Internationalism Gone Local: The Ginger Jentzen Campaign Shows How Socialism Grows from the Bottom-Up | Bryant William Sculos

Commentary | November 2nd, 2017

When Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant successfully ran and was elected to the Seattle City Council in 2013 (assuming office in 2014), she proved for the first time in a very long time that socialist politics, embodied and presented aggressively, openly, and strategically, can be viable in the United States. Since entering office, Sawant, as the only socialist on the council, has spear-headed a number of successful policy campaigns, including raising the city's minimum wage over several years to $15 an hour and reforming housing and rental policies in Seattle. Sawant has since been reelected and risen in national prominence.

Read More

Stand Against Torture: Political Scientists Refuse to Legitimate Torture | Paul A. Passavant and Jodi Dean

Commentary | November 2nd, 2017

Since 2004, we have known that that the United States Government has been responsible for torture. We have known that the legal memoranda written by Berkeley law professor John Yoo during his tenure in the US Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel provided the legal arguments that enabled torture to become a matter of United States policy in the "global war on terror." (GWOT). Many have been shocked, outraged, or ashamed that the United States has banished itself from the most fundamental norm of the post-World War II international order and, some would argue, American constitutionalism and the rule of law itself. Human rights organizations have struggled to discover how this system of torture has functioned, to remove victims from exposure to torture, and to hold key officials and private contractors (such as psychologists) responsible for their conduct.

Read More

Citizenry, Inc.: The Ambiguous, Euphemistic Language of Corporate America and its Impact on Democracy | Jesse Hamilton

Analysis | September 6th, 2017

Ambiguous, euphemistic language is common in corporate, bureaucratic environments and is used for a variety of rational reasons. This type of language may lead to ignorance among those who use it and those who consume it. As it becomes more prevalent in American society, ambiguous, euphemistic language is leading to a state where the lines between knowledge and ignorance are blurred. This paper explores how ambiguous, euphemistic language: 1) is used in corporate, bureaucratic settings and why it is accepted; 2) could be a cause of ignorance among those who create and consume it; and 3) has implications for the acquisition and transfer of knowledge in broader society.

Read More

Trump's Evangelical Opening: The Gateway Drug to a Fascist America | Werner Lange

Analysis | September 6th, 2017

Masters of deceit are not necessarily fascists, but fascists are notorious for their nefarious use of the power of deception effectively with devastating results. The Trump regime is the most diabolical manifestation of that repressive power in US history, to date. Lies, especially big ones, deceptively called "alternative facts," are its ideological trademark; white supremacists, deceptively sanitized as "alt-right," form its frontline battalion in America's culture wars; and Trump's ruthless and relentless attacks upon the media, which he castigated in a recent rant in Phoenix as "fake news" generated by "really, really dishonest people" and "bad people" who "don't like our country," constitute the modus operandi of a regime hell bent on shutting up critics and shutting down any remnants of a free press that remain.

Read More

The Dialectic of Tolerance | Bryant William Sculos

Analysis | September 1st, 2017

Until the Right-and liberals-are going to defend the free speech rights of everyone, until they are going to put themselves on the line to promote solidaristic tolerance of others whom they "disagree with," they do not deserve to utter the words free speech, tolerance, or persecution (but sure, they have "the right to"). And the Left must continue to refuse to let them get away with it. We cannot be afraid of being perceived as intolerant. We are intolerant. We do not tolerate hatred. We do not tolerate repression or oppression. We do not tolerate bigotry, racism, or cisheterosexism.

Read More

California Values Bill SB-54: What It Is About and Why It is Important to Women | Cherise Charleswell

Analysis | August 9th, 2017

California Legislation, particularly health policy and those dealing with public safety, is of great importance to the United States as a whole; and this is because California has always stood out as a leader and innovator. Other states, and even the Federal government, often look to the precedents set by California, and subsequently go on to pass the same or similar policies. As stated in a 2012 article , California sets trends in health regulation , "Some advocates tout the state as a forward-thinking vanguard in which its health and safety laws are routinely emulated by other states". In short, California's laws shape and set standards for the rest of the country.

