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The Murderous Spiral in Jerusalem

by David Finkel
November 19, 2014

The killing of four worshippers at Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in western Jerusalem throws a harsh light on the degenerative spiral of murder and mayhem in Israel and Palestine. It also opens a window into how most media coverage prevents the U.S. public from understanding what’s happening.

Secretary of State John Kerry, losing no opportunity to make a pompous fool of himself, proclaimed that “to have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement, of calls for ‘days of rage,’ of just irresponsibility, is unacceptable.” What Kerry means by “incitement” and “irresponsibility,” of course, is that it’s all the fault of the Palestinian leadership. That’s the line of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu--directly contradicted by none other than the head of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, who says the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas isn’t inciting anything.

Kerry didn’t mention how Palestinian bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni, 32 years old and father of two, was found hanged in his vehicle in West Jerusalem one day earlier. Or how the Israeli police spokesperson announced that “no suspicion of criminal activity was found,” borrowing the time-honored custom of U.S. southern sheriffs declaring African American lynching victims as “suicides.” Or what a coincidence it was that this occurred in the wake of multiple attacks by Jewish settlers on Arab taxi drivers in Jerusalem.

The murders in the synagogue immediately became the lead story in world news. The death and probable murder of al-Ramuni was not...

Socialist Angela Walker Wins 20% in Milwaukee Sheriff Race

by Keith Mann
November 7

While the reelection of right wing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attracted most of the local and national media attention in the November 4 elections, there was also a bright spot for the left in Wisconsin. Angela Walker, an African-American bus driver and unionist running as an independent socialist candidate for Sheriff of Milwaukee County, received over 67,000 votes, representing 20.3% of the votes cast. This was a truly remarkable result given a hostile pro-business media which largely ignored her campaign, a limited budget, the lack of an organized political party behind her campaign, and the difficulty of third party and independent candidates to break the stranglehold of the corporation-backed Democratic and Republican parties.

Throughout her campaign, she denounced mass incarceration and police brutality in favor of a program of social justice that attacks the root of the social problems facing minority and working class people. Milwaukee is a city where racial segregation, police brutality, unemployment, and deep social inequality are particularly glaring...

Who Are the Architects of Death?

by Jean Batou
October 25, 2014

According to the latest predictions of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if the Ebola pandemic continues to progress at the current rhythm, it could affect 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone between now and January 2015, leading to the deaths of 700,000 in a year, and thus making Ebola the third leading cause of death from infectious diseases in Africa, after AIDS and respiratory diseases. The two countries most seriously affected could suffer the loss of 10 percent of their populations in a year, if one takes into account the impact of such a catastrophe on food production and the overall health of the populations involved. Our understanding of the causes then is urgent in order to avoid the worst and to prevent similar tragedies in other regions of the global South.

We should first note that this illness seems to have been controlled in Nigeria and in Senegal, and that it seems to have been slowed down in Guinea. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a similar epidemic began at the end of August also seems to have been brought under control, a country that has experience with this disease since 1976. How can we explain then the particular seriousness of the pandemic in Liberia, which has the majority of new cases since mid-August, followed in second place by Sierra Leone? The fact that Guinea has done better suggests that the epidemic began in the forested areas of the south, largely cut off from the northern economy based on bauxite mining, the world’s largest reserve. In fact the south looks toward Liberia and Sierra Leone, which offer it the closest seaports.

Two Years after the CTU Strike: “Reform” Plague Still Spreads

by Rob Bartlett
October 23, 2014

It has been two years since the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) struck for the first time in over 20 years and changed the discourse on education in the United States. The strike was historic in making issues of race and class central to a contract struggle and in garnering public support to defend public education.

The CTU strike confronted the attack on public education championed nationally by Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education, and the national forces in favor of privatization, from the hedge fund-backed Democrats for Education Reform to billionaires like Bill Gates and Eli Broad. Still, the strike amounted to only one battle in a continuing war against public education. What has happened in the intervening two years, and what are the prospects for the next year as the CTU prepares for the expiration of its contract in June 2015?

A central goal of the “education reformers” has been to privatize public education by closing public schools and replacing them with privately run, publicly financed charter schools. In Chicago this process began in earnest in 2004 when the Board of Education, under then CEO Arne Duncan, adopted the Commercial Club of Chicago’s Renaissance 2010 Plan to close and replace “failing” public schools. By 2010, 80 public schools had been closed or “turned around” (a process in which the entire staff is fired) and replaced with 100 new schools, 70 of which are charter schools. In 2012, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) spokeswoman Becky Carroll announced the intention to create another 100 new schools in the next five years...

Bolivia Elects Morales for Another 5 Years: Is Revolutionary Change Still on the Agenda?

by Claire Veale
October 20, 2014

On Sunday, October 12, Bolivians voted to re-elect Evo Morales Ayma, Bolivia’s incumbent president, with an overwhelming 60% of the vote. Morales has indeed gained widespread popular support through his anti-imperialist and socialist policies, with even the World Bank forced to recognise the successes of his social programmes. His government has fallen short, however, of the revolutionary promises it was first elected on. That is why it is important to ask: how far do Morales’ reforms truly go?

Morales' widespread popularity stems from his poor and indigenous background, and his symbolic role in the anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal popular uprisings of the 2000s. Nine years on, Morales’ government has, without a doubt, improved the lives of many Bolivians through the so-called Proceso de Cambio (process of change). owever, it is nearly impossible to truly break from Latin America’s long history of colonial rule and today’s global neoliberalism, which has meant that the government’s policies have fallen short of the promised revolutionary change Evo was elected on. Indeed, many critics from the left have argued that Morales’ government has focused on superficial policy adjustments driven by populist discourse, without tackling the capitalist structures of exploitation.

November 19, 2014
by David Finkel
The killing of four worshippers at Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in western Jerusalem throws a harsh light on the degenerative spiral of murder and mayhem in Israel and Palestine. It also opens a...
November 7
by Keith Mann
While the reelection of right wing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attracted most of the local and national media attention in the November 4 elections, there was also a bright spot for the left in...
October 25, 2014
by Jean Batou
According to the latest predictions of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if the Ebola pandemic continues to progress at the current rhythm, it could affect 1.4 million people...
October 23, 2014
by Rob Bartlett
It has been two years since the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) struck for the first time in over 20 years and changed the discourse on education in the United States. The strike was historic in making...
October 20, 2014
by Claire Veale
On Sunday, October 12, Bolivians voted to re-elect Evo Morales Ayma, Bolivia’s incumbent president, with an overwhelming 60% of the vote. Morales has indeed gained widespread popular support through...

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November 23, 2014
by Keith Mann
The young Karl Marx admired and drew inspiration from their tenacious struggle.1 French belle époque poet and cabaret entertainer Aristide Bruant (subject of a well-known poster by Toulouse Lautrec)...
November 20, 2014
from the Joint Council of UAW Local 2865
At their July meeting, the Joint Council of UAW 2865, the UC Student-Workers' Union, voted to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and to call for a full membership vote to be held...
November 19, 2014
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November 14, 2014
by Harvest Blog
As the historic resistance of YPG/YPJ (Rojava’s heroic People’s/Women’s Defense Forces) fighters against the ISIS gangs goes into its 58th day in Kobanê, the Kobanê Crisis Coordination group...
November 6, 2014
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