Wednesday, April 23, 2014

No drug war—no patronizing authorities

It is sad that in America, people with extreme pain and those who crave narcotics are all made to feel like criminals. That is because anything that can be portrayed as a drug is said to be addictive. It either is addictive itself for it leads to harder stuff, as they claim marijuana does. So a new pain killer comes out, called Zohydro, and it is automatically attacked by the anti-drug people. The drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so now a lot of special interest groups want it taken out of the hands of doctors. 
"In the midst of a severe drug epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid," a coalition of more than 40 health care, consumer and addiction treatment groups wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg according to CNN.
There are also the people who play the death card, such as with Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of the advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing:
"It's a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule. It will kill people as soon as it's released."
This is an exaggeration as the pill has to be either stolen or obtained by someone who decides to sell it. Those hurt most by this action will be those who have extreme pain that is hard to treat. The anti-drug people are obsessed with keeping ANYONE from getting this drug even if it will help them.
There are defenders of the new medicine:
"We do not expect the introduction of Zohydro ER (extended release) to increase the overall use of opioids," said Dr. Brad Galer, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Zogenix, in an e-mail. "In fact, prescription data from the last five years shows that total use of ER opioids is constant and independent of new entrants to the market." Zogenix representatives cited examples of patients who might benefit from Zohydro: a 46-year-old male with chronic back and leg pain who had two failed back surgeries; a 52-year-old female with metastatic breast cancer experiencing diffuse pain; a 32-year-old woman with multiple orthopedic fractures.
In the US drug use is treated the way witchcraft was treated in Salem Massachusetts back in the 1600s—with hysteria. In the US people are given jail time, felony records and are forced into rehab programs against their will. Addicts are always portrayed as miserable in the press. And yet people routinely take narcotics, not just for pain but to feel good as well. Addicts in recovery often thank the police, in public, for arresting them. But the reality is that felony convictions can keep a person from getting meaningful work and the police and courts seem to set themselves us as “fathers” and the addicts are treated as children. These same “father figures” have fought to prevent poor people from getting health care and yet they have no problems arresting and jailing their adopted “children” for using any kind of drugs. There seems to be the assumption that people really don’t want to be using addictive drugs so they need police to straighten them out.
This is patronization by a police force owned by people who really don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves. They want our poor people to be religiously pure, even if the same society doesn’t care who among them lives or dies. Religious leaders are often able to steer recovering addicts into their religion groups. This is one reason religious people like to work with addicts. It is like a captured audience.
Other countries have outlawed drugs without giving the users a lifetime of stigma with felony records.
Some people do take drugs because they make them feel better. As long as those people are kept from decent health care, they should not be punished for self-medicating. And we don’t need the ridiculous moralizing of the anti-drug crowd. This is all about moral sensibilities and not about clean heath. If addicts want to get off drugs they can seek help. We don’t need the police to tell us how to stay healthy. A person with a strong mind can decide for themselves. We shouldn’t put some big shot’s moral sensibilities above the medical rights of a person to be pain free.
-សតិវ អតុ

