Before turning to the current issue, we want to say a word about the new role that New Politics is playing on the left. New Politics has always been a source of analysis of national and world politics from the point of view of “socialism from below.” More recently, however, we’ve also become—as a print journal and as an online website—a locus for debate on the democratic left. Last issue we began and this issue we continue our series on “The Left We Need,” with articles by all together a dozen different left organizations.
Racism, Capitalism, and the Continuing Struggle for JusticeSummer 2015
Historically, the American justice system has refused to hold accountable police officers responsible for murder. This reality, and the fact of abuse and brutality as the modus operandi of policing in poor and working-class areas, was the catalyst of many of the “race rebellions” of the twentieth century. This century has been no different.
Police Violence, Domestic Warfare, and the Genesis of a National Movement Against State-Sanctioned Violence
Each generation has a moment when its members share an instance of collective experience that is forever etched into their memory. For the Civil Rights and Black Power generation, it was unquestionably the open-casket funeral of Emmett Till. The disfigured remains of this fourteen-year-old boy became a mirror in which black youth witnessed their most vulnerable selves. The sight was so excruciating that it helped catalyze direct action protest from rural Alabama to the streets of Oakland for nearly a decade and a half.
Raven Rakia is a journalist based in New York City. Her work is usually focused on cities, police, and prisons, and she has been published in the Nation magazine, VICE, Gothamist, Truth-Out, Medium.com’s MATTER, and The New Inquiry. You can follow her work at @aintacrow. She was interviewed by email by Amber A'Lee Frost and Saulo Colón.
Kali Akuno served as the coordinator of special projects and external funding for Jackson Mississippi’s late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. He is co-founder and director of Cooperation Jackson as well as an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. He was interviewed by email by Riad Azar and Saulo Colón, both members of the New Politics editorial board.
Raising the slogan of “Black Lives Matter,” protests have erupted across the United States. Behind this slogan is a proliferation of new organizations and networks composed of engaged millennial activists of color. On one level, it might appear that what is being constructed is an effort to address the lack of civil rights protections for African Americans.
Anyone who has participated in direct action can tell you that your first time is going to be scary, but it comes more naturally after that.
The “Justice” System and the Murders of the Civil Rights Era
Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by an Alabama State Trooper in Marion, Ala., on Feb. 26, 1965, following a civil rights march. He died two days later. This killing sparked the Selma marches depicted in the now-famous film (the Jackson shooting is shown with a slight change in locale).
"Someone threw a rock, and like monkeys in a zoo, they all started throwing rocks.” This remark was not made in the wake of the Michael Brown grand jury verdict. It was the account of Chief William Parker, spoken decades before and 1,500 miles away, on the unrest of the 1965 Watts Riots.
In his newest book, historian Greg Grandin provides background to Herman Melville’s classic Benito Cereno, an 1855 short novel about a slave rebellion. Reflecting on this story written almost two centuries ago, Grandin opens up space for further research by those investigating the Black Atlantic.
I attended an event for the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination that was held in the same room where the visionary leader was murdered.
Special Section, continued from Winter 2015 issueSummer 2015
Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change by Barbara Winslow brings back to our attention one of the most notable and esteemed African-American women of the 1960s and 1970s. Winslow reports that “a 1974 Gallup Poll listed her as one of the top-ten most admired women in America.” She was the first black woman elected to Congress.
Earlier this year, four leaders of Young Democratic Socialists (YDS), the youth section of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), began to collaborate on a response to the New Politics prompt: What is the left we need today?
The Partido del Pueblo Trabajador—the Party of the Working People (PPT)—is a political project of the Puerto Rican left addressed to working people in the context of the island’s deep economic crisis.
If the ongoing standoff between the Syriza government and the Troika of the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be boiled down to its essentials, it would be this: The “institutions” will only equip the Greek economy with enough operating funds to manage a bare-bones o
Putin’s Russia is an imperialist state dominated by a capitalist oligarchy that controls the state and that has developed a bellicose attitude toward its neighbors, whom the oligarchy reproaches for having taken advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union in order to escape its century-long tutelage.
Portrait of a Continent in Crisis
Seventy years after the end of World War II and the defeat of fascism and Nazism, the extreme right is on the rise in almost every European country.
The foundations for the Arab uprisings that took place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis were laid in the years before by the neoliberal restructuring of Middle Eastern and North African economies.
Critical Remarks on Taiwan’s Democracy and Its Aporia
Both inside and outside Taiwan, the research on Taiwan’s democratization has been overwhelmingly dominated by Western liberal discourses.
Ask anyone what neoliberalism means and they’ll tell you it’s an economic system that corresponds to a particular economic philosophy. But any real-world economic system has a corresponding political system to promote and sustain it.
The Hidden Story of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman was not the first female superhero, but she is the best known of the modern-day costumed heroines. Armed with indestructible bracelets, her Amazonian heritage, and a “magic lasso,” the character’s inaugural debut came in the pages of All Star Comics #8 in December 1941; a month later she was showcased on the cover of Sensation Comics #1.
