Though we wouldn’t know it from mainstream media coverage, the sigh of relief many progressives will breathe at Moore’s defeat should be tempered with the knowledge that Jones will likely not be a reliable ally on issues on which the Democrats should all be expected to fight the GOP and Trump. An exit poll of voter opinions showed over 40% of Alabama voters, Democrats and Republicans alike, gave an unfavorable rating to both parties.
IF THERE WAS any “Israel-Palestine peace process,” Donald Trump torched it with his December 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the U.S. embassy to that bitterly contested city. But there are two more important underlying realities.
Isolating the situation of Puerto Rico is one of the mechanisms used to seek acceptance of the austerity policies that are now being imposed on the Island.(1) If the crisis is seen as the result of actions by Puerto Ricans or their government — if the responsibility lies, exclusively or fundamentally, in Puerto Rico — then it is logical that it bears the consequences of its own deeds or misdeeds, painful as they may be.
John E. Chiaradia was a longtime reader and sometime contributor to New Politics.
How does one come to political activism? Are we influenced by the times, by our personal experiences, by some innate quality within us, or are each of these just the necessary ingredients of activism? John (Giovanni) Emilio Chiaradia left Italy as a child, a political refugee from mid-20th-century Italian fascism. His family escaped the turmoil engulfing their country for the welcoming haven of the United States, landing in New York City and eventually settling in central California. There they were once again confronted by nationalist politics and uprooted from their home. They were compelled to leave California following the bombing of Pearl Harbor as John’s mother, Antoinette, was not yet a naturalized citizen. In the wake of the war, the US government deemed all non-naturalized people from Axis countries, and even citizens in the case of Japanese Americans, to be potential threats to national security. They were commanded to vacate a 100-mile exclusion zone from the west coast. The family was forced to leave what few possessions they had and return to the Bronx.
Mexicans, worse off than at any time in the last 100 years, are asking themselves as the July 2018 elections approach: Can Mexico change? Can an election change Mexico?
Mexico is a disaster. It has become increasingly violent, the economy grows too slowly to absorb the ever-expanding workforce, and wages are below those of China, though costs are more like those in the United States.
It is now seven months since Theresa May called a general election with the aim of increasing her majority and the Daily Mail published a front page headlined “Crush the Saboteurs”. The spring of this year, as regards parliamentary politics, seems like another world.
Congress was given a chance to stand up for basic humanity and the Constitution, but instead chose to lay an egg, a rotten one at that. It rejected a chance to use the War Powers Act to halt U.S. collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s ruthless war and siege tactics in Yemen. Instead it passed a resolution that could have been written by the Saudi kingdom’s lawyers and publicists.
On November 5, 2017, 26-year-old Devin Kelley killed 26 people and injured 20 others attending Sunday church services at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. This small, unincorporated community is 30 miles southeast of San Antonio and, in 2000, its population was but 362 people. Sadly, Kelley is the latest, but not the last lone-wolf terrorist to engage in the mass killing of Americans.
When the decorated “Hero of the Republic of Cuba,” General Ramón Espinosa Martín, rallied his forces in the province of Camagüey in September, it was against an enemy far more dangerous than those he had faced in the Escambray mountains in 1958 during the Cuban Revolution or even in Angola in 1975 resisting US and South African intervention. This enemy was nature itself.
In Hannah Arendt’s pioneering book The Origins of Totalitarianism, she criticized the failure of many to understand the appeals of fascism to modern citizens. She wrote that many observers gave fairly rote justifications for its rise and appeal in an apparently advanced and enlightened country like Germany, the birthplaces of Goethe, Kant, and Beethoven. Some claimed that it was the depressed economy that was responsible. Others in the German context pointed to defeat and humiliation in the First World War. Some reactionary conservatives claimed it was declining moral standards and the collapse of religiosity. And Arendt accepted that many of these might have something to do with it. But her ultimate explanation was far simpler and yet strangely more acute. Modern Germans were lonely.
One of the issues that received much discussion after the elections last winter was the fact that an overwhelming number of women voted for Trump despite his misogynistic commentaries and vulgarity. Some analyses espouse that Trump's women voters are victims of sexist and misogynistic views ingrained in the American culture. They, according to the analyses, perceive sexual harassment or misogynistic remarks as an unfortunate behavior that men do and women can tolerate or ignore. While that explanation is truthful it does not highlight some deeper dimensions of the phenomenon. Obviously, Trump's misogynistic remarks were downplayed by his women voters beyond the description "unfortunate." Why were these remarks downplayed ? It seems that in the current media programming in the U.S such remarks are normalized and even exalted.
The Russian Revolution, the only—if only briefly—successful workers’ revolution took place in the era of photography and film, consequently thousands of hours of film footage from the revolutionary period existed. In the late 1920s, as the revolution’s red star was fading, a Russian-born man decided to collect as much as possible of the existing film—some of it shot by individuals, some by governments, some by new agencies, some by who-knows-who. Eventually, over 50 years this man collected some 271 motion picture film reels. He was a fanatic. Glad he was.
The Janus case before the Supreme Court will deny public employee unions the right to require non-union members to pay their share of the union’s costs to negotiate on behalf of everyone in the bargaining unit.
Jabari Brisport, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), made an extraordinarily strong showing in his first bid for the New York City Council. Running on both the Green Party and Socialist lines in Crown Heights, District 35 of Brooklyn where he grew up, Jabari won almost 30 percent of the vote, receiving 8,619 votes. He was defeated by Democrat Laurie Cumbo, who took 68 percent of the vote while the Republican Christine Parker got just 4 percent.
Jabari ran as a socialist in a diverse district with a mixed population of African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, orthodox and Hassidic Jews, upper middle class white newcomers, and young hipsters. The district has a population of 124,170, larger than many cities. The 2017 election saw one of the lowest turnouts in years. Only about 22 percent of the 5,053,842 registered voters in New York City as a whole cast ballots in the election.
Dan La Botz, a co-editor of New Politics, interviewed Josep María Antentas, teacher of Sociology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and anticapitalist activist.
DL: The Catalan independence movement and its suppression by the Spanish state have garnered the attention of the world. What has been your attitude toward the question of Catalonia?
JMA: My traditional position is the defense of the right to self-determination, with the idea that when a group wises to exercise this right its position must be made specific. In the current situation and since the independence movement began in 2012, the defense of a “Yes” vote has a more democratic content than the “No” vote, which is associated exclusively with the reactionary defense of the Constitution and the political regime.
I look at the world for many decades now and do not see evidence that the class struggle is alive and well, except to the extent that workers are on the losing end. But even more than that, it does not appear that the class struggle is playing a key role anywhere in the world. All of the major conflicts are being fought on national, ethnic and/or religious grounds. In these conflicts, whether they are in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Niger or even Catalonia, workers line up with their tribe.
The exploding national debate about workplace harassment of women by powerful bosses or male co-workers is a great opening for unions to demonstrate their importance as one form of protection against such abuse.
Unfortunately, when unions are not pro-active on this front in their dealings with management or, worse yet, allow bullying or sexual harassment among staff or members, their credibility and appeal as a sword and shield for women (or anybody else) is greatly reduced.
On 23 August, Djuena Tikuna  became the first indigenous singer to perform on the stage of the Teatro Amazonas  (“Amazonas Theatre”) — a bastion of European culture in the middle of the world’s largest tropical forest.