Solidarity's webzine offers frequent dispatches on the politics, culture, activism and theory of the day. It's interactive blogging for activists who are socialists and socialists who are activists. What are you waiting for? Join in the conversation!
October 13, 2016
The outpouring of grief and anger following the August 13 police killing during a traffic stop of Sylville Smith, a 23 year old Black man who became the latest victim of police related violence in the city of Milwaukee, can only be understood against the backdrop of systematic police violence, oppression, discrimination, and poverty. Milwaukee is the most segregated city in the country and the worst place for Black people as seen in virtually every social index from unemployment rates, multiple...
October 12, 2016
It isn’t nice to block the doorways,
It isn’t nice to go to jail,
There are nicer ways to do it,
But the nice ways always fail...
Yeah, we tried negotiations
And the token picket line,
Mister Charlie didn’t see us
And he might as well be blind;
When you deal with men of ice,
You can’t deal with ways so nice,
But if that’s freedom’s price,
We don’t mind...
— “It Isn’t Nice,” by Malvina Reynolds (1965)
Tammy Brewer, The great-granddaugher of a Keokuk chief, climbed a steep...
October 7, 2016
The interview below, originally published on the RS21 website, was conducted before the October 3 Black Monday strike organized against the new and more restrictive abortion law proposed by Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS). Over 100,00 women in 90 cities throughout Poland participated, walking off their jobs, out of their homes and classrooms into the streets dressed in black. The size and determination of this and previous actions by Polish women took the government by...
September 23, 2016
AGAINST THE CURRENT interviewed Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president in 2016 following its convention at the end of July. The Green Party vice-presidential candidate is Ajamu Baraka.
Against the Current: How do you answer the question that the only thing that counts is beating Trump?
Jill Stein: That’s the question we get every election. It’s the question we get most in this election. It’s what the Democrats said in 1964 about Goldwater. “Part of the way with LBJ.”...
September 13, 2016
In a surreal and bitterly polarized election year, there is one issue on which the majority of voters, left to right, agree: Flush the Trans Pacific Partnership. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders ran against the TPP, and Hillary Clinton says she opposes it after she used to support it.
There is also one issue on which the established leadership of the Republican and Democratic parties, amidst all the infamous gridlock of Congress, agree: they want the TPP. And it’s just possible that in the...
September 6, 2016
In 2007 the Wayne State Board of Governors (BoG), at the behest of a shortsighted Administration, terminated the one department at WSU dedicated to an “open admissions” policy for working adults wishing to pursue a degree. Of the six Democrats on the BoG, four of them (including one white male union official), as well as the two Republicans, voted with the Administration, ending an internationally recognized program that began in 1973.
This disastrous decision not only shut off welcoming...
August 25, 2016
Nnamdi Scott running as an independent candidate for a seat on the Baltimore City Council, representing the Seventh District. The West Baltimore district is home to Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray lived, and Mondawmin Transit Center, where students’ response to a transit shutdown as school was getting out shortly after Gray’s death in police custody sparked citywide protests and a police crackdown. District Seven is also the site of Coppin State University, one of Baltimore’s two...
August 24, 2016
On the steamy evening of July 27 in Philadelphia a raucous audience of close to 800 gathered to discuss electoral politics and movement-building. This was day three of Socialist Convergence, organized by a coalition of left organizations to create a socialist presence during the Democratic National Convention. Our target participants were the Sanders delegates and supporters who had promised to challenge the party’s lack of democracy and to organize protests in and around the convention that...
August 15, 2016
On July 19, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to turn down the application for export of coal to Asia through a bulk commodities terminal under construction at the city’s port. This followed an earlier June 27 vote at a special council meeting. The developers of the proposed coal export facility--who were offered $53 million by Utah coal interests--are expected to sue. It’s an important victory for the residents of Oakland and the result of a popular mobilization. Under the...
August 19, 2016
A year after marriage equality was legalized nationwide, and two months since the June 12 massacre at a gay club in Orlando, the LGBT movement confronts a contradictory future. Although Orlando dramatized that violence against LGBT people persists, fueled by rightwing politicians’ hateful attacks, great victories have been won, and public acceptance of queer people has expanded to levels that once seemed unimaginable.
But some of these victories have been constrained by the social structures...
July 22, 2016
Incredibly privileged gay white man comfortably speaking for all the oppressed? Just no.
Acting as though political change in the US progresses in some gradual, arithmetic way from local races to national races? Just no.
(How could anyone think this after just watching the Bernie Sanders campaign? Yes, I’m aware that it happened within the context of a Democratic primary. But we just watched one of the two most significant insurgent, progressive presidential campaigns in the last 40 years, and...
July 21, 2016
Kwame Somburu was born in New York’s Harlem Hospital in 1934 as Paul Boutelle, but changed his name in 1979. He died of kidney cancer on May 3, 2016 in Albany, NY. His father, Anton Boutelle, was an electrician; his mother, Ann May Benjamin, worked as a seamstress. A proud Black nationalist, socialist, atheist, and anti-imperialist, Kwame combined political activism with running for public office as an independent candidate.
Kwame sold the Great Books of the Western World series door to door,...
July 19, 2016
If you believe that a better choice is possible, a movement for political revolution also needs an electoral expression. In this election, the best expression at the national level of what all of us have been fighting for is the Green Party campaign of Jill Stein. Solidarity supports that campaign as a way to support the political revolution in 2016.
Looking not only toward November but also beyond, especially to Bernie Sanders’ supporters who reject the dead-end option of Hillary Clinton, we...
July 8, 2016
Last night, during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas called in response to the killings of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile, one or more snipers shot at least a dozen police officers. As of now, five are dead, as is at least one suspect in the shooting. Before his death in a standoff with police, the suspect indicated that he was upset with police shootings and with Black Lives Matter, and that he wanted to kill white people. He said he was working alone, and has no connection to Black...
July 1, 2016
Suzi Weissman: Welcome to Beneath the Surface, I'm Suzi Weissman. I'm extremely pleased to have Pedro Paulo Zahluth Bastos back with us. He's in Campinas, Brazil, that's not too far from São Paulo; it's the university there. He's a professor of political economy, and the co-editor of The Era of Vargas, and he's joining us to talk about this continuing profound crisis in Brazil.
June 30, 2016
After a bitter and deeply reactionary campaign, Britain voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48% on June 23. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Nigel Farage, is celebrating his victory together with his chums on the hard-right Eurosceptic wing of the Tory Party. His far right friends across Europe, from Marine le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and similar people in Germany, Austria, Italy, and places beyond are rubbing their hands in glee while working out how best...
June 24, 2016
Now that Donald Trump, an overt racist, has wrapped up the Republican nomination for US President, a chorus of voices is proposing a “left strategy” which can “defeat Trump” by electing the more covert racist, Hillary Clinton, whom the Democratic Party will almost surely be nominating. See, for example, the articles by Linda Burnham, Max Elbaum, Bill Fletcher, and Bob Wing.
There are two premises which underlie this viewpoint. First, that it is better for the left (for the progressive...
June 22, 2016
Since the Mexican government passed an alleged "educational reform"--actually a reform that profoundly affects working conditions, attacks job security and the rights of unions to organise in the sector--through Congress, education workers have maintained strong resistance.
The government of Peña Nieto tried to break the resistance of workers in education, especially teachers, in several ways. One was to compel teachers to undergo an educational assessment, which is a punitive measure and would...
June 20, 2016
The killings perpetrated at the Pulse lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) nightclub in Orlando in the United States leave us in profound grief. Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones, predominantly from the Latino community, and all the victims of hate crimes against LGBTIQ people around the world. We are participating in and initiating solidarity rallies, in many countries grieving over the biggest concentrated slaughter of LGBTIQ people since the Second...
June 11, 2016
The Bernie Sanders campaign represented a breakthrough on the U.S. left--not because the insurgency within the Democratic Party offered a new opportunity to transform the graveyard of social movements, but primarily because the campaign surfaced a growing desire of millions for a left program and opened a much larger space to talk about socialism, while also exposing the limitation of the Democratic Party.
Inside the July 25-28 Democratic National Convention (DNC), Sanders’ delegates will be...
May 28, 2016
While the machinery of deportation has reached an unprecedented scale in recent decades, its roots are both deep and critical for understanding its place in modern U.S. society. The massive infrastructure for removal that looms over the nation’s immigrant population has its underpinnings in the early 20th century.
This article will examine the growth of the deportation regime during the 1920s, and explore the enduring ramifications of early deportation practice and the renegotiation of the...
May 17, 2016
Glenn Shelton, a retired president of Michigan Mailhandlers Local 307 who never stopped fighting for the rights of working people, and a member of Solidarity, died March 24 after a battle with cancer. He was preceded in death by his wife Rosemary Jackson-Shelton only weeks earlier. We mourn these losses.
Glenn hoped to be remembered as someone who “loved his people, his family and his friends,” and as “the type of person who showed us that we can fight what is evil in the world without...
May 3, 2016
The Detroit Public School system (DPS) has been under state control for 15 years, the last decade under the direction of a series of Emergency Managers. The result has been a staggering debt, now more than half a billion dollars, with a 50% decline in the number of students served. More students attend charter schools than the public system, but as there is no oversight over charters, poorly run schools continue year after year.
Over the past decade 160 Detroit schools of various types have...
May 1, 2016
We all know that there’s something different about today’s working class. One obvious difference is that today’s working class produces fewer things “you can drop on your toe,” as The Economist famously put it, and more that you can’t. What’s actually changing in capitalist production in the United States?
While Marx mostly spoke of industrial workers who extracted or made goods, he did not, in fact, define the proletariat by what commodities it produced. As he wrote in Capital,...
April 29, 2016
Against the Current: What does the recently announced “cease fire” in Syria mean, and what are the chances it will hold?
Gilbert Achcar: Please note, first of all, that it is not officially called a cease-fire but rather a “cessation of hostilities.” The main difference is that Russia and the Syrian regime, and the US-led coalition, will continue to fire on so-called terrorist forces, supposedly meaning ISIS and the Nusra Front.
For Russia and the Assad regime, this can be seized as a...
April 19, 2016
American Indian activist Leonard Peltier has been imprisoned for 40 years for a crime he did not commit. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to free him! Demand that President Obama take action to grant executive clemency!
Designated a political prisoner by Amnesty International, Peltier is the highest profile American Indian prisoner incarcerated in the United States. He has always maintained his innocence and has emphatically maintained that his continued persecution by the U.S. government...
April 17, 2016
Nine years after the outbreak of the financial crisis that continues to produce damaging social effects through the austerity policies imposed on victim populations, it’s time to take another look at the commitments that were made at that time by bankers, financiers, politicians, and regulatory bodies. Those four players have failed fundamentally in the promises they made in the wake of the crisis: to moralise the banking system, separate commercial banks from investment banks, end exorbitant...
April 11, 2016
The conference for a plan B, which was held in Madrid from 19 to 21 February 2016, is the most important international policy initiative in the Europe of austerity, following on other meetings of this type, whose profile and audience were more restricted. It aimed to articulate political and social alternatives and to project strategic debates on a European scale. As necessary as it is difficult, the international arena has been a space for struggle, exchanges and reflection in the chiaroscuro...
April 6, 2016
Surreptitiously--like bandits who prey on their victim--and undemocratically, the elite which owns finance and the multinationals is driving the implementation of new “Free Trade Agreements”: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP); the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); and the Trade in Services Agreement (TSA).
As on previous occasions--when the treaties that gave birth to the European Union or the North American Free Trade Agreement were imposed--the dominant classes...
March 28, 2016
In the past many years, the Awami Workers Party has mourned and condemned many attacks. Today, we sit heartbroken, condemning yet another.
March 24, 2016
The LCR-SAP condemns in the most energetic fashion the cowardly terrorist attacks that were perpetrated on 22 March in Brussels. No political or religious motivation can be an excuse for these heinous crimes. The LCR-SAP expresses its support and its profound solidarity with all the innocent victims of this blind violence.
The LCR-SAP also calls for greater democratic vigilance in the face of the new warmongering, racist, and Islamophobic security drive that these terrible events are likely to...
March 23, 2016
It's hard to believe that our twitchy governor, John Kasich, is thought to be the most reasonable and moderate of the Republican presidential candidates. He’s never been that sensitive, no matter how many hugs he gives on national television. This is the governor who, after being ticketed for a traffic violation, called the policeman an “idiot;” the man who went to Cleveland and told Browns football fans that he rooted for their arch-rival, the Steelers.
But Kasich’s real loyalty has...
March 9, 2016
On March 2nd the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Whole Women’s Health vs. Hellerstedt. The judges will be deciding the constitutionality of a 2013 Texas bill (HB2) that places restrictions on clinics where abortions are performed—most performed within the first eight weeks of pregnancy. Before the law was passed, Texas had 41 clinics where abortions were performed. When the law first went into effect half shut down.
While the requirements were motivated by anti-abortion...
March 7, 2016
Middle Tennessee State University's ROTC building, Nathan Bedford Forrest Hall, is named after the Confederate general, slave owner, and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The building was named shortly after the Brown v Board of Education (1954) ruling in 1958. The name was an attempt to stall the desegregation of the university which didn't occur until 1961. Records show students have been actively protesting the name of the building since at least 1968. Before the current movement...
March 6, 2016
On February 4, hundreds of concerned residents traveled from north and south in California to demonstrate and testify at hearings against Phillips 66’s proposal to bring in 150 crude oil trains a year to the California county of San Luis Obispo. Trains would be travelling some distance to reach the proposed train spur. The SLO County Planning Commission convened the hearings 18 months after Phillips 66 made the initial proposal. Residents near the proposed Nipomo site immediately started door...
February 16, 2016
Matt Meyer of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, in association with the National Boricua Human Rights Network, has issued an international call for actions on Monday, June 20, demanding Freedom for Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera. That’s the first day of testimony this year being held by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization in New York. A public demonstration in support of Rivera is planned at UN headquarters. The goal is to have some kind of...
February 15, 2016
Dr. Arthur Lipow, 81, of Alameda, CA passed away peacefully on Jan. 6, 2016, with his wife Gretchen by his side. Dr. Lipow grew up in Southern California and attended high school in Pasadena. He received his B.A. in sociology from UCLA in 1955. He then studied under Professor Seymour Martin Lipset at UC Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in political sociology in 1969.
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...
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...
January 26, 2016
Robert Caldwell: Please tell the readers something about yourself. How did you first come to challenge racist mascots?
Amanda Blackhorse: My name is Amanda Blackhorse from the Diné tribe, or what is known as the Navajo Nation. I am from Big Mountain and Kayenta, Arizona on the Navajo Nation.
January 25, 2016
2015 was another in a series of very bad years for Mexico. Mexican working people continued to experience the difficulties of a stagnant economy, the violence of the drug war, repression of labor and social movements, and the rule of corrupt political parties. Few workers had legitimate labor unions with which to resist employer and government policies, and fewer had the desire to engage in strikes. Yet some workers--teachers in southern Mexico, farm workers in Baja California, and maquiladora...
January 23, 2016
The problems in the Detroit Public Schools that have been highlighted by recent teacher sickouts are not new. The district’s reputation is built on shabby buildings, oversized classes, and frustrated teachers. The schools are under resourced and the impacts of poverty continue to shift the focus away from learning, as the immediate needs of the students have to come first. The district has been placed under state control for the last several years. A steady rotation of emergency managers has...
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...
January 21, 2016
This Sunday [January 17--ed.] we celebrate the anniversary of our first public act: the press conference at the Lavapiés Theater District in Madrid in which we were lucky to participate. We have built a great organization which has managed in two years of history to produce a storm of enthusiasm for change and has become a reliable electoral tool. We have helped to open a new cycle in which public life is no longer split in two and, above all, we have repoliticized society in a moment in which...
January 11, 2016
After the Portuguese general election last October, it seemed unlikely that the actual outcome could have made such a long run. The Socialist Party, led by Antonio Costa, had to choose between its utter surrender to the center-right or a shift to the left, pressured by the relative majority of the right-wing coalition that governed in Portugal during the troika years on the one side, and a rising left on the other. Left Bloc’s pressure to drop the right-wing government and sustain a Socialist...
January 9, 2016
California has what's called a Mediterranean climate, which means it has two seasons, wet and dry. The wet one usually starts in November and lasts through the winter and early spring and is characterized by rain, and snow in the northern part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the dry season, from mid-spring through October, there is little or no rain. In recent years the wet season has become shorter and with less rain and snow, while the dry one has lengthened and grown hotter. This reached...
January 6, 2016
Claudio Katz: In my opinion, the so-called progressive cycle of the last decade in South America has been a process resulting from partially successful popular rebellions (Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador) that altered the relationship of forces in the region. They allowed us to take advantage of higher prices for raw materials and dollar income in a way that differed considerably from what prevailed in other periods. During this interval, neo-developmental and distributionist economic...
January 4, 2016
Three years ago Chicago teachers defied the corporate-led attack on public education and went on a successful strike, widely supported by the public and parents, to support public education in all neighborhoods of the city. The context of that fight was the takeover of the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) leadership by the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), with their goal of fighting the privatization of public schools and defunding of neighborhood schools through building alliances with...
December 29, 2015
The catastrophe that Syria has become, and the unfathomable refugee crisis it has unleashed, is a stark mirror reflection of the real condition of a failed world system. We have stated in previous editorials that “imperialism creates problems that it cannot solve,” which in these circumstances is a major understatement. It has figuratively--and literally--planted bombs all over the Middle East and elsewhere, blowing whole societies apart, overwhelming neighboring countries and casting...
December 28, 2015
Puerto Rico has been in the news lately, particularly the financial news. The possibility that its government may default on part of its $73 billion public debt has drawn the attention of Wall Street analysts. The New York Times has deemed the situation worthy of several editorials. More often than not, the island is offered as a yet another lesson on the consequences of “big government” and of too generous social provisions. Other factors are rarely mentioned--such as the tax privileges of...
December 17, 2015
We fight dictatorships, imperialist aggression, and Daesh. We reject the politics of “national security,” racism, and austerity. It’s time to mobilise!
Over recent months, people across the Middle East have been hit by an intensification of conflict in Syria and Iraq. That escalation has been sponsored both by global imperialist powers--chiefly the USA, Russia, and European countries--and regional imperialist actors including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Iran. These conflicts are the...
December 16, 2015
The 2015 UAW/Big Three contracts took 67 days and multiple attempts to ratify, resulting in what most autoworkers see as a partial victory.
After confidently strutting during last summer’s bargaining convention, the UAW leadership never attempted to organize workers for a contract campaign. Having suspended their right to strike at the time of the 2008-09 financial crisis, GM and Chrysler/Fiat (FCA) workers were able to rejoin Ford workers this time around in being able to utilize their strike...
December 10, 2015
Let me begin by saying how very saddened I am by the recent ISIS atrocities in Paris, Beirut, and on the
Russian plane. The media and politicians have focused on Paris, as if there were a hierarchy of victims. But
such hierarchy is in fact a feature of our world‐system, which is what I want to focus my remarks on. When
we analyze occurrences such as the ISIS atrocities, we need to take into account both endogenous factors
and forces and exogenous factors and forces. That is to say, jihadism...
November 25, 2015
An enemy ideology is tunneling within U.S. society, intending to take over and establish its state and social supremacy. Most of the time it moves mainly undercover, but will seize any opportune moment to leap from the shadows and proclaim its aims openly. It is deeply hostile to democratic values, religious (and irreligious) freedom, women’s rights, and racial equality. It’s not something new in our country, but it’s capable of shifting forms and appearances as circumstances permit.
November 23, 2015
With Bernie Sanders running for president as a self-described socialist, it’s a good moment to talk about what the socialist vision looks like. Here is a general overview from a veteran of the socialist movement.
Human Needs Come First
Socialism means that the 99% would be setting society’s priorities, instead of the corporate elite. Like the formal guarantees of freedom of speech and association in the Constitution, serving human needs would become a bedrock principle. Instead of pitting...
November 17, 2015
Those who died last night are ours.
In a restaurant terrace, in a bar, in the street, in a concert hall.
Dead because the murderers decided to strike in the middle of Paris and shoot into a crowd with the aim of creating as many victims as possible.
Sarkozy appears on TV to declare: "We are at war."
November 14, 2015
The horrible attacks which took place in Paris on Friday evening, killing 120 people and causing dozens of casualties, this blind violence provokes revolt and indignation. The NPA shares these feelings and expresses its solidarity with the victims, with their close relations. This tragedy is even worse in that it hit innocent victims, the murderous attacks were aimed at the population. This contemptible cruelty in central Paris responds to the equally blind and even more fatal violence of the...
October 21, 2015
This is not an "ecological struggle" in the sense of a kind of luxury struggle for those who do not have too many social problems. It is a social struggle to preserve the conditions of existence on this planet, especially for the working class, women, youth, peasants, indigenous peoples--in short the exploited and oppressed that capitalism threatens to sacrifice en masse. The struggle that we must wage for the environment is a class struggle, an anticapitalist struggle that encompasses virtually...
October 16, 2015
The lead poison water crisis in Flint, Michigan—with a 43% poverty rate, the poorest city in the country—was caused by Governor Rick Snyder and the Emergency Manager he appointed, Darnell Early. By September 2015, tests by Flint’s Hurley Medical Center confirmed that the city’s children had elevated lead-blood levels, and in the most at-risk neighborhoods the percentage of children affected by lead poisoning had doubled. Experts say that lead poisoning is so toxic that there is no...
October 13, 2015
At 9:30 yesterday morning, Turkish citizens opposed to their government’s war policies gathered at the Ankara Train Station for a demonstration organized by a broad alliance of organizations: the country’s two main oppositional labor unions (DISK and KESK), the national Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), the Medical Association (Tabipler Birliği), and the June Movement (Haziran Hareketi) formed in 2013 to give lasting organizational form to the Gezi Park protests, to name a few....
October 8, 2015
Why are so many people attracted to Bernie Sanders’ campaign? The self-described socialist has won the support of millions. More than 100,000 people were excited enough to attend 3,500 meetings throughout 50 states on July 29. By the end of September he'd received donations from 650,000 people—including $25.5 million mostly in small donations in just three months. On the labor front, he held a conference call of 26,000 union members in September, with 1,350 of them volunteering to work on...
October 3, 2015
China’s slowing economy, especially its weakening export sector, has framed the recent wave of labor protests in the manufacturing sector. Seven years after the Great Financial Crisis, China has been dealing with unstable export market in the North America and Europe. While the government puts the economic growth rate at a steady 7 per cent, there are visible signs of economic distress reflected in declining industrial activities. And there is no easy fix. In fact, the government has hoped to...
September 24, 2015
NOTE ON OCTOBER 2nd: Since this article was published, Chrysler workers turned down the contract by a resounding 65% NO vote. The big issue was the fact that had this agreement passed tiered wages would continue, and even expand. UAW officials are still trying to figure out what to do next.
September 23, 2015
The earth's climate is changing quickly, much faster than experts thought. There is no doubt what is causing this: the warming of the atmosphere as a result of emissions by greenhouse gases, mainly CO2 from the burning of oil, coal, and natural gas. The Earth has warmed by 0.8°C degrees over the last two centuries. This is sufficient to cause a rise in sea levels by almost two metres in the centuries to come. Nobody can stop it. Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to move, millions of...
September 21, 2015
African-Americans have been murdered by white mobs, vigilantes, and “law enforcement” from the time of slavery to, quite possibly, this morning. The fundamental reason for the killing of African-Americans by whites has been fear by many whites of all classes that the existing rules of racial hierarchy, that is, white supremacy, are endangered--whether by slave uprisings, Blacks threatening white job monopolies, taking political power from whites,
A lynch mob.moving into white neighborhoods,...
September 10, 2015
Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has taken off like a rocket, with huge rallies and an outpouring of enthusiasm for his condemnation of corporate greed, inequality, and rampant social injustice in the United States. Bernie openly says he’s a socialist, and much of his program is flatly unacceptable to the ruling capitalist “one percent” and the Democratic Party leadership. What he’s saying about what’s wrong with our system is catching fire,...
September 9, 2015
While socialists debate how to relate to the many thousands of progressives attracted to Bernie Sanders' campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, the most viable independent left alternative for 2016 needs support from socialists now. The Green Party and its leading presidential candidate, Jill Stein, are best positioned to secure state ballot lines across the country to provide a credible alternative to the candidates of the two major capitalist parties in 2016. What is needed now...
September 5, 2015
Michael Gasser, a member of the Ecosocialism Working Group of Solidarity, interviewed Alan Thornett in London on July 19, 2015, to discuss the organizing around the forthcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
MG: Why does Paris matter?
AT: I think there are two main reasons that make the mobilization for the Paris COP so important. I’m not sure which is the most important. One is that a binding global agreement is an essential...
August 27, 2015
The frequency with which the police kill young Black men makes a couple of weeks seem like the distant past, and underscores the steep hill that the pushback against police violence and repression has to climb. For four days bridging the second weekend in August, Ferguson and the rest of the St. Louis metro area were the focus of that fightback. A coalition of 40 groups organized a series of events to remember Michael Brown and 1,000 other people killed by police in the United States in the past...
August 24, 2015
Since the end of July, and despite continued terrorist attacks by the so called Islamic State (IS) against Iraqi civilians, massive popular demonstrations have taken place in the capital Baghdad and several cities in the south of the country, mainly to denounce corruption in the country and the political bankruptcy of the ruling sectarian political parties. Demands of the protesters notably included the dissolution of parliament, the end of the domination of the clergy on the structure of the...
August 11, 2015
Let us begin with a quote from an essay on bourgeois democracy in Russia, written in 1906, after the defeat of the first Russian revolution:
“It is highly ridiculous to believe that there is an elective affinity between grand capitalism today, as it is presently imported into Russia, and well established in the United States (…) and ‘democracy’ or ‘liberty’ (in all the possible meanings of the word); the real question should be : how are these things even ‘possible,” on long...
August 9, 2015
A year ago today, Michael Brown was murdered by a police officer in Ferguson, MO--one of a thousand or more victims of police violence in 2014. In the time since then, Black Lives Matter has grown from a hashtag and rallying cry to one of the most important social movements this country has seen in many years, a movement which has mobilized and radicalized significant new layers of young people of color, developed and promoted the leadership of young women and queer people, made a number of...
August 6, 2015
By the time I’d registered as a driver's license-holding North Carolinian, the NC NAACP, along with likeminded civil rights groups, had made a Monday habit of storming their state capitol to demonstrate in plain view of their lawmakers. Beginning in April 2013 and enduring week after week, during rain, shine, and 100-plus-percent humidity,
A Moral Monday protest.thousands of people, led by the Moses-esque Barber, were descending upon Raleigh to protest the onslaught of their...
August 4, 2015
Undermining the historic anti-austerity no vote in the July 5th referendum, the Greek Parliament and its leadership have accepted what is in effect a third "Memorandum." This agreement being forced on Greece by the European Central Bank, EU, and International Monetary Fund will cut pensions, raise the regressive value added sales tax, and generally continue neoliberal austerity.
July 29, 2015
Solidarity understands the strategic imperative of organizing a mass base for independent working class political action that unites working people, the independent social movements, and organizations of the oppressed in a battle for their common interests against capitalism and its political representatives. Unlike those on the left who continue to see the Democratic Party as a lesser evil that can be influenced from within, we regard the Democratic Party as unreformable, committed to imposing...
July 6, 2015
Just like the neoliberalization of LGBT rights, there is a specific history of how the LGBT movement was globalized. In her address to United Nations in December 2011 on the anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Hillary Clinton came out in support of the “global LGBT community” in a speech that declared gay rights as human rights. The then Secretary of State declared it a "violation of human rights" to commit violence or discrimination against people because of their sexual...
June 19, 2015
Against the Current: Although Black women have been central to the organizing of Black Lives Matter, it seems that the media focus on Black men and forgets the victimization that is imposed on Black women. How do you deal with this?
Alice Ragland: Ignoring the Black women who have been victimized is unacceptable. This is one of the many problems that make me feel as if I constantly have to choose between my race and my gender.
I deal with this by being vocal about the importance of including...
June 17, 2015
As if to show the world that the state of Louisiana is a human rights dead zone, the release of Albert Woodfox after 43 years in solitary confinement--what the prison system calls “cell restriction”--was delayed while the state attorney general appeals a federal judge’s order. His release was ordered by judge James Brady, who ruled that Woodfox cannot be tried a third time in the 1972 fatal stabbing of a prison guard at the infamous Angola state prison.
Albert Woodfox.Two previous...
June 12, 2015
On January 25th of this year the Greek left party SYRIZA won the elections and formed a coalition government with a minority populist right party, ANEL, to oust the previous center-right/center-left coalition (New Democracy/PASOK) that governed Greece during the first period of the Greek crisis. New Democracy and PASOK had been alternating in power at least for the last forty years. Syriza's victory has been interpreted by a number of people on the left as a momentous change in the history of...
June 5, 2015
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently being negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other countries is a treaty to cover regulations and investments between the countries. While it is being negotiated in secret from the peoples of the United States and the other countries, the negotiations are not being kept secret from the capitalists involved. For the U.S. side alone, some 600 corporate representatives are neck deep in the negotiations.
This gives the game away. The TPP will further the...
June 2, 2015
Like a classical Drama, Greek debt is characterized by unity of place (Greece within the EU), unity of time (2010-2015), unity of action (the policies enforced by the 2010 and 2012 memoranda that resulted in a 25% fall in the GDP and an unprecedented peace-time deterioration of the Greek people’s living conditions), and clearly identified characters (the Troika institutions, the Greek governments, some private creditors).
Debt restructuring is often used to launder illegal and/or odious debts...
June 1, 2015
A worker was killed on the shop floor at the Oklahoma City Quad/Graphics printing plant on April 24. His death came as a shock and horror to his co-workers. While servicing equipment on a maintenance call, he was crushed to death under a crane. Quad/Graphics decided not to shut down, and workers were sent back to the presses.
Quad/Graphics, based in Sussex, Wisconsin, was founded in 1971 by Harry V. Quadracci. Previously, Quadracci was an executive at the print company W.A. Krueger. Following a...
May 29, 2015
More than 800 migrants died on April 19 this year when their overcrowded boat capsized in the
Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast. The tragedy sent soaring this year's Mediterranean death
toll which was by then around 1,500--10 times the deaths during the same period last year. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), between 23,000 and 24,000
migrants had tried to cross over to Italy since the beginning of the year, while just under 21,000
migrants made the journey in...
May 21, 2015
This article is based on a talk given by the author at the recent Future of Left/Independent Politics Electoral Action conference in Chicago, May 2-4, 2015.
Those of us who want to see progressive social change in America view electoral activity not as end by itself, but as an important tool. Electoral activities serve three purposes:
Mike Parker with posters from Richmond Progressive Alliance.
Effecting change through the government or state. While we understand that government is not truly...
May 15, 2015
On Tuesday, May 12th, Dane County District Attorney
Ismael Ozanne announced that the state would not prosecute Matt Kenny,
the white Madison police officer who shot and killed 19-year old Tony
Robinson on March 6th. Speaking at a packed press conference, the
prosecutor stated that Kenny had executed “the lawful use of deadly force”
and would not face criminal charges for firing seven close-range rounds
into the unarmed African-American youth. Narrating the chain of events that led to what...
May 13, 2015
As evidence for its validity or usefulness faded, “progressive” institutions, organizations, and ideologues have clung tenaciously to their one great dogma, rooted in the faith that the two-party system remains an eternal, ultimately unchallengeable reality. As with the most reactionary commentators, self-described “progressives“ projected their own failures on those who declined to make them. This dogma asserts that it is more damaging to progressive interest to challenge the two-party...
May 6, 2015
Americans who are predisposed to “progressive” ideas regularly praise the merits of pragmatism and flexibility, while denouncing “rigidity and dogmatism.” Most often they do this to disparage the idea of doing anything other than voting Democratic. From their perspective, flexibility and pragmatism means seeing the election of Democrats as the way to foster a more just, rational, and peaceful world. In reality, offering only one course against all possible alternatives is practically the...
May 5, 2015
Some 200 political activists from a variety of independent political organizations, as well as individual activists, carried out rich discussion and amicable debate about how to collaborate in the work of building a large political alternative to the left of the Democratic Party. Participating in the Future of the Left/Independent Politics Conference in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, national, state, and local candidates and activists, as well as elected officials from the Green Party,...
April 29, 2015
Sixteen days after the arrest of Freddie Gray, Baltimore police and government officials have no word for their city on why he died. No statement, no explanation, no insight as to how this young man emerged from police custody with his voice box crushed and 80% of his spinal cord severed. Outrage at this injustice and the pattern of racist violence it represents has sparked ongoing demonstrations, a drive to organize and unite against police brutality, and a politicization unprecedented in the...
April 23, 2015
From state meltdowns in Libya and Yemen to the overwhelming nightmares in Syria and Iraq, the spreading chaos in the Middle East today presents the most extreme examples of a core reality: imperial overreach creates problems for which it has no solutions, and the horrific human costs are paid by people who bear no responsibility for creating the mess. We’ll briefly look here at some of the key situations in the Middle East, pointing to how a relentless U.S. drive for “stability” produces...
April 21, 2015
In a society filled with violence--from unpunished police officers to killings by mentally ill people with access to firearms--there’s also an epidemic of criminal assaults on workers at their job sites each year, which mostly will go unpunished, even unreported and unremarked, unless a perpetrator “goes postal” with a shooting spree. Workplace violence ranges from threats and curses to murder. Spitting on bus drivers is so common in New York City that their union won them DNA kits last...
April 14, 2015
A historical rally involving women, men, and trans activists took place protesting the whole of rape culture and not just a few cases. The proposal for the demonstration grew out of an initiative originating in Maitree, a West Bengal based women’s right network incorporating Women’s organisations, NGOs, and individuals. Maitree observes International Women’s Day every year. Individual member organizations have their programmes, and Maitree has a collective programme. However, it was felt...
April 13, 2015
Eduardo Galeano, the world-renowned leftist Uruguayan journalist and writer made famous with the publication in 1971 of his book The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, died today at the age of 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he lived. Long admired as a journalist, with his three-volume Memory of Fire in 1982, Galeano also became known as a writer of non-fiction prose who might be compared to writers of fiction such as Gabriel García Márquez, author of...
April 13, 2015
To understand this major diplomatic shift, which has historical ramifications for all of Latin America, one has to go back to the origins of the Cuban Revolution, a popular revolution driven by the will to break with North American domination and to fulfill the aspirations of the struggle for national independence, beginning at the start of the twentieth century. The revolution‘s slogan Patria o Muerte meant that national sovereignty would not be negotiable. And it was not negotiated. The...
April 10, 2015
The rise of Podemos (“We Can”) in the Spanish state--and of its counterpart Podem in Catalonia--has presented a new challenge to both the Catalan independence movement and to the traditional left in that subordinated national component of the Spanish state. Pablo Iglesias and other Podemos leaders, while indicating sympathy for self-determination of Catalonia, do not support its independence.
A key issue now on the agenda in Catalonia is how to combine the social emancipatory...
April 8, 2015
The Committee will audit the Greek debt in the coming months, aimed at finding out whether part of the Greek public debt is illegitimate, illegal, odious or unsustainable. Without claiming to be exhaustive, one can propose the following definitions:
Illegitimate public debt: debt that was contracted by a government without considering the public interest, a debt contracted in favour of a privileged minority.
Illegal debt: debt contracted in violation of the current legal or constitutional...
March 30, 2015
Suzi Weissman interviewed Moshé Machover on her program “Beneath the Surface,” KPFK Pacifica radio in Los Angeles, March 20, 2015. Their discussion has been transcribed by Meleiza Figueroa, and edited for publication here.
Suzi Weissman: We're going to start tonight's program on the results of the election in Israel. I'm very pleased that Moshé Machover is joining us for the first time on BTS, and we hope to have him many more times in the future. He is joining us from London to analyze...
March 27, 2015
In response to the brutal rape and murder of university student Özgecan Aslan on February 11, Turkey’s Director of Religious Affairs Mehmet Görmez had choice words of outrage: he blamed a “vicious and oppressive culture” for the death of “our pure sister.” In the light of other statements by supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), it is not hard to guess which culture Görmez had in mind.
A few days after the attack, the pro-government newspaper Yeni Akit...
March 23, 2015
Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic may have said it best when he said Ferguson was run by a gang, but Ferguson certainly is not unique. A Justice Department report painted a vivid picture of the police and courts shaking down low-income, Black residents of Ferguson in order to pad their own pockets and support the agenda of a white power structure. Since then, news reports across TV, newspapers and radio have shown that the practice of targeting poor people for selective ticketing, fines, and fees...
March 18, 2015
Guadalupe, pregnant at the age of 18 in El Salvador as the result of a rape, suffered obstetrical complications before she gave birth in the home where she worked as a domestic employee to a fetus that did not survive. After hours of hemorrhaging, her employer took her to the public hospital. There, medical personnel accused her of abortion, illegal under all circumstances in El Salvador, and turned her over to police. Prosecutors upgraded the charges to aggravated homicide, and the judge sent...
March 17, 2015
On Friday 13 March and Sunday 15 March, Brazil saw two mass mobilizations across the country. Over a million people took to the streets. The first was called by the governing Workers’ Party (PT) and its supporters to counter the second, organized by a number of right-wing forces seeking to take advantage of governmental disarray and call for the removal of President Dilma Rousseff. The crisis in government has been caused by a vast and still unfolding corruption scandal involving the...
