Author: Dan La Botz

DAN LA BOTZ is a Brooklyn-based teacher, writer and activist. He is a co-editor of New Politics.

Leftist Candidate Jabari Brisport of DSA Makes Strong Showing in Brooklyn

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Jabari Brisport, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), made an extraordinarily strong showing in his first bid for the New York City Council. Running on both the Green Party and Socialist lines in Crown Heights, District 35 of Brooklyn where he grew up, Jabari won almost 30 percent of the vote, receiving 8,619 votes. He was defeated by Democrat Laurie Cumbo, who took 68 percent of the vote while the Republican Christine Parker got just 4 percent.

Jabari ran as a socialist in a diverse district with a mixed population of African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, orthodox and Hassidic Jews, upper middle class white newcomers, and young hipsters. The district has a population of 124,170, larger than many cities. The 2017 election saw one of the lowest turnouts in years. Only about 22 percent of the 5,053,842 registered voters in New York City as a whole cast ballots in the election.

Zapatistas Put Forward Indigenous Woman for President

ImageThe Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), which led an armed uprising in Mexico’s southern-most state of Chiapas in 1994, and which has since then spent its time organizing autonomous communities in that state, is now putting forward an indigenous woman candidate for president in the 2018 elections. The Zapatistas hold the Mexican government and the country’s political parties in utter disdain, both for their corruption and for their disregard for the people they supposedly represent. The Zapatistas also reject elections and voting on principle. So, while they are putting forward health worker María de Jesús Partricio for president, they are not actually trying to elect her. 

A Split at the Top: The Bourgeoisie Begins to Abandon Trump

President for a Year?

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President Donald Trump’s failure for two days to condemn the violent Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and "alt-right" white supremacists, one of whom murdered a woman in Charlottesville, has led to a major development as sections of the capitalist class have begun to abandon him. While some top Republican leaders have taken a stronger stand against Trump in recent days, several major corporate leaders have deserted him. They have done in part because of his flirtation with fascism, but also because Trump and his administration—his embarrassing tweets, the constant circus, the Korea war scare, the Russian imbroglio—makes it impossible for the Republicans to advance their pro-business agenda. If the relationship between Trump and corporate leaders continues to unravel, this could lead to a more rapid collapse of the Trump presidency than had previously seemed possible.

Reports on the Resistance: Demonstrations Across the Country in Solidarity with Charlottesville

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Thousands demonstrated in dozens of cities and universities across the United States to protest the “Unite the Right” racist march and rally in Charlottesville Virginia and the automobile terrorist attack on anti-fascists that took the life of Heather Heyer on Aug. 12.

The demonstrations took the form of vigils, rallies, and marches that took place on Aug. 13 and 14. In New York City, thousands demonstrated at Trump Tower as he returned from the golf links to New York. In Durham, North Carolina, anti-fascists pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier. In some cities there were multiple events called by a variety of progressive and leftist organizations.

We Will Replace You

 

ImageThe “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend attracted several hundred white men from the "alt-right," the neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan who marched with torches through the University of Virginia chanting, “You will not replace us.” Nothing better explains the fear at the root of their racist movement than that chant. They fear, as their political ancestors feared, that they will be replaced by blacks. They have now come to fear also that they will be replaced by Latinos and by Asians. They fear too that they will be replaced by women, by gay men or lesbians or bisexuals. Or by trans people or the disabled. Above all, they fear.

The 1997 Teamster Victory at UPS Twenty Years Later

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Twenty years ago this month the reform leadership of the Teamsters union, led by President Ron Carey, with the assistance of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), a reform caucus within the union, led a successful strike against United Parcel Service (UPS) that paralyzed the company, inspired labor unionists, and seemed to open up new opportunities for the workers movement. The UPS strike remains a model of strike strategy, organization, and tactics.

Successful Convention Moves DSA to Left

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The socialist movement in the United States took a big step forward this past weekend as almost 700 delegates representing over 25,000 members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) met at the organization’s biennial national convention in Chicago. This convention, the first since DSA more than tripled in size following last year’s election, brought together delegates from all of the country’s major cities and many towns large and small.

Sanctuary: In a Great American and International Tradition

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Author's note: "I was asked at a recent New York City Democratic Socialists of America meeting of the  Immigration Justice Working Group to say a few words to put our work in historical context and then asked to write up my brief talk so that it might be useful to others."

Our sanctuary work is in a great national and global tradition of humanitarianism and it is consistent with our international socialist principles. Our work, while fighting for the reform of the immigration system, has as its goal the abolition of the capitalist system that causes involuntary mass migration. And while using existing law to defend immigrants and fighting for better laws, we stand opposed to the concept of the national state, which will never respect and defend immigrants as equals in our society.

The Fourth of July – Revolution and Counter-Revolution in America

ImageThe following is an excerpt from a book about Trump, The Establishment, and the Resistance, that will be published in French by Syllepse early next year. – Dan La Botz

The Fourth of July celebrates the launching of the American Revolution and the founding of the nation. Americans have long prided themselves on having the most democratic country on earth, a model for the world. Yet, while American politicians and the media today frequently praise the “founding fathers” of the United States for establishing the country’s democratic institutions, the truth is that nothing could have been further from their minds.

