New Politics Vol. XV No. 4, Whole Number 60

  • From the Editors
  • Washington and Moscow: Halt the Bombing and Stop Supporting Dictators In the Middle East!, Campaign For Peace and Democracy
  • A Discussion of the Sanders Campaign
    • Bernie Sanders and the Dilemma of the Democratic “Party,” Jason Schulman
    • The Sanders Campaign and the Left, Lance Selfa and Ashley Smith
  • Symposium On Inequality
    • Introduction, Riad Azar and Saulo Colón
    • The Systemic Edge: An Interview With Saskia Sassen, Riad Azar and Saulo Colón
    • The Rise of the Servant Society, Michael J. Thompson
    • Debt, Underemployment, and Capitalism: The Rise of 21st-Century Serfdom, Colin Jenkins and Cherise Charleswell
    • The Roots of the Modern/Housing Rental Crisis, Sean Posey
  • C.L.R. James On Oliver Cox’s Caste, Class, and Race
    • Introduction, Paul Ortiz and Derrick White
    • The Class Basis of the Race Question in the United States, at the Institute of the Black World, Atlanta, Georgia, June 16, 1971, C.L.R. James
  • Turkey, Kurdistan, and Rojava
    • Prospects For Turkey: A Historical Perspective, David Johnson
    • A Commune In Rojava?, Alex De Jong
    • The Kurds, Bookchin, and the Need To Reinvent Revolution, Petar Stanchev
  • Articles
    • Who Wins From “Climate Apartheid”? African Climate Justice Narratives About the Paris Cop21, Patrick Bond
    • Wealth Extraction, Governmental Servitude, and Social Disintegration in Colonial Puerto Rico, Argeo T. Quiñones-Pérez and Ian J. Seda-Irizarry
    • Podemos and the 15m Language Community, Antonio Martínez-Arboleda
  • Words & Pictures
    • Radical Art: Art Young and the Cartoons of American Socialism, Michael Mark Cohen
  • Reviews
    • Social Capital and Class, Riad Azar, Review of Putnam, Our Kids: The American Dream In Crisis
    • An Insider’s Look At What It Takes To Get By, Tom Peters, Review of Mckenzie, Getting By: Estates, Class, and Culture In Austerity Britain
    • Who’s In Charge? The Power Structure and Foreign Policy, Marty Oppenheimer, Review of Shoup, Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics 1975-2014
    • What Is This Thing Called Leninism?, Jason Schulman, Review of Le Blanc, Unfinished Leninism
    • The Intelligent Human’s Guide To Socialism, Sandy Boyer, Review of Katch, Socialism … Seriously: A Brief Guide To Human Liberation
    • The Party of “Peace and Justice”, Frank A. Warren, Review of Ross, The Socialist Party of America: A Complete History
    • A Bottom-Up History, Not A Comfortable Reinforcement, Martin Comack, Review of Guillamón, Ready For Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona
    • Happiness Is Political: William Thompson’s Utilitarian Argument for Democratic Work, John W. Lawrence, Review of Kaswan, Happiness, Democracy and the Cooperative Movement: The Radical Utilitarianism of William Thompson

In this issue:

From the Editors

By: , , , ,

In this issue we are proud to present a previously unpublished lecture by C.L.R. James, the noted Afro-Caribbean Marxist intellectual. His discussion of Oliver Cox’s book Caste, Class, and Race, first published in 1948, brings an historic Black socialist voice to illuminate some of the issues that face our own times and the demand that Black Lives Matter.

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

By:

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. 

Bernie Sanders and the Dilemma 
of the Democratic “Party”

By:

ImageSome months ago I responded to a piece that appeared on the New Politics blog by my longtime fellow NP editorial board member and friend Barry Finger.1 In my own blog, I argued that Barry had a better, more sophisticated understanding of the peculiarities of the Democratic Party and the U.S.

The Sanders Campaign and the Left

By: ,

ImageSenator Bernie Sanders’ run for the Democratic Party nomination for president has certainly energized thousands. It has also rekindled an old debate on the American left that revolves around the question: Should the left join, endorse, support, or work for campaigns in the Democratic Party?

Introduction

By: ,

Inequality has become a defining issue of our time, with political commentators of all stripes discussing its causes, effects, and possible solutions. Thomas Piketty’s 2013 work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, set off a chain reaction of books, journal articles, conferences, and debates focusing on questions of inequality. We intend to push this critique further. 

The Systemic Edge

By: , ,

ImageSASKIA SASSEN is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University (www.saskiasassen.com). She was interviewed for New Politics by editors Riad Azar and Saulo Colón about her new book, Expulsions: When Complexity Produces Elementary Brutalities (Harvard University Press, 2014). 

The Rise of the Servant Society

By:

ImageWe are witnessing a grand shift in the nature of capitalist society. It is not to be found simply in the expanding chasms of economic inequality, nor in the rapid social and cultural transformations shaped by globalization. Of course, economic inequality raises concern among liberals, social democrats, and socialists alike. For all see in it an ethical problem, one of unfairness, of greed, of unequal control and power.

Debt, Underemployment, and Capitalism

By: ,

ImageSystemic contradictions of capitalism have only intensified in the neoliberal era. Structural unemployment, a phenomenon directly related to capitalist modes of production, has continued unabated, creating a massive and ever-growing “reserve army of labor” that has been disenfranchised on an unprecedented scale. 