Read More

A Resistance in Name Only: On the Trickery and Complicity of the Democratic Party | Greg Maybury

Commentary | June 29th, 2017

The 'Resistance', as opponents to President Trump call themselves, have been busy fighting back against the President's policies, having recently kicked off a 'Resistance Summer' in order to "[counter] the agenda of President Trump and the GOP-led Congress." However, while they are fighting back, they are having some serious problems information-wise, such as propagating false stories like the House Republicans celebrating the passing of a bill to repeal Obamacare with beer or that rape would be a pre-existing condition under this new healthcare bill. There are larger problems, though, primarily with the party they are supporting (the Democrats), and it very well may come back to haunt them in the near future.

Read More

Give us Liberty, or Give us Death: A Review of Phillip Nelson's "Remember the Liberty!" | Brenan Daniels

Book Review | June 8th, 2017

With the anniversary of the enormously consequential 1967 Six-Day War (SDW) between Israel and the Arab states (Egypt, Syria, Jordan) upon us, Phil Nelson's book is a timely and welcome addition to the literature of that event and the key people involved, and indeed, the era. Although on its face about the deliberate attack by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) during that conflict on the U.S. naval 'sig-int' ship the USS Liberty, with the loss of 34 lives and over 170 casualties, it's much more than that.

Read More

Here We Go Again: Socialists, Democrats, and the Future of the Left | Charles Wofford

Commentary | May 10th, 2017

Some basic Marxist philosophy can help to clarify the point. In "The German Ideology," Marx writes, "The way in which men produce their means of subsistence depends first of all on the nature of the actual means they find in existence and have to reproduce...the nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production." In other words, people are born into their circumstances, not the other way around. The structures in which people live and work have greater influence on who they are as individuals than vice versa. So we cannot simply pin the problems of the Democratic Party on the "odiousness" of its leaders. Just as we condemn capitalism as a system, so must we recognize the Democratic party is part of that system which must be condemned.

Read More

The Founding Fathers: "Neoliberals" Avant le Mot | Chris Wright

History | March 9th, 2017

"Who is to blame for the election of Donald Trump?" It's a question that has been asked more than a few times since November. We're all familiar with the answers that have been given: James Comey, the electoral college, the DNC's leaked - not hacked - emails, the characteristically shameful performance of the mainstream media in its focus on personalities rather than substance, the stupefying incompetence of Hillary Clinton's campaign, the elitist insularity and corruption of the Democratic Party, etc. Longer-term causes (which are intertwined) include the decline of organized labor, which has always served as a bulwark against fascism or semi-fascism; deindustrialization, which has contributed to the economic insecurity that apparently motivated many of Trump's supporters...

Read More

Notes on the Peaceful Transition of Power: The Continuity of Violence in America's Imperial Democracy | Bryant William Sculos

Analysis | February 2nd, 2017

In the weeks leading up to and the hours after Donald J. Trump's inauguration as President of the United States, we've seen the media (and by media I mean the major network television and print media like CNN and Washington Post, just to name a couple) repeat and glorify the so-called "peaceful transition of power" that Inauguration Day represents. President Barack Obama has been applauded for working with and speaking so respectfully about Donald Trump's transition team. Former US Secretary of State and former Democratic Party 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has also been complimented for her near-complete silence during this period since the election. The supposed peaceful transition of power is often treated as the pinnacle achievement and representation of the greatness of the American political process, and the 2016-2017 instantiation has been no different.

Read More

Donald Trump and the Future: Where Are We Going and What Can Be Done? | John Ripton

Analysis | February 2nd, 2017

The victory of Donald J. Trump marks a challenging moment in the transition from fossil-fuel driven economy to sustainable energy resources. The transition to cleaner power began to take shape at the end of the last century, coinciding with gathering international scientific consensus on climate change at the Earth Rio sustainable development conference in 1992. The neoliberal agenda of international "free trade" agreements propelled by the Clinton administration, while perhaps not intended, set in motion extensive global investment that has placed greater pressure on resources and increased carbon in the atmosphere, among other environmental concerns. At the same time as scientific research demonstrated that human activity since the Industrial Revolution of the early 19th century was affecting global warming, the neoliberal "free trade" initiatives led by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have allowed some of the largest U.S. corporations to ignore critical environmental concerns.

Read More

The Working Class, the Election, and Trump: An Interview with Sean Posey | Brenan Daniels

Interview | January 12th, 2017

Trump honed in on what he called "forgotten Americans," largely working class people in "flyover country," as it's often derisively called. Somehow Trump understood the enormous malaise that exists in wide swaths of America where local economies-and cultures-have disintegrated. He tapped a vein of populist rage and channeled it back into his campaign. It seemingly took everyone by surprise, especially the media and the political elite. It's important to remember how concentrated the media is now-mostly on the coasts around Washington, New York City, Boston, places like that. So it comes as no surprise that many journalists are deeply puzzled by Trump's rise. It's far less surprising to those of us rooted in what you might call "Trump Country."

