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.
"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.
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).
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.
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.
Special Section, continued from Winter 2015 issueSummer 2015
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
One month from today marks the first anniversary of the horrific state crime perpetrated against the students of the Ayotzinapa teachers' college in Mexico.
On September 26 and 27, 2014, Mexican police attacked protesting students from Ayotzinapa in the state of Guerrero. The police killed six people, including three students and three bystanders. They forcibly disappeared 43 Ayotzinapa students, who remain missing.
May First/People Link is being attacked in a Denial of Service attack that is unprecedented in its length and viciousness. We have been fighting off this attack for over three weeks now.
We are convinced that the attack is political. We know how the attackers are targeting us, we know they are targeting the entire organization's systems and we know that they are carefully monitoring our responses because they are quickly adapting to every move our technologists make to return us to service.
(NOTE: For some background, see my previous article: www.solidarity-us.org/node/4058 in Against the Current, January-February 2014.)
AUGUST 19 -- Even while the rhetoric around the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran seems to be reaching reactor-grade “critical” level, signs are emerging that the fix just may be quietly in.
Thousands of teachers in Mexico have gone on strike against the national government’s Education Reform Law, doing so in the face of the militarization and arrest of teacher activists in Oaxaca and firings of teachers who have missed work in other states. The Mexican government and state governments are clearly attempting to break the dissident teachers movement that has for forty years led the fight for union democracy and teacher power.
Mary Compton, who edits the informative and unique website www.teachersolidarity.com, tracking struggles globally to defend public education, teaching, and teachers unions, gives us a strikingly different - and more hopeful - take on Oaxaca and teacher unionism in Mexico than a recent New Politics blog. Compton’s analysis is in
On July 20 at least thirty-two people were killed and at least 100 people were wounded by an ISIS suicide bomber. The attack took place in the Turkish town of Suruç, which stands only thirty miles away from the Syrian border. The victims, members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF), were part of a 300-person contingent en route to Kobanî to assist in reconstruction efforts. The group consisted of a number of Turkish and Kurdish anarchist and socialist youth. As such, the solidaristic venture represented a major effort to create further bridges between the broader Turkish left and the Kurdish left.
Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary, was murdered seventy-five years ago today—on August 21, 1940--by Ramón Mercader, an agent of Joseph Stalin, Trotsky’s former comrade in the Communist Party and then the ruler of the Soviet Union. Stalin feared that Trotsky might organize a movement to overthrow the new ruling elite in the Soviet Union and that Trotsky’s followers might challenge the leading role of the parties of the Communist International active in working-class movements around the world. So Stalin had Trotsky murdered. The occasion of the anniversary of Trotsky’s assassination provides a moment to reflect on his significance both during his lifetime and for today.
Mexican teachers are mobilizing once again —demonstrating by the tens of thousands—this time against anti-union reforms and the militarization of the state of Oaxaca by its governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo from the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Nine years after the 2006 teachers’ rebellion, Oaxaca is bracing for another potentially violent conflict.
The following is an email interview with Mimi Soltysik, a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Party USA. He is currently seeking the Socialist Party's nomination for the 2016 US Presidential election. This interview was originally published by The Hampton Institute.
Tell us about yourself and your politics.
Here’s the statement I made when I announced my intent to run for the Socialist Party USA's POTUS nomination. I think it fairly well captures who I am and where I stand politically:
For the first time in decades a great debate about the priorities and the program of the American people is taking place not among small groups of leftists but in society at large. The debate between Sanders and Black Lives Matter—on social media, on TV and radio, in the newspapers, and on the street—is one of the most important discussions of our time and could if it is deepened help us all to find a way forward against both capitalism and racism. What appears to some only as conflict could lead to the construction of a new analysis and lay the basis for a new and broader social movement. We should all become involved in this debate and help to further it toward the common goal of a society of equality, democracy, and solidarity.
Ukraine went through mass mobilizations and a political revolution during November, 2014 – February, 2015. In this it resembles struggles in Tunisia and Egypt since 2010, and as in the Egyptian case, the outcomes of these struggles (to date) have sorely disappointed most of the left in the United States and, indeed, internationally. Unlike the Egyptian and Tunisian struggles, however, from its outset the struggles in Ukraine were seen in remarkably contrasting ways by different parts of the left. () Some have viewed the Maidan struggles as an illegitimate movement that supported US (or US/EU) imperialism and should thus be opposed. Others have viewed it more favorably.
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Nelson Denis describes the horrendous economic situation in Puerto Rico and compellingly shows the source of the problem to be the continuing colonial exploitation of the island by the U.S. government acting on behalf of key U.S.
Ecuador’s Indigenous movements have launched an uprising to challenge the government’s opposition to bilingual education and its support for an extractive-based economy.
On August 2, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) began a march from the southeastern Amazonian province of Zamora Chinchipe that will arrive in the capital city of Quito on August 13. Upon its arrival, the Indigenous march will join a general strike called by the Workers United Front (FUT) in opposition to the government’s labor policies.
I don't support Bernie in the Democratic Party because I believe the key question in U.S. politics is building a political party that can defend the needs of the vast majority of the American people. As more and more people on the left agree, the Democratic Party is not and cannot be such a party; to my mind this constraint makes paramount the political independence of candidates, no matter how progressive their program.
I wanted to write and let you know why I support the doctors and clinic workers of Planned Parenthood who help people obtain abortions, often at great personal cost.