[act-ma] 3/26, TUESDAY 7PM EST: Mumia Abu Jamal and Hugo Chavez commentary ~Voices radio

pf soto pfsoto at mynas.com
Tue Mar 26 12:10:16 PDT 2013

Voices From the Frontlines 

*Host: Eric Mann*
*Every Tuesday from 4 - 5pm*
*KPFK Pacifica 90.7 FM Los Angeles, listen live at kpfk.org*

    /*Tuesday,**March 26, 2013 4PM PST:*/

*1. Mumia Abu Jamal in conversation with Eric Mann

2. Readings from Political Prisoners:
Russell Maroon Shoatz and Mumia Abu Jamal

3. Eric Mann Commentary:
"The Life of Hugo Chavez
and the Death of the L.A. Mayoral Elections"*

Mumia Abu Jamal with copy of his book, Live from Death RowRussell Maroon 

*Mumia Abu Jamal

Russell Maroon Shoatz*

We share another conversation between Mumia Abu Jamal and Eric Mann.

Afterward, Eric reads from:

Mumia's book:

*/Live From Death Row/, * 


Russell Maroon Shoatz' book:

*/Readings from Maroon the Implacable/*. 

Hugo Chavez 	

*Eric Mann commentary:*

*"The Life of Hugo Chavez
and the Death of the L.A. Mayoral Elections"*

Eric will also read his commentary on Hugo Chavez. Text below, please 
post comments here. 


The Life of Hugo Chavez and the Death of the L.A. Mayoral Elections 

Eric Mann

On  Tuesday, March 5, 2013 two events happened of diametrically opposed 
moral and historical significance—the end of the life of the great world 
leader Hugo Chavez and the death of the Los Angeles mayoral elections.

In between yawns and “oh, was there some kind of election in the news 
that I missed?” 8 candidates ran in the “fight for the soul-less city” 
mayor race. The results: City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Council 
member Eric Garcetti will run in another soul-less run-off on Tuesday 
May 21 to see who will carry out the bidding of Eli Broad, the downtown 
business elite, the transnational capitalists, and the LAPD for the next 
four years—the job officially called “Mayor of Los Angeles.” This 
election was met with such a yawn that even the “voting class” -- the 
group of middle-class people with no power and the illusion that they 
have some, forgot to vote. (“Hey, did you know that my brother-in-law 
knows Wendy’s nanny who knows Eric Garcetti’s mechanic and they 
said…blah blah blah.”) L.A. like most urban center is a city of color—of 
the 4 million residents 12 percent are Black and 46 percent Latino. But 
you wouldn’t know it by listening to the candidates. Police brutality, 
low-wage and no wage jobs, choking air pollution, police and ICE 
suppression of immigrants, deteriorating social services, were not on 
the agenda—but all the candidates, including Jan Perry, a Black city 
councilperson, debated how many more police they wanted. These are the 
“free elections” that are so free that nobody gives a damn, only 16 
percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls and the rest just 
stayed home and debated whether Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, or Rihanna 
should be number one.

Meanwhile, on the same day, in Venezuela, a true champion of the people, 
the amazing Hugo Chavez, died-- an event of enormous world consequence. 
Hugo Chavez, a man of African, Indigenous, and Spanish ancestry was 
elected president of Venezuela in 1998, re-elected in 2000, 2006, and 
again in 2012.  During the election of 2006, Manuel Criollo and I, 
representing the Labor/Community Strategy Center, were so fortunate to 
have witnessed history. We went not as “impartial observers” but on the 
invitation of friends in Venezuela as partisan U.S. friends of the 
Venezuelan people. On Election Day, we were awakened by bells ringing at 
6 A.M. These were not church bells but bells of liberation—urging 
working class voters to get up and get to the polls before they even 
opened. But that was really not necessary. Most of the voters were awake 
long before the bells rang. By the time we got to the streets at 9AM, 
the lines to vote went on as far as the eye could see--an entire city 
ready to vote. We saw hundreds of thousands of Indigenous working people 
with Chavista hats, banners, red-t shirts, chanting, talking, laughing. 
They were not “waiting” to vote but having a “vote-in” that was an 
all-day event. In one of the more affluent downtown districts, I asked a 
woman of European-descendant, obviously a very affluent voter, what she 
thought of the elections. She told me, “Well, Chavez will win because he 
is for the poor and there are so many of them, but he does not represent 
‘us.’” I thought, well, she certainly knows her place in the class 
struggle, and fortunately, in Venezuela, so does the working class and 
the working people.

