Author: Barry Finger

BARRY FINGER is a member of the New Politics editorial board.

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An Economist’s Case for Socialism

It is all too rare that an economist makes the case: socialism or barbarism. Or, in Alan Nasser’s more piquant alternatives, socialism or fascism. Economics is a hedging profession of carefully detailed countervailing forces and measured equivocation. Even the seemingly . . .

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Trump Takes Office, Resistance Takes to the Streets

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Donald Trump takes office  on January 20, setting up the most right-wing, racist government in modern American history, but he will not go unchallenged. That challenge is already in motion.

The Rust Belt in Revolt

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This year’s elections are the culmination of the long-standing economic and cultural grievances of America’s industrial workers, a subclass largely composed of white men from the Rust Belt whose factories have been asset-stripped and sent abroad and whose unions or small businesses, pensions, and prospects have been decimated. They are not the poorest of the poor—not even the poorest of the white poor. They are not from places where the economic conditions are the worst, but they are from places where uncertainty about the future of industrial jobs is most acute.

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Secular Stagnation and Rosa Luxemburg’s Breakdown Theory

ImageThe editors of these volumes have provided an invaluable service, bringing renewed attention to the highly original and enduringly contentious critique of Capital that arose from one of the most universally revered figures of the revolutionary movement.

Brexit: A Victory for the Populist Right

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The British electorate issued a stunning rebuke to the establishment by demanding, by a surprisingly respectable margin, withdrawal from the European Union. Just weeks ago, this outcome was considered remote. For David Cameron and the Conservative mainstream, it was – or so it seemed – a clever gamble.  Let the nativists of the right, the Tory backbenchers and the UK Independence Party bigmouths test their outsized claims to speak for Britain.

Sanders and the Democrats: a Reply to Jason Schulman

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There is much to admire and learn from in Jason Schulman’s article “Bernie Sanders and the Dilemma of the Democratic ‘Party.’,” not least of which is Jason’s implicit insistence that the base of any future American left is composed of people who are currently in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and in its best elements represented by the Sanders’ insurgency. Obvious as this might be to readers of New Politics, this is still a disputed opinion on the radical left in America. We – Jason and I  both look forward to that movement developing a breakaway consciousness as it confronts an implacable Democratic establishment proudly wedded to the status quo.

What Next in the Greek Crisis?

ImageIf the ongoing standoff between the Syriza government and the Troika of the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be boiled down to its essentials, it would be this: The “institutions” will only equip the Greek economy with enough operating funds to manage a bare-bones o

Further Reflections on the Sanders Campaign

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As proponents of independent political action, we believe that the Democratic Party is a deathtrap for progressives and that history has demonstrated time and again that progressive movements immersed in the DP are stripped of their potential political power. Nevertheless, we cannot judge the potential of the Sanders’ movement solely by our attitude towards the Democratic Party, any more than we can evaluate the Democratic Party by the enormous potential contribution an unshackled Sanders movement may yet contribute to fundamental political change.

Can Greece defy the Troika?

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The agreement signed between Greece and the EU after three weeks of negotiations is widely lamented on the left as a setback, if not a defeat, for Syriza. The two sides emerged from the agreement, if that is an accurate description, with different interpretations of the memorandum, signifying perhaps that no real deal was made after all. Greece obtained brief reprieve. Its banks will remain liquid for the next few months. The next phase will not be about what can be extracted from the troika, as much as what Greece can do despite and in defiance of the troika. That is what will be discussed here.

Solidarity with Syriza: What Can the Left Demand?

ImageFor Syriza to triumph, it is not enough for it to play tough with the European Union. not enough to bypass the structure of the European Central Bank to find individual national allies, not enough to refuse to cooperate with capitalist auditors. Greece has already lost 30% of its GDP since the peak before the crisis, with unemployment standing at 25%, a decline only comparable to that seen in the US during the Great Depression.

Israel and Imperialism

A Response to Bennett Muraskin

I would like to thank Bennett for his kind and appreciative comments on my artcile and use the opportunity presented by his letter to answer some essential points of contention.

Supporting the Struggle Against Apartheid Then and Now

The discussion of a socialist strategy towards Palestine never recedes from global pertinence and urgency. The basic terms of the Palestinian tragedy established in 1948 remain a festering wound—unaddressed, malignant and oozing in blood and rot. With it the Israeli garrison state continues to descend, and rightfully so, into isolation and disrepute in the court of civilized opinion.

Is the Tea Party Taking the Government Hostage?

That is the affirmative  conclusion one might reasonably come to by listening to the Democrats and their MSNBC and Nation magazine echo chambers. Far right monies bundled together by conservative “social welfare” groups are said to be defying a hapless public powerless to thwart the House Republicans from exercising veto power over the budget process, in their effort to impose more austerity and defund the Affordable Care Act.

Economic Recovery from Below: Notes on the Insufficiency of "Taxing the Rich"

ImageTaxing the rich has a venerable tradition on the left. It is, after all, one of Marx and Engels’ ten transitional demands in the Communist Manifesto, later to be declared antiquated in their 1872 preface to the document.

Euthanasia for the Rentier

     The immediate European economic crisis demonstrates, if there were any lingering doubts, that the architecture of the European Monetary Union is incompatible with countercyclical intervention. It was designed solely to contain inflation at 2%. There is no central fiscal authority and no mandate to either maintain acceptable levels of employment or to sustain working class living standards against the ravages of the business cycle.

Sense and Nonsense in the Balanced Budget Debate: A Socialist Response

     The Republicans have successfully changed the economic debate from jobs to deficit control. Why the urgency? After all, this anemic “recovery” has been marked above all by the lack of job growth. Growth needs to considerable exceed 3% per annum if the private sector is to make any significant headway in reducing unemployment. Instead growth is actually trending downward from its post Great Recession peak. The intractability of long term unemployment now exceeds the duration experienced in the 1930s.

American workers fight back

[This is a modified version of an article first posted on the Workers' Liberty website.]

     The Great Recession and its aftermath have generated a wholesale and unprecedented assault on the living conditions and future prospects for the American working class. This is the backdrop for the dramatic conflict now unfolding in Wisconsin.

Public Sector Workers and the Crisis

Workers are in no way responsible for the economic crisis of capitalism. This would be or at least should seem to be obvious to socialists. Noncontroversial as it may now be, this has not always been the case. There have been socialists — quite outspoken in their time — who had attributed past turndowns to a profit-squeeze triggered by cumulative decades of militant wage demands.

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The Unliquidated Crisis of Capitalism

This recent work by the late Chris Harman is an application of the “permanent arms economy” theory, a hallmark of the British Socialist Workers Party, to the current economic crisis. This analysis is borrowed in part from the American writer T.N. Vance who argued in the presses of the Independent Socialist League of the early 1950s that the much anticipated reversion to the “unliquidated” crisis conditions of the 1930s was averted at the close of World War II through an application of military Keynesianism.

Phyllis Jacobson: An Appreciation

Phyllis Jacobson, who died after a protracted illness on March 2 — just shy of her 88th birthday — was the dynamic force behind a remarkable political and intellectual partnership of shared passion that left an indelible imprint on three generations of twentieth century American radicalism.

Self-determination and Democracy in the Iraqi Conflict

The demand for national liberation, for the right of self-determination of a people, is understood by socialists to be a demand for radical, consistent democracy. This at once separates us from those who, such as the Buchananite paleocons, place the inviolability of the national principle above all other considerations and who may consistently oppose imperial interventions on that basis.

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