Read More

Delusions Shattered: How Democrats Lost Claims to a Moral High Ground by Ignoring Obama's Transformation Into Bush | Jon Reynolds

Commentary | December 20th, 2016

When President Obama was sworn into office back in January 2009, and just a few months later agreed to "look forward" and disregard gross human rights violations committed by Bush officials (such as waterboarding, insect pits, solitary confinement, and more), they were quiet. When President Obama oversaw the brutal force-feeding of untried prisoners at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, they said nothing. When President Obama's mass-deportations of undocumented immigrants in the US outpaced deportations under his predecessor, they stayed silent. As the Nation reported, "To pay for the ballooning enforcement-first approach, the budget for immigration enforcement grew 300 percent from the resources given at the time of its founding under Bush to $18 billion annually, more than all other federal law-enforcement agencies' budget combined."

Read More

President Rodrigo Duterte's Killing Fields and People's War in the Philippines: An Interview | Andy Piascik

Interview | December 20th, 2016

For 22 years, Duterte was mayor of Davao City, the largest urban complex in Mindanao island, Philippines. TIMEmagazine dubbed him "the Punisher" for allegedly organizing the death-squads that eliminated drug dealers and petty criminals via "extra-judicial killings" (EJK)-no arrests or search warrants were needed, the suspects were liquidated on the spot. That's the modus operandi today. If Davao City became the safest or most peaceful city in southeast Asia, it was also called "the murder capital" of the Philippines.

Read More

American Gracchi | Dr. Nicholas Partyka

Analysis | December 7th, 2016

The crisis of 133 B.C. certainly seemed highly significant to those involved in it and those observing it. However, it was to take on much larger significance as time went on. For this crisis signaled the rising momentum of social, political, and economic forces that would undermine the Roman republic within a century. For only thirty years after the crisis of 133 B.C. (and even fewer years after the crisis of 121 B.C.) would be born the man who rode highest on the tide of these forces, and who would ultimately kill the republic, Gaius Julius Caesar. Thus, the crisis of 133 B.C. has come to be seen as the opening salvo in the process that results in the fall of the Roman republic, and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Read More

Slavery, Democracy, and the Racialized Roots of the Electoral College | Christopher F. Petrella

History | November 23rd, 2016

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the provenance of the Electoral College, to paraphrase Ronald Takaki, is grounded in questions of racialized 'insiderism' and 'outsiderism.' To this end, the Electoral College is responsible for the fact that four of the first five U.S. presidents were white, slave-holding men from Virginia. The "Virginia" variable is key here, as Virginia held the largest population of enslaved black men, women, and children from the inception of the "peculiar institution" until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Read More

'Our Revolution' is Not a Revolutionary Movement | Dan Arel

Commentary | September 29th, 2016

On August 24, Bernie Sanders officially launched his post-presidential bid project, Our Revolution. Hoping to build on his primary success, Our Revolution looks to endorse and financially support down-ticket Democratic candidates around the country. This is part of the vision Sanders laid out about reforming, or in his words "revolutionizing" the Democratic Party. It offers an ambitious, and a somewhat respectable goal, to fight to push a center-right party further to the left. However, as many have noted Sanders himself while being much further left than his Democratic counterparts, is not the bastion of leftist politics the media, and many of his supporters think he is.

Read More

Epistemological Apathy and Egomania: The Not-so Mysterious Case of Donald J. Trump and the Implications for American Democracy | Bryant William Sculos

Analysis | September 29th, 2016

Over the past several months, there have been a number of articles written exploring how to typologize Donald Trump ideologically. Is he a fascist? Is he a conservative? A populist? A liberal? A sexist racist xenophobe? Some irrational combination of all of them? A cursory look at the comments sections of Internet new sites, the blogosphere, and social media shows that there are a variety of preferred terms used by people responding to the incalculably racist, bigoted, hateful, and often wildly outlandish or incoherent comments and policy proposals of firebrand Republican Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. Most of these labels, while probably accurate, are vulgar and not worth repeating here, but two of them stand out as potentially having a great deal of accuracy and indeed political significance.

