Archive | Commentary

  • Carmageddon and Karl Marx

    “So far as I am aware,” wrote Paul Sweezy in 1973, “the political economy of the automobile has never been subjected to serious analysis in the Marxian literature.” Amazingly, despite the apparent onset of global warming, “peak oil,” and permanent petro-war, Sweezy’s observation remains true today.  We Marxians have not yet begun to do more […]

  • Heartbreak Hotel

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a military man turned “peacenik,” is unilaterally “disengaging” from the Gaza Strip. It’s all over television, play by play — the hardship Israel is enduring. Scenes of Israeli soldiers emotionally and physically struggling to remove the 8,500 settlers from the Gaza Strip are displayed while CNN anchors utter soft words in […]

  • Global Capitalism in Danger

    Global capitalism is in danger. Leading lights of global finance capital are sending out warning signals with growing urgency and desperation. Alan Greenspan is puzzled, referring to the decline of long-term interest rates at a time of rising short-term interest rates as a “conundrum.” To solve the conundrum, Martin Wolf of the Financial Times argues, […]

  • Insuring Inequality: The Privatization of Public Education in the U.S.

    The education gap in the U.S., like the wealth chasm, is growing ever wider, and equal educational opportunity, the perennial dream of working-class and progressive people, is being undermined by neo-conservative forces.  Although free universal public education was adopted early in U.S. history, equal opportunity has never been realized.  Since colonial times, education has been […]

  • GM, the UAW, and U.S. Health Care

    General Motors Corp. is losing market share and money. Basically, GM’s business downturn is being driven by UAW members having made more cars and trucks than can be sold in the marketplace. Thus, the company wants to re-open its four-year labor contract with the UAW to cut employee health-care costs, unilaterally if need be. GM […]

  • Pyramid of Capital (1983)

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  • The Other Side of the Coin

    The classicist Walter Burkert has argued that all cultures start in blood — the binding guilt of shared murder, periodically reenacted in ritual sacrifice. This is the kind of generalization that seems made to be refuted, and certainly one would like to be able to do so; but the identification of blood sacrifice with the […]

  • The New Model Army of Clowns:

    In the years since W’s re-election, activists around the world have re-examined their methods. Questioning the accustomed lesser evil electoral politics, the boring rallies, the bursts of direct action, and frustrated tears, a new cohort of political actors have emerged with a new series of playful approaches. They have turned to a uniquely distinct form […]

  • The Medicaid Kill-Off

    President George W. Bush and Congress slashed $10 billion from the Medicaid budget for this coming year. Medicaid is the primary public health care program for impoverished persons that serves over 53 million people. The cut is clearly an attack on poor people, and it may wind up killing disabled and chronically ill persons before […]

  • South Korea: The Unraveling of an Economy

    South Korea, the poster country for the IMF in the post-East Asian crisis period, is in serious economic trouble.  That’s probably why you hear so little about what is happening there.  After a major economic collapse in 1998, the country recorded GDP growth rates of 10.9 percent and 9.3 percent in 1999 and 2000, respectively.  […]

  • The Sandinista Revolution and the “Fifth Freedom”

    This month will mark the 25th Anniversary of the overwhelmingly successful Literacy Crusade spurred by the Sandinista Revolution. This article examines the various programs implemented during the revolution, the US reaction to the revolution, and Nicaragua’s present situation. Revolution On July 19, 1979 a broad-based popular revolution, inspired by the legacy of Augusto Cesar Sandino […]

  • Japan’s Modern Historical Loop

    The news of world affairs these days is highly unlikely to delight the Japanese survivors of the two nuclear terrorist attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States’ armed forces sixty years ago. Those attacks were not meant to convince the Japanese leaders to surrender, something which they were about to do anyway, but […]

  • Koizumi Goes Postal

    On Monday, August 8th, Japan’s upper house of Parliament unexpectedly joined the French and Dutch electorates to give a sharp slap to neoliberal inevitability. Much to the totally delicious distress of all the usual suspects, from the Financial Times to the Christian Science Monitor, the parliamentarians turned down Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s key piece of […]

  • Superman and a New Progressive Strategy!

    When I was a child, I used to watch cartoons at home after school (I understand there is a debate about the wisdom of letting children watch TV.  However, I am doing fine today). My favorite cartoon was Superman.  Let me clarify. It was a little confusing watching Superman growing up in Puerto Rico.  Although […]

  • Read the Treaty!

    The United States’ attack on Iran has begun.  The administration of George W. Bush, merely the latest demagogue in charge of domestically marketing the unchanging policies of our outdated, reactionary ruling class, has commenced its media campaign accusing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the newly seated president of Iran, of being merely the latest demagogue in charge of […]

  • Being a Protestant Fundamentalist

    Sometimes, I think I may be the only leftist, Marxist, feminist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist in the United States who was raised as a Protestant Christian fundamentalist.  I remained an evangelizing true believer of the Southern Baptist faith (the largest Christian denomination in the U.S.) in rural Oklahoma until I was 19 years old.  My dream growing […]

  • Tipping Friedman

    New York Times Op-Ed columnist Thomas Friedman is lucky I don’t have his phone number. If I did, I would call and tell him that the “tipping points” in the Middle East never tipped. The Bush administration presented a well-scripted farce to its consummate lapdogs in the media; and Friedman, along with his more conservative […]

  • The Slaying of Jean Charles de Menezes

    There was a remarkable moment in London last month when the Israeli Defence Force looked more restrained than the Metropolitan Police. Having shot an unarmed civilian in the head seven times (and once in the shoulder), the Metropolitan Police was suddenly obliged to explain to the public a policy that had been decided on in […]

  • What One Mom Has to Say to George Bush

    “That lying bastard, George Bush, is taking a five-week vacation in time of war,” Cindy Sheehan told 200 cheering members of Veterans for Peace at their annual convention in Dallas last Friday evening. She then announced she would go to Bush’s vacation home in nearby Crawford, Texas and camp out until he “tells me why […]

  • Vermin and Souvenirs: How to Justify a Nuclear Attack

    Because Japan chose to invade several colonial outposts of the West, the war in the Pacific laid bare the inherent racism of the colonial structure. In the United States and Britain, the Japanese were more hated than the Germans. The race card was played to the hilt through a variety of Allied propaganda methods. Spurred […]