Dan La Botz's blog
|Dan La Botz January 6, 2017|
Tens of thousands in every state in Mexico have for the last week joined protests against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government after it raised prices on gasoline by between 14 and 20 percent and electric rates by 4.5 percent.
The protests so far are not as well organized, as disciplined, or as large as the recent teachers’ strikes over the education reform law or the demonstrations in protest of the forced disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa Teachers College students, but the demonstrations against the gasolinazo are national in scope and involve broader sectors of society.
|Dan La Botz October 27, 2016|
Imagine that it is 1840 and someone approaches you on the street and hands you a flyer for James G. Birney, the presidential candidate of the new Liberty Party. The flyer says that the Liberty Party opposes slavery. It is the only party that does.
The Democrats and the Whigs--the two parties of the two-party system of that time--supported slavery, not to the same degree perhaps, but neither party opposed slavery. The Liberty Party is new and small, tiny. It’s candidate Birney has absolutely no chance to win the election. But he stands opposed to slavery. Who will you vote for on voting day in 1840?
|Dan La Botz October 17, 2016|
For many years now Nicaraguans on both the right and the left have referred to Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Sandinista Revolution of 1979, as a “dictator.” Now it appears that when country votes on November 6, he may succeed in becoming the country’s virtual monarch. Dan La Botz, author of the new book What Went Wrong? The Nicaraguan Revolution: A Marxist Analysis, asks here how the Nicaraguan revolution was betrayed and what ideas and decisions of the Sandinistas themselves were responsible for the betrayal.
|Dan La Botz October 13, 2016|
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s bragging about his sexual assaults on women appears to be sparking a revival of the women’s movement.
Trump’s remark that he could “grab women by the pussy”—followed by more women coming forward to describe his sexual assault on them over many years—has led to social media protests and to demonstrations in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Trump’s outrageous remarks prompted women of all ages, races, and ethnicities who had been silent for years and even decades to speak out, sit-in, and protest. We seem to be at a “Women’s Lives Matter” moment and perhaps at the beginning of a new women’s movement.
|Dan La Botz September 25, 2016|
Michel Eltchaninoff. Dans la tête de Vladimir Poutine. Arles: Solin/Actes Sud, 2015. 171pp.
Michel Eltchaninoff’s prize-winning Dans la tête de Vladimir Poutine—In the Head of Vladimir Putin—is a fascinating examination of the development of the Russian president’s ultra-conservative and nationalist ideology from assuming the presidency in 2000 until today. Eltchaninoff, the author of two books about Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky and many essays, might seem like an unlikely candidate to write an intellectual biography of the twenty-first century president Putin, but as it turns out, Eltchaninoff’s knowledge of nineteenth and twentieth century Russian philosophers makes him the ideal author, for that is where Putin’s ideas come from, Russia’s conservative, religious past.
|Dan La Botz September 25, 2016|
On September 18, I wrote, and the New Politics website of which I am an editor, published an article titled “Mexico’s Teachers Movement; From Class War to Death Squads” that argued that three recent killing appeared to be the result of death squads targeting teachers. While the fact that the three killings took place is not in question, well informed readers in Mexico who have been involved in the teachers movement or in solidarity with it suggest these killings do not seem to be the result of death squads.
These readers argue that while the teacher who was killed may have been targeted for union activity, the other two killings may have had other motives having nothing to do with the union. These readers suggest that while some teachers have been murdered because of their involvement in the teachers movement, many killings that have taken place in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and in other states may have political motives, may be related to the drug cartel violence, or to other violence in the region. I have come to the conclusion that my readers are right and that this article should be corrected: death squads do not appear to be a trend at this time.
I welcome and appreciate your comments and criticisms on the original article, on this correction and the issues raised.
In solidarity, Dan La Botz
|Dan La Botz September 18, 2016|
Mexico’s dissident teachers have been engaged in a strike against the Education Reform Law since May 16 of this year--four months! Their strikes of tens of thousands, led by the National Coordinating Committee (la CNTE), a caucus within the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), have also engaged in protest marches, the blocking of highways and railroads, the commandeering of government vehicles, and the occupation of government buildings.
