Archive | Commentary

  • Thousands of Greeks Take to the Streets . . . and Chant the Name of Their Finance Minister

    “Has there ever been a demonstration where people chanted the name of a finance minister? This must be a world first!” says the ironic Xenia, a 53-year-old woman who has been shouting for several minutes, with thousands of demonstrators, the now omnipresent name in Athens: “Yanis Varoufakis, Yanis Varoufakis, Yanis Varoufakis!”

  • The Spirit of Tony Mazzocchi Is Haunting Big Oil Today

    Twelve years ago, America’s leading advocate of occupational health and environmental safety succumbed to pancreatic cancer. In the U.S., where the influence of organized labor has long been contracting, the death of a former trade union official is often little noted.  Yet Tony Mazzocchi was no ordinary labor leader.  His passing from the scene, at […]

  • SYRIZA’s Historic Responsibility, KKE’s Moment

      Bandera de la república popular de España en Atenas, entre las canciones Bella Ciao y Bandiera Rossa. #Syriza pic.twitter.com/HuVaAfO3Dg — ALFON (@TxabierAlonso) January 25, 2015 As a communist, if I were Greek I would certainly be active in the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and this Sunday the party would have had my vote.  […]

  • A Crack in Merkel’s Power over Europe

    SYRIZA’s electoral victory is a historic opportunity for the whole of Europe.  The Greek voters voted for an end to the catastrophic policy of cuts dictated to Greece by the Troika composed of the EU Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB).  This election is therefore also a defeat for […]

  • Interview with KKE’s Kostas Papadakis on Why KKE Does Not Support SYRIZA: “We Are Against the EU, NATO, and Chains of Capitalism”

    Greek Communist Party (KKE) MEP Kostas Papadakis firmly says: “SYRIZA has made very clear that it is not going to defy the EU or NATO.  We say: What kind of left is this?” “The EU has no fear of SYRIZA.  SYRIZA is not the oligarchy’s first choice, but it is the new face of social […]

  • Je Suis Cumhuriyet: Charlie Hebdo as Seen from Turkey

    Seeing the crowned heads of Europe march in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo has aroused vigorous dissent from many liberals and leftists in western countries — aimed both at the display of European unity and at the content of the cartoons themselves.  Are these images bold anti-clerical statements or rather racist caricatures of a despised minority?  […]

  • PEGIDA, SYRIZA, and the Future of Europe

    Recent events here in Germany remind me of a playground seesaw, with constant ups and downs of one side and the other. All autumn we watched the upward swing of PEGIDA, “Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West,” most rapidly but not only in Saxony’s capital Dresden.  Its main features were a fast-talking, shady leader […]

  • Wolinski’s Last Cartoon?

      A little over a week ago we celebrated the advent of the new year, but not like the rest of the world.  The three Cuban anti-terrorist heroes imprisoned in the United States had returned to our country several weeks before. #CharlieHebdo Wolinski président d’honneur de Cuba Si France était tous les ans à la […]

  • Samir Amin on the Charlie Hebdo Murders: Imperialism and International Terrorism

      The Western errors and neo-liberal damages: Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi knew how to contain the Islamist drift, but they were slaughtered.  In Libya, Paris and Washington have it all wrong. We reached Samir Amin — philosopher, economist, and director of the Third World Forum based in Dakar — in Paris by phone, to […]

  • Duty of Anti-Racist Insolence: Support Saïdou and Saïd Bouamama

    Support Our Comrades Saïd Bouamama and Saïdou (Z.E.P.)! by Young Communists, Lille Section On 20 January 2015, our comrades Saïdou, of the band Z.E.P. (Zone d’Expression Populaire), and Saïd Bouamama, a sociologist and militant communist based in Lille, are summoned to appear before the Court of First Instance of Paris, charged with “public insult” and […]

  • Je Suis Charlie — But I Have Other Names as Well!

    Monday evening I had planned to write about the PEGIDA movement in Germany.  Although in Dresden, their city of origin, the number of bitter marchers protesting the “Islamization” of the West had increased stubbornly to 18,000, I began to report happily that everywhere else in Germany they had been greatly outnumbered.  In Berlin, only 300 […]

  • Doing (and Making) History from Below

    The title Doing History from the Bottom Up not only defines the purpose and sets the direction; it lays down a challenge.  The author, Staughton Lynd, uses the present continuous form of the verb “do,” which indicates that there is really no beginning nor end.  Lynd challenges us to act rather than ideate, and he […]

  • Black Lives Matter in the Best Films of 2014

    More than 100 years after the birth of cinema, it sometimes feels like every story has been told.  But the best films of 2014 dared to break out of their genres, explore new ways of filmmaking, and inspire viewers.  Some of them even provided tools for popular understanding of our current political moment.  This year, […]

  • Outing Torture Queen Bikowsky

    Dear Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, So many people want to be famous.  Not you.  You were content to let Jessica Chastain portray a more competent version of your waterboarding and bin Laden-stalking self in the film Zero Dark Thirty.  You never asked for credit.  But now, thanks to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s Report on CIA […]

  • An Early Activist Critique of Stalin’s 1934 Antihomosexual Law: “A Chapter of Russian Reaction” by Kurt Hiller

      Introduction This article, titled “A Chapter of Russian Reaction,” translated into English here for the first time, was written in German by longtime homosexual activist Kurt Hiller (1885-1972) from London and published in the Swiss gay journal Der Kreis in 1946.  Hiller had been active in Germany’s first homosexual-rights organization, the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäre Komitee (Scientific […]

  • Dresden and Its Dangerous Demonstrators

    Dresden, Saxony’s beautiful capital, has a distinguished history.  One ruler, August the Strong, could bend horseshoes with his bare hands and, so legend has it, sired 354 children.  In 1697 he pushed and bribed his way onto the royal throne of neighboring Poland, made possible by his quick conversion to Catholicism.  (His wife, refusing the […]

  • The “Responsible Nuclear State”: The United States and the Bomb

      In light of the revelations that the United States was prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event of war between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea, it may be worth revisiting the idea that America represents a “responsible” nuclear power, in opposition to countries like Iran and […]

  • “Today Is the Day Democracy Is Murdered”: Wave of Repression Sweeps South Korea

    On December 19, the South Korean Constitutional Court delivered a devastating blow against the progressive movement when it disbanded the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) with immediate effect.  That act came as the culmination of a long campaign by South Korean President Park Geun-hye to shackle the labor movement and smash political opposition. The Constitutional Court […]

  • 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 […]