Author: newpolitics

What do Trump’s ‘withdrawal’ from Syria and the Gulf’s rapprochement with Assad have in common?

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In the days since Donald Trump’s announcement that the US was to rapidly withdraw its 2,000 troops from Syria, an enormous amount of speculation about what this means has taken place. In my initial piece, I expressed a number of views that are not widely shared.

New York Progressives Must Demand More

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I campaigned for governor with the slogan of “Demand More!” because Gov. Cuomo has governed as a social liberal but as an economic conservative. Although he touts the agenda he outlined in his January 15 State of the State and Budget presentation as “progressive,” New York progressives should not be satisfied. It is still a conservative economic program. Progressives must demand more.

100 years after the death of Rosa Luxemburg

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The deaths of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht have haunted the imagination of the left for a century. Joe Sabatini reviews a recent publication exposing the events of their deaths, Klaus Gietinger’s The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg, as well as providing an introduction to some of the literary works inspired by the events of 15 January 1919.

White Supremacy and its Allies

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Perhaps the difficulty in capturing and defining the phenomenon of white supremacy lays in its ubiquity. Throughout American society (and more generally, across the Western world), ‘whiteness,’ symbolizes a status quo, a dominant set of norms and behaviors to which individuals are expected to adhere.

Anchoring an Argument

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Scott McLemee considers Leo R. Chavez's Anchor Babies and The Challenge of Birthright Citizenship, which makes clear how little has been added to the stock of anti-immigrant rhetoric over the past century.

Reports of the forcible separation of parents and children at the border by U.S. immigration authorities tell only part of the story of the violence now being directed against hard-won norms of civil society.

Why I'm Not Voting Green in New Jersey

ImageThe case for voting for Green candidate Howie Hawkins for governor of New York is a strong one and were I a New Yorker (I live in New Jersey), I would do so.

A Legacy of Virtue the Government Can’t Silence: The Case of Shahidul Alam

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The job for media pundits and intellectuals is often to question black and white narratives that are, in reality; washed in greys. But there are other times when things aren’t so complicated. There are times when one side clearly stands for inclusivism, creativity, empathy, mercy, mirth, humor, compassion and an unabashed zeal for the act of living, while the other side represents grim, cynical, self-interested raw power perpetuated by those who use violence to cover their insecurities, fears and incapacity to see that one’s reason for living on this earth has nothing to do with the allure of power and control. The arrest of renowned photographer Shahidul Alam by the Bangladeshi government is one these times.

Two Tributes to Jesse Lemisch

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New Politics sponsor Jesse Lemisch died on August 25, 2018. He will be greatly missed as a radical historian, a friend, and a tireless fighter for socialism (and history!) from below.

Here are memories from two friends.

A Massacre, Not a Coup: A Response to Misinformation on Nicaragua

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For the past 3 months, progressive websites and journals have run articles that paint a picture of the crisis in Nicaragua that is dangerously misleading.  Many of these articles have been circulated among people on the left who were in solidarity with Nicaragua and the FSLN during the 1970s and 1980s but haven’t kept up with what has happened over the last 30 years—particularly since 2007, when Daniel Ortega returned to the Presidency and has been there since. I’d like to take a moment to correct some misconceptions about the current crisis in Nicaragua.

The Third Camp in Theory and Practice: An Interview with Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison

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[Reprinted by permission from Left History 21.2]

Introduction

Joanne Landy (1941–2017) and Thomas Harrison (1948–) became socialists as teenagers and have remained involved in the democratic left ever since. They were active in the student protest movement at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1960s, where they met and became close friends and collaborators. During the 1970s, they became increasingly interested in the issue of labor rights in Central and Eastern Europe, and they worked to link democratic and social justice struggles in the Eastern Bloc with social movements in the United States, the West, and the Third World. Until Joanne Landy’s death in October 2017, they were co-directors of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD), which was founded in 1982. Initially, the organization was called the Campaign for Peace and Democracy/East and West, but with the end of the Cold War the title was shortened.

Recent Events Leave Brave Gaza Flotilla in More Danger

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Right now four small boats are on their way to Palermo, Italy, to dare a crossing to besieged Gaza. Because of the rockets from Gaza on July 13 (whatever the true story behind their launch) the Gaza Flotilla 2018 is in even more peril from a cruel IDF puffed up on its own righteousness.  In 2010 the Israelis killed ten on the Mavi Marmara and have often been brutal in captures since.

