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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mbona Mkomunisti?

We Communists believe that socialism is the very best replacement for a capitalist system that has served its purpose, but no longer meets the needs and requirements of the great majority of our people. We believe that socialism will be built according to the traditions, history, culture and conditions of Kenya and Africa in general. Thus, it will be different from any other socialist society in the world. It will be uniquely African.

What will be the goals of our socialist society?

A life free of exploitation, insecurity, poverty; an end to unemployment, hunger and homelessness.An end to national oppression, tribalism, all forms of discrimination, prejudice and bigotry. An end to the unequal status of women.Renewal and extension of democracy; an end to the rule of corporate Kenya and private ownership of the wealth of our nation. Creation of a truly humane and rationally planned society that will stimulate the fullest flowering of the human personality, creativity and talent.
The advocates and ideologues of capitalism hold that such goals are utopian; that human beings are inherently selfish and evil. Others argue that these goals can be fully realized under capitalism. We are confident, however, that such goals can be realized, but only through a socialist society.

Why Socialism?

Since its inception capitalism has been fatally flawed. Its inherent laws - to maximize profit on the backs of the working class - give rise to the class struggle. History is a continuous story of people rising up against those who exploit and oppress them, to demand what's theirs. The ideals of justice and equality have inspired people for centuries. Up until the time of Karl Marx, those that advocated socialism were "utopians", that is, motivated by ideals only. It was Marx and his longtime friend and collaborator, Frederick Engels, who uncovered the inner laws of capitalism, where profit comes from and how societies develop. They transformed wishful thinking for socialism into socialism with a scientific, materialist basis. Communists say that capitalism won't be around forever. Just like previous societies weren't around forever either. Slavery gave rise to feudalism and feudalism to capitalism. So, too, capitalism gives rise to socialism. The Foundations of Socialism Political power would be in the hands of working people. Socialism starts with nationalization of the main means of production - the plants, factories, agri-business farms and everything necessary to produce what society needs. The large monopoly corporations and banks come under public ownership, that is, under the collective ownership of the entire working class and people, who have the leading role in building socialism. Socialism also means public ownership of the energy industry and all the natural resources. It eliminates forever the power of the capitalist class to exploit and oppress the majority. A socialist government draws up plans covering the entire economy. They are drawn up with maximum participation of the people, from the shop level on up. Such plans are achieved because they harmonize the interests of all, because there are no conflicts arising from exploitation of workers and no dog-eat-dog competition. Production increases much faster than under capitalism, with a planned economy, advancement of science and technology, and the protection and preservation of our environment and natural resources. A socialist government is based on all-around democracy, starting with economic democracy. The more people participate in running their own economy, the more firmly people's power is established, the more successful a socialist Kenya will be. Trade unions in a socialist Kenya will insure a fair balance between what workers produce and what they receive. They will have decisive power to enforce safety and health provisions, prevent speedup, and guarantee good transportation, working conditions and plant facilities. Public services - schools, hospitals, utilities, transit, parks, roads - are crumbling under capitalism. And now corporations are "privatizing" government-run, publicly-owned institutions for private profit. Under socialism public services and housing will be vastly improved and expanded. They will be broadened in their scope beyond anything dreamed of under capitalism. Kenya. will become a vast construction site. Homes, schools, hospitals, places of recreation will be built to end shortages, replace substandard infrastructures and public facilities. Jobs and Education for All Full employment will be quickly achieved as production is expanded to satisfy the needs of people. Automation at the service of the working people will lead to both reduced hours of work and higher living standards, with no layoffs. There will be no danger of over-production since production will be planned and people's incomes will increase in line with the rising output of consumer goods and services. Poverty will be ended quickly with the recovery of the vast resources now wasted in war production, corporate profits and the extravagent lifestyles of the filthy rich. All education will be tuition-free. Every person will have access to unlimited medical and health care without charge. These rights will be realized as rapidly as facilities can be built and the personnel trained. With capitalism gone, crime will also begin to disappear, for it is the vicious profit system that corrupts people and breeds