|by Jean Batou July 6, 2016|
What could have brought Omar Matten, on the night of June 12, 2016, to coldly murder 49 patrons at Pulse, an Orlando Florida nightclub that catered to a mostly Black and Latino, gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clientele? Primarily, his hatred of the LGBT people and the people of color he befriended discreetly at night, a hatred fueled by the hyper-masculinity, homophobia, and racism of his day work environment. He was an employee of G4S, a giant private military contractor, infamous for abuses against immigrants.
June Surprise: Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt Upholds Abortion Rights Against Restrictive Texas Law
|by Elizabeth Rapaport July 4, 2016|
Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt is a consequential decision, although far from a decisive victory for abortion defenders. Hellerstedt strikes down a Texas law that would have made legal in-state abortion in practice all but unobtainable for poor and rural women. The decision contains a number of surprises that will hearten supporters of reproductive rights. Surprise number one is that the swing justice, Anthony Kennedy, contributed the fifth vote. Kennedy is hardly a reliable supporter of abortion rights; but with his vote the Hellerstedt majority would have been secure even if Justice Scalia had lived to cast his reliable anti abortion rights vote.
|by Michael Hirsch July 3, 2016|
Doug Henwood, My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency. O/R Books, 2016. 200 pages. Paperback, $15.
In introducing his 1959 novel Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs wrote that its title “means exactly what the words say: naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.”
|by Kshama Sawant June 29, 2016|
Since the June 7 California primary, the historic upheaval that coalesced around Bernie Sanders’ campaign has continued to defy the demands of the political establishment, but has also increasingly turned into a search for the way forward. After a powerful, yearlong mass campaign over the hostile terrain of a rigged primary, our political revolution is at a crossroads.
The Politics and Poetics of Mose Allison’s Blues
|by David Cochran||Summer 2016|
In October 1969, pianist/ singer/composer Mose Allison recorded “Monsters of the Id.” At a time when recent history had witnessed a police riot at the 1968 Democratic Party Convention, the police crackdown on protesters at Berkeley’s People’s Park, and popular backlash against anti-war, New Left, counter-culture, and Black Power sentiment, Allison began by warning that the title characters no longer remain hidden, but have come out in full view. To the accompaniment of a slightly discordant horn section, Allison—singing in his characteristic style, with its idiosyncratic pauses and accents—spins a variety of often ghoulish metaphors that remain just as timely in today’s era of Tea Party, torture reports, Stand Your Ground, and Donald Trump: “They’re sprouting through the cracks ... They’re deputizing maniacs / Creatures from the swamp rewrite their own Mein Kampf.”
|by Dan La Botz||Summer 2016|
Surveying the political scene in America, we are now witnessing the shattering of the last remnants of the American ideology that has maintained itself—despite strains—for almost 70 years. The ideas that justified the American economic and political system in the minds of most of our citizens throughout that long period came under stress during earlier storms—from the 1950s to the 1970s in particular—and a few beams and joists cracked but did not give way. Today the manifold crises of capitalism mean that the entire existing intellectual structure of American capitalism is breaking up. And because of the role that the U.S. capitalist class plays in the world, this represents a crisis of world capitalist leadership and legitimacy. The question then arises: What will the country’s rulers attempt to put in its place, and what alternative explanation will we on the left and in the labor movement be able to offer to the country’s workers?
America and the World in 2016 and Beyond
|by Joanne Landy||Summer 2016|
The world today is faced with crises on virtually every front, and any assessment of the foreign policy positions of the two major parties’ 2016 presidential candidates must measure how well they respond to these crises.
|by Nancy Romer June 22, 2016|
Three thousand Bernie Sanders supporters from all over the US gathered in Chicago to share ideas, hear about each other’s movements, learn about becoming “down-ballot” candidates, and collectively grieve. The Summit started by acknowledging that the Bernie Sanders for President movement suffered a loss: he will, very likely, not be running for President of the United States in 2016, either on the Democratic Party ticket or any other. While the Summit celebrated the joy of the movement, having a candidate to actually believe in, the shared energy of working so hard on concrete tasks like phone banking and door-to-door canvassing, meeting new friends and building new alliances, the big question hanging over the crowd was “Where do we go from here?”
|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.
|By Steve Bloom et al. June 19, 2016|
Now that Donald Trump, an overt racist, has wrapped up the Republican nomination for U.S. President, a chorus of voices is proposing a “left strategy” which can “defeat Trump” by electing the more covert racist, Hillary Clinton, whom the Democratic Party will almost surely be nominating.
|John Halle and Noam Chomsky June 18, 2016|
|by Bahar Mustafa January 16, 2016|
The Stonewall riots kicked off in protest against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Especially after Orlando, we should resist the co-optation of Gay Pride and instead remember the revolutionary spirit of the queer and trans militants who fought against oppression and violence against them.
|by Kent Worcester June 16, 2016|
[This interview was originally published in Left History, vol. 18, no. 1 (2014).]
Phyllis Jacobson (1922-2010) and Julius Jacobson (1922-2003) were socialist activists in New York City from the mid-1930s through the first years of the twenty-first century. They were members of a radical generation that came of age during the great depression and embraced the language of socialism, communism, and Marxism. They were also the children of working class Jewish immigrants who grew up in the city’s outer boroughs. For their parents, the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the general strikes and mass uprisings that convulsed many countries after the war were all recent events. The near collapse of the global economy in the early 1930s confirmed for many of their cohort the basic assumption that capitalism was inherently impermanent. Adopting a socialist outlook in a period characterized by social upheaval and economic crisis was easy; the challenge had to do with selecting a suitable group or tendency from a fissiparous menu of options.
|by Gemma Short June 15, 2016|
On Sunday 12 June, 49 people were murdered in an LGBT club in Orlando, Florida, in the largest mass shooting in US history.
At around 2am the attacker Omar Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub and opened fire; shortly after he took a number of people hostage, barricading them and himself in a bathroom. Police used an armoured vehicle to demolish the wall into the bathroom, before engaging in a gun battle in which Mateen was killed. 53 more people were injured in the attack. The victims ranged from 20 to 50 years old, and were apparently overwhelmingly from black and Latino communities.
|Dan La Botz June 15, 2016|
For a year now presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been the hope of millions in the United States, people who were disgusted with the role of the banks and corporations in politics, angered by the increasing inequality in society, appalled by our country’s racial injustice, and opposed to a foreign policy based on military intervention. Throughout the nation millions rallied to Sanders’ slogans calling or a fight against the “billionaire class” and for a political revolution. Taking up the demands and embracing the spirit of Occupy Wall Street first and then of Black Lives Matter, the Sanders campaign has been an unprecedented radical, populist movement, rejecting Wall Street and Washington and suggesting a more democratic, egalitarian, and peaceful future.