Author: Dan La Botz

Notes on DSA Pre-Convention

We publish here an account of the discussions taking place in the Democratic Socialists of America, now the largest left organization in the United States with over 50,000 members , as it prepares for its national convention to take place . . .

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Venezuela on the Brink

The troops gathering on the borders between Venezuela and Brazil and Colombia are no less threatening to Venezuela because they claim to be protecting a ‘humanitarian convoy’. And Richard Branson’s concert simply provides another cover to conceal the real purposes . . .

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Trump Takes Another Step Toward Authoritarian Government

Socialists must organize a national movement against Trump’s national . . .

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DSA Two Years Later: Where Are We At? Where Are We Headed?

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It has been two years since the explosive surge of the Democratic Socialists of America, now the largest socialist organization in the United States and the largest since the 1940s. And DSA has had some remarkable successes. Today as the country turns its attention to the presidential election of 2020, we ask: How DSA is doing? What is it accomplishing? And where is it going? What do the various caucuses and political tendencies within DSA propose as a future direction for the group? Is there a genuine left wing of DSA, and if not, what is the alternative?

Trump’s “Withdrawal” — What Next?

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Militarist hawks and liberal pundits alike are up in arms (figuratively speaking, of course) over Donald Trump’s “victory” proclamation and announcement of U.S. troops’ withdrawal from Syria. Howls of Republican outrage may signal a further deterioration of the big twit’s shrinking political support on the home front. The Trump gang’s crisis of legitimacy deepens by the day. But what does it actually mean for the cascading disasters in the Middle East?

Nicaragua Update: Escalation of Ortega’s War on NGOs and Independent Media

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Nicaragua’s eight-month long political crisis is escalating. In the past two weeks, the government of Daniel Ortega has intensified its crackdown on opposition media and on NGOs while facing the US administration’s passage of the Magnitsky-Nica Act legislation. 

The government rescinded the legal status of nine NGOs in one week, at once seizing their assets, freezing their bank accounts, and sending into exile and hiding a new cluster of oppositional leaders. The crackdown began with CISAS, a renowned health promotion NGO led by a vocal feminist opponent to the regime, then CENIDH, the national human rights organization, and then a host of other organizations – from environmental and community development NGOs to economic think tanks that the government itself has relied upon for data and analysis.

Urgent Communiqué about Nicarauga: Government Attack on Human Rights Groups, NGOs, Media

ImageThe following statement is from the Articulación de Movimientos Sociales, the coalition of social movements in Nicaragua.

Alert and Request for International Condemnation: Nicaraguan Government Raids the offices of the principal human rights, non-governmental and media organizations.

URGENT COMUNIQUE December 14, 2018. 2PM (CST) Alert and Request for International Condemnation: Nicaraguan Government Raids the offices of the principal human rights, non-governmental and media organizations.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador Promises the “Rebirth of Mexico”

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Andrés Manuel López Obrador took the presidential oath on December 1 and then gave an hour and a half oration to the legislators as well as another lengthy speech to the people of Mexico City gathered in the zócalo, in which he reiterated his campaign promises to end corruption, to bring about economic prosperity, and to lead Mexico into a new historic fourth period of Mexican history, a period of "rebirth." The speech made clear that AMLO, as he is called by his initials in the press, is a reformer, but not a radical and certainly not a revolutionary as his opponents have claimed. His call for an end to neoliberalism and to corruption are accompanied by invitations to Mexican and foreign capitalists to invest and make a profit.

Winter Place Seized; Claus Overthrown; Elves Form Councils, Declare Socialism

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[Nov. 23] – Thousands of Elves seized the Winter Palace and overthrew Santa Claus late last night, ending the Claus family dynasty whch has ruled the North Pole for hundreds of years. “We took advantage of the Thanksgiving reverie at the palace—everyone was drunk—and took control with almost no violence,” said one Elf who preferred not to use his name.

Migrant Caravans Challenge the Continent’s Governments

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Central American migrants, both desperate and courageous, have thrust themselves into the center of Mexican and U.S. politics with their demand for refuge and asylum. As the head of the NGO Pueblos Sin Fronteras told a reporter, “This isn’t just a caravan, it’s an exodus created by hunger and death.”

The Google Walkout: An International Working-Class Movement

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Thousands of Google employees throughout the United States and around the world walked off their jobs yesterday, Nov. 1, “to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace that doesn’t work for everyone.” Beginning in Singapore and working its way around the globe the movement closed Google offices from Mountain View, California, in Boulder and New York, as well as in London, Dublin, Zurich, Berlin and Hyderabad.