March 9, 2015
February 21 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, one of the greatest leaders of the Black liberation movement of the 1960s.
Lenin once wrote, “During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to covert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say,...
March 8, 2015
In the United States, as elsewhere, a woman’s body is not her own. College campuses are a hunting ground for sexual predators, as women come forward to disclose various forms of date rape. According to police records, almost one-third of female homicide victims are killed by their partners. Each year an estimated 1.3 million women suffer domestic abuse; one of every four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Witnessing violence between parents (or other caregivers) is...
March 7, 2015
The marriages and divorces of Marxism and Feminism
By Cinzia Arruzza
Translated by Marie Lagatta and Dave Kelly
Wales, UK: Merlin Books, 2013; also notebook 55 of the International Institute for Research and Education (www.iire.org), 156 pages paperback.
Cinzia Arruzza's Dangerous Liaisons is an ambitious attempt to give a brief history of the interrelation between the 18th to 20th century women’s, labor, and left anti-capitalist movements in the UK and Europe, and the...
March 5, 2015
The Current Situation
1) The year 2014 was characterized in Israel and the Palestinian territories by a deepening of the dynamics that had been at work during the two preceding decades. Israel strengthened its hold on Gaza and the West Bank. Jewish settlement continued and sped up. Repression of the Palestinians was uninterrupted, and accompanied by intermittent, targeted, extremely violent military attacks, with a new level reached in the last bloody attack on Gaza in summer 2014. The political...
March 5, 2015
Since September 26, 2014 the demand has been the same: “They were taken away alive! We want them back alive!” We denounce the clear participation and responsibility of the state at all levels and in particular the involvement of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Mexican Army in the disappearance of our comrades.
The government of Peña Nieto has not only given no response to the demand of the social movement in Mexico, but has also attempted to hide the deep social crisis the country is...
March 3, 2015
Assuming Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, much of her popular support will be based on her image as an advocate of women’s rights. During her 2008 candidacy, the National Organization of Women (NOW) endorsed Clinton based on her “long history of support for women’s empowerment.” A group of 250 academics and activists calling themselves “Feminists for Clinton” praised her “powerful, inspiring advocacy of the human rights of women” and her “enormous contributions” as...
March 1, 2015
The early 1950s witnessed an extraordinary sweep of popular mobilisations across the African continent inspired by aspirations for emancipatory freedom: an end to the colonial yoke. Nationalist parties convinced people that the path to freedom was through political independence. Since then, many of the gains of independence, which cost the blood and lives of millions in Africa, have been reversed with the privatisation of the commons and public utilities, as well as by dispossessions of land, by...
February 24, 2015
The Mamasapano bloody incident last January 25, 2015 is a clear manifestation of the fragility and complexity of the peace process and security situation in Mindanao.
February 22, 2015
My first exposure to radical politics of any kind was through watching documentary footage of Malcolm X speak. Often I would watch this with my father and other family from Barbados, who had a long and deep involvement in the development of the Barbados Labor Party. I clearly remember observing the faces of my father, aunt, and uncles as they watched Malcolm speak. Their eyes were glued, faces frozen in a tense way. They did not necessarily agree with every single thing he said, but they had a...
February 21, 2015
Malcolm X was a unique person. His transition from Malcolm Little to the internationally renowned Malcolm X--with the development in his final years of uncompromising opposition to all forms of national/international oppression, exploitation, and discrimination--is truly exceptional.
Malcolm was never a criminal. Instead I see the anti-social behavior of his early life as being the result of his victimization by the most criminal, inhumane, hypocritical, ruling class and society that...
February 17, 2015
Activists and candidates from around the country will come together on May 2-3 in Chicago to share their experiences and to launch a network for future cooperation at the Future of Left/Independent Electoral Action Conference.
Left to right: Brian Jones, Kshama Sawant, and Howie Hawkins. Sawant and Hawkins have endorsed the conference.
The past few years have seen a significant uptick in independent political initiatives on the left, from election campaigns to new local electoral and social...
February 16, 2015
Pauline Furth, M.D., 98, beloved sister, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away on December 26, 2014. The daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants Tanya and Samuel Frumkin, Pauline (Pima) was born on October 5, 1916, in County General Hospital in East Los Angeles, where she later did her medical internship. Pauline was a social activist in health care and the peace and civil rights movements. She was also an early advocate for women's rights.
February 12, 2015
So the battle lines seem to be drawn. Is that simply posturing in order to raise the stakes, or is any dialogue really impossible?
Alexis Tsipras of Syriza and Pablo Iglesias of Podemos.
I tend to lean towards the latter. Syriza proposes two fundamental things: First, maintain budgetary balance—something few European governments can boast of doing—but redistribute the costs differently, lightening the burden on victims of the crisis while increasing it for those who have benefited from it....
February 6, 2015
Before I met Frank I felt like I already knew him: he was legendary on the far left for putting people together, being effective, and getting things done. And he had good politics. How could I not know him? We met when both Frank and I were working on the author Daniel Singer’s Solidarnosc tour in the 1980s; Frank’s organizational skill made certain the meetings were large, well organized, and well attended. We became friends once I started teaching at Saint Mary’s College, just through...
February 4, 2015
The following text is a transcription of a talk given last month by François Sabado, a member of the French New Anticapitalist Party, to the Congress of Izquierda Anticapitalista, a socialist organization in Spain that was a founding part of Podemos.
Greetings. We would like, first of all, to congratulate you for the intuition, the “flair,” the sense of initiative that you have had to build Podemos, from the beginning. This was not obvious: what would come out of such a combination, the...
February 3, 2015
On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, SYRIZA and Podemos, in collaboration with the CADTM and the Bloco de Esquerda, organized a session of debates and confrontation of ideas at the European Parliament to discuss different strategies for countering Europe’s debt trap. Moderated by Teresa Rodríguez, this two and half hour session provided an opportunity for various political groups including the CADTM to examine both divergent and convergent aspects of the strategy to deal with creditors.
February 2, 2015
The Black Lives Matter Movement is alive and well. If it has for the moment—under political attack and facing the winter’s sub-freezing temperatures—withdrawn from the streets, it has done so to plan a new stage in the fight for justice for African American victims of police racism and violence. As many as 400 people, mostly young people of color, attended the eight-hour long Black Lives Matter Gathering at the famous Riverside Church in Manhattan on January 30 where in...
February 1, 2015
Since the attack against Charlie Hebdo, France has been the scene of a veritable outpouring of Islamophobia: accusations of culpability, amalgams, violence. But the least that can be said is that the ground had been largely prepared. We could almost have forgotten, in fact, that on the morning of January 7, a few hours before the attack against Charlie Hebdo, the "special guest" on the morning programme of France Inter was Michel Houellebecq, author of a "novel of anticipation" in which a Muslim...
January 29, 2015
From a political point of view the Greek bourgeoisie and its political representatives are stunned and voiceless. All their hopes of heading off Syriza rely on Europe’s leaders--and ruling classes. For their part, the line seems clear enough: it is the politics of the ‘iron cage’, seeking to shut down a Syriza government as quickly as possible. The spearhead of this effort is the attempt to force Syriza to request an extension of the current ‘assistance programme’, which runs out on 28...
January 22, 2015
After the passage of so many restrictions on abortion procedures and increasing attacks on contraceptive information, the right seems to feel wind in its sails and various spokespeople—including the former Lieut. Governor of Texas, David Dewhurst, an oil and gas businessman—have called for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The House of Representatives plans to vote on the 20-week abortion ban on the 2015 anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This ban is similar to one passed in Arizona that a federal...
January 20, 2015
Frank Fried, one of the most remarkable revolutionary socialists in the United States during the second half of the 29th century, passed away on January 13, 2015 in Alameda, California at the age of 87. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, the novelist Alice Wilson-Fried.
January 19, 2015
There were many small and large victories. This was the beginning of desegregation. There were civil rights bills, a tremendous expansion of the African-American middle class, the massive entry of women into the labor force, and the end of the war in Vietnam. Radical Black youth begin to talk to one another across borders of race and class. But over the 50 years since we've seen that the struggle for justice has many layers, some that we addressed in the 1960s and some that we did not.
January 14, 2015
Stating that "the world must be made safe for democracy," president Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany on April 2, 1917. The United States formally entered World War I four days later. To some extent by that time, all of U.S. society had come to experience the effects and impacts of what already was a global conflagration, underway since August 1914. Among those directly and profoundly affected by the “Great War” from its start were millions of...
January 12, 2015
Reconstruction of the two-party system became essential to the general Reconstruction after the Civil War, establishing some features that remain clear today. As such, the arrangement of the parties became an essential aspect of the betrayals associated with the Reconstruction of the post-war South.
January 9, 2015
President Barack Obama received Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in the White House on January 6 where the two men reportedly talked principally about economic affairs, security issues related to the international drug cartels, and immigration issues. But in front of the White House some 200 Mexican Americans demanded Peña Nieto’s resignation for his handling of the killings and kidnappings that occurred in Iguala, Mexico, in September.
The protestors who had come to the White House from...
January 8, 2015
In 2011, the Vermont Legislature passed and Governor Shumlin signed into law Act 48, which provided the roadmap for the creation and implementation of a universal, publicly financed healthcare system, Green Mountain Care. The national healthcare justice movement was inspired and energized by this action and vowed to support and promote the country’s first healthcare system designed to provide healthcare as a public good through a single-payer financing reform. The victory in Vermont served as...
January 2, 2015
Against the Current: Mass incarceration has suddenly gotten quite a lot of attention in the media and in the political mainstream. Why has it become a high profile issue all of a sudden?
James Kilgore: Lots of things have happened. The first, and most important, is that people in the critically impacted communities have started to fight back. We’ve had a lot of mobilization around the War on Drugs, some of it sparked by the wonderful book by Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow. She has helped...
December 29, 2014
The Brutal Injustice and the social eruption in Ferguson, followed by nationwide outrage over the on-video murder of Eric Garner and police impunity, are suddenly reshaping the U.S. political climate. “We Can’t Breathe” and “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” express the righteous anger, especially of young people of color, in response to an unresponsive system--a system that’s politically blocked and utterly indifferent to the desperate conditions facing those at the bottom in capitalist...
December 24, 2014
The resumption of diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba as well as the release of three Cubans sentenced to life imprisonment in the USA for espionage constitutes a victory for the Cuban people. For more than 50 years and under a dozen presidents, the US administration has tried everything to destroy the Cuban revolution. Military intervention in 1961 at the Bay of Pigs, conspiracies to assassinate Cuban leaders, an economic embargo to strangle the life of the island, pressures of all...
December 19, 2014
The landscapes on Uncrowded.org are conspicuously lacking in people: a spacious meadow, a desert stretching to a distant mountain range, and a calm expanse of water. The Washington D.C. non-profit promotes a troubling message against this bucolic backdrop. They claim that national and international laws encourage irresponsible childbearing and overly large populations. Population growth, they argue, is responsible for environmental degradation, as well as other societal problems:
December 17, 2014
Two current high-profile stories--police killings of Black people and the secret torture prisons run by the U.S. military and CIA in the “war on terror”-- might seem separate and distinct. In truth, the path between them is short. A system that tortures prisoners abroad will murder people at home, and the targeted populations are not randomly chosen. There are several common elements:
1. Dehumanization. In order to subject someone to waterboarding, sleep deprivation, freezing, or stretching...
December 17, 2014
I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.
Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives...
December 16, 2014
Poverty is constantly on the rise in all South Asian countries; so is the rise of religious fundamentalism, and there is a close link between the two. Australia recently hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the G20 summit. The reported pop star reception he received from the Australian-Indian community illustrates the current popularity of conservative politics and religious fundamentalism in South Asia.Narendra Modi with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The enthusiasm for...
December 11, 2014
Responding to Mayor de Blasio’s obvious point, the New York City police “union” head said the mayor had thrown all cops under the bus by implying that police practices are racially based. Mayor de Blasio, a white man with a Black son, expressed a bitter truth that most white people deny: race and racism underpin police practice and U.S. society.
Significantly, the “Black Lives Matter” campaign is being joined by a growing number of whites. Most whites still believe, however, that race...
December 10, 2014
I think the issue is not so much the number of police per se, although that is a factor, but what is their role. What are our expectations about the role of the police in managing crime and disorder problems, which can be real problems that need to be managed? But what we've had is a deeply conservative theory that becomes the kind of hegemonic way to think about crime and disorder, and that's the Broken Windows theory.
It is a product of neoconservative intellectuals in the early 1980s trying...
December 9, 2014
The 21st Century has witnessed the rapid growth of the LGBTQ movement in mainland China. A bigger and more diversified LGBTQ community has emerged along with a more tolerant attitude from both government and society. This article aims to delineate this complicated development.
Before 2000 homosexuality was still an extremely sensitive topic in mainland China. [Editors’ note: While the term “homosexuality” is anachronistic in contemporary queer discourse, we are retaining here the language...
December 3, 2014
Starting with the foundations, the American political system, like its social order and economic structure, began as a New World variation of that in Britain. The United States constituted a republic of sorts, though the representative features of its government remained inherently weak, allowing coequal status to deliberately unrepresentative and unelected branches of government.
Almost immediately, a party system appeared, promising to deepen these representative features by offering voters...
December 2, 2014
“We do not like prisons, but they do not scare us,” says Mahienour al-Masry, an Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist who was serving a three year prison sentence for violating anti-protest laws before her recent release. In the latest of numerous campaigns seeking justice within the Egyptian judiciary system, more than sixty of Egypt’s political prisoners began hunger strikes in August. Other activists and public intellectuals are also partaking of the strikes in solidarity with the...
November 26, 2014
On Monday night, November 24, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch made an announcement that surprised no one although it disappointed many. A grand jury had declined to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old unarmed Michael Brown.
Within days of the August 9 shooting, McCulloch's refusal to bring charges against Wilson and his effort to hide behind a grand jury had met with widespread criticism and disdain. Jeryl Christmas, a former...
November 24, 2014
Finally, even if at least three decades too late, America’s politicians are beginning to take notice of the fact that we have become the country on the planet locking up more people than any other.
It would be nice to think that these elected officials are now discussing our historically unprecedented rates of incarceration because there has been some sort of moral awakening, some new degree of discomfort if not outright dismay that the United States now has more than seven million people,...
November 24, 2014
Rasmea Odeh, a 67-year-old Palestinian-American, associate director of the Arab American Action Network and organizer of the acclaimed Arab Women’s Committee in Chicago, was convicted in Detroit on November 10 of “unlawful procurement of naturalization” at the time she became a U.S. citizen in 2004. Her imprisonment immediately afterward has been the most shocking part of the case, as explained below.
The verdict itself, announced after only two hours of jury deliberation, looked...
November 23, 2014
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) immortalized them in his “C’est nous les canuts”, a song which has long been a staple of working class and left wing political gatherings in France.2 These were the weavers of the industrial city of Lyon, known in French as canuts (“can-oos”) in their masculine version, and canuttes...
November 20, 2014
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 on this issue. The statement below was passed by the Joint Council at their October meeting in order to clarify why they view BDS as a labor movement issue.
This September, a coalition of organizations in Gaza issued a renewed call for trade unions and other organizations throughout the world to...
November 19, 2014
Favelas (slums) come together quickly due to the dire lack of housing in Brazil, mainly in large cities. Because of the housing deficit, thousands of extremely poor families in Brazil occupy empty or abandoned buildings or land plots.
With the growth of real estate speculation, there have been many fires in very old slums, home to thousands of people. Such fires are capitalist crimes. It is widely known that large companies from the construction industry want to use those areas to build...
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,’...
November 14, 2014
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 held a press conference in the Arîn Mîrkan Tent City in the Suruç district of Urfa regarding their report on the refugees sheltered in the district.
The Kobanê Crisis Coordination, which was formed by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), DBP (Party of Democratic Regions, formerly BDP), HDP...
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...
November 6, 2014
Do the rich and poor eat the same? Do our incomes determine our diet? Today, who is overweight? Although often, and from certain quarters, the call for healthy and wholesome food is viewed with disdain, as “a fad,” “posh”, “hippy,” or “flower power,” the reality is rather different than these short-sighted comments imply. To defend ecological, local, peasant food is most “revolutionary."
If we look closely we see how today’s agricultural model is determined by the interests...
October 31, 2014
Energy systems across the planet are in accelerating transition towards sun and wind sourced production, driven by recognition of the catastrophic threat of climate change (caused by burning fossil fuels) and by the increasing cost advantages of renewable technologies. As with many other emerging technologies with vast implications for profits and power, a great battle has erupted as to their integration into the productive system — under whose control, in whose interests? Indeed the...
October 27, 2014
The Inconvenient Indian:
A Curious Account of Native People in North America
By Thomas King.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
2012, 287 pages, $24.95.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Boston: Beacon Press, 2014, 296 pages, $27.95.
Two new books, Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, offer American Indian perspectives on the history of North...
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...
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...
October 22, 2014
Thousands of us who traveled to New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March and the activities surrounding the Sunday, September 21st action have now returned home, organizing reportbacks and thinking about how this event pushed the movement forward.
Some have complained—both before the march and afterwards—that it was a symbolic action without official demands and heavy corporate funding, while others objected to the fact that we even marched away from the site of the...
October 21, 2014
Baba Jan and 11 other activists from Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan were sentenced to life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court on 25th of September. Anti-Terrorism courts function as a parallel legal system that allows the party in office a way to speed up cases against its opponents. These 12 people are not terrorists!
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...
October 17, 2014
The weekend's events began with a protest in Clayton, MO, outside the offices of county prosecutor Robert McCulloch. Clayton is the county seat for St. Louis County, where Michael Brown was killed. It is a government and financial hub characterized by the type of highrise office buildings we in the Midwest associate with downtowns.
Over 500 people assembled in the rain to demand an indictment against the cop who killed Michael Brown. Police and civic leaders throughout the St. Louis area were...
October 10, 2014
Our campaign plan extends past the election. The post-election focus will be on building the Green Party as a mass party in New York for all progressives and socialists who agree on the need for united political action independent of the two-party system of corporate rule.
Our campaign organization is built around local campaign committees open to all supporters, who range from members of socialist organizations to disgruntled Democrats and Working Families Party members to unaffiliated...
October 7, 2014
Darren Wilson, the killer of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, continues to receive full pay and freedom. At the Ferguson police department many cops are wearing “I am Darren Wilson” bracelets to mock the chants of Black men and women who chant “I am Michael Brown” at city council meetings and on the street.
Cops and prosecutors assume that Wilson used “reasonable force” and only faces scrutiny because of the public...
October 6, 2014
Introduction and Update (from a statement by Left 21)
Boycotts of classes by university and secondary school students initiated by the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholars begun on September 22 in the fight for genuine universal suffrage escalated to the full-blown Occupy Movement on the evening of September 26. Attempts by the government and police to evict protestors with violence on September 28 just triggered another wave of ever-expanding autonomous occupation across the...
October 2, 2014
The following video is from a talk given by Alan Sears at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN; the talk was sponsored by the Middle Tennessee branch of Solidarity. For more discussion of these issues, see Alan's essay "Queer in a Lean World," which has been published as a Solidarity pamphlet, and this interview with Alan by the creators of Black Sheep Podcast. Alan is also currently working on a new book on queer politics.
Alan Sears is a member of Toronto New Socialists and a...
September 30, 2014
We are in a movement moment.
What began as a local call for Justice for Mike Brown has grown into a nationwide shout for justice. Mike Brown falls in a long line of others killed as a result of systemic racial bias and violence against black and brown communities. John Crawford, III, Ezel Ford, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Marilyn Banks and countless others named and unnamed have been killed through the excessive use of force by law enforcement.
As droves of people, many of them...
September 25, 2014
The Global Climate Convergence with its more than one hundred workshops, its large plenary sessions, and its miles-long mass march of more than 300,000 people, the largest climate protest in American history, represents a turning point for the environmental movement. The gigantic and passionate parade of indigenous people, ethnic groups of all sorts from everywhere in the country, students by the tens of thousands, neighborhood organizations by the dozen, several major national labor unions, and...
September 24, 2014
A step forward for united independent political action was taken recently when Angela Walker, independent socialist candidate for Milwaukee County Sheriff, and Ron Hardy, Green Party candidate for Wisconsin state treasurer, met with campaign supporters to discuss joint action for the upcoming November 4 elections. The two campaigns agreed to jointly distribute campaign literature. A joint press release is planned as is a public rally featuring both candidates.
Walker is a social justice...
September 24, 2014
The proposal for an independent Scotland has been defeated in the referendum and the ruling elites have expressed a huge collective sigh of relief. It was a defeat based on fear and intimidation organised by the No campaign in collusion with Downing Street which delivered a "no" vote by a margin of 44.7% to 55.3%.
The whole of the Westminster establishment and the three ‘main’ political parties were lined up against a Yes vote. To these we can add virtually the whole of the media, the banks,...
September 15, 2014
Omar Barghouti wrote in December 2013 that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign "may well be reaching a tipping point." Barghouti is one of the founders of this movement to pressure Israel to recognize fundamental Palestinian rights. This may be the breakthrough moment for BDS, shifting from the slow accumulation of modest victories to major successes and widespread support. He described this as the "South Africa moment," where BDS organizing would reach the critical mass of...
September 12, 2014
Claudia House Morcom, an important figure in the civil rights movement in the South during the 1960s, a significant member of the progressive Black movement in Detroit and an activist in the fight for human rights internationally as well as in the United States, passed away on August 17, 2014 at age 82.
We each met Claudia before we met each other. She hired Ron in 1967 at Neighborhood Legal Services, which she had just taken over as the first Director in Detroit. As a young National Lawyers...
September 12, 2014
Imperialism creates crises that it cannot solve. That’s the ultimate takeaway from president Obama’s September 10 speech – and the entire series of cascading catastrophes from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond. As the United States slip-slides into its next Middle East war, are there any reasons to expect this time will turn out differently?
Leaving aside the boilerplate twaddle about U.S. “leadership” in combating every global crisis from terrorism to Ebola...
September 9, 2014
Around 30 guests from across the globe and 120 shop stewards from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) met from August 7-10 in Johannesburg to discuss the prospects and challenges of building a new, left political alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party of now deceased national hero Nelson Mandela.
This call by the country’s largest trade union, with over 300,000 members, has caused reverberations throughout the working class as a whole, and...
September 9, 2014
Note: this article was originally written in August. The introduction, immediately below, is new and updates the original article.
On August 28 The People’s Water Board Coalition, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, demanded a temporary restraining order against the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, Two days earlier the department resumed residential shutoffs and disconnected another 600 families.
During what turned out to be...
September 6, 2014
The Ebola Virus is not a new discovery. It is named after the river Ebola in Congo, on whose banks it was discovered in 1976. This first epidemic there caused about 300 fatalities. Since then there were repeated outbreaks of the disease in different African countries, the last biggest ones 2007 in Uganda and again in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Ebola virus basically is not very problematic from an epidemiological point of view. Transmission works exclusively through the...
September 4, 2014
For many years, American unions have been trying to “organize the unorganized” to offset, and, where possible, reverse their steady loss of dues-paying members. In union circles, a distinction was often made between this “external organizing”--to recruit workers who currently lack collective bargaining rights--and “internal organizing,” which involves engaging more members in contract fights and other forms of collective action aimed at strengthening existing bargaining units.
September 3, 2014
The September 21 Peoples Climate March and related activities--notably, the September 19-20 NYC Climate Convergence Conference--make a timely occasion to look at the dimensions of the global environmental crisis and how to confront it.
If solutions are to be found, where to begin? Undoubtedly, all-out efforts in basic and applied climate research, conversion to solar and sustainable technology, and profound changes in agriculture and industry will be essential for human civilization — and...
August 30, 2014
This article was originally published by New Politics.
Across the United States, we are in the midst of a great struggle over the nation’s education system. On one side is a bipartisan effort to privatize schools and undermine the promise of public education. Opposing that effort are large numbers of parents and teachers.
However, working class parents of color see the current battle over public education quite differently than do those from the white middle class. For this reason, when I talk...
August 29, 2014
The majority of young adult dystopian and utopian fiction is shaped by the Cold War horror of a collective. It’s rare to encounter a dystopian novel like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and its sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay: what’s targeted isn’t Cold War-era mind control but economic inequality, totalitarian rule, and oppression maintained by brute force. The novels even depict a revolution that overthrows this oppression.
More surprisingly, The Hunger...
August 27, 2014
This article was originally published in Socialist Studies: The Journal of the Society for Socialist Studies. This is the second half of the article; the first half was published here on 8/22/2014.
Looking back, we can see how the fate of socialist-feminism is closely tied to the fate of the broader institutions of working-class struggle. Socialist-feminists have always engaged in a two-sided effort: to bring an anti-racist, class-based feminist perspective into social movements and left...
August 26, 2014
This article was originally published by Socialist Project.
The Ukrainian conflict, like most political phenomena, is multi-dimensional and highly complex. As such, it calls for a holistic – dialectical, if you wish – approach. But to judge by American and NATO spokespersons and by their mass media, there is only one really decisive factor that explains everything: Russia's imperialism, Vladimir Putin's determination to dominate and further dismember the Ukraine as part of his plan to...
August 22, 2014
This article was originally published in Socialist Studies: The Journal of the Society for Socialist Studies. This is the first half of the article; the second half will be published separately.
Looking back to the heady days of feminism’s “second wave”1 in the United States, it is distressing to acknowledge that the movement’s revolutionary moment is a dim memory, while key aspects of liberal feminism have been incorporated into the ruling class agenda. Liberal feminist ideas have been...
August 21, 2014
It's good news that in a number of cities people "are meeting together in growing numbers to explore what it means - and doesn't mean - to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples within Canada," as journalist Meg Mittelstedt wrote recently.
As Mittelstedt notes, this is happening because of the recent upsurge of protest and resistance by indigenous people.
August 19, 2014
Two Americas. Two realities. Race matters. Us against them.
The mass media have swarmed all over Ferguson, Missouri for one reason: The Black community went into the streets after the police murder of Michael Brown, and refused orders to leave. They have inspired solidarity actions taking place all over the United States and internationally, including Latino, Asian and white young people along with African Americans.
“Hands Up, Don't Shoot” spread across the country. It reflects...
August 14, 2014
This is a review of Daniel Bensaïd's memoir, An Impatient Life, Verso Books, 2014. The review was originally published on International Socialist Review.
Let us start, like Dante, in the middle. At age twenty-two, Daniel Bensaïd (1946–2010), a French-Algerian-Jewish philosophy student, vaulted eagerly onto the world stage of the international youth radicalization of 1968. His political stardom came by way of a leading role in the actions igniting the largest general strike in the history of...
August 13, 2014
Electoral politics in Richmond, California is not for the faint-hearted, the thin-skinned, the overly pure, or those easily unsettled by last minute line-up changes. Late last week, on the eve of the filing deadline for city candidates, a longtime city council member not up for re-election this year decided to throw his hat into the ring for mayor.
August 13, 2014
Cease-fires--brief interruptions in Israel’s destruction of Gaza--come and go, for one simple reason: Israel will not lift the blockade, the siege, the strangulation of Gaza, and the United States will not force it to do so. Officially, the line is that the blockade won’t end “until the rockets stop and Hamas is disarmed.” The reality is that if Hamas were disarmed and the rockets stopped the blockade would continue anyway, and the people of Gaza know it, because the real...
August 2, 2014
Chevron is a company used to getting its own way, particularly in communities around the world where it operates major refineries. For the last eight years, progressive elected officials in Richmond, CA., and their grassroots organizational allies, have made doing “business as usual” a lot harder for Chevron in the East Bay, a corner of Chevron’s worldwide empire located very near its corporate headquarters in upscale San Ramon.
Local critics of Big Oil have sued Chevron over its...
July 25, 2014
It’s official now, as if it weren’t obvious the whole time: Israel is hitting what it aims at, including housing blocks with dozens of trapped families inside, hospitals, schools, mosques, and even places where its air-drop leaflets had told Gaza residents to shelter. These places are hit, says prime minister Netanyahu, because that’s where Hamas hides its rockets to fire into Israel.
Even if that’s true--which, in part at least, it probably is--it simply puts Israel and Hamas on the...
July 21, 2014
After leading a January 2014 academic and labor delegation to Palestine and Jordan, Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi has come under sustained attack from the rightwing McCarthyist AMCHA Initiative, which describes itself as “a non-profit organization dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America.”
July 21, 2014
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called a special Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on September 23, 2014. This meeting, which is in addition to the annual UN Climate Change Conferences within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is intended to “mobilize action and ambition on climate change”. Because this event will take place during the annual UN General Assembly meeting, Ban can expect a large number of heads of state to...
July 16, 2014
Detroit's humanitarian crisis, indefinitely prolonged by fiscal austerity imposed by the state and its "emergency manager," has taken another terrible turn since Spring, as the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) has begun turning off the water to "delinquent accounts." Half of all accounts in the city are considered "delinquent" and, since March, the department has been shutting the water off to about 3,000 accounts per week.
Some of these delinquent accounts, though, have been...
July 16, 2014
This February, the Solidarity Labor Commission held a two-day retreat at which we reflected on Solidarity’s labor work and the rank-and-file union perspective that has guided it for decades. This outline of a renewed strategic perspective is what emerged from our discussions. Although there is much here that is new, this perspective reflects our attempt to interpret the trajectory of union reform work since the 1980s and the political dynamics of the current period through the lens of...
July 14, 2014
There has been a massive increase of refugees from Central America seeking asylum in the U.S., many of them unaccompanied children. So far this year the Border Patrol says that over 50,000 such children have crossed the border with Mexico, double the number for all of 2013 and five times that of 2009.
Those grabbed by the authorities have been subjected to widespread and systematic brutal treatment, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and immigrant rights...
July 10, 2014
There should never have been any doubt that another Israeli assault on Gaza would occur, with the inevitable accompanying mass atrocities. That’s not necessarily because it serves anyone’s strategic interests--but simply because Israel’s brutalities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the strangulation of Gaza by Israel, the new military-dominated regime in Egypt, and the latest collapse of the absurd “peace process” exercise would inevitably produce a triggering event one way or...
July 8, 2014
The year 1934 saw three historic strikes that transformed U.S. labor. It was the year when the American working class clenched its fists and rose from the depths and humiliation of the Great Depression. Within just two years would come the great Flint Sitdown and the massive strike wave that organized industrial unionism -- producing the historic gains that are under attack in today’s capitalist offensive.
The left played a critical leading role in all three strikes. The West Coast Waterfront...
June 30, 2014
An entire year has passed since the shouts heard around the world reverberated throughout the Texas Capitol and forced the state legislature to come to a screeching halt. Rise Up/Levanta Texas formed in late June 2013 as a grassroots response to a growing awareness that our bodies, stories, and voices were being made invisible within the larger narrative surrounding reproductive rights and HB 2. The same pattern is playing out today as people continue to center straight, cisgender, white women...
June 25, 2014
Just two weeks after the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, four girls aged 11-14 — Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair — died in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
The year 1963 was marked by assassinations and at least 35 bombings. Among those murdered were William Moore, a white civil rights activist who was assassinated on April 20, and Medgar Evers, a NAACP leader in Mississippi, who was...
June 18, 2014
“WE HAVE TO liberate ourselves from the idea that we caused this,” says Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, referring to the present disaster in Iraq. The first question this raises is why anyone would ask for Tony Blair’s opinion on anything. George W. Bush, at least, seems smart enough to hide out in a bramble patch on his ranch and say nothing.
Of course, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 with Britain’s support “caused this” – by creating the al-Qaeda outfit now called...
June 18, 2014
Angela Walker, an independent socialist, is running for the office of Sheriff in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this coming November. Her campaign is part of a trend of independent labor, Green Party, and socialist campaigns around the country. Here La Botz interviews Walker to learn why she is running and what she hopes to accomplish. This interview was originally conducted for and published by New Politics.
Dan La Botz: Angela, thanks for talking with me about your campaign. Tell me a little about your...
June 17, 2014
It was a genuine historic shock for Europe and a huge thunderclap in France with the victory of the Front national. The results of the elections confirm the terrible political crisis which is striking Europe. There is a shock wave whose political effects cannot yet be measured. For sure, we should avoid a France-centred reading of electoral results affecting 28 states: according to the political situation in each country, the relationship of forces can vary here and there, but broad trends are...
June 16, 2014
JM: What is the situation today concerning the mobilizations in Brazil against the cost of the World Cup?
FS: In actual fact the mobilizations taking place at present in Brazil are much broader than the protests against the World Cup. Since the days of June 2013, when hundreds of thousands took to the streets in demonstrations in over 500 cities, a new situation has opened up, with the relaunching of major social struggles. For example: there are many more strikes for wage increases, many of...
June 4, 2014
On a weekday evening in mid-April, retired autoworker Mike Parker, a community organizer in Richmond, California, was among the concerned citizens signing up to speak at a local planning board hearing. The topic was a much-delayed refinery “modernization plan” that the city’s largest employer, Chevron, claims will make its 112-year-old facility cleaner and safer.
Local critics of Chevron, including Parker, rallied before the meeting under the banner of grassroots groups like Communities...
June 3, 2014
After a long and debilitating illness, General Baker died of congestive heart failure on May 18, 2014. Six hundred people attended his memorial service--held at United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 600, his local--six days later. Among the speakers were half a dozen UAW officers, including International President Bob King and UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles.
June 1, 2014
These are challenging times for the anti-capitalist left. Despite the enormous attacks being waged in the name of austerity, there is little in the way of sustained resistance in the streets, workplaces, neighborhoods, or schools. The Left's limited resources are being strained to the limits in struggles to organize against the tide.
Many anti-capitalists have responded to this strain by trying to do more of the same with fewer resources. In activist organizations and radical political groupings...
May 31, 2014
For 20 years of my academic life, I worked in cognitive science, the interdisciplinary field that brings together psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, artificial intelligence, and linguistics in the study of the mind.
About 10 years ago, several other faculty at my university and I received an email from a colleague — one of the most distinguished cognitive psychologists in the world — asking us if we’d be interested in applying for funding from the Department of Homeland...
May 29, 2014
Note: Solidarity has also signed on to this statement from the Not1More campaign, and we encourage you to have your organizations do the same.
Earlier this week, a number of organizations claiming to support immigration reform—including SEIU (Service Employees International Union), National Immigration Forum, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Sojourners, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—signed a letter to...
May 26, 2014
Subcomandante Marcos, the famous voice of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announced in the early hours of Sunday, May 26 that he ending his role as the group's spokesperson and military commander. Or as he put it, Subcomandante Marcos, a “harlequin” and a “hologram” created by the EZLN, has now ceased to exist.
May 24, 2014
Writers in Alternative Left media — e.g. Socialist Worker, Labor Notes, Jacobin, and Truth Dig — have reported on what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will mean for health care consumers (the individual family or individual shopfloor) when they sign up for health insurance. Their reporting is thorough, but limited to how the law looks from the perspective of consumers. From this angle, the ACA appears as yet one more way for monopolies to charge their customers more, with...
May 23, 2014
Saxophonist, composer, and revolutionary Marxist activist Fred Ho (1957-2014) was a dynamic and prolific force within Jazz and radical left movements for over 40 years. A baritone saxophonist inspired by the avant-garde currents in African-American music, Ho despised the term ‘Jazz’, considering it an insulting term for a powerful tradition. [Editor's note: An article by Fred Ho on the revolutionary content of jazz music appeared in Against the Current 159.]
As a Marxist Ho embraced and drew...
May 21, 2014
This article was written shortly before the elections, but the analysis is of continuing relevance.
In the lead-up to India’s parliamentary elections—which began in early April and continue through mid-May—progressive intellectuals, activists and organizations sounded the alarm over the prospect of a victory for the candidate of the Hindu right, Narendra Modi.
A statement by well-known left intellectuals published in The Hindu1 began, "Never before in post-independence India...
May 20, 2014
The National Committee of Solidarity has endorsed the statement below from An Attack On Us All:
On May 2, 2014, in the Zapatista territory of La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico, the group CIOAC-Histórica [with the participation of the Green Ecological Party and the National Action Party (PAN)], planned and executed a paramilitary attack on unarmed Zapatista civilians. An autonomous Zapatista school and clinic was destroyed, 15 people were ambushed and injured and Jose Luis Solis Lopez (Galeano),...
May 13, 2014
In "A Fossil Fuel Exit Program," published in the most recent issue of Against the Current and on Climate and Capitalism, Norwegian socialist Anders Ekeland urges ecosocialists to support the climate change program proposed by one of the world’s most-respected climate scientists, James Hansen, in many essays and speeches and in his book, Storms of my Grandchildren. In support of his argument, Ekeland particularly cites John Bellamy Fosters’ article "James Hansen and the climate-change exit...
May 12, 2014
"Free the land!" is the rallying cry of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). The struggle for control over land—whether by maroon communities escaping enslavement, families and sometimes whole communities seeking independence from the plantation after the Civil War, or small farmers today fighting economic ruin and displacement--has always been a central component of the Black Freedom Struggle. Much less well known is the important role of cooperative enterprise in this same struggle for...
May 7, 2014
The following is intended as a brief followup to the editorial in the new issue of Against the Current (issue 170), where we predicted that the Ukraine crisis and the international tension surrounding it “will not rupture the web of economic connections and mutual interests — especially Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas, and Russia’s reliance on western investment and technology and the global financial system — that make today’s situation so different from the...