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I was surprised to find there is a Maoist party in Panama. That is the first time in many years I have heard of a Maoist party of any kind in Central America. Actually many people in Panama consider themselves South American since Panama was once a part of Colombia. But it is still a unique situation that a Maoist party exists there. The following is a Google translation of this article. I also worked on it a little. -សតិវ អតុ
From Fraccion Roja and the Communist Party (Marxist Leninist) of Panama;
The Communist Party (ML) of Panama condemns the illegal arrest of comrades Benito and Wilma Tiamzon Austria, senior leaders of the Communist Party of Philippines (CPP) and peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). As for comrades Rex Villaflor, Lorena Castillo, Joel Dwarf Josi Panea Nepa and Arlene. They were arrested on 22 March in the city of Aloguisan, Cebu province, and immediately charged with illegal possession of weapons and involvement in the " slaughter Hilongos " . All of which is a hoax invented by the Fascist authorities Manila.
As you face the crude inventions against these comrades , designed to cover a devious bad blow to the Communist Party of the Philippines , to the long-term people's war led by him and the Filipino working people, broad democratic and social sectors of the country have left their voices of protest and condemnation and developed extensive and militant mass mobilizations demanding the immediate release of the arrested Communists , Communist (Marxist-Leninist) of Panama makes its voice solidarity with the fraternal party, the PCF and the NDFP unitary group classes encabezantes revolutionary and democratic struggles of the Filipino people against the pro-imperialist Yankee and fascist dictatorship of President Aquino.
Some such acts of persecution and detention of Communists and representative of democratic forces in the country , today embodied in the illegal arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon Austria, as well as his other comrades, and; slanders made ​​against his team, reveal the confusion of the armed forces with the bourgeois counter growing popular and victorious war of the Filipino people, strengthening the combat capability of the NPA and the increasingly wide deployment of the Communist Party of the Philippines into the deep and profound of the Filipino people , the working class and the peasant classes the beating heart of the nation. Come open, before it, the chasm of military defeat and trying to stall the clock of history that marks the time of his inexorable historical death. They scramble and desperate rush to outlandish acts that violate their own established law.
But with the current wave of persecution and arrest of communists, revolutionaries , democrats and anti-imperialist , fascist and autocratic government of President Aquino , pressured by Senior military commanders and instigation of U.S. imperialism, the main enemy of the people particularly in the Philippines , seeks not only hinder the negotiation process to end the state of civil war , prolonged armed conflict between the armed revolution and counterrevolution, and put the country on the path of democratization and comprehensive social progress as desired by the Filipino people .
This is evident with the arbitrary and illegal arrests of the leaders of the Communist Party. Which are a blatant violation of the Joint Agreement signed between the warring parties in 1995, Security and Immunity Guarantees between the NDFP and the bourgeois government.
As the Agreement (JASIG) said that those involved in the peace talks are exempt from being arrested, charged, controlled and not be subjected to other forms of persecution . Your violation with this wave of persecution and arrest of senior leaders and communist militants, by the bourgeois fascist government makes clear that it torpedoed the talks process and to satisfy their imperialist masters, demonstrates his uncompromising commitment to intensify the counterrevolutionary violence against all people. Let those who are determined to get, by any means, a victory to the forces of their weapons are Aquino , the domes of the military cliques , classes reactionary government and U.S. imperialism .
So, in the courts of the Filipino people and the international democratic public opinion, it is the latter that are to be blamed for prolonging the civil war for national liberation and conquest of the New Democratic People's Republic. Acting accordingly, the Communist Party of the Philippines, representing the NDFP has declared its readiness to continue in advancing armed struggle. That is, to persist in bringing the revolutionary people's war to a new stage of development, that the strategic balance .
We bring the Communists (Marxist-Leninist) of Panama, in these difficult moments, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the whole Filipino nation and our people united proletarian internationalist support and identification with the People's War and the struggles of the Filipino people by conquering democracy and national independence.
We urge the government of President Aquino for the immediate release of the comrades Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria and other detainees that grim March 29 last. The matching faithfully and loyally the 1995 Joint Agreement made ​​on that date with the Filipino people, the NDFP and the Communist Party of the Philippines.
We welcome with excitement and confidence, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army to continue to persist, to take a complete victory in the popular long war to take her expires, complete national independence and construction the State of New People's Democracy. We also congratulate each and every one of the members and cadres, to the heroic fighters of the New People's Army for their ability and willingness to iron out such popular war of races stages to achieve, at the present time , this new and higher stage of strategic equilibrium. Insurance're communists ( Marxists - Leninists of Panama that our class brothers and international struggle for popular democracy, socialism and communism, the comrades of the Communist Party of the Philippines , armed with the science of the proletarian revolution , Marxism -Leninism-Maoism , to reach fully override the counterrevolutionary forces of imperialism, particularly U.S. and concrete that the fascist bourgeoisie and the reactionary ruling classes.

