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.
As many have already commented, Trump’s cabinet of right-wing Republicans, billionaires and bankers, and generals resembles a military junta more than it does a civilian government. We face an administration that will be more repressive; that will attack labor and reproductive rights, social welfare programs, and immigrants; and that threatens to lay waste to the environment. We join in solidarity with many others on the left, in the labor and social movements, and in our society at large in pledging to resist Trump, the Republican Party, and the reactionary, racist, sexist, and homophobic forces that they have conjured up. We support the sanctuary cities and campuses, the many Muslim, black, and Latino organizations, the women’s and LGBT groups, and all the many others who have pledged to resist Trump.
Going to press so soon after the election, we can only offer some preliminary comments in this issue. Several of our editorial board members provide their analysis of the new political situation and define their position at greater length in a position statement that follows, while editorial board member Barry Fingers adds some further analysis. We of course expect to take up the meaning and the response to Trump in much more detail in issues to come.
While we are planning our resistance to the Trump presidency, it happens that this year is the one hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution, one of the landmarks of the socialist movement. We thus feature a special section on Russia: The Revolution and Beyond. Thomas Harrison and Dan La Botz offer two views of the revolution. Saeed Rahnema assesses V.I. Lenin’s Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism a century later, and Stephen R. Shalom critically examines some current left thinking on Russia. In addition, two of our book reviews deal with the Russian question. Herman Benson considers the debates of the 1930s about the nature of the Soviet state and Dan La Botz looks at Samir Amin’s campist anti-imperialism. We hope to continue this discussion in future issues.
In this issue we also feature a number of other journalistic and analytical articles. Katarzyna Bielińska-Kowalewska writes about the major social movement in Poland to protect abortion rights. Marisela Trevin and Juan Cruz Ferre discuss the emergence of a revolutionary left in Argentina, and Stefanie Prezioso provides us with an interpretation of the Italian referendum that led to the downfall of Mateo Renzi.
Closer to home, Nancy Romer provides reportage on an important contemporary movement in her “Solidarity Report from Standing Rock.” Peter Kolozi and James Freeman discuss the continuing significance of what they call Martin Luther King’s most radical book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community. Martin Oppenheimer takes us back in American radical history to look at the “Rise and Fall of the Muckrakers.” And Bryant William Sculos replies to an article by Michael Thompson on the rise of the servant society.
The issue also offers a review by Aaron Amaral, “Reflections on Opportunity Lost: Greece and the Syriza Experience,” and Kyle Stanton’s review of Jeff Halper’s book on Israel, the Palestinians, and Global Pacification. And as always, we have our “Words and Pictures,” this time featuring an excerpt from Seth Tobocman’s graphic book about Leonard Weinglass.
With Trump and his gang in power, the worst American government since Warren Harding, we need New Politics: A Journal of Socialist Thought more than ever. We thank all of you who responded to our recent fund-raising appeal for making it possible for us to continue to bring you an analysis of American and world politics from our standpoint: socialism from below. You stand there. And we stand with you. Now more than ever.
Dan La Botz