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Geography Archives: Spain

The Promises and Challenges of Bolivia’s Socialist Government

Bolivia’s government entered 2013 on an optimistic note.  Socialist-oriented projects aimed at shoring up national independence and protecting indigenous rights seemingly were on track.  Now, however, the government is having to deal with emerging reports of official corruption. Opinion surveys show that President Evo Morales, overwhelming victor in two presidential elections and one recall vote, […]

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German Politics and Vitamin B

What has Vitamin B to do with politics?  For the answer you must learn a little German, at least one key word.  “Beziehungen” — with a capital “B” — means connections, especially good connections.  It’s smart to have lots of “Vitamin B,” and not just the pharmacy kind! Now here’s a man whose pockets seem […]

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Some Memories of Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy

In 1949, Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman created Monthly Review.  In the same year, Paul Baran and I began to teach in the San Francisco Bay Area: Baran at Stanford, myself at UC Berkeley.  As the years unfolded, we worked together politically in the area with the same social aims and values.  Meanwhile, the two […]

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The Story of a Ring

A small but moving episode marked the regular annual meeting of the German organization Fighters and Friends of the Spanish Republic 1936-1939 (Kämpfer und Freunde der Spanischen Republik 1936-1939).  It was the first such meeting without a single veteran; the last volunteer in Germany, Fritz Teppich, died last winter, and none of the tiny, decreasing […]

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Tito’s Class-Conscious Classifieds

In a recent PBS interview with Bill Moyers, journalist Chris Hedges discussed protest for social change.  “Revolt,” he said, apropos of salvaging a collapsing world, “is all we have.  It is our only hope.” I agree.  So would my friend Tito Gerassi, who believed all his life in revolution.  And, since rising unemployment is part […]

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62 Percent of Cuts in Ryan Plan Come From Low-Income Programs

Choosing Ryan, Embracing Austerity

Whatever electoral calculations drove Mitt Romney to choose Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate, the choice also has a deeper meaning.  Ryan’s arrival at the top of the Republican Party represents the rise of the most vocal and visible proponent of austerity in US politics today.  Ryan represents the US parallel to the regimes […]

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“This Is a Cold Putsch Against the Constitution”

Bundestag Speech, 29 June 2012 Mr. President!  Dear colleagues! “Billions in taxes have been squandered.  Those who bear responsibility revealed themselves to be marionettes.  The part of the puppet master was performed by just the type of managers recently spoken of in loftier terms: investment bankers.” What the Handelsblatt wrote about the nationalization of the […]

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No Deutschland Über Alles — and No Bris

Germany suffered two losses last week and underwent one very intimate decision.  Whether the latter was a win or a loss depends on your (point of) view — about male circumcision. Most important to most Germans was probably their hope to win the European soccer championship, held this year in Poland and the Ukraine.  Germany […]

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Can Germany’s Left Party Be Saved?

What is the matter with Germany’s Left Party?  Or, more bluntly, can it be saved?  What is the truth about the charismatic leader Oskar Lafontaine, from West German Saarland, who suddenly, surprisingly withdrew from the fight for party leadership?  Is he really out of the running?  And is that good or bad?  What are the […]

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Impoverishing Europe

  The crisis is not relinquishing its grip on Europe.  From autumn 2008 to early 2009 the world market experienced the deepest slump in economic output since the Second World War.  This is a global crisis.  Even in emerging economies like China, Brazil, or India economic growth declined and could not compensate for the recession […]

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Summary of the 13 May 2012 Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia Elections Results

Some Good News, and Lots of Bad News, from Germany

Here’s “good news” and “bad news” from Germany.  The good news: the Christian Democratic Union of Angela Merkel took a real whipping in the election in North Rhine-Westphalia (usually abbreviated to NRW), the largest German state in terms of population.  Her smiling, almost benign mien, with little bluster or braggadocio, disguises less and less her […]

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General Strikes! Looking Backward, Looking Forward

It began on July 14, 1934.  That day the San Francisco Labor Council pushed by radicalized rank-and-file workers declared a General Strike, and this led to four days of intense class struggle, the likes of which has rarely if ever been seen in this country.  The aim of the General Strike was to support the […]

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