Praise to the combative, glorious internationalists
Por el Comité Central del Partido Comunista
(Marxista-Leninista) de Panamá,
For the original in Spanish click here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Peru -U.S. Supports Arrest of Movadef Members

It is not surprising that the US government praises the fake democratic government of Ollanta Humala. It is not surprising that his record on human rights and his stand on law and order sit well with the most imperialist country in the world today and the most extensive empire since Rome. In foreign affairs the US does not recognize or respect anyone’s right to free speech, to form political parties or assemble peacefully. The US takes the liberty to outlaw any group in foreign countries that it does not agree with. The US is able to list countries or political organizations on “terrorist lists” which simply means they are at odds with US foreign policy. Such “terrorist designations” have nothing to do with actual terrorist activities. Here we have an example of a political party being outlawed in Peru. -សតិវ អតុ

The United States government saluted Peru on its arrest of almost 30 members of a political group[1] that had close ties to the Shining Path rebels.
In a statement, the U.S. State Department said it “congratulates the Government of Peru for last week’s arrests of at least 28 leaders and members of a front organization for the Shining Path terrorist group.” “Under the leadership of President Humala, this successful effort exemplifies an admirable commitment to respect for the rule of law and human rights, to patient and persistent criminal investigation work, and an effective ‘whole of government’ approach featuring coordination among judicial, police, armed forces and intelligence elements,” the state department said.

[1] Movadef is a political party that is pushing for recognition for a legal Communist Party of Peru (formerly known as Shining Path). So far this attempt to form a legal political party and amnesty for those guerrillas in prison today has been outlawed. Shining Path members are trying to legalize their party and get some kind of deal to get their officials out of prison as soon as possible. There is nothing illegal about what they are doing. The government simply outlawed them and everything they try to do. Even Movadef has been made an outlaw party. This is the government’s way to stop all attempts at a national dialog to end the civil war that has been going on since the 1980s.And not surprising, the US government has congratulated Peru for their undemocratic behaviors.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter 05/06/1937 - 04/20/2014—May he rest in peace!

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter 05/06/1937 - 04/20/2014

Bob Dylan - Hurricane

And yes he did clear his name!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jefferson Airplane - Easter?

May Day celebration and history in Wichita

In early 1886 unions throughout the country fought for an eight hour work day. Work days could be 10 to 12 hours a day. By 1889 the various unions had won the fight for an eight hour day and a holiday had been established to celebrate this labor victory. Since that time workers around the world celebrate May 1 as an expression of their international solidarity and shared political aspirations for the freedom of working people.
In Wichita, Kansas the Peace & Social Justice Center will celebrate this holiday and its history with speeches, stories, music and a pot luck dinner. The event will be on May 1, from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, at 1407 N. Topeka, Wichita, KS. This 
May Day celebration has been a tradition for the PSJ Center for several years now.
This holiday is celebrated the world over in many different ways. They include marches and events by labor organizations as well as communist, anarchist and socialist parties. Many older people will remember the military marches held on May Day in the Soviet Union. But what most people didn’t realize is that the holiday started here in the US.
Our government was not content to let the May 1 labor holiday to be celebrated along with Marxists and anarchists, so they changed it to the present day fall holiday we now know as Labor Day. May 1 was turned into Law Day. So the holiday that US labor unions inspired has been turned into a simple celebration of work, with none of the history of the sacrifices and struggles of workers for a just work place.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

In weakening teachers— the state has gone too far

The author of this is a teacher and I work as one as well. I’m posting this because we need to focus all the attention possible to Gov. Sam Brownback’s neglect and gutting of education in this state. He has cut education to the bone and now his phony political ads have him bragging about money he’s putting back in education as if he is the new “education” candidate. Let’s remind people Brownback has gut education for almost four years. -សតិវ អតុ

