May Day: More Important Than Ever (and no, I am not a communist)

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Today is May Day — International Labor Day.
Even though this special day began here in the U.S., in Chicago, corporate powers and their politicians and media have made us forget that glorious history.

And they have created this notion that celebrating the globally recognized workers’ day would automatically mean you are a communist. Celebrating together with the world community automatically would mean you are for a violent overthrow of the government. And most people have bought into that propaganda.

No, I am not a communist, but I believe May Day is very special, as it created for the first time in modern history a new consciousness for the working men and women — not just in America, but around the world. It gave working people hope and strength.

I grew up in Calcutta, and we saw May Day celebrated in a big way. All over India: but with the rise of a Trump-like, race- and religion-bashing government, it has dwindled. In the most advanced and equalized countries in Europe and Latin America, May 1 is still a very special day. People celebrate it with much fanfare, parades, music, and yes, reading books, and watching pro-people movies and theaters.

People here do not know much about the history of the labor movement — either from a global, or an American point of view. People who blast unions ALL benefit from the long and hard struggles our brothers and sisters have took on for many years: 8-hour workday, overtime, weekends off, family leave, sick day…you name it.

The one percent is now 0.0001 percent (as calculated by some of our union brothers and sisters on the last weekend’s class I teach on Long Island) — roughly a few hundred, extremely rich, powerful and violent rulers have taken the country of 330 million over. Labor union here is only 8-10%.

The calculation was like this:

(1) 330 to 3,300 people — extremely rich — have influence the election system in America with their millions of dollar, under the leadership of Koch Brothers.

(2) 330 million people live in America.

Therefore, 330 or 3,300, divided by 330 million = 0.0001 to 0.00001 percent.

(Q.E.D.)

That is the ruling class — horrific, violent, cruel, anti-worker, anti-poor, and extremely rich and powerful.

Today, to be organized with new knowledge, education, and insight, it’s even more important to celebrate May Day — to feel solidarity with the labor movement worldwide. If the corporate powers and their media can unleash their global reign of terror, we can fight back together — globally — and nonviolently.

May Dr. King and Gandhi be our guiding lights.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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May Day Protestors March For Immigration Reform

The Day After the Revolution

DEU Jahrestag Leipzig DemonstrationHere in America, we just had a revolution. America — that is the United States of America.

Yesterday, the revolution finally happened. People — millions of ordinary, working class men, women and children — came out on the street, and chanted slogans. “Love Live the Revolution,” they chanted. “Down with the One Percent,” they shouted. “Power to the People,” was the loudest shout.

We the People won the final battle. We did not shed one drop of blood — on either side. It was a nonviolent revolution. We brought the tyrannical, oppressive, violent, lying and corrupt people in power down from their throne, and then we took over their seat.

We created a people’s government. We decided democratically that it would truly be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It would be a collective leadership, with no one man or woman to be at the top seat of power. All the major decisions — economic, political and social — would be made collectively and democratically. And the decisions would be observed by elected representatives of the entire population. In fact, for those millions of ordinary men, women and families out there, all the major decision-making would be telecast live.

These are some of the first, major decisions we made last night.

Revolution 21. There is going to be no more war. Our government will withdraw all our troops from all corners of the world. Our military or the so-called defense department is going to be dismantled.

2. We are going to use all the billions and trillions of dollars we so far used to create and perpetuate wars, now to create peace across the world, through education, alleviating poverty, hunger and diseases, and peace dialogues by feuding countries.

3. Domestically, we decided that we are going to cut taxes for the poor and middle class, and raise taxes on the super rich, so that the income inequality comes down to a minimum.

Revolution 34. We decided that all our private prisons are going to be destroyed. All the prisoners are going to be given a second chance to a free trial. Death penalty is going to be banished, and rehabilitation programs are going to be created for those who need them.

5. We decided last night that our health care is going to be free for the low-income people, and subsidized for the middle-income. Employment-based health insurance system is going to be terminated, and nobody is going to be denied of health care anywhere. Government is going to be responsible for its people’s health concerns, without depriving people of their individual priorities.

