Archive | Commentary

  • Harold Washington

    Politics of the Streets Meets the Politics of the Suites

    Nearly three decades after his untimely death, Harold Washington’s time as mayor of Chicago offers important political lessons for current progressive activists and organizers. While he ran for office as a Democrat, Washington was, in effect, drafted by a grassroots movement that emerged from the city’s neighborhoods.… What emerged from Washington’s run was a two-way process bringing together the “politics of the suites” and the “politics of the streets.”

  • Che Guevara

    Remembering Che on the 50th anniversary of his assassination

    2017 is the 50th anniversary of the CIA-ordered assassination of Che Guevara. In light of a recent upsurge in denunciations of Che and the Cuban Revolution, it is important to separate fact from fiction. Here are 5 important points to take into account, all in historical context, drawn from countless reliable sources, especially the References at the end of this article.

  • Marx Library

    Reading Marx’s Capital Today: Lessons from Latin America

    One hundred and fifty years ago, Karl Marx published his book Capital, an intellectual effort of great breadth, with the aim of revealing the logic of capitalist production and providing workers with theoretical instruments for their liberation. Having discovered the logic of the system, he was able to foresee with great anticipation much of what is happening in the world capitalist economy today. But, we cannot mechanically apply what is outlined in Capital to the current reality of Latin America.

  • ICE Raid

    What Do ICE Raids Mean for the Rest of Us?

    What would happen to Trump’s support if more of us understood that the real effect of ICE raids is the transfer of money out of workers’ paychecks into the bank accounts of unscrupulous employers like Trump himself?

  • Bertrand de Jouvenel

    Mythologies, Guns, Racism and the Death Penalty

    This past week, I have read two judicial decisions that – once again – remind me how powerful mythologies are deployed to justify conduct that harms and mutilates human beings.  However, in both cases, the majority of judges penetrate the mythology and see the case in human terms.  The cases can therefore teach all of […]

  • Herman Bell

    Visiting Herman in the Age of Trump

    Every January, for the past 13 or so years, my cuter half, Laura Whitehorn, our very good friend Tynan Jarrett from Montreal, and i visit Herman Bell, who’s been held in various prisons since 1974.…the following is about our latest visit with Herman, Friday, January 27.

  • Syria, March 31, 2013

    Controlling the Narrative on Syria

    Since 2011, the torrent of ill-informed, inaccurate and often entirely dishonest analysis of events in Syria has been unremitting. I have written previously about the dangers of using simplistic explanations to make sense of the conflict, a problem that has surfaced repeatedly over the past five years. However, there is a greater problem at large.

  • Prime Minister Fidel Castro 1961

    Fidel, Today and Forever

    You always understood that politics was not the art of the possible—a conservative vision of politics—but rather the art of making the impossible possible, not through voluntarist actions but by understanding that politics is the art of building a social, political, and military correlation of forces that allows us to transform the existing conditions of struggle and make possible in the future what seems impossible in the present.

  • Developing “Infrastructure”

    The term “infrastructure” covers all sorts of things, from ports to roads to canals to bridges to building railway lines. Because it covers such a range of things, many of which appear to be useful, most people look upon “infrastructure” development as an indubitably desirable thing under all circumstances. Questions are scarcely asked about its worthwhileness when the government allocates larger resources for the “infrastructure” sector, or when it instructs public sector banks to give larger loans for “infrastructure” development.

  • Forward Ever, Normal Never: Taking Down Donald Trump

    This dream.  Something is in the house, something’s breaking, the things I love are going away.  I reach for Laura, she becomes translucent, evaporates.  I wake up, telling myself this dream means I’m worried about how tired and worn Laura has grown from years of activist work trying to get people out of prison.  I’ve […]

  • May chce twardego Brexitu. Trump nie chce silnego dolara

    The Election of Donald Trump

    1. The recent election of Donald Trump after Brexit, the rise of fascist votes in Europe, but also and much better, the electoral victory of SYRIZA and the rise of Podemos are all manifestations of the depth of the crisis of the system of globalized neoliberalism. This system, which I have always considered unsustainable, is imploding before our eyes at its very heart. All attempts to save the system — to avoid the worst — by minor adjustments are doomed to failure.

  • Fidel Castro — Beyond Words

    We lost Fidel.  We gained a history of examples and wisdom. The story of Fidel is beyond words — we cannot describe it with words alone.  So I would like to just give a testimony. He used all his wisdom, knowledge, leadership, and dedication to build, over 60 years, a united and organized people, who […]

  • Taking Action: Understanding History, Reaching Out

    Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, repression, and the other evils that have been spotlighted by the recent election did not arise full-blown from the Trump campaign.  They all trace deep roots in American society; they are brought now to the surface by demagogy. The point of my last several posts has been that we could see […]

  • How Employers Limit Worker Rights, Using the Power of Government and Market Forces

    The escalating attack on worker rights in the United States has taken several forms in recent years.  In some American states, right-wing politicians have passed laws denying public employees such as teachers, janitors, police, and firefighters the right to organize into unions and bargain collectively.  Some of these laws strip recognition and power from existing […]

  • Open-Shop America: Bracing for the Trump Era

    Donald Trump’s win is the gut-punch finale to a surreal election season.  For thousands of rank-and-file activists the outcome is even more bitter after the inspiration and energy stirred up by Bernie Sanders’ improbable campaign. Unfortunately, we don’t need a crystal ball to figure out what a Trump presidency has in store for labor, especially […]

  • Job Loss, the Clintons, NAFTA, and a New Progressive Labor Rights Agenda

    Today’s post discusses the way that neoliberal policies embraced by the Democratic Party resulted in job loss in key states.  Bear with me: there are facts and figures here that make the case.  Tomorrow, I will continue to discuss these issues in the context of “domestic” job displacement.  The third post will discuss a progressive […]

  • Spanish Recollections: the 80th Anniversary of the International Brigades

    In one hurrying day, eighty years ago, in Albacete, a center of Spain’s La Mancha region, a few officers somehow created quarters for five hundred men arriving the following day, then five hundred more, and more.  Soon three or four thousand, somehow organized in units despite a mad variety of languages, were issued a motley […]

  • The Lawyers’ Job Now — History and Strategy

    Donald Trump and his allies have announced their agenda.  It includes torture, denial of basic human rights, military action that violates the laws of war, racial injustice, misogyny, and xenophobia.  What role and responsibility do we have?  I am a lawyer, teacher, and writer.  So I speak to those in my profession and those preparing […]

  • Build an Independent, Democratic Socialist Left

    The following is an excerpt from Bernie Sanders’ speech at a meeting of the National Committee for Independent Political Action in New York City on June 22, 1989, published under the title “Reflections from Vermont” in the December 1989 issue of Monthly Review. [wc_highlight color=”red”] —Ed.[/wc_highlight] It seems obvious to me that there is no […]

  • Interview with Steve Ellner: Is the Bolivarian Revolution a Populist Failure?

    In part II of our interview with Steve Ellner, the Universidad de Oriente professor discusses a range of contentious issues in Venezuela, including the efficacy of state social programs such as the CLAPs, rentierism, and the Maduro government’s controversial Mining Arc, as well as the role of international solidarity.  Part I of the conversation can […]