May 5, 2014
Labor activist/intellectual Kim Moody, author of In Solidarity: Essays on Working-Class Organization and Strategy in the United States and a founder of Labor Notes, and Sheila Cohen, author of Ramparts of Resistance: Why Workers Lost Their Power, and How to Get It Back and Notoriously Militant: The Story of a Union Branch, discuss the present state and the future possibilities of the US labor movement and the forces working against it with Nancy Welch of the University of Vermont's United...
May 1, 2014
On the occassion of May Day, the powerful message of Eugene V. Debs still speaks to us as a voice of revolutionary socialism and a beacon of sanity in a world that is as insane now as it was then, and even closer to self-destruction. May it be an inspiration to all our movements!
On this May Day, in this wonderful year of
1919, the doors of a Federal prison yawn wide
open for me and for my comrades, who have stood
true to the cause of Socialism during the bloody
holocaust of the...
April 25, 2014
This article was originally prepared as a report to the leadership of the Fourth International.
As with many other movements involved in solidarity with victims of humanitarian disasters, we had to take more centrally into account the breadth of natural disasters (whether or not of human origin) after the tsunami which struck in the Indian Ocean in 2004. The following year, New Orleans in the USA was devastated by hurricane Katrina; then northern Pakistan and Kashmir by an earthquake.
It is in...
April 24, 2014
On March 30 Turkey held local and regional elections. The dominant narrative has been that the elections were a victory for Prime Minister Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). In fact, conservative forces have nothing to crow about. The elections forced the government to show its worst side and gave the left and the Kurdish liberation movement some openings.
April 23, 2014
Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change started the publication of its 5th Assessment Report (or AR5), initially showing the work by the Working Group I, which deals with the physical basis of climate change. Now, the AR5 process continued with the publication of the “Summary for Policy Makers” by the Working Group II, concerning "impacts, adaptation and vulnerability."
It is common for the socialist left to neglect the issue of climate change. But this is a very serious...
April 22, 2014
Save the earth by buying a Prius? That seems to be the takeaway message from this year’s Earth Day New York taking place on April 22. Earth Day events in the city will be sponsored by – Who would have guessed? – Toyota.
Perhaps the organizers of Earth Day New York want to find out just how low our expectations could go for what passes as solutions to the imminent ruin of our planet. Perhaps they feel we should be grateful that Earth Day is not being sponsored by an...
April 16, 2014
In the process of surrendering to Albuquerque police on March 16, 2014, James Boyd, a homeless and mentally ill man, was attacked by a police dog and shot in the back. Boyd was sleeping in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains on the city’s eastern border and considered a “direct threat” by virtue of two small knives.
When one of the officers who shot Boyd had his helmet cam-video released shortly afterwards, people were angered and saddened by this murder.1 The video went...
April 9, 2014
Around 150 people from Boston and surrounding areas attended the “Climate Justice Teach-In: Race, Class, and the Anti-Ecological Logic of Capitalism” on Saturday, April 5 at Northeastern University in Boston. The event was planned by an ad hoc committee consisting of members of the Boston branch of Solidarity and other local activists.
April 8, 2014
On April 5, undocumented organizers and allies gathered for actions in more than 70 cities calling for an end to deportations. The date was chosen because it’s the estimated date for when the Obama administration will deport its two millionth person. Obama has officially overseen more deportations than any other President in U.S. history, with almost three years left in his second term, earning him the title “Deporter in Chief.”
April 5 action in Columbus, OH.
If deportations continue at...
April 4, 2014
Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party's (PRI) privatization of the country's energy industry in December of 2013 was received with applause and glee by the U.S. and European financial press. The privatization of Petróleos Méxicanos (Pemex) is,
April 3, 2014
A great deal has been written regarding the Ukraine events of February and March leading to the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych. In their attempts to explain the upheaval, most of those weighing in have primarily focused on the internal dynamics - the domestic political terrain, the east/west ethnic divides, some inchoate desire to join the EU and “the West,” the influence of organized fascists, and the corrupt and oligarchical nature of the ousted leader.
March 28, 2014
Rana Nessim: In your book The People Want, you said this is going to be a very long revolutionary process. Did you expect it to turn into a military dictatorship so quickly?
Gilbert Achcar: I would dispute the idea that the whole regional revolutionary process has turned into a military dictatorship. Where did it turn into a military dictatorship? If you’re referring to Egypt, then that’s one country, not the whole process. Even there, I don’t think it turned into a military dictatorship,...
March 27, 2014
The military regime in Egypt is carrying out a reign of terror to consolidate its power. Responding to the emergency, the workers’ solidarity network MENA has launched an online petition to protest the atrocity of the fraudulent “trial” and mass death sentences imposed on 529 people. Please sign the petition here. You can learn more on MENA’s website.
March 27, 2014
This resolution on support for and solidarity with the Syrian people’s uprising was adopted by an overwhelming majority at the International Committee meeting of the Fourth International on 25 February 2014.
The ongoing uprising against the Assad dictatorship, which started in March 2011, is a movement for democratic, social and economic rights similar to that which erupted in Tunisia and Egypt at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. It is part of the “Arab Uprisings”.
March 26, 2014
We all know the saying, “too big to fail." The way governments have managed the crisis caused by the banks has given rise to, “too big to jail,”1 which is equally poetic!2 Although the US government let Lehman Bros. go to the wall in September 2008, no other bank has been closed or broken-up, no directors have been condemned to prison.3 The only exception in the western world is Iceland, where the courts have put three bank directors in prison. Larus Welding, the CEO of Glitnir,...
March 25, 2014
Why does Bosnia-Herzegovina inspire so little interest and curiosity in the media and the political class when, on the contrary, Ukraine is front-page news? Is it because of its non-membership in the European Union? Is it because its name evokes the war that, twenty years ago, claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of men and women--more than 200,000 dead and 600,000 exiles--in the face of virtual indifference in the West as to what was happening one and a half hours by plane from Paris? Or...
March 23, 2014
Johanna Brenner: Many activists around the world have been inspired by the Zapatista project of organizing Indigenous communities in Chiapas around the principles of autonomy and participatory democracy. I’m curious to know more about how they are living there, producing and surviving. But first, can you say a bit about where these communities are located and their population?
Melissa Forbis: The “Zapatista territory” covers roughly the northeast half of Chiapas (corresponding...
March 21, 2014
This article appears in the March/April 2014 issue of Against the Current.
Three Years Ago, Tamesha Means was rushed to Mercy Health Partners Hospital in Muskegon, Michigan after her water broke 18 weeks into her pregnancy. The hospital diagnosed a premature rupture of membranes but sent her home, saying there was nothing to be done at that stage.
The next day she returned with painful contractions, bleeding and elevated temperature. She was given two Tylenols and, after her...
March 17, 2014
Ali Mustafa was an editor of New Socialist Webzine. This obituary was previously published by New Socialist and by New Politics.
March 14, 2014
Last month, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee to determine whether the United Auto Workers (UAW) would represent over 1,500 Volkswagen workers in the three year old Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant.
The UAW lost the election, 712-626, after campaigning for a "works council" labor-management partnership model, which would legally require union representation. The union that represents Volkswagen workers in Germany, IG Metall, was very...
March 13, 2014
"There is no alternative to discarding the theories and practices of capitalism, if we must save the Earth and its living systems. No amount of cosmetic reforms either in the centre of the global
capitalist system nor anywhere in its periphery can hide the most obvious fact today: at a time when humanity has the most profound knowledge and technology, the world capitalist system of private greed risks all our lives and the very Earth we live on."
"The State of the Class Struggle in South...
March 10, 2014
The question of what demands ecosocialists should put forward in response to the climate crisis is a pressing one. Robin Hahnel, in “An Open Letter to the Climate Justice Movement”, argues that the climate justice movement should demand a cap-and-trade policy, abandoning its traditional stance against carbon trading. To Hahnel, carbon trading is the most realistic way for society to make carbon emissions cuts in the necessary time frame, and, contrary to the arguments of...
March 8, 2014
International Women's Day was originally conceived as International Working Women's Day and organized in part by the Second International. This piece was written for the holiday and to honor that tradition of fighting for working women's rights.
Next month will be the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, which resulted in the deaths of 1,160 garment workers, mostly young women. Although the disaster occurred on April 24, 2013, two hundred workers are still...
March 8, 2014
This article is an edited version from “Twenty-first Century Socialist Feminism,” Socialist Studies, (Spring 2014). It appears in the March/April 2014 issue of Against the Current.
Pakistani women celebrate International Women's Day.
In the 21st century, women of the working classes — employed in the formal economy, the informal economy, working in the countryside or doing unwaged labor — have entered the global political stage in an astonishing array of movements. Sparked by the...
March 3, 2014
It was a feeling I had as I approached the gathering point inside the campus of Georgetown University yesterday morning. Perhaps it was just a feeling, the mood I was in. I’m not sure. But I was soon able to identify its source: young people expressing an elemental outrage over government policy that makes no sense to their humanity. You could feel it. The outrage was coming from their hearts.
March 2, 2014
In December 2012 the Idle No More movement garnered world-wide attention to the ongoing struggles of indigenous peoples for self-determination, the re-establishment of nation-to-nation relationships, and environmental sustainability and protection. The movement was sparked by the actions of four women in Saskatchewan in opposition to Canada’s omnibus Bill C-45 which included changes to the Canadian Indian Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act that would facilitate the theft, exploitation,...
March 1, 2014
Freedom Fighter Chokwe Lumumba died suddenly on February 25, 2014 at the age of 66. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the New Afrikan People’s Organization.
February 26, 2014
The following interview with François Sabado, a member of the national leadership of the French New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), was conducted by Jean Batou for the Swiss publication Solidarités and published on the ESSF website. Translation from the French is by K. Mann.
Jean Batou: How you would characterize the social and political situation, nearly a year after the election of François Hollande, at a time when social movements are stalled while the far right is occupying the streets?
February 26, 2014
This article was originally published by New Politics.
“Today the counter-revolutionary Right is reactivating itself,” according to long-time Venezuelan revolutionary Roland Denis, “taking advantage of the profound deterioration that this slow revolutionary process is suffering. Its reappearance and interlacing with ‘democratic civil society’ is a clear signal to the popular movement that we either convert this moment into a creative and reactivating crisis of the collective...
February 22, 2014
Most progressive media commentary on the United Auto Workers’ defeat last week in a key Volkswagen (VW) plant election has focused, understandably, on the role of outside union-bashers, the anti-union culture of the south, or the unfavorable racial composition of the company’s Chattanooga, TN workforce. (See, for example, here or here.)
Pursuant to negotiations with the UAW and its German union ally, IG Metall, Volkswagen agreed not to campaign against unionization in a blue-collar unit of...
February 21, 2014
Yes, victories are possible. It was only a small victory--the transfer of one state prisoner in Pennsylvania from solitary confinement to the general prison population. It was, however, a monumental victory, because the prisoner in question was Russell Maroon Shoatz, 70 years old, who had been held continuously in “administrative isolation” for the previous 22 years because of his political views and organizing activity. The action by Pennsylvania prison authorities came after almost a year...
February 21, 2014
The following is a statement from the System Change Not Climate Change (SCNCC) coalition, in which Solidarity participates. SCNCC is organizing an Ecosocialist Contingent at the XL Dissent action in DC on March 2nd. For more information and to RSVP, please visit the Facebook event.
On January 31, 2014 the State Department released its final environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline, which outrageously claimed that KXL won’t worsen climate change. This clears another hurdle for the final...
February 20, 2014
Solidarity supports Dr. Anthony Monteiro, and urges others to do the same. The text below is republished from a petition statement by Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal (EMAJ). To see the list of signers and information about how to sign the petition, please visit the EMAJ website. Also see this article for more background information.
We unite with Philadelphia faculty members, labor, community and student organizations to call for the immediate reinstatement of Professor Anthony Monteiro as...
February 19, 2014
The following article was previously published on International Viewpoint.
Spring is in advance of the prevailing cold. Nobody knows how far the social and democratic explosion will go. But now, already, we know that it will leave deep scars and that it could spread like wildfire: the peoples of the region are beginning to see "what makes the system tick" in both the protests and the aspirations that are expressed. From the denunciation of "criminal privatizations" there could emerge a...
February 12, 2014
In the midst of the current economic crisis, leaders of the world's richest countries (the U.S., most shamefully) claim that they do not have the money to fully fund key programs in healthcare or education. Meanwhile, since 2009, El Salvador, one of the poorest countries in the Americas, has increased social spending across the board.
I doubt that was foremost on the minds of Salvadoran voters when they went to the polls on February 2nd to elect a new president. But they gave Salvador Sanchez...
February 11, 2014
This article was originally published at The North Star.
At this point, most people are pretty familiar with Kshama Sawant’s election to the Seattle City Council. Sawant first ran for the Washington State House of Representatives in the fall of 2012 and used her notoriety and unexpected positive reception to run again at the municipal level in 2013, defeating her opponent Richard Conlin in a tight race.
February 10, 2014
The authors of this piece are members of Marea Socialista, a Marxist group in Venezuela. The English translation was previously published on International Viewpoint.
When on the night of December 8, 2012 Commander Chávez warned something unexpected could happen, many who refused to believe were forced to recognise the gravity of the situation. The Bolivarian process began to live its biggest test in 14 years. A situation that no one wanted pushed us into a time of big challenges, one that would...
February 7, 2014
This article was originally published in English on the author's website.
“Resisting is pointless,” we hear endlessly repeated. “So many years of protest but the crisis continues, why bother?” insist others, inoculating us with apathy and resignation. “Protests could lead to something that’s even worse,” whispers the machinery of fear. They want us submissive, heads bowed. Dreams of change are forbidden. However, history rebels, indomitable. And it shows us, despite the naysayers,...
February 7, 2014
In his State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted growing inequality in the U.S. He also pledged to take steps to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. What has the Obama administration done recently on both counts?
First, it has agreed to a new budget with the Republicans that didn’t renew benefits for the long-term unemployed. This will immediately impoverish 1.3 million workers. Every day a new batch of the unemployed becomes part of the long-term unemployed.
February 5, 2014
The following essay will appear in the forthcoming March-April 2014 issue of Against the Current. The editors look forward to further dialogue around the complex issues raised here. While this article’s focus is the controversy around the recent resolution adopted by the American Studies Association, readers looking for background on the broader Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) movement in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle might be interested in two previous ATC articles: “A...
February 2, 2014
This article was originally published on New Socialist.
Almost everywhere you look around the world, policy-makers are introducing big changes to university systems and pondering deeper transformation. It isn't surprising that these changes take different forms on campuses in countries as different as Canada, Britain, the United States, Chile, Greece, and India, but there are also important common themes in the change agenda globally. These include rapid increases in tuition fees, new models of...
January 31, 2014
A major rift has developed in the ruling class over the revelations by Edward Snowden of the massive spying by the NSA of every American and hundreds of millions worldwide.
On December 16, a conservative federal judge, appointed by George W. Bush, ruled that the vacuuming up of phone “metadata” of U.S. citizens was most likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure. He described the NSA program as “almost...
January 31, 2014
This is a presentation Alan Thornett made at an event in Mannheim marking 75 years of the Fourth International, organised by the FI’s German groups, in November 2013. Other speakers included Jan Malewski from the FI Bureau and Manos Skoufoglou from OKDE, the Greek section of the FI. At the end of the event he undertook to write up his speech so that the discussion that took place around it can continue. It is not a verbatim write up but it does follow the political line of his presentation and...
January 30, 2014
This article was originally published by Global Frac News. We republish it here with a new interview conducted by the editors of this website.
January 29, 2014
This article was originally published on International Viewpoint and on the author's blog. We republish it here with an introduction by Solidarity member Dianne Feeley.
Introduction (by Dianne Feeley)
Since 2010 state legislators in the U.S. have passed more than 200 laws restricting U.S. women’s reproductive rights. Just last year 22 states implemented 70 laws. These increased restrictions on clinics, prohibited contraceptive and abortion coverage in various insurance plans, and banned...
January 29, 2014
Tributes are pouring in to honor the memory and legacy of Pete Seeger. Among so many other contributions to the movements for social justice, he was a supporter of the struggle for rank and file union power. Ken Paff, national organizer of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, recalls his support of TDU with a Detroit benefit concert in April, 1985.
Seeger is famous, of course, for making “We Shall Overcome” a civil and human rights anthem. The story of where he found that song is told below by...
January 28, 2014
On Jan. 24, 2014 UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya visited United States Penitentiary Coleman 1 in Florida to meet with American Indian political prisoner Leonard Peltier. Anaya concluded that "new consideration should be given to clemency.” Peltier, Anishinabe (Ojibwe) and Lakota and a member of the American Indian Movement, has been imprisoned for 37 years on false convictions of killing two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota...
January 19, 2014
The 2013 Solidarity Convention spent a considerable amount of time and energy on the issues raised by the draft of the document, Solidarity Process Around Reports of Sexual Violence and Battering, in both its initial form and in its first revision. There was also an intense email discussion. This is an issue of political significance and also an issue that is highly charged emotionally due to its place at the intersection of the personal and political and to the experiences many members and...
January 13, 2014
The Chiapas Rebellion led by the Zapatistas took place twenty years ago this month. What was the importance of the rebellion and of the Zapatistas? What was the impact at the time? And what has been its political legacy? What is the role of the Zapatistas in Mexico today?
Twenty years ago, on the morning of January 1, 1994, the Chiapas Rebellion began in Mexico’s southernmost state led by a then unknown group, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and its mysterious spokesman...
January 13, 2014
Ariel Sharon died eight years ago (after a botched medical procedure put him in an irreversible coma). This past weekend, the corpse stopped breathing. Big freaking deal.
January 2, 2014
On Christmas Eve the Queen of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Commonwealth deigned to pardon one of the twentieth century’s most important mathematicians of the crime of homosexuality.
In 1952 Alan Turing was tried and convicted of engaging in sex with other men. He was then presented with the choice of prison or chemical castration. He chose the latter, estrogen treatments that caused him to grow breasts, made him impotent, and sent him into depression. He was fired from...
December 29, 2013
A crowd of some 150 students, neighbors, and activists files out of Benjamin Franklin High School and into Patapsco Avenue, the four-lane highway that cuts through Brooklyn and Curtis Bay, working-class neighborhoods on the south side of Baltimore. The street itself, flanked on one side by row homes and on the other by port cranes and a construction company warehouse, tells a story of unsustainable and inhumane development. The crowd strikes up chants: “Whose city? Our city!” and “What do...
December 19, 2013
This is an editorial that will appear in the January/February 2014 issue of Against the Current.
Pension theft: imported from Detroit? In giving the state-appointed Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr the green light to take the city into bankruptcy, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ December 3 ruling opens up a national offensive to loot public sector workers’ pension and health care benefits.
Within a week Forbes magazine, aimed at audiences who don’t rely on public sector pensions...
December 18, 2013
This article is an attempt to critically reflect on some of the work I’ve been involved with in Knoxville over the past several years. The first part is a narrative account of the campaign against 287(g) in Knox County. The rest of the article is my attempt to draw broader lessons from that work, and to consider important questions around the immigrant rights movement and legislative reform efforts more broadly.
The Battle Against 287(g)
In March of 2012, not long after Obama had stated there...
December 15, 2013
On December 3, the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group put on an event, "Strategies to Stop Climate Change." We are republishing the speech by VEG member Gene McGuckin. A report on the event and links to videos of all the speakers' talks is online here.
Video of Gene McGuckin's speech at the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group event on December 3, 2013.
I thank the speakers before me for their valuable contributions – in actions as well as words -- to the discussion at hand. So, what does an eco-socialist...
December 9, 2013
The question of where Mandela would be laid to rest was finally resolved in June, months before he passed away on December 5, 2013. The matter was determined by a court order indicating the exhumation and internment of the bodies of Mandela’s three children that predeceased him. According to tradition and Mandela’s wishes, he will be buried with his children. Initially buried at the family home in Qunu, Mandela’s rural home to which the children’s bones have since returned, they were...
December 5, 2013
The fix was in from the beginning – that’s pretty much what U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes announced in his December 3 ruling that gives state-appointed Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr the green light to take the city into bankruptcy. Even while chiding Orr’s lack of “good faith” in the negotiations with unions and other creditors before filing for bankruptcy last July, Rhodes agrees with Orr's claim that the city no longer has the resources to provide basic services. That...
December 4, 2013
This past "Black Friday" people gathered at Wal-Mart stores all across the country to protest the company's labor practices. With around 1,500 stores targeted and over 100 activists arrested, this was arguably the largest and most militant day of action against Wal-Mart yet. It's less clear whether the role of Wal-Mart workers in these actions has increased significantly or at all: during the Black Friday protests last year, more than 400 workers were on strike with more involved in the actions,...
December 3, 2013
This essay is inspired by the recent article by Denis Godard titled: “The NPA in crisis: We have to explain because we have to start again.” His article is a review of the strategic orientation of the historically Trotskyist-origined tendencies that prioritize building independent class formations and which see electoral vehicles as expressions of anti-capitalist cum revolutionary socialist movements “from below” (that is, based in and directly responsive to grassroots...
December 2, 2013
The following article is a transcription of a talk given by the author at the 2013 Historical Materialism conference. It was originally published on International Viewpoint.
Previous contributions spoke of the activity of far left organisations in the socialist feminist, class struggle current in the women’s movement. My goal is to show the ways in which that activity as feminists has impacted on those political organisations and made them more effective.
I will argue that the basic principles...
November 21, 2013
Kshama Sawant, an open socialist, won election to the city council in a major American city, Seattle, in November’s ballot. One would have to go back to the first half of the twentieth century to find anything similar in the United States.
Sawant, who was born in India but moved to the United States and is now a U.S. citizen, ran as an activist. She first drew attention as part of the local Occupy protests that included taking over a downtown park and a junior collage campus in 2011.
November 14, 2013
Even by the grotesque standards of U.S. immigration “justice,” the case of Rasmea Yousef Odeh has the look of an unusually appalling and political prosecution. A 65-year-old Palestinian and a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2004, Odeh is Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago and coordinates the AAAN’s Arab Women’s Committee, with a membership of nearly 600. She received this year an Outstanding Community Leader Award from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, citing...
November 11, 2013
The following is a compilation piece about the newly formed National Student Divestment Network. The first half is a short interview with Joe Shortsleeve, an organizer with Columbia Fossil Fuel Divestment. The rest is an in-depth article on the Network by Joe Shortsleeve.
Editors: Hey Joe, thanks for taking the time to answer a few basic questions. To begin, can tell you tell me what happened this weekend during Power Shift 2013 for fossil fuel divestment groups?
Joe Shortsleeve: Sure. This...
November 9, 2013
The 2013 municipal election contained mixed results for left third party advocates. The two most high profile and exciting campaigns, those of Socialist Alternative's Kshama Sawant and Ty Moore, appear to have gone down to defeat. But the margins were small and both are young and have already committed to rematches in two years with a strong likelihood of success.
Furthermore, even if these two candidates had won, they would have amounted to no more than two small points of light. Municipal...
November 6, 2013
Over the past year I have been trying to reconcile two things that are of critical importance in my life: political activism as rooted in struggle against systems of oppression, and engagement in a variety of small-scale projects and events that help us imagine and (perhaps only temporarily) create a better world, and feel part of something beautiful. The tension became more obvious when last spring I joined Solidarity and became involved with political organizing for the first time. Later that...
November 5, 2013
This article was originally published 11/4/2013 at Latino Rebels.
The government shutdown lasted longer than expected and not only did it place our dysfunctional democracy on display – but it invited troubling political theater into the immigration debate. It’s not well understood in the mainstream, but the ongoing showcase presented by the world of advocates and nonprofits promotes a comprehensive immigration bill and applauds bipartisan compromises that have a harmful impact on migrants...
November 5, 2013
This article was originally published on the author's blog, a paper bird.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest US gay organization, is going international. It’s just been given at least $3 million to spread the word of marriage equality to benighted countries that treat gays badly. Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Its chief partner and donor in this project wants the people in those countries, LGBT folk included, to starve--their economies wrecked, their incomes shipped abroad, their...
November 1, 2013
Several thousand marched and rallied in the nation’s capital on October 26 in protest of the mass surveillance of virtually all Americans and hundreds of millions of citizens of other countries. The massive Big Brother program, conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), has been exposed by Edward Snowdon, the hero of the demonstration.
Begun last summer (in the northern hemisphere), Snowden’s trove of revelations keeps coming through releases by Glen Greenwald of the British...
October 28, 2013
At 10 pm on Monday, October 21st, the bargaining team negotiators of the two major locals Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 1555 and SEIU 1021 of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system reached a tentative agreement (TA), ending the second four day work stoppage in this contract battle, which has had moments of ebb and flow over the last six months. Many of the particulars of the settlement are still not fully known, although the ratification will be voted on by next week. The rough outlines for...
October 19, 2013
By now, many of you have heard about the October 17 attack by Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the Mi'kmaq Warrior encampment near Rexton, New Brunswick, Canada. About 200 Mounties descended on an anti-shale gas encampment with assault rifles and dogs to issue an injunction against their protest, arresting around 40 people, including Elsipogtog First Nation Arren James Sock, in the process.
October 8, 2013
Last week, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber called for a special legislative session (to begin 8am September 30th) noting that "we have an opportunity to combine cost savings from reforms to the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and new revenue to restore lost school days." In other words, maybe we can remedy some of the draconian cuts made to education in recent years by slashing the pensions of retired teachers and other public workers. Or in other words, let's pit old people against...
October 1, 2013
For the first time in many years, there are not one, but two exciting new campaigns that have great potential to put unions back on the map of public consciousness. The efforts to organize workers at Walmart as well as workers at fast food restaurants and other big box stores in cities across the US have caught the attention of millions of people who previously had little to no connection to organized labor.
In this article, I offer some thoughts on what makes these campaigns so exciting,...
September 19, 2013
September marked two related anniversaries. The first was the collapse five years ago of Lehman Brothers, which came to symbolize the financial collapse, the subsequent Great Recession, and the anemic recovery. The second was the upsurge of the Occupy movement two years ago in response, which popularized the idea that the richest one percent are the enemy of the rest of us. This slogan has taken hold in mass consciousness, and is the enduring legacy of Occupy.
The divide between the wealth of...
September 16, 2013
If meetings could change the labor movement, it would have been transformed long ago. Labor’s elected officials and appointed staff spend virtually all their time in meetings— local or national union executive board sessions, union conferences and conventions, central labor council conclaves at the city and state level, benefit fund trustee gatherings and related “training” seminars, not to mention meetings with politicians, their staff, and organizations allied or funded by organized...
September 15, 2013
The 1973 coup that toppled Salvador Allende's Popular Unity (UP) government, unleashing a wave of repression that wiped out a generation of revolutionaries and working class activists, is receiving long-due attention in Chile’s official circles. Forty years after this watershed episode, right-wing president Sebastian Piñera felt compelled to commemorate the coup, acknowledging unjustifiable human rights violations and the complicity of many who remained silent in the face of raids, torture,...
September 13, 2013
Russia’s proposal, accepted by the Assad regime, for Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to an international authority (presumably the United Nations) for destruction, has temporarily put off once again Washington’s plans to unleash war against Syria. Obama has postponed asking Congress to approve of his plans to attack Syria. This represents a political defeat for the war drive. Even if Washington scuttles the proposed agreement and goes ahead with war, it will do so with even less...
September 11, 2013
This article is adapted from comments on the Solidarity e-mail list. It was written before Obama's speech on 9/10/13.
Against fierce public and political opposition, Team Obama is going all-out for a Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to bomb Syria. The term they’re using is “flood the zone,” but it’s looking more like a “Hail Mary pass.” So what is this about? Several things. First, Obama's credibility and, by extension, that of the U.S. imperial dictat, is...
September 9, 2013
I’ve only been to two national AFL-CIO conventions in forty years of union activity. The one four years ago was pretty dreary—setting a low bar for improvements this year. In 2009, the California Nurses Association (CNA) and several other unions held a big reception highlighting their support for single payer health insurance—not a bad cause to emphasize when Congress was still concocting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is now backfiring on union members of all kinds. (See Labor...
September 8, 2013
On Aug. 17, Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old trans woman of color, was brutally assaulted on a Manhattan street corner. Her attacker or attackers shouted transphobic slurs as they beat her bloody and unconscious only a block away from a police facility. She died in Harlem Hospital a few days later; the cause of death was given as "blunt force trauma."
A 20-year-old Harlem man, Paris Wilson, was arrested a few days after the attack; according to published reports, he was a Facebook...
September 8, 2013
Solidarity's National Committee has endorsed the following statement.
The Ad Hoc Committee for U.S. Accountability in the Middle East and North Africa condemns the August massacre of hundreds of protesters and prisoners by the U.S.-backed Egyptian military. While currently directed at the Muslim Brotherhood, this dramatic escalation of state repression is designed to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime. We also condemn all assaults on...
September 2, 2013
When Edward Snowden gave his first public interview in Hong Kong, he said his greatest fear was the possibility that his revelations would fall on deaf ears and be ignored. If that had happened, then his great personal sacrifice would have been for naught.
Snowden and Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning have indeed paid a steep price for revealing to the American people and the people of the world the war crimes and massive Constitutional violations by the U.S. government against its own citizens...
August 31, 2013
We thought we might be getting beyond this with the Arab Spring, but here we are again facing war in the Middle East. We have lived for decades in fear of a regional war in the Middle East. Now we are at one of those points where once again it seems not like some distant danger but a real possibility. The United States is threatening to bomb Syria in retaliation for its alleged chemical attack on hundreds of civilian non-combatants, a plan opposed by Russia and Iran, and rejected by the Arab...
August 29, 2013
For background on the case, see Michael Löwy's "Greece: A Jewish Marxist 'Accused' by the Neo-Nazis."
We are writing on behalf of Solidarity, a socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization in the United States, to express our support for S. Matsas and K. Moutzouris in their struggle against Golden Dawn's campaign of violence and hate. We call upon the Greek court to immediately dismiss the charges against S. Matsas and K. Moutzouris and recognize their right to educate the Greek...
August 28, 2013
Part commemorative celebration, part nostalgia trip, but part angry mobilization fuelled by the murder of Trayvon Martin, the acquittal of racist killer George Zimmerman, the Supreme Court’s rollback of the Voting Rights Act and rightwing state legislatures’ drive to purge Black and poor voters: August 24, 2013 was all of these. We present here a sampling of observations from some members of Solidarity who were present at the event.
A bit of historical perspective is in order, because while...
August 22, 2013
A Jewish Marxist is being brought to the Courts, accused by the Nazis of having "defamed" them. Are we in Germany in 1933? Not at all: this happens in “democratic” (with many inverted comas) Greece in 2013. The accused is Savas Mikhail, a brilliant intellectual and leader of one of the Marxist-revolutionary organizations of the Greek Left.
Savas Mikhail is an unusual person and a thinker quite beyond norms: an anti-Zionist and internationalist Greek Jew, he is the author of a considerable...
August 12, 2013
Traditionally there are two major styles of presenting a science fictional future. In one mode, class distinctions and conflicts over racial and national oppressions have melted away into a bright, technology-driven progress with sleek, clean spaces dominating the presentation. In the other mode, technological progress continues to leap ahead of social progress and all of the accumulated oppressions of past civilizations continue to dominate the daily lives of the vast majority in a world...
August 10, 2013
One year after a massive explosion and fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California, there was a demonstration of thousands directed against the oil giant on August 3. A significant aspect of the action was that it brought together environmentalists from the Bay Area and nationally, and activists from the Richmond community. From the environmentalists’ side, the demonstration was part of a wave of “Summer Heat” actions organized by 350.org. (“350” refers to the estimate of...
August 7, 2013
[This essay was originally published on the author's blog, a paper bird.]
They found Eric Ohena Lembembe’s body four days ago. He had a title and he had attracted praise before, and more praise has accrued to him now that it does no good. He was executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS, and he fought not just for the right to health but for the other rights of people vulnerable to the virus, LGBT folk among them. He was brave, he was visible, he was gentle, he was outspoken....
August 6, 2013
While the mainstream press has focused on the decision of the judge in the military courts-martial of Bradley Manning to find him not guilty of aiding the enemy, her conviction of him for 20 other charges amounts to a full-scale assault on democratic rights. The courts-martial now enters the penalty phase. Manning faces a maximum of 136 years behind bars. Whatever the final sentence is, it is widely believed it will be decades in the military stockade.
Bradley Manning’s “crime” was to...
July 31, 2013
The coincidence of the “Justice for Trayvon” protests all over the country and the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington for Jobs and Freedom presents the African American people and all of those concerned with social justice a real opportunity to revive the black freedom and equality movement in the United States. Hundreds of marches and demonstrations have taken place in cities and towns throughout the nation in the last few weeks in a call not only for justice for Travyon Martin but...
July 31, 2013
A few months ago on the New York subway I saw the most incredible poster, a picture of a crying baby of color with the words, "Got a good job? I cost thousands of dollars each year." While I was still recovering from the shock, I saw a similar poster of a little Black girl: "Honestly Mom...chances are he won't stay with you. What happens to me?"
These two posters were part of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention campaign organized by the Human Resources Administration of the New York City Department of...
July 19, 2013
When the “not guilty” verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for murdering Trayvon Martin was announced late July 13, spontaneous demonstrations of protest were held in cities and towns across the country, and have continued in the days since. [See this post for images from many of those events.]
July 15, 2013
Last Saturday, a jury declared George Zimmerman not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Thousands of people in cities across the country reacted in outrage as the U.S. legal system confirmed that a Black boy's life is worth little in the eyes of the law, and that Trayvon Martin had no right to defend himself against a racist vigilante.
We've collected images from a few of the many events held over the past couple of days to protest the decision and express solidarity with Trayvon. We'll...
July 15, 2013
When the average American college student graduates college they will find themselves more than 27,000 dollars in debt. Over the past two years protests have sprung up at universities across the country in response, with many surviving the implosion of Occupy and becoming even stronger (for example the recent strike at Indiana University). This has led many people realize to realize that our education system is no longer functioning as an equalizer, and a variety of possible solutions have come...
July 12, 2013
Late last month, massive demonstrations erupted across Brazil, initially in response to increases in public transit fares. We spoke with Brazilian activist Rodrigo Santaella, an organizer with the Socialism and Freedom Party and a member of the revolutionary current Enlace about what’s behind this upsurge and what the prospects are for the movement going forward.
For some background on the crisis in Brazil, we recommend:
Perry Anderson “Lula’s Brazil”
July 8, 2013
Two rulings by the Supreme Court: one a big step forward and the other a leap backward. Both by a 5 to 4 vote.
First the good news. The Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as a right of only heterosexal couples. DOMA was passed by Congress and signed into law by Democratic President Clinton in 1996.
June 28, 2013
This interview was conducted at the "Stop the Frack Attack National Summit," which took place in Dallas, Texas on March 2-4, 2013. We appreciate Kandi Mossett's willingness to sit down and talk to us for a few minutes--below is a link to the video (our apologies for the background noise at the beginning) and transcription of the interview.
Kandi Mossett: My name is Kandi Mossett and I’m from North Dakota. I’m member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations in North Dakota and I grew up in...
June 28, 2013
Kevyn Orr, the Emergency Manager appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to steer Detroit through its “Olympics of restructuring”--as he’s called it--has announced that all of the city’s resources could go up for sale to cover its unmanageable debt. The listing includes the possible selling of zoo animals, the artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Belle Isle and most notably, the city-owned Water Department.
If “restructuring” is the face of Detroit, it’s part of the same...
June 26, 2013
As of this writing, Edward Snowden remains in the transit area of the Moscow airport, and Washington is stepping up its threats against China and Russia for not turning him over to the U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that China’s decision to allow Snowden to leave Hong Kong would “without question” affect U.S.-China relations and “have consequences.”
Meanwhile, Hong Kong authorities are demanding that the U.S. come clean concerning its massive surveillance of, and hacking into,...
June 24, 2013
The recent series of massive protests across Brazil have taken everyone – even the instigating group, the Movimento do Passe Livre (MPL) – by surprise. Some international lefties and political analysts have repeated what mainstream Brazilian journalist have claimed to be the most important protests since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985. This is false. Massive protests of the “caras pintadas” took place in 1992 demanding the impeachment of then President and now senator...
June 21, 2013
Last September’s Chicago teachers’ strike raises critical strategic questions for all progressives and socialists seeking to resist the relentless neoliberal austerity attacks against working people and their communities. For teachers and union activists generally, it was a long-awaited event. Finally, a teachers’ union had the courage to take a stand against the corporate education agenda to privatize and dismantle urban public school systems emanating from President Obama and his...
June 18, 2013
The success of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike in September 2012 was a stunning rebuke to the forces of privatization and corporate education reform. The defeat of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ambitions to deal a decisive blow against the largest union in Chicago took on national implications precisely due to continued implementation of the school reform model of closing public schools and replacing them with publicly funded but privately run charter schools. Chicago teachers and a majority of...
June 13, 2013
The exposure of the massive extent of the surveillance by the National Security Agency of all phone calls in the U.S., as well as of the vast data mining of all electronic communications through computer servers and search engines worldwide, is one of the most important whistle-blowing events of our times.
Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, says these exposures by Edward Snowden, who worked for a private contractor under the National Security Agency, are even...
June 10, 2013
On Monday, May 27th, people all across our country recognized Memorial Day, a national holiday set aside to honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces. Exactly one week later began the military court martial of Bradley Manning, one of the most courageous freedom fighters living today. I took the opportunity to mark these occasions by interviewing Maggie Martin, organizing director at the Iraq Veterans Against the War. We talked about what led her to becoming an integral part of...
