Category: From The Archives

Stonewall and the Early Days

The police were pelted with coins and bottles to begin with, by the crowd, and later bricks and stones from a nearby building site. Barricading themselves inside the Stonewall Inn, police were forced to call for assistance. From there on as crowds swelled in numbers over several successive nights, the whole thing escalated into a full blown riot. It took three days and nights before the Tactical Patrol Force, trained to deal with Vietnam war protests, could finally subdue the rioters.

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

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.

No to Trump’s, Netanyahu’s, Bin Salman’s Imperialist War Drive Against Iran!

Support Progressive and Revolutionary Opposition to the Iranian Regime

 

ImageFor Iran, the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement will mean crushing sanctions and direct or continued indirect war declared by Israel and Saudi Arabia with U.S. support. For the Middle East, it will mean further destruction and regional imperialist competition. For the world, it will mean further division between the U.S. and the European Union and further global imperialist competition.

The Environmental Justice Movement in South Baltimore

United Workers Take on the Multiple Crises of Capitalism

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In an era when the federal government is increasingly dominated by fossil-fuel interests that limit regulation of oil rigs and pipelines, the environmental justice movement seems to have diminished significantly.

Trump and the Labor Movement

A Look Beyond the Immediate Damage

 

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We working people live in darkening times. When the Trump presidency ends in four years—if it does—we may no longer have an organized labor movement. As one of my colleagues, Ed Ott of the Murphy Institute, the City University of New York’s labor school, said to me, “We are at the beginning of the end of the U.S. labor movement based on a partnership with capital.” We are at the twilight of an era. Labor unions and collective bargaining stand to be swept away, and with them the institutions that have sheltered us in the workplace and provided us with a modicum of job security, living wages, health insurance, and pension benefits. 

Remembering Joanne

ImageIn June 2017, the New Politics editorial board organized an event to honor Joanne Landy. She had been diagnosed almost a year before with stage 4 lung cancer. We all knew her prognosis was very grim and thought it would be a fine thing to show Joanne, while she was still with us, how much she was loved and admired by so many, many people.

Police Are the Problem, Not the Solution

Do we need the police? Brooklyn College sociologist Alex S. Vitale poses that question vividly in his book: Are the police guarantors of social peace or its disruptors? Is the force’s mandate to serve the public equally and fairly, or to act as social-control agents, protecting property and its few owners at the expense of the many?

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Samir Amin’s Russian Campist Anti-Imperialism

ImageFor some time now, many of us have wondered how it is that a number of left-wing writers and some political organizations could support Vladimir Putin and the Russian government’s role in international affairs.

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.

"Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community" After 50 Years

Remembering Martin Luther King’s Last, Most Radical Book

Marking an anniversary of a book’s publication is, appropriately, reserved for books that were widely read when they first appeared many years ago. Books we commemorate with an anniversary are ones that ushered in a new way of thinking and influenced the way society tries to make sense of the world. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community did neither of these things.

Russia and the Left

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What explains the enthusiasm in certain quarters of the left for Vladimir Putin and Russia?

“The Hammer Blow of the Revolution”

Rosa Luxemburg’s Critique of Bourgeois Democracy

ImageRosa Luxemburg’s defense of socialist democracy and her critique of the Bolsheviks in her pamphlet The Russian Revolution (1918) are well known. Less well known and often forgotten is her critique of bourgeois democracy, its limits, its contradictions, and its narrow and partial character. We propose to examine this critical line of thought in some of her political writings without any pretentions to completeness.

The Neo-colonization of Central America

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The colonization of Latin America never ended, it merely changed forms. Today this conquest continues, with transnational companies driving neo-colonization grounded in the continued exploitation of natural resources. This is nowhere more true than in Central America. The force of neo-colonization is strengthened by free-trade agreements and development plans that guarantee a company’s right to investment above the rights of the citizenry. Meanwhile, the indigenous populations face renewed dispossession and eviction to make way for global capital’s conquest.

Kiddin’ on the Square

The Politics and Poetics of Mose Allison’s Blues

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In October 1969, pianist/ singer/composer Mose Allison recorded “Monsters of the Id.” At a time when recent history had witnessed a police riot at the 1968 Democratic Party Convention, the police crackdown on protesters at Berkeley’s People’s Park, and popular backlash against anti-war, New Left, counter-culture, and Black Power sentiment, Allison began by warning that the title characters no longer remain hidden, but have come out in full view. To the accompaniment of a slightly discordant horn section, Allison—singing in his characteristic style, with its idiosyncratic pauses and accents—spins a variety of often ghoulish metaphors that remain just as timely in today’s era of Tea Party, torture reports, Stand Your Ground, and Donald Trump: “They’re sprouting through the cracks … They’re deputizing maniacs / Creatures from the swamp rewrite their own Mein Kampf.”

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The Intelligent Human’s Guide to Socialism

This is the book many socialists have been waiting for, although we probably didn’t know it. In just over 150 pages it describes the core socialist ideas in a clear, highly accessible way. The fact that the book is frequently laugh-out-loud funny makes it even better. Socialism … Seriously is written for people who are new to socialism and want to find out what it’s all about.

The first question about a book that sets out to explain socialism is, of course, what the author means by socialism.

Wealth Extraction, Governmental Servitude, and Social Disintegration in Colonial Puerto Rico

ImageAfter ten years of economic contraction, many of the citizens of Puerto Rico find themselves watching the secular decomposition of a reality that in its heyday was painted by many as one of relative socio-economic welfare.

Washington and Moscow: Halt the Bombing and Stop Supporting Dictators in the Middle East!

ImageOutside powers have had a long and shameful history of cynically supporting dictatorships in the Middle East because maintaining friendly autocratic states in the region suits their geopolitical objectives. And today those criminal policies are flagrantly on display. 

Neoliberalism, Austerity, and Authoritarianism

ImageAsk anyone what neoliberalism means and they’ll tell you it’s an economic system that corresponds to a particular economic philosophy. But any real-world economic system has a corresponding political system to promote and sustain it.

Putin, the War in Ukraine, and the Far Right

ImagePutin’s Russia is an imperialist state dominated by a capitalist oligarchy that controls the state and that has developed a bellicose attitude toward its neighbors, whom the oligarchy reproaches for having taken advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union in order to escape its century-long tutelage.

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Even Better the Second Time Around

Reflections on an Updated Socialist-Feminist Classic

ImageOriginally published in 1979, Beyond the Fragments (BTF) was an intervention in the left by three British socialist-feminist activists who offered a thoroughgoing critique of democratic centralism and the vanguard party ideal as it was then practiced on the revolutionary left.

Historicizing Ferguson

Police Violence, Domestic Warfare, and the Genesis of a National Movement Against State-Sanctioned Violence

Each generation has a moment when its members share an instance of collective experience that is forever etched into their memory. For the Civil Rights and Black Power generation, it was unquestionably the open-casket funeral of Emmett Till. The disfigured remains of this fourteen-year-old boy became a mirror in which black youth witnessed their most vulnerable selves. The sight was so excruciating that it helped catalyze direct action protest from rural Alabama to the streets of Oakland for nearly a decade and a half.

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