From F5

First a disclaimer: I am a teacher. Forty-five years worth of teaching at the high school and community college levels. Teaching is also my family's curse. All of my sisters work in education. My mother and two aunts taught. Also a grandparent. I like teachers. This is why I am incensed (pissed off if you will) by the Repbulican war on education in general and teachers in particular.
As a retired public school teacher, it has bothered me for a long time that the state legislature has not bothered itself to fully fund the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. My pension comes from this fund. Money came out of my paycheck to go into the KPERS system and the school district also contributed. The state did not do its part.
KPERS has enough money for the rest of my life, but others may be cheated. More likely, the legislature will change the program from a defined benefit pension plan to some sort of 401k plan. The fallacy with this is that it would require the state to continue to pay those already vested in KPERS while diverting future teachers' contributions into the 401k. That means money going out but none coming in.
Other attempts made to weaken education and the teaching profession include moves to ease the process of certification. The announced purpose of this is to get qualified individuals to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes. That way, you could plug unemployed aerospace folks into the classroom. Make sense?
Did it ever occur to them that dramatically raising teacher pay would be the market solution to shortages? These supposedly open-market Republicans should go in that direction first. Labor flows to wages. Most universities have programs for provisional certification and fast lane accreditation. What these folks are not telling you is that the lower the bar for certification, the easier it is to get rid of a high priced tech teacher and bring in an unemployed aeronautical engineer at a lower wage.
For the rest click here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Central American solidarity work—spied on by the FBI

By Otto 

“Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means.” - Herbert Marcuse[1]

