Bolsonaro, Acquarius, Riace; Week in Review 6-12 October

In Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, the fascist candidate, came in first in the presidential election. However he didn’t win outright and faces a runoff in three weeks against the ‘leftist’ Fernando Haddad. Calling him a fascist is not an exaggeration. He was a supporter of the military dictatorship and said they didn’t kill enough people; said he’d rather his son were dead than gay; called an opponent “too ugly to rape”; and said some of Brazil’s black population should go back “to the zoo”. But millions will choose him out of desperation at violent crime and economic stagnation (13 million unemployed).

Communism will do away with Bolsonaros and the conditions that create them. Everyone will work and have their needs taken care of. The abolition of private property and the wage system will destroy the material basis of sexism and racism, though it will take some time to integrate society and eliminate all forms of prejudice.

The rescue ship Acquarius is still tied up in the French port of Marseille. It doesn’t have a “flag” (registration). It used to have a Panamanian flag but the neofascist Italian government pressured Panama into withdrawing it. The Acquarius saved 30,000 refugees since 2016. Thousands marched in Marseille to demand that France register the Acquarius.

Meanwhile in Italy a group of Italian activists launched the rescue ship Mare Jonio, under an Italian flag. It’s now cruising off Libya. You often hear that communism is impossible because people are naturally selfish and prejudices. The actions of the crews of the Acquarius and Mare Jonio and the Marseille demonstrators refute this cliche.

Five thousand marched in Riace, Italy, singing Bella Ciao. They were supporting Mimmo Lucano, mayor of Riace, who made his little town a model in integrating refugees. So naturally he was arrested. Yet more evidence that xenophobia is not human nature, rather ‘boss nature’.

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the new chief justice of the US supreme court. Trump called the (obviously true) accusations against him as a “hoax”. Implying that Blasey Ford lied. He apologized to Kavanaugh for all he’s been through – meanwhile Ford can’t return home because of continuous death threats.

Never has it been so clear that it is impossible to reform the system. With a hard right supreme court for the forseeable future nothing will get through – not pro-choice legislation, not pro-union legislation, not healthcare. Even social security and medicare may be suddenly unconstitutional. Communist revolution is the only practical alternative.

Retirees are being squeezed hard in France and the UK. In France, the latest “reform” (dreaded word) leaves the retirement age at 62 but … to get a full pension you have to wait till 63! And this when youth unemployment in France is 20%.

In the UK the retirement age for women used to be 60 … the government raised it to 66 (!) without much warning. Large numbers of women now unexpectedly face 6 years with little income. Many are desperate.

Under communism there will be no retirement. Older people will have the option of working less or not at all without any change in their standard of living. To each according to their needs, young and old.

The Saudi Arabian Government most likely murdered Jamal Kashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and mild dissident. Oh yes, and maybe 100,000 Yemenis. Journalists are very upset about Kashoggi but most likely MBS (the Saudi strongman) will get away with all 100,001 murders.

MBS, Trump, Duterte, Bolsonaro, before them Hitler and Mussolini … capitalism resorts to strongmen when in trouble. Why is that? One theory is that when the capitalists are under pressure, they go for each others throats and only a strongman can make peace and take on the crisis. The problem with strongmen is they have no checks and balances and can behave erratically. MBS is obviously acting up this way but as is usually the case (as it is with Trump) the bosses are willing to put up with a few idiosyncrasies as long as the strongman gets the job done.

In the past communists have had strongmen too but we now see that as a huge mistake. The ICWP follows the practice of the Paris Commune, which had leaders but no infallible Supreme Leader.

The IPCC issued a dire new report on the status of global warming. A notoriously conservative body, the IPCC suggests that if we don’t cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050, the results will be catastrophic. Other climate experts including James Hansen, Richard Alley and Michael Mann have accused the IPCC of underestimating risks and they do not rule out the possibility of 15-20 ft of sea level rise in the coming decades. The report makes implicit references to profits in capitalism without explicitly saying that the underlying capitalist system needs to go, to avoid disaster.

The stark reality is that only a communist system, where the welfare of living beings takes primacy over the profits of the few, will allow us to avoid disaster. Only communism, with a basis in dialectics, facts and scientific inquiry, can provide the ethical and practical infrastructure necessary to combat climate change.

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