Saturday, November 28, 2009

Durham County will follow its own zoning rules only if sued

Durham County is not going to revisit the October 12th Jordan Lake watershed zoning vote, unless forced to do so by a lawsuit, so money is being collected to start a lawsuit December 11th.  The County government says it is going to argue that the landowner petition was invalid if sued, though the Planning Department has now reversed its earlier decision, too late for the petition to have mattered.  This is in addition to the developer's lawsuit claiming the County violated their "property rights," though October 12th the County did what the developer wants, but that zoning is not all they need the County to approve in order to build 751 South (which some still call 751 Assemblage).  Below is an appeal from the zoning opponents, which they say to pass along, so I assume it can be posted here.     
"The Durham Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) are leaving signers of the Jordan Lake boundary protest petition no recourse but to sue in order to get justice.

Durham activists have begun a fund to pay the legal fees for individual petition signers who are willing to be plaintiffs in a suit that would uphold the protest petition and stop the lake boundary change.  This decision will affect everyone who cares about Jordan Lake - for drinking water and recreation.

Please send a check (put 'Jordan Lake Protest Petition Suit' in the memo) to "Ragsdale Liggett Trust Account" and mail it to 
Ragsdale Liggett, PLLC
Post Office Box 31507
Raleigh, NC  27622

Time is of the essence. The attorney needs to start work immediately to meet the December 11 filing deadline.

Donations of $100 or more will be refunded in whole or in part if the county is required to pay our court costs. In this case, donations under $100 will be given to the Haw River Assembly for the future maintenance and protection of Jordan Lake.


The Haw River Assembly and Southern Environmental Law Center organized a zoning protest petition that was signed by 24 landowners in the affected boundary change area near Jordan Lake.  The petition exceeded the minimum required, but was deemed invalid by the Durham Planning Department. The BOCC then voted on October 12 to approve the lake boundary change (that clears the way for a massive new development project to be built in what had been a protected watershed zone). SELC and HRA found that the Planning Department had made errors in counting properties in the petition and the  Planning Deptartment now agrees that the petition is valid. A valid protest petition means that the BOCC vote to approve the boundary change  needs a "super-majority"  4-1 vote to pass, which it did not have.  Instead of admitting this mistake and acknowledging that the boundary should not be changed, the BOCC accepted the county lawyer's advice to defend that vote and decision - telling the petition signers to take them to court if they don't like it."  

Defend human rights for immigrants in Durham, December 7th

From DISC and the Durham BORDC:
"Please come out to protect immigrants' rights in Durham County!

On Monday December 7, the Durham Immigrant Solidarity Committee and the
Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee will be on the agenda of the
Durham County Commission work session. This meeting starts at 9:00 am
and is held in the County Commissioners' chambers, on the second floor
of the Old Courthouse at 200 East Main Street. Our goal is to receive a
strong statement from the Commission in this year's Human Rights Day
(Dec. 10) and Bill of Rights Day (Dec. 15) proclamation. We are asking
for support for privacy rights and family integrity for everyone, and
specifically that picture ID cards from other countries (such as the
Mexican Matricula Consular) will be accepted as valid identification at
traffic stops and at other times when identification is required by law
enforcement. This would mean that people would receive citations if
appropriate, but would _not_ be taken to jail and fingerprinted for
minor offenses, which makes them subject to immigration detention and

We hope to have a large turnout at this meeting from the Latino and
other immigrant communities, as well as of immigrants' rights advocates
from all backgrounds and affiliations. Please come and support
protection for the rights of all people who live in Durham County!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is the free speech of NC newspapers guaranteed?

Apparently not for free papers.  According to a detective in the UNC or Chapel Hill Police, it is perfectly legal to maliciously remove papers.  A few months ago the General Assembly made it illegal to vandalize portable toilets, but free newspapers, inherently at risk because they are free and often have small budgets, are fair game.  Vandalizing a newspaper box or rack seems to be illegal, but it sounds like people can get away with that too, especially if there is a question of intent.    
The Independent Weekly says they have not had problems at UNC, but Chancellor Thorp and the UNC Police have been made aware of the vandalism campaign against Triangle Free Press.  Maybe it will even make the police briefs section of the Daily Tar Heel, though the DTH must know about the situation.    

