Author: John Halle

On the Exploitation of Outrage


Over the past few years, the following sequence has occurred often enough to have become a familiar pattern.

On Punching Nazis


Over the past couple of weeks, social media has filled up with breathless accounts of far right leaders having gotten their comeuppance by being physically assaulted or, in a recent case, murdered in an act of domestic violence.

John Halle Replies to David Finkel on Politics


In his useful and perceptive review of Empowering Progressive Third Parties in the United States, David Finkel claims that I endorse the "ultra-left conclusion of historian Eric Chester’s True Mission that the concept of a national labor party has always been a ploy to keep labor ensnared and subordinate to the Democrats."


An Eight-Point Brief for LEV (lesser evil voting)


Preamble: Among the elements of the weak form of democracy enshrined in the constitution, presidential elections continue to pose a dilemma for the left in that any form of participation or non participation appears to impose a significant cost on our capacity to develop a serious opposition to the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians. The position outlined below is that which many regard as the most effective response to this quadrennial Hobson’s choice, namely the so-called “lesser evil” voting strategy or LEV. Simply put, LEV involves, where you can, i.e. in safe states, voting for the losing third party candidate you prefer, or not voting at all. in competitive “swing” states, where you must, one votes for the “lesser evil” Democrat.

Sanders, Strategy and "The Left": Behind the Fist Pump


Bernie Sanders’s dropping the hammer on Clinton’s cozying up to the vile genocidaire Henry Kissinger was one of the fist pump moments of the campaign. That’s recognized by pretty much everyone now, so I don’t need to say much about it here.

Electoral Guide 2016


Any discussion of this subject needs to be based on the understanding that, at present, voting is carefully designed to, in Chomsky's words "reduce the population to apathy and obedience", putting us in a position where we are forced to demonstrate our fealty to the corporate state by actively endorsing one of its two anointed representatives.

“Nothing is Too Good for the Working Class”

Classical Music, the High Arts, and Workers’ Culture

Last season’s announcement of the New York Philharmonic’s Henry Kravis Award, financed by a seven figure withdrawal from the ten figure bank account of one of America’s more notorious financers, is one of many indications that while its influence has waned, classical music still has friends in high places. These connections tend to accrue mainly to high profile conductors, opera stars, and virtuoso soloists.

On Electoral Reforms, Sewer Socialism, and Concern-Trolling Technocrats

One of the many great things about having a card-carrying socialist elected to a major municipal office [in Seattle] is that we can start to have good arguments.  Peter Lavenia started one with me a couple of weeks ago and I’m going to argue back.

Left Third Parties in 2013: The Wave Begins?

The 2013 municipal election contained mixed results for left third party advocates.

A Visit to Bikernieki

Bikernieki forest on the outskirts of Riga is where the three to five thousand Jews who had managed to survive starvation, the freezing cold, and random executions of the Riga Ghetto were put to death in 1941. Not long after, the same fate would be met by some 30,000 additional Jews from numerous cities in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia who had in the intervening months been transported there to be temporarily warehoused in the newly vacant ghetto.

Aaron Swartz: What We Know So Far, What We Need to Know

Image     The reaction to Aaron Swartz's suicide has quickly reached a level of intensity which may have surprised those who will eventually need to respond to it.

Self Immolation and The Left: The Greens Do It Again!

Even in the age of extreme reality television, nationally broadcasted suicides remain a blessedly rare occurrence. And so the suicide which occurred during a Huffington Post sponsored debate on third party voting probably should have received more attention that it did.

Occupy Wall Street, Composers and the Plutocracy: Some Variations on an Ancient Theme


Music of Change: Politics and Meaning in the Age of Obama

In a classic essay[1] George Orwell describes himself as "amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between the nations." Rather it leads to "orgies of hatred" as "young men . . . kick each other on the shins amid the roars of infuriated spectators."

The Occupy Wall Street March

The following is a report from the Occupy Wall Street protest march from which I am now on the train returning home.