Marvin Mandell, Who Fought for Equality, for Life, and for Art

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In 1996, at the height of the culture wars, Marvin Mandell joined the battle, writing a long essay, “Canon on the Left,” in which he argued that the left should not allow conservatives to claim the literary canon. While he of course supported the expansion of the canon to include all of the writers of color, as well as the women and all of the others who had been neglected and excluded, he refused to allow the right to claim the great tradition of European literature. He concluded the essay with these words:

Trump: Political Crisis, Right-wing Policies, and the Resistance

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Donald Trump’s first six months as president of the United States has been bad in so many ways that it is hard to know where to begin.

From the Editors

Since Donald Trump has taken up residence in the White House, the country has faced a series of political controversies, a barrage of right-wing legislative and regulatory initiatives, a growing far-right movement, but also a broadening resistance from various sectors of society.

The FBI Takes Charge: The Establishment May be Done with Trump

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[Updated May 19, 2017] After nearly four months of President Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency surrounded by controversies and scandals, the American establishment has decided to take things in hand. That is the meaning of deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein’s appointment of Robert S. Mueller III to serve as special counsel to investigate ties between the Trump administration and Russia. Mueller, who had served as the FBI director from 2001 to 2013 under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has both the confidence of the establishment and the political independence that will allow him to pursue the issue without fear of presidential interference.

James Baldwin, Stan Weir, and Socialism

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Raoul Peck’s powerful documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” which was nominated for an Academy Award, has brought the great writer James Baldwin (1924-1987) to a new generation of Americans who may have been unfamiliar with Baldwin’s life and writings. “I Am Not Your Negro” presented Baldwin as a powerful voice of the black liberation movement, but hardly mentioned his longtime commitment not only to full equality for black Americans, but also to socialism.

Baldwin wrote in No Name in the Street that he had been a "convinced fellow traveler" at 13 who had marched in the May Day parade and then became a "Trotskyite" by age nineteen. Too young to have been involved in Harlem’s Communist Party in the 1930s, he claimed to have been a member of the Young People’s Socialist League, but that has never been confirmed.

Reports on the Resistance: Tens of Thousands March for Science on Earth Day

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Tens of thousands, many of them scientists, joined the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22, in cities across the United States and around the world. There were some 400 marches in the US with crowds estimated at 20,000 in New York and Los Angeles, some 15,000 gathered on the Washington Mall, and 1,000 in Portland, Oregon. Other marches took place in hundreds of other cities around the world from London to Tokyo.

Reports on the Resistance: Tax Day Protests

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Tens of thousands of Americans in some 200 cities and towns from New York to San Francisco participated in “Tax Day” marches on Saturday, April 15 to demand that President Donald Trump release information about his tax payments. Some protestors marched at the White House and others at the Trump mansion at Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

Largely organized through Democratic Party groups like Indivisible, the Tax Day demonstrations were peaceful but spirited affairs. Protestors around the country chanted slogans such as “No more secrets, no more lies.” Many carried signs and banners reading “What are you hiding?” and “Show your taxes!” One sign read “King George didn’t listen to us either,” a reference to the taxation issues of the 1760s that led to the American Revolution of 1776.

Reports on the Resistance: A Day Without a Woman, For a Feminism of the 99%

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As millions of women around the world held meetings and conferences, rallied and marched to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, many also joined an International Women’s Strike, a Day Without a Woman, that in the United States had the character of an anti-Trump movement.

Reports on the Resistance: Rebellion in the Town Halls

ImageThousands of people showed up at town halls meetings across the United States in February to challenge Republican congressional representatives and senators on their plans for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as well as on issues from immigration, to the environment, to President Donald Trump’s relations with Russia. While this past week fewer protestors took to the streets where radicals have generally taken the initiative and established the tone of the Resistance, town halls swelled with more moderate but quite militant crowds who challenged Republicans and their politics.

Reports on the Resistance: Not-My-President Day, Day without Immigrants, and More Protests Planned

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Protests against Trump continue even as new ones are being planned for the future, from the recent Not-My-President Day and Day without an Immigrant protests, to the International Women's Strike planned for March 8.

Thousands of protestors in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and some two dozen other cities marched on Monday, Feb. 20 in opposition to President Donald Trump and his policies on what is usually called “President’s Day” but on this occasion was marked by many as Not-My-President Day. On what was in the Midwest and the East a beautiful spring-like day—thanks to climate change—protestors marched to protest Trump’s environmental and immigration policies and just about everything else that the new president stands for.

Reports on the Resistance: Hundreds Rally to Support Muslim Immigrants

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Hundreds of Brooklyn area residents crowded the Brooklyn Museum auditorium on the freezing cold night of the February 9 blizzard—a storm that had closed the City University system, the public schools, and disrupted public transportation—to hear leading figures, principally from the Muslim wing of the immigration rights movement, analyze Trump’s immigration policy and propose measures to resist.

From the Editors

The inauguration of Donald Trump as the president of the United States opens what we fear will be one of the darkest and most dangerous periods in American history since the founding of this journal in 1961.

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