Howie Hawkins for Governor: A Step in the Left Direction

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I write this largely for my comrades in the Democratic Socialists of America but also for all who are interested in building a more democratic, egalitarian, and just society. I argue here for voting for Howie Hawkins for governor, the only progressive candidate for that office on the ballot in New York State, and the only open socialist.

I am convinced that any future mass working class or socialist party in the United States will arise largely out of developments in the Democratic Party.

Nicaraguan Government Attacks and Arrests Opposition Leaders; Nicaraguans in U.S. Demand Their Release; Call for General Strike

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The following statement was issued by Nicaraguans living in the United States.

On the morning of October 14, 2018, Nicaraguan citizens in use of their constitution rights gathered to march peacefully and protest the Ortega regime and to demand the release of all political prisoners. Protestors were met with violent repression and an assault by the police.

Solidarity with Nicaragua: The Long View from Canada

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The essay below was originally delivered as an oral presentation on the panel “Solidarity in the 21st Century” as part of a conference on The Future of the Left in Latin America held on October 5-6 at the New School in New York City. The conference was sponsored by Dissent, The New School, NACLA, and the Open Society Foundation. 

Trump Administration Declares Me an Anti-Semite

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I was born a Jew, had a bris and Bar Mitzvah and attended Hebrew school afternoons and Sundays from the age of 7 to 13. I went to schul with my grandfather on holidays and in 1967 I volunteered to defend Israel in the Six-Day War. But I never got to go to Israel then and since the early 1970s, I have refused to visit because of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Shenzhen Jasic Technology: Towards a Worker-Student Coalition in China

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Last month students and recent graduates from more than a dozen mainland Chinese universities stood up in solidarity support with workers of Jasic Technology, a private company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The student activists include those from the Peking University, Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, and Sun Yat-sen University. They wore t-shirts with the slogan “unity is power” printed in bold red. They produced videos of public speeches and peaceful demonstrations in front of the Jasic factory in the Pingshan District of Shenzhen City, a key node of globalized production in South China. They tweeted open letters and blogs and photos via social media. In response, Jasic management retaliated against workers who initiated to establish a democratic union since this May and refused immediate re-instatement of dismissed workers, triggering waves of rights defense protests and social justice campaigns. As of writing, 14 workers were currently still being detained by local authorities, and 50 students were forcibly taken by the riot police, crushing the worker-student coalition.

Don Trudell 1940-2018

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There is no way that I am qualified to write a proper obituary for Don Trudell, a longtime member of the British IS/SWP who taught history and media studies at the American School in London (ASL) when I was a student there. I do not know where he was born, or went to college, or even his full name. The last time we spoke was in the early 1980s, and the last time I spent any significant amount of time in his company was when I was still in high school. Although I dined at his house a couple of times, and chatted with him after class on innumerable occasions, I can’t say that we ever became friends. But he was a singular individual and he left an indelible impression on how I think about the world.

The Unbearable Centrism of Mainstream Documentaries

ImageThe Obamas’ deal with Netflix is the culmination of a worrisome turn in contemporary documentary.

Since the announcement in May of Former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s multi-year production deal to produce narrative and documentary films and series with Netflix, there has been remarkably little conversation about it. Admittedly, there isn’t any work to evaluate just yet, but the news does raise enormously important questions in and of itself.

Mexican Independent and Democratic Auto Unions Form a New Federation

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Mexico’s auto workers are for the first time forming a national federation in what is a very significant development both for Mexican labor and for Mexican society as a whole. Ten organizations representing over 25,000 Mexican workers have committed to the new organization.

NYC DSA's Endorsement of Cynthia Nixon: A Reply to Dan La Botz

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I appreciate Dan La Botz' well-reasoned article, but do not agree with his conclusion.

As usual, Dan's argument is judicious and clear, courteous to other points of view. Such civility is essential to maintaining the health and vitality of a diverse big tent organization like the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA).

Youth and Our Future: An Era of Superficial Outrage Politics?

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Many would like to believe that this American period of rampant national-conservatism is nothing more than a short stay in Republican purgatory. It is a reassuring idea that in a few years, as today’s progressive youth becomes a large part of the electorate, the United States will become a shining example of tolerant and progressive prosperity. Just as neo-conservatives envision a global American hegemony built on capitalism and military strength, some progressives have adopted a belief that the United States is destined to reach national political moksha with strong welfare, a prosperous middle class, and minority rights; the nasty racists and homophobes, the “deplorables”, will soon be outnumbered so vastly in the face of common-sense political ideology that the right will simply cease to exist. Unfortunately, this prophecy has proven a myth for millennials—and the nascent Generation Z doesn’t appear to have better prospects.

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