Read More

From Solidarity to Trump: White Working-Class Culture in the Rust Belt | Michael McQuarrie

Commentary | September 29th, 2016

Before embarking on my current career, I worked as a labor organizer, mostly in West Virginia and Ohio. In the course of doing that work, I probably did two thousand "housevisits" with people I was attempting to organize. The purpose of these meetings was to understand people's motivations and interests in order to assess how they would vote in a union recognition election (as the union president once said to the organizers: "I don't care if you lose, I care if you can't count") and assess their leadership potential for either the union's organizing committee or for management's anti-union efforts.

Read More

Ending the Unconstitutional Assault on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement: A Call To Action | Mona Alsoraimi-Espiritu

Commentary | July 26th, 2016

As an educator at an urban core institution I readily accept the responsibility of teaching social justice themes in my courses. As students begin to understand the injustices that shape their own worlds, they crave solutions. "So what can we actually do?" "Have our idealistic teachers been lying to us about being able to change the world?" As they learn tools to change their realities, they become empowered. But what happens when politicians take those tools away from activists? Recent legislation designed to "chill" activism undermines the work of social justice educators, parents and activists everywhere. It sets a precedent in which a small group of politicians decide what we can't boycott based on their own political or religious ideologies.

Read More

Democracy, Brexit Stage Left: A Socialist Critique of the Brexit Vote | Bryant William Sculos

Analysis | July 19th, 2016

How do we understand an instance when a demos votes for something that is largely motivated by anti-democratic sentiments and produces anti-democratic results? Now, imagine a similar scenario but the people doing the voting have little to no say in the process leading up to voting, and some of the people who will likely be most dramatically harmed by the outcome lack both a vote and any power in the process. This second scenario is the kind of "democracy" that we're witnessing in the Brexit referendum-a democracy hardly worth the name. In Marxist theory, this first scenario is typically categorized as an instance of false consciousness-when peoples' subjective perceptions of their interests are different than their objective class-based interests (of which they are ostensibly unaware). This is often where the role of communist party and leftist intellectuals comes up; their role being to cultivate a class consciousness among the oppressed workers so that their subjective and objective interests are identical.

Read More

Why There Will Be Another Trump: Focusing on the Cause, Not the Symptom | Sean Posey

Commentary | July 12th, 2016

June was not kind to Donald Trump. After a brief bump in the polls when he secured the status of presumptive nominee, The Donald's numbers began their march to the basement. He now finds himself in a deeply unenviable position. An increasing number of pundits (and, judging by the numbers of them avoiding the upcoming party convention in Cleveland, politicians) are suggesting Trump's candidacy could be a disaster on par with Republican Barry Goldwater's landslide defeat in 1964 or Democrat George McGovern's in 1972. Writing off Trump might be presumptuous at this point (since the media and other experts missed almost every salient facet of Trump's seemingly improbable rise). Yet even if his campaign encounters electoral bankruptcy in November, the specter of another Trumpian figure emerging in the future remains highly probable.

Read More

Was Super Tuesday Rigged? | Jerry Kroth

Commentary | June 22nd, 2016

Social scientists have long known that releasing poll information early, before polls have closed, has two effects: first it decreases voter turnout by about 12 percent, and it increases the bandwagon effect, where people hop on and vote for the winner, by about 8 percent. On the morning of Super Tuesday, before anyone had voted, the Associated Press released a story that Hillary Clinton had already won. She was the "presumptive presidential nominee" and the victor. AP had made that announcement because of a super delegate count and decided she already beat Sanders. Other media outlets then piggy-backed on this story, and virtually every American woke up that morning to headlines that Hillary had won-and remember, that is before anyone voted on Super Tuesday.

Read More

Irrelevantly Delegitimizing: What if the Transcripts Looked Like This? | Bryant William Sculos

Commentary | May 20th, 2016

I'm not suggesting that this is anything like what Hillary Clinton's speech(es) to Goldman Sachs actually sounded like. I'm not even suggesting that this satirical speech actually represents her positions. What I want to suggest is that Hillary's base of support, which is the center and right wing of the Democratic Party, would be minimally affected if the speeches looked anything like this. The people who support her are misguided pragmatists, free-traders, liberal imperialists, Third Wayers, and those who've otherwise given up on the prospect of any kind of significant progressive change happening in American politics.