June 7, 2013
The courts-martial trial of Pvt. Bradley Manning opened on June 3, and is expected to last 12 weeks.
The courageous U.S. soldier leaked a large trove of classified material documenting U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, diplomatic cables exposing Washington’s machinations in the Middle East and elsewhere, and other material.
At a previous hearing, Manning admitted that he was the source of these leaks. As a result, he could have been sentenced to 20 years in military prison.
June 5, 2013
For background on the mayoral campaign in Jackson, Mississippi and how it fits into the "Jackson Plan," see this interview the author conducted with Chokwe Lumumba prior to his electoral victory.
June 3, 2013
Many words are about to be spent on these four days. Lots of things will be written, and many grandiose political analysis are surely on their way.
But what has really happened these four days?
The resistance for Gezi Park ignited the collective capacity to organize and act between us common citizens. It has been the matter of just a spark…. we saw the very body of the resistance as it walked towards us along the Bosphorus bridge, we saw it endure without fear along Istiklal street; we saw its...
May 31, 2013
A new scandal has erupted involving the use of the “War on Terror” to crack down on the democratic rights of U.S. citizens. The Justice Department has acknowledged secretly seizing all the work, home and cell phone records of almost 100 reporters and editors at The Associated Press (AP).
The records seized were from April and May of 2012. The sweep was in flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads:
“The right of the people to be secure in their...
May 29, 2013
"Today, the food and agricultural model we have serves the interests of private companies. It is a model that puts the interests of the food industry and interests of capital before the needs of the people and respect for the ecosystem." - Esther Vivas
May 20, 2013
On Friday, May 17th over 2,000 Philadelphia students staged a walkout, rally, and march to voice their opposition to the wave of school closures being planned by their school system. Citing a massive budget deficit as justification, the city is moving to close or relocate at least 23 schools. The already resource-starved schools that remain will face cuts in extracurricular activities, libraries, counselors, and other staff that allow schools to function at a basic level. The racist character of...
May 6, 2013
In the aftermath of the bombing of the Boston Marathon, the Obama administration is broadening its definition of “terrorism” to include fighters for Black rights in the U.S.
May 3, 2013
I am fascinated by holidays, how they are received, and how that changes over time. I suppose my interest lies at kind of a juncture of cultural studies and something you might call political theology. I first developed this interest in El Salvador, where I lived in 1997. There, the use of a calendar of holidays both Catholic and secular, broadly recognized in society and contested, was used there as something of a starting point for ongoing cultural / political debate. I suppose that happens in...
May 1, 2013
Facing a massive hunger strike by desperate prisoners at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, President Obama has acknowledged that the prison should be shut down. He has said that before over four years ago when he was running for his first term, but did nothing after he was elected.
April 30, 2013
Donate to the strikers' solidarity fund here!The strike by around 450 dockworkers at Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT) to demand for higher wages, which began almost one month ago, continues into its fourth week as management still refuses to offer the workers the pay that they demand. The workers, who earn less today than they did in 1995, are asking for a pay rise of 23%--an amount which does not even bring their wages back in line with what they were paid 18 years ago if inflation is...
April 29, 2013
On Saturday, April 20, at Barnard College in New York City, a coalition of Ecosocialists hosted a conference whose purpose was to call together [groups and individuals fighting ecological destruction from an anti-capitalist perspective]. The coalition evolved from a group of organizations originally calling itself the Ecosocialist Contingent, who held a public forum and rallied against the Keystone Pipeline in Washington on February 17.
April 23, 2013
I attended a public socialist educational conference in Melbourne, Australia, over the Easter weekend, organized by Socialist Alternative. The conference, called Marxism 2013, featured three full days of classes and special talks, Friday March 29 through Sunday. Interwoven with the educational conference was an underlying theme of unifying revolutionary socialist groups in the country.
These two aspects of the weekend were evident at a Thursday night rally preceding the conference itself,...
April 21, 2013
We present this discussion with Chokwe Lumumba to inform readers about a project combining community organizing and electoral efforts in a changing South, “under the independent banner of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party” as explained in the section on 2013 electoral campaigns in The Jackson-Kush Plan: The Struggle for Black Self-Determination and Economic Prosperity.
“The objective of running these candidates and winning these offices is to create political space and...
April 18, 2013
While the country continues to mourn the victims of the horrifying bombing of the Boston Marathon, another deadly explosion devastated a small town called West (just south of Dallas, Texas). On the evening of April 17, a large fertilizer plant caught fire and, just minutes later, exploded with terrifying force.
The scale of the explosion is unimaginable for all but those who were there. The blast registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake, shattering windows and knocking doors open for miles...
April 16, 2013
The organized left, both socialist and anarchist, has been faced with the problems of rape and other forms of interpersonal violence in our movements in a particularly intense way in the past few months. Over 120 members have publicly resigned from the British Socialist Workers Party following repeated actions taken by the Central Committee to demean and silence survivors and their allies while failing to hold aggressors accountable. In the aftermath of Occupy, traumatic events that occurred...
April 12, 2013
The extreme weather of 2012 and recent news that climate change is worse than previously thought have made it a front-page issue again. The Obama campaign’s silence on the issue and worldwide government paralysis have added to activists’ frustration and fueled participation in 350.org’s historic February 17th demonstration and campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns. This has also opened the door to a more radical analysis of global warming and environmental destruction.
April 10, 2013
Russell Maroon Shoatz is a former Black Panther from Philadelphia who has been in prison for most of his life, and in solitary confinement for most of his time in prison. According to hip hop artist Chuck D. (who has written a forward to the just-published volume of essays by Shoatz titled "Maroon the Implacable") he is "one of the most brilliant thinkers on the subject of Black liberation, as well as freedom, justice, and social transformation for all who want a planet free of abuse,...
March 17, 2013
On March 14, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced the appointment of Kevyn Orr, named last year as one of Washington DC’s top bankruptcy attorneys by Washingtonian Magazine, as an Emergency Financial Manager for Detroit under Public Act 72. Essentially this puts Detroit in receivership.
March 15, 2013
This document was written to provide history on the struggle of Colombian GM workers at the Colmotres assembly plant in Bogota, Columbia. A number of injured workers, most of whom were injured on the job, have been fired from the plant. The ongoing occupation outside the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, which is referenced below, has been present for almost 600 days. Activity within the United States has been and continues to be in the form of pressuring the UAW to speak to General Motors to intervene...
March 7, 2013
On live television, Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro choked on his words. Hugo Chávez, the improbable President, born in the rural poverty of Sabaneta, in the state of Barinas, in 1954 had died of cancer. To his wealthy and light-skinned enemies he was evil incarnate. To many impoverished Venezuelans, his contradictory and eclectic ideology – a labyrinthine blend drawing on the thought of nineteenth century Simón Bolívar and Ezequiel Zamora, twentieth century left-military...
March 4, 2013
Over one hundred million workers across India struck work for two days, on 20 and 21 February. The precise number is difficult to ascertain, but the strike went beyond the expectation of the trade union leaders and the bosses alike. This makes it probably the biggest general strike in working class history. Throughout the two days of the strike, Indian television channels and the internet were filled with comments on how the strike was a flop, how it was useless, how workers were violent, how...
February 27, 2013
The relationship between socialism and feminism has been getting more attention in online discussions recently. This is both for good reasons -- such as the article by Sharon Smith of the International Socialist Organization in the US that looks critically at how the Socialist Workers Party in Britain, which greatly influenced the ISO's politics, has dealt with feminism -- and bad, above all the current crisis in the SWP set off by the disgraceful way that allegations of rape by a leading member...
February 22, 2013
If you are like me you know that, other than the game of baseball (not to be confused with the MLB), the only thing standing between the United States and full on barbarism is the public library.
I know, there are dark clouds of austerity overhead and the business model far too many library systems have adopted threatens to undermine their commonwealth essence. In line at the main branch the other week, when my turn came to check out I was ushered to the desk with a "next customer." Customer?!
February 19, 2013
As a radical for more than half my life now, and a lifelong rabid sports fan, I don't think being a politically engaged leftist person means you cease to be a human being. Yes, we don't have to hide that we actually enjoy things in life that connect us with our larger society, a society we'd like to change. You are allowed to be a human being as a radical, whether you like sports, pop music, movies, or cartoons, and chances are, they aren't all that separated from social and political change and...
February 6, 2013
One of the few growth industries in the USA today are prisons. They are becoming money-making institutions, and profits are rising. New ones are being built and old ones expanded to hold all the new slave laborers being captured. The prison-industrial complex is the epitome of capitalism.
The USA imprisons a far higher proportion of its population than any other country, 730 people per 100,000. As of 2011, our prison population was 2,266,832. (1)
As Glen Ford states:
"Twenty-five percent of...
February 5, 2013
As a historian, I know that actions very often have highly unintended consequences. Historical turning points occur, not because deep planning willed them into existence, but rather due the intersection of many cross-currents. So it is today. Activists of our generation have been campaigning for a long time over rape, demanding changes in rape laws, changes in attitudes, and a wide range of demands. But it was not our repeated campaigns, nor even the over a decade long epic protest of Irom...
February 4, 2013
In 1988, Rosa Parks attended a film screening of the first segment of the documentary “Eyes on the Prize” in Detroit. Afterward she spoke about her involvement in the civil rights struggle, and I was lucky enough to be in the audience. She was a small woman with a quiet but steel-sharp voice that made an ever lasting impression on her audience.
Born Rosa Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama, she recalled growing up on her maternal grandparents’ farm outside Montgomery....
January 31, 2013
For the past four years, I watched and fought against a Democratic president who deported over 1,100 undocumented people each day. Each of these deportations falling under the guise that they were the worst of the worst, that they were criminals. All of this occurred while President Barack Obama traveled the country voicing time and time again his support for comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.
If President Obama’s first term could be defined by anything, it would be of empty...
January 9, 2013
What is Idle No More?
The Idle No More movement started in November 2012 in response to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s introduction of Omnibus Budget Bill C-45 (which, among other things, gutted the Navigable Waters Protection Act) as well as other legislation detrimental to First Nations. Organizers held small rallies and a number of teach-ins throughout November to prepare for a National Day of Action on Amnesty International’s Human Rights Day, December 10. Those protests...
January 8, 2013
Recently, we interviewed Rodrigo Santaella, a member of the revolutionary socialist organization Enlace and an activist in the Brazilian Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL). We met him at the Fourth International's Ecosocialism School in Amsterdam last month. This annual, three-week school serves as an intensive Marxist political education for FI members and allies. Readings and audio of presentations from the school can be found here.
PSOL emerged out of the Brazilian Workers Party (PT) in 2004....
January 4, 2013
Crisis in Syria: Observers say that neither the various armed rebel forces nor the Assad regime they are fighting can “win” militarily. As defections from the government continue, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad states that he will not seek asylum in another country. Syrians flee across borders, see their cities devastated, and face mounting causalities. The question is starkly posed: how can Syrian civil society emerge from the chaos? (Photo: Narciso Contreras)
January 2, 2013
[For some background on the Delhi gang rape case, see this statement from Radical Socialist.]
The Delhi gang rape is gruesome. But it does not stand alone. There were 22,000 rapes reported in 2010, and this implies at least 100,000 unreported cases. In the National capital, Delhi, there were around 570 cases reported. West Bengal has about 9,000 cases of rape, where the matter had not begun moving in courts. Rapes, gang rapes, rape as a “political” action (rape of "lower" caste women, rape...
January 2, 2013
The most important American social conflict of 2012—the Chicago Teachers Union strike—suggests that the rising trajectory of social struggle in the United States that began at the beginning of 2011 may be continuing to ascend. While the United States has a much lower level of class struggle and social struggle than virtually any other industrial nation—few American workers are unionized (only 11.8%) and unionized workers engage in few strikes and those involve a very small numbers of...
December 24, 2012
Until the 1990s, “Colombian workers were among the most organized in Latin America, and Colombian trade unions were among the strongest." But in 1990, under pressure from the United States, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Colombia began to implement structural adjustment policies. These “drastic austerity measures” included “cuts in rural social investment and farm subsidies, layoffs or salary cuts for public sector workers, and the relaxation of rules covering...
December 18, 2012
While in Istanbul last week I participated in a march and demonstration by the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) on Dec. 9 to launch a campaign to link grassroots community organizations to a broader program for social and political change in Turkey. The march of hundreds of ODP members of all ages, some of them families with children, was a peaceful event though the chants were militant. "Let us live like human beings. Take the government's hands off the people," was one. And periodically the...
December 17, 2012
Last month, Solidarity and the International Socialist Organization (ISO) jointly sponsored a forum in Baltimore entitled "System Change, Not Climate Change! Radical Responses to the Ecological Crisis." The forum began with a talk by Heather Kangas of the ISO on why the present system can't solve the ecological crisis, followed by Nick Davenport of Solidarity on the revolutionary politics of building a sustainable society.
This was followed by a robust discussion, with multiple points of view...
December 14, 2012
To the extent that "Michigan is a union state," or even "the union state," the strengths and weaknesses of the current union movement have a special weight here. For the moment, the weaknesses have overwhelmed the strengths.
December 12, 2012
Michigan workers faced a threat that has recently loomed over much of the Rust Belt: legislation preventing organized labor from collectively bargaining. In some contrast to other fights, however, this particular anti-union legislation in the Great Lake State arrived with little warning. In fact, Governor Snyder had explicitly stated that a right-to-work bill was not on the agenda until his about face after the November elections. Speculations were raised on his sudden change. Regardless of the...
December 11, 2012
As the Doha COP18 climate talks draw to a close, they have unfortunately confirmed The Economist's description of the event as a “theater of the absurd.” Even as the World Bank has released a report describing a rise in average global temperatures by a catastrophic 4 degrees Celsius over the course of this century, no greater sense of urgency emerged at the talks, largely due to the obvious futility of trying to formulate global policy without a serious commitment by Washington to reduce its...
December 10, 2012
This article was originally published by New Politics.
Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Mexico's new president who took office on December 1, carried out a shrewd political maneuver the very next day, convincing the opposition parties to join him in signing a "Pact for Mexico," calling for the completion of the neoliberal transformation begun in the 1980s. Leaders of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and the left-of-center Party of the Democratic...
December 9, 2012
The term "healthism" is used in two different ways. In the more neutral or positive sense, it just refers to self-care, and if you do a web search for "healthism," some of the sites you'll find simply offer information about nutrition, exercise, home remedies, things like that. But the term also has a more negative sense that arises from reflection on the very pervasiveness, but also narrowness and coerciveness, of that information about personal health.
In 1980, the political economist Robert...
November 29, 2012
This article will be the afterword to the forthcoming Danish translation of the author's book Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance. It originally appeared on the New Socialist Webzine.
Since the outbreak of the global slump in 2008 we have been treated to an incessant stream of predictions that "the crisis is over," that we have "turned a corner," and that "the recovery is now underway." Each time the cheerleaders have been proved wrong. To the dismay of apologists...
November 28, 2012
This article was originally published by New Politics.
The election last week of Xi Jinping to the chairmanship of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), together with six others who with Xi constitute the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the party, represents entrenchment of what the Chinese Marxist intellectual Au Loong Yu has called “bureaucratic capitalism.”  The bureaucratic capitalists, many of them princelings, that is, sons of the founders of China’s Communist...
November 27, 2012
Terry Conway interviewed Au Loong-Yu, the author of the forthcoming book China’s Rise: Strength and Fragility (Resistance Books, IIRE, Merlin Press). This article originally appeared on website of Socialist Resistance, here.
Also see the the latest Against the Current (November/December 2012) for another article by Au Loong-Yu on "Resistance in China Today."
Terry Conway: Can you explain why you have developed the term bureaucratic capitalism to describe China today and what you mean by that...
November 24, 2012
Because Walmart began their "Black Friday" sales on Thanksgiving evening, workers at several stores began striking and protesting that night. The Dallas metropolitan area, which has three stores where OUR Walmart activists have struck at least once, was the first to see action on November 22. Here, a leader of OUR Walmart (who was recently interviewed by Socialist Worker) leads other workers and supporters to the front of a store in Lancaster, TX. (Photo: OUR Walmart)
Workers and supporters...
November 21, 2012
If you live in the United States and pay any attention to labor or progressive news, you’ve no doubt heard about the historic rolling strikes by retail and warehouse workers at Walmart. The strikes have been organized to protest Walmart’s retaliation against employees organizing through new worker organizations backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, the Change to Win labor federation, and the United Electrical workers. The strikes are expected to crescendo on “Black...
November 20, 2012
On November 8, Israel carried out an attack on civilians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, shooting 13-year-old Ahmad Abu Daqqa while he played football with friends. By November 14, Israel had intensified its attacks on Gaza and begun to implement an intensive plan of aggression that at the time of writing has killed at least 15 Palestinians, including at least 6 children, and injured over 150, predominantly civilians.
November 20, 2012
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2012 issue of Against the Current.
IN 2005, 173 Palestinian civil society organizations and 71 members of parliament, political parties, and unions in Jordan united to issue a powerful nongovernmental call for global nonviolent resistance to occupation through acts of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.(1) They had three goals: an end to occupation and return to the pre-1967 Green Line, equality for Palestinian...
November 14, 2012
An appeal from the Russian leftists to their comrades in the struggle:
Today we, the representatives of Russian leftist organizations, turn to our comrades all over the world with an appeal for solidarity. This call and your response to it are very important to us. Right now we are facing not just another instance of dubious sentencing by the Russian “justice” system or another case of a human life broken by the encounter with the state’s repressive apparatus. Today the authorities have...
November 13, 2012
The chart below is the culmination of a procrastinatory project that originally started out with a couple of simple, contemporary questions. How did Jill Stein, Roseanne Barr, and Rocky Anderson do, in comparison to each other and in comparison to recent history? The contemporary period for left-of-center third-party presidential races starts with Ralph Nader in 2000. But then I wondered how the weaker numbers from 2004, 2008, and 2012 compared to previous years. After all, in recent years,...
November 10, 2012
I was able to visit Far Rockaway this past Monday, exactly a week after the hurricane hit that narrow sliver of land in Queens, off the Jamaica Bay.
As we drove into that community, via the Cross Bay Boulevard, just west of JFK, the stop lights were out and police were directing traffic. Once we had passed by a strip of stores and were getting into the residential area, piles of trash appeared, everywhere. We saw many people still busy clearing out their homes, with the dirty muddy water still...
November 8, 2012
We received this report from a public worker and Solidarity member in New York.
Last Saturday, I rode my bike from home all the way to the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, going along the Hudson River Park to get there. I was headed to Red Hook because they still didn't have power at the time, and I planned to meet a friend who works with the Red Hook Initiative, a community center that has served as an impromptu relief provider since the storm (and featured on Democracy Now!). All along the...
November 5, 2012
The Middle Tennessee branch of Solidarity recently sponsored a presentation by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President. She spoke at Middle Tennessee State University.
Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, are running on a "Green New Deal" platform, which calls for a federal work program to address the on-going jobs crisis and to begin the transition to a more sustainable economy. For more perspectives on the 2012 elections and the Green Party, check out Solidarity's statement...
November 5, 2012
Here is the first of several dispatches from activists in New York, describing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as well as the political issues around aid and recovery.
As I begin writing this on November 2, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is speaking in Staten Island. She is rattling off statistics on how much water the federal government is delivering and reminding residents of the island borough of FEMA’s phone number and URL. CNN only seemed to discover the massive death toll,...
November 3, 2012
Audio of this interview can be heard here.
Andrew Sernatinger: I’m speaking today with Kshama Sawant, a socialist running for a seat in the Washington State House of Representatives against Democrat Frank Chopp, presently the House Speaker. Kshama is a lecturer in economics at Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College, and is a member of Socialist Alternative. Kshama, thanks for speaking with me today.
Kshama Sawant: Thank you for having me.
AS: I wanted to do this interview...
October 30, 2012
In Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, voters this November will have the opportunity to pass laws that decriminalize marijuana. This would be a good change—but much, much more will need to be done to end the hideous consequences of the war on drugs.
It is largely agreed that America’s war on drugs has failed. Like any prohibitionist measure, criminalizing drugs has only pushed the trade underground and swelled the nation’s prison system to a size larger than any other country on earth....
October 26, 2012
For another perspective on elections in Puerto Rico, please check out our recent article by Antonio Carmona Báez.
On September 25th & 26th, Middle Tennessee Solidarity sponsored two events featuring Charlie Post, author of the recently published, The American Road to Capitalism. The first presentation focuses on the resurgence of the far-right, particularly in the United States. The second talk addresses many of the themes in Charlie's book.
Charles Post, Ph.D., is a professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College-City University of New York. His work includes political sociology, analysis...
Solidarity received the following statement from comrades of OKDE, the Greek section of the Fourth International. This flyer was distributed on October 9, the day of Angela Merkel’s visit to Athens.
After 6 months of uproar against the government of the banker Papadimos, and following two consecutive elections in which the memoranda policies were spectacularly rejected, it seems nothing has change, except the audacity of the “Hrissi Avyi” (“Golden Dawn” - GD) fascists to kill...
October 19, 2012
The criminalization of graffiti is not a new phenomenon.
October 16, 2012
Michael Staudenmaier’s Truth and Revolution: A History of the Sojourner Truth Organization, recently published by the radical AK Press, is a thoroughly engaging critical history of one of the most interesting revolutionary socialist groups that emerged from the radical upsurge of the 1960s and 1970s. While Staudenmaier clearly admires STO, many of whose members he knew and several of whom were his friends, this is far from being a hagiographic work. The author presents the group with all its...
October 8, 2012
Today is Columbus Day. Five hundred and twenty years ago, more or less, events in human history occurred on the cosmic scale of a supernova. A universe transformed. The explosion quickly enveloping not just one hemisphere, but the earth entirely. Rather than finding a new world, the collision Columbus inaugurated had created a new one. This one.
October 8, 2012
On Thurs. Oct. 4, Detroit AFSCME Local 207’s water department workers ended a strike begun Sun. Sept. 30. The predominantly African-American union local represents 950 city workers.
The local struck against a contract proposal that would pave the way for the Board of Water Commissioners’ to eliminate over 80% of Local 207 jobs. The risk of firing for an illegal public employee strike was balanced by the expectation that without a real victory almost all jobs would be gone anyway.
October 4, 2012
On September 29, the Chicago branch of Solidarity held a forum at the historic United Electrical Workers hall on Ashland Avenue, "Lessons of the Teachers Strike". Following a musical performance by Alex Han, an organizer with Stand Up! Chicago, leaders from the CTU rank and file caucus CORE, the CTU organizing department, and the Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign offered their reflections on the central political themes raised by the strike. Below we've posted videos and transcriptions of...
October 3, 2012
After years of strategic dialogue and an arduous process of electoral inscription, Puerto Rico can now count on an organized alternative, a political party that is committed to defending the interests of the working class and marginalized sectors of the island’s population. On 6 November 2012, the new Working People’s Party (Partido del Pueblo Trabajador-PPT) will run 71 candidates, from Governor to members of the municipal legislative assembly. “Breaking the electoral barrier” and...
October 2, 2012
Barry Commoner, the great environmentalist, has died at the age of 95. I first learned about Commoner when in 1980 the socialist group of which I was a member, the International Socialists, decided to support his campaign for the presidency that year on the ticket of the Citizens' Party. Our idea was that his campaign could bring together the social movements, particularly the environmental movement, and the labor movement.
Our idea was also Commoner’s. Having been educated as a youth in...
September 20, 2012
To call this feature-length film xenophobic, fear-mongering and hysterical almost understates the case. The whole thing is so over-the-top that, like a bad horror movie where you can see the strings moving the monster, it leaves us numbed and bored or perhaps laughing. Yet it’s not funny.
“Death by China” opens with shoppers happily buying cheap Chinese products, turns to closed American factories, then to unemployed workers. Talking heads tell us that China, without workers’ rights or...
September 17, 2012
What's a real social movement these days without viral image macros and memes? Well, maybe it's not quite as centrally important as the self-organization and activity of the working class--but who can argue with the ability of Dos Equis guy, Scumbag Steve, or advice animals to make a clever political point when used by the right person?
If our Facebook page is any indication, we certainly appreciate the art of the movement meme. Occupy Wall Street gave us quite a few to share over the last year,...
September 15, 2012
THE FIRST CHICAGO TEACHERS STRIKE in 25 years marks a turning point in the battle to defend public education. For years, corporate interests and their allies have pushed for “education reform,” a euphemism for cuts in student services, the erosion of teachers’ rights on the job, and ultimately, the privatization of public schools. Since the economic crisis, school “reformers” point to city and state budget deficits as a rationale for accelerating this process. We are told there is no...
September 14, 2012
Editor's Introduction: On September 9, 2012, a day before the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) went on strike, Peter Brogan gave a talk in Chicago on the political and economic reasons underlying the attacks on public education and teachers in the United States. The following is an edited transcription of his talk.
September 13, 2012
On Monday in Chicago, a new generation of working class activists will hit the picket lines in the city's first teacher strike in a quarter century. In contrast to the 1980s (when the CTU struck three times) this will be the first strike that most current teachers have ever participated in. It will be a strike with broad support from the city's working class neighborhoods and from the ranks of its labor organizations.
When the CTU strikes next week it will be a rebuttal, 26,000 strong, to the...
September 11, 2012
Misère, comrades, misère!
We are still two months from the November elections and the campaign has gone on for forty-six months already. The conventions these last weeks offered only occasional amusement at a gaff or outrage, but were utterly "business as usual."
The Romney/Ryan ticket looks like an American Psycho version of a Dockers ad. I looked on to their Tampa gathering occasionally and can only say that they make me sincerely wish for a civil war, horrors and all. And sooner rather than...
September 4, 2012
On Labor Day, thousands of teachers--joined by other union members, parents, and students--poured into Chicago's Daley Plaza to rally and march "Jobs, Dignity and a Fair Contract" just one week before a strike date authorized by unanimous vote of the Chicago Teachers Union delegates.
If the 26,000 members of the CTU strike, it will be an event of national significance and potentially one of the most important labor struggles in a generation. Not only will its conclusion impact the capitalist...
September 1, 2012
In a predominantly Mexican neighborhood on Chicago's west side, high school students are leading a fight to "rewind to August 6" and restore staff at their school. Just before classes began, the Chicago Public Schools district sacked the principal, then fired two veteran teachers the next week.
During the first two days of the school year, students at Social Justice High School staged a sit-in, planned a community forum, dramatized the suppression of their voices by refusing to speak in class,...
August 28, 2012
In highly autocratic countries, when elections occur they are often hijacked – or are basically staged mobilizations to legitimize a pre-determined result. In the United States, it’s different -- instead of stuffing the ballot box, it’s the registration process and the nature of campaigning that ensures that the corporate candidates win.
The formality of democracy may be held sacred in the USA, but the substance is crumbling.
Those who run for national office -- especially the Senate but...
August 15, 2012
Pictures of the August 15 demonstration at GM headquarters, courtesy of Frank Hammer
The Association of Injured Workers and Ex-Workers of General Motors Colombia (ASOTRECOL) has occupied a space in front of the US embassy in Bogotá, Colombia, since August 1 of last year to demand that General Motors provide healthcare and jobs with appropriate work for injured workers. On the one-year anniversary of the occupation four ASOTRECOL activists, including its president, Jorge Alberto Parra Andrade,...
August 11, 2012
Baltimore residents were outraged earlier this year when the city announced it would close or privatize one-third of its recreation centers, as well as six public pools. These recreation centers provide youth in working-class neighborhoods with opportunities for physical activity and vital social support, as well as hosting classes, senior programs, and other programs that make them important community hubs. On August 10th, the last day the closing rec centers were to remain open; three...
August 9, 2012
The Occupy Movement, the first such broad, national, multi-issue, mass movement in forty years, represented a test for the revolutionary socialist left in several senses. First, would the left recognize its important and immediately move to become an active part of it and work within it to help provide leadership? Second, would the left during Occupy be able to both appreciate its strengths and develop a critique of its weaknesses and limitations? Would it as the same time be able to conduct...
August 2, 2012
The following is the statement of the Mexican Revolutionary Workers Party (PRT) on the Mexican elections published in July 2012. The original version can be found here. The PRT is a Mexican section of the Fourth International and an organization with which Solidarity has a longstanding fraternal relationship. We thought it important to make their position known to English readers in the United States. The English translation and the end notes are by Dan La Botz. The Spanish original follows....
The Mexican presidential election that took place on July 2 is over—but it is not done.
Tens of thousands of Mexicans have been marching every week for almost a month in Mexico City and other cities throughout the country against what they call the “imposition” by Mexican election authorities of Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) as president of Mexico.
Inspired by the “I am #132” student movement and forming part of the newly organized National Front...
The #YoSoy132 [literally, "I Am 132"] movement that began just began just two months ago has grown from the first protest in May at the Ibero-American University to become a national movement, with chapters at more than 100 campuses. The students oppose what they see as the “imposition” by the electoral authorities of Enrique Peña Nieto as president of Mexico. They have strongly criticized Televisa, the leading Mexican television broadcaster, for working with Peña Nieto to further his...
July 24, 2012
Multinational apparel company Adidas has turned itself into a global branding juggernaut whilst simultaneously avoiding any public scrutiny over the working conditions of its factory workers. Ashok Kumar explores the development of the global anti-sweatshop movement and shows how two decades of activism have culminated in a new multi-nation campaign against the company. This article originally appeared in Ceasefire Magazine.
In September of 2000, as activists laid siege to the IMF and World Bank...
July 23, 2012
In 1982, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz murdered Chinese-American Vincent Chin with baseball bat blows to the head in Highland Park (a separate city inside the borders of Detroit). Ebens and Nitz thought Chin was Japanese.
The fine film, “Who killed Vincent Chin?”, is clear enough about the story. However, most media coverage was and is not. This essay looks at the murder from my perspective as an autoworker. It argues that unity against anti-Asian racism is possible among autoworkers despite...
July 20, 2012
This piece originally appeared at New Politics.
The anti-capitalist left in the United States and around the world faces a paradox. A mere five years ago, the world capitalist economy entered a new long period of falling profits, stagnant accumulation, and growing long-term un (and under-) employment. The 2007-8 financial crisis threatened a wave of bankruptcies across the capitalist world that seemed to herald a collapse of major sectors of industry and finance. The dominant economic...
July 18, 2012
STOP THE CRACKDOWN ON THE OPPOSITION IN RUSSIA!
The protest demonstration that took place on May 6, 2012, in Moscow was one of the most massive and assertive during the past several months. Despite pressure from the authorities and societal depression after Vladimir Putin’s alleged election victory, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Russia’s capital. The May 6 demonstration showed that the protest wave that rose in December 2011 had not only not subsided, but had taken on a...
July 17, 2012
Solidarity condemns the Seattle police raid on activists of the Occupy movement in that city. The report on this raid makes clear that the purpose of this assault was to find “anarchist material” in the activists’ apartment, i.e. to attack their rights of free speech and to intimidate people from joining or supporting this movement.
The Occupy movement in Seattle and across the United States represents the growing anger of the disenfranchised, the dispossessed and indeed “the 99%” in...
July 7 2012
The PRI is back in power. Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has won the Mexican presidential elections with a plurality of 38 percent of the vote, returning to power the party which ruled Mexico as an authoritarian one-party-state for decades. Peña Nieto defeated the left-of-center Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) who got 32 percent of the vote and Josefina Vázquez Mota of the conservative National Action Party (PAN)...
July 2, 2012
This document was prepared at the request of the Solidarity Political Committee for an examination of “the nature of the period” and the balance of forces in American society today. In response to those suggestions, I have written this brief document. This paper looks principally at the economic and political situation and the state of labor unions, some of the social movements, and the left. We are aware that we have omitted many other developments taking place in society at large, for...
June 22, 2012
In view of the 2008-9 economic meltdown, some on the left felt that the global and neoliberal agenda dominant since the 1979-81 economic crisis would be jettisoned in order to stabilize global capitalism. Yet the age of austerity proclaimed as a necessity by the Toronto G20 summit is clearly a continuation of “there is no alternative” to brutal and restructuring capitalism. What’s now emerged in the United States is the role of the rightwing state governments (more than the federal...
June 22, 2012
As Mexicans prepare to vote on Sunday, July 1 in the national elections, two presidential candidates have pulled ahead and each claims that he will win. Enrique Peña Nieto, candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that ruled Mexico for over seventy years, is ahead in all of the polls, buoyed up by the PRI’s political machine and the corporate media. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, candidate of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) who pulled into second place and has...
June 21, 2012
While the Occupy movement may not be front-page news any longer, anti-eviction defense is a major activity in a number of cities. Here in Detroit we are currently supporting two homeowners facing eviction and will be sponsoring a second legal clinic later in the month. So far we have been successful in keeping people in their homes (and in one case, in his business) by forcing banks to renegotiate the mortgages. Occupy Detroit’s anti-eviction work has been carried out in a coalitional effort...
June 20, 2012
This is the second part of an interview with independent socialist Pham Binh. In the first part, Binh was asked to discuss his ideas about Occupy and how socialists responded to the new movement. Here we continue the conversation to talk about some of the political implications of his analysis, tying together some organizational theory with his assessment of the moment. The links in the body of the article are provided by the interviewee. -AS
Let’s change gears a little and talk about some of...
June 19, 2012
Michigan Republicans Freak Out Over Vaginas Monologue
Rest assured that the Jim Stamas (R-Midland), Majority Floor Leader in the Michigan House of
Representatives, is determined to maintain “decorum” in the body. He made the decision—as the party in power can—on June 14, the final day of the 2012 spring session, that State Rep. Lisa Brown (D-W. Bloomfield) could not speak because “she went too far” when she addressed the body the day before.
What had Brown said? In response to a bill...
June 15, 2011
On Friday, June 15, President Obama directed federal immigration authorities to follow a new policy of deferred action for undocumented youth who meet the criteria of the DREAM Act. This announcement followed a week in which undocumented activists and allies had shut down Obama's campaign offices in several states (occupying offices in Denver, Cincinnati, Dearborn, Oakland, and Los Angeles).
While most mainstream immigration reform organizations responded with excitement (some even asked their...
June 14, 2012
A year of campaigning and $80 million later the Wisconsin recalls are finally over. News companies all raced to be the first to call the election for Walker before the polls had even closed on Tuesday, June 5th. At first, Wisconsinites watching election coverage in bars and in the streets shrugged off the media as premature. But an hour after the polls had officially closed We Are Wisconsin announced defeat to their packed party at Concourse Hotel in Madison. By 10:30pm, Tom Barrett gave his...
June 13, 2012
In recent years, renewed student movements have responded to attacks on education by shutting down or occupying campuses, bringing thousands into the streets, and linking up with the broader working class movements against the privatization agenda of the 1%.
During the NATO summit in Chicago, leaders from student struggles in Chicago, the United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, and Quebec discussed their experiences and thoughts on the role and tasks of students within the movement of the 99%.
June 11, 2012
When the Occupy movement first surfaced in 2011, the socialist left seemed to be split on how to respond to it: what were socialist activists to make of this phenomena that seemed so familiar to veterans of the Global Justice movement but also new and different as well?
Pressing the issue, independent socialist Pham Binh emerged suddenly as a figure challenging the socialist left to jump in to Occupy. Binh's provocative analysis has been the subject of much debate (and some flame), bringing...
This article is Part 2 of a 2-part series originally posted at New Socialist webzine, and is the basis of a presentation at the Historical Materialism 2012 conference in Toronto. The authors are both based in the United States, and thus use the term "tribal nations" and American Indians (Indigenous peoples in Canada refer to themselves as "First Nations").
When comparing American Indian communities in Anglo North American with indigenous communities in Latin America, it’s...
June 5, 2012
This week people in the United States (and beyond) are rediscovering Wisconsin. After a year of nearly continuous recalls, primaries, campaigning and special elections, June 5th will be the long awaited vote to decide if Scott Walker will remain the governor of Wisconsin for the next two years.
Watching this election brings up a number of complicated questions. What happened to get us to this point? Why is the race so close if the recall campaign was able to gather over a million signatures for...
June 5, 2012
Members and sympathizers of Solidarity are involved in a new blog for radicals working in social services, medical care, and nonprofit community organizing. Called The Rank-and-Filer, the site features political analysis, movement history, personal testimonials and critical debates related to social services.
Named for a militant, socialist- and communist-led movement among social workers in the 1930s, The Rank-and-Filer bridges Marxism and radical thought into the struggles to defend, improve,...
June 1, 2012
At the time of this writing, much of the world has been watching resistance movements against capitalist austerity spread from place to place, developing in new and interesting ways. In recent months, our attention has been focused on seeing how the left performed in the French elections, the student strike in Montreal against a tuition hike, and the many twists and turns in Greece. Here we are reposting the platform put out by SYRIZA, Coalition of the Radical Left, made available in English...
May 25, 2012
The Charest government has turned to repression to try to break the largest and longest student strike in Quebec history. Students had already endured heavy-handed policing, including hundreds of arrests and brutal attacks by riot cops on campuses and in the streets. The new strikebreaking legislation, Bill 78, is a brutal clampdown on the right to organize collectively and on freedom of expression. The protest plans for any demonstrations of more than 50 people must be cleared with the police...
May 24, 2012
As the Quebec Student Strike passes the 100 Day mark, a new English-language documentary has just been released on the "Red Square Revolt". The video below features a number of interviews with student activists, teachers and others around the strike explaining how the student unions function democratically, the development of the movement, and the emergence of anticapitalist and anti-austerity politics in Quebec.