crime. To Each According to Their Work. Some ask whether guaranteeing basic necessities, free education, low-cost housing and health care will encourage people to avoid working, or doing their best. The principle of socialism is: From each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her work. Socialism provides incentives for working better, producing more and higher quality goods, acquiring advanced skills. It does not equalize wages. Wages vary according to occupation and efficiency, although everyone is guaranteed a liveable wage. Under capitalism, improvements in skill, organization and technology are rightly feared by the worker, since they threaten jobs. Under socialism, they offer the chance to make the job more interesting and rewarding, as well as to improve living standards. Socialism provides moral incentives because the fruits of labor benefit all. No person robs others of the profits from their labor; when social goals are adopted by the majority, people will want to work for these goals. Work will seem less a burden, more and more a creative activity, where everyone is his/her neighbor's helper instead of rival. It is true socialism will nationalize or socialize all large-scale production, property and real estate. But socialism does not abolish all privately-owned business. It does not require nationalization of those small businesses owned by people who work for themselves. Personal property - private homes, automobiles, etc., - will remain just that, personal property. In highly mechanized Kenya, agriculture will still be a place for the family farmer. But the farm family will be relieved of the pressure of agribusiness monopolies. There will be rapid abolition of national oppression. Socialism will bring complete equality for all tribally and nationally oppressed. There will be no compromise with tribalism, for there will no longer exist a capitalist class which profits from it. Tribalism, sexism, anti-immigrant discrimination and all forms of prejudice and bigotry will be banned by law, with strict measures of enforcement. Affirmative action will be expanded immediately to undo and make up for hundreds of years of the ravages of racism. Full equality will be one of the main priorities of the new society. War propaganda will be outlawed. The only privileged sectors will be the children and seniors, who have earned the right to a healthy, happy, secure retirement. The children will reap all the benefits of socialist child care, free nurseries and schools with the very best facilities and teachers. Children will have wonderful recreational and sports facilities. They will have the option to choose whatever career they wish, and the free education and training to achieve it. Socialism provides the economic foundation for effective democracy for the masses of people. To carry through the socialist economic and social transformation requires political rule by the working class - a government of, by and for the working people. Socialist Kenya will benefit from the experiences, the mistakes and succesess of the countries who built and are building socialism. But mainly it will reflect the distinctive features of Kenya's development and environment, like the natural resources, fertile soil and perfect weather, coupled with the contributions of generations of working people, enables capitalism to achieve higher productive levels and living standards than capitalism in other countries. So, too, the development of socialism here will have some distinct advantages. We have a highly developed industrial society with a highly trained and educated work force.Free from foreign intervention, socialism will not have to divert human and economic resources to defend itself.Kenya will avoid the terrible problems of extreme poverty, illiteracy, civil wars and wars of intervention .Kenya will extend democracy to its fullest, taking as its starting point the democratic traditions and institutions of the Kenyan people.

Path to Socialism.
We say that it may be possible in Kenya, to bring socialism through peaceful means. Perhaps through the ballot box. One thing is clear, there won't be socialism in Kenya, until the majority of the Kenyan people want it. I like to say that when workers enter the corporate board rooms to take over and the ruling class says: "O.K. you're right, we made a mess of things and now you should run it all." Well then there won't be any trouble. But if the ruling class says: Forget it! And call out the army and the police, then that is how revolutions become violent. It starts with the ruling class. Workers and their allies have to defend themselves and to fight for what is rightfully theirs. We believe and advocate that a socialist society in our country will guarantee all the liberties defined in the Bill of Rights but never fully realized. These include the right of people to express themselves fully and freely through organizations of their choice and competing candidates who respect and are guided by the concept of building socialism. Indeed, the freedoms in the Bill of Rights will take on far greater meaning for the great majority, who will now own the meeting halls, press, radio and TV, and will be able to exercise that freedom effectively. That's why we call ours Bill of Rights Socialism, Kenya. Socialism is our vision for Kenya's future. It is a vision we are winning more and more people to because it is logical - really a great - replacement for capitalism. And because it is the next inevitable step up the ladder of human civilization.