For most of the 1980 decade peace groups were involved in Central American solidarity work. Most of that work focused on defending the revolution in Nicaragua and the armed struggles in El Salvador and Guatemala. Activists were able to get large crowds together from around the country to oppose President Ronald Reagan’s repressive policies in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
So it was really not surprising when political activists discovered that the FBI had spied on the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). CISPES did solidarity work supporting the  Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador. The FMLN was a coalition of five Marxist guerrilla organizations, the Fuerzas Populares de Liberación Farabundo Martí (FPL),
By the mid 1980s I was the president of the Wichita State University chapter of CISPES. By the time I was elected president, the group had shrunk to about five people. We wrote articles in the campus newspaper, put up leaflets about US intervention in Central America and we occasionally showed films on that issue.  
After I graduated from WSU, I went to work for some newspapers in Western Missouri. I was working for the Clinton Daily Democrat for almost two years when the newspaper decided they weren’t making enough money from my department, “small county towns,” so I was laid off. I decided to move back to Wichita, along with my wife Cam Gentry. We had been there a short time when I got a call from a reporter from The Wichita Eagle telling me there was a nation-wide FBI national surveillance of campus CISPES groups during the fall of 1983. I had been named the target of an FBI investigation. I was shocked.
“We just couldn’t imagine that the FBI would really take our little group so seriously,” I told a reporter from The Clinton Daily Democrat.[2]
I made similar statements to a reporter from The Wichita Eagle:[3]
“It is kind of funny they would send agents down to spy on people who were really not doing very much.” 
The Center for Constitutional Rights was the group that had discovered the spying. They used the Freedom of Information Act and found that the FBI’s harassment of CISPES included surveillance from 1981 through 1984 of CISPES chapters on college campuses across the country.
At the time the news broke there were actually members of congress who complained that the spying was nothing more than harassment of legal political groups who simply disagreed with Reagan’s foreign policies.
US Representative Dan Glickman said: “I think that this is the kind of thing that the FBI shouldn’t do, because it absolutely destroys their credibility to do important things…It’s an outrage, and reminds me both of the McCarthy-era activities, as well as what used to happen in the ‘60s.”[4]
 Glickman was a representative from the Wichita area at the time. Since then he has been replaced by Mike Pompeo who is extremely positive about government surveillance of political groups in the name of “national security.”
Pompeo has shown contempt for anyone who opposes surveillance of US citizens and has condemned Edward Snowden for trying to expose government spying on innocent citizens:
“The overwhelming majority of the materials stolen had nothing to do with the privacy of U.S. persons.
Only a tiny sliver of the materials stolen by Mr. Snowden had anything to do with United States telecommunications or the privacy rights of Americans. Rather, the majority of the material taken, now in the hands of other countries, provides detailed information about America’s intelligence sources and methods. By divulging this information, Mr. Snowden has put the lives of our soldiers, sailors and airmen at risk.”[5]
Pompeo is typical of today’s politicians who show no interest in protecting the privacy of US citizens from government abuse and that includes our present President Barack Obama.
The FBI used several tactics to harass us including taking a leaflet down of a bulletin board that gave notice for a meeting Jan. 17 1984. According to FBI records, the leaflet was copied and sent to other offices for further investigation.
One document said an agent noticed a Jan. 17 1984 announcement of a CISPES meeting, took the leaflet down off of the bulletin board and tracked down my home address through the WSU and Wichita telephone directories, said Marylou Grahamm a spokesperson for the Center of Constitutional Rights. 
The FBI then visited our apartment complex and talked to neighbors to try and determine whether CISPES meetings were taking place there.
There were probably a dozen ways to find out where our meetings were, including calling us on the phone and asking us outright. We would have told them since we were doing nothing illegal. Also talking to our neighbors left the impression we were some kind of terrorist and our neighbors treated us very strange at a few of the apartment get-togethers. They gave us strange looks. That was probably the most harassing thing the FBI did to us. 
The FBI also sent informants to our meetings. I remember two young men, neither one taller than me, one with dark black hair and the other with short sandy colored hair, who claimed to be students. One kept asking us to “lend him” our pamphlets and informational materials. The other actually asked us if we send guns to the guerrillas in El Salvador. I thought that was strange. Today I just think it was really stupid.
“Most of us had known each other a year or more,” I said to The Wichita Eagle. “We had no way of Knowing if any of us were spies.”
When I finally got the copy of my FBI file through Freedom of Information, about half of it was blacked out. The FBI claimed they blacked out information that was sensitive to national security, but it looked clear to me that they had blacked out things there were embarrassing to them. One thing they were probably not proud of was their spying on us in our bedroom. They had actually taken pictures of us in that room late at night and other times. I’m sure they didn’t want people to know what perverts they were. The file was probably about a hundred pages long and looked like a small book.
In one publication, The Wichita State University Sunflower, I was proud to tell a reporter: “My beliefs haven’t changed much since. I think it says something about our government when it spies on its own people. I really wonder if the loss of individual privacy in this country might not be worse than a few random acts of terrorism. It also makes me believe that probably a large number of people in America have been spied on who don’t even know it.”[6]

DEVO-Secret Agent Man

[1]Herbert Marcuse, "Repressive Tolerance,"
[2] Brian Hanney, “Former Clintonian investigated by FBI,” The Clinton Daily Democrat,February 1, 1988, pp. 1, 12.
[3] Gardner Selby and John Jenks, Angelia Herrin, “WSU Couple investigated,” The Wichita Eagle, January 28, 1989, pp. 1A, 6A.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Mike Pompeo’s home page,
[6] Tim Pouncey, “Alumnus recalls year under surveillance,” The Wichita State University Sunflower, January 29, 1988.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spain: call it a dictatorship and they throw you in prison

14 April 2014.

 A Spanish high court sentenced the 25-year-old rapper "Pablo Hasel" (Pablo Rivadulla Duro) to two years in prison for "glorifying terrorism" on 1 April.  Several years ago, this "anti-system rapper," as he calls himself, declared, "If they put me in prison, that will prove I'm right" right that almost 40 years after the end of the fascist regime of Francisco Franco, despite economic, social and political changes, the Spanish state is still the enemy of the majority of Spanish people and the people of the world and "the critical spirit".

