|Jason Schulman March 27, 2016|
I must admit that I’m somewhat reluctant to write a response to my friend Barry Finger’s response to my article in the Winter 2016 issue of New Politics on Bernie Sanders while the Democratic presidential candidate race between Hillary Clinton and Sanders is still going on. Nevertheless, I will do so.
First, it should now be clear, in the wake of Sanders’ victories in yesterday’s Democratic caucuses, that Barry’s assertion that “the Sanders challenge within the Democratic Party has come to its natural conclusion” is not justified. Let’s not make grand pronouncements of this sort until we’re far closer to the Democratic National Convention.
|Dan La Botz March 25, 2016|
Part 9 of A New Politics in America. This concludes the series. All nine parts can be fond on the New Politics website, newpol.org
So what does this era of a new politics in America mean? How significant are new right and new left in America today? Where do we go from here? What are we in the left to do? Should we be building progressive Democratic Party campaigns? Should we just go back to building the movements? Or is there another option? To figure this out, we have to understand that though we are in a new political era, many of the old problems still remain.
|Dan La Botz March 22, 2016|
This is part 8 of A New Politics in America. Find previous parts on newpol.org.
Hillary—Establishment and Dynasty
The tremendous success of the Bernie Sanders campaign—in turning out tens of thousands to his rallies, getting millions to contribute to his campaign, and winning an impressive number of states and delegates—is primarily due to his clear message: his call for a progressive economic program to provide jobs, universal health care, and free higher education, as well as an end to the role of money in politics, and an insistence on an end to structural racism, in particular racist police violence. Yet there is also no doubt that many have turned to Sanders because they do not want the Democrats’ presidential candidate to be Hillary Clinton, whom they see as embodying all that they despise about the American political system.
|Dan La Botz March 21, 2016|
This is party 7 of A New Politics in America. Part 6 and links to earlier parts can be found here.
Occupy, though it had eschewed politics, had important political ramifications. A few liberal Democrats soon appeared to give expression to the new movements within their rightward moving party.
|Dan La Botz March 20, 2016|
This is Part 6 of A New Politics in America. Part 5 and links to early parts can be found here.
The Tea Party
The Great Recession and the government’s response to it gave a new impetus to the right. President Barack Obama’s election in 2008 in the midst of the recession proved an ideal catalyst for the bringing together of a new far right movement.
|Dan La Botz March 18, 2016|
This is Part 5 of A New Politics in America. Part 4 and links to earlier parts can be found here.
If American politics have changed in the 2010s, however, it is in large measure due to disappointment in the Obama presidency. Many Americans thought in 2008 that they had elected a progressive, but they soon found out that the new president was nothing of the kind.
|Dan La Botz March 17, 2016|
This is the fourth part of A New Politics in America. Earlier parts of the series can be found here.
The Republican Party responded to the white middle class and working class voters who had lost status, income, and pride in their country by working to turn their disappointment and depression into ressentiment and political power. Richard Nixon famously first saw how whites' resentment could be turned in the Republicans' direction during his 1968 presidential campaign, adopting the “southern strategy” of winning over the South’s racist white voters—the former Dixiecrats of the Democratic Party.
|Dan La Botz March 16, 2016|
This is the third part of A New Politics in America. Part 1 looked at the Civil Rights movement and the White Backlash; Part 2 examined the impact of the economic crisis of the 1970s; Part 3 discusses the decline in American power, and then turns back to look at how all three elements contributed to the growth of a New Right from the 1960s to the 1980s.
The United States: A Declining World Power
While the United States remained a world power—and the greatest military power on earth after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991—U.S. military might did not necessarily always lead to military victory and modern weapons could not always ensure its place as the leading world power.
|Dan La Botz March 15, 2016|
This is the second part of an article about the new politics in America today. The first part can be found here.
Deindustrialization and Downsizing Gut the Labor Movement
The second development that led to a new far right was the economic crisis of the 1970s, or, to be specific, the two recessions of the 1974-75 and 1979-82. These two downturns caused employers to close steel mills, auto plants and other manufacturing plants throughout the Northeast and the Midwest with a devastating impact on the working class and on the labor movement.
|Dan La Botz March 14, 2016|
This is the first part of an article about the new politics in America today.
