Archive | News

  • Gujarat 2002, India 2014: ‘Numbers Sanctify’

    “Numbers sanctify”.  The context is very different, but I couldn’t keep my mind off that quote from Charlie Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux.  After all, the alleged mastermind of the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat will soon be sworn in as India’s prime minister, at the head of a government in which his party, the BJP, will […]

  • Germany’s Left Party on the EU and NATO

    Running up a down escalator is itself mighty difficult.  Trying to keep your footing both on an up and a down escalator at the same time is simply hard to imagine.  Yet it gives an idea of Germany’s present Ukrainian policy. Soon after Soviet soldiers left East Germany between 1989 and 1994, the newly-unified country […]

  • Marking Nakba, Marching to Return

    For 66 years Israel’s founding generation has lived with a guilty secret, one it successfully concealed from the generations that followed.  Forests were planted to hide war crimes.  School textbooks mythologized the events surrounding Israel’s creation.  The army was blindly venerated as the most moral in the world. Once, “Nakba” — Arabic for “Catastrophe”, referring […]

  • The White Supremacist’s Guide to Social Inclusion

    Are you anti-Semitic?  Hate black people?  Detest queers?  Do you feel there are too many “mongrels” in today’s society?  Dread the time when your race will no longer be in the majority?  When inferior, sub-human hordes desecrate the genteel values of Western Civilization and force you into the swamp to dig cinder-block bunkers?  Does your […]

  • Quebec Election: A Seismic Shift Within the Independence Movement?

    The defeat of the Parti Québécois and the election of a federalist Liberal party government in the Quebec general election of April 7 raises important questions about the future of the Quebec movement for sovereignty and political independence.  And it poses some major challenges to the left party Québec Solidaire, as it seeks to position […]

  • Suniti Kumar Ghosh, 1918-2014

    Suniti Kumar Ghosh died on May 11, at the age of 96.  It is not a passing to be mourned but a life, rich and meaningful, to be celebrated. On the face of it, his life had two major phases: the first was one of direct political activity; the second was of research and writing. […]

  • Debating Climate Change Exit Strategies: James Hansen’s Program Is More Than a Carbon Tax

    In “A Left ‘Exit Strategy’ from Fossil Fuel Capitalism?” published in Climate & Capitalism last week, Norwegian socialist Anders Ekeland urges ecosocialists to support the climate change program proposed by one of the world’s most-respected climate scientists, James Hansen, in many essays and speeches and in his book, Storms of My Grandchildren.  In support of […]

  • A Farage Farrago: Contradictions at the Heart of the UK Independence Party

    In Westminster, the drip-drip of financial corruption — expense account abuse, the flipping of houses — is supplemented by a spectacle of “on-message” politicians whose speeches are slick with the shiny artificiality of well-oiled PR productions.  A never-ending parade of besuited, perfectly manicured politicians, staring out at the camera, eyes glazed with faux sincerity, features […]

  • Open Letter to Obama Against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

    Dear President Obama, A part of me wants to say “Welcome to Malaysia” as we Malaysians are generally a hospitable people, and many of us were thrilled when you became the 44th President of the United States.  Your ability to communicate, your oratory skills — you are truly an admirable individual! But one of the […]

  • The Accidental Controversialist: Deeper Reflections on Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”

    Thomas Piketty‘s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a six hundred and eighty-five page tome that definitively characterizes the empirical pattern of income and wealth inequality in capitalist economies over the past two hundred and fifty years, and especially over the last one hundred.  It also documents the grotesque rise of inequality over the past […]

  • Hijackers of the Electoral Process: Maoists or the Indian Establishment?

    “Maoists target teachers, ambulance” — that was the top headline all across the front page of a national daily, but one has got accustomed to mendacity, couched in righteous indignation.  As is usually the case, the news report filed by the local correspondent from the state capital of Chhattisgarh was more sensible, not at all […]

  • Imagining Socialism

    Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA.  Edited by Frances Goldin, Debby Smith, and Michael Steven Smith.  HarperPerennial, 304 pp., $15.99. The need for socialism became clear to me more than fifty years ago when I was working as an orderly in the University of Minnesota Hospitals.  One of the patients I was working with in […]

  • Gabriel García Márquez and the Coming-into-Being of Latin America

    One of the greatest Latin American authors, Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, died last Thursday.  As with any writer whose work becomes a mass culture phenomenon, his work is also the focus of diverse readings.  These readings in turn have a direct bearing on the understanding of our continent’s reality.  For this reason putting pressure […]

  • Taking On the Fashion Industry

    Tansy E. Hoskins.  Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion.  Pluto Press, 2014.  254 pages. To say that Tansy E. Hoskins‘ Stitched Up deconstructs the garment industry would be a misrepresentation.  What the British activist and journalist does is more like a controlled demolition, using facts and footnotes to strip away the apparel trade’s decorative […]

  • Colombia: Popular Agrarian Summit Calls for Strike

    A national strike in Colombia — involving groups of indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians, students, women, small miners, petroleum workers, and campesinos (farmers) — may begin on May 1st. The decision to strike if the government does not respond by the first week of May was made during the Peasant, Ethnic, and Popular Agrarian Summit,1 held from […]

  • Venezuela: Making Peace . . . With Capitalism?

    It was shortly after Moses’s encounter with the Burning Bush that God promised to take the people of Israel to the land of milk and honey.  God, who could be extremely cryptic in his explanations (“I am that I am”), did not beat around the bush when it came to capturing his audience.  For that […]

  • Rwanda, Twenty Years Later

    Twenty years later, full light has not been thrown on the shooting down of the plane of the then president of Rwanda, Habyarimana.  The event was immediately followed by the genocide of the Tutsis by Hutu militias.  Two hypotheses remain to this day equally possible: 1) the plane was shot down by Hutu extremists, making […]

  • The Future of Collective Bargaining: Challenging “Management Prerogatives” Again

    Recent experiences suggest that the generations-old practice of collective bargaining as the normal, if not dominant, method of negotiating the terms of unionized employment is losing its legitimacy.  Notoriously, upon taking office in January 2010, Wisconsin’s Governor Walker introduced a bill to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights.  Despite a massive upheaval and […]

  • Malthus In, Malthus Out, Again

    If hundreds of newspaper and online reports are to be believed, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Agency have proven that western civilization will collapse unless we radically reduce inequality and shift to renewable resources. That would be important news if it were true.  Is it? The first person to say so was Nafeez Ahmed, a […]

  • The Fight Against ICE Holds

      On March 12 this year, the Public Safety Committee of the Philadelphia City Council held a public hearing to review the practice of detaining undocumented immigrants in what are known as “ICE Holds.”  An ICE Hold, or civil immigration detainer, is a request from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to local police […]