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.
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
Last night more than 100,000 people attended 3,500 meetings in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to watch a video-cast of Bernie Sanders and to begin to organize his on-the-ground campaign. Some of the meetings in various parts of the country had as many as 200 people in attendance. The meeting I attended in Crown Heights, Brooklyn was attended by 25 people, most in their 20s, with background working for social justice NGOs, in media, and in the arts, as well as a few graduate students.
United Auto Workers Local 2865 representing 13,000 teaching assistants and other student workers throughout the University of California system, called on the AFL-CIO to end its affiliation with the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) in a resolution passed by its governing body on July 25. This is the union’s resolution passed by the union:
We, UAW Local 2865, call on the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to end their affiliation with the International Union of Police Associations.
While in Athens, I have gotten into the habit of ending the day by enjoying an iced coffee with cream in an outdoor cafe in a park about one mile from my hotel. It is there that I have been writing these dispatches. As I remarked in my first report, the park the cafe is in is filled with children, teenagers, young couples, the middle-aged, and old people until quite late. The cafe does not start to empty until after midnight.
For the many people who have engaged in the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence, July 25 has a special significance. On that date in 1898, U.S. troops invaded Puerto Rico, beginning a period of U.S. colonial domination on the island that continues to this day. The United States invaded Puerto Rico, along with the Philippines, Guam and Cuba, in the setting of the Spanish-American War. That war was the opening of what would be the menacing role and predatory nature of the U.S. capitalist class in the Caribbean, Latin America and the entire world.
As a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders, my first reaction to hearing about the Black Lives Matter protest at Netroots Nation was disappointment. This looks bad, I thought. Bad for Bernie, who is the only presidential candidate with any chance of challenging structural injustice. And bad for Black Lives Matter, who could easily be interpreted as shutting down progressive discussions about immigration and economic inequality to make people focus on their priorities. I’ve had my share of mistakes during protests, as have all the activists I respect most, so I certainly had some sympathy. But I thought their protest was just that: a mistake.
On Monday June 29, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro García Padilla, delivered a live message to the people of Puerto Rico stating that the government’s $73 billion debt is unpayable. The governor stated, “The public debt, considering the present level of economic activity, is unpayable”.
New Politics readers will be interested in this ZNet article “What Happened in Ukraine” by Sam Friedman, an HIV/AIDS researcher who spent time in Ukraine for many years before the recent upheavals in the country.
In this brief essay we offer a general and immediate overview of the socioeconomic situation in Puerto Rico. We do it while recognizing that such an analysis is incomplete if the historical, institutional, and political dimensions within the uneven development of capitalism are left out. In this particular case we do not explicitly deal with the colonial relationship of the island with the United States or provide a structural analysis of the economy (these dimensions will be treated in a forthcoming comprehensive article).
I awoke Saturday morning to rain on the roof. I am staying at my sister’s place in my hometown of Imperial Beach at the southwest end of San Diego County on the Pacific Ocean and the Mexican border. I could not at first identify the sound, the crackling of the rain on the awning of the patio just outside my bedroom window. Half asleep, I wondered at first if there might be a fire, then if some machine was running, finally I recognized that it was water and speculated that something might be leaking; perhaps there was a broken pipe. It never occurred to me that it could be raining because when I grew up here from the late 1950s until the late 1960s, it only rained in December and January. Now there is rain in July.
Dan Swain discusses the contested ambitions and leaderships within our movements. This article was originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of the rs21 magazine.
Throughout the history of socialist movements and ideas, the fundamental divide is between Socialism-from-Above and Socialism-from-Below
In the summer of 1994, my partner and I happened to be on vacation in Stockholm for the Pride celebration, so we joined in. I remember it as a rather modest, subdued affair compared to the ebullient marches I remembered from New York and San Francisco. But what struck me most was the lesbian/gay federation’s emphasis on legal recognition for same-sex partnerships, at a time when Sweden banned sex in gay bathhouses. I thought these were upside-down priorities. Swedish same-sex couples would win in fact the right to register for partnership benefits in 1995, while the ban on bathhouse sex stayed on the books until 2004. What a curious country this is, I remember thinking.
On July 11 the AFT announced its Executive Council “overwhelmingly” endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President. It did so, the official announcement reported, on the basis of interviews (not released to members) and the results of a poll.
In the Ireland of 1922, a civil war tore through the land and in its path it ripped apart families and friendships. It also created a deeper wedge in an unstable society where the church grappled for top position in an emerging new state.
The Irish Republican Army had fought a War of Independence against British rule for over three years and, led by the young enigmatic Michael Collins, it managed to push the British government to the negotiating table.
A review of The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists, by Stephen Eric Bronner, Yale University Press, 2014.
In this TeleSur interview with Rafael Bernabe, the spokesperson for the Puerto Rican Working Peoples Party advocates for a moratorium on the debt. Bernabe has written an extensive article in the current Summer 2015 issue of New Politics.