Lessons and not Myths about the Portuguese non-model

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 Jacobin published on June 9 an essay by Catarina Príncipe under the title “The Portuguese Myth.” We’ve deeply appreciated her thoughts on the political changes in the country since 2015, considering it was written by a spokesperson for a minority current inside the Left Bloc, a status Príncipe failed to mention. This should have been stated, for transparency’s sake, since Príncipe offered an alternative political resolution and a competing list for the leadership of the Party in 2016, which were defeated.1

The Baqee Protest: A Way to Shock the Prince and His Billionaire Admirers

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Saudi prince Salman dazzled Wall Street and the glitterati in his three-week U.S. tour this past March. The captains of finance (Stephen Schwartzman, Peter Thiel), tech (Gates, Bezos), politics (Trump, Clinton), and Hollywood (Disney’s Bob Iger, director James Cameron, Morgan Freeman) all met with him. “60 Minutes” did a fawning piece, as did NPR and the Atlantic. The New York Times printed two rapturous articles by Thomas Friedman. Finally, they had a marketable Saudi royal. Mohammad bin Salman was not the usual doddering nonagenarian, but a vigorous take-charge guy, who … get this… is going to let women drive!

The roots of Venezuela’s crisis and the lessons for the left

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Collapsing wages, food shortages, and rampant inflation have led to growing hunger and desperation in Venezuela. Recent videos illustrate just how desperate the situation has become, as hungry people chase down livestock in the fields to butcher it for its meat, or skin dogs and cats on the streets of Caracas. Violent food-related protests have erupted in various cities around the country, and the looting of grocery stores is becoming more and more widespread. Meanwhile, thousands of Venezuelans are flooding across the borders into neighboring countries.

“60 Minutes” Airs Dreadful Segment on Prince Salman

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Hopefully this piece will be a bit of help to those demonstrating against Prince Salman’s #TrillionaireTour of the U.S.  (Aramco, the kingdom/Saudi family-owned oil company is valued at $2 trillion.)  Another piece I wrote about Saudi Arabia and the colleges that take Saudi elite money is at The Nation.

The problem with leftist myths about Syria

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Why are voices on the left still justifying the Syrian regime's indiscriminate bombardment of Eastern Ghouta?

As the death toll in the Damascus' suburb of Eastern Ghouta reached nearly 700 in two weeks and continues to rise, many so-called progressive voices continue to justify the carnage.

Russiagate or Deep State? What Some Progressives Get Wrong on Russia

The bizarre denialism of some on the left and right about Russiagate doesn't bode well for the future of American politics

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When it comes to the Russiagate scandal, progressives usually take one of two positions.

They either dismiss the scandal as a lot of hooey, a “nothingburger,” just a way for warmongers and the “Deep State” to revive a cold war between Washington and Moscow. Or they treat the scandal as just a means to an end, a way to cast doubt on the 2016 presidential election, implicate the administration in a variety of crimes, and ultimately impeach the president.

A Litmus Test for Detecting Syria Trolls

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The situation in Syria is incredibly complex, so it’s not surprising that there are conflicting interpretations of different pieces of information. But, sometimes, a claim is so clearly without merit, so obviously ludicrous, that those who promote it mark themselves, at best, as individuals wholly uninterested in examining evidence when a dubious claim conforms to their preconceived notions, or, at worst, as scoundrels.

The War is Far from Being Over in Syria

Syrian Corner talks with Gilbert Achcar about recent developments in the Syrian conflict

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Gilbert Achcar is Professor of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London, as well as a well-known author focusing on the Middle East and the Arab World. He met with Syrian Corner during Syria Awareness Week 2018. Achcar posits that the Syrian conflict is far from over and that for Bashar al-Assad to establish a new political framework, an accord between the US and Russia is necessary. Achcar says the role of Iran in a future Syria is one of the key issues at stake, and discusses the Turkish war against the PYD, the regional role of Saudi Arabia, the international peace conferences for Syria, the recent demonstrations in Iran, and the new US foreign policy for the Middle East in the interview below.

Fossil Fuels and Toxic Landscapes – Issue Launch and Panel

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The House Resolution on Yemen is a Stinker

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Congress was given a chance to stand up for basic humanity and the Constitution, but instead chose to lay an egg, a rotten one at that. It rejected a chance to use the War Powers Act to halt U.S. collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s ruthless war and siege tactics in Yemen. Instead it passed a resolution that could have been written by the Saudi kingdom’s lawyers and publicists.

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