In this issue we are proud to present a previously unpublished lecture by C.L.R. James, the noted Afro-Caribbean Marxist intellectual. His discussion of Oliver Cox’s book Caste, Class, and Race, first published in 1948, brings an historic Black socialist voice to illuminate some of the issues that face our own times and the demand that Black Lives Matter.
Outside powers have had a long and shameful history of cynically supporting dictatorships in the Middle East because maintaining friendly autocratic states in the region suits their geopolitical objectives. And today those criminal policies are flagrantly on display.
The Bernie Sanders campaign in the Democratic Party has attracted the support of millions, raised an economic reform program such as we have not seen in decades, and has led to a national discussion about the nature of socialism. At the same time, he has ceased to be an independent, has joined the Democratic Party, and has promised to support its nominee, in all likelihood Hillary Clinton. This has led to much discussion and debate on the left. New Politics has solicited two articles from different points of view on the Sanders campaign, one by our co-editor Jason Schulman and the other by Lance Selfa and Ashley Smith of the International Socialist Organization.
Some months ago I responded to a piece that appeared on the New Politics blog by my longtime fellow NP editorial board member and friend Barry Finger.1 In my own blog, I argued that Barry had a better, more sophisticated understanding of the peculiarities of the Democratic Party and the U.S.
Senator Bernie Sanders’ run for the Democratic Party nomination for president has certainly energized thousands. It has also rekindled an old debate on the American left that revolves around the question: Should the left join, endorse, support, or work for campaigns in the Democratic Party?
Inequality has become a defining issue of our time, with political commentators of all stripes discussing its causes, effects, and possible solutions. Thomas Piketty’s 2013 work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, set off a chain reaction of books, journal articles, conferences, and debates focusing on questions of inequality. We intend to push this critique further.
An Interview with Saskia Sassen
SASKIA SASSEN is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University (www.saskiasassen.com). She was interviewed for New Politics by editors Riad Azar and Saulo Colón about her new book, Expulsions: When Complexity Produces Elementary Brutalities (Harvard University Press, 2014).
We are witnessing a grand shift in the nature of capitalist society. It is not to be found simply in the expanding chasms of economic inequality, nor in the rapid social and cultural transformations shaped by globalization. Of course, economic inequality raises concern among liberals, social democrats, and socialists alike. For all see in it an ethical problem, one of unfairness, of greed, of unequal control and power.
The Rise of Twenty-First-Century Serfdom
Systemic contradictions of capitalism have only intensified in the neoliberal era. Structural unemployment, a phenomenon directly related to capitalist modes of production, has continued unabated, creating a massive and ever-growing “reserve army of labor” that has been disenfranchised on an unprecedented scale.
Americans today face a dual crisis: rising rents and increasingly unaffordable housing markets. The housing crisis, far from being over, has metastasized.
In 1971 the Institute of the Black World (IBW) was at a crossroads. Founded in 1969 by historian Vincent Harding, literary scholar Stephen Henderson, and other scholars in the colleges that comprised the Atlanta University Center (AUC), as well as with the support of leading national researchers of the African American experience, the IBW served as the intellectual wing of the Martin Luther King Center.
Now as usual, ten past nine; I certainly will not go on beyond ten past ten. And I would like to say at once that this is the task. It is so difficult that it is as well to say at the beginning that it can be done. Five hundred and eighty-three pages [Oliver Cox’s Caste, Class and Race: A Study in Social Dynamics].
A Historical Perspective
In a June 2015 election, the new People’s Democracy Party (HDP) of Turkey passed a highly undemocratic 10 percent threshold to enter the Turkish parliament.
The siege of Kobani by Islamic State (ISIS) brought worldwide attention to the Syrian Kurdish PYD (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, Democratic Union Party), the leading force in the Kurdish-majority areas in northern Syria. The PYD calls this region Rojava—literally meaning “land of the sunset” but also translated as “West Kurdistan.”
Today, a year after the heroic resistance of Kobani made it to the world news, it is hardly necessary to give an introduction to the Kurdish struggle, which has now taken a central place in the imagination of the international left, both vanguardist and anti-authoritarian.