May 23, 2012
Cartoon by Charles Stone
"We must all share the pain!"
Mantra of most politicians.
"The sick person is a parasite of society."
Friedrich Nietzsche in "Twilight of the Idols, Morals for Doctors."
"The way to judge a country, is by the way they treat the disabled."
"Patients are driven into poverty under the current health care system...(they are) victims of social Darwinist euthanasia policy under which the rich can buy all the care they need while the poor must do without." Marta Russell in...
May 22, 2012
Mexico’s voters face an increasingly murky choice in the rapidly approaching July 1 national election between three conservative, pro-business candidates and a populist candidate who until recently offered Keynesian solutions to the country’s endemic problems of inadequate economic growth, huge economic and social disparities, and a political establishment dominated by and in the service of a handful of oligopolies. All of the candidates promise to address Mexico’s greatest problem,...
May 21, 2012
From May 8 to May 18, over 600 corporate lobbyists and dozens of delegates from nine Pacific Rim states gathered in Addison, TX (just north of Dallas) to have another round of discussions regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Because these discussions have taken place almost completely behind closed doors, and because the actual details of the agreement are only available to delegates and lobbyists with “cleared advisor status,” TPP has flown below the radar of public...
May 18, 2012
J. Quinn Brisben, the Chicago-based socialist who died in April 2012, was widely known for his Civil Rights and disability rights activism. Born in Enid, Oklahoma, Quinn discovered socialism as a student at the University of Oklahoma in the 1950s, where he joined the school’s NAACP student chapter as its first white member. A Socialist Party USA member since 1959, Quinn revered the traditions of Debs, Victor Berger, Ernestine Kettler, Fred Thompson, and others whose lives and writings inspired...
May 17, 2012
Untimely and unexpected. That's what the emergence of this movement of collective outrage at the Spanish state was. If we had been told on M14 (May 14th, 2011) the next day thousands of people would start taking to the streets week by week and occupy squares, organized meetings, challenge the power with massive civil disobedience while staying in the streets... we would never have imagined it possible. But that's what happened. People, two and a half years after the outbreak of the "great...
May 14, 2012
While on tour in Europe, musician Boots Riley made a stop at the International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE) in Amsterdam to give a talk on the politics of Occupy. Until 2011, Riley was known principally as the front person for outfits The Coup, a hip-hop duo known for its political lyrics, sharp wit and funky beats, and the Street Sweeper Social Club, a collaboration with Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello.
Though Riley had always been a political person, calling himself a...
The termination of the campaign to put the California Millionaires’ Tax (MT) on the November ballot was a setback for the movement for progressive taxation and for more equal income distribution. The MT had the rare potential of serving as a focal point for the movement of the 99% against the 1%. While the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and a group of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) under the umbrella of California Calls should be commended for initiating the measure against the...
May 8, 2012
Since February 13th, a student strike movement has been spreading and gaining momentum in Quebec. The movement arose in opposition to a proposal by the Quebec government, spearheaded by the Liberal Party Prime Minister Jean Charest, to effectively double tuition fees for all post-secondary students in the province. The strike has been primarily organized by a militant and democratic student union federation, the Association for a Student Union Solidarity (ASSÉ), which established a temporary...
May 7, 2012
This document was researched, written and produced by Kali Akuno and Arlene Eisen working on behalf of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Black Left Unity Network, and US Human Rights Network. It was originally published on April 6, 2012. The authors have created a petition here.
May 3, 2012
Here are a collection of reports and photos from May Day demonstrations around the US contributed by Solidarity comrades who participated. Feel free to add your own report in the comments section below!
Occupy Baltimore's May Day was a great success. Feeder marches from the East and West sides converged at McKeldin Square in the Inner Harbor, where the Occupy Baltimore encampment had been before it was cleared out by police. The East Side feeder march met at the city's main post...
May 3, 2012
This is the second round reports and photos from May Day demonstrations around the US contributed by Solidarity comrades who participated. Feel free to add your own report in the comments section below! Check out the first installmnent here.
Activist May Day in Portland OR. Two to three thousand people, mostly young and willing to get out in the spring rain showers and the cold, marched in the official march May Day afternoon. A large and energetic contingent of Latino students...
May 1, 2012
MAY DAY 2012 is part of an ongoing process of “the 99%” reclaiming the heritage of this International Workers’ Day. On May 1, 2006 and again in 2007, immigrant communities and allies boldly took to the streets against government and police harassment. Now, the Occupy movement is seizing the opportunity of May 1 as a next step to reclaiming the legacy of this day. In the past year we have witnessed the emergence of nationwide mass movement of a kind not seen in the United States for many...
May 1, 2012
With May Day upon us and the semi-official Occupy! Spring Offensive starting. the two of us--Detroit Red and DJ D--have teamed up to crank out this overview of the music of OWS! Occupy! has no single anthem, no “We Shall Overcome”, no defining musical voice of the movement. Instead there has been a flowering of DIY music videos, Joe Hill-esque re-writing of pop songs, spontaneous rap battles in the encampments, and a parade of established musicians showing up at protests unannounced to lend...
April 30, 2012
Déclaration originale en français; this statement has been translated by Richard Fidler.
It’s a Student Strike, a People’s Struggle
Hike in tuition fees is part of “the cultural revolution”
For several weeks now a student revolt has shaken the neoliberal consensus imposed for many years by the Quebec and Canadian governments. It was sparked by the announcement of a new, 75 percent increase in university tuition fees.
Since its announcement in the 2010 Quebec budget, the media lackeys...
April 30, 2012
This article was originally published at Rebel Rabble.
The OWS movement took place after several years of absence of cohesive nationwide movements, and amidst an extreme fragmentation of struggles. The economic crisis and the evident iniquity of the austerity policies implemented by the government created the conditions for a new social explosion. The first great achievement of the OWS movement is that it provided a response to the risk of the rise of a racist and libertarian right. This is...
April 26, 2012
Incident at Florida Atlantic University Another Example of Hostility Students Face for
Speaking in Support of Palestinian Rights
On April 25, 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other Rights Groups
issued the following statement in support of student groups promoting awareness in college
communities about the Palestinian peoples’ struggle for freedom and human rights. Members of the
student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Florida Atlantic University recently faced...
April 11, 2012
For the Solidarity Midwest Regional Crisis School, Charlie Post delivered a talk explaining the political economy of the crisis, or why austerity is rational from the point of view of capital. In contrast to Keynesian explanations of the crisis (a la Paul Krugman), Charlie suggests that you can't simply stimulate demand to get out of the crisis because the source of the problem is a falling rate of profit rather than low demand.
For more on the subject, see Charlie's other articles Exploring the...
April 9, 2012
On April 4-5, the Detroit City Council and Mayor Bing were pressured into signing a consent agreement that allows a Financial Advisory Board to rule over Detroit with an iron fist. The document contains a whole page outlining the basis of any collective bargaining agreement and another naming the departments and services up for being reorganized, consolidated, outsourced or privatized. But frankly the 10,000 city workers could work for nothing and it still wouldn’t get Detroit out of the...
April 5, 2012
Andrew Sernatinger (Solidarity) interviews Anna Ogden-Nussbaum of US-Uncut.
Andrew Sernatinger: What is US-Uncut?
Anna Ogden-Nussbaum: US-Uncut is an anti-austerity group, and it targets tax-dodging corporations. So some of our major targets include Bank of America, BP, Verizon, they’re all corporations that pay little to no taxes and some of them even got a tax rebate. And it’s based on UK-Uncut, which is a similar group in the UK that’s gotten a lot of press there. A lot more than...
April 4, 2012
This article appeared originally on the New Socialist webzine.
Educational struggles are breaking out all over.
In March 2012, over 200,000 Quebec students are waging a general strike against tuition increases and have faced brutal police repression. British Columbia teachers just finished a three-day strike against an austerity budget and are set to engage in further strike action. Teacher collective bargaining seems to be headed towards an impasse in Ontario. Faculty members at Dalhousie...
April 3, 2012
Popular outrage, mass action demand Justice Now
POPULAR ANGER, MASS protests and leadership from Trayvon Martin’s parents, the African American community and its organizations have exposed the racial divisions that run throughout U.S. society. Marches, rallies and the defiant wearing of hoodies are forcing the authorities to take actions that would not have occurred only months ago with the murder of a young African American male -- and the demand for justice has become an international...
April 2, 2012
“The assumption that the major urban areas of the state do not maintain enough density for a mass transportation system can no longer be considered valid. It has been shown conclusively that mass transportation is a shaper of urban form. In other words, the density will develop naturally once the system has been installed.”--from What Mass Transportation Means to Texas, Report of the House Committee on State Affairs, 63rd Legislature, 1975.
Arlington, Texas is home to the Texas Rangers,...
March 29, 2012
In North America, gaining Indigenous autonomy from the colonial powers of the United States (US) and Canada has involved efforts at state-formation, that is, tribal governance. For decades, Indigenous activists and organizers in North America have worked tirelessly to assert the validity of treaties and establish the sovereignty of tribal nations. These nations seek to gain control over their social and political institutions without compromising what they consider unique and essential cultural...
March 28, 2012
On the political front, the Mexican working class has never been more divided. Mexico's labor unions are mobilizing for the national presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections on July 1, but they are doing so in support of a variety of rival parties and candidates left, right, and center. There is no incumbent, because Mexico's Constitution forbids presidential reelection after one six-year term, so President Felipe Calderón's name will not be on the ballot. His party is in any...
March 27, 2012
On March 22, 2012, Montreal saw its largest demonstration in recent history. Over 200,000 students from all over the province of Québec mobilized in downtown, weaving past the city's university campuses, office buildings, and expressways. They were protesting the proposal to double tuition of post-secondary students in the next provincial budget, made by Quebec's Conservative Party premier, Jean Cherest.
March 26, 2012
On Friday, March 30: Learn more about Leonard Peltier and make the call to the White House comment line at 202-456-1111. Tell them you are requesting Presidential Clemency for Federal Prisoner Leonard Peltier #89637-132.
American Indian Movement activist and political prisoner Leonard Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for supposedly shooting FBI agents during a 1975 conflict at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He has been incarcerated for over three decades. His...
March 22, 2012
The mental health movement is fighting back against cuts to health care and assaults on basic human rights to receive care in non-institutionalized settings. At the same time as proposed 40% budget cuts to mental health on the state level, the city is closing six public mental health clinics. The mental health movement has held a sit in at city hall, a research report release, community forums, spirited lobbying, interrupting multiple mayoral events, and a day of pickets at 13 health and mental...
March 21, 2012
It has been several weeks since Obama announced that the G8 will be meeting at the militarized Camp David, rather than in Chicago. Activists are still ambiguous about the move, even as we publicly declare victory. On one hand, the withdrawal of G8 demonstrates the power of the protestors, and Chicago-area organizers in particular, to kick out this monstrous budget-draining summit. In addition, Mayor Emmanuel ends up looking like a fool, which benefits anyone fighting austerity in Chicago....
March 20, 2012
Socialist Strategy in the Age of Austerity
I. On the Nature of the Period: An Age of Austerity
II. What do we mean by “strategy”?
III. Review of socialist strategy
IV. Socialist strategy for the age of austerity
The period we have entered – one of prolonged economic and political crisis and growing mass resistance to austerity and repression – poses the greatest challenge to Left organizations since the 1930s. On the one side, capitalism can no longer even promise, much less deliver, a...
March 19, 2012
The period we have entered – one of prolonged economic and political crisis and growing mass resistance to austerity and repression – poses the greatest challenge to Left organizations since the 1930s. On the one side, capitalism can no longer even promise, much less deliver, a rising standard of living in the US or other advanced capitalist countries. On the contrary, the capitalist class and its political representatives – from hard Right to social democratic – offer only one solution...
March 16, 2012
The following video is about a panel discussion of a new book by Solidarity comrade Charlie Post, The American Road to Capitalism, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize. Post here discusses his book, which centers around the "transition debate" about the development of American capitalism, explaining his method and purpose. Renowned Marxist scholars Vivek Chibber and David McNally also give their comments.
March 12, 2012
When Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards ordered billionaire Matty Moroun to jail on last January for failure to comply with a year-old court order, residents of Southwest Detroit were delighted. Moroun owns the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest international bridge in North America. A trucking magnate, he bought the bridge in 1979 primarily to provide his customers with favorable rates between Detroit and Toronto. His shipping empire reaches as far as Shanghai and Saudi Arabia, but it is...
March 9, 2012
Review of The Global Warming Deception: How a Secret Elite Plans to Bankrupt America and Steal Your Freedom, by Grant R. Jeffrey (Waterbrook Press, 2010).
If you’re an environmental, Occupy or some kind of social justice activist, you’re probably familiar with writers like Bill McKibben, Tim Flannery, maybe John Bellamy Foster or David Suzuki. Chances are, you haven’t been reading works like Grant Jeffrey’s The Global Warming Deception.
March 7, 2012
Book Review: Arturo Ramos and Maria Teresa Lechuga, ¿Por qué López Obrador? Mexico: Cultura, Trabajo y Democracia/Ceiba/Comuna Oaxaca. Second edition. 2011. 232 pages.
While in Mexico last week as part of a labor union delegation from the United States to meet with Canadian and Mexican union officials, I was given this book by a professor of history and design at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) She is also a labor and political activist, and, in fact, one of the book's...
March 5, 2012
Critics of Chris Hedges’ recent attack on the Black Bloc and its role in the Occupy movement excoriated him, among other things, for mistaking a set of tactics for a specific, ideologically coherent group. Fair enough. But a closer look at what are called “Black Bloc tactics” shows that they are not tactics at all. Rather, they bear a closer resemblance to a cargo cult.
What’s a cargo cult, you ask? While the term originated out of some obscure mid-century anthropological research, it...
March 1, 2012
Eleven all India trade union federations and about 5000 trade unions came together to call an industrial strike on 28 February 2012. It was reworked to become a general strike. This was against repeated court orders, according to which calling bandhs or hartals, i.e., total shut downs, which are of course political acts directed against the government over the heads of individual bosses, are not to be tolerated. In a number of provinces, governments reacted sharply. In Kerala, the Congress led...
Source: JadaliyyaSaturday, February 25, 2012
February 29, 2012
Several days ago, Connecticut mother Tanya McDowell was convicted of stealing an education for her kindergarten age son. McDowell was sentenced to 12 years in prison. She was found to have submitted a "fraudulent" address in order to gain her son's admittance to an elementary school in Norwalk, CT. McDowell and her son were homeless. They sometimes slept in her minivan, sometimes at a shelter in Norwalk, and sometimes were allowed to stay at a home in nearby Bridgeport (where they weren't given...
February 28, 2012
This eulogy was delivered on February 19 at the memorial service of Dr. Patricia Stephens Due, a veteran of the struggle for civil rights in Florida. Her obituary can be found in the New York Times here.
Dear Friends in the Struggle,
On behalf of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and the University of Florida it is a deep honor to be able to join you today in memory of Florida’s unconquerable freedom fighter, Dr. Patricia Stephens Due. Patricia and her beloved husband John honored us...
February 27, 2012
The three most radicalized university campuses during the late 1960s were Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of California at Berkeley. What follows is an account of the radicalization in Madison during the years 1962 to 1971 based on the perspective of one participant.
February 22, 2012
Black History Month presents opportunities to see plays by African American playwrights and this month I’ve seen two very different ones by Lynn Nottage. It seems natural to compare her to Ntozake Shange and August Wilson, two important 20th century’s Black playwrights. Like Shange and Wilson, there are moments where the character reveals himself/herself in a soliloquy that bursts forth in what I can only recall as poetry. And like them, Nottage’s characters are mostly ordinary people...
February 18, 2012
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept & celebrate those differences.” -Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde used her creative talent to confront injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Focusing on the discussion of difference, not only between people but also the differences within the individual she crafted a lifetime of poems and essays.
February 13, 2012
Saidou Wane, who immigrated to the United States 15 years ago, resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where he is active in the Movement for Justice and Equality in Mauritania (MJEM, the French name of the Mauritanian parent organization is Touche pas à ma nationalité). MJEM exists to resist the Mauritanian government’s policy of discrimination against the country’s black Africans. Mauritania is located in northwest Africa, in the Maghreb and West Africa; much of the country is part of the Sahara...
February 7, 2012
Dan La Botz speaking about what the Occupy movement has accomplished, the Democrats and the role of the left at the Open University of the Left on January 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.
February 6, 2012
Discontent with the political system as a whole is rising, as seen clearly through the lens of struggles around the world and right here at home, via the ongoing Occupy movement. Numerous figures have speculated and are continuing to speculate as to what the electoral strategy, if any, will be for the Occupy movement, come the 2012 election cycle.
February 5, 2012
This is a short dispatch from Occupy the Superbowl this weekend in Indianapolis.
Spirits were high at the Super Bowl Hyatt
picket line yesterday, where over 400 of us from Indianapolis,
Detroit, and Chicago rallied with UNITE-HERE in solidarity with Hyatt workers. Workers have been fighting for collective bargaining rights, OSHA compliance, and a living wage with benefits. The $1,000/night room rate for Super Bowl weekend makes blatant the hypocrisy of the Hyatt's refusal to treat workers...
February 2, 2012
The Aggravating Crisis Cannot be Solved
Even with Wen Jiabao's Push for Political Reform
February 2, 2012
Should working people, antiwar activists and those struggling for social justice vote for Ron Paul? We think that would be a big mistake.
January 20, 2012
We will save the markets, not the climate. That is how we can summarize the outcome of the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) which took place in Durban, South Africa between 28 November and 10 December 2011. There is a striking contrast between the rapid response by governments and international institutions at the onset of the economic and financial crisis of 2007-08 in bailing out private banks with public money and the complete...
January 19, 2012
The Labor Working Group (LWG) is one of the most influential components of Occupy Philly. From time to time, there are calls in the Occupy movement for a more explicit and defined "program" or set of demands. The following was submitted to the widely-subscribed LWG e-mail list in response to some recent calls for a program, especially as the LWG discusses its next steps and taking its work to a new level. The author is one of the conveners of the OP LWG.
After hearing the discussion at the last...
January 17, 2012
Monday, Martin Luther King Day, saw the ninth annual MLK Day Rally and March in Detroit. Hundreds packed into the historic Central United Methodist Church to celebrate King and reaffirm the movements commitment to social justice.
The theme for this year's rally was "the Struggle for Jobs, Peace and Economic Justice"; a special recognition, along with a standing ovation, was bestowed on Occupy Detroit for their contribution. In addition, SNCC's female freedom fighters were honored. A panel by the...
January 16th, 2012
"Prosecute the Cabal!" With millions of on strike and crowds singing Solidarity Forever, Occupy Nigeria has shut down the most populous country in Africa. Here in New York, the diaspora is rallying in support as well, and on Saturday, Jan. 14, I went to the second rally at the Nigerian Embassy and the UN this week. Though big labor actions might be more common in Nigerian than in the US, folks are saying this one feels different. Maybe it's the wave of protest against neoliberalism around the...
December 18, 2011
NATO/G8 meetings are scheduled to take place from May 19-21 next year in Chicago. Plans are ramping up everywhere. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen exulted over bringing NATO and the G8 to Chicago, and Clinton promised to call Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and convey Rasmussen's glowing opinion that Chicago, built upon diversity and determination, shares values that underpin NATO. Activists on the ground, envisioning a different kind of Chicago, and...
January 6, 2012
"A woman, desperate to get the best offers in the Wal-Mart sale, discharged pepper-spray at people in order to drive them away from the items she wanted.” This could be a scene from a Pedro Almodovar film had it not been witnessed in real life. On the November 25, 2011 such a story appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
With that in mind, we could suggest that the large shopping centers, especially during sales, place prominent warning signs, parodying the Health Authorities’: "Consuming...
January 3, 2012
Tommy McKearney was born in 1952 to a family with a long tradition in the Irish republican movement and raised in Moy, County Tyrone in the north of Ireland. When the insurrection against the Orange State and British rule broke out in the early 1970s Tommy, like so many of his generation and background, joined the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Tommy became a leading member of the IRA in his native Tyrone in the 1970s. The McKearney family paid a terrible price in the war; three of Tommy's...
From the Ad Hoc Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution in New York City. See original appeal and list of endorsers here.
In recent days, protesters demanding civilian rule in Egypt have again been murdered, maimed and tortured by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Interior Security Forces (ISF).
The conspiracy, being brutally implemented in Egypt, is part of a global conspiracy to suffocate mass movements for socio-economic justice and is being done with direct...
December 24, 2011
As I write this, hundreds of thousands are ready to gift Amazon-bought items to friends and relatives for the holidays. While CEO Jeff Bezos had a part in creating this retail powerhouse, he's no jolly, gift-bestowing Santa. To the workers who move millions of products through the Amazon logistics chain day and night, he's more like the Krampus, pursuing and punishing the "bad children" who fail to meet insanely high production rates with write-ups and layoffs, often in that order.
Dec 21, 2011
Next May, 2012 Chicago will host two huge, international summits as leaders of the NATO military alliance and the "G8," a forum consisting of representatives from eight of the largest industrial economies, will gather here.
The G8 has led the charge for government give-aways to corporations, including banks, and attacks on working people's living standards. G8 members currently include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia. These countries...
December 16, 2011
With a few days to think through Monday's West Coast Port Shutdown, I would say that the action was successful overall, although not as inspiring as the November 2 action (a high bar, admittedly). I was there in the evening, and the mood was good. I got to hear ILWU Local 21 President Dan Coffman's message of solidarity, which was heartening, although it still leaves unresolved the issue of how Occupy can and should relate to labor. But that is for another post.
My main concern here has to do...
December 16, 2011
Many people in the media complain that Occupy Wall Street has no leaders and no goals. While Occupy Wall Street and its spin offs around the nation have certainly not developed “leaders” who articulate its goals to the media or negotiate with public officials, it has already registered a formidable list of accomplishments for a movement this young. The evictions of Occupy protesters by law enforcement authorities using helicopters, tear gas, pepper spray, bulldozers and rubber bullets and...
December 4, 2011
Below is a debate between David Duhalde of the Democratic Socialists of America and Dan La Botz of Solidarity that was first published on the website Talking Union.
Where is the Beef? An open letter to Dan La Botz on DSA and the Democrats
As a member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), I am puzzled and disheartened by your criticisms of our organization in your article “Occupy the Democratic Party? No Way!” This article, first published on New Politics, has gone...
November 23, 2011
The Korea-US Free Trade Agreement was railroaded last night in the South Korean National Assembly by the right-wing ruling Grand National Party.
We have already covered the neoliberal, imperialist and anti-working class nature of the FTA. It is really a sweeping structural adjustment program that will challenge labor unions and social movements that have been disoriented for years by key defeats, splits in the labor movement and in left political parties, and the intransigence of the now...
November 20, 2011
The revolutionaries have returned to Tahrir Square. Once again it is filled with the young people who are impatient to bring the killers of the revolutionaries in January to justice, and to see the realisation of freedom and social justice. The military courts have stolen years upon years of their lives. They have lost their eyes to sniper fire on the orders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and their henchmen in the Ministry of the Interior. They have been slandered by the subservient...
November 22, 2011
At a moment when Occupy faces severe police repression and cold weather, and as we are both extending our movement to the streets and rethinking our future, various pressures are beginning to build with the objective of taking our movement into the Democratic Party. While our movement so far has remained politically independent and non-partisan, newspaper articles and commentaries suggest that the Occupy movement should give up its "utopian" demands for a different and better society and its...
November 17, 2011
Stephanie, New York City 7:35
Is amazing. "don't be afraid." "we are winning." support CWA Verizon workers. Occupy the Earth, and more.
Stephanie, New York City 7:30
Singing "Happy Birthday Occupy" on bridge.
Stephanie, New York City 7:00
The light show projected onto the Verizon building is amazing. "Don't be afraid." "We are winning." Support CWA Verizon workers.
November 16, 2011
On November 16, five Palestinians took part in a Freedom Ride in the occupied territories. Boarding a bus in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, the riders stayed on the vehicle as it went through one apartheid checkpoint and were eventually dragged off the bus by police. Modeled on the Freedom Ride tactic used by African American and white activists in the U.S. South during the 1960s, the Palestinian riders confronted Zionist colonial and apartheid settlement practices.
This piece was originally...
November 10, 2011
[This letter is reposted from the Reclaim UC blog.]
Dear Chancellor Birgeneau, Executive Vice Chancellor Breslauer, and Vice Chancellor LeGrande,
You should all resign—now.
On Tuesday, you sent a message to students informing us that we would not be allowed to set up encampments or occupy campus buildings. You quoted a passage from the student code of conduct that prohibits “[a]ny activities such as pulling fire alarms, occupying buildings, setting up encampments, graffiti, or other...
November 11, 2011
The roots and precursors of the current #occupy movement are many; too many to trace here. But one clear antecedent of the “occupy” meme itself is the brief, but militant, student movement in New York City in 2009, when antiwar/anti-imperialist students at the New School and NYU staged take-overs of campus buildings, demanding disclosure of war-related research and the resignation of President Bob Kerry, declaring “Occupy Everything, Now!”
At the time, my take on the movement was...
November 10, 2011
This is an amazing video of last night's protest at Sotheby's in support of the workers who are locked out there. (I don't know who made it - but well done, whoever you are!) For those of us that go to union rallies it may seem a bit peculiar. Most rallies these days lack the kind of passion and militancy that you will see if you watch it. The typical union picket mostly consists of walking in a tightly fenced in circle and chanting a few things. While that is better than no union picket at all,...
November 9, 2011
Last Wednesday, Nov. 2, Oakland saw perhaps the most massive and militant day of action of the Occupy movement so far. Subsequently, big debates have opened up in Oakland and within the Occupy movement, online, at General Assemblies, and amongst friends and family over the success of the strike and where the movement should go from here.
Let's start from some points of probable agreement. Conservative estimates in the mainstream media suggest a turnout of 5000-7500; activists involved estimate...
November 8, 2011
The crisis in Greece leaps from one crumbling precipice to another. The situation changes from hour to hour. This week's attempted capitalist coup, where all of the capitalist parties are to unite in government to prevent the Greek people from having a possibility of rejecting the savage austerity about to be imposed, shows just how unstable Greek society has become. A crisis of legitimacy has engulfed all of the traditional parties and organizations.
The Greek working class is inspiringly...
November 2, 2011
On November 2, tens of thousands of people participated in the first U.S. general strike in 65 years as parts of Oakland were shut down in solidarity with the Occupy movement. Protestors were spurred to action by the brutal repression and attempted eviction of the Occupy Oakland encampment the previous week, and quickly mobilized to retake the space and escalate the struggle.
November 2, 2011
I'm boarding the BART train to Oakland City Hall, ground zero for events related to today's general strike. As luck would have it, the trip I planned to visit my brother in SF for the first time in six years coincided with the first U.S. general strike in six decades (the last, also in Oakland, opened the city's department stores to unionization).
November 2, 2011
A picture in the New York Times of a family sleep-over night at Occupy Wall Street has got me going. A white family—mom, dad, three little kids—had driven in from Exeter, PA to join the protest. In the picture they had two signs. One, partially hidden, seems to be saying something negative about corporate personhood and money in politics. The other, fully visible, says, ”My momma ain’t on welfare but your bank is.” So what’s wrong with this picture? And what can the Occupy Together...
October 31, 2011
Who could have envisioned Occupy Wall Street and its sudden wildflower-like profusion in cities large and small?
John Carpenter could have, and did. Almost a quarter of a century ago (1988), the master of date-night terror (Halloween, The Thing), wrote and directed They Live, depicting the Age of Reagan as a catastrophic alien invasion. In one of the film’s brilliant early scenes, a huge third-world shantytown is reflected across the Hollywood Freeway in the sinister mirror-glass of Bunker...
October 27, 2011
On November 20th, 1969 over seventy people organized by the San Francisco-based Indians of All Tribes set out to occupy Alcatraz Island. Only fourteen made it through the Coast Guard cordon that night, but many more would follow. Five years earlier a group had occupied the island after the closure of the penitentiary, citing the 1868 Treat of Laramie which promised to return all federal land taken in treaty and falling into disuse to Native Americans. The 1969 occupation would last over eighteen...
October 25, 2011
On October 15, over one thousand Montrealers rallied to support Occupy Wall Street and the quickly globalizing Occupy movement. That night, activists erected some 50 tents in Square Victoria, a small public space in the heart of the city’s business district, at the foot of the Stock Exchange Tower, the city’s World Trade Center, and the historic Bank of Canada building. Activists quickly renamed the square the ‘Place du Peuple’ (the People’s Plaza), remade the Square’s towering...
October 25, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street movement and the mobilizations of the "indignant" in Europe have sparked solidarity actions in many places around the world. October 15, 2011 was a massive day of action that included over 60 marches in Spain, a huge demonstration of over 100,000 in Rome and Occupy actions in cities and towns across North America and in many other places.
October 23, 2011
A number of people I know and respect are eager to see OWS adopt a basic list of demands. The draft lists I’ve seen in different areas are great; there is nothing I’ve seen that I don’t agree with, and I’ve worked hard for some of those demands for much of my life. So I wonder why I keep thinking that pushing the list of demands is not the way to go right now. Here are some thoughts...
October 20, 2011
Just five years ago, the state of Georgia allowed undocumented residents to receive the same tuition subsidies (a waiver for "in-state tuition") that any other state resident would receive to pursue a degree at a public university. While it was never easy for undocumented residents to afford even the reduced tuition (to say nothing about the cost of books, fees, and time off from work), it has become almost impossible to attend school after a series of recent decisions by the Georgia Board of...
Occupy Wall Street is a people powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan's Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #OWS is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.The movement is inspired by...
October 14, 2011
This document was produced in consultation with fellow socialists involved in the Occupy effort here in Nashville. It is based on our observations of problems that have emerged in our organizing efforts in Tennessee. The intent of this is to provide some grounding in our work and to start a broader conversation about how socialists ought to orient themselves to the Occupy movement generally speaking.
October 11, 2011
If there was any doubt just one week ago, it is now abundantly clear that the Occupy Wall St. movement is not an isolated phenomenon. It has reached towns large and small and has proven to resonate with individuals from a variety of backgrounds – from the politicized 'usual suspects' to those previously reluctant to participate in any such demonstration – who are recognizing the criminality driving the financial services industry and connecting their concerns to a broader anti-capitalist...
October 11, 2011
This continues part one of on the ground reports from rank and file Solidarity members regarding their observations, experiences and impressions of the Occupy Together actions from around the country. Contributors in part two take a few different approaches to their reports, writing personal narratives, journalistic reflections and accounts about how OWS events have impacted their longstanding activism.
October 10, 2011
Three “free trade” agreements (FTAs) were due to be signed into law before the summer congressional recess; now they are scheduled to sail through Congress within the next month. All are harmful to the people who live in the countries involved—whether the United States, Colombia, Panama or South Korea.
October 10, 2011
This story imagines a parallel universe in which Native Americans have conquered and settled Europe. Part of the point is that Native Americans would not have done to Europeans what Europeans actually did to Native Americans. The main point is (as Sherman Alexie says) to "turn it around," in order to expose cultural double standards. Versions of this piece were published in 1992 in Akwesasne Notes, News From Indian Country, Report on the Americas, and other periodicals. "Wanblee Johnson is a...
October 9, 2011
Supposedly winding down, the open-ended war in Afghanistan continues. These past few months witnessed the highest levels of US war casualties since the invasion began 10 years ago. Initially driven from power, a resurgent Taliban has continued to mount its resistance to the US-led invader occupation as the conflict expands into Pakistan. Iraq, in the meantime, has remained far from pacified as US military leaders openly speak of a troop presence on the ground twenty years from now.
October 7, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street protest now involves thousands and similar protests are taking place in dozens of cities and towns across the country. But why here in Cincinnati?
October 7, 2011
It was a strange feeling to be in Zuccotti Park (once called Liberty Plaza Park), right next to Ground Zero. I was with thousands of people listening to speeches through the “people’s microphone.” The crowd looked so similar to those of the late 1990s/early 2000s “anti-globalization” movement - and we used that method for communicating then too. Things had gone poorly in April 2000, when most of the big unions decided to lobby at the Capitol against Permanent Normal Trade Relation...
October 5, 2011
Here is a collection of signs seen at various Occupy demos around the country. What does your sign say?
October 3, 2011
Workers in Brazil—in heavy industry, services, the public sector, and agriculture—are involved in a series of strikes and mass protests such as the country hasn’t seen in decades. . Driving the new labor upsurge is the strength of the country’s economy, the powerful position of unions in the society, and the rising inflation. In 2007 and 2008, Brazil’s economy grew at a rate of 5%, and though in the depths of the crisis in 2009 it shrunk by .02%, last year the economy grew again at a...
October 3, 2011
I'm a public sector worker in health care in NYC, and for the past week most of my coworkers and activist networks have been talking about “Occupy Wall St.” (OWS) constantly. There's definitely a buzz, and it extends beyond the 'usual suspects' of New York's progressive / left scene. I went down to OWS on Thursday evening (while the 'grievances' were being debated... see below) and again on Saturday, towards the end of the attempt to march across the...
September 30, 2011
The other day I watched the YouTube video of a 21 year old U.S. airman stationed in Germany come out to his dad on the phone, soon after the repeal of DADT was official. As someone who has also said the words “Dad, I’m gay” with trepidation, I couldn’t help but feel for the young man. At the same time, as a socialist and antiwar activist, I am unwilling to take on the celebratory mood embraced by much of the LGBTQ community these past few weeks.
September 29, 2011
Sixty years ago Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman in Baltimore, unknowingly donated a scraping from her cervical tumor to Johns Hopkins University. She died of aggressive cancer soon after--but her cells lived on. For years scientists had tried to get human cells to multiply in a test tube, and time after time, the cultures had died. For reasons that are still unknown, Lacks’s cancer cells were the first to keep growing, and they are still growing today. “Like guinea pigs and mice,”...
September 28, 2011
For many young people, school is the dominant institution in their lives. Others are influenced most by a religious organization or the neighborhood in which they live. From the time my mother shook me awake to the time she sung me to sleep, it was the union that impacted my life.
September 27, 2011
Alan Wald wraps his review of the recently published memoirs of Peter Camejo and Les Evans, two leaders of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party from the 1960s into the beginning of the 1980s, into an essay on 'what went wrong' with the SWP ["A Winter's Tale Told in Memoirs," in Against the Current magazine July-August 2011]. The 'what went wrong with the SWP' discussion is most important to those of us grew up politically under SWP tutelage and who continue to be politically active with a socialist...
September 26, 2011
On Sunday, the Bronx based hip hop trio Rebel Diaz released this haunting dedication to Troy Davis, who was killed days before by the state of Georgia--and to the movement that fought for his freedom. Formed during the immigrant rights upsurge of 2006, Rebel Diaz is known for their dedication to both art and activism which come together in the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective community center in the South Bronx. They've released two full length albums, Otra Guerrillera Vol 1 and Volume 2, as well as...
September 26, 2011
This past Friday, an Orange County court found ten students guilty of, as one article put it, "being mean to Israeli ambassador" Michael Oren. Their prosecution constitutes an attack on Muslims and all people of conscience, and will have serious implications for Islamophobia, freedom of speech, and the future of Palestine solidarity activism. Because of all that is at stake, the students and their community are not taking this attack lying down, but are struggling to appeal the verdict and turn...
by Theresa El-Amin
All of the prayers for Troy Davis have been answered. And the answer is: “Troy Davis is a martyr in the struggle to end the death penalty in Georgia.”
As a veteran of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, I will do all that I can to honor Troy and the millions around the world who worked to save his life. Troy Davis understood that he is not the first innocent man to be killed at the hands of the state. His last words forgave his killers. Can DA Chisolm and the...
Howie Hawkins made the following statement at his announcement on September 14 that he is running as the Green Party candidate for 4th District Common Councilor in Syracuse:
We chose this location at the corner of South Salina and Colvin streets to announce my candidacy for 4th District Councilor because it demonstrates how the government is shutting down services and failing to meet the needs of this community.
Public Services Are Closing Down
Look across the street. That post office, the...
Growing from a handful of students in early July to almost half a million people last week, the protests for "social justice" in Israel appear to have established a new front in the global resistance to neoliberalism. Like any region of the capitalist world, Israelis have seen rising costs of housing, transportation, and childcare. From professionals to the working poor, salaries and wages have been declining as the top one percent continues to become incredibly wealthy. The picture by now is an...
“This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.” -Troy Davis
The hypocrisy of the United States was on full display late Wednesday night, "International Peace Day," as the Supreme Court ruled that Georgia should proceed with the execution of Troy Davis. His body was strapped to a...
Hundreds of people gathered on short notice beneath the gold dome of the Georgia capitol in the final hours before Troy Davis was executed. Davis was killed on September 21 at 11:08 PM, charged with killing a Savannah police officer twenty years ago. His case was a symbol of the inherent injustice of the death penalty and galvanized the outrage of thousands. Read more here and here.
Although Davis has been killed, the movement continues. Check Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty,...
This letter from Troy Davis was written some weeks ago. More recently, he has had all his possessions taken away, including writing utensils, and is subjected to around-the-clock observation. There is still time to act to save his life: calling Chatham County DA Larry Chisolm at 912-652-7308 and Judge Penny Freesemann at 912-652-7252 to ask them to remove the death warrant.
I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I...
