New Politics Summer 2014 is Now Available

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Dear New Politics Subscribers and Friends,

The exciting new issue of New Politics is now available in print and online! This issue focuses on the American Scene as well as offering articles on the Ukraine and other international topics and theoretical discussions. Click any of the links below to access the online essays and book reviews.

Print copies are available by subscription and in fine bookstores (i.e., those that carry socialist magazines). If you are not a subscriber, we urge you to become one.

Check the New Politics site regularly for much additional web-only content, both blogs by our regular contributors and other features.

The Editors

From the Editors

by Dan La Botz, Stephen R. Shalom, and Julia Wrigley

In this issue, we shift our focus toward domestic concerns, though we also look abroad with anxiety and trepidation.

The American Scene

The Working Class and Left Politics: Back on the American Radar
by Dan La Botz

ImageThe American political system, so highly polarized between conservative Republicans and moderate Democrats, has experienced in the last year some interesting changes on the left-hand margin of the national political scene.

 

Beyond Obamacare
Universalism and Health Care in the Twenty-first Century
by A. W. Gaffney

The Affordable Care Act commentariat — including those confidently awaiting the day when all its promises are vindicated, those rooting for its ignominious demise, and those of us in a separate camp — have been kept occupied in recent months. Between autumn's website drama and winter's enrollment saga, the news cycle has been full of stories of IT dysfunctions tackled, right-wing challenges thwarted, enrollment goals met, electoral prospects threatened, and individuals newly insured (or variously dissatisfied).

 

The Teachers' Trifecta
Democracy, Social Justice, Mobilization
by Lois Weiner

ImageAcross the United States, we are in the midst of a great struggle over the nation's education system. On one side is a bipartisan effort to privatize schools and undermine the promise of public education. Opposing that effort are large numbers of parents and teachers.

 

The Chicago Women's Liberation 
Rock Band, 1970-1973
A Memoir and Reflection on Badass Boffo Revolutionary Feminist Music
by Naomi Weisstein

ImageIn Chicagoland, in 1970, almost every teenage girl listened to rock. They considered it their music — hormonal, quasi-outlaw, with screaming guitars and a heavy, driving beat. But it was sooo misogynist! This wasn't the Beatles' playful woman-affectionate songs.

 

 

Aquí estamos y no nos vamos — Adelina Nicholls on the Fight for Immigrant Rights
We're here and we're not going away
by Martha W. Rees

On February 7, 2014, I sat down with Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) in Atlanta, to talk about the organization's history and achievements, as well as to reflect on the political role of Latino immigrants in the United States today.

 

Droning On, Fracking the Planet
Foreign Policy in the Obama Era
by David Finkel

The moral collapse of the Obama administration on so many fronts — Guantanamo, Palestine, drone warfare atrocities, mass electronic surveillance and brutal prosecution of whistleblowers, presidential-ordered assassinations, and so much more — has rightly drawn shock and outrage from the peace and global justice movements. Indeed, this presidency has been a civil and human rights travesty both domestically and globally. Alongside our horror, however, must be a clear material and political assessment of the underlying strategic purpose of this administration.

 

The Crisis in Ukraine

ImageThe crisis in Ukraine has raised grave problems for the people of that country, significant dangers for world peace, and many contending views on the left. Here we offer three articles that we think help us make sense of what's going on, by Joanne Landy, Kevin B. Anderson, and Sean Larson.

 

 

 

Ukraine Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Is There a Way Out?
by Joanne Landy

The governments of the United States and Russia are attempting to shape events in Ukraine in their own interests, not for the benefit of the Ukrainian people. Ukrainians have long suffered from domination by Moscow, under the Russian czars and later in the Soviet Union, most horrifically under Stalin. With the end of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, millions hoped for freedom and a new beginning.

 

Ukraine: Democratic Aspirations and Inter-imperialist Rivalry
by Kevin Anderson

Ukraine constitutes a test not only for democratic movements, or the unevenly matched imperialisms of the U.S./EU and Russia, but also for the global left. As with other "difficult" moments like the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, Iran 2009, or the Libyan uprising, our support for democracy and human rights has in some quarters come into conflict with the long held stance that neoliberal capitalism, led by the United States, is the main danger confronting humanity.