Hasel was arrested in November 2011, during a time of upsurge in the country's streets, when the police raided his home in the night and confiscated his digital devices, papers and books as evidence. At his trial before the high court for political cases, the judge ruled that the only question was whether or not Hasel was the author of the dozens of videos uploaded on YouTube and elsewhere on the Net. Since Hasel unhesitatingly stated that he was, the conviction was all but automatic. Hasel argued that he had the right to freedom of speech, but the judge ruled that while that freedom exists in Spain for some speech, Hasel's rap constitutes "hate speech," prohibited by law, and further, that "terrorism is the worst violation of human rights", so no one has the right to defend it. (El Pais, 1 April 2014)

This is the standard legal double-talk that is the hallmark of the Spanish state: "terrorism" is an affront to "democracy", so those accused of it have no rights, those who defend those accused of it have no rights, those who argue for those people's rights are "apologists for terrorists" and so on in a widening spiral. But in sentencing an artist to prison for nothing but his words, this is a further step in demonstrating the truth of his words, that in capitalist countries "freedom of expression is nothing but freedom to lie or shut up, and like democracy, freedom of expression is one of history's greatest swindles."

What does it mean, Hasel says, to talk about freedom in a country where six million people have been robbed of their jobs, half a million people have been kicked out of their homes, "and if you protest you get beaten or killed?" One of his videos shows him in a June 2011 march of "Los Indignados" (the Outraged) in Valencia. The police attacked it viciously, as they did protests in other cities in Spain in those months. They sought not just to stop it but to break the heads, faces and arms of as many young women and men as possible, as the footage clearly and indisputably shows. Another rap video,  "El reino de los torturadores" (The kingdom of torturers), features the battered and crushed faces and bodies of young women and men arrested at mass demonstrations defending Basque nationalist "terrorists" and then beaten and tortured while in custody in the name of defending "democracy".
How can Hasel be convicted of "hate speech" and being a threat to "democracy" when Franco-era torturers are considered respectable citizens, protected from arrest by law, even when clearly identified by their victims; Franco regime political figures are still prominent in public life; the main monument to fascism is untouched and untouchable; and it is perfectly legal and respectable to publicly praise Franco and seek to continue his work?

Franco came to power through a military uprising against an elected government in 1936 and an exterminating civil war, with the backing of Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy, and the complicity of all the Western powers. His regime, which today could be called a Catholic jihad in its religious zeal and enforced cultural purity, targeted secular forces and workers and labourers, imprisoned all known opponents and executed many thousands. As was recently revealed, it stole thousands of babies from their mothers to ensure that they would have a proper conservative Catholic upbringing. Despite Franco's alliance with the defeated Axis powers in World War 2, his regime survived by becoming a key American ally afterwards. Why today is it allowed to praise Franco but not groups that fought his regime? How can the upholders of the Spanish state accuse anyone else of "hate speech"? In fact, how can they label the political violence of their opponents as terrorism when they murdered people and broke lives on a vast scale for their political ends?

Perhaps Hasel's greatest "crime" and his greatest merit is that since his 2005 breakthrough album "Eso No Es Paraiso" (This isn't heaven) he raps about Spain as still a capitalist dictatorship. He says that brutal repression on the one hand, and elections and illusions about "freedom of expression", the post-Franco regime's supposedly greatest achievements on the other, are two sides of the same coin, and combine with a media-cultivated "dictatorship of stupidity" that encourages a "Stockholm syndrome" where the masses of people identify with the capitalist system that exploits and oppresses them. He is very clear that not only is the currently-governing Popular Party the political successor party to the fascist regime, but that the Socialist Party "is worse or at least as bad", and that the parliamentary "left" is just a tail on the Socialists.

The Socialists (Hasel spells the party's initials P$OE) made it possible for the Spanish ruling class to switch over from a fascist to a bourgeois democratic (electoral) form of rule almost painlessly, by protecting the continuity of persons and institutions and the bulk of the state apparatus, and agreeing to what some people call "the law of silence" protecting fascist personalities from legal consequences for their terrorist rule. The mass graves were kept secret and the killers given new jobs or allowed to keep up their work.

