|Dan La Botz May 27, 2015|
The Mexican left is more divided than at any time since the early 1980s as some 80 million Mexican voters will go to the polls on June 7 to elect 500 federal representatives, nine governors 641 state legislators, 993 mayor and 16 borough chiefs in Mexico City.
Four rival leftist parties will be competing for votes—the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the Workers Party (PT), the Citizens Movement (MC), and the Movement for National Regeneration Party (MORENA)—though is some cases they will ally with each other and in others with one of the two dominant parties: the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) or the National Action Party (PAN). The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), one of the country’s important left organizations, remains opposed to elections as always. Some in the Ayotzinapa protest movement—protesting over the killing of six and disappearance of 43 students at a rural teachers college in Guerrero--have called upon voters to abstain altogether.
|Dan La Botz May 11, 2015|
In another attempt to break a strike and keep agribusiness products rolling north into the United States, the Mexican Army and State Preventive Police again attacked hundreds of striking farm workers in the San Quintín Valley of Baja California who had blocked the Trans-Peninsular Highway on May 9. Workers blocked the highway to protest Governor Francisco de Lamadrid’s cancellation of a promised meeting between his government and farm worker leaders.
|Dan La Botz May 8, 2015|
Deflategate has driven virtually every other story off of the news shows and talk shows for several days now. At the center of the controversy is Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, who, a National Football League report says, very likely knew that Patriot employees were involved in deflating several footballs to give Brady and the Patriots an advantage in the American Football Conference Championship Game of the 2014 season. Pundits have called the Brady and his team ”cheaters” and “liars,” though interestingly Governor Chris Christie—also accused of being a cheater and a liar—defends Brady, saying people are just jealous of those whose lives seem so perfect.
|Dan La Botz May 5, 2015|
Some 200 political activists from a variety of independent political organizations, as well as individual activists, carried out a rich discussion and an amicable debate about how to collaborate in the work of building a large political alternative to the left of the Democratic Party. Participating in the Future of the Left/Independent Politics Conference, in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, national, state, and local candidates and activists, as well as elected officials from the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Socialist Alternative, and the Vermont Progressive Party discussed the challenges of campaigning and the difficulties of actually holding office while trying to both build movements and push progressive policies. Also at the conference were members of Progressive Democrats of America and the Justice Party.
|Dan La Botz April 27, 2015|
More than three hundred Mexican American community activists marched through New York City from Union Square to the United Nations on April 26, marking the seven-month anniversary of the killing of six and forced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in Guerrero, Mexico.
|Dan La Botz April 13, 2015|
Eduardo Galeano, the world-renowned leftist Uruguayan journalist and writer made famous with the publication in 1971 of his book The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, died today at the age of 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he lived. Long admired as a journalist, with his three-volume Memory of Fire in 1982, Galeano also became known as a writer of non-fiction prose who might be compared to writers of fiction such as Gabriel García Márquez, author of the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude or Isabel Allende who wrote House of the Spirits. Like their novels, his trilogy captures the real spirit of Latin America’s magical history.
|Dan La Botz April 8, 2015|
This article was originally written for the Swiss socialist newspaper solidaritéS for which I am a correspondent with the goal of giving activists there some sense of the recent fight for marriage equality in the United States. - DL
The U.S. gay rights movement won a tremendous victory in early April as governors and the state legislatures in Indiana and Arkansas were forced to back down and revise laws that would have discriminated against gay and lesbian couples.
|Lois Weiner April 8, 2015|
A headline in a recent news story about Los Angeles teachers, calling the district’s teaching force “old and costly,” is a companion piece to the New York Times front page article about the Success Academy chain headed by Eva Moskowitz.
|Dan La Botz April 4, 2015|
The strike by farmworkers in the San Quintín Valley of Baja California, which began on March 17 stopping production and shipments on 25 farms and costing the companies tens of millions of dollars, has been stalled as the Alliance of National, State, and Municipal Organizations for Social Justice (AONEMJS or Alliance) which leads the movement faces challenges from the state government, the employers, and corrupt labor unions.
|Michael Hirsch April 3, 2015|
Hilton Obinzenger is a poet and a long-time informed critic of Zionism and Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. His new poem, Treyf Pesach (Dirty Passover), is a blunt speaking and not unhumorous effort to ask fellow Jews how they can celebrate the slave insurrrection in Egypt millennia ago and yet be struck dumb by the Israeli government's dissembling and bloody practices toward "the stranger in our midst" today. You can read Obinzenger's smart, snappy work here, and visit his website here.
|Lois Weiner March 25, 2015|
It’s encouraging that US unions are acknowledging the deep crisis facing labor and even the need for union democracy, as Labor Notes contributor Mark Brenner observes in his March 2015 column about the conference organized and hosted by the Albert Shanker Institute, an arm of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
|Dan La Botz March 22, 2015|
Thousands of farmworkers in the San Quintín Valley of Baja California, just 185 miles south of the U.S. border, struck some 230 farms, including the twelve largest that dominate production in the region, on March 17 interrupting the picking, packing, and shipping of zucchini, tomatoes, berries and other products to stores and restaurants in the United States. The strikers, acting at the peak of the harvest, were demanding higher wages and other benefits to which they are legally entitled such as membership in the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), the public health system. While there have over the last two decades been several large scale protests by workers in San Quintín, usually riots over the employers failure to pay their employees on time, this is the first attempt by workers to carry out a such strategic strike.
|Dan La Botz February 27, 2015|
Jacob A. Zumoff. The Communist International and US Communism, 1919-1929. Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2014. 443 pages. Bibliography. Hard Cover $167.
Jacob A. Zumoff has written an impressive scholarly tome that is perfectly described by the title: The Communist International and US Communism, 1919-1929. He makes a reasonably convincing case for a novel thesis that attempts to reframe the major question: the relationship between the Soviet and American Communists. Yet, in my view, he fails to address the central question, the Soviet domination of the Communist International, including its domination of the American Communists in the 1920s.
|Dan La Botz February 23, 2015|
Militant protests by teachers, students, and others, some of them violent, continue in Guerrero on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast where the state government seems to have completely lost control. Since six students were killed, 25 wounded and 43 kidnapped in Iguala, Guerrero on September 26, 2014--with the 43 still remaining still not credibly accounted for—there have been nearly continuous protests. Teacher protests over other issues have also taken place in Mexico City and in other parts of the country and have been militant, but not violent.
|Dan La Botz February 20, 2015|
Hugh Masakela, the great South African trumpet player was joined by Vusi Mahlasela, the guitarist and singer in a “Twenty Years of Freedom” concert at Queens College on February 19, 2015. They played many of Masakela’s classics of the 1960s and 70s such as the lovely 1968 hit “Grazin’ in the Grass,” the joyful and inspiring“Bring Back Nelson Mandela”, and the sad “Stimela – the Coal Train”, to an audience many of whom had been supporters of the freedom struggles against apartheid in South Africa until its overthrow in 1994.