Category: Social Policy

The Latest Charter School Scandal

Charter schools are big business opportunities and lax oversight rules make them ripe for financial manipulation and outright theft. The latest charter school scandal just broke in California where two business operatives are accused of siphoning over $50 million in public dollars . . .

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Puerto Rico: A U.S. Colony in the Caribbean

In 1898 the U.S. military invaded and seized Puerto Rico and Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Unlike Cuba, Puerto Rico has not yet achieved independence and the United States continues to exert political, economic, judicial, and military control over the . . .

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Capitalism and the Reactionary Power of White Identity Politics

Momentum for building a post-neoliberal U.S. has been gaining strength with each passing day. However, despite the rise of new and exciting figures, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the tide of striking teachers in even GOP dominated states, we must remain aware that whenever there has been potential for revolutionizing government and politics, there has always followed a reactionary and brutal backlash.

Cedric Johnson and the Other Sixties’ Nostalgia

There is something politically familiar in Cedric Johnson’s two essays in Catalyst (Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 2017) and New Politics (No. 66, Winter 2019). Because his political conclusions are very general, even vague, ones that build “on broad solidarity . . .

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Beyond The Nation State: A Critical Look At Venezuela’s Current Crisis

Venezuela has made headlines in the last few weeks, as Venezuelan opposition leader and National Assembly head Juan Guaidó has declared himself interim President, throwing the country into turmoil. Current President, Nicolás Maduro has called the effort a coup. Meanwhile, . . .

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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.

I’m seventy-two, and must still work

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The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It

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Randy Shaw, Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America. University of California Press, 2018. 304 pp.

When millennials head home for the holidays this month, many who are city dwellers will be hosted by parents or grand-parents whose housing is far more spacious and financially secure than their own. Even guests with well-paid jobs in relatively stable rental markets will cast an envious eye at the benefits of baby boomer house buying decades ago.

Fighting for Healthcare for All or Sitting Out the Fight?

The New York Health Act and the NYC Municipal Labor Movement

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While a Single Payer healthcare system is on the table nationally (in the form of several bills, but perhaps more importantly, in the platforms of nearly all the top presumptive Democratic presidential nominees), the actual creation of such a system is perhaps more likely to be accomplished at the state level first, and it’s possible New York and California are tied for “most likely to succeed.” Even as some advocates caution that we should only fight for a national single payer plan, despite there being even less of a “pathway to victory” in the short-term, I see these campaigns as complimentary. Ambitious and aspiring New York State politicians are well-attuned to what constitutes “progressive” on the national scene, and it is to everyone’s advantage if supporting single payer is viewed as part of proving their credentials.

The Green New Deal Promises Peace and Progress. Will Nuclear Advocates Undermine it?

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The environmental policy centerpiece of the incoming Democratic House of Representatives is what’s now known as “The Green New Deal.” But it’s already hit deeply polarizing pushback from the old-line Democratic leadership. And it faces divisive jockeying over the future of nuclear power.

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.

How NGOisation Provides Cover for the Murder of Shack Dwellers

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In South Africa ten members of a militant shack dwellers organisation have been assassinated in the past six years. Yet many progressive organisations have distanced themselves from these militants. Jared Sacks exposes the complicity of a mainstream NGO that could have played an important role defending the movement against these political assassinations. Sacks argues that when movements refuse co-optation, repression, including assassination, become necessary to maintain power.

The 2018 National Prison Strike: A Movement Making its Mark

ImageOn August 21st, forty-seven years after the assassination of key movement organizer and theoretician George Jackson, prisoners across the country have once again begun mobilizing. Ranging from sit-ins to work stoppages, boycotts to hunger strikes, their actions have followed a nationwide call for sentencing reform, improved living conditions, greater access to rehabilitative programming, and an end to what strike organizers call “modern day slavery.”

Why Graduate Unionization Matters Even More in the Age of Janus

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With the start of the new academic year underway, students and instructors will again enter into a millennia old relationship built on mentorship, trust and mutual respect. However, this school year, instructors will be walking into a very different classroom not because the this relationship has changed, but because the Supreme Court has signaled it does not politically support the casue of teachers advocating for working conditions that strengthen this bond.

How Prisons Serve Capitalism

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I once asked a class at a prison in Washington State how they would describe the relationship between capitalism and incarceration. “They get you coming and going,” someone quickly offered.

Black Neighborhoods Matter

An Interview with Lawrence Brown on Community Trauma and Healing

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Lawrence Brown associate professor of public health in the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University. He is the grandson of sharecroppers who lived in the Mississippi Delta and a native of West Memphis, Arkansas. He is a historian, critical geographer, and political economist who sees public health from a critical, interdisciplinary perspective and advocates for holistic approaches to healing the Black communities of Baltimore. His book The Black Butterfly: Why We Must Make Black Neighborhoods Matter (Johns Hopkins Press) is forthcoming.

Libya under Gaddafi

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A CNN report last November about slave auctions in present-day Libya shocked the world.1 The existence of these slave auctions was widely treated as a new development in the country and a result of the chaos that resulted from the NATO-supported overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In truth, however, what CNN discovered is but a surviving remnant of Gaddafi’s regime—the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya—a police state with systematic racism and abuse both of Libyans of sub-Saharan African descent and of sub-Saharan African migrants.

Cuba: note for a balance sheet of ten years of reforms

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I. Since, at the end of 2007, Raúl Castro called for a broad national debate, ten years have passed. It was a kind of "social catharsis" of all the problems of the country. This fact can be marked as the beginning of a transformation process that has affected all the spaces of economic, political, social and subjective life in Cuba.

Free the Children!

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2,342 refugee and migrant children were kidnapped at the hands of the state at the US-Mexico border between May and June. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a zero tolerance policy that separated mainly Central American refugee children from their parents, as migrant adults were criminally prosecuted with many thrown into federal prisons. Hundreds are toddlers under the age of 4 or even babies as young as 4 months old. The average age of the children is 8. The regime also lied and said that parents who asked for asylum at regular border crossings would not be separated from their children while they did exactly that.

New York Taxi Drivers: Pushed To Suicide

NYC taxi drivers launch campaign to save their industry following suicides

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Over the past four months, four New York City taxi drivers have been pushed to suicide in an industry that is becoming increasingly dangerous. In response to the recent deaths, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance has launched a campaign for regulation and released its own proposal to re-establish driving as a viable occupation.

Brazil: the snare of short-cuts

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Brazilian socialist Andressa Alegre spoke to Solidarity about the experience with the governments led by the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT) between 2003 and 2016.

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