Author: Jason Schulman

Why the LA Teachers Strike Matters

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The January 14 strike date announced by the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) has heightened tensions in an already contentious dispute with Los Angeles Superintendent Austin Beutner, who represents the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in negotiations. However, far more is at stake in Los Angeles and for the rest of us than a traditional contract struggle.

The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It

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Randy Shaw, Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America. University of California Press, 2018. 304 pp.

When millennials head home for the holidays this month, many who are city dwellers will be hosted by parents or grand-parents whose housing is far more spacious and financially secure than their own. Even guests with well-paid jobs in relatively stable rental markets will cast an envious eye at the benefits of baby boomer house buying decades ago.

Green, Union Jobs: Organizing at Buffalo’s Tesla Factory

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Rob Walsh, originally from a small town just outside Utica, is a material handler at the Tesla plant just south of Buffalo, New York’s downtown—dubbed Gigafactory 2—and part of the joint United Steelworkers/International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers organizing committee. One of plant’s earliest hires, he works 12-hour shifts three to four days a week, making $16.50 an hour. He is one of roughly 400 employees that work around the clock at the plant producing Tesla’s solar roof tiles. During those shifts, Walsh delivers production from the warehouse to the floor and then takes the finished product out to be shipped.

Solidarity with the Popular Uprising in Sudan

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We, the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists, support the ongoing uprising which erupted across Sudan starting December 19th, 2018. The protests were set off by the lifting of subsidies on bread, wheat, and electricity as well as spiking inflation. The United Nations Development Program has estimated that nearly half of the population, i.e. 20 million, live below the poverty line. However, their demands go much deeper and call for the downfall of the regime of Omar al-Bashir because of its decades of economic, political, and social repression. The dictator al-Bashir was also on the verge of obtaining constitutional amendments allowing him to run in the presidential election in 2020.

Fighting for Healthcare for All or Sitting Out the Fight?

The New York Health Act and the NYC Municipal Labor Movement

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While a Single Payer healthcare system is on the table nationally (in the form of several bills, but perhaps more importantly, in the platforms of nearly all the top presumptive Democratic presidential nominees), the actual creation of such a system is perhaps more likely to be accomplished at the state level first, and it’s possible New York and California are tied for “most likely to succeed.” Even as some advocates caution that we should only fight for a national single payer plan, despite there being even less of a “pathway to victory” in the short-term, I see these campaigns as complimentary. Ambitious and aspiring New York State politicians are well-attuned to what constitutes “progressive” on the national scene, and it is to everyone’s advantage if supporting single payer is viewed as part of proving their credentials.

Press Release

A New North American Political Network Emerges from the Grassroots

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 7, 2019
Press contact: Katie Horvath, katie.s.horvath@gmail.com, 720-838-8051
  • Local direct democracy groups across North America are assembling a revolutionary confederation
  • A congress of these grassroots organizations will be take place September 18-22, 2019, in Detroit, MI
  • Individuals can join and will be given guidance and support to organize where they live and work

The Key to the Key: A Socialist Feminist Rank-and-File Strategy

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Kim Moody’s “Rank and File Strategy” has influenced much of DSA’s approach to labor organizing. To draw out what he calls socialist “class consciousness,” Moody recommends fomenting member-led struggles in unions that advance self-empowerment. By joining “transitional organizations,” or rank-and-file reform caucuses such as Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), he believes, workers gain experience directly confronting management over working conditions. These organizations prepare workers for larger fights to come.

Seasons Greetings from France’s Yellow Vests: “We Are Not Tired”

ImageIs the Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) rebellion, now in its seventh week, “petering out?” Such was the near-unanimous pronouncement of the mainstream media, when I returned home to Montpellier, France, eager to participate and to observe first-hand this popular insurrection which I had been afraid of missing.

The Green New Deal Promises Peace and Progress. Will Nuclear Advocates Undermine it?

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The environmental policy centerpiece of the incoming Democratic House of Representatives is what’s now known as “The Green New Deal.” But it’s already hit deeply polarizing pushback from the old-line Democratic leadership. And it faces divisive jockeying over the future of nuclear power.

The French Yellow Vests: A Self-Mobilized Mass Movement with Insurrectionist Overtones

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The White-Hot Anger of French Working People as a Real Fact

After rumbling on social media for weeks, the Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) movement emerged suddenly on November 17, when no less than 300,000 protestors occupied roads, traffic circles in exurbs and rural areas. They wore the yellow safety vests the government requires all motorists to purchase, and which immediately became the emblem of the movement.  That week and the next, Yellow Vests also ventured into the heart of Paris, blocking the gilded Boulevard Champs-Elysées and almost reaching the nearby presidential palace.  From the beginning, women were unusually prominent in the local occupations and the street marches.  At the same time, the Yellow Vests chased away many politicians who visited their protest sites, including some from the left.