Today, the day before Troy Anthony Davis is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection, Georgia Senate Democratic Whip Vincent Fort and Southern Center for Human Rights Executive Director Sara Totonchi have issued a joint statement calling upon the individuals charged with carrying out the execution to refuse to participate in the killing of a possibly innocent man.
Davis is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00pm at Georgia Diagnostics & Classifications Prison in...
The contracts between the Big Three corporations and the United Auto Workers (UAW) expired at midnight September 14 but were extended as negotiations continued. The official union strategy had been to target General Motors as the lead. As union and company signed off on various issues, these were then taken to Chrysler and accepted, or modified. In the final hours, the UAW negotiating team huddled with GM.
Workers at General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant listen as officials of the...
A Statement by the Solidarity Political Committee
On September 23, 2011 the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization intend to take an appeal for statehood recognition to the United Nations Security Council. When that is rejected – as it will be, since the Obama Administration has promised to veto it – the PA is expected to turn to the General Assembly, where there’s no great-power veto, for “non-member observer state” status which will give it access to UN...
By Carl Finamore
"People Wasn't Made to Burn: A True Story of Race, Murder, and Justice in Chicago"
Joe Allen, Haymarket Press, published July 2011
“People Wasn’t Made to Burn,” by journalist Joe Allen, reads like a lively, creative work of fiction with its abundance of larger-than-life characters and a seemingly over-dramatized back story of shocking events awaiting one Black family escaping southern rural poverty and landing amidst northern urban racism. The story includes corruption,...
Over the coming few days hundreds of thousands of workers will exercise their right to strike and organise sit-ins, in defiance of all attempts to intimidate them and prevent them from exercising these rights, such as the law criminalising strikes and protests. The 22,000 textile workers of Misr Spinning in Mahalla have shown that this law does not frighten them, and it will not prevent the strike that they have set for 10 September demanding a new rate for the minimum wage, a 200% rise in...
Ohio's working people—both those with jobs, the unemployed and their families—are under attack as they have not been for decades. And this is not just in Ohio. From Wisconsin to Florida, from California to New York, employers, the media and politicians are working 24/7 to lower our wages, reduce our benefits, postpone our retirement, cut social services such as health and education, and in many other ways large and small to take away hard-won gains from working people in order to increase...
by Manuel Larrabure and Carlos Torchia
Perhaps the greatest challenge for the radical left today is to articulate a politics that decisively breaks with the disastrous experiences of many 20th century socialisms. This is a difficult task that requires self-reflection, active questioning, and openness to new expressions of struggle by the always complex and fluid global working-classes. Making this task even the more difficult is that neoliberalism has destroyed or co-opted traditional forms of...
On Friday, September 2, in Ottawa, Illinois, on the site of the old Radium Dial plant a life-sized bronze statue of a young woman holding a flower in one hand and a paint brush in the other was unveiled. She is the symbol of the Radium Girls, the women workers in the watch and clock factories that dotted this area in the 1920s through 1940s. Their job was to paint those glow-in-the dark dials so popular in the day. To do this, management told them to shape a sharp point by licking the brushes...
By Bushra Khaliq, August 5, 2011
The floodwaters that ravaged the southern parts of Pakistan in the summer of 2010 have long receded. Gone are the makeshift tent camps on roadsides, however the revival of normal life still remains a challenge. Thousands continue a daily struggle to support their families and re-establish livelihoods. As a new monsoon season is in full swing, last year’s trauma and economic pain still linger. While last year’s victims struggle to recover, others now worry...
Equal Time radio podcast:45,000 Verizon workers have been forced out on strike by a corporation intent on outsourcing their jobs, cutting their health care and pension benefits, and working conditions despite earning record profits.
Verizon striker Pam Galpern and strike supporter Peter Spitzform explain what's at stake and why the strike can become the starting point not only for a general mobilization against runaway corporate power’s attacks on jobs, wages, health care, social programs and...
Nigel Cole, director of Made in Dagenham, commented in the Socialist Worker, "I hope that people come out of the film thinking, maybe we don’t need to be pushed around, maybe we can stand up for ourselves."
Last year's release may have been perfect timing for us here in the US: the intensifying attacks on the public sector, declining union density and limited (if inspiring) fight backs, made it a good moment to reflect on accomplishments of workers movements and on collective action generally....
In a bid to win the Latino vote, President Obama announces plan to stall the deportation of some.
Today, the Obama Administration will once again attempt to hide that they are deporting DREAM Act-eligible youth and our families. The Obama Administration has attempted time after time to win our support with token appeasement. Coming just weeks after the June 17 Morton Memo, which still has not been implemented, it remains to be seen whether this change will provide actual relief for youth and our...
This speech was given by Paul McLennan from Atlanta Public Sector Alliance (APSA) at Living Walls: The City Speaks.
LIVING WALLS: HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE PUBLIC SECTOR
I want to first thank Living Walls for the opportunity to engage in this dialogue. There needs to be more conversation taking place in Atlanta between artists and political activists, especially about this topic of what is happening to our public space and our public institutions. We will need to continue to have these discussions in...
The Pakistani Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) was privatized in 2005 and with Etsalat obtaining 26% shares along with management rights. Since then PTCL has shed more than 50,000 workers. Last year, when workers organized a national protest to demand a wage increase, Etsalat suspended 600. Although most were subsequently reinstated, 83 leaders were terminated.
On the 1st of August PTCL workers set up a protest camp in Lahore to demand their reinstatement. On the 5th of August 400 trade...
Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game
Beacon Press, 273 pp.
Perhaps it's fitting that I first heard about Raceball just before unfurling a banner at Atlanta Braves' Turner Field that read "Immigrants Rights Are Civil Rights." It was Civil Rights Day at the ballpark and several Negro Leagues veterans were taking the field to receive honors in front of thousands of fans. It was also the day after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 87, a bill targeting...
By Dan La Botz
Javier Batiz, the great Mexican rock-and-roll guitarist, played and sang last week in a concert that embodied and gave voice to everything that is most wonderful about Tijuana and the U.S.-Mexico border region. Batiz, who since he was thirteen played in the bars and nightclubs of Tijuana, performed this time with the Baja California Orchestra (OBC) before a sell-out crowd of 1,100 in the auditorium of Tijuana’s Center of Musical Arts in a concert that sometimes contrasted,...
ATLANTA - Tens of thousands of protesters gathered at the Georgia Capitol on July 2 and marched through downtown in opposition to the newly enacted Georgia House Bill 87.
The demonstration, organized by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights with the participation of over 60 other community-based immigration groups throughout the southeast, is part of a recent string of events put on by activists in an effort to push back against the increasing crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
I ignored the Slutwalk in Toronto. It only caught my attention when my friends and fellow activists started debating the nature of the walk. The critiques began immediately - that this was yet another white feminist project excluding women of color. There were articles written about the leadership's colorblindness and charges that the only reason the media was reporting it was because scantly-clad white women were involved. My initial thoughts were to sympathize with demonstrators while...
Like any radical, progressive or socialist, I celebrated New York State's (NYS) legalization of same-sex marriage as a step toward full legal equality for LGBT people. All the while, remembering that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act excludes married gays and lesbians from the federal benefits that come with marriage.
However, the way in which same-sex marriage legislation was won in NYS leads me to rethink my political assessment of the issue. For a number of years, I have disagreed with many...
The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor:
Birth of a New Workers' Movement or Death Throes of the Old?
By Steve Early
In the three months since the Budget Repair Bill was signed, activists in Wisconsin have been looking for whatever they can do to keep things going and to refuse to let the austerity agenda proceed unhindered. Undoubtedly, important coalitions and actions have come together to attempt to keep the protest energy together, but its been difficult for these things to really take hold in the face of at least two major institutional endeavors: the first has been the recalls (the timeframe to collect...
There is no doubt about it. The wind that has electrified the Arab world in recent months, the spirit of the repeated protests in Greece or the student struggles in Britain and Italy, the mobilizations against Sarkozy in France... has come to the Spanish State.
by Josep María Antentas and Esther Vivas
These videos were created by Sandra Ezquerra, who wrote an article on women in the Spanish economy for Against the Current. She included the following note:
I am sending you the link to a little video I just made on the mass concentrations and campings going on in dozens of cities in Spain. The one in the video is on my city, Barcelona, but there are many more in other places and the ones in Madrid is much bigger. Thousands are getting together to say stop the crisis, stop a system that exploits...
The Progressive Student Alliance (PSA) of Georgia State University is deeply troubled by the allegations made on WSBTV on May 24, 2011 regarding a Freedom of Information Act request made by the PSA. The request concerns GILEE, the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange program, housed at Georgia State University, which is a police exchange program between Georgia police officers and the Israeli police.
In WSBTV’s coverage of the request, Attorney General Sam Olens stated that the...
by Frann Michael
A recent episode of National Geographic's TV series Taboo featured a profile of Stanley Thornton, a 30-year-old "adult baby, " in California, who wears diapers and onesies, drinks from a bottle, and sleeps in a giant crib.
Recently BlackCommentator.com editorial board member Bill Fletcher wrote a very strange column. It polemicizes against unnamed, unquoted "progressives" who have "written off" not just Obama but those who gave him critical support in 2008, like Fletcher.
According to Fletcher, these nameless, quoteless progressives won't make racism, epitomized by the racist assault to keep Obama from being re-elected, central to what they are saying heading into the 2012 elections. This even though next year's...
IT SHOULD COME as no real surprise that president Obama’s May 19 speech on the Middle East said so little. Nor is it unexpected that the major media played it as if it were a major event. There are two sets of observations to be made on the president’s remarks, first on the Arab Uprising as a whole and second on the Israel-Palestine crisis.
Back in June 2009, president Obama’s address in Cairo to the Muslim world stimulated genuine public excitement from North Africa to South Asia. Two...
Why home-based women workers need social protection urgently
By Bushra Khaliq
April 26, 2011
The neoliberalization of the late 1980s resulted in the increasing informalization and casualization of the Pakistani labor market, spawning a growth in home-based work almost exclusively performed by women and, frequently, their children. This informal sector consists of small units producing goods or services. Its activities are characterized by low levels of capital and skill, with little access to...
By Joaquín Bustelo
MABLETON, GA -- About 100 students --overwhelmingly Latinos-- walked out of classes this afternoon at Pebblebrook High School in this Atlanta suburb.
"As undocumented youth we can no longer be afraid of those who stand against us, instead we need show them we will fight back. We need to take a stand because if we do not do it no one else will” said Dulce Guerrero, a graduating senior.
Guerrero was one of several students who addressed a rally in front of the school, some...
[The following statement was released May 13 by Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR]
The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, the state’s leading grass roots immigrant rights organization, condemns Gov. Nathan Deal’s decision to sign HB 87 into law.
This action is not only an insult to the Latino community and other immigrants, but is also an exercise in cheap political pandering that will cost our state dearly.
GLAHR is advising the Latino community not to panic. This is not...
Graduate workers across the University of California have voted to transform their union. The Academic Workers for a Democratic Union slate swept all 10 executive board positions and nearly 60 percent of Joint Council positions in United Auto Workers Local 2865. The local is the largest graduate worker union in the country and the largest UAW local in the West, representing 12,000 academic student workers at nine UC campuses.
AWDU ran a hard-fought campaign against the incumbent leadership,...
The heroic resistance of Geronimo and the Chiricahua Apache is one of the most potent legends in North America. Caught in the crosshairs of the United States' expansionist ambitions into their land, Geronimo led a small group of less than two hundred. For over a year, they evaded the efforts of one-quarter of the U.S. Army to wipe them out. His surrender in 1886 was one of the final episodes in centuries of U.S. wars of conquest and extermination against the indigenous tribes of North America....
May 4th was the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, when a dozen interracial riders, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), challenged segregation in bus accommodations across the Deep South. They were determined to use non-violent direct action to implement a 1960 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared segregated restaurants and waiting rooms at interstate transportation terminals. The ride, like an earlier one in 1947 CORE had undertaken in the Upper South, was composed...
ATLANTA-Some 2,000-3,000 people rallied in front of the state capitol here to celebrate May Day and denounce HB 87, a Georgia bill that goes even further than the infamous Arizona SB 1070.
The bill, currently awaiting the Governor's signature, is even worse that Arizona's SB 1070 in that it make it a crime punishable by 15 years in prison to get a job using false identity documents. It also criminalizes the transportation or harboring of undocumented people, as well as encouraging or helping...
Hundreds of people rallied last week to protest the brutal beating of Chrissy Lee Polis, a transgender woman from Baltimore’s working-class eastern suburbs, at a local McDonald’s. Polis was attacked by two teenagers when she tried to use the restroom. The prolonged, merciless assault was photographed by a McDonald’s employee; several other employees stood around watching and did nothing to help. An older woman tried to intervene but was punched in the face, and the beating did not stop...
After twenty-odd hours of blaring announcements, everybody in the TV-watching parts of the world must now know that Osama bin Laden was recently killed by U.S. forces in a "compound deep inside of Pakistan". So, the al-Qaeda leader is dead at the hands of covert U.S. intervention in the mountains of Central Asia. If that sounds a little bit familiar, it's because his political career began thirty years ago with covert U.S. intervention in the mountains of Central Asia. In retrospect, the...
By Tessa Echeverria and Andrew Sernatinger
On a cold January day in Wisconsin, the two of us sat over a couple of cups of coffee and started talking, like many others, about what was happening in the world and remarked on the chain of revolts across Europe and North Africa. We got up to leave and passed a copy of January's Economist magazine, the cover reading "The Battle Ahead, Confronting the Public Sector Unions." We crossed East Washington Avenue, a long stretch of vacant manufacturing...
Today we lost one of the best. An irreplaceable loss. Hazel Dickens gave voice, her own inimitable voice, to working people and especially the miners and hill folk of her native Appalachia. A partisan of the class war, a fierce working class feminist and a link of steel in the chain, she will remain a voice of the workers and her community for as long as there are ears to hear and voices to sing. Still, it is a heartbreaking loss and a sad thought to know she will not sing again, she has passed...
Ten years ago, after the police killing of a teenager named Timothy Thomas, Cincinnati erupted in what some called vicious riots and others a righteous rebellion. The uprising over a string of police killings of black men made Cincinnati the subject of a national discussion that took place from the pages of the NAACP’s The Crisis and The New York Times to NPR and Nightline. Cincinnati became synonymous in the public mind with racism and bigotry and the reputation lived on for years. Living...
As uprisings, revolutions and protests continue to radiate from the Tunisian and Egyptian epicenters, we ought to pause to take a look at the peculiar situation of Afghanistan. “Peculiar” in what sense, however? Peculiar in the character of the protests? Peculiar due to the military occupation and warlord-ization of the country under the occupation authority? Or peculiar due to its religious justifications?
Of Qu'rans and Military Occupations of Muslim Countries
Toward the end of last month,...
The Libyan revolution began as did most revolutions in the Arab world, with protests against a cruel dictator. The protests grew large by mid-February and were especially large in Tripoli.[i] What quickly distinguished Libya from the rest of the Arab world was the brutality of the dictator’s counter attack and the response of the protesters.
By early March the democratic protest movement had transformed into a civil war. Exactly how and why this happened is still not entirely clear. Muammar...
Georgia Students for Public Higher Education (GSPHE) was a bit late in starting to mobilize against cuts to the state's HOPE scholarship, which helped nearly one million students attend college since its creation in 1993. The state House had already passed SB326 when we arrived on the scene. Activists were completely surprised by the sudden emergence of this bill, and how fast it was flying through the Georgia Assembly. Most elected Democrats voted in favor of the cuts. Only 22 out of 63 voted...
The recent social upheaval in Wisconsin, where during the last month hundreds of thousands of workers, students, retirees, and people without a job descended on the Capitol building in Madison to protest Governor Scott Walker's overt union-busting legislation, has for many progressives been one of the most exciting moments in recent United States history. A breathtaking display of solidarity was demonstrated by individuals from a variety of backgrounds – in addition to the public sector union...
The video of this speech by Mohammad Abdollahi of Dreamactivist.org gave me goosebumps. This coming weekend, undocumented youth from around the country will gather in Atlanta to plan a structure for the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a new network that was formed by activists who, in fighting for the DREAM Act, engaged in daring direct actions last year. Thanks to Adam K for the video.
My name is Mohammad. I am undocumented. I am queer. And I am no longer afraid.
I can't think of a better...
I've spent much of the past month in Wisconsin participating in the historic working class upsurge there. On Sunday, I delivered a summary of some observations on the struggle to a meeting of the Chicago branch of Solidarity and captured a video of the presentation. You can also download an mp3 if you'd like.
I feel obligated to warn that this probably isn't the most dynamic talk you'll have ever heard since it was intended to fill in information and start a conversation. Any excitement will be...
This article was written by Micah Uetricht for Gaper's Block.
The idea is simple: young people getting together in front of cameras and onlookers and telling their stories.
Stories about their lives, their dreams, their fears–which all end with one phrase:
“Undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic.”
All photos by Sarah Jane Rhee.
by Daniel Tanuro
Once again the evidence shows that nuclear technology can never be 100% secure. The risks are so frightening that the conclusion is obvious: it is imperative to abandon nuclear energy, and to do so as quickly as possible. This is the first lesson of Fukushima, one which raises absolutely fundamentamental social and political questions, requiring a real social debate about an alternative to the capitalist model of infinite growth.
What has happened is entirely predictable: yet...
Is this the end or the beginning?In light of the events of the last month, as much as those of the last few days, it is time to reflect. The passing of a slightly revised version of the “Budget Repair Bill” requires that we do so for what we are calling our movement has been based largely, arguably entirely, on killing that bill. Republicans are unmoved by demonstrations and any other call for them to carry through the will of the people. It is a testament to the strength of the movement...
How did the idea of helping plan an International Women’s Day (IWD) march come about?
Kate: We had a Solidarity meeting on Sunday March 6. I brought the idea to hold a rally on Tuesday, International Women’s Day. Tessa, Rebecca, Colin, and myself got together decided to throw something together and make something happen. This IWD was particularly special because it was the 100th anniversary of its first celebration. This year is also the 100-year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire....
Wednesday morning we were all preparing for a compromise. The media blew up with stories that Scott Walker was willing to keep collective bargaining in place in exchange for the return of the fourteen Democrats and the passage of the rest of the bill, and activists on the ground scrambled looking for ways to strengthen their coalition and resist a compromise that could remove organized labor from the fight in order to conquer the rest of the working class.
The odd thing was that Wednesday...
Download this statement!
Walker is cutting $1.25 billion from state and local government. The budget gets rid of 17,418 jobs from the University of Wisconsin. It cuts $749.9 million from public primary and secondary education. And women are at the center of the crisis.
Women make up 56% of state government workers
Women make up 58% of municipal workers
Women in government jobs tend to work as teachers, social workers, administrative assistants and secretaries.
Wisconsin is one of the lowest...
A quick note on process: I want to point out that the analysis and reporting that I've been doing has been the result of many collective discussions and debates with my comrades, members of Solidarity as well as fellow travelers. Mistakes or misjudgments are my own, and times where I feel like I've been off is because I haven't been able to work through the situation collectively. Givin' credit where credit's due!
Let's start with a recap of last week before getting into where we are now. A week...
This is a message from the World March of Women, an organization that exists in many countries in Latin America and Europe:
We have started 2011 with hope and revolution in our hearts and minds, as we support the struggle for self-determination and participatory democracy in northern Africa and the Arab world. The peoples of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Syria have demonstrated that mass uprisings of women and men do have the power to topple governments and...
I've been meaning to share this video for many months, ever since watching it for the first time myself at a public screening in Atlanta at the end of the summer. Wildcat at Mead documents an overlooked moment of history: a militant, unauthorized strike at a cardboard plant on the west side of Atlanta. The movie was produced by and features cadre of the October League (OL), a marxist-leninist organization who counted among its membership several plant workers who came to be important leaders in...
Michael Moore spoke at the big weekend rally in Madison, Wisconsin yesterday. A vido of his speech and his blog post that it's roughly based on are below.
Mike is one of the great popularizers of working class politics in the United States today. I remember watching his show, TV Nation (on Fox!) in middle school as an early step in my introduction to working class and radical politics. Growing up in Georgia, with its tiny segment of unionized workers, organized labor seemed distant and the...
ONTARIO'S 'DAYS OF ACTION': CITYWIDE POLITICAL STRIKES
by Dan La Botz
[In 1995-1998, unions in Ontario embarked on a series of eleven one-day
citywide strikes against the policies of the Conservative provincial government.
This article, published originally in The Troublemakers Handbook details the labor-community coalitions they put together;
the cross-picketing they did of each other's workplaces; and a deal of
practical advice for mounting huge strikes and demonstrations.]
After police, Union reps and Democrats convinced the 50 or so people remaining in the Capitol to end their occupation last night, the most highly visible and sustained direct action against the Walker/Fitzgerald/Koch regime came to an end. As it turned out, those occupying the Capitol since February 14 were there with the tacit consent of the Department of Administration and the Capitol Police. Until Judge Albert's decision came down yesterday, not a single order was issued to remove people from...
These remarks were delivered to a recent meeting of the Solidarity National Committee to introduce a discussion on the Egyptian labor movement.
Egyptian labor confronts neoliberalism
This presentation could go back centuries because Egyptian labor history is so rich. I’m going to do a quick run through of some points which relate to the current labor uprisings. In a certain sense, what’s been going on with the Egyptian workers movement over the past month or so is a reaction to developments...
By Dan La Botz
The new American workers movement, which has developed so rapidly in the last couple of months in the struggle against rightwing legislative proposals to abolish public employee unions, suddenly finds itself at a crossroads. Madison, Wisconsin, where rank-and-file workers, community members, and social movement activists converged to create the new movement, remains the center of the struggle. In Ohio, which faces similar legislation, unions have also gone into motion, while...
Court is still in session and access to the capitol is restricted for the fourth consecutive day. About eighty people continue the sit-in inside the capitol, for hope that the combination of popular pressure and favorable judicial order will force the DOA and police to step aside and let the occupation of the capitol resume in full; if they leave, their understanding is that the capitol will be unrecoverable for the movement.
The resolve of people inside is nothing short of heroic. Many of the...
An extremely important development in the unfolding struggle in Wisconsin has been the presence of military veterans in the protests - especially given the early threats of Governor Scott Walker to call in the national guard. This week, Iraq Veterans Against the War has joined the struggle in an organized way, releasing a statement and calling on its members to join the occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol:
Their statement calls on all military service members to resist mobilization against...
Judge Moeser ruled that the Department of Administration (DOA) could not limit access to the capitol building and granted the restraining order demanded by protesters (I think legal counsel was acquired by WEAC and AFSCME Council 24?). Nonetheless, the entrance to the capitol Tuesday was penned in with guard rails to keep protesters in single file, orange plastic fencing enclosing the lawn and a line of police guarding the doors. Around 80 people have stayed in the capitol, and the DOA's...
Download this statement!
We’ve occupied the capitol for more than two weeks and our presence—as workers and as members of this community—has delayed the vote in the Assembly and stopped the vote in the Senate. Without us, legislation would have already passed to crush public sector unions and allow our schools and community services to deteriorate.
What has been the atmosphere of Madison over the last several days?
Colin: On Saturday, the crowd was the largest that I’ve seen yet. The energy was really high and it was incredible to see. The conservative estimate was 70,000 people, while Democracy Now reported 100,000 people. It was incredible to see that many people braving the cold and I can assure you that it was cold. It was incredible to see all the different unions represented in that crowd, from steelworkers to teachers to...
The big news this weekend is about cops in the capitol. Friday, most people know, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association said that they would refuse orders to clear out the capitol and instead sleep in to keep the occupation going. Unfortunately, there are three different groups of police working inside the capitol and the WPPA statement is speaking for the city cops here. That leaves the Capitol Police and the State Patrol (Capitol Police actually have their offices in the basement of...
Dan La Botz
February 26, 2011
Beyond any shadow of a doubt, what is emerging across the United States is the most significant upsurge of the labor movement in a very long time. What has begun in Wisconsin is rapidly spreading to other states—even some southern states, traditionally vacuums of labor activity.
Its pretty clear that we are in an all out class war here and everyone seems to know it. Organized labor all across the United States knows it, they're sending people here and looking at what to do at home; non-union workers know it and they're moving forward their demands and tactics (like today's occupation of the GOP office by ADAPT disability activists); and obviously, Walker, the Legislature, the Koch Brothers and the entire capitalist class knows it and they're out for a complete crushing...
What does organizing on the ground look like?
Adam: We have been having regular Solidarity meetings, which are the best meetings I have ever attended. We have been asking ourselves what we are trying to do and how we can radicalize the agenda and talking points. Obviously a lot of union leaders and people in general are ready to give concessions right away, but we are trying to say Scott Walker gave tax breaks to businesses and now they are trying to give the debt onto the people, and stressing...
Dismissal & Decertification of Teachers’ Union Leadership: 11 FMPR Executive Members Are Sanctioned
“We Will Not Be Intimidated”
By Hugo J. Delgado-Martí, Bandera Roja - 2/21/11
The strategic and tactical assessments of the situation have shifted a few times since this started last week--our goals and objectives have had to change with the developments here, the idea of what is possible and what a win means. Its all changed and changed again. When we arrived at what seemed like a kind of stalemate over the weekend, both sides were digging in and preparing to deal huge blows: Walker and the Legislature were expected to press the police and push the bill; workers had the...
Without a doubt, today is going to decide the course of the struggle. The last two and a half days have been a pause, with folks moving into position for Tuesday while guarding their backs in case of any unexpected developments. Rumors of strikes have come and gone depending on what the collective sense is of who's in the lead and what the balance of forces is. The anxiety into Monday was in looking for some maneuvers or developments that would put one side in front of the other, a step forward...
We're into the fifth day now and its starting to take its toll--I'm pretty worn so hopefully this report is holding the standard. The capitol square has temporarily depopulated to the point that it almost looks like a normal business day--of course its Sunday and most people don't do business with KILL THE BILL placards and "I am MTI" pins. The local newspapers are saying that the small turnout today is because of the bad weather (it's grossly cold and wet) and that shows the resolve of...
How have you participated in the protests?
Connor: I’ve been commuting these last several days to Madison. As I student at UW-Milwaukee, I’ve missed a week of class. Except for today [Sunday 2/20], I’ve been in and out of Milwaukee everyday since Tuesday, commuting to Madison to participate in the protests. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at UW-Milwaukee organized a walkout on Thursday, numbering in the thousands, which pretty much shut down the campus. The...
Download this statement!
Wisconsin! in one week, tens of thousands of workers and their families have made history. In the face of the most aggressive anti-worker bill in modern history, teachers, janitors, clerks, plumbers, steelworkers, teamsters and many more have stood together above party lines and pushed union leaders and politicians where they weren’t willing to go. Rank-and-file workers, students and grassroots activists have led the way and the establishment has only moved because we...
One thing this week has become infamous for is the spread of rumors, and Friday night ended with a scare that a fleet of Tea Party buses were on their way to counter-protest with Sarah Palin at the head. WEAC members passed out flyers Friday afternoon briefing demonstrators on what to expect and how to conduct themselves, but apart from overworked activists and a few union bureaucrats, the crowd seemed unbothered by the right wing threat. Of course when a little more than a thousand tea party...
Another update from Andrew in Madison.
* * * * *
Thursday night ended with lots of energy and momentum as Democratic senators fled the state to break quorum and block a vote, and Friday seems to be a difficult and contradictory day. Public schools remain closed and thousands of UW students walked out today to join workers at the capitol, so there remains important grassroots energy but the situation is changing quickly.
This is a report from a Madison comrade, Andrew, who has been heavily involved with the protests there. He makes great observations on the culture of the protests, how such movements are organized, contradictions between the labor bureaucracy and rank-and-file workers, and all kinds of other stuff you definitely won't learn about in the mainstream media. This was written late Thursday, February 17.
* * * * *
First, I think we're all shocked at what's happening here. There's obviously been a...
By Dan La Botz
Thousands of workers demonstrated at the state capital in Madison, Wisconsin on Feb. 15 and 16 to protest plans by that state’s Republican Governor Scott Walker to take away the state workers’ union rights. Walker, cleverly attempted to divide the public workers by excluding police and firefighters from his anti-union law, and the media have worked to divide public employees against private sector workers. Yet, both firemen and private sector workers showed up at the...
Victor M. Rodriguez
"The epicenter of the struggle for the public university in Latin America is Puerto Rico." -- José Carlos Luque Brazán, professor and researcher of political science and urban planning at the Autonomous University, Mexico City
Translator’s note. Mainstream historians typically focus on the human cost of revolution in the form of violence, terror, lost lives, economic disorganization, the rise of dictatorships, etc. In this piece, Marxist economist Ernest Mandel describes the far greater costs to humanity of a revolution that did not succeed.
The “Human Cost” of Revolutions that Never Happened
The Mubarak regime—sans the former President himself—has entered into its “Greatest Hits” phase, offering up figures who have been a dominant fixture in elite politics since Hosni Mubarak's ascendancy to the Presidency three decades ago, albeit repackaged and remastered with minor concessions to the revolutionary movement that is rocking not only Egypt, but the entire region with its new style of Arab nationalism.
This spirit of 2011 represents an Arab nationalism from below, built on...
Since the beginning of February Live Action has released several videos shot at different Planned Parenthood clinics. The sting operation seems designed to reveal that the organization is not complying with federal legislation. They claim to show Planned Parenthood staff offering advice to those in sex trafficking of teenagers. Planned Parenthood responded by announcing it is retraining staff, but it also claims the videos have been doctored.
Meanwhile U.S. Rep Mike Pence (R-IN),proposed denying...
One thing is clear from the events of the last 18 days: the power of the people is now back on the world stage in a dramatic fashion.
What has transpired in Egypt is nothing less than the largest popular revolution in the last 30 years. Two weeks of demonstrations and mass actions put the authority of Hosni Mubarak on its last legs, and 2 days of strikes finished the job. Masses of working class people have participated in the protests, swelling the ranks in the streets, but once the...
As the front page article on this website states it would be silly to predict where this is headed, with so much still in motion. For example, in the process of completing this blog entry, rumors that Hosni Mubarak was about to step down were dashed - for the time being - with an enraging speech stating exactly the opposite.
And like most inspired observers and supporters of this popular outpouring, I am far from an expert on Egyptian politics or history. I've been playing catch-up in an effort...
This report came in from Atef Said, who wrote about Egypt's long labor history for Against the Current in September 2009. There he concluded with predictions of exactly the kind of converging political and labor struggles that are now rocking the country as we can see in Al Jazeera's live coverage.
A Few Things the American and Western Publics should KNOW About the Egyptian Revolution
That’s how Milton Rogovin explained why the subjects of his acclaimed photographs were the working people in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, in West Virginia, Kentucky and all over the world. He died last week at his home in Buffalo at 101 years of age. Up until the last weeks of his life, he never missed the Women in Black vigils against the war every Saturday.
A member of the Communist Party who was witch-hunted out of his optometry business (he refused to testify to HUAC), Rogovin took...
Review of David McNally, Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance. (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2011)
By Charlie Post
In late 2007, over twenty years of global economic growth came to a screeching halt. A financial panic began in the sub-prime mortgage market, leading to the bankruptcy (Goldman Sachs) and near bankruptcy (AIG, GM) of major financial and industrial corporations. While capitalist state bailouts for corporations deemed “too large to fail” stemmed the tide of...
Mike F. (NY) has translated this statement from the NPA (New Anti-Capitalist Party), our French comrades, on the Tunisian Revolution:
STATEMENT FROM THE NPA (January 26, 2011);
SOLIDARITY WITH THE ONGOING REVOLUTION IN TUNISIA.
One after the other, the pitiful declarations of members of the Fillon government, from Alliot-Marie to Lemaire and including Sarkozy, have shown that they do not understand the reasons for the revolt of the Tunisian people.
Their explanations try to camouflage their...
The events unfolding in Tunisia before our very eyes constitute a sharp break in world events, albeit a break that has emerged from years of grinding contradictions that have now come to a head. These events represent a break from US-backed “color revolutions,” feigned revolutionary upsurges by reactionary Islamists masquerading as harbingers of progress, and forms of reformist and guerilla-style revolutionary elitism. Popular self-organization from below has scored a victory that—although...
Working in the Mountain Justice movement as a socialist has had its trying moments. The movement was established in 2005 by a coalition of local Appalachians effected by the worst excesses of the coal industry and a much younger layer of environmentalist activists from outside the region itself. On one wing of the movement, there is a hard core dedicated to tactics of direct action and non-violent civil disobedience while, on the other, is a NGO-ized section of more bureaucratic organizations...
Without going into too much detail about Tunisia’s situation, let us make clear one thing:
The regime has not fallen, it is still in power–though it is in a precarious position.
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”
- Albert Einstein
MANY PROGRESSIVES VOTED for Barack Obama hoping that we would see national leadership that would greatly differ from that of his predecessor, George
W. Bush. It has been over two years since that historic election and many progressives across the nation are asking, Where's the change?
For some of us our questions began last year after the idea of Medicare For All/Single Payer healthcare was taken...
Wounded Knee, December 29th, 1890 is full of meaning. Not just for the Miniconjou and Hunkpapa Lakota who were victims and perished in their hundreds, but for the course of imperial America. Its violence an echo of the violence that was the settlement of this country. The expropriation of the land from Native Americans necessarily involved a genocidal struggle, something evident very early in the history of Europeans on this continent. That genocidal war was also bound up with an economy based...
Wounded Knee, December 29th, 1890 is full of meaning. Not just for the Miniconjou and Hunkpapa Lakota who were victims and perished in their hundreds, but for the course of imperial America. Its violence an echo of the violence that was the settlement of this country. The expropriation of the land from Native Americans necessarily involved a genocidal struggle, something evident very early in the history of Europeans on this continent. That genocidal war was also bound up with an economy based...
Press Release….Press Release….Press Release….Press Release….Press Release….
For More Information Contact: Dan La Botz at: 513-600-9405 or DanLaBotz@gmail.com
SOCIALIST CANDIDATE’S BACKERS FOUND NEW ORGANIZATION
“OUTRAGED POLITICIANS ARE claiming that the release of government information is the criminal equivalent of terrorism and puts innocent people's lives at risk. Many of those same politicians authorized the modern equivalent of carpet bombing of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, the sacrifice of thousands of lives of soldiers and civilians and drone assaults on civilian areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Their anger at a document dump, no matter how extensive, is more than a little...
by Wes Strong
Close to two hundred gathered at San Francisco State University on October 30th to discuss and plan future actions in the struggle to defend public education. Activists set forward an action plan, established a set of demands for the movement, and established a continuations committee to help build for future conferences and actions. Many see the results of the conference as a step forward, providing more clarity to the struggle and beginning to answer some questions that should...
The editors of Against the Current initiated a petition addressed to the Indian Ambassador in Washington DC and the High Commissioner of India in Ottawa, Canada. It requested that a ban on Dr. Richard Shapiro be lifted and charges dropped against Angana Chatterji and Zahir-ud-Din. The latter two are co-founders and co-conveners of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir. They have been charged with writing to incite against the Indian...
“The Socialist Party campaign for the U.S. Senate in Ohio was a great success. We won more than 25,000 votes for socialism in Ohio,” said Dan La Botz the 65-year old school teacher, writer and activist and the party’s candidate for Senator. "We didn't win in traditional terms, but this was not a traditional campaign. The corporate parties want working people to wake up think about politics only on election day, and then they want them to go back to sleep. This campaign was about creating...
I think this interview with Farooq Tariq of the Labour Party Pakistan is a clear explanation on how the left is reaching out to those who have been affected by the floods, providing concrete aid and building a political campaign to cancel the odious debt.
“The floods have revealed the real nature of poverty in Pakistan”
22 October by Stéphanie Jacquemont
An interview with Farooq Tariq, member of CADTM Pakistan, Labour Relief Campaign (LRC) and spokeperson for Labour Party Pakistan...
Harlem Hospital workers rallied today to stop proposed cuts in the number of doctors on staff. A few hundred people came out to a rally across the street from the hospital, one of New York City's 11 public hospitals and one of the few health care options for the uninsured.
The Doctors Council SEIU, which represents physicians at Harlem, called the demonstration in protest of a layoffs as the hospital ends its affiliation with Columbia University Medical Center. For the past 60 years, CUMC has...
While workplace resistance to the tsunami of attacks on our living standards, pensions, healthcare, social security, and our social wage in general is near an all time low as measured by recent U.S. strike activity, our French brothers and sisters are demonstrating a different way.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, leader of a center-right party, campaigned promising to put more money in people's pockets, to cut taxes, and make France more competitive. Eighteen months ago Sarkozy seemed...
Frequently asked questions about whether or not to vote for the Democrats or to support a Socialist, Green or progressive independent candidate.
Dan La Botz is the Socialist Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in Ohio. He is a member of both the Socialist Party and of Solidarity. He is one of the organizers of the Socialist Contingent for the October 2 rally in Washington. (See DanLaBotz.com, follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.)
Question: You are a progressive activist running as the...
I don't know whether to call it a rash or not, but the recent reporting of the suicides of young gay men should certainly raise alarm bells. I would be interested to know if this was a cluster or just an average that is finding the light of day because of the higher profile of some of these tragedies. In any case, it stands in stark contrast to the popular version that official Hollywood, the mainstream Gay movement and the current administration currently pedal where gays are widely accepted...