The presidential election campaign of 2016 represents a turning point in American politics, raising issues and political agendas that would have been unthinkable in the United States only a few years ago. The major media and the public debate whether or not Republican Donald Trump is a fascist, while at the same time there is a discussion about whether Democrat Bernie Sanders’ version of democratic socialism is the answer to the country’s problems. Trump’s political rallies have, at his instigation, become violent and he now threatens to send his followers to disrupt Sanders’ rallies.
|Dan La Botz March 10, 2016|
Will we ever get over this thing called civilization? That's what I wondered as I watched The Embrace of the Serpent, directed by Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra, a black-and-white film in several indigenous and European languages that has some of the qualities of a documentary. But this is a truer-than-history fiction, fabricated out of the travel diaries of two botanists, Theodor Koch-Grunberg (Jan Bijvoet) and Richard Evan Schultes (Brionne Davis), both of whom traveled in the Amazon region, the former in 1909 and the latter in 1940. The challenging and sometimes horrifying experiences of the two scientists are linked together by the character Karamakate who serves as guide to both and a challenge to each. (Nilbio Torres plays the young Karamakate and Antonio Bolívar the old Karamakate.) Both botanists are looking for yakruna, a rare, sacred, and hallucinogenic plant, and their search takes them into the jungles inhabited by peoples menaced by the encroaching modern world.
|Dan La Botz February 29, 2016|
Dawn Paley. Drug War Capitalism. Oakland: AK Press, 2014. Notes. Index.
Dawn Paley’s Drug War Capitalism presents an overview of the drug wars in several Latin American countries: Columbia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Mexico receives the most attention, and Paley provides a wealth of information from a variety of sources documenting the impact of the war-on-drugs on Mexican society and on the role of the United States. She focuses especially on the relationship between the drug business, government policies, and the militarization of Latin American societies, elucidating the role of U.S. policies such as Plan Mérida. She demonstrates the nefarious part played by the U.S. government’s overall structuring of both the drug market and the drug war by elaborating on both the military and civilian aspects of U.S policy in an attempt to prove her thesis, which is the war on drugs forms part of a plan—or if not a plan at least a process—that furthers capitalism, especially its expansion “…into new or previously inaccessible territories and social spaces.” (p. 15) Paley’s book contributes to, but does not resolve the debate over the relationship between drug dealers, capitalism, and the state.
|Dan La Botz February 24, 2016|
Fernando Cardenal, the revolutionary Jesuit priest who served as Secretary of Education in the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, died in Managua on February 20 following complications arising from heart surgery. He was 82 years old.
Cardenal, joined the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) before the Nicaraguan revolution of 1979, having been like his brother the poet Ernesto Cardenal, also a priest, recruited by top Sandinista leaders. Cardenal played a key role in the 1970s, before the revolution, in building the Christian Revolutionary Movement and after the revolution he was the leader and organizer of the National Literacy Campaign. When in 1984 Pope John Paul II insisted that the Cardenal leave the Sandinista government, he refused, writing that he could not believe that God would want him to stop serving the poor.
In the early 1990s Cardenal broke with Daniel Ortega’s increasingly authoritarian Sandinista government, returned to the Jesuit order in 1997, and continued his work among the poor.
|Dan La Botz February 19, 2016|
Twenty years ago the Mexican government signed the San Andrés Accords Regarding the Rights and Culture of the Indigenous that granted autonomy to Indian communities. Yet today, some argue that the indigenous people of Mexico, who represent about 10 to 15 percent of the population of the country, are worse off than they were then. What happened and where are things now?
|Dan La Botz February 18, 2016|
The Pope in Mexico Criticizes the Government, Big Business, and the Church Hierarchy, While Siding with Working People, the Poor, Migrants, and the Indigenous
Pope Francis, during his six-day visit to Mexico in mid-February, criticized the country’s political and economic elite as well as the Catholic Church hierarchy for their preoccupation with wealth and power, while simultaneously expressing support for the country’s working people and the poor. The Pope’s presence in Mexico constituted an indictment of Mexico’s ruling elite and of the society of inequality, violence, and corruption that they have created.
The Pope also criticized Donald Trump and other Republicans who call for building a wall between Mexico and the United States calling their views "not Christian." Said the Pope: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”