Archive | Commentary

  • Imperialism and The Interview: The Racist Dehumanization of North Korea

      The haze of political chaos in America surrounding the Ferguson protests, the Torture Report, and the “relaxing” of US-Cuba relations has been broken by a media spectacle almost too ridiculous to comprehend.  A hacker group called the “Guardians of Peace” conducted a “cyber attack” on Sony Pictures Entertainment, leaking emails, documents, presentations, and information […]

  • ‘Dreamed a Dream by the Old Canal . . . ‘: The Coming Centenary of Ewan MacColl’s Birth

    Next year marks 100 years since the birth of Ewan MacColl.  Born James Henry Miller in Salford on 25th January 1915, he adopted the stage name of Ewan MacColl to acknowledge his proud Scottish heritage. MacColl became a great influence on the folk music scene of the 50s and 60s, best known for songs about […]

  • Shummy’s Surrender: Dem Governor of Vermont Goes South on Single Payer

    “Vermont . . . is the only state with universal single-payer health coverage for its residents.” — James Fallows in The Atlantic, April 2014 For nearly four years, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has been basking in the glow of press accolades like the one above.  Unfortunately, what was often misreported nationally as a done deal […]

  • On the Relations Between Cuba and the United States

    Havana, 17 December 2014 Fellow countrymen, Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated on many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment […]

  • The Political Economy of Austerity Now

    Government austerity for the masses (raising taxes and cutting public services) is becoming the issue shaping politics in western Europe, north America, and Japan.  In the US, austerity turned millions away from the polls where before they supported an Obama who promised changes from such policies.  So Republicans will control Congress and conflicts over austerity […]

  • An Interview with Dawn Paley, Author of Drug War Capitalism

    Dawn Paley is a Canadian author.  Drug War Capitalism (AK Press, November 2014) is her first book.  We conducted an e-interview as protests grew against police and military policies in Mexico and the U.S.  The drug war on both sides of the border has played no small role in generating such dissent. Seth Sandronsky: Can […]

  • Drones, Prisons, and the Rehabilitation of an Abolitionist

    On December 10, International Human Rights Day, federal Magistrate Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three months in prison for having crossed the line at a military base that wages drone warfare.  The punishment for our attempt to speak on behalf of trapped and desperate people, abroad, will be an opportunity to speak with people trapped […]

  • Man Acquitted, 30 Years Later, for “Subversive Books” on Capitalism and Revolution

      This article was first published by the Hankyoreh on 25 November 2014; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.

  • Fracking Patria, Fracking Humanity: Capitalism and Its Doubles

    Many Venezuelans think that fracking — the dangerous extraction of oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing of sedimentary rocks — is a conspiracy on the part of the United States to drive them into ruin.  That is not the case, but it is an understandable error, in part because of the US’s long history of […]

  • Senator Sanders and the Impossibility of Reviving Democratic Party Liberalism

    Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont released a 12-step economic agenda on December 1, 2014.  Cyber Monday at the start of the holiday commercial frenzy is not the best time to capture public attention, but Sanders probably has a strict timeline as he decides whether to run for president. The goals of Sanders’ agenda are worthy. […]

  • The Red-Red-Green Victory in Thuringia

    Yes, “red-red-green” squeezed through to victory — by one single wavering vote. Political parties in the USA have animal symbols, donkey and elephant.  In Germany they have colors: the Christian-Democrats (CDU), due to clerical ties, are black, the Greens of course green, the Social Democrats (SPD) traditionally red.  When the redder Linke (Left) party came […]

  • “A Guernica of Political Prose”: Ashok Mitra’s Calcutta Diary

    Ashok Mitra.  Calcutta Diary.  Kolkata: Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, 2014 (first published in 1977 by Frank Cass, London).  pp xxvii + 300.  Rs 395. They do not trumpet their inspiration from the rooftops: “their identification with the cause is nevertheless total”.  Amal Sen, the homeopath, was one such sympathiser.  A dreamer of socialist dreams, he medicated, […]

  • A Fighter All My Life, the Memoir of Sam Johnson, a Black Auto Worker and Dissident Union Activist

    A Fighter All My Life is the memoir of Sam Johnson, a black man from the South who became a Detroit auto worker and dissident union activist.  Johnson was born and raised on the front lines of class conflict in America.  His everyday life was fraught with danger.  In the tradition of the memoirs of […]

  • They Fear and They Kill

    It’s open season on wild turkeys. They harm no one, are decorative feathered dinosaurs.  Tough to eat, so why shoot?  But the season ends. It’s open season on Black youths all year, so long as you have a uniform and a gun.  They are genuinely scared, the cops. Kids of color are going to eat […]

  • Cops, Hooligans, and Neo-Nazis in Germany

    Confrontations with the police in Germany have not been quite the same as in Ferguson and other USA cities.  But some were dramatic enough.  Back in September 2010 mass protests in Stuttgart against a huge underground railroad station at the cost of a prized old building and a central park were hit hard by cops […]

  • Ferguson: The Evils of the Grand Jury System

    Over the last 17 years I have represented dozens and dozens of clients who were subpoenaed to testify as witnesses at state and federal grand juries regarding government investigations.  A grand jury is a secret tribunal where a citizen is forced to answer questions by a prosecutor, often against their will.  Those subpoenaed are not […]

  • The Wobblies in Their Heyday, a Hard-headed History of the IWW

    Eric Chester.  The Wobblies in Their Heyday: The Rise and Destruction of the Industrial Workers of the World during the World War I Era.  Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2014. The Wobblies are back.  Many young radicals find the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) the most congenial available platform on which to stand in trying […]

  • The Spectre of Social Counter-Revolution

    5th Dr. BR Ambedkar Memorial Lecture, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi, September 27, 2014 I I would like to use this occasion to dwell upon a point to which Dr Ambedkar had drawn attention in his closing speech to the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949.  In that speech he had underscored a […]

  • Armed Woman Massacres All-Male Harvard Club, NRA Chief Calls for Gun Control

    Harvard University remains shut down one day after a lone woman wielding a Bushmaster .223 semiautomatic rifle broke through security at the university’s elite, men-only Porcellian Club and shot 14 white male students to death. The female — of indeterminate age, race, and sexual attractiveness — was described as wearing a torn leather jacket emblazoned […]

  • Colombian Prisons and Prisoners Mirror Class Struggle

    Prisoners in Colombia have recently gained new visibility.  Prisoner protest actions are one factor.  Another is discussion at the Havana peace talks of prisoners as victims of armed conflict.  November 2014 marks the two-year anniversary of talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government. Beginning on October 20, hunger strikes […]