That night, the bells rang again, when Chavez won with 63% of the vote 
and a 74% voter turnout. Manuel and I stood in the rain in Caracas, 
along with what seemed like the entire city in the streets, crying with 
joy. It was impossible to explain to people in the U.S., the world’s 
policeman, what a free election feels like and looks like. Certainly no 
one in L.A. could comprehend if they judged by ours. And ironically, as 
soon as Chavez won in free elections again, the U.S. government kept 
referring to him as a “dictator” to justify its plans to overthrow him.

But Chavez got elected because he had a program--social services for the 
poor, free health care, and challenging Yankee Imperialism. As the New 
York Times reported,

“In office, he upended the political order at home and abroad. Inspired 
by Simon Bolivar, the mercurial Venezuelan aristocrat who led South 
America’s 19^th Century Wars of independence, Mr. Chavez sought to unite 
the region and erode Washington’s influence.”  In a 2006 speech to the 
United Nations he said, ‘The hegemonic pretensions of the American 
empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species,” In 
the same speech, he called President George W. Bush “the devil.” (Note 
that “the devil” remarks are repeated endlessly, a good thing in itself, 
but his context of the U.S. Empire is of course left out by the 
journalists of the U.S. Empire.)

As Simon Romero continues in the New York Times: “For years, he 
succeeded in curbing U.S. influence…Fidel Castro was not only an ally 
but also an inspiration.  He forged a Bolivarian alliance with some of 
Latin America’s energy exporting nations like Ecuador and Bolivia, and 
applauded when they expelled U.S. ambassadors, as he had done. He 
asserted greater control of Venezuela’s economy by nationalizing dozens 
of foreign-owned assets, including oil projects controlled by 
Exxon-Mobil and other large American corporations. Though he met 
opposition at home, he enjoyed broad support. He did this in part by 
going into the slums to establish health clinics staffed by Cuban 
doctors and state-run stores selling subsidized food.  These and other 
social welfare programs made the poor feel included in a society that 
had long ignored them.”

Sadly, as we go back to Los Angeles, for now (“Por ahora! As Chavez 
explained”) neither Wendy Greuel nor Eric Garcetti are running on a 
“social welfare state not the police state” campaign. They do not 
propose free medical care or subsidized food and housing—but the 
Strategy Center’s Fight for the Soul of the City does.   So, with the 
Mayoral elections run-off coming up on May 21, we are reaching out to 
candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti to ask them to support our 
vision that includes:

  * Restore one million hours of bus service lower the Monthly pass to
    $42 on the way to creating a first-class, 24/7, zero emission, free
    public transportation system based on a 5,000 MTA bus fleet (more
    than double the current fleet.)
  * Restricting auto use, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gases
    by initiating auto free zones, auto free rush hours, reducing auto
    and truck traffic, and expansion of freeway buses.
  * Stopping police sweeps of LA schools, eliminating police from any
    role in school discipline, and reversing LAPD’s decision to put 600
    “police patrols” inside schools.
  * Reducing, not expanding the size of the police force and the overall
    police budget.

We know there cannot be “free” elections when the corporations control 
our society and the electoral process. But we are asking candidates 
Greuel and Garcetti to consider our alternative to their soulless city 
based on private profit and the interests of the corporatizing, 
policing, privatizing, and polluting classes.  We are building a 
movement in Los Angeles that is based on the Black/Latino strategic 
alliance. We want to encourage a national urban insurgency in alliance 
with the movements of the peoples and nations of the Third World--as we 
continue to Fight for the Soul of the Cities—from Los Angeles to Caracas!

Eric Mann is the director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center, the 
host of KPFK’s Voices from the Frontlines, www.voicesfromfrontlines 
and author of Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful 
Organizer, the Spanish language edition of which, /Camino Para 
Progresistas/, is now available from the Strategy Center, 213-387-2800.

please post comments here. 

you can also email Eric with your comment at: eric at ericmannspeaks.com 
<mailto:eric at ericmannspeaks.com>

      *Voices from the Frontlines* airs every Tuesday from 4-5pm PST on
      KPFK 90.7 FM

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*Eric Mann* is a veteran of anti-war, labor, and environmental 
organizing, working extensively with Congress of Racial Equality, 
Students for a Democratic Society, and the United Auto Workers. Since 
1989, he has been the Director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center. 
He is the author of seven books and two films on social movements and 
organizing theory, including his most recent book,/Playbook for 
Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful //Organizer. /

*His work can be found at VoicesFromFrontlines.com 

*Voices From the Frontlines* is dedicated to helping reconstruct a U.S. 
and world Left. The guests on /Voices /are strategists, tacticians and 
leaders of on-the-ground social movements. Our goal is to develop a 
group of activist listeners who will pressure elected officials, attend 
movement events, march in the streets, join organizations, and help to 
build the movement against racism and empire.

For comments or more information: (213) 387-2800 eric at ericmannspeaks.com 
<mailto:eric at ericmannspeaks.com>


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