Reflections on an Updated Socialist-Feminist Classic
Originally published in 1979, Beyond the Fragments (BTF) was an intervention in the left by three British socialist-feminist activists who offered a thoroughgoing critique of democratic centralism and the vanguard party ideal as it was then practiced on the revolutionary left.
Murray Bookchin was one of the most prolific, original, and influential thinkers on the libertarian left. He was a major theoretician of anarchism and a passionate historian of cities and of popular uprisings and movements.
“On the banner of the International was not written ‘Proletarians of all
Jacobs’ The Frankfurt School is an outstanding piece of scholarship.
Blogs & On-Line Features
Economic oppression remains ubiquitous. In the West we are moving towards, or are already at, a condition of corporate governance enforced by the state apparatus. This is not capitalism as it is commonly understood— allowing for the ostensibly free pursuit of capital, an open market economy— nor is it democracy, or even sovereign nation states. It is a new corporatocracy, in which powerfully entrenched (international) corporations reign supreme, and define policy and economic planning in perpetuity.
Considering the harsh reality of austerity, New Politics is encouraged by the struggles against it. One place where this fight has taken place is Puerto Rico. There, colonial capitalism has forced a new massive migration from the island. More Puerto Ricans currently live in the Diaspora than in the country itself.
To understand this situation better we invite you to a talk with Rafael Bernabe, a socialist activist and member of the Working People's Party of Puerto Rico.
Greece still has alternatives. What mix of compromise and confrontation could yield something better than more austerity?
The United Auto Workers union (UAW) has reached a tentative agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and is presenting the proposed contract to its members for a vote beginning this week. The contract affects some 40,000 unionized hourly workers.
At the beginning of the economic crisis in 2007 the UAW agreed to let Fiat Chrysler establish two tiers, that is, workers doing the same job would have different rates of pay, with newer workers sometimes working for $17 an hour while more senior workers might earn as much $28 an hour. Such a system had been introduced earlier in the auto parts plants.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Personal Quest for Survival
The Kurdish town of Cizre, a settlement with a population of approximately 150 thousand souls in Southeastern Turkey, is now under siege by the Turkish armed forces and the so-called “special operation force” of the police for a second time, after a previous one-week long siege was lifted for an interlude of two days. Around-the-clock curfew is accompanied by power cuts and the interruption of all means of communication including mobile telephones and the Internet. The evidence that came out when the first round of siege was lifted attests to a terrible human drama. Over 30 civilians are dead, ranging from a 35-day old infant to a 75-year old man.
Recently the local food movement seems to have sprung up from nowhere. Yuppies are flocking to farmer’s markets and community gardens across the nation to help the environment and local farmers. But this movement is not at all inclusive; urban agriculture has often been actively suppressed amongst low income populations. This is not always the case, however, especially in times of economic crisis. For example, in the seventies, urban agriculture was promoted in New York’s Lower East Side as a productive way to use land that served no other purpose. But when the gentrification of SoHo spread in the eighties as the economy improved, land prices shot up and gardens which had been tolerated previously were bulldozed with nary a thought to the people who relied on them for access to healthy food.
Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership of the UK Labour Party. As usually happens when the left scores an electoral victory, the center-left and others has made sure to inform Corbyn and his supporters that it is bad that he won and that he never should have tried to win. I am more familiar with this in the American context where every left-wing electoral effort is similarly cast as irresponsible. Given these attitudes, I am left to wonder what exactly people think the left is supposed to do electorally?
[The following item comes from the Jill Stein campaign for the Green Party presidential nomination.]
Now is the time to support a serious, independent, left candidate for Presidential in 2016. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President, is already garnering media attention, building support in social justice movements and frontline struggles and taking on the undemocratic Presidential Debate Commission.
The Greek Drama of 2015: What Next?
The preliminary report of the parliamentary Truth Committee on Public Debt declared the entire Greek debt to be odious, unethical, unsustainable and illegal. Do they have a case?
Sunday, September 13, 2015
A development which no one expected now appears inevitable. Barring either otherwordly intervention or old-fashioned political dirty tricks, Jeremy Corbyn, long on the left wing of the British Labour Party, is slated to become that party's new leader.
And the rabidly pro-capitalist heirs of long-gone "New Labour" leader Tony Blair, as well as the traditional right wing of the Labour Party, are absolutely apoplectic.
Interview with Arun Gupta, journalist and a founding editor of New York City’s Indypendent newspaper, conducted by Scott Harris:
It’s been almost three years since the movement for a living wage burst into protest, first in New York City and then in dozens of other cities and towns across the U.S.
Members of the Washington Education Association (WEA), an NEA affiliate in Seattle, are on strike this morning. Picketing has begun outside schools though bargaining has resumed. The demands in this strike show the power of a teachers' union to use the contract to make schools what they should be for all kids. The ones that I think are most significant:
This Labor Day, which sides are you on?
Lebanon had experienced some major protests in early 2011 against the sectarian regime following the regional popular uprisings, but the movement unfortunately ended a few months later, especially after the sabotage of several religious and reactionary parties against the movement and with the complicity of leftist movements of Stalinist tradition.
The Education International (EI), the international confederation of teachers unions, held its seventh World Congress in Ottawa over the summer. Though most teachers don’t know this organization exists, and few people write about its activity, what it do