”
Isaac’s case and others like it are under scrutiny by federal lawmakers and state regulators trying to determine whether a popular business model fueled by Wall Street money is soaking taxpayers and having a malign influence on dentistry.
Isaac’s dentist was dispatched to his school by ReachOut Healthcare America, a dental management services company that’s in the portfolio of Morgan Stanley Private Equity, operates in 22 states and has dealt with 1.5 million patients. Management companies are at the center of a U.S. Senate inquiry, and audits, investigations and civil actions in six states over allegations of unnecessary procedures, low-quality treatment and the unlicensed practice of dentistry.
Allegations like Gagnon’s “are not representative” of the more than 500 cases handled by ReachOut affiliates in Isaac’s school district, said Mickey Mandelbaum, a company spokesman.
ReachOut is one of at least 25 dental management-services companies bought or backed by private-equity firms in the last decade. Dentists contract with the companies for marketing, scheduling, staff recruitment, supplies and other services. The companies account for about 12,000, or 8 percent, of U.S. dentists, according to Thomas A. Climo, a Las Vegas dental consultant.
Some of them have been riding a boom in Medicaid outlays on dentistry, which rose 63 percent to $7.4 billion between 2007 and 2010, outstripping the 4.9 percent growth in other dental spending. ReachOut and several of its private equity-backed rivals seek patients like Isaac Gagnon, who are covered by Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled.
On May 2, All Smiles Dental Center Inc., a management company owned by Chicago-based Valor Equity Partners, filed for bankruptcy protection. Its hand was forced in part by a Texas Medicaid action cutting off payment to some of its clinics because of allegedly “excessive” and “inappropriate” orthodontic care, according to an All Smiles executive’s affidavit included in the filing. All Smiles was part of a state audit in which 90 percent of Medicaid claims for orthodontic braces were found to be invalid because they weren’t medically needed, according to Christine Ellis, one of the auditors.
He kicked and screamed while several adults held him on the dental table, according to another teacher’s aide, Stephanie Shultz. “The dentist man got me,” Gagnon remembers her son saying.
Further proof that health care and dental care are INCOMPATIBLE with a for profit economic system.
“Every artist, everyone who considers themselves an artist, has the right to create freely according to his ideal, independently of everything. However, we are Communists and we must not stand with folded hands and let chaos develop as it pleases.” -Lenin
In a recent TED lecture Sheena Iyengar discussed some preconceptions people have in making choices. One of the principle questions is whether more choices are necessarily better, which she believes to be be a common idea for Americans. It is interesting that Americans identified several choices when shown several varieties of soda, whereas Russians nearly across the board said there was only one choice: soda. There is a problem in terms of the framing of the question of choice, which once shifted significantly questions some seemingly common sense based ideas.
I think when we talk in general about what “freedom” means in the United States, there are some tacit assumptions about what we are referring to. Freedom is aligned with “agency”, or ones ability to decide on their actions based on their own volition without external coercion. This definition of freedom which I align with liberalism begins to fall apart nearly immediately when we scratch the surface. The choices we make are always influenced by our historical experience, our relationship to law, and what we desire or aim toward in our actions is influenced in the extreme by our cultural circumstances. There is a coded language of universal and abstract “will” behind the discourse of freedom which ignores history, circumstance, conditioning, and especially the way the discourse of freedom itself is framed. I have argued else-where about the absurdity of the “pure realm” of art— it is imperative that we see the same to be true of freedom.
In Marcuse’s essay on liberal tolerance, he does an excellent job of explaining why “free speech” in a general sense can actually be detrimental to freedom considered socially. We are living in circumstances of hierarchical power structures to such an extent that an equal playing field would actually entail the necessity of silencing and coercing some people who have power in a given situation. The argument that racist voices should be given equal rights as voices advocating for the dismantling of racist systems must necessarily ignore the structural racism at play. The problem of framing is involved, as the two sides are seen as isolated entities rather then two forces being swept along by an already existing tide of public opinion, international domination of people of colour, a prison-industrial complex that is disproportionately filled with poc people, and brutal anti-immigration tactics. Any idea of “freedom” that doesn’t factor in the general direction on a wider social level is going to be a severely impoverished account.
Lenin’s quote with which I opened this discussion seems to be a sort of “have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too-ism”, where the artist is able to produce with complete impunity, but also needs to consider their role and position in the class struggle. I think rather that these two sides are congruent in a way that is difficult to grasp for people (like myself) fostered in a society that is structured monadically. “Social responsibility” is an increasingly unpopular topic, and most people would defend themselves in the interest of freedom against their social responsibility, whether it be as an artist, or chemist. If we re-frame the way we look at morality on terms of issues like class, I think we get a more holistic image of social well-being that actually renders the conditions for the possibility of a meaningful freedom.
Hegel offers an interesting and provocative definition of freedom that I think it would be wise for us to consider socially. Freedom is a relationship to un-freedom, in other words, freedom itself only exists as left does to right, rather than as an abstract category of individual volition. This definition by necessity points us toward taking a wider scope in our definition of morality, and also locates it in concrete instances of oppression. What I think needs to be added to this understanding to make it complete, is an approach which seeks to account for systemic instances of non-freedom, rather than simply saying “that’s the way it is”, ascribing it to some trans-historical definition of human nature. One of Marxism’s great intellectual achievements was the realization that freedom means something extremely more complicated than “doing what one wants”, and positing that true freedom is a dialectic interplay between the desire and responsibility to the society in which it plays out. I am interested in the radical non-subject oriented perspective this brings up, which non-the-less understands that there is no objective standpoint to critique from, nor a properly speaking “social whole” that can act as an object of critique. The dialectic process is a method of illuminating social relationships and adjusting based on the interplay of various perspectives.
This idea is especially important when we talk more specifically about what the stakes are for achieving freedom, and what the role of the Communist in trying to develop them is. In Benjamin’s essay on The Role of the Artist as Producer we are given one of the best descriptions of communisms role in the arts. Rather than the focus on the individual genius, issues like class antagonism actually bar the possibilities for the creative outlet of proletarian people. When Steve Jobs died there was a strong outpour of voices defending his genius, and ability to understand and program devices people wanted. No one asked the question: How many brilliant people were never given the chance to develop their ability because they were working in a sweatshop producing these devices? The fantasy of the genius who through sheer talent and ability is able to become rich seems almost absurd when we consider the conditions of the proletarian forces who are coerced into signing statements that they won’t commit suicide or their family will face financial consequences.
Reframing freedom as a task for communists would more accurately be described as “refracting” freedom, a balancing that considers the point where it interacts, and alters its course through this interaction.
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if you ever want to know why some communists get along with republicans better than democrats just watch king of the hill