Toiling for $50 Per Month
In Bangladesh, the transnational corporations’ production system regressed into one of its most brutal manifestations. Most safeguards that could prevent or at least mitigate the exploitation of workers have been eliminated. While capital enjoys complete freedom, the working class, shackled by oppressive labor laws and a ruthless repressive apparatus, is struggling for bare survival.
An Interview with Oguzhan Müftüoğlu
(Translation By Özlem İlyas Tolunay; Turkish version here.)
Oğuzhan Müftüoğlu was born in Anamur, Turkey in 1944. He joined the Revolutionary Youth (Dev-Genç) movement while he was a law student at Ankara University during the 1960s.
Translated by Dan La Botz
In mid-January of this year France invaded Mali, a former French colony that sits in the middle of what was once the enormous French empire in Africa that stretched from Algeria to the Congo and from the Ivory Coast to the Sudan. The French government argued that its invasion of its former colony was an anti-terrorist and humanitarian intervention to prevent radical Salafist Muslims from taking the capital of Bamako and succeeding in taking control of the country.
An Interview with Mazibuko Jara of the South African Democratic Left Front
I’m here with Mazibuko Jara. Mazibuko is from the Democratic Left Front of South Africa. He was spokesperson for the South African Communist Party and the deputy secretary for the Young Communist League, back a decade and more ago. He is one of the co-founders of Amandla magazine and the Democratic Left Front, and they’ve been extremely active in the support for the Marikana miners and for South African farmworkers, and elsewhere. We’ll talk about this and more in this interview. Today is Sunday, Dec 2, 2012.
Zionism is but one of many ideologies/movements that have competed for the loyalty of Jews as the guarantor of their freedom and security. The fact that it achieved success with the establishment of Israel in 1948 causes people to forget that its success was not pre-ordained. Further, no one can deny that it has come with a heavy cost in both Jewish and Arab lives. From a historic perspective, it may be worth examining other visions to secure a Jewish future. Every road not taken need not be a dead end.
Ramallah. In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution to upgrade Palestine to a “nonmember observer state”. The usual suspects—Israel, their American financers, and a few of their mutual allies—voted against the resolution, but it overwhelmingly passed.
Picture yourself going into a job interview, as many readers of this publication no doubt recently have done or will do in the future. You have a solid record of experience relevant to the position, but you will still need to stand out in a large field of candidates for the same job. Imagine your employer asking the usual questions about your background and suitability for the job, which you handle with ease. Then comes the question: “You checked the ‘yes’ box for the question on whether you have been convicted of a crime.
The roll of names was impressive: Iñaki García, María Francisca Ize-Charrin, Louise Arbour, Giovanni di Girolamo, Erika Mann, Alberto Ignacio Glender, Alexander Koeln, Teresa Ávila, Eva Lichtenberger — all with impressive titles and extensive backgrounds in government, jurisprudence, and human rights.
As the housing crisis plows through our neighborhoods, it leaves behind the same bleak scenes. The former owner separated from her home, her neighbors, her children’s schools, and possibly her children themselves ― a tragedy anonymous to millions of analogous others across the country. Neighbors staring down the dead, wall-eyed windows of the vacant homes on their block and seeing the promise of rising crime and falling attendance at block parties.
Interview with Ricardo Esquiva
Colombia has the longest history of ongoing political violence in Latin America. Some date the beginning as April 9, 1948 when Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the Liberal Party’s presidential candidate, was assassinated, leading to the Bogotazo riots that took 5,000 lives and unleashed a civil war between Conservatives on the one hand and the Liberals and Communists on the other. Between 1948 and 1958 that war took 200,000 more lives, injured hundreds of thousands more, and displaced perhaps a million.
Seventy years ago, Victor Serge put the finishing touches on his masterpiece — Memoirs of a Revolutionary: 1903-1941 — which he (correctly) considered “unpublishable” in his lifetime. On February 28, 1943 he wrote the following entry in one of his Carnets (Notebooks), which recently came to light in Mexico and were published for the first time in France in 2012.
