Archive | Commentary

  • 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 […]

  • 1966, 1917, and 1818: ‘Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend’

    This year marks 50 years since Mao and his close comrades launched the Cultural Revolution in China.  Next year, 2017, will be 100 years since the February and October revolutions in Russia.  And, 2018 will mark the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx (1818-1883), whose works were a compelling source of inspiration for the Russian […]

  • Migration as Revolt against Capital

    The fact that a large number of refugees, especially from countries which have been subjected of late to the ravages of imperialist aggression and wars, are desperately trying to enter Europe is seen almost exclusively in humanitarian terms.  While this perception no doubt has validity, there is another aspect of the issue which has escaped […]

  • Interview with Steve Ellner: Democratization of PSUV Is Key to Chavismo’s Future

    Distinguished Venezuelan history and politics professor Steve Ellner visited Caracas from September 26 to October 7 to teach an intensive seminar at the Venezuelan Planning School, titled “The Role of the Venezuelan State in the Transition to Socialism.”  Venezuelanalysis‘s Lucas Koerner sat down with the long-time Universidad de Oriente professor to discuss a range of […]

  • The Mad Activist Refrains from Assassinating Donald Trump

    Time to vote for our next president!  Time to choose just the right person to lead our world’s most militarily advanced superpower.  That’s why presidential elections should be nonviolent and fulfilling on a deep personal level!  O whom, shall I choose?  Let’s see. . . Hillary Rodham Clinton: Democrat and fellow feminist.  Speechifies against poverty, […]

  • Open Letter to San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong:Uphold the MOU with An-Najah University and Support Professor Abdulhadi!

    To add your signature to this open letter in solidarity, please sign at <bit.ly/2dtPmzP>. Open Letter to San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong: Uphold the MOU with An-Najah University and Support Professor Abdulhadi! Members of the Delegation with faculty and students from An-Najah University. In March 2016, nineteen of us were part of a […]

  • Berlin: An Omen for the 2017 German Federal Elections?

    There is currently too much dramatic news abroad in the world, mostly bad.  What can an election in one single city mean, far from most fronts?  Yet the voting in Berlin last Sunday (September 18th) was full of drama and meaning, also outside Germany.  The results caused some to grieve, some to applaud, and analysts […]

  • The Imperial War Museum in London: A Lesson in State Propaganda?

    In January 2016, I attended Tate Britain’s Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past, a disappointing exhibition that in spite of its title did not face Britain’s past in any meaningful way.  On the contrary, as I argued in my review, it shied away from this bloody history in favour of quasi-glorification, non-committal wording and […]

  • National Anthems in Germany

    The debate about the US anthem echoes a debate about the German anthem.  The “Deutschland über alles” text goes back to 1841 but its meaning has been and still is easily misused.  When East Germany was annexed in 1990 many suggested adopting the GDR anthem, written in 1949 by the anti-Nazi poet (and minister of […]

  • Expert Panel: The Anthropocene Epoch Has Definitely Begun

    Key conclusion of Anthropocene Working Group report to Geological Congress: the “Great Acceleration” in the second half of the 20th century marked the end of the Holocene and the beginning of a new geological epoch. The evidence is overwhelming: earth entered a new geological epoch in about 1950.  In an official report to the International […]

  • Police Shoot Another Rich White Man

    Darien, CT — Only days before he was to enter Yale Law School, Trey Von Der Brown, 22, was mowed down behind the wheel of his powder-blue 2016 Mini Cooper convertible in a hail of police bullets.  In the passenger seat, Wentworth MacFarquhar, 19, a second-year student at Yale Business School, was critically wounded. Rich-white-people […]

  • Brexit and the EU Implosion: National Sovereignty — For What Purpose?

    The defense of national sovereignty, like its critique, leads to serious misunderstandings once one detaches it from the social class content of the strategy in which it is embedded.  The leading social bloc in capitalist societies always conceives sovereignty as a necessary instrument for the promotion of its own interests based on both capitalist exploitation […]

  • The Truth About the Coup in Brazil

    Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), is a social movement founded in 1984.  For more information, contact Cassia Bechara at cassia@mst.org.br>.

  • Turkey: A War of Two Coups

    On the night of 15-16 July, Turkey went through a cataclysm that stunned the world: a huge section of the armed forces of the country (TSK in its Turkish acronym) attempted to take power from the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP, came very close to its objective, but was ultimately defeated.  Official […]

  • Now Is No Time to Wait

      With the failure of the attempted coup of 15 July, the true danger begins now: an attempt to transform the de facto presidential system into overt fascism with the support of a racist and reactionary militant mass movement buoyed by the rhetoric that the “coup was thwarted by popular resistance” “#NATO partner #Erdoğan uses […]