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After Iowa and New Hampshire: A Political Revolution Underway?

from the Steering Committee of Solidarity
February 11, 2016

Bernie Sanders' campaign is sweeping like a meteor across the political sky. After a dead heat with Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses and a smashing victory in New Hampshire, his challenge to the establishment is no longer discounted as an amusing sideshow in the world of so-called “real politics.” This is turning into an extraordinary election year in the midst of an extraordinary social crisis. The party establishments that control the Democratic and Republican parties on behalf of the corporate ruling class have lost control of the script--at least temporarily.

Commentators like to portray Sanders and Donald Trump as symmetrical “populist outsiders” responding to working class anger and frustration. But while Bernie Sanders appeals to traditions of social solidarity and shared responsibility for resolving the disasters facing our society, Trump taps into the worst instincts of scapegoating “Others”--Muslims, immigrants, and any other convenient targets.

By contrast, the youth and working class energy that fuels Sanders’ campaign illustrates the profound attraction of his program for single-payer health care, expanded social security, tuition-free public universities, a $15 minimum wage, and “political revolution” against Wall Street and “too big to exist” banks. All of this suggests that America is not in the midst of a mass popular turn to the right...

Assessing the Paris COP and Building on the Outcome

by Alan Thornett
February 5, 2016

The COP21 in Le Bourget Paris in December 2015 adopted an agreement on global warming and climate change, which was signed by all 195 participating countries... It is the first comprehensive agreement after 21 years of meetings and conferences conducted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol applied to just a few countries and was sabotaged by the USA and others. Copenhagen in 2009 broke up in acrimony and emissions were allowed to let rip without any international restriction, legal or political. Much of the media was euphoric about the deal. The governments that signed it hailed it as a great victory: as an historic breakthrough that has delivered a framework for the avoidance of catastrophic climate change.

This is clearly not the case. The deal as it stands is totally (catastrophically) inadequate when set against the scale of the task. There is no doubt about that. It would be wrong, however, in my view, to dismiss it as simply a failure, as if nothing positive was achieved. The issue post-Paris is not just whether the deal reached can resolve the issue of climate change (clearly not), but whether there were gains made that can strengthen the struggle against it. Whether gains were made that can improve the terrain on which the struggle takes place. The deal, from this point of view, is deeply contradictory...

A Michigan City Poisoned: Governor’s Apology Can’t Get the Lead Out

by David Finkel
January 21, 2016

Just weeks ago, Flint’s lead-poisoned water was a local story as the state’s coverup of the disaster crumbled. Today it’s a national and international headline, and most people know the basics: how the state’s appointed “Emergency Manager” for Flint ordered the switchover from Detroit’s clean and safe water system to Flint River water. How anti-corrosive chemicals weren’t added to the heavily polluted and toxic river water, causing it to leach lead from aging pipes directly to the taps and into the bodies of the city’s men, women, and children.
Flint water.
How the state’s Department of Environmental Quality falsified its own test results and lied to the people, telling them that the rust-colored, foul-smelling-and-tasting water coming out of their faucets was perfectly normal and safe.

Snyder has conceded that the Flint water disaster is his “Katrina,” but the comparison is unfair. George W. Bush spectacularly bungled that emergency, but after all he didn’t cause Katrina, which was a massive hurricane compounded by decades of coastal erosion and negligent maintenance of the New Orleans levee system. Governor Snyder directly caused the poisoning of Flint, through the arrogant and cynical exercise of power by an emergency manager who knew nothing and cared less about the most basic issues of running a water system...

February 11, 2016
from the Steering Committee of Solidarity
Bernie Sanders' campaign is sweeping like a meteor across the political sky. After a dead heat with Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses and a smashing victory in New Hampshire, his challenge to the...
February 5, 2016
by Alan Thornett
The COP21 in Le Bourget Paris in December 2015 adopted an agreement on global warming and climate change, which was signed by all 195 participating countries... It is the first comprehensive agreement...
January 21, 2016
by David Finkel
Just weeks ago, Flint’s lead-poisoned water was a local story as the state’s coverup of the disaster crumbled. Today it’s a national and international headline, and most people know the basics:...

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