6. Privatization in all spheres — education, health care, environment, employment, banking, etc. — is going to be discouraged. Wall Street and stock markets are going to be regulated and monitored so that they cannot go out of control again.

7. There is going to be very serious effort to bring the environmental pollution and atmospheric CO2 levels to an historic low. Fossil fuels are going to be banned, and replaced by green and sustainable energy such as wind, water and solar powers.

Revolution 48. From the elementary school level, education system is going to be based on equality, peace, diversity, tolerance and science. Arts programs and physical activities are going to be priority. Schools are also going to start a new curriculum on healthy food and lifestyle choices.

We could not make more decisions last night. We were tired, and so were all of the country. We adjourned our policy and decision-making meetings at the crack of dawn, and retired.

When we went to bed, we could still hear the people — millions of them — rejoicing in the street.

Long Live People’s Revolution. Power to the People.

Sincerely,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Post Script. — By the way, this was not a day dream. Last night, I attended a labor arts committee meeting to talk about the September 21 People’s Climate March here in NYC. Some of the above came out of the conversation.

Revolution 5

Ask Yourself: Can 2014 Be Different?

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I challenge you to ask yourself: can 2014 be different from 2013?

Or, from 2012? Or, 2011?

It might seem like a naysayer’s negativity. A doomsayer’s glum.

But, it’s not. It’s an honest, heartfelt question.

I want to believe that 2014 is going to be different from all other years. I want to believe it’s going to be positive. A truly Happy New Year.

I want to wish you a Happy New Year.

But, the question I’m really asking is: what IS happy?

It is not a philosophical question. It is a plain and simple question, grounded in reality.

And because nobody likes long blogs and complicated word games anymore, I’m going to be brief. The fact that so many of you read my blog — from all corners of the world now — is a blessing for me as such.

I’ve been asking this question to myself, more often than ever before.

What IS happy?

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Is happiness individual, or is it collective? Can the society survive and prosper if only a small number of people are doing well, and the vast majority is not?

Is human civilization relevant without the society?

If I am happy myself, with my money, my fame, my new car, my new booming stocks, my spic ‘n span house with a large living room and kitchen like the ones you see on TV commercials, would that be enough reason to be happy?

Is happiness possible if I am going to a prestigious school to be a doctor or lawyer or Wall Street executive or high-tech professional, or say, a famous piano player or cricket player or singer or movie star, and yet at the same time, my cousin who had once taught me how to ride the bicycle has now dropped out of college because his father couldn’t afford the tuition, only because the owners downsized the factory he worked in, and further, his mother is a cancer patient and her treatment has made the family broke, resulting my cousin take up a job as a grocery store clerk and part-time laundry operator?

Is happiness possible if the neighborhood I live in is well guarded and safe and secure and clean and quiet and green, yet at the same time, three blocks away, one young woman who is my niece’s age was molested in broad daylight two days ago, and the girl’s parents were harassed by the local police when they went to report the incident? And that was one of the many such incidents in recent months?

Is happiness possible if the country I live in is one of the richest with prosperous businesses and bell-ringing churches, yet at the same time, my country is responsible for creating and perpetuating violent overthrow of democratic governments and cruel, devastating wars in other parts of the globe, killing and hurting and destroying millions of men, women and children?

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You know me, and you know what I’m talking about.

And it’s not happy talk especially at this time of the year.

So, I am going to stop.

But, truly, honest to God, if 2014 does not show any promise to be different from 2013, or all these other years, when it comes to the above points I’ve just made, then, honest to God, I don’t see any reason to celebrate the new year as a happy and prosperous one.

Because for me, happiness is not possible, unless it is happiness for all.

I want peace, society and equality in 2014.

Peace is like, no violence and war.

Society is like, where people get to know and care for the others.

Equality is like, where prosperity is not a me-only concept.

If you can promise the world is going to go in that positive direction, then I shall sing the next temple or church choir, along with you.

And I promise to talk heart to heart, exactly this way, in 2014 too.

It won’t be different that way either.

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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