Hopefully, tens of thousands of working people will descend on Washington, DC on Saturday, October 2nd. The unions, civil rights, immigrant, women’s and LGBT organizations that have built this demonstration to counter the “Tea Party” and the right’s program of new wars abroad and attacks on unions, immigrants, people of color, women and queer folks at home.
In 2008, most of us in the labor, civil rights, anti-war and immigrant rights movements celebrated the election of the first...
The Great Recession has no doubt punctured US celebration of the unregulated market, generated anger at wealth disparities and shock at the loss of the American Dream. Yet three decades of conservative dominance and political drift to the right have taken their toll.
With the cooptation and/or destruction of vehicles for working-class resistance (especially unions, civil rights and community-based organizations), most working-class families are not engaged in collective action but instead...
We March for Jobs, Peace, Justice and the Socialist Alternative That Can Win Them
Hundreds of thousands of Americans organized by labor and civil rights organizations will gather in Washington, D.C. on October 2 to demand a change in the direction that our nation is heading. We are proud to join this march to demand jobs, to demand an end to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan now, and to demand a society that is fairer, more equal and more just. We believe it important to be in the...
[ This morning, the FBI conducted raids at the homes of activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina. These provocations, under the guise of "anti-terrorism", appear to target leaders of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, which publishes the Fight Back! newspaper and website. The articles below - from Twin Cities IndyMedia and Fight Back! News - give some picture of the unfolding story. As details and opportunities for solidarity and defense become clear, please post or...
Friday, September 24 is day ten of an sit-in at the Whittier Elementary School field house in southwest Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. Residents of the predominantly Mexican, working class neighborhood have a long history of struggling for their rights. Like many of those struggles, this occupation came to a head after many years of organizing and fighting. Parents at Whittier Elementary school first got organized in 2003 and have been working to improve their school ever since.
In addition to...
There likely has been no issue more debated by the left and anti-war progressives in the last months than the Dream Act. The act would allow conditional residency and a path to legalization for thousands of young people - including thousands of current students - who arrived in the US before the age of 16 and complete two years of higher education or military service. Although there has been organizing around the issue for years, it wasn't until relatively recently (the past two years) that the...
Here's something to listen to if you're not close enough to protest the bigoted "Burn a Koran Day" publicity stunt proposed by Gainsville, FL pastor Terry Jones.
Yusuf Islam was an international pop star under his previous name, Cat Stevens. After converting to Islam in the 1970s, he decided to escape from the world of commercial music. (In fact, his choice of the name "Yusuf" refers to the Story of Joseph, who was bought and sold in the marketplace). His conversion coincided with the growing...
In advance of the October 2 demonstration called jointly by the NAACP, AFL-CIO and others (more on the complexities of that later), I found this video of the great Nina Simone with her song "Go Limp" - a love song to the movement:
Oh Daughter, dear Daughter,
take warning from me
and don't you go marching
with the N-A-A-C-P.
For they'll rock you and roll you
and shove you into bed.
And if they steal your nuclear secret
you'll wish you were dead.
Singin too roo li, too roo li, too roo...
As a person of the left, a partisan of the working class and an anti-imperialist about the only positive thing I can say about Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara is that my feelings of, well something bordering on hate, is that those feelings are shared by millions around the world (and some with an intensity that makes mine pale and unsure by comparison). Perhaps hate is the wrong word, I despise Blair. His schmaltzy English sentimentality, his zealous faith only a convert knows, his bag of lawyers...
People who attended the US Social Forum in Detroit this past June may have heard Bushra Khaliq, General Secretary of the Women Workers Help Line, speak on the situation of working women in Pakistan. The majority work within their homes; jobbers come around to pick up their work. So often they do not know what company they are producing for or who else might be working for the company. At the US Social Forum she was able to meet with precarious workers here.
Bushra Khaliq wrote a brief report on...
New York Times: Glenn Beck Leads Religious Rally at Lincoln Memorial
I watched / listened to most of Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally while doing laundry and cleaning the house. The cheesiness of the voice-overs and unevenness of the speeches lend themselves to easy mockery, but the far right's ability to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, DC yesterday means that this is no laughing matter.
First, on the media coverage of the event: I'm struck by the extent to which the...
As many of you are no doubt aware, the Republican and Democratic parties have long fought to exclude third party and independent candidates from participating in electoral debates. In Ohio, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Lee Fisher and Republican Rob Portman recently announced that they will be scheduling a series of debates between only themselves, excluding the two other contenders for the office, Dan La Botz (Socialist Party) and Eric Deaton (Constitution Party). Both La Botz and...
A statement by the Solidarity student working group
An unprecedented assault on public education is underway. State governments are slashing public school and university budgets, while the White House and Congress push school competition, firing teachers and privatization as a “solution” to the crisis of funding. But students and teachers are fighting back—most visibly in California, but also at schools across the nation. The movement will likely grow as more and more states cut education...
Hi, I'm Dan La Botz, the Socialist Party candidate for U.S. senate. I've been thinking about this guy Steve Slater that you've all been hearing about, from Jet Blue. People say he "snapped" on that airline. I think a lot of us are ready to snap. I think it's giving expression to the way people are feeling about what's happening to our society.
Think about working in the airline industry. Riding a plane used to be kind of fun. But the companies have made the planes so crowded, and the class...
This report and appeal, sent out by Farooq Tariq from the Labour Party Pakistan gives you some idea of what is occuring in Pakistan. Please respond to the appeal!
On 30 July in Moscow without being presented any charges the activists of anti-facist movement Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gascarov got arrested. Maxim and Alexei were known as public figures of the growing youth movement against the Nazis’ violence, which in recent years has done much to reveal the ties of state structures police and the ultra-rights in Russia.
Their arrest followed a series of dramatic events which took place in July, around the destruction of forest in Himki near...
At Colombia's request an extraordinary session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) was convened on July 22 to hear accusations from outgoing president Álvaro Uribe that there are "1,500 guerrillas and dozens of encampments of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Venezuela." With both groups labeled "terrorist" organizations by Bogotá and Washington this escalation of tension as Uribe leaves...
Last friday there was a march and rally outside the Mets - Diamond Backs game at CitiField in Queens, NYC. The NYPD forced the rally to confine itself to a small pen across the street from the stadium, behind a fence and under a subway platform. As a result, the rally itself was almost totally unnoticeable for fans getting off of the train and going directly into the stadium (let alone if you parked in the lot right next to the stadium); could see or even hear the few hundred people gathered at...
Hundreds of hotel workers, members of UNITE-HERE Local 1, and their supporters confronted the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago today, July 22. In front of this glitzy hotel, some dimwit in management had placed a sign thanking the Hyatt employees for helping them win the Chicago Workplace Excellence Award. Just a few weeks ago, these very same employees walked off the job to protest horrendous working conditions.
Outside in the streets, workers and their supporters were laying their bodies on the...
This article was written by a friend of mine, Michael Steven Smith. He is the co-host of the WBAI radio show "Law and Disorder" and sits on the Board of The Center for Constitutional Rights.
At all times throughout history the ideology of the ruling class is the ruling ideology.--Karl Marx
Lynne Stewart is a friend. She used to practice law in New York City. I still do. I was in the courtroom with my wife Debby the afternoon of July l9th for her re-sentencing. The Judge John Koetl buried her...
Howie Hawkins - Green for Governor
http://www.howiehawkins.org - http://www.gpny.org
For Immediate Release: July 15, 2010
For More Info: Howie Hawkins, 315 425-1019
Mark Dunlea, 518 860-3725
Hawkins Opposes Increased Jail Time for Lawyer Lynne Stewart, calls it an Attempt to Intimidate Lawyers Representing Unpopular Clients
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, harshly condemned the increased jail time ordered for civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart, calling it an...
Today, food production in the United States and in the world is dominated by a handful of corporations that put their profits above the hunger, the health, and the well-being of America’s and the globe’s population. Tyson, Kraft, Pepsico, Nestle, Conagra, and Anheuser-Busch are generally at the top of the list, though in virtually every area of food production, a small number of corporations control what is grown and what we eat. The food industry, of course, meshes with the banks and with...
(Article authored by lifetime Tennessee resident and local MT Solidarity branch member Jase Short)
For the past month, xenophobic and anti-Muslim forces have stirred up controversy around a proposed mosque outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Considering the Bible Belt location and context of two major wars against majority-Muslim countries, opponents have drawn from some of the most right wing and backwards elements of the region's culture. But local activists have drawn on other traditions: the...
Check out this great video from Pittsburgh activist and YouTube commentator Jasiri X:
A few months ago, Tim Wise wrote a widely circulated article called, "Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black " which challenged America to take a close look at the hypocrisy of the Right Wing. Now, a Pittsburgh rapper is accepting his challenge in true Hip Hop form. Jasiri X has released a video called "What if the Tea Party was Black." The Hip Hop artist says that he got the idea when Paradise,a member of the...
Two rebellious Brazilian union federations are attempting to unite. They seek an alternative to a union federation, the CUT, that has given in to the bosses, the government and the neoliberal agenda.
At the end of June, near Sao Paulo, the two dissident union federations held a Congress or “Conclat” of 3,100 delegates who were elected earlier by 15,000 delegates to 900 assemblies representing nearly 3 million workers. A bank worker delegate explained that in general “Each assembly...
This review is written by Barry Sheppard, a longtime friend and comrade of Peter Camejo.
By Peter Camejo
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2010, $15 paper.
This book by Peter Camejo, who was an important figure in the radicalization of “The Sixties” and beyond -- up to his untimely death in 2008 -- should be read by veterans of the socialist movement and wider social causes. It also should be read by new activists thirsty for understanding of previous struggles in order to better...
Mustansar Randhawa -- a well-known organizer of power loom workers across three Punjab districts in Pakistan: Faisalabad, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh -- and his brother were shot to death July 6th. They were killed by hired gangsters who sought them out at the Labour Quomi Movement office and killed in cold blood.
Please sign on to the urgent action put out by the Asian Human Rights Commission. It details the situation of the power loom workers, whose bosses feel they can intimidate the work force...
Our city in central Tennessee has become the latest battleground in the struggle against Islamophobia.
A short time ago, an area that had been zoned for a church right outside the city limits of Murfreesboro (home to Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee's largest undergraduate university) was acquired by the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in order to construct a larger community center complete with a space for worship as well as athletic facilities. If constructed, the enlarged Islamic...
Inspired by Ms. Alghanee's life and work, Greens reaffirm support for reparations for the descendents of slaves
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders, mourning the recent death of Njere Akosua Aminah Alghanee ('Sister Courage'), national co-chair of National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA), reaffirmed the party's dedication to reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States.
On June 24, Njere Alghanee had just returned from the US Social Forum...
The Group of 20 Nations Summit in Toronto was marked by incredible divisions within the summit and outside, amongst the demonstrators. Since there is ample analysis of what went on within the summit available to us all, I will try and briefly report back on my experience in the lead up to the large Saturday march, the march itself and immediately afterwards. I attended the march, which was also the largest of the week’s actions, with two comrades from the Middle Tennessee branch of Solidarity...
After a number of delays, the jury in the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer who killed Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland in January 2009, is scheduled to begin its deliberations over again today, in Los Angeles.
The case has collective resonance because of a long history of systematic disregard for and collective punishment directed at Black and Brown communities in the East Bay by various police agencies. This is the underlying question to which we must...
As someone who worked on aspects of organizing the US Social Forum in Detroit, I found the actual event innovative and inspiring. It's difficult for any one person to provide an overview of the USSF 2010 because one could have no more than sampled the more than 1,000 workshops, half a dozen demonstrations, three plenaries, nearly 20 Detroit tours and about two dozen 4-hour People's Movement Assemblies that took place over the five days.
What impressed me the most was the creative, cooperative...
The US Social Forum left me feeling, more than anything else, overwhelmed and confused. I don’t mean to be overly negative—of course, it was also inspiring to see so many radicals come together and to feel the energy that was present. But I was really struck the urgency of several questions for the left, none of which I have answers to.
Oliver Stone's new documentary about Latin America's leftward political shift and its growing independence from Washington is being lambasted by the media. This shouldn't come as a surprise as Stone calls out the mainstream media in his new film South of the Border for its mostly one-sided, distorted coverage of the region's political leaders—most significantly Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez .
In an interview with CBS about his new film Stone remarked about America's obsession with empire,...
Part 3 in a three-part series on the UPR Student Strike of 2010. Part 1 and Part 2 were both originally published on la más mínima diferencia/the slightest difference.
On June 21, 62 days into what was initially a 48-hour occupation of the flagship campus at Río Piedras, the University of Puerto Rico’s first-ever National Student Assembly put an end to what had now become the first-ever system-wide strike in the institution’s history. The nearly 3,000 students from all 11 campuses of the...
When addressing the important question of scale--"how big or broad do we really need to be in order to start calling some shots in a meaningful way"--some of us on the left are fond of approvingly paraphrasing Lenin's idea that "politics is millions." ["Politics begin where millions of men and women are; where there are not thousands, but millions."]
This is a truism that few would contest, but it's also a good reminder of the real mammoth task at hand. Before we can realize the "another world"...
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Afro-Caribbean intellectual and revolutionary Walter Rodney. On June 13, 1980, Rodney was killed by a car bomb planted by an agent of the authoritarian and nominally "socialist" Forbes Burnham regime in Guyana--a regime he had mounted critical opposition against through the Working People's Alliance. Rodney was the author of several groundbreaking books and pamphlets, most notably How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.
If you're unfamiliar with...
I wrote this after watching more youtube vidos of speeches from today's Gaza demos than I probably should have...
The current situation has again raised the issue of Israel’s legitimacy and the power of its American lobby. Here are some thoughts in response to some of those issues. And again, they are thoughts not meant as a full analysis.
The Israeli lobby obviously exists. AIPAC and the ADL being the most prominent examples. They have huge resources and influence. You cross them in bourgeois...
What are the international implications of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla? Ziyaad Lunat, an activist for Palestinian rights and Outreach Coordinator for the Gaza Freedom March, provides his comments below.
Ryan: Could you describe the present situation regarding the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla?
Ziyaad Lunat: Israel illegally attacked the six-boat flotilla carrying 700 human rights activists from 40 countries in international waters on its way to deliver badly...
In the past, my blues writings for Against the Current and the Webzine have tended to be obituaries. Here's a discussion of a great soul/blues singer, though, who's very much alive--Cyril Neville. This essay below is an expanded version of a CD review that appeared in the June 3, 2010 issue of the online Blues Blast magazine, which can be accessed at www.TheBluesBlast.com--GF
The Essential Cyril Neville
Total time: 57:13
The workers at Honda have electrified the world with their determination and solidarity in their strike against the multinational company. On May 17 the strike began at Foshan City, Guangdong Province when more than 1,800 workers held a general assembly, formulated their demands and elected representatives. Eighty percent of the workers are student interns from technical schools. They are not protected by the labor law nor do they have any social insurance.
Honda management, like many other auto...
In response to the belligerent attacks on the civilian aid ship headed for Gaza early Monday morning, the local BDS organization in Atlanta, Movement to End Israeli Apartheid-Georgia, called for an emergency protest in front of the Israeli consulate. Over 100 people answered the call, from local BDS activists to high school students and members of other socialist organizations. Many of these demonstrators were Palestinian and a few were Jewish.
The majority of the outreach for the demonstration...
By David Camfield and Daniel Serge
for New Socialist Group in Canada
Deficits are the difference between what governments spend and what they take in. Governments often claim deficits are the fault of social spending that's too high. But in fact deficits always grow when capitalist economic activity slows down or contracts because tax revenue falls while state spending rises.
The global economic crisis that began in 2008 has caused deficits to grow. States have had to spend around $20 trillion...
Early Monday morning, Israeli military forces attacked the six-vessel Gaza Freedom Flotilla, killing nearly twenty civilians on board the Mavi Marmara. The Flotilla had been organized to carry 10,000 tons of desperately needed humanitarian supplies to Gaza, which has been under siege since January 2009. Electronic Intifada has an article about the assault. The Real News Network has produced this video:
More at The Real News
In response, protests are being held worldwide to stand against Israel's...
by Danielle Sabaï
On Wednesday May 19th, the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva finally launched an assault on the Red Shirt camp in the neighbourhood of Rachaprasong. Television stations from around the world broadcast brutal images of assault tanks destroying the bamboo and tyre barricades and soldiers armed with rifles firing live ammunition at demonstrators. The disproportion between the images of war and the faces of the demonstrators, mostly peasants and urban works, is striking.
by Danielle Sabaï
This article was written on Sunday, 17th May. Since then, and despite repeated requests of the leaders of the UDD to negotiate a truce, the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva has sent armour-plated tanks to "clean up” the district occupied by more than 5000 demonstrators, men, women and children. The government of Abhisit decided to use force to stay in power. Armour-plated tanks and live ammunition against mainly unarmed demonstrators! Already several deaths have been...
by José A. Laguarta Ramírez
Images: JCR, RBS, Indymediapr
Video: Diálogo Digital
As the sun rose on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, two hundred students, mostly masked, some brandishing makeshift shields of wood and plastic traffic drums, approached the main vehicular access gate to the University of Puerto Rico’s historic Río Piedras campus, and chained it shut.
Thus began the ongoing campus occupation, which has now spread to all 11 campuses of the UPR system, becoming the first ever...
The decision of the Puerto Rican government, under governor Luis Fortuño, to proceed with its plan of mass firing public employees and spending cuts to public education is a major social and economic error that will only serve to deepen the current crisis in Puerto Rico. The government’s plan aims to boost the privatization process of the basic services on the island. This will directly affect thousands of Puerto Ricans and will hit the marginalized sectors of society the hardest. There are...
Rhonda Copelon, a human rights lawyer, died on May 6, 2010, after battling ovarian cancer for four years. Her pathbreaking work, according to Michelle J. Anderson, dean of the CUNY School of Law, “ altred the bedrock of how U.S. courts treat international human rights abuses.”
In the late 1970s, using the Alien Tort Claims Act, a little known federal statue from 1789, Copeland and Peter Weiss, both lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights, brought a civil suit for a family in Paraguay...
The case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters, Jamie and Gladys who are now in their sixteenth year of an unjust and racist incarceration, is beginning to reach a wider audience and is inspiring bold actions in support of their struggle for freedom and justice, all the more urgent in light of the criminal medical neglect of Jamie Scott's end-stage kidney disease by the Mississippi Department of Corrections and particularly its head, Commissioner Christopher Epps, who is well aware of Jamie's...
While the post-modern assertion that all things were only relevant to themselves, and therefore categories were false and constraining, has been given a good battering by the post-post Cold War world, there remains a real aversion to thinking about systems with their laws and categories. The thing about categories is that they are not fixed (at certain times they are necessarily arbitrary), nor are the elements characterized by them. They, like everything, are part of processes in motion. Beyond...
In the late 1960s, as a graduate student at San Francisco State I worked with others to set up the first women's study class and to demand a School of Ethnic Studies. Over 800 were arrested in the course of the 1968-69 strike and expelled. I take pride in the fact I played a minor role in the development of ethnic and women's studies classes in schools and universities across the country.
On the 20th anniversary of the student strike at S.F. State, speech professor Hank McGuckin explained how he...
Readers will pardon the delay in delivering part 2 of Notes on a Disaster (read part one here). Two weeks is a long time in many disasters; however in this one it isn't. Not only does oil continue to gush, unchecked, from the ocean floor, but we are going to be living with this spill for a long, long time.
The first drops of oil on the Louisiana shore
Before I get into the meat of this post, what have we learned in the last few weeks?
I came across this video today, narrated by an environmental investigator in Alabama named John Wathen:
At mile 87, ground zero. My first view of the sight was one of tremendous impact. I'll never forget the scene. These are not small boats. While standing at a dock looking at them, they look like large ships. They're dwarfed in comparison to what I see on the horizon. Nothing but a red mass of floating goo - that could have been prevented, and should have been prevented...
We counted thirty...
This year, Hampshire College’s annual reproductive justice conference --held from April 9 to 11-- seemed to come at a ripe moment. Just two weeks earlier, President Obama had signed an executive order affirming that the new health insurance exchanges would have to conform to the existing rule prohibiting federal funding from being used for abortion. Feminists -- from those who had advocated compromise to others who were continuing to fight for single payer -- were debating the worth of the...
Due to huge debts, the Greek government (led by social democratic coalition PASOK) has fallen under supervision the International Monetary Fund and the European Union - and seeks to impose historically severe austerity measures on the working class. In response, Greek workers mounted a huge general strike on May 5. Savas Michael-Matsas of the EEK (Revolutionary Workers Party) sent in this photo and report:
As the Greek Parliament prepares to vote for the IMF/EU program of draconian measures,...
Whew, what a week. Last Tuesday, April 27, I intended to rush home from an exhilarating 12-hour protest at the Broadview Detention Center and write about it here. After a vigil of more than 150 people, 75 of us had spent the night talking, dancing, and picketing before an unassuming brick building in suburban Chicago. This is a place used to process captive, undocumented workers - the five vanfulls that night are just a handful from more than one thousand immigrants who are deported each day. In...
The May 1st rally in defense of immigrant rights in Los Angeles was one of the largest, but Nativo Vigil Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), was unable to deliver his speech -- apparently he was viewed as too militant.
MAPA is an organization that has most recently focused on the right of all immigrants to have driver's licenses. The denial of licenses to undocumented immigrants is an attempt to drive them into the shadows, but it is also a safety issue for...
by Jan Malewski
Braving the bullets of the forces of repression, thousands of demonstrators seized the “White House”, seat of the central authorities and the presidency on April 7, Bichkek, in Kyrgyzstan.
The demonstrators, first gathering to protest against the arrest of oppositionists, were attacked by the forces of repression and replied immediately with stones, charging the police squads who had fired on them, disarming them and overcoming the trucks and armoured vehicles of the police,...
Today, May 5, is also, of course, Cinco de Mayo, the holiday celebrated by Americans that recognizes the victory over the French colonialist army by a rag-tag army of Mexican peasants in 1862, in the Mexican state of Puebla--truly a people's victory.
But May 5 is Karl Marx's birthday as well; Marx was born on this date in 1818 in Trier, Germany. Marx's family had a long lineage of rabbis, but Karl's father converted to Lutheranism the year before his birth--a comon "assimilationist" strategy...
I was prompted to reflect back forty years ago today on the anniversary of the Kent State Massacre of May 4, 1970.
36 anticapitalist groups plan European solidarity with Greek struggle
1. The global economic crisis continues. Massive amounts of money have been injected into the financial system – $14 trillion in bailouts in the United States, Britain, and the eurozone, $1.4 trillion new bank loans in China last year – in an effort to restabilize the world economy. But it remains an open question whether or not these efforts will be enough to produce a sustainable recovery. Growth remains very sluggish in...
From the Tea Party to the Coffee Party, How Political Parties Grow the Grass and Mow the Lawn
Dan La Botz
May 3, 2010
There are moments in history when driven by economic and social conditions, by war, or by political problems, grassroots groups spring up from below, among rank-and-file workers or people in local urban or rural communities. Usually the Democratic Party has succeeded in gathering up such movements, domesticating them, and gathering them into its fold and making them part of its...
Vermonters from all across the state converged on the statehouse on May 1st in a demonstration to show that Vermont can be the first state in the nation to recognize healthcare as a human right, providing it as a public good by implementing a single-payer, universal healthcare system.
Over a thousand people marched from the Montpelier City Hall down to the capital building accompanied by drums, dancers, puppets, baloons and signs supporting universal healthcare while chanting "hey, hey what do...
Like many people in South Louisiana, I have been utterly overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster represented by the Deepwater Horizon oil leak. To witness another catastrophe of this scale, less than five years after post-Katrina levee failures, is almost too much to comprehend. There is a tendency to block it out; to think that this really can't be happening. But it is.
A boat travels through the Deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
News accounts will talk of leaked memos, of containment...
Clayton County, a working-class, mainly immigrant and African-American suburb just south of Atlanta, is the latest victim of neoliberalism. Last year, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to shut down C-TRAN, the county's bus service, which had been around for almost a decade. In response, Atlanta Jobs with Justice started mobilizing riders last October, but there was not enough time to develop a large and strong enough movement to push back the cuts.
Besides the lack of time,...
—José A. Laguarta Ramírez
Member, Puerto Rican Association of University Professors (APPU)
Over 3,000 assembled students at the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico, at Río Piedras, on Tuesday, April 13, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a tentative 48-hour campus occupation the following week, to be followed by a full-fledged “indefinite strike” if the administration refused to negotiate in good faith.
The occupation began on Wednesday, April 21, and became a strike at midnight...
Check out this blog post from Eskandar about the first performance of DAM, a Palestinian hip-hop group, in Atlanta! As someone who was involved in the efforts to bring them here from apartheid Israel, I can say all the frustrations with visa denial were worth it in the end. Music like DAM's is an indispensable weapon in the struggle!
[Article originally posted over at The Ruh of Brown Folks, a blog worth following!]
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DAM, Palestine’s first hip hop crew,...
This is a story of a small urban California island community of 72,000 that turned back a multi-billion dollar global Wall Street hedge fund and their developer front company SunCal from a massive takeover of 700 acres of a contaminated landfill former naval air base in the San Francisco Bay.
By Dan La Botz, Ohio Socialist Party Canadidate for the U.S. Senate
Alex M. Triantafilou, head of the Republican Party in Hamilton County, Ohio, posted a video recently attacking Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) as “The Enemy.” The video shows Maxine Waters questioning Shell Oil President John Hofmeister about the supposed benefits of permitting oil companies to expand their drilling. During the course of the discussion, Waters started to talk about “socializing” the oil...
George W. Bush was the keynote speaker at the anti-abortion Celebration of Life Event at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 15, 2010. While 4,000 "pro-lifers" paid $30-$70 apiece to hear him speak, George W.'s visit was also greeted by a sprited group of around 20 protestors opposing his anti-women's rights stance, along with noting his nefarious activities in launching the war against Iraq and his general lying to the U.S. and world publics about what he was up to.
This 92-minute documentary retells the story of how a brilliant policy analyst learned that the war he supported and justified was a fraud. Even those who remember the publishing of the Pentagon Papers may not realize how deeply embedded Daniel Ellsberg was in the story itself. He was on duty at the Pentagon August 4, 1964 when calls came in that a U.S. ship had been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin - and he was there when a subsequent message arrived indicating that such an attack didn't happen....
Here's another great piece written on the current situation in Haiti, by Kali Akuno of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.
"Confronting the Occupation: Haiti, Neo-liberalism, and the US Occupation"
Written by Kali Akuno
National Organizer, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The three-month marker for the earthquake that devastated Haiti is now upon us. The significance of this marker is not one determined by the Haitian people, but rather by the enemies of the Haitian people...
by Tassos Anastassiadis and Andreas Sartzekis
As we write this article, every effort is being made in the Greek media to turn people’s attention not to the urgency of a massive and ongoing mobilization, but to the tense atmosphere of the discussions within the European Union about whether Greece “deserves” or not to be helped, and to what extent recourse to the IMF can be acceptable.
This discussion is certainly not without interest, for at least two reasons: it makes it possible to see...
The Vermont Workers Center/ Jobs with Justice (VWC ) grew out of a grassroots livable wage campaign in central Vermont. Since 1998, when the VWC was started, we’ve organized support for union contract and right-to-organize campaigns at over one hundred workplaces across the state.
Two years ago, based on the growing need for systemic healthcare reform reflected in calls to our workers’ rights hotline, discussions with our members and affiliates, and in increasingly difficult collective...
This leaflet was handed out at a Hispanic Roundtable Candidate Forum in Cleveland, OH.
Necesitamos empleo y lo necesitamos ahora. Ohio es número cinco en la nación en desempleo. La proporción oficial de desempleo es 10.9 por ciento. En realidad aproxima a 17 por ciento. Toda la gente de Ohio debe tener trabajo.
La comunidad hispana ha sido duramente golpeada. La gente latina ha perdido trabajos en la construcción, la manufactura y en los servicios. Mientras la proporción de...
The following was received in an email from Ezili Dantò (Marguerite Laurent), the text of which can be found on her blog.
US/Euro pillage masking as humanitarian aid by Ezili Dantò
Here is an good example of what real helps looks like (Statement of Cuban Foreign Minister at UN Donors Meeting on Haiti
Below we post the Haiti-Cuba proposal for building health care in Haiti that considers the needs of the poorest of the poor in Haiti and is without the unseemly large budget...
A just released video from the internet news agency WikiLeaks shows gun-sight footage of Iraqi civilians being mowed down from a US Apache helicopter during the summer of 2007. Those killed included two Reuters reporters, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Reuters' attempts to probe the military were met with responses that the reporters were part of a “hostile force."
WikiLeaks' footage, titled “Collateral Murder,” clearly shows a group armed only with cameras. As one of the victims...
On March 31, I spotted a few billboards reading "Black Children are BEAUTIFUL" in downtown Atlanta. Underneath the still-drying wheat paste, the signs' original message was not so uplifting: Black Children are an Endangered Species.
Over the past couple months, these provocative billboards have been sprouting up in Atlanta neighborhoods. Featuring a fearful-looking African American child juxtaposed with the disquieting statement, the billboards are part of a campaign sponsored by an...
Six trade unionists in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were targeted and murdered in the first month and a half of 2010. The Spring 2010 USLEAP newsletter provides an excellent summary summary:
Violence Against Trade Unionists Rises throughout Central America in 2010
The civil wars that tormented Central America ended with the 1996 signing of the Peace Accords in Guatemala, but a new spiral of violence is once again claiming the lives of trade unionists throughout the region. Between January...
News reports have revealed that Pope Benedict XVI appears to have been directly involved in the cover up of priests’ sexual abuse of children. What should be clear is that the Pope’s action is entirely consistent with the religious and political philosophy that he has promoted for decades within the Church. The Pope believes that he and the Roman Catholic hierarchy stand not only above the Church and its members, but also above the world’s governments and their laws.
Order these eye-catching buttons to spread the demand for social and economic justice. If you don't have paypal, email us!
Brown and black buttons demand: "Bring all the Troops Home Now!" Wear one everywhere to start a conversation about why US occupation can never be a force for liberation, and people's needs should come before the massive military budget.
1 button & shipping $1.50
5 buttons & shipping $5.50
10 buttons & shipping $8.00
20 buttons & shipping $12.00
I thought this article, written by my friend Justin Jeffre for The Cincinnati Beacon is a fascinating article about the African American debate over Obama....
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PBS Radio and TV host Tavis Smiley has sparked controversy in the black community by criticizing the first Black President with what he calls “tough love.” Smiley reminds us of the tough line Dr. King drew against the war in Vietnam—a move that angered the LBJ administration, the media and...
By Gregory Flannery
The further left one’s politics goes, the more argumentative is the company he keeps. Thus while many progressives in Cincinnati might agree with Dan La Botz’s policy views, he is not necessarily every local activist’s favorite.
That won’t faze La Botz, who brings an unusual combination of political scholarship and organizing experience to the Ohio race for U.S. Senate. A veteran of union campaigns, anti-war movements and the ongoing struggle against racism, La Botz...
Around 200,000 immigrants, workers, and family members packed the National Mall on Sunday, March 21 to demand immigration reform. At least doubling organizers' goal, the mass of people, which recalled huge rallies and marches across the country in 2006, was one of the largest demonstrations since Obama's inauguration. We held signs and chanted: Obama, no dejes la reforma pa' mañana - Obama, don't put off reform until tomorrow.
Today, March 25th, is a "day of blogging" to support justice for the Jamie and Gladys Scott, two wrongfully imprisoned sisters in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. There are two central issues at stake with this important case.
Most immediately, the life of Jamie Scott is being endangered due to the prison's ongoing and cruel medical negligence. She is being denied the urgent medical care she needs for both malfunctioning kidneys and she has an infection that has spread throughout...
Of all the miserable aspects of the healthcare bill – the lack of a public option, the exclusion of undocumented immigrants, and lack of real insurance company regulation – the anti-abortion provision is near the top of the list.
On Sunday the White House released the text of an
executive order reaffirming the bill’s consistency with the Hyde Amendment. Hyde, passed in 1976, prohibits federal funding for abortion, thereby preventing Medicaid recipients from accessing this essential...
It's official. Georgia has now joined the many other states experiencing an upsurge of student activism against budget cuts threatening the very nature of public higher education. On March 15, over 500 students from across the state rallied at the Capitol to demand that profound cuts, including an up to 50% fee hike and up to 4,000 layoffs of campus workers, be utterly abandoned and that new taxes be instituted to fund the public sector. From Dalton and Carrolton, to Savannah and Valdosta,...
On March 15, Georgia Students for Public Higher Education sponsored a state-wide demonstration at the capitol in downtown Atlanta. GSPHE was formed at Georgia State University in Fall 2009 to fight a $200 fee increase for university students. In March legislators announced plans for massive tuition and fee increases, as well as furloughs and layoffs of campus staff and faculty.
An organization called Irish Queers protested the St Patrick's Day Parade - which bans gay groups - yesterday in New York City. Despite the illegality of anti-gay discrimination, the NYPD, FDNY and public officials like Mayor Bloomberg participate in the parade. Irish Queers is pursuing a civil rights lawsuit.
The protest was covered by Europe's Pink News and was mentioned in WNYC's parade coverage.
Last summer, I started working at an after-school program but was fired after only six months. Because I was not fired 'for cause' (failure to meet expectations, inappropriate behavior, etc.), - which is possible because there is no union contract - I was eligible for unemployment benefits. But because there's no union contract, they could fire me without any cause. The director later confirmed to a co-worker that I was fired for participating in discussions about her management policies....
The 2010 convention of Labor Campaign for Single Payer at the National Labor College, in Washington DC, showed a high level of commitment by the group to move ahead with the campaign for national s
As the new year began, four students began a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to Washington, DC.
Out of the Shadows and Into the Streets!
Much like its storied sibling, International Labor Day (May 1), International Women's Day often gets short shrift in the United
POR LA LIBERTAD A LOS PRESOS POLITICOS DE CAMPECHE, MEXICO
México está viviendo un nuevo proceso de militarización y represión hacia los movimientos sociales y de oposición al gobierno
I recently attended an event at Bluestockings organized by the Rock Dove Collective, which coordinates a network of radical health practitioners who
Labor Party Pakistan: Women's struggle for Economic justice & social protection will continue
In the yet-to-be written guide to badass feminist entertainment, the classic 1954 movie Salt of the Earth belongs right next to classic rap trio Salt-N-Pepa (any takers on that article?)
The earthquake that took place in Haiti on 12 January 2010 affected the entire country but hit the capital city Port-au-Prince and the neighboring region especially hard.
Yesterday’s NY Times article
about the US Marines’ “female engagement teams” was a good reminder that, despite the war’s
I’m writing this while recovering from a good, long, and successful day on the picket lines at UC Santa Cruz, where, over the course of the day, more than a thousand students, workers, and teachers
Dan La Botz is a member of Solidarity and of the Socialist Party USA running for Ohio Senate. The interview below originally appeared in Columbus Examiner.
Find out more, donate or get involved in the campaign at DanLaBotz.com
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Dan La Botz, 64, a native of Chicago who lives with his wife and children in Cincinnati and teaches Spanish at a local elementary school, has his own reasoned view of socialism and reasons for entering the race.
La Botz said he's running...
Dan La Botz, Ohio Socialist Candidate for U.S.
It seems to be an average day in the bustling
Only a month and a half after a powerful earthquake laid waste to Haiti, the most oppressed country in the western hemisphere, Chile, supposedly Latin America's ‘most advanced,’ was hit by a even s
By Eskandar and Ryan
The Movement to End Israeli Apartheid-Georgia (MEIA-G) kicked off the first day of Israeli Apartheid Week on Monday by packing a l
Dan La Botz, Ohio Socialist Candidate for U.S. Senate, Calls for Immediate U.S.
Alabama has one of the highest union densities in the south, and a rich tradition of labor militanc
Hundreds of members of the NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) are running as candidates in the upcoming French regional elections where they will speak for the party's platform of revolutionary anti-ca
In case you didn't see, national planners of the US Social Forum will be hosting informational call-in sessions every Tuesday (in english) and Thursday (in spanish) for the month of March (numbe
This page, which we'll continue updating from time to time, is an attempt to aggregate sources of information that will help you keep up with what's happening in California university struggles.
When occupations, strikes, and major protests are in progress, the best way to follow them from afar is often through Twitter or Facebook. If you're on twitter, you can follow the following lists:
ca-education-struggle list - maintained by a (G)SOC supporter
cacrisis list, maintained by Angus Johnston, a...
Twenty years ago the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua was brought to an end with the election of Violeta Chamorro, whose campaign had been largely funded by Washington.
Earlier this month, the first National Tea Party Convention took place in Nashville, Tennessee.
Turning luxury condos into truly affordable housing. Undocumented immigrants voting. Living wage economic development.
For decades, he revolted against the Spanish crown.
A February forum in Chicago memorialized the French radical philosopher and political leader, Daniel Bensaïd, who died in January 2010.
In 1921, Blair Mountain, West Virginia became a flash point for the class struggle that raged in the southern coalfields.
Late Sunday night, like millions of other people, I found myself basking in the brilliance of the historic New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory.
Howie Hawkins, a longtime Socialist Party member, Green Party leader and friend of Solidarity recen
Many of the global criticisms of last month's Climate Change talks in Copenhagen have sarcastically noted that not much more than hot air emerged from the meeting . It turns out that's true.
Did anybody watching Obama's state of the union address catch the part where he rolled out comprehensive immigration reform? To save you the trouble of re-reading the transcript: no.