Rosa Luxemburg’s Philosophy of Praxis
There seems to exist a secret complicity between the rediscovery of Rosa Luxemburg and rebellious times. The last period when her life and writings raised much interest was in the 1960s and 70s, during the “street-fighting years” (Tariq Ali’s expression). Could the recent publication of several of her works, in many parts of the world, be the sign of a new “critical” epoch? In the English speaking world, the good news is the project of publishing The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg in fourteen volumes, five of which only with her correspondence.
A Human Rights Approach
We need an immigration policy based on human, civil, and labor rights, which looks at the reasons why people come to the United States and how we can end the criminalization of their status and work. While proposals from Congress and the administration have started the debate over the need for change in our immigration policy, they are not only too limited and ignore the global nature of migration, but they will actually make the problem of criminalization much worse. We need a better alternative.
The North Star, Mission to Moscow, Ballad of Russia
ONE OF THE CONCERNS that supposedly brought the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) to Hollywood was that the Communist Party-U.S.A. had quietly infiltrated the film industry. Members of the CP and fellow travelers were charged with having surreptitiously inserted ideological messages into mainstream American cinema. Screenwriters were considered particularly culpable. Among the primary HUAC concerns was what it considered grossly flattering and inaccurate depictions of the Soviet Union.
On January 9, 1992, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia splintered, the Serbian citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) announced the independence of the Republika Srpska (RS). The precipitous announcement of Serbian autonomy could be considered the diplomatic origin of the RS quest to ethnically cleanse Bosnia, thereby making it suitable for inclusion in a Greater Serbia as was the goal of the RS’s first president, Radovan Karadžić.
The high point of social radicalism in America was the Continental Congress of Workers and Farmers for Economic Reconstruction in Washington, DC on May 6 and 7, 1933. Delegates came from around the country in response to the call from a few hundred prominent established leaders of unions, farmers’ organizations, cooperatives, the Socialist Party, student groups, organizations of the unemployed. Signers of the call came from thirty-one states and the District of Columbia. Every organization invited to attend was asked to send two representatives.
Most of the current literature on the international education crisis gives little to no big-picture context for planning a fight back. Given the parochial view of most popular education authors, many earnest, well-intentioned proposals for fight back are written within parameters the ruling class tolerates.
The continuing world recession that has now dragged on since late 2007, with no sign of abating, has renewed interest in Marx’s critique of capitalism. So much so that even respectably “mainstream” TIME.com now writes:
The Irish Green Party in Government
It was supposed to mark the beginning of a new era in Irish politics. The Green Party entered into a coalition government with Fianna Fail in 2007 bringing with it the ideas of a new greener economy and all the hopes and aspirations of environmentalists, but instead their time in power turned out like a comedic tragedy.
I admire Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the activist group CODE PINK, which has staged anti-war protests and promoted victims’ rights all over the world. Her recently published book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, focuses specifically on the relatively new phenomenon in military history of weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, the most common of which is the Predator drone. Having conducted a thorough—and dangerous—fact-finding mission to learn how U.S.
The financial crisis that began in 2008 has accelerated many economic trends already at work in the neoliberal period of capitalist development. Wages continue to decline, the class struggle bursts out in contradictory fits and starts at the same time as the societal value of work, and therefore the people who do it, continues to depreciate.
Costas Panayotakis’ Remaking Scarcity is a bold attempt to combine the analysis of the ecological limits of capitalism with the call for “economic democracy.” A work that is both topical (with frequent discussion of contemporary developments such as the Arab Spring and the crisis in Greece) and scholarly, the book unfolds as a series of overlapping discussions on four key themes: scarcity, inequality, democracy, and ecological crisis.
The ‘Lost Decades’ of a Moribund Capitalism
The financial collapse of 2008 was a sudden, shrill alarm that abruptly exposed neo-liberalism to be nothing more than a fool’s paradise. For decades, many Americans marched to the hypnotic music of free market fantasy and willfully ignored the low, droning crescendo of social decay. The hypnotic melody of constant growth, full employment, low taxation, and rugged entrepreneurialism muffled the warning sirens that had gone off around them.
The Marxists Internet Archive project recently uploaded the complete run of Labor Action, published by the Workers Party and its successor, the Independent Socialist League, between 1940 and 1958, as well as the Militant, published by the Socialist Workers Party.