African Climate Justice Narratives About the Paris COP21
The billion residents of Africa are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change in coming decades, and of special concern are high-density sites of geopolitical and resource-related conflicts: the copper belt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and mineral-rich African Great Lakes stretching into northern Uganda, western Ethiopia (bordering the Sudanese war zone), Madagascar and s
After ten years of economic contraction, many of the citizens of Puerto Rico find themselves watching the secular decomposition of a reality that in its heyday was painted by many as one of relative socio-economic welfare.
The Indignados (in English, the “outraged”), protagonists of what is called the Spanish May 15, or 15M, Revolution (2011-2013), concentrated a great deal of their political action on the construction of a shared conceptual and emotional understanding of the political reality around them.
Arthur Henry Young (1866-1943), known to the world as Art, was arguably the most widely recognized and beloved cartoonist in the history of American radicalism. A working cartoonist for sixty years, Art Young drew thousands of simple black-line drawings with biting captions that appeared in big-city newspapers, liberal magazines, and, most importantly, in the socialist, labor, and radical press of the early twentieth century.
The American Dream, that fantasy of growth that has long girded the ideology of entrepreneurship and a better future, is in crisis. Many haven’t felt the dream for decades, some never having experienced it at all. Robert Putnam, in his latest work, Our Kids, seeks to confront this stagnation in our economic dreams by interrogating the forces that have taken hold of communities across the United States.
In 2001, Professor Danny Dorling wrote an essay entitled “Anecdote Is the Singular of Data.” In it he explored how, during his teenage years, he grasped the idea that the places people live impact the lives they lead. Dorling opens the essay by describing a pedestrianized subway near his childhood home. The subway had four entrances, each leading from a different housing development.
The Power Structure and Foreign Policy
The godfather of macro-level power structure research in the United States was the sociologist C. Wright Mills, author of The Power Elite (1956).
First, allow me to come clean: I count Paul Le Blanc as a friend and comrade and am in his debt—along with Peter Hudis, author of Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism (Haymarket, 2013)—for inviting me to join the editorial board of the Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg being published by Verso Books. And I am in agreement with many of the positions on politics and historical matters that Le Blanc expresses in Unfinished Leninism.
This is the book many socialists have been waiting for, although we probably didn’t know it. In just over 150 pages it describes the core socialist ideas in a clear, highly accessible way. The fact that the book is frequently laugh-out-loud funny makes it even better. Socialism … Seriously is written for people who are new to socialism and want to find out what it’s all about.
The first question about a book that sets out to explain socialism is, of course, what the author means by socialism.
First, full disclosure: I read most of Jack Ross’s The Socialist Party of America in draft. Although it is normally not good policy to then review the book, I felt I could express my respect for what Jack Ross is attempting and share my concerns in a way that could serve a useful purpose.
Agustín Guillamón is a dedicated anarcho-syndicalist activist whose partisanship has not affected his critical sensitivities nor prevented him from graphically outlining what he regards as the errors and inconsistencies of the Spanish libertarian left.
William Thompson’s Utilitarian Argument for Democratic Work
”Happiness is political,” is the opening line of Kaswan’s provocative book on William Thompson’s theory on the social nature of happiness and its ramification for organizing a just society. Kaswan introduces the reader to Thompson (1775-1833) as “perhaps the paradigmatic case of a traitor to his class.” Thompson was the only son of a wealthy merchant in Cork, Ireland; however as a political theorist, he developed ideas of the Enlightenment in a liberatory direction, calling for the elimination of subordination in all its manifestations.
Blogs & On-Line Features
(These are my remarks at an evening panel of what its organizers referred to as a "non-conference" so as to convey the need for participants to interact with one another's ideas, rather than present papers. Sessions spanned two full days. The two evening sessions were videotaped. When they are made available I will post them on New Politics.)
Podemos, meaning “We Can,” is one of the most exciting developments taking place on the left in Europe today. For years politics in Spain had been dominated by two parties: the conservative the People’s Party (Partido Popular or PP), headed by Mariano Rajoy, and the Socialist Workers Party of Spain (PSOE), led by Pedro Sánchez. But, in the last election held in December of 2015, the new left party Podemos won five million votes, fundamentally votes by the lower classes against the economic elites and their austerity plans. That represents 20% of the electorate, and 69 out of 350 seats in the house of deputies.