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Anniversaries of two revolutions and one sham, November 7-9

Today in 1917 the Bolsheviks drove out the Kerensky government, putting all power in the hands of the soviets and beginning the socialist stage of the Russian Revolution. That night the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets started, and the next evening it passed decrees on peace and land, and established the Council of People's Commissars, led by Lenin and other Bolsheviks, in coalition with the Left Socialist-Revoluntionaries after the Congress of Peasant Soviets. The Decree on Peace called for a three month armistice to negotiate an end to World War I, and called for the international working class to work for peace and the end of exploitation. The Decree on Land nationalized the land, without compensation, ended rent to landlords, and freely gave more than 400 million acres seized from the monarchy, aristocracy, capitalists, and religious institutions to the peasantry. Forests, waterways, and natural resources were also nationalized. The revolution quickly triumphed in Petrograd, but it took a few more days in Moscow and it took several years to defeat all of the White forces and the imperialist intervention, including US soldiers.

Thanks to the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and socialism, the USSR industrialized and continued to develop at a rabid pace and guarantee social welfare while the capitalist countries suffered through the Great Depression. Counterrevolutionary revisionists were exposed and Nazi collaborators were uncovered, so the USSR did not collapse when the Germans invaded, unlike the countries of Western Europe. The outcome of World War II in Europe was decided by the superior strength of the USSR, and fascist aggression gave way to revolution across Europe and Asia.

Unfortunately the fierce class struggle of the 30's did not defeat revisionism in the Soviet Union, and in fact revisionists seem to have gotten the upper hand, and when they could, persecuted people unjustly and undermined the government. After Stalin died, or was assassinated by the revisionists, in March 1953, they gained complete power and carried out a counter-revolution during the 50's and 60's, and persecuted the real communists. The USSR probably was a useful counterweight to US influence during the Cold War, but it was still led by counterrevolutionaries who staged a coup in the Greek Communist Party in exile, betrayed the Vietnamese Revolution, staged a counterrevolution in Afghanistan, and enabled the first Iraq War.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Albania in 1941, later renamed the Party of Labor of Albania. It formed through the merger of three regional communist groups and was led by Enver Hoxha (born October 16, 1908). Albania was occupied by fascist Italy in spring 1939, and the CPA began in struggle against Italy and later Germany, and their Albanian allies and revisionists, freeing the country and parts of Yugoslavia in late 1944. Then the Albanian communists had to fight British and American intervention, invasion by Greece, and prevent Albania from being swallowed by Yugoslavia and Tito's pro-capitalist Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Ironically, Albania was friendly to the UK and USA, but was rewarded with provocations and paramilitary attacks similar to the "Bay of Pigs" operation in Cuba until 1953. They thought Albania was the weak point of the Warsaw Pact, but Albania uncovered and defeated all of the attacks.

Under the PLA, the severely war damaged economy began to recover and the economy was industrialized. Foreign aid, especially from the USSR, was vital for development, but the revisionist Soviet government under Khrushchev gained power and tried to push its revisionism on Albania. Khrushchev succeeded in undermining most of the communist parties, and all of those with state power in Europe, except Albania, which openly criticized Soviet revisionism in 1960. Later Albania was a leader in the fight against Chinese revisionism. Despite Albania's small size, the Albanian communists upheld Marxism-Leninism and were a progressive, revolutionary force in the world. Revisionism still triumphed there in the late 80's, but the PLA has been rejuvenated, though there is still a lot of work to do, given the embarrassing popularity of GW Bush and Bill Clinton in Albania.

For about a month BBC radio (carried on the local NPR station every day) has been crowing about "Europe's Revolution" in 1989. The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, and ironically Stalin was probably for reunifying Germany, but was opposed by the East Germans. To a revolutionary communist, those events don't have the power the BBC thinks, because the governments that were toppled were led by revisionists, presiding over capitalistic economies. In the USSR, the leadership decided it no longer needed to pretend to be socialist, while China has kept up the sham that it is a socialist country led by a communist party. The European "Socialist Bloc" was toppled from within or fatally weakened by revisionists and the influence of Gorbachev, and to call counterrevolution a collapse is to buy the lie that capitalism, and not just any capitalism, but "free market" neoliberal capitalism, is the natural order of the world. Ironically, in many of these countries there is wide nostalgia for the past (of course decried as a result of lack of education and desire for faded glory by the UK's radio propaganda). Capitalism, bourgeois democracy, and following advice from Western imperialists has brought corruption, unemployment, poverty, and the other ills of capitalism. Thanks to Yeltsin, Russia is run by imperialist autocrats and profiteers and has declining life expectancy and is losing population, while racism is increasing.