The Roots of the Modern Housing Crisis

By:

ImageAmericans today face a dual crisis: rising rents and increasingly unaffordable housing markets. The housing crisis, far from being over, has metastasized.

Introduction

By: ,

In 1971 the Institute of the Black World (IBW) was at a crossroads. Founded in 1969 by historian Vincent Harding, literary scholar Stephen Henderson, and other scholars in the colleges that comprised the Atlanta University Center (AUC), as well as with the support of leading national researchers of the African American experience, the IBW served as the intellectual wing of the Martin Luther King Center.

The Class Basis of the Race Question in the United States

By:

ImageNow as usual, ten past nine; I certainly will not go on beyond ten past ten. And I would like to say at once that this is the task. It is so difficult that it is as well to say at the beginning that it can be done. Five hundred and eighty-three pages [Oliver Cox’s Caste, Class and Race: A Study in Social Dynamics].

Prospects for Turkey

By:

ImageIn a June 2015 election, the new People’s Democracy Party (HDP) of Turkey passed a highly undemocratic 10 percent threshold to enter the Turkish parliament.

A Commune in Rojava?

By:

ImageThe siege of Kobani by Islamic State (ISIS) brought worldwide attention to the Syrian Kurdish PYD (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, Democratic Union Party), the leading force in the Kurdish-majority areas in northern Syria. The PYD calls this region Rojava—literally meaning “land of the sunset” but also translated as “West Kurdistan.” 

The Kurds, Bookchin, and the 
Need to Reinvent Revolution

By:

ImageToday, a year after the heroic resistance of Kobani made it to the world news, it is hardly necessary to give an introduction to the Kurdish struggle, which has now taken a central place in the imagination of the international left, both vanguardist and anti-authoritarian.

Who Wins From “Climate Apartheid”?

By:

ImageThe billion residents of Africa are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change in coming decades, and of special concern are high-density sites of geopolitical and resource-related conflicts: the copper belt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and mineral-rich African Great Lakes stretching into northern Uganda, western Ethiopia (bordering the Sudanese war zone), Madagascar and s

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

By: ,

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.

Podemos and the 15M Language Community

By:

ImageThe Indignados (in English, the “outraged”), protagonists of what is called the Spanish May 15, or 15M, Revolution (2011-2013), concentrated a great deal of their political action on the construction of a shared conceptual and emotional understanding of the political reality around them.

Radical Art: Art Young and the Cartoons of American Socialism

By:

ImageArthur Henry Young (1866-1943), known to the world as Art, was arguably the most widely recognized and beloved cartoonist in the history of American radicalism. A working cartoonist for sixty years, Art Young drew thousands of simple black-line drawings with biting captions that appeared in big-city newspapers, liberal magazines, and, most importantly, in the socialist, labor, and radical press of the early twentieth century.

review

Social Capital and Class

By:

The American Dream, that fantasy of growth that has long girded the ideology of entrepreneurship and a better future, is in crisis. Many haven’t felt the dream for decades, some never having experienced it at all. Robert Putnam, in his latest work, Our Kids, seeks to confront this stagnation in our economic dreams by interrogating the forces that have taken hold of communities across the United States.

review

An Insider’s Look at What it Takes 
to Get By

By:

In 2001, Professor Danny Dorling wrote an essay entitled “Anecdote Is the Singular of Data.” In it he explored how, during his teenage years, he grasped the idea that the places people live impact the lives they lead. Dorling opens the essay by describing a pedestrianized subway near his childhood home. The subway had four entrances, each leading from a different housing development.

review

Who’s in Charge?

By:

The godfather of macro-level power structure research in the United States was the sociologist C. Wright Mills, author of The Power Elite (1956).

review

What Is This Thing Called Leninism?

By:

First, allow me to come clean: I count Paul Le Blanc as a friend and comrade and am in his debt—along with Peter Hudis, author of Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism (Haymarket, 2013)—for inviting me to join the editorial board of the Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg being published by Verso Books. And I am in agreement with many of the positions on politics and historical matters that Le Blanc expresses in Unfinished Leninism.

review

The Intelligent Human’s Guide 
to Socialism

By:

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.

review

The Party of “Peace and Justice”

By:

First, full disclosure: I read most of Jack Ross’s The Socialist Party of America in draft. Although it is normally not good policy to then review the book, I felt I could express my respect for what Jack Ross is attempting and share my concerns in a way that could serve a useful purpose.

review

A Bottom-Up History, Not a Comfortable Reinforcement

By:

Agustín Guillamón is a dedicated anarcho-syndicalist activist whose partisanship has not affected his critical sensitivities nor prevented him from graphically outlining what he regards as the errors and inconsistencies of the Spanish libertarian left.

review

Happiness Is Political

By:

”Happiness is political,” is the opening line of Kaswan’s provocative book on William Thompson’s theory on the social nature of happiness and its ramification for organizing a just society. Kaswan introduces the reader to Thompson (1775-1833) as “perhaps the paradigmatic case of a traitor to his class.” Thompson was the only son of a wealthy merchant in Cork, Ireland; however as a political theorist, he developed ideas of the Enlightenment in a liberatory direction, calling for the elimination of subordination in all its manifestations.

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