We are in interesting times. Across the globe a new wave of social protests has erupted. They stretch from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon to Hong Kong; from Algeria and Sudan to France and Catalunya. They have taken place in Puerto Rico and Haiti, and they have shaken Latin America with upheavals in Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador. Sparked by various issues, they have in common their opposition to the effects of neoliberalism and climate chaos, authoritarianism, and governmental corruption. Most demand solutions to increasing economic inequality, an end to political and patriarchal repression, and full democratic rights. Some have called for constituent assemblies and new constitutions. While many lean to the left, their political character is diverse and complex.
These uprisings have often been driven by the poor and self-employed, precarious workers, women, and the indigenous. Almost everywhere governments have responded with violent repression: rubber bullets that contain metal, water cannons loaded with toxic chemicals, tear gas canisters used like bazookas and aimed by police at protestors’ eyes. Still, the movements regroup and continue their struggles.
We are witnessing, in this global battle against the neoliberal capitalist and sexist order, the continuing steps in the process of the reconstitution of a radical working class within broader movements for democracy and social justice. While each situation must be carefully evaluated, we at New Politics support these new movements.
Two articles in this issue highlight some of the international uprisings of 2019. Rafael Bernabe analyzes the political crisis in Puerto Rico this past summer and Kevin Anderson discusses the Sudan revolution. Other internationally centered articles include Donald C. Wood on “Civil Resistance to Japanese Militarism” and John Trumpbour’s “Questions for the International Left.”
We feature several articles that examine socialist history and theory. Ndindi Kitonga explores colonial racism and emancipatory alternatives from the perspective of Frantz Fanon’s writings. Matthew Quest offers a critical review of the recent book on Walter Rodney’s writings on the Russian Revolution. Brian Ward takes up the important issue of settler-colonialism and capitalism from a Marxist viewpoint in the context of Turtle Island. Two contributors, our editorial board member Stephen Shalom and Nicholas Coccoma, discuss the issue of sortition—election by lottery—as a means toward radically democratic politics.
Turning to the United States, Kit Wainer and Mel Bienenfeld, in “Problems with the Electoral Road to Socialism,” discuss some key issues for socialists participating in the presidential electoral process, continuing a discussion begun at Jacobin magazine. Jacobin decided not to publish this article, but we invite the authors critiqued within it to reply in a future issue. In a major intervention on the issue of a single-payer health care system, Mark Dudzic discusses the problem of employment-based health care plans.
We also have two essays on U.S. labor and politics: Avery Wear on the contemporary relevance of syndicalism for the rank and file strategy that is currently being discussed by new labor militants in the wave of strikes that have swept across the country, and Martin Oppenheimer remembering and celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In addition, Brian Jones replies to an earlier article by Cedric Johnson on Black socialist organizing in America.
This issue’s book reviews include Alexandra Holmstrom-Smith on Sophie Lewis’s Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, Matthew Strauss on August Nimtz’s Marxism Versus Liberalism: Comparative Real-Time Political Analysis, our co-editor Jason Schulman on Paul Adler’s The 99 Percent Economy: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism, and Dan Gallin, the former general secretary of the IUF, a “union of unions” comprising 388 trade unions in 124 countries, discusses “The AFL-CIO’s Cold War.”
Interspersed throughout the issue are three poems by Sam Friedman, and we include a feminist anthem that began in Chile and has spread around the world.
We hope you enjoy this issue. If you do, please consider supporting this magazine so that we can continue to cover and analyze such crucial attempts to overcome the catastrophes produced by the capitalist system.
Saulo M. Colón Zavala
Dan La Botz