 

Contradictions of the Ruling Class in Ukraine
by Sean Larson

Ukrainian capitalism today is distinguished by the most fortified oligarchy of the post-Soviet states. Politics in Ukraine have been subject to volatile lurches over the last decade, driven by the direct involvement of masses of Ukrainians. Meanwhile, shaping the economic, political, and ideological aspects of society and daily life in Ukraine is a ubiquitous inter-imperialist competition between Russia on the one side and the United States and the European Union on the other.

 

On Returning To Where the Heart Is
by James Kilgore

Image[Ed. note: This essay by James Kilgore was the winner of the Daniel Singer Prize for 2013. Kilgore lived in South Africa from 1991-2002. During that time he was a fugitive from U.S. justice living under the pseudonym "John Pape." He worked as an educator and researcher for unions and social movements. In 2002 he was arrested on the streets of Cape Town, then extradited to the United States where he served six and a half years in prison. In July 2012 he returned to South Africa for the first time since his arrest. Here he presents his reflections on the journey.]

 

Argentina: The End of Kirchnerism?
by Niall Reddy

ImageScholars have sometimes noted that Argentinian history seems unusually punctuated by periods of booming prosperity followed by dramatic collapse.

 

 

 

China's Emergence as an Imperialist Power
by Michael Pröbsting

ImageOne of the most important issues in world politics today is China's rise as a great imperialist power. Most left-wing writers consider China either as a "socialist country," a "deformed workers' state," or as a "dependent capitalist country" exploited by Western monopolies.

 

 

Rosa Luxemburg: Economics for a New Socialist Project
by Ingo Schmidt

Right-wing militias killed Rosa Luxemburg and dumped her dead body into the Landwehr Canal after the Spartacus uprising in Berlin. Social democrats and communists finished off her intellectual and political legacy by putting her on their respective pedestals. She became a principal witness against Bolshevik organizing practices for the former and was praised as a co-founder of the German Communist Party and a revolutionary martyr by the latter.

 

Remembering Doug Ireland, Steve Kindred, and James D. Young
by Dan La Botz and Thomas Harrison

We note the passing of radical journalist and queer activist Doug Ireland, student and labor activist and a founder of Teamsters for a Democratic Union Steve Kindred, and Scottish labor historian Jimmy Young.

 

In Memoriam: Phil Evans, 1946-2014
by Kent Worcester

ImageThe gifted political cartoonist Phil Evans passed away earlier this year in the seaside town of Hastings, England. He was 68.

 

 

 

Reviews

Mapping the New Oligarchy
by Michael J. Thompson

ImageInequality is the theme of our time. It should perhaps be said that it has always been so. But after the surge of globalization since the 1990s, the decreasing fortunes of the middle class, and the more recent shock of the 2008 financial crisis, it has come more sharply into focus. It is within this context that Thomas Piketty has published Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a book that is exhaustively researched and brimming with empirical data and interpretation.

 

 

New Light on the KKK
by Martin Oppenheimer

Sit-ins at lunch counters by black students began in Greensboro, North Carolina, on February 1, 1960. Blacks had traditionally not been served there or anywhere in the South at that time. Within a week the sit-ins spread to Durham and Winston-Salem. Eleven of the first sit-ins were within 100 miles of Greensboro. After many arrests, and assaults by white hoodlums, on July 25 all Greensboro stores targeted by the sit-ins agreed to serve blacks on an equal basis.

 

Sleeping Through the Pirate Raid
by Michael Hirsch

The mainstream media was never true to its pretension of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable — which was Gilded Age humorist Finley Peter Dunne's point — but there were exceptions, and exceptional practices. "Accountability reporting," or investigative reporting, is one of them.

 

When the Red States Really Were Red
by E. Haberkern

The labor- and third-party movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been studied and written about extensively by academics and writers on the left. Most readers of this journal are probably familiar with much of this material. This book, however, is of particular interest today for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the author concentrates on the South and emphasizes the biracial nature of the movement.

 

Renegades and Castaways
by Kent Worcester

For many years the dominant trend in scholarship on C.L.R. James has been to emphasize his cultural and literary writings. Arguably the most popular way to frame his legacy has been to situate him as a forerunner to cultural studies, post-colonial studies, and identity politics. But this culture-centered reading of James is at best incomplete.

 

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