The inauguration of Donald Trump as the president of the United States opens what we fear will be one of the darkest and most dangerous periods in American history since the founding of this journal in 1961.
Donald Trump takes office on January 20, setting up the most right-wing, racist government in modern American history, but he will not go unchallenged. That challenge is already in motion.
This year’s elections are the culmination of the long-standing economic and cultural grievances of America’s industrial workers, a subclass largely composed of white men from the Rust Belt whose factories have been asset-stripped and sent abroad and whose unions or small businesses, pensions, and prospects have been decimated. They are not the poorest of the poor—not even the poorest of the white poor. They are not from places where the economic conditions are the worst, but they are from places where uncertainty about the future of industrial jobs is most acute.
The Bolshevik Revolution
One hundred years ago the most democratic revolution in history took place. Led by the Bolshevik Party, the Russian working class, allied with the peasantry and organized into mass democratic institutions—the soviets—took power.
Russia, Revolution, and Counter-revolution
During the tumultuous years that followed the horrors of World War I, especially in the period of 1917 to the early 1920s, the Russian working class became an inspiration to workers around the world.
One hundred years ago, in exile in Zurich during the spring of 1916, Lenin started writing one of his most important and influential works, his pamphlet on imperialism. What is the relevance of this work today?
What explains the enthusiasm in certain quarters of the left for Vladimir Putin and Russia?
The Black Protest for Abortion Rights in Poland
In Poland the law on abortion is one of the most restrictive in the European Union, sex education does not exist, and contraception is both expensive and hard to obtain because a medical prescription is often needed.
Night had fallen on the Atlanta Stadium in the city of Buenos Aires on November 19, and as “The Internationale” began to blare from the loudspeakers, more than twenty thousand people at the Trotskyist Left Front rally stood up, their fists held high, to sing the international workers’ anthem with a single voice.
On December 4, 2016, the Italian electorate was asked to vote on a government-proposed constitutional reform, and the vote dealt the government and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plans a ringing blow. The referendum was a political gambit on which the PM bet everything, yet 59.1 percent of voters rejected the reform. Barely an hour after the polls closed, Renzi announced his resignation.
[Editors’ note: The struggle at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was one of the major political mobilizations of 2016, combining the demand for Native rights with the call for environmental justice. New Politics asked Nancy Romer to cover these events for us. She was at Standing Rock from November 10-15.
Marking an anniversary of a book’s publication is, appropriately, reserved for books that were widely read when they first appeared many years ago. Books we commemorate with an anniversary are ones that ushered in a new way of thinking and influenced the way society tries to make sense of the world. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community did neither of these things.1
The Occupy movement and the Bernie Sanders campaign spotlighted once again the fact that a fairly small number of very rich people dominate the major economic and political institutions of the country.
A (Mostly) Friendly Reply to Michael J. Thompson
Periodization of the various versions of capitalism is tough academic work, and what follows is not meant to diminish the importance of those kinds of projects.
The pages that follow are taken from Seth Tobocman’s new graphic biography of the radical lawyer Leonard Weinglass, Len: A Lawyer in History (AK Press). This particular section is based on a transcript of a talk that Len Weinglass gave at the 2002 Left Forum on the relationship between Nixon-era encroachments on civil liberties and the Patriot Act.
When the Stalin-Hitler pact triggered World War II in 1939, and Soviet troops occupied half of Poland and then invaded Finland, the Socialist Workers Party in the United States was plunged into crisis.
For some time now, many of us have wondered how it is that a number of left-wing writers and some political organizations could support Vladimir Putin and the Russian government’s role in international affairs.
Greece and the Syriza Experience
In very different ways, Helena Sheehan’s The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left and Looting Greece: A New Financial Imperialism Emerges by Jack Rasmus look back over the period of the Greek debt crisis, and the parallel rise and fall of Syriza, and try to take stock.
At the heart of Jeff Halper’s War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification is the question “How does Israel get away with it?” In other words, how is Israel able to continually occupy Palestinian territory in contravention of international law?
Blogs & On-Line Features
Guest Blog by David Koenig
In June, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) proudly announced that teachers at Cesar Chavez Prep Charter School in Washington, DC charter school were the first to vote to form a charter school union in DC. What the AFT has not discussed was the decision of AFT organizers to withdraw a petition for a vote at a larger DC charter school, at Paul Public Charter School, one of the first charter schools in DC. Meanwhile, teachers in the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff have voted overwhelmingly to merge with the Chicago Teachers Union. Their statement foregrounds the need for union democracy: “If you trust teachers, then you should trust their democratic voice — their union. Unions make schools, both district and charter, work better.”
A Report from Great Britain
The 8 June election result has re-energised Labour’s activist base and helped put basic working-class demands back on the agenda. The increase in turnout among young voters, and the huge Labour lead among young voters, signal a major shift in British politics. All of this opens up a new period of Labour revival and recomposition.