Five years after the beginning of the popular Syrian Revolution which demanded democracy and human rights, the Syrian revolutionaries have been decimated through the combined military force of the Assad Regime, the Iranian regime with its sectarian militias, Russian air strikes and military assistance on the one hand, and the ultra-terrorist ISIS and other Salafist – Jihadist organizations on the other hand. Nevertheless a partial reduction of airstrikes by Russia and the Assad regime in early March led to an immediate revival of mass protests of the democratic opposition across the country with banners such as the following in Idlib: “Our peaceful revolution is still in progress until toppling Assad and imposing justice all over Syria.”
Who are we? People who struggle for territory
(Marabá, April 17, 2016) We are more than 130 representatives of La Via Campesina member organizations and allies from four continents, 10 regions and 28 countries of the world. We are here in Marabá, Pará, Brazil, to analyze, reflect and continue our collective processes to develop our ideas, proposals, and alternative projects for confronting the offensive of global capital against the peoples and natural goods of the countryside, coasts and seas. More than anything, we come together to struggle for our territories, and for a different kind of society.
More than 130 of the leaders of the world’s nations are about to sign the Paris agreement on climate change. New Politics had the opportunity to interview Daniel Tanuro, the founder of Climate and Social Justice, a Belgian based environmental organization and author of Green Capitalism: Why it Can't Work. Tanuro’s writings on ecosocialism are well known to those in the European ecosocialist movements. New Politics co-editor Dan La Botz had an opportunity to interview Tanuro about the Paris agreement at the Swiss Solidarity Spring University.
AVON, Ohio – Less than a day before temporary workers at the Detroit Chassis plant on Chester Industrial Parkway were scheduled to strike, the company agreed to their request to join a union.
The plant is staffed by about 60 workers – all of them temps -- who make between $9.50 and $11.50 an hour, according to workers helping with the organizing effort to have the UAW represent them. The workers want permanent full-time employment and better wages and benefits. Their duties include assembling axles for the F-650 and F-750 trucks being made at Ford's Ohio Assembly Plant in nearby Avon Lake.
I am in Switzerland to attend the Spring University of Swiss Solidarity, a radical socialist group most active in the French speaking region, for whose newspaper solidarities I write regularly. I’ve been talking to some of the group’s activists about the situation here, and they have given me some impressions of the situation of the left here. So these are my impressions, just impressions.
In Madrid to give a talk on American politics and the Bernie Sanders campaign at , I took time to meet and converse with some young organizers of Anticapitalistas and one longtime leader of the left who had to go into exile toward the end of the years of the Franco dictatorship.
I spent a few days in Barcelona, meeting with older and younger activists, some of them former members of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR), others younger activists in the group Anticapitalistas or in Procés Constituent. I also joined two protest demonstrations and gave a talk at the Ateneu Rebel for the journal Viento Sur for which I write. Here are my impressions, just impressions.
While in Paris in mid-April, I had conversations with a number of mostly older, leftist intellectuals: professors, publishers, editors and writers. These are men and women who historically have had close ties and involvement in the labor and social movements. I also went to political protests and attended a socialist meeting. Here are my impressions, just impressions of a few days in Paris.
The vote on impeachment, which is in a decisive week, makes clear the interests of the ruling classes and their inclination to reverse the losses from the global economic crisis. It is the class struggle carried out in government offices.
On February 27th of this year, an article appeared by scholar and journalist Idrees Ahmad titled “Aleppo is our Guernica — and some are cheering on the Luftwaffe,” a timely analogy with the Spanish Civil War.
On March 11, 2016, a Turkish prosecutor dropped a complaint against officials for failing to take adequate security measures both before and after the bombing of a peace rally in Ankara that killed more than 100 on October 10, 2015. Two days later, suicide bombers struck in Turkey’s capital city for the third time in five months. A car bomb was exploded in the downtown neighborhood of Kızılay, killing 36 and injuring many more. As with other recent attacks, the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) quickly suggested the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was responsible for the attack.