Sinners and Saints... New Orleans Redemption Found?
Almost everyone in Louisiana- including myself- is excited about the Saints making it to the Super Bowl. No.
Below is a piece written for the emerging movement against fee hikes and budget cuts at Georgia State University in Atlanta. This version has been modified for the Solidarity webzine.
Howard Zinn died today at age 87.
In Mayor Richard Daley's Chicago, slumlords get a spot on the city's top planning board - while their tenants get thrown ou
In California today, we are facing an onslaught of austerity capitalism in the form of privatization / private accumulation, funding cuts, and neoliberal prioritization that effects public goods in
Shortly after the 1973 Supreme Court decision that overturned the laws outlawing abortion I attended a workshop in which one of the lawyers who successfully argued the case outlined how the right w
Rape. Murder. Corruption. Environmental contamination. Impunity. These are just some of the charges and incidents that have plagued Canadian mining operations abroad for years.
Tom Condit, a long time socialist in the San Francisco Bay Area, died January 9 at age 72.
by Kim Redigan
[Kim Redigan is a member of Michigan Peace Team and participated in MPT’s delegation on the Gaza Freedom March in December.
Russia Today: Now joining us now live from New York to talk about the relief response is Glen Ford.
A qualitative leap in organizing, a large African presence
Hundreds of immigrants from the Cincinnati area, most of them African and Latino, filled the Hartwell Community Center
The January 12th 7.0 earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti is a disaster of unimaginable proportions that has likely left tens of thousands dead and many more without adequate medical care,
Following the November 4 passage of Referendum 1, which banned same-sex marriages in Maine, activist Ryan Conrad of Maine Video Activists Network i
Este articulo fue publicado por Viento Sur, en número 107, diciembre 2009.
En septiembre pasado unas 8000 personas, de movimientos socials, iglesias, sindicalistas y activistas de izquierda, se manifestaron en Pittsburgh para protestar frente a la reunión de los ministros de finanzas del G20. La marcha llegó cerca del décimo aniversario de la famosa Batalla de Seattle, en la que sindicalistas y ecologistas se unieron junto a un amplio espectro de activistas y movimientos sociales para...
Daniel left us today, Tuesday the 12th of January 2010.
In September 2008, some 8,000 people — from social movements and churches, and from labor and the left — marched through Pittsburgh to protest the meeting of the finance ministers of the G-20.
Willie Mitchell, multi-faceted veteran of Memphis soul, who served as musician, long-time producer and executive at Hi Records, and talent deveoper, died recently.
The Copenhagen conference failed to produce anything remotely resembling a solution to the climate crisis, but it also failed from the perspective of the US ruling class.
When I was in college in the 1950s, I read everything I could on the death penalty -- including Albert Camus’ essay -- and decided the barbaric practice needed to be eliminated.
For decades United Auto Workers (UAW) members at the Detroit Three – GM, Ford and Chrysler – were alleged to be narrowing their goals.
On December 26, Dennis Brutus, world-renowned South African poet and anti-Apartheid fighter, who spent time in Robben Isl
I live in Indianapolis, where I am currently active in the Indiana Socialist Fellowship.
On December 16, Jamal Juma, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, was arrested by the Israeli police.
NOTE: Kali Akuno's video and transcript is halfway down the page.
BRUCE DIXON, Managing Editor, Black Agenda Report
On December 15, the Atlanta branch of Solidarity hosted "Atlanta's Post-Election Reflection: What's Next?" Featured speakers, from Malcolm X Grassroots Movement,
I became interested in history from the “bottom-up” when I was in high school.
[This is the third of a three-section remembrance of the youth radicalization of the 1960s.
[This article by Terry Conway and Thomas Eisler originally appeared in International Viewpoint.]
[This is the second of a three-section remembrance of the youth radicalization of the 1960s. Read part one here.]
As the Copenhagen talks draw to a close, several things remain clear.
On October 24th, students, workers, faculty, and staff of California schools gathered in a statewide meeting to decide the future of their move
Four decades after the zenith of the youth radicalization of the 1960s, 1969, a veritable cornucopia of books penned by the now-aging veterans of that radicalization is pouring forth in full flood.
The Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), continues its fight for its members’ jobs and for the union itself, but now, two months since President Felipe Calderón’s liquidation of the state-owned
California has recently seen a massive movement erupt in defense of public education -- but layoffs, fee hikes, cuts, and the re-segregation of public education are attacks taking place throughout the
People before Profits! In the United States, the motto can be seen on signs at protests or health care rallies, though it is a plea historically ignored by lawmakers in Washington.
If a lie is repeated enough times and in enough places, some will believe the lie is the truth. That’s the strategy the leaders of the Honduran coup are employing.
The rise, fall, and rise again of union reformers is a familiar story line in American labor.
[The following document was circulated in November by a number of Mexican labor organizations, social movements, and political organizations, sometimes in the form of a petition.
Tens of thousands of Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) members, their families, other union members, peasant organizations, social movement activists and students engaged in a symbolic “taking
Darfur just may be the tip of the melting iceberg.
This past Thursday the IRS auctioned off a large land parcel owned by th
This was released as a leaflet by the Oakland branch of Solidarity.
Forty years ago, Chicago police murdered Fred Hampton as he slept in his bedroom with his girlfriend, Deborah Johnson, 8 months pregnant. He was only 21 years old.
Going Back to Cali’
Lessons to learn from California Student Strikes and Occupations
Last weekend thousands gathered in Fort Benning to protest the School of the Americas.
The Eleventh Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance is being observed in about 150 localities around the world this week, commemorating more than 160 transgender or gender-different people who have
Building on more modest actions one month ago, California's statewide public university system has exploded in protest as thousands of students rally against outrageous tuition hikes.
There’s a glimmer – a very faint glimmer – of hope arising from recent developments in Palestine.
On November 18, 2009 defense attorney Lynne Stewart's conviction on five charges of conspiracy, providing and concealing material support to terrorist activity and making false statements was affir
If you were a member of the House of Representatives voting on the House health care reform bill, then Saturday night the 7th of November was your chance to show appreciation to your sponsors.
The judgments about the Obama administration one year on by people such as Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation (www.thenation.com
The battle over health care reform has engaged most of the progressive activist forces in the country, including unionized workers in the “labor for single payer” movement, with the left lining
Over the past month, there have been 132 people arrested (and hundreds more in supporting protests) in 20 cities around the country, all demanding a single-payer healthcare system, or Medicare for
We await the Obama administration’s decision to follow one escalation in Afghanistan with another.
“Rethink Afghanistan” has been widely toured by peace activists in the English-speaking world around the anniversary of the 2001 inv
It seems doubly ironic that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has given its 2009 award to Barack Obama -- just a few months after Arizona State University declined to award him the customary, symboli
The October 5, 2009 issue of Time magazine has a 10-page Special Report on Detroit, titled “Notown.” But it’s the same old story--blaming the workers for wanting to better their lives and spe
I drove from Tennessee to Pittsburgh for the G-20 events with a group of seven folks from Knoxville and Murfreesboro, including five Solidarity members (myself and Karen and Leslie P.
Open Letter to the Movement from
CT Students Against the War
Keep Jeff Bartos Free! Support the IVAW! Defend Free Speech!
Keep checking the Solidarity website in the coming days for reports and analysis of the G-20 protests, as well as news regarding any next steps
"Hey, Red Dog: Bored with Grandmothers?" Those words, scribbled with marker on a makeshift sign, lingered above a crowd mostly confused by their meaning.
This was originally published in Labor Notes magazine.
While most are busy analyzing the healthcare speech delivered to Congress days ago—a final push to promote the public option reform and put to rest challenges from the left and right—this piece
Here's a video of Nancy Fraser, who teaches at New York's New School. She's placing 2nd wave feminism within the larger political context of its historical moment.
“You know why we’re not going to quit? Because we’re one, we’re one unit. We’re tired of being beaten; we’re tired of being oppressed.” --Attica inmate, 1971
What principle should guide our thinking as we approach the health care debate?
This morning, I woke up to several friends’ Facebook statuses or posted links telling me that Van Jones, Obama’s Green Jobs “czar” (I need to make an aside here, to say how thoroughly I det
Since the announcement several months ago that the G20 was coming to Pittsburgh, local activists have been busy organizing local opposition to not only the policies of the G20, but the very existen
The August 21, 2009 news that the U.S.
The US Left has a few different tasks in regards to situations of national political importance; among them are 1) putting out our politics about the situation, including a critique of the current
Anyone who’s been to a supermarket within the past couple of years is undoubtedly familiar with the horrible phenomenon of “self-checkout” machines.
In my years living in Georgia I’ve only lived in the 4th district, and attended town halls thrown by both Cynthia Mckinney and Hank Johnson.
How should the left relate to Obama? A response to Linda Burnham
In these days of incessant scare mongering around 'the obesity epidemic', I have been wanting to write about how I experience fat activism.
The June 28 issue of the Sunday New York Times magazine had a long article, “GM, Detroit and the Fall of the Black Middle Class.” The article recounted the story of an African-American
The June 24th New York Times reported that, in yet another effort to apply a “market based philosophy” to the problems of the poor, NYC's Bloomberg administration would seek to decrease funding
Most of the labor news we hear about these days involves rank-and-file struggles with union bureaucrats or with business management, and sometimes both at the same time.
By Cyril Mychalejko
The cold-blooded murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller on May 31st sent shockwaves across the United States.
On June 8, Reverend Edward Pinkney’s case was brought before the Third District Court of Appeals in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tim Holloway, who has represented Rev.
When Atlanta Housing Authority bulldozers ripped into Bowen Homes in early July, they destroyed more than the 950 units of public housing on the city’s west side.
This past weekend, I flew to Sacramento for an interview with the Argentine Discovery Channel. They're doing a documentary on César Chávez, about whom I wrote a biography.
Jamie and Gladys Scott: Wrongfully Convicted
I was happy to see the new front page on global warming.
On the heels of the recent success of the Viva Palestina: Lifeline from Britain to Gaza medical aid convoy of over 100 vehicles headed by British Minister of
Sent from comrades in Malcolm X Grassroots Movement:
Transforming Ward 2, Jackson, and the South
The California Supreme Court decided to uphold Proposition 8 as a legal amendment to the s
This past April, I had the privilege to participate in a brief campaign to defend workplace rights here in the Andean city of Mérida, Venezuela where I currently live.
The fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis and the bursting of the housing bubble resulted in a wave of foreclosures around the country.
Written by Erica Thompson
Written by Erica Thompson - www.UpsideDownWorld.org
Recently I visited a friend’s house and saw a photo of a little girl with those super-short bangs that were popular when I was young.
Troy Davis has spent nearly two decades on Georgia's Death Row, convicted of a 1989 murder on nothing but testimony.
On May Day, Vermont’s state capitol rocked to chants of “Hey, hey! Ho, ho!
I just came across a post on one of my favorite feminist blogs, www.feministing.com, discussing how the New Hampshire state legislature
I think it's noteworthy that once again Brazil's Lula government is running interference for U.S.
Thinking forward to an auspicious May 1st this year.
Irish and British workers have been occupying Visteon auto parts plants since March 31 and April 1 respectively.
I paste below an anonymous obituary of Franklin Rosemont.
On March 21st over 200 labor activists and organizers -- about 70 percent rank-and-file members of labor unions -- packed Labor Notes’ Troublemakers School in New York City.
There is some minor celebration occurring on the U.S.
A lot of socialists have a yen for science fiction. I mean, apart from the fact that we are often geeks anyway, science fiction almost always tries to imagine an alternate future.
I wasn't sure what to think when I came across a tourist website advertising the "NYC Rainbow Pilgrimage," a City effort to market NYC as a gay tourist destinatio
I have followed with excitement the recent student occupations at two private colleges here in New York: February
After my cartoons on the Employee Free Choice Act and support for the Stella D'Oro strikers
“We Need MARTA, Seven Days a Week!”
While the US banking elite takes advantage of the crisis to further consolidate their economic control and wealth - with little more than a whimper from workers - social unrest around the world points to the kind of struggle that is possible and necessary. To gain a proper understanding of the possibilities that have opened up, it's necessary to paint in broad strokes, as John Bellamy Foster did in a February interview:
The sudden fall of the governments in Iceland and Latvia as a result of...
[this was mailed from Jason Netek]
In our times, it is rare that art and politics come together well.
When the meltdown of the sub-prime mortgage market last Fall began to spread to major banks, investment houses and insurance companies, the Bush administration responded with massive bailouts the f
Israel has historically been the largest recipient of U.S. military aid.
This morning I heard the news that the installed president of Afghanistan is backing a law that would legalize rap
Durban, South Africa, has since my first visit reminded me--and not only me -- of California. They both have great surfing, beautiful beaches,an amazing climate and a laid-back vibe.
No one can tell you that capitalism is working, and after several decades of global neoliberalism (a brand of de-regulated hyper-capitalism spawned in the mid-1970s to secure the continuing rule of
Tariq Ali, the author of three books on Pakistan--most recently, THE DUEL, Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power, gave several talks at the University of Michigan Flint in March 2009.
The Employee Free Choice Act is a crucial piece of legislation that is currently in Congress.
On March 17 RedStar504 posted an article, "Victory in El Salvador: an inspirational sign along the path", on the March 15 Salvadoran presidentia
The conservative spin-machine is running at full throttle in its attempt to thwart the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and potentially related-pro-worker legislation.
Late Sunday March 15, I listened to an English language radio broadcast from San Salvador, hopeful.
One part of the military machine that facilitated the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza this January has released a new offensive product.
Yesterday there was a memorial for Steffie Brooks, a long-time activist and revolutionary, and member of Solidarity in NYC.
I am finishing a Masters in Social Work in New York, and have been very involved in student organizing at my school.
A couple of years ago, when General Musharraf was running Pakistan, he sacked the judiciary because he was afraid of its independent rulings and thought his election itself might be ruled illegal.
On March 5th tens of thousands of New Yorkers packed City Hall for a rally called by One New York – a coalition of the major labor unions and community groups – to oppose Governor Paterson’s
Just a few months ago, the idea of getting together with nearly 100 people for an all day strategy discussion on any progressive issue in Atlanta would have seemed wildly optimistic.
March 8 is celebrated around the world as International Women's Day, but IWD is not very well known or celebrated in the country of its birth.
Since I wrote the first essay for this webzine (see “Spatiality and Working Class Solidarity”), I have been preoccupied with how workers can
Check out this YouTube click of an American army officer [transcribed below] as he harangues an Iraqi police patrol, telling them they're "acting like a bunch of fucking women".
Here are a few "talking points" for activists in response to Barack Obama's speech last week [NYTimes link to transcrip
I’ll leave the task of detailed dissections of Obama’s applause-heavy and content-light State of the Union address to others.
"Sisters, brothers, guests, friends and we'd be fooling ourselves if there are no enemies here..." Today, February 21, I’ve been thinking (even more than usual) how history might have developed i
From Take Back NYU!:
NYU administration thuggishly breaks occupation
Continuous updates on Twitter: http://twitter.com/takebacknyu
Emily Jacir, a Palestinian American who lives in New York and Ramallah, has won the Hugo Boss Prize of 2008. This award is given to support significant achievements in contemporary art.
On February 18, a group of NYU students calling themselves "Take Back NYU" occupied the Kimmel building on the south side of Washington Square.
This is a comic I made in support of the Stella D'Oro strike for my union newsletter.(For more information on the strike, click here.) You can c
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to see a friend and comrade, badly weakened by a terminal illness, for the first time in several months. Not much older than my own mother, S.
[This is a talk I gave in Durban, South Africa a few days ago....]
A couple of dozen striking Stella D’Oro workers and their allies braved the freezing rain to rally in front of Fairway supermarket on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on Wednesday Jan. 28th.
I first came to REALLY hate our Democratic senior senator from New York, Charles Schumer, for his ugly and belligerent conduct during the Waco hearings, where he berated Waco survivors as fools and li
This is a moment when it’s hard to remember why art matters, let alone art that highlights the voices of those who – knowingly or not -- perpetrate oppression.
New Yorkers Respond to Israel's Attacks on Gaza
Nearly a thousand protesters flooded Rockefeller Center in Manhattan on December 28th in response to the Israeli attacks against Gaza.
The controversy around Barak Obama's unfortunate selection of Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation has focused primarily on his public gay bashing and support for California's Proposition 8, an
It is Christmas time, but there is little holiday cheer at the Stella D’Oro cookie factory in the Bronx.
On day eight of the unrest triggered by the police killing of 15-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, police officers in Augusta, Georgia f
On December 16, New York State Governor Patterson proposed a total of $9 billion of spending cuts and regressive tax and fee hikes.
Malik Rahim, the Green Party Candidate for the 2nd Louisiana Congressional District, did not win in the election held December 6, 2008.
Here's some updates on the heroic and inspiring occupation of the Republic Window and Door factory in Chicago.
This afternoon, Troy Davis defense lawyers presented arguments to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals - the latest stage in a dramatic tug-of-war between the state of Georgia and broad public opinion
The factory occupation by 200 workers at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, Illinois, recalls one of the most storied moments in American history, when thousands of Depression-era workers took ove
The left tends to analyze the world with broad strokes, looking at the action (or inaction) of our class in the thousands and millions.
On Thursday November 20, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York (MTA) met to discuss budget cuts.
There are protests in dozens of cities across the United States against the California state Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage.
I teach in a working class suburb, not too far from Oakland, whose political character is very, very different from that in the city itself.
The Puerto Rican Federation of Teachers (FMPR) has done the near-impossible: solidly defeating one of the world’s most powerful labor organizations in an election for representation of Puerto Ric
(There will be a post-election interview with Howie Hawkins on Solidarity Webzine.
When last seen on the picket-line, Puerto Rican teachers were fighting their way through police barricades to appeal to fellow workers from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), at its
This morning's "funeral for justice" ended with joyful laughter and hugs as local activists celebrated the second stay of execution for Troy Davis in two months.
Understanding and Responding to the Economic Crisis: Some Talking Points (version 2.0)
On October 10th the Radical Film and Lecture Series organized a talk by Rosa Clemente, the vice presidential candidate for the Green Party, Hip Hop activist, independent journalist and community or
Troy Davis, the innocent man on Georgia's Death Row, is safe for now. A grassroots movement and international awareness has brought the case to the halls of the US Supreme Court.
SOME TALKING POINTS ON THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
By Kate Griffiths and Isaac Steiner
The era of the United States as a “the world’s only superpower” is ending.
The United States economy has not been this bad since the Great Depression. The rulers of the US hoped to retain global power militarily, through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the country’s raw economic superiority slipped. But these wars cannot be won: opposition among the occupied populations, and growing dissent within the...
It has been a turbulent week on Wall Street, and I’m not just talking about stock prices.
In various ways, millions of people are registering their rejection of the proposed $700-billion-plus bailout plan to temporarily save capitalism.
I was on a panel discussion about the antiwar movement at Wayne State University. Panelists were discussion a special Spring/Summer 2008 issue of WIN, the War Resister's League's magazine.
I met with Troy on Death Row Saturday night. He was very hopeful, but cautiously so. I asked him, "Troy, how old are you?" He said "I'm thirty-nine. I'll be forty on my next birthday.
Call and response chants of "I am: Troy Davis! We are: Troy Davis" and "Innocence: Matters!
It has been a dramatic moment on Wall Street; first Bear-Sterns and then Lehman Bros. went bankrupt.
Every night, CNN’s Lou Dobbs harangues the American public with overblown concerns regarding illegal immigration, linking the alleged “crisis” of undocumented immigration to all things terrib
On August 25, ICE agents (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) conducted one of the single largest immigration raids in the country at Howard Industries just outside of Laurel, MS.
A great voice of love, memory and vigilant solidarity has passed. It's hard to imagine more like Darwish arriving in these cold times.
For years, I've taught sociology at a community college in New York City. I'm always looking for current examples to illustrate how class, race and gender work in contemporary capitalist socities.
Outside the Pepsi Center, protesters gathered during the DNC to protest the war, capitalism and to march for immigrant rights in numerous events throughout the week.
Because the Democrats had the gall to schedule their convention on the ideal week for riding bikes along Lake Michigan, I neglected to keep up with excitement. Was there any excitement?
The Dark Knight is the pre-eminent summer action-superhero blockbuster of 2008, and will probably soon become the second grossing film of all time, behind
Three years after the floodwaters of the Hurricane Katrina subsided, the people of New Orleans voters are plagued by barriers to voting, misinformation and disenfranchisement .
After reading an article in the NY Times and subsequent googling, I discovered a proliferation of local org
When we present revolutionary ideas, is it just the content that matters, or the form, as well? If the form matters, should it reflect popular styles, or should we constantly push boundaries?
Blue Vinyl (2002) http://www.bluevinyl.org/ , by Judith Helfand and Daniel B.
This is an article I wrote for a local Bronx freebie paper, the Norwood News.
Role of Private Equity Worries Tenant Advocates
In the last two installments of Mp3 Spotlight we have looked at the work of individual musicians who have put their creative energies towards building social movements.
Thousands of Koreans have been protesting the importation U.S. beef by gathering in vigils almost every night for the last two months.
I’ve been compiling a list of various extralegal activities one can get away with in the United States if his/her skin lacks melanin.(I think maybe I should maybe shift to things that whites cannot
When I joined Solidarity, the first thing everyone asked was “what brought you here?” “How did you become a radical?” This question is crucial for activists because it’s part of the overall
The name Ashok Kumar rings a few bells: the field hockey star who helped win the 1974 World Cup? The famous Bollywood star who played the main character of India’s first soap opera?
[A Talk by Tim Schermerhorn at the Black Workers Caucus in the Black Workers Track of the 2008 Labor Notes Conference, where a Black Workers Network was formed.]
To have a real chance of making real fightback strategies, we must have at least a fundamental understanding of the forces arrayed against us, and how they operate. An essential component of this process is demystifying words such as neoliberalism. One of the reasons for this encrypted terminology is to send a message to common people,...
Cornelius Cardew lived a singular life in modern music. He helped give birth to electronic music in the 1950’s, connected the U.S. and European musical avant-gardes, and pushed the limits of improvised music with groups such as AMM. From the mid 1950’s through the early 1970’s Cardew burned like a comet, redefining experimental music and earning legend status. But when his commitment to Marxist politics intensified he left it all behind to create “people’s liberation music”....
While there are people who pursue powerful positions in society or in a group in order to dominate others, there are also those who identify themselves with dominant groups or the ideology of the group and submit themselves to the opinions of strong authority figures. One of the characteristics of them is to show a “blind faith” toward their “ingroup” to which they belong and hostility toward “outgroups.” Besides, they seldom show sympathy (or often show hostility) toward minorities...
Last night, Barack Obama's presidential campaign achieved the number of Democratic delegates needed to win the nomination at the Party's convention in Denver this August.
As the boys say, "unless you've been living under a rock" you know that the
COMMENTS ON FRSO, WHICH WAY IS LEFT?
[This contribution was originally presented to a November 18, 2007 joint meeting of Solidarity, Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL and an independent study group of activists interested in revolutionary organization]
After an 87-day strike that started in the depths of a snowy and blistery winter and ended in late spring, the UAW workers at five American Axle plants in Michigan and New York voted to accept a deeply concessionary contract and return to work. Wages will be reduced by $5-7 an hour along with freezing pensions, outlawing the right to strike during the life of the contract under any circumstance, and gutting the old contract. Why did the strikers, after shutting down more than 30 GM assembly...
The following appeared in the Solidarity discussion bulletin after a Solidarity National Committee discussion of 'Which Way is Left?' [WWIL] and a joint meeting in NYC between Solidarity, Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad [FRSO or FRSO/OSCL], and the New York Study Group - a discussion of radical community activists in the city who are interested in revolutionary organization.
I had a “romantic” dream about Detroit when driving to the city for my summer job last year. If anyone has been in Detroit, he or she would know that there are many abandoned buildings. Abandoned, of course, does not mean devoid of “legal” and “private” owners. Nevertheless, what if we socialists, workers, and homeless people were to physically occupy abandoned buildings and use them as our offices, homes, and conference places, and eventually make the city into a “socialist...
The recent Solidarity front page on the cyclone in Southeast Asia (borrowed from International Viewpoint) is in line with my own reflections on the politics of aid in the wake of 'natural' disasters.
The artist must elect to fight for freedom or for slavery. I have made my choice – I had no alternative. – Paul Robeson
I want to kick off this ongoing series on the webzine with a look at a seminal political artist. Christy Moore is a powerful vocalist, song interpreter, and a passionately political person and performer. To many he may be simply a folksinger, but Christy Moore is a voice for the voiceless.
Almost two years ago, I met somebody at a club, and when he told me what he did for a living, I nearly dropped my frou-frou drink. I think it was a tequila sunrise. That or a margarita. Something brightly colored and with a lot of sugar.
At long last, Atlanta Jobs with Justice has released their excellent study and plan for regional transit centered on the needs of riders and workers. You can download the report from Atlanta JwJ's website or download it directly here. The study is the project of years of research and organizing with the Transit Riders Union - a group of transit-dependent riders and disabled riders - and workers in our transit system, MARTA, who are represented by Amalgamated Transit Union 732. This is in our...
“Radical Blogging Is The Main Trend In Our World Today”
Let’s focus on two trends in radical blogs, both based on Marxism. One is the emergence of a web of prolific Maoist/Marxist-Leninist blogs in the United States. The other is the world of Marxist blogs emanating from English-speaking western Europe. I will start this entry with a look at the Maoist-inspired blogs.
(The arduous pace of the school, and it's work and social demands, means that I have not been able to keep up with my journal on a daily basis. Thus, I apologize for the partial summaries below; some of the fun, wacky, informal conversations are also left out, as I had to reconstruct some days from my notes. - John)
I will attempt to write daily notes on the 3-week Global Justice School (Amsterdam, NE March 28-April 19) organized by the International Institute for Research and Education. I miss my comrades – and the start of the baseball season! – but it is a great experience being here.
I didn't want all the burgeoning Solidarity bloggers or our loyal fans to miss the Carnival of Socialism up at stroppyblog. The previous Carnival was here--definitely worth a look. You should also note that there is an upcoming Carnival of Socialism to which you can and should submit your best work! Do so at Practically Insurgent.
The “crisis of the Left” is usually referred to the disarray of movements, its weakened political and social power, the effects of demise of bureaucratic “really existing socialism”, and the neoliberal offensive. It remains our responsibility to seriously interrogate these conditions, study our world, and chart strategies for a new socialist project.
I'm trying to figure out whether I think Elliot Spitzer actually did anything that we should call "corrupt." I'm sure he broke his marital vows, quite repeatedly it seems, and I get what the folks are saying that Silda shouldn't have stood by her man, literally, and looked crushed - she should have issued a statement dumping his ass. Then, at the same time, I feel like that kind of decision is between her and her God and her shrink and so forth and giving a feminist seal of...
Heavy storms and tornadoes ripped through downtown Atlanta and surrounding neighborhoods of Cabbagetown, East Atlanta, and Vine City last weekend. Media coverage following the storm conformed to the usual clichés: the twisters “sounded like freight trains” and their aftermath resembled a “war zone.” I can’t totally discredit either of these. I do live across the street from a freight line, wasn’t right across the street from the tornados, but I’m not too concerned with what they...
Has anyone noticed how Obama and Clinton have been rushing to outdo each other in "rejecting and denouncing" controversial figures associated with their campaigns? First it was Obama, with Farrakhan. I was disappointed to see Obama "reject and denounce" Farrakhan himself - rather than rejecting and denouncing his anti-Semitic statements, which are worthy of being rejected. But I figured it was par for the course. Farrakhan has always been a lightning rod of presidential...
Friday it was announced that New York State government’s bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will bail out Wall Street big-shot bankers at Bear Stearns. Perhaps fittingly, Lee Bollinger, the Columbia University President who’s behind one of the biggest land-grabs in the city, is on the Board of Directors of this bank.
Indian shipyard workers accuse their employer of human trafficking and forced labor; Guest Worker organizing continues in Mississippi and Louisiana
by Robert Caldwell & Damien Ramos
A lot of my friends have recently had or are about to have babies. It’s been something of a learning experience for me, in some very practical ways.
For example, I learned all about competing sleep theories from a friend with a bedtime-adverse 20-month-old. She and her husband spent considerable time developing a method that is a middle ground between letting the child cry indefinitely and rocking him to sleep every time he wakes up (which is every 2 hours). Other things I learned are that new...
Susan Faludi, author of Backlash and Stiffed, has with her latest offering, The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post 9-11 America, drawn upon her previous insights into the causes and consequences of the anti-feminist backlash of the last three decades and applied them to period following the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
April 5 2012
Confession: I am a major Law & Order (L&O) junkie. I just can’t get enough of new episodes and reruns (including episodes I have seen at least a dozen time) of the original L&O. L&O Criminal Intent comes in a close second (although I have never gotten the hang of L&O Special Victims Unit). As a friend and comrade who shares my obsession put it, “It’s got cops and lawyers — what more can you ask from a mainstream TV show?”
Book Review: Laura Pulido’s Environmentalism and Economic Justice: Two Chicano Struggles in the Southwest.
“Subaltern” groups, according to Pulido, are those which are subordinated socially, politically, culturally, and institutionally as well as economically. For example, Mexican agricultural workers occupy the lowest position within the division of the labor, lack political rights and legal protections, and face language barriers.
Book Review: David Naguib Pellow’s Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago.
Pellow’s Garbage Wars examines the history of the environmental struggles over the means and locations of the disposal of solid waste in Chicago and discusses the problems of “environmental racism.”
The genuises at The Onion understand well Freud's discovery of how jokes reveal a side of truth and reality that we, for one reason or another, are unwilling to admit to ourselves up front. Thus the recent article "GM Introduces New 2008 Line Of Layoffs."
Mike Huckabee is not going to be the Republican presidential nominee. Though he’s still in the race, Republican insiders have started endorsing John McCain by the droves. This includes many Republican leaders who don’t like McCain much (criticizing his “liberal” stances on immigration, tax cuts, and campaign finance), and some who have a lot of affinities with Huckabee’s base, such as Oliver North. Pundits who have been very critical of McCain,...
March 10 2012
Hey Lovers and Fighters –
Continuing my tendency to tail respond to the writing of the fine folks over at FRSO/OSCL, some of this is influenced by a west coast Freedom Road comrade, Claire. You can read her article from last year here. Another Oakland (Solidarity) comrade made me promise I’d write some stuff on love and sex and relationships if she reposted something of hers from a few years ago on polyamory. So: here you go, sister!
*Title taken from James Baldwin essay by that title (1984)
By the time I graduated high school, I saw that the rural area of Pennsylvania I grew up as the epitome of racism…and homophobia. Not much room for liberal “we-love-diversity”. I left there hating the whole area: it was dead, backward, close-minded, bigoted and all that. Arriving in New York for college, I thought I was in heaven, a far as “lets-all-get-along” diversity goes. That lasted about one subway ride, and I soon...
February 16 2012
Looking backward: The following piece is from almost five years ago, and my own views continue to evolve. Sometimes I feel like they devolve. However, I think that the subject is worth Left discussion and commentary, because, as my friend A. says, why don't lefties fucking GET personal politics? We can rag on "social conservatives", but often our own views come off as some kind of queasily tolerant personal-as-political Not In My Back Yard. So I am posting this, and will rebut it in the...
From Jan. 11 through Jan. 13 Solidarity held a socialist feminist retreat that brought together a multi-generational group of 60 activists to discuss work, gender and heteronormativity. There were lots of great discussions, both organized and informal.
What does it mean to read with a child? How, as materialists, do we talk with our kids?
Monday evening I called to chat with my friend, "Alice", who works at a university hospital, and asked how she celebrated the holiday:
Alice: "uh, by working."
Kate G: "Working? Seriously? They don't give you the day off?"
January 6 2012
Hello out there in internet land!
Some of you may have noticed that we're knee deep in the so-called "political season." Yes, that's right, that’s when us ordinary folks are invited into debates about the issues of the day. Does this mean Warren Buffet’s attempts to stabilize the bond market house of cards? The US Navy’s clumsy attempt to manufacture a threat from Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz (through which almost all the world’s petroleum reaches market? Nope, it’s a...
Patriarchy has existed for thousands of years, but the process of separation between public and private spheres in capitalism imposed new kinds of gender roles between husbands and wives in Western Europe by the middle of the 19th century: While a husband became the sole breadwinner in the public sphere, his wife took the task of the reproduction process in the private sphere. These separate roles became more rigidly reinforced by the ideology of the “cult of domesticity,” which was...
Last summer, I traveled to South Africa to do some academic research related to health care. To keep myself busy and record my experience, I kept up a private blog for family and friends. Now that Solidarity has its own weblog(!), I'm sharing some of these old posts. I intend to follow up with some more current analysis on South Africa and the themes my trip got me thinking about. This post, is a description of my experience at the SANPAD conference in Durban on June 26th-30th, 2007.
Last summer, I traveled to South Africa to do some academic research related to health care. To keep myself busy and record my experience, I kept up a private blog for family and friends. Now that Solidarity has its own weblog(!), I'm sharing some of these old posts. I intend to follow up with some more current analysis on South Africa and the themes my trip got me thinking about. This first post is a book review...
Liberation movements in the United States lost a brave and vibrant participant in the death of Bob Kohler, a leading figure of the American Gay Liberation Movement.
Bob Kohler, 1926-2007Bob lived dozens of lives in his 81 years on the planet. Although Bob was best known as an early leader of the Gay Liberation Front he was also a talent representative for mostly Black artists in the early 1960’s, a vintage clothing store owner, World War II veteran, a talented and empathetic listener, bath...
...'till, as Otis Redding told us, "your well runs dry." Water crisis, often predicted to be one of the 21st century’s political flashpoints, has arrived in the southeastern United States. Over the past two years, the entire region has experienced a record-setting drought.
A friend who knows a lot about how and why the criminal justice system works in the United States put it into context for a group of folks a few weeks ago. Paul says we assume that prison conditions are bad, the issue is the number of people who will be subjected to them. Mass incarceration has been the most thoroughly implemented social experiment of the modern American era, made more effective because there is no centralized plan. And there's no natural force to stop or contain it.
Jaime Paglia (creator of Eureka), Rob Kutner (writer for The Daily Show), and Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) at the Writers Guild of America Rally in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass., on Friday, December 14th, 2007. Photo from Brad Searles
Last Friday there was a rally by striking writers in Boston. Joss Whedon, the Creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the big names at the event. A friend of mine asked me if I had ever seen the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...
So... I’ve been mulling over my reaction to this book by Michael Albert, Parecon. Friends on a blogging engine, LiveJournal, directed my attention toward it. I read it with very close attention. Herewith is my response, finally.
Image from New Orleans IndyMedia
I just learned--too late--that the Ohio labor movement lost a great leader at the end of 2006 in Tom Mooney. In fact he died a little over a year ago today.
What I didn't know is that Tom started out as a '60s radical at Antioch College and worked on a ton of public and collective education projects, then rose through the ranks of the union. He ended up head of OFT/AFT in Columbus, OH, and I knew him through labor-coalition work. He died much too young, at 52, of a heart attack.
Many geographers since the 1960s have studied impacts of “spatiality” in working class solidarity. Simply put, every society in a certain historical period has its own particular ways of creating, arranging, and rearranging social and physical spaces, and the processes and the outcomes of spatial arrangements affect workers’ ways of looking at the world, social relations, and their own lives.
I met a woman a few weeks ago who has been working on a voting-rights project in The Bronx for several years now. She said that 48 of 50 states strip felons of voting rights and that 5 million potential voters are legally denied that basic right.
On Nov. 10th several hundred community members met at historic St. Mary’s Church in Harlem and marched through the public housing complex chanting “Harlem: Not For Sale!” and “Public Housing: Not For Sale!” to Columbia University’s main campus. There, students joined them to protest what some are calling “Hurricane Columbia”, a reference to the struggles against gentrification and population removal in New Orleans. For over four and a half...
When I broach the subject of race with my college freshmen in their introduction to composition class, I often do so through the medium of sports. What does it mean, I ask, that NBA players are now required to wear suits and ties when they sit on the bench? And why is it that, when African-American youth Genarlow Wilson was released from prison after serving two years for having consensual oral sex with another teenager, it was ESPN that offered the most extensive, in-depth article in the...
Like Christmas, the US bourgeois electoral cycle seems to start earlier every time around. The scripted, stage-managed debates, the empty moralisms and focus-group politics, competition for Oprah’s endorsement – yep, there must be a national election soon. Besides recognizing the increasingly vapid terms of political debate at the national stage and entertainment spectacle of it all, there are important shifts and realignments already surfacing.
Public Enemy's newest album.So, when I first heard plans for this Solidarity blog at our 2006 convention, I wanted to do a review of New Whirl Order (2005) and Rebirth of a Nation (2006,) and compare them to Flavor of Love. Since then, How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People who Sold Their Soul? (2007) has been released. Flavor of Love had a second season, and spinoffs I Love New York and Charmed School gained widespread attention.
I live in Crown Heights, which is a mostly West Indian and African American neighborhood in Brooklyn. I've been there for two years, and like most black neighborhoods in New York, the cops are pretty much a constant presence.
Recently the New York Times revealed a secret about the NYC Mayor’s oft-touted subway commute: our City’s top elected leader is chauffeured to his preferred station in a caravan of Chevy Suburbans.
"Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's dark as a dungeon way down in the mine" Merle Travis
"The system is broken." Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. Aug 23