The end of the Cold War has not frozen history, and class conflict is spontaneous and inevitable under capitalism, and won't end because the capitalist media says it has. Contrast the change in the revolutionary USSR and Albania with the fraud of Obama. The Bolsheviks got Russia out of WWI, while Obama continues all of Bush's occupations and sanctions and is widening the war in Pakistan, may attack Iran, and continues the attacks on Palestine, Cuba, and other countries, as well as Bush secrecy and cover for torture. We face an economic crisis, and Obama helps the companies that caused it to get richer, while unemployment rises and credit dries up. The Democrats' idea of health insurance reform is to help the private insurers get more customers, and their idea of fighting climate change is making carbon pollution another way to get rich without doing much about greenhouse gas emissions. The US desperately needs to find its communist party and socialist revolution, while the supposedly socialist countries that suffer under revisionism need to renew their revolutions, watering the tree of liberty with blood if necessary, not follow their Gorbachevs and Yeltsins to capitalist poverty, autocracy or virtually meaningless elections (like ours in the USA), and subservience to foreign and domestic imperialism.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What's up with the AML website? II

Alliance Marxist-Leninist's old website ( is going to be replaced. There was an inadvertent lapse in payment and so a company had the opportunity to take the domain name. The content was not lost, but a new website will have to be created for the articles to be available to the public. If you have web design and HTML skills and want to help set up the site and fix the links, let me know.

In other news, a group in the Netherlands is going to translate some AML, Communist League, Compass, and International Struggle Marxist-Leninist articles for a Dutch journal.

Monday, November 02, 2009

City elections tomorrow

Three city council seats and the mayor's office are being contested tomorrow. I think I will vote for the incumbents (Mayor Bill Bell and City Council members Cora Cole-McFadden, Howard Clement, and Mike Woodard. I can't think of anything they have done since the last election that would make it impossible to vote for them and the challengers do not seem to offer better. I will look up more about the mayoral race before voting, but I haven't heard much about the challenger, or about the person running for Woodard's seat.

I won't vote for candidates who support the way the Jordan Lake boundaries have been handled, and I have a lot of doubts about the plan for high-density 751 South. Now it appears that the Planning Department mishandled or sabotaged the landowner petition that would have required a vote 4-1 to change the map, which would have prevented the change from being made (and note that the area could have been developed without any change, just at a lower density). The County Commissioners did what the developer wanted, yet we are still being sued, and now there could be a Haw River Assembly lawsuit too, because the government is not going to revisit the October 12th vote, even if it is found to have ignored its own Unified Development Ordinance rules on petitions. We definitely need more jobs an economic growth in Durham, but I don't believe the developer's economic figures and if developments are approved based on predicted employment growth, no development will ever be turned down, because a capitalist economy is unlikely to ever provide 100% employment here. I think Durham is already too accomodating to developers and companies seeking incentives (a comprehensive survey of the Durham portion of Jordan Lake costing less than $100,000 is supposedly too expensive, yet millions are being given to one company after votes in October). Also, there is already a traffic problem because of development in Durham and Cary, and building so much at the south end of the County will only make traffic worse on 751 and nearby roads. These issues will be discussed by the City Council before 751 South can be built, so this is not just an issue for the County Commissioners. I don't know how the incumbents will vote, but they have not publicly supported what the County Commissioners are doing.

I have voted for Libertarians before, but I am opposed to economic libertarianism and don't see a reason to get rid of Clement. I generally agree with Woodard's votes and he usually replies to constitutent emails, unlike some members of the Council.

You can see the current City Council in action tonight and on the 16th at 7pm. The County Commissioners have regular 7pm meetings on the 9th and 23rd.