Author: Dan La Botz

Howie Hawkins for Governor: A Step in the Left Direction

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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?

Image

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.

Return of the Strike: The Teachers Rebellion in the United States: A Forum

Image

A Forum on the Teachers Rebellion in the United States with Tithi Bhattacharya, Eric Blanc, Kate Doyle Griffiths, Lois Weiner. Edited and introduced by Jeffery R. Webber

Few anticipated a labour upsurge in the United States in early 2018, and fewer still expected a blaze to ignite among teachers in West Virginia, or for it to spread to Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, and Colorado. Ellen David Friedman poses one of the questions which immediately springs to mind: “why is this stunning revolt occurring where unions are weak, where labor rights are thin, and where popular politics are considered to be on the Right?”[1]

Nicaragua’s Popular Rebellion Stopped—For Now

Image

What is the state of the popular rebellion in Nicaragua? What brought about the rebellion? Who is involved in the rebellion? Who are the most important national and international actors? And what is the nature of the Left’s debate over Nicaragua?

President Daniel Ortega’s government has succeeded—for now—in stopping the Nicaragua’s popular rebellion after four months of the most severe repression, including killings, kidnappings, and torture of the regime’s opponents by both the police and paramilitary forces.

Why I Voted Against Endorsing Cynthia Nixon

Image

The leadership of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) voted this past weekend by a two-thirds majority to endorse Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic Primary race for New York State governor. The decision reflected similar majorities for Nixon among the total membership of the New York City branches. An accompanying motion also passed that linked DSA’s work on the Nixon campaign to the Julia Salazar campaign in the Democratic Primary for State Senate and tied it to our organization’s support for the New York State Health Act and the a city campaign create for expanded rent stabilization.

Since the majority of my fellow New York City socialists voted to endorse Nixon, I feel obligated as a member of the City Leadership Committee  (CLC) to explain to our members why I cast my vote against, as did eleven other members of the 34-member body, while one person abstained.

Nicaragua in Pain

ImageTranslated from Spanish by Fred Murphy

Writing about Nicaragua is as painful and sad as it is indispensable. Memories of the Sandinista Revolution are still alive for the generation that lived through it. To remain silent would be an affront to those who took part in that memorable insurrection against Somoza.

The American Oligarchy: A Review

Image

Ron Formisano. American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2017. Notes. Index. $19.95

Consumers of left-wing media are well aware that America is an oligarchy, not a democracy. Everyone with a functioning cerebrum, in fact, should be aware of it by now: even mainstream political scientists recognize it, as shown by a famous 2014 study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page. Nevertheless, it is important to continue to publicize the oligarchical character of the United States, in order to delegitimize the institutions that have destroyed democracy (insofar as it ever existed) and inspire people to take action to restore it. Ron Formisano’s book American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class (2017) is a valuable contribution to this collective project.

Dan La Botz on his New Book on Trump and the Resistance

Image

Dan La Botz is a member both Solidarity and of the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA), and a co-editor of New Politics. Trained as a historian of the United States and Mexico, he is also a teacher in the graduate Labor Studies program of the Murphy Institute of the City University of New York. New Politics interviews him here about his new book The New American Populism: Resistance and Alternatives to Trump (Nouveau populisme américain: Résistances et alternatives à Trump).

New Politics: You’ve written a book on Donald Trump and the Resistance that most of won’t be able to read because it has only been published in French. In this book you discuss both the rise of the new populism of Sanders and Trump and its social and historical roots, but you also look at the Resistance and discuss its strengths and weaknesses, as well as examining the strategies of the left and its future. That’s a lot. Tell us a little about your book. What distinguishes it from the many books on Trump that have hit the market since he became president?

AMLO, Mexico’s New President, Promises End to Corruption, Makes Peace with Capitalist Class

AMLO and Business: All Peace and Lover - Bloomberg Photo

The leftist candidate Andres Manuel López Obrador, has been carried to victory in the Mexican presidential election by an enormous popular outpouring of voters hoping to improve their lives and those of their fellow citizens. Promising to drive out the political mafia that runs the country, to end the pervasive corruption in government, and to bring an end to the violence that in the last dozen years has taken more than 250,000 lives, AMLO, the left’s perennial candidate, won such a decisive victory this time that the Mexican establishment finally had to recognize his achievement.

Support the Popular Rebellion in Nicaragua – Oppose U.S. Intervention

Image

At this moment, the government of President Daniel Ortega and his party, the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN or Sandinistas), face a popular rebellion from below on a national scale. We look here at the origins of this rebellion, at the alternatives facing it, and at the responsibilities of those of us in the United States toward the people of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua: Where Is The Rebellion Going?

ImageThe popular rebellion against the dictatorial government of Daniel Ortega, four-time president of Nicaragua, has been going on now for more than a month. And the Ortega government has continued its violent repression. In the last 47 days, it is reported that 104 people have been killed, while some have been arrested or tortured and others have gone missing. In one of the most atrocious events, government snipers fired on the May 30 “Mothers March” led by mothers mourning the murder of their children. Fifteen marchers were killed and scores wounded.

Roadblocks and possibilities: The Nicaraguan student insurrection

Mothers March: No More Murders of Our Children

Canadian internationalist feminist Lori Hanson, who has been working in solidarity with rural Nicaraguans for more than 30 years, has just returned from Nicaragua. Jack Hicks interviewed her for New Socialist. Together, they crafted this piece based on the interview and an article Lori previously wrote for the Greek newspaper, AlterThess. The analysis of an emerging movement in Nicaragua is a work in progress for Lori, who continues to work with Nicaraguans on the deeper meaning of a 44 day-long uprising and the state violence that has accompanied it in April and May, 2018.

Nicaragua—Protest, Repression, Negotiations

What Happened to the Nicaraguan Revolution?

Image

The upheaval in Nicaragua that lasted from April 18 to April 21 and the repression that reportedly left 63 dead, 15 missing and 160 injured by gunfire, have both subsided for the moment. The protests halted after President Daniel Ortega announced the cancellation of his proposed changes in the social security pension law. Photographers were among those beaten. Other human rights centers and the Jesuit University of Central America in Managua as well as Nicaraguan newspaper accounts and discussions with people in Managua confirm many of these deaths and injuries.

Since April 22 Nicaraguans have participated in numerous marches, some raising the call for “Peace and Justice,” and many of the participants carrying placards calling upon President Ortega and his vice-president and wife Rosario Murillo to resign. On April 26 an enormous pilgrimage of tens of thousands called for peace and negotiation organized by the Catholic Church.

Top