Blogs & On-Line Features
Union-dense Lorain County, Ohio, is now home to an independent labor slate of two dozen newly elected city councilors—recruited and run by the central labor council there. All labor’s candidates had strong showings last month, and all but two were elected.
“This was a step we took reluctantly,” said Lorain County AFL-CIO President Harry Williamson. “When the leaders of the [Democratic] Party just took us for granted and tried to roll over the rights of working people here, we had to stand up.”
On June 10, 2013 the U.S. Senate, with its Democratic majority, approved a farm bill that included a $4.1 billion cut in food stamp funding over a 10-year period. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), under this proposal 500,000 households would lose $90 in food stamp benefits each month. Despite that, the Senate passed the measure by a 66-27 margin, making clear that it had bipartisan support.
Only one Senate Democrat voted against the farm bill.
One of the many great things about having a card-carrying socialist elected to a major municipal office [in Seattle] is that we can start to have good arguments. Peter Lavenia started one with me a couple of weeks ago and I’m going to argue back.
How should we respond to the barrage of propaganda about the latest international test of student achievement, PISA? Test data are (once again) being used to show that US schools are failing.
This essay is inspired by the recent article by Denis Godard titled: “The NPA in crisis: We have to explain because we have to start again.” His article is a review of the strategic orientation of the historically Trotskyist-origined tendencies that prioritize building independent class formations and which see electoral vehicles as expressions of anti-capitalist cum revolutionary socialist movements “from below” (that is, based in and directly responsive to grassroots and rank-and-file formations).
Nasty exchanges about “identity politics” in Left circles on FaceBook I’ve glanced at recently haven’t seemed very relevant to my work as a teacher educator or union activist. This is curious because I know one reason education is so contested is that schools reproduce (or change) the beliefs that underlie the society’s political and economic arrangements. Schools and teachers convey how we make sense of our identity, as a society and as individuals. So why does the debate seem tangential to me?
Hanging from a chain on a roof, that’s where I was. It’s true, as every television and radio station has been telling us over the last several days; those of us my age do remember where we were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. And, as I think back on it now, I am shocked at the cavalier nature of my response when I heard the news and I wonder at my lack of understanding of the significance of the event.
One question I’m frequently asked is what “social movement teacher unionism” looks like and how to get there.
Growing Income Disparities ‘Danger to System,’ says Former Clinton Labor Secretary
The teacher activist blogosphere has been buzzing about the perfidy of the AFT’s and NEA’s endorsements of teacher evaluation tied to students’ standardized test scores and a new national curriculum, the Common Core. Both policies are key to the neoliberal dream of a national, privatized system of public education that will synchronize educational outcomes with an economic reality of growing joblessness and underemployment. (I know these are strong claims and I refer readers who want further verification and explanation to my analyses in New Politics and book.)
The 2013 municipal election contained mixed results for left third party advocates.
We’re at an interesting (and terrible) moment where we’re witnessing attacks on most every gain working people have made for at least the last half century. The curious exception to that has been the advance of marriage and civil rights for gay and lesbian couples in many U.S. states and core imperialist countries.
It was clear from the start that teachers had an uphill battle explaining why NJ Governor Christie’s educational policies, his vicious bashing of teachers, were harmful to kids and the state. One of the most serious obstacles is that media are captive to neoliberal propagandists. Conveying a different message requires concentrated, savvy use of social media.
Doug Ireland, radical journalist, blogger, passionate human rights and queer activist, and relentless scourge of the LGBT establishment, died in his East Village home on Oct. 26. Doug had lived with chronic pain for many years, suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, sciatica and the debilitating effects of childhood polio. In recent years he was so ill that he was virtually confined to his apartment. Towards the end, even writing, his calling, had become extremely difficult.
[The following open letter to more than 60 environmental justice organizations is a revised version of a talk given at a conference on "The Political Economy of the Environment" held in Brooklyn, New York, on October 5, 2013, co-sponsored by the Union of Radical Political Economy and New Politics. It will appear in the Winter 2014 issue of New Politics as part of a special section on the environment, featuring articles from several different points of view.