Benedict Wachira
Borrowed from-the communist

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kenyan women: Stand up and lead us

Why Kenyan women must come out and lead
There other day I went this political forum, where the going was all smooth until we got to the plenary. The plenary discussion itself didn’t have any problems. The problem (at least with me), began when the Man who was facilitating it, decided to deny me a chance so that he could give a chance to a woman. Again, giving a chance to a woman was not the problem, no. the problem was that, there was no woman who had lifted her hand up, and the fellow have to plead with the women for about one and a half minutes, and finally, one of them decided to break the silence, and went ahead to give a short presentation which had nothing to do with what the forum was all about (though I can’t blame her, she probably was desperate to end this deadlock brought about by this facilitator!). The fellow was purporting to be doing this for the sake of gender parity. I would not like to look like some gender chauvinist, especially given that in some regions in Kenya, women have been taught not to speak amongst men. But this forum was being hosted at one of the major colleges in Nairobi, and other than the students, young professional were among us.
Being the open minded person that I am, who speaks his mind out, I showed my displeasure with the incident when I was given my chance to speak (of course, after first presenting what was relevant to the forum). After my speaking of my mind out, very many women lifted their hands to speak, rather, to protest against my statement, demanding that I withdraw it.

I have always admired strong women who have been remarkable and leaders of leaders in their own right, from the iron ladies of Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher (though would not agree with them on principle), the likes of indira Gandhi and Serleaf Johnson, to Winnie Mandela and Wangari Mathaai.
There is actually this painting of the French liberty woman by Eugene Delacroize which I admire a lot (not her half-nakedness, but the way she leads the revolution with a flag on one hand and a bayonet on the other).

As a kid, I used to be owed by the legend of wangu wa Makeri who used to rule over the Kikuyu men, and as a high school student, the stories of women who participated in Maumau, both in the trenches and as non-combat  soldiers would take me off my feet.
These are women who had to rise above many difficulties, from religious setbacks, to unfair cultural settings………. And this brings me to our women today.

Why is it that Kenyan women take (or are taken to) the back seat, when it comes to leadership whereas it is a well known fact that women are more resilient than men, women are physically, yes, physically stronger than men, women have better communication skills than men, women can easily multi task, women can attract sympathy and even empathy in almost all situations (including where they are wrong) among many other advantages over men?
Taking an example of our mothers, even when times are so hard, they maintain their cool, calm and are collected. They do not run from responsibility. They stand for what is right. They are prudent and careful, and they are extremely hard working.
In my opinion, the strong women, the women of substance, most of the women out there are not aware of their potential. Then there are those who are aware of their potential, but are waiting for others to make the moves.
Women need to stand up and push for non partisan non sexist change in this country. Women should stand up and give leadership for this country. Women must stand up and finish the revolution that was started by the Maumau, and stabilized by the liberators of the 80s.
But in order for women to lead, in order for them to finish the revolution, they need to collectively rise above kitchen pettiness, maedeleo ya wanawake (and other reactionary, pacification groups), self-doubt, jealousy and blind loyalty to other women(some women will support one of their own, even when they are wrong, for the mere fact that they are women! This in turn leads to general dismissal of women, based on the mis-performance of these individual women)
The woman just needs to have a clean history, be courageous, be confident, should appear as a leader for everyone (non-tribal, non-regional, and above all, non-sexist), and above all, she should be just a woman, not a male wanna be.
She should also be ready for chauvinistic abuses, threats and all that goes on in Kenyan politics.

Otherwise, for the time being, we are waiting!!!!!

Benedict Wachira Mamluki