The government has responded by docking teachers’ pay, firing them, sending the police to beat them, and issuing warrants and arresting teacher leaders. One can only call what has gone on in Chiapas and Oaxaca and to a lesser extent in Guerrero and Michoacán class war.
Now there also appear to be death squads carrying out executions of teachers and their allies. So far at least three assassinations have taken place: a teacher, a parent, and a lawyer for the union. This is an ominous and very dangerous escalation of political violence.
|Dan La Botz August 22, 2016|
[Stockholm - August 21] The Nobel Prize in economics has been awarded posthumously to Karl Marx (1818-1883) for his book Das Kapital, a decision that has shocked and “dismayed” the economic establishment.
Lars Enquist, spokesperson for the committee, said that awarding Marx represented “an attempt to rectify shameful past errors on the part of the bank’s award committee.” He then read a remarkable statement to the media and the public explaining this year’s award:
On Indigenous Day, David Brooks Admires Native Americans’ Sense of Community—But Fails to Ask What Made It So
|Dan La Botz August 9, 2016|
For a minute this morning, I asked myself if conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks might be about to follow Chris Hedges into the far left. Or perhaps wander off into the woods to find a commune.
Brooks has written an interesting column in which he suggests that maybe Americans, especially millennials, want more than material comforts in our highly individualistic society, that they want community.
|Dan La Botz August 3, 2016|
The last few years of repeated strikes and demonstrations by the teachers of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán, and the government’s violent repression of these protests--including forced diseappearance of students, massacres of supporters, and assassinations of individual teachers--has led to interest in the background of the teachers’ movement. The following article is meant to provide a long historical overview of the Mexican teachers’ movement, together with a bibliography for further reading.
|Dan La Botz July 28, 2016|
For three days the wounded and defeated soldiers of Bernie Sanders’ army, tired and disappointed but still idealistic and hopeful, marched and picketed around the convention center in Philadelphia, while inside many of Sanders’ delegates booed Hillary Clinton’s name every time it was mentioned.
|Dan La Botz June 28, 2016|
The Mexican Federal Police and Oaxaca State Police killed nine people and wounded more than one hundred others, while dozens more were beaten and yet others were arrested and jailed in what has been the most violent and bloody attack on teachers and their supporters in Oaxaca since the tremendous upheaval of 2006. Several teachers leaders have also been arrested and jailed on a variety of charges; warrants have also been issued for others.
|Dan La Botz June 24, 2016|
There are 500 delegates from more than 100 political organizations in the Americas here at the São Paolo Forum being held this year in San Salvador. Yesterday at the opening session I found myself seated next to Julio Molina, a delegate from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) of the host country, El Salvdor. We introduced ourselves and when the session ended went out to talk about our mutual interest in history.
|Dan La Botz June 23, 2016|
There were demonstrations yesterday at Mexican Consuls in several American cities protesting the Mexican government’s violent repression of teacher protests in Oaxaca. Many of the protests also criticized the U.S. government for supply the Mexican government with military equipment being used in military and police actions against the teachers.
There were protests in New York, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles among other cities. The one pictured here, which grew to a couple of hundred people, took place in Manhattan at the Mexican Consul.
|Dan La Botz June 21, 2016|
The mood among the 3,000 Bernie Sanders supporters meeting in Chicago McCormick Place was improbably optimistic this past weekend, with many of the speakers proclaiming to cheering crowds that the movement has been victorious—even though Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party has received a majority of the popular votes and a majority of elected delegates and super-delegates, as well as the endorsements of President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
That disjuncture—between the Sanders’ movement’s belief that we have achieved something quite important and Clinton’s clear victory in the primary—provides the contradictory context for this conference of progressives, radicals, and socialists searching for the way to the future, I among them.