The Spanish Socialists led its own terrorist campaign against Basque nationalists when they came to govern. In the "dirty war", Spanish death squads in France assassinated exiled Basque nationalists, ordinary Basques and French and other revolutionaries and bombed taverns and other public places. Neither ruling party has a right to call anyone else terrorists.

As a Socialist party MP shamelessly explained in commenting on a new case where the courts refused to hear the complaints of a former student activist against the official who tortured him in 1975, "I just don't think it would be good for the country. We don't know where it starts and where it finishes. If we take someone who was a torturer in 1970, why aren't we going to go after some ministers in Franco's government who are still alive? Why not the courts? Where do we set the limits?" (The New York Times, 8 April 2014). Yes what if we went after the same courts once led by Franco that have now sentenced a young rapper to prison? Might that not imperil the repressive efficiency and  legitimacy of the state itself?
No wonder the Spanish ruling class, despite its current democratic finery, zealously maintains the monarchy that smoothed the transition from open fascism to parliamentary democracy and still serves as the guarantor of the continuity of the Spanish state. Hasel's hatred of the monarchy (one of his videos is called "Muerte a los borbones Death to the Bourbons", the royal family) takes its political meaning from this context, and is made all the more forbidden by the fact that he is not just attacking a cultural relic.

When Hasel raps about "democracy you mother-fucker" and talks about Spain's and other "capitalist terrorists taking over the world", rampaging through the Middle East and bringing misery everywhere, he connects with the truth. But when he raps about the alternative, which he sees as a society like Cuba or Venezuela, there is a disconnect with truth. As fierce as his critique of capitalism may be, it's not thorough enough.

Despite their opposition to the U.S., these countries have not broken with the framework of the world imperialist system. The profit motive still rules the organization of the economy and society despite the existence of state enterprises and social welfare programmes. Their fate hangs on the imperialist world economy and even simply the price of oil or sugar on the world market. They have not liberated their people from imperialist domination in the most profound sense of enabling them to take the road of overcoming all capitalist economic relations and institutions, all the enslaving social relations and the ideas, customs and habits born of exploitation.

Hasel does not even try to paint Cuba as a liberating society, but simply points out that Cuba puts Spain to shame when it comes to homelessness, illiteracy and other social ills. This is true, but has more in common with the revisionist (pseudo-Marxist) idea of socialism as a welfare state than a conception of a liberating revolution in social relations on the road to communism, where human beings are no longer enslaved by the division of society into classes.

This is linked to Hasel's tendency to praise all armed struggles against what he calls imperialism, as though opposing the U.S. and one's own ruling class were sufficient, without caring enough about the social and political content of those struggles, their ultimate goals. And when, as Hasel does, someone calls themselves a communist, and wears a USSR t-shirt, they need to be clear on the difference between the kind of non-liberating and dismal society that the Soviet Union became with the overthrow of socialism after Stalin's death (even while socialist forms were retained for several decades, as in Cuba), and the revolutionary transformations of the previous period, which were taken much further in Mao's China. These are not just old questions; they have everything to do with whether a total social revolution is possible, how, and what that would mean today. When Hasel calls for young people to wage "war for the future", what is that future?

As strong as Hasel's exposure of capitalist rule in Spain, it would be much stronger and his stand even more powerfully attractive if based on a more complete understanding of the basic problem and solution.

The timing of Hasel's initial arrest, on the heels of system-defying protest by massive numbers of Spanish youth and others in those months of 2011, signals something about the fears of the Spanish ruling class. It is also important that hundreds of youth rallied in his defence in his home town of Lerida immediately after. More than a few youth are "looking beyond their own bellybuttons and their personal horizons," as he says, and looking for radical answers.
      (See the PabloHaselOfficial channel on YouTube, including the interview "Entrevista con rapero revolucionario", and the transcribed version on, in Spanish only.)