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
Jeffery R. Webber. The Last Day of Oppression, and the First Day of the Same: The Politics and Economics of the New Latin American Left. Chicago: Haymarket, 2017. 327 pages. Index. Tables.
Beginning in the late 1990s the Pink Tide began to roll in across much of South America, bringing to power elected leftist governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela. While these administrations were not all the same—Argentina and Brazil appeared to be more social democratic and Bolivia and Venezuela more radical—they represented a new moment in the history of the Latin American Left.
The story of the workers of a PepsiCo factory in Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires, Argentina may be slightly confusing to those in America where it seems normal for a factory to close, as many did in the financial crash of 2008, without the workers organizing, despite losing valuable employment in a harsh economy. Yet the actions of the nearly 700 laid-off workers since PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage corporation in the world, decided to move their production to another city south of Buenos Aires, could teach American workers a thing or two.
As rightwing governments take power in Argentina, Brazil, and elsewhere across the region, Ecuador’s leftwing Alianza País (Country Alliance, AP) and Bolivia’s Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement Towards Socialism, MAS) and Bolivia have managed to hold onto power.
On the very off chance you haven’t heard, Angela Nagle has come out with her first book: Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right. Best known for her essays, often on the alt-right, in outlets like Jacobin and The Baffler, the socialist left has been anxious to dive into what appears to be the first book on the alt-right written by one of us — myself included. Ms. Nagle first caught my attention last year with her incredibly insightful essay “The New Man of 4chan,” and I’ve been reading her regularly, and eagerly awaiting this book, ever since.
The Bolivarian revolution led by Hugo Chavez from 1999, opened a new chapter in the global struggle for social justice. For anti-capitalists across the world, his ‘21st century socialism’ pointed ahead to a new kind of power, defined in the Bolivarian Constitution as “participativa y protagonista” – a participatory democracy in which the people were the active subjects.
It is hard to reconcile that hope with the realities of Venezuela today. The spokespersons of the new State continue to proclaim their revolutionary credentials. Yet they oversee a society in profound and worsening crisis, where hunger has reappeared in a country which just four years ago was congratulated by the U.N. for its virtual elimination of extreme poverty. The right wing media – nationally and internationally – have taken great delight in publishing photographs of food queues marshalled and overseen by armed National Guards. The supporters of Chavismo instinctively refuse to believe the images. But the social crisis they symbolize is real.
Author's note: "I was asked at a recent New York City Democratic Socialists of America meeting of the Immigration Justice Working Group to say a few words to put our work in historical context and then asked to write up my brief talk so that it might be useful to others."
Our sanctuary work is in a great national and global tradition of humanitarianism and it is consistent with our international socialist principles. Our work, while fighting for the reform of the immigration system, has as its goal the abolition of the capitalist system that causes involuntary mass migration. And while using existing law to defend immigrants and fighting for better laws, we stand opposed to the concept of the national state, which will never respect and defend immigrants as equals in our society.
In recent weeks, a number of Venezuelan specialists on the left side of the political spectrum have published and posted pieces that place them in an anti-Chavista, “ni-ni” position that consists of “a plague on both your houses” with regard to Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition. Certainly, at this moment the Chavistas are playing hard ball; the options available to them are limited.
In recent years, Rosa Luxemburg’s name has gradually become more prominent in Chinese academia. A number of influential academic journals have even opened up research columns paying tribute to the revolutionary theorist, nearly a century after the first discussion of her work in China. This should be regarded as a second revival of the research on her in China. Compared with the other leading figures in the history of the international communist movement, whether worldwide or just in China, the present "Rediscover Luxemburg" phenomenon is unique. Regarding other leading figures, there have not been so many ups and downs.
The videoed executions of Philando Castille, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and the many, many other heroes whose lives were ended by State violence and class war have resurrected an old ghost of capital punishment in the developed Western World: Public Executions.
At one level, France’s 2017 elections were a huge triumph for global capital. A young and very modern neoliberal candidate, Emmanuel Macron, won huge majorities for his new political party, On the Move (En Marche), in both the presidential and the legislative elections. At another level, however, Macron’s pathway forward is fraught with challenges, both from a long stagnant economic and a restive French public, many of whom stayed away from the final round of voting.
Journalist Seymour Hersh was interviewed by Aaron Maté of the Real News Network on June 26 after he wrote an article called "Trump's Red Line."
The following is an excerpt from a book about Trump, The Establishment, and the Resistance, that will be published in French by Syllepse early next year. - Dan La Botz
The Fourth of July celebrates the launching of the American Revolution and the founding of the nation. Americans have long prided themselves on having the most democratic country on earth, a model for the world. Yet, while American politicians and the media today frequently praise the “founding fathers” of the United States for establishing the country’s democratic institutions, the truth is that nothing could have been further from their minds.
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is singular on the left as being both a broad radical socialist organization, encompassing left social democrats, Marxists and even a smattering of anarcho-syndicalists, combined with a strong face toward electoral politics. But an electoral orientation per se is not and cannot be the common denominator of our work. It is true that without an electoral face, any political organization is hamstrung and those on the left who argue that support for any Democrat anywhere is treasonous paint themselves into a corner. Electoral politics on the level it can be rationally conducted is worth doing. That, for me, is not in dispute. Its place in our work is what is problematic. Thinking in terms of power is about more than electioneering.
The continuation of six years of genocidal war
For the first time in the six-year Syrian war, the US shot down an Assadist warplane on June 18, in defence of its allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US-backed military and political front dominated by the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG). Assadist warplanes had carried out the highly unusual act of bombing the SDF in the town of Ja’Din, near Tabqa in Raqqa Province.