A few days ago, Paul Krehbiel—a member of the Committees of Correspondence, an organization with roots in a split from the Communist Party USA in 1991—had an essay posted on Portside entitled "United and Popular Front: Lessons from 1935-2017."
[The following article was written as a contribution to Solidarity’s pre-convention discussion.]
Foreign policy elites are freaking out:
“President Trump has accomplished an extraordinary amount in a short time. With shocking speed, he has wreaked havoc: hobbling our core alliances, jettisoning American values and abdicating United States leadership of the world. That’s a whole lot of winning — for Russia and China.”
Those are the lamentations of Barack Obama’s national security advisor and ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice (New York Times, Saturday, June 3, 2017, “To Be Great, America Must Be Good.”)
The good news this May was that French voters rejected far-right Marine Le Pen by a two-to-one margin in the second round of the Presidential election.
The bad news was that France ended up electing Emanuel Macron, an efficient technocrat who consciously incarnates French capital’s need to eliminate the "French exception" and level the wages, rights and benefits of the French common people down to the average of the European Union (which includes Romania and Bulgaria).
A Letter of Engagement to the Broad Left
Fellow socialists and leftists, it is time to dispel that illusion that somehow Putin’s Russia of today is somehow positively connected to the USSR of yesterday. That simply is not the case.
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance condemns Trump's announcement to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) or “Mother of All Bombs” was dropped in Afghanistan at a time of great international tension. Sarin gas had filled Syrian hospitals with civilians, threatening to draw Russia, the United States, and their allies into direct war. U.S. warships retaliated by striking one of Assad’s air bases while Donald Trump shared dessert with China’s President Xi Jinping. Hot on the heels of their meeting, Trump (erroneously) declared that another set of warships were en route to intimidate North Korea and its allies. Alarming rates of Syrian and Iraqi civilian causalities from coalition airstrikes were dominating headlines and before the dust had settled, the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S.’s mighty arsenal incinerated an ISIS encampment in eastern Afghanistan.
To understand Trump's ascendance to presidency, instead of looking into the structure of the society, we need to look into the software of the society; the way people operate culturally.
It has been three months since the inauguration of President Trump and the nation still is engaged in agonized self-scrutiny to fathom the ascendance of Trump to the highest office in the country. Some explanations blamed it on the establishment’s inability to read and respond to electors’ interests. Other arguments deplored the Democratic Party for clearing the way for Hillary Clinton despite her trust problem. Other opinions maintained that Hillary Clinton did not speak to young voters, African Americans and working class. She was also censured for not addressing the real grievances; that is the economic concerns of the public. Clinton criticized the FBI for releasing the letter eleven days before the Election Day. Some explorations highlight the large number of people who sat at home and did not vote.
[Updated May 19, 2017] After nearly four months of President Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency surrounded by controversies and scandals, the American establishment has decided to take things in hand. That is the meaning of deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein’s appointment of Robert S. Mueller III to serve as special counsel to investigate ties between the Trump administration and Russia. Mueller, who had served as the FBI director from 2001 to 2013 under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has both the confidence of the establishment and the political independence that will allow him to pursue the issue without fear of presidential interference.
The Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ) aims to resist capitalism, imperialism, and authoritarianism in the Trump era. We are helping to develop a thoughtful, multidimensional, and proactive opposition to the intensifying authoritarianism that has become evident around the globe, as exemplified by Donald Trump in the U.S., Vladimir Putin in Russia, and Xi Jinping in China. We oppose NATO and U.S. imperialism because they underpin capitalist-militarist hegemony around the globe. In general, we target rampant class oppression, imperialism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, nativism, Islamophobia, and environmental destruction.
A Teacher Who Stands Up For Kids
Sarah Chambers is an award winning special education teacher in Chicago’s Saucedo Academy. Sarah is a local leader a national figure in the fight to defend and transform public education against the corporate education reform attack. She is a relentless advocate for special education students and LGBTQ students. Sarah is a published author, organizer, and speaker on issues of education reform and social justice.
Raoul Peck’s powerful documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” which was nominated for an Academy Award, has brought the great writer James Baldwin (1924-1987) to a new generation of Americans who may have been unfamiliar with Baldwin’s life and writings. “I Am Not Your Negro” presented Baldwin as a powerful voice of the black liberation movement, but hardly mentioned his longtime commitment not only to full equality for black Americans, but also to socialism.
Baldwin wrote in No Name in the Street that he had been a "convinced fellow traveler" at 13 who had marched in the May Day parade and then became a "Trotskyite" by age nineteen. Too young to have been involved in Harlem’s Communist Party in the 1930s, he claimed to have been a member of the Young People’s Socialist League, but that has never been confirmed.