Confronting China’s War on Terror

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For some eighteen months now, ethnic minorities in the region of Xinjiang in northwest China have been living through unprecedented wave of repression. The most extreme element of this crackdown is a network of camps across the region, designated “re-education and training centres,” where anywhere from a few hundred-thousand to upward of a million Muslim minorities have been indefinitely interned. Most victims are Uyghurs – the main non-Chinese ethnic group of the region, but the sweep has also caught Kazakhs and Kirghiz, who, like the Uyghurs, practice Islam.

Statement on Threat of Turkish Planned Military Invasion Against Northern Syria

Internationalist Solidarity Needed

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Donald Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria is a green light to Recep Tayyip Erdogan to decimate the Kurds in what remains of Rojava in northern Syria. Earlier this year, Turkey invaded the Afrin area with the assistance of Syrian reactionary armed opposition groups, leading to the forced displacement of large sections of Afrin’s Kurdish population and continuous violations of the human rights of the local population.

The Soaring Writer Who Landed on His Feet

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Bill Fletcher, Jr. The Man Who Fell From the Sky. Hard Ball Press, $15, trade paperback, 350 pp.

“Race” as a biological category differentiating humans has been a spurious and discredited marker for more than a century. From Franz Boas’ early pioneering studies of the Inuit to Barbara Fields’ contemporary savaging of race-based ideology, we should all understand that humans are one race, end of discussion!

They Took Control of Their Workplace — and They Won

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Ten years ago, members of UE Local 1110 made history by occupying their factory, Republic Windows and Doors. They captured the imagination of a nation reeling from financial collapse, won an endorsement of their cause from the president-elect, and forced one of the nation’s most powerful banks to come to the table and negotiate.

Working People Will Make a Better World

ImagePriscilla Murolo is a professor of history at Sarah Lawrence College, where she formerly directed the graduate program in Women’s History. She also teaches in the Union Leadership and Activism Master’s Program at the University of Massachusetts. Beginning in the 1960s, she has been involved in the women’s movement, labor organizing and many community campaigns and organizations.

Yellow vests: Macron’s fuel tax was no solution to climate chaos

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The French government has decided to suspend a planned eco-tax on fuel in response to mass protests. While the movement of the ‘yellow vests’ (gilets jaunes) has turned into a broader revolt against inequality and Macron’s neoliberal reforms, economist and climate activist Maxime Combes (Attac France) argues that as a way to tackle climate change, the tax is neither fair nor effective.

Analysis originally published on the daily internet journal of ideas AOC and translated by Taisie Tsikas.

Journalists Are Calling Trump’s Caravan Claims ‘Evidence-Free’: It’s Worse Than That

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As the GOP’s fears of a progressive wave in November grow, Donald Trump has made it his personal mission to make everyone else afraid, too.

He Got the Story

ImageSeymour Hersh. Reporter: A Memoir. Knopf, 2018. 368 pp. 

Writing in 1940, George Orwell opined in a review of a Bertrand Russell book that “we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” Much the same can be said about the more than fifty-year career of journalist Seymour Hersh, whose pioneering exposés of the lies of the Great Powers report and affirm facts that follow Orwell’s dictum.

Hard Questions in Israel-Palestine

ImageJamie Stern-Weiner, ed. Moment of Truth: Tackling Israel-Palestine's Tought Questions. OR Books, 2018. 518 pp. 

The fact that, after fifty years of Palestinian support efforts, the Israeli occupation is more entrenched than ever should inspire some intellectual humility among those hawking solutions to the conflict, notes Jamie Stern-Weiner in the introduction to his edited collection Moment of Truth: Tackling Israel-Palestine’s Toughest Questions. It is humbling as well to read through the volume, with more than seventy essays and rejoinders by more than fifty different authors, from almost every one of which something new can be learned.

The Enduring Importance of Arthur Miller: The Price and The Hook

ImageSeventy-two years after his initial Broadway success with All My Sons and 14 years after his death, Arthur Miller continues to cast a long shadow over theater in the United States. His plays are staples of high school drama clubs, college and university theater departments and regional theaters around the country, and his best-known works – Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, All My Sons, A View From the Bridge and After the Fall – have been revived many times on Broadway.

The Collected Writings of Stanley Heller

ImageStanley Heller, The Uprising We Need. Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2017. 332pp. $5.99 on Kindle. 

Apart from the many valuable insights contained inside The Uprising We Need, Stanley Heller’s collection of articles published over the period between 2003 and 2017, the book is a fascinating look back through that fourteen-year span in which so much has happened. There is a tendency in our isolated, consumer-disciplined culture to focus on the shiniest thing out there right now with little reference for how that particular thing got there in the first place.

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