Read More

Safe States, Inside-Outside, and Other Liberal Illusions | Howie Hawkins

Commentary | May 20th, 2016

Bernie Sanders is on his way to an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the candidate of War, Wall Street, and Wal-Mart. Sanders ran as a New Deal Democrat, but he will soon be campaigning for a plain old corporate New Democrat. To keep his troops engaged through this transition, Sanders will stage a few rules and platform fights at the convention. But rule changes are irrelevant to the real party power structure of candidate organizations and their corporate investors. Any platform planks won will be irrelevant as well. No corporate Democrat will feel bound by them. Faced with that demoralizing prospect, some Sanders supporters are recycling failed old strategies in an attempt to salvage Sanders' "political revolution" without opposing the Democratic Party.

Read More

The Turn-Around Guys: White Hetero-Patriarchy, Wealth, Paternalism, and the Willful Destruction of Public Education | Jim Burns

Analysis | March 16th, 2016

The Republican Presidential Primary, a bacchanal of cruel absurdity, hasn't failed to disappoint as an illustration of what Henry Giroux has called America's descent into madness. Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, certainly no liberal, in a 2013 article with Thomas Mann presaged the madness and characterized the Republican Party as "a radical insurgency-ideologically extreme, scornful of facts and compromise, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition." In response to repeat train-wreck performances of middle-aged men behaving like pre-adolescents, which at on point actually descended into taunts about penis size, Mitt Romney, himself a two-time failed Republican presidential hopeful, has anointed himself the sage voice of Republican establishment reason. Romney took to the airwaves of the corporate media, itself complicit in the America's embarrassing anti-political theater of the grotesque, to, in the words of Rebecca Solnit, "mansplain" that Donald Trump is a "phony" who is "playing the American public for suckers."

Read More

A Nation at a Crossroads: How the United States Can Begin to Establish a Moral Compass Worthy of a Future | Jeff Monson

Commentary | February 15th, 2016

For a long time, most Americans have been quick to defend their country from outside criticism, whether it's come from adversaries or allies. That's because, despite the United States' shortcomings, most Americans believe it's still the best country in the world. But I have a strong sense that more Americans have become disillusioned with their country in the past few years than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The issue is whether the United States has lost its moral compass.

Read More

American Cartel: How America's Two Major Parties Helped Destroy Democracy | Frank Castro

Analysis | February 2nd, 2016

A little over two decades ago, on December 2, 1993, the principle engineer of Colombia's infamous cocaine empire, Pablo Escobar, was killed while fleeing police on the barrio rooftops of his hometown, Medellin. Before he died he had amassed an organization of state-like power, challenging, in fact, the government of Columbia itself over the question of its extradition policies-and winning. Dubbed the Medellin drug cartel, his international cocaine operation grew to prominence functioning similarly to the corporations which dominate today's global economy. Escobar knew, by controlling every possible link in the drug chain from production to retail, he could corral suppliers under a single umbrella, dictate the price of his product, and severely limit any would-be competitors from challenging his power.

Read More

Fascist Performance Art: Looking Further at Augustus Sol Invictus and Trends in the Far-Right | Shane Burley

Commentary | January 18th, 2016

Normally I would not be inspired to write something in response to someone else, which is why this is intended to stand on its own. On January 11th, an article was published by me called Imperium and the Sun, which outlined the fascist motifs in the Senate run of Florida Libertarian Party candidate, Augustus Sol Invictus. Scarcely a couple of days after its publishing Augustus sent us a letter and issued a statement about the article, mainly thanking us for doing a critical look at his campaign in a substantial way.

Read More

Organize or Die: Never in the History of the World has an Election Destroyed a System of Oppression | Jean Allen and Frank Castro

Analysis | January 18th, 2016

Vote or Die. That's the dichotomy rap mogul P. Diddy popularized back in 2006 in an effort to marshal the nation's youth to the ballot box on election day. Fast forward two presidential elections later, as the American political machine gears up once again, how does Diddy feel now? In a recent interview at Revolt's music conference the former star spoke plainly about his previous efforts and, in particular, on the issue of voting, saying: "We started Vote or Die, and the whole process was all full of shit. The whole shit is a scam." He went on to add, "At the end of the day, I'm not telling you not to vote… I'm saying be a realist and know that they're motherfucking kicking some bullshit up there."

Read More

Libertarian Fairy Tales: The Bundy Militia's Revisionist History in Oregon | Aaron Bady

Analysis | January 11th, 2016

Though actual historians would quibble with how the militia movement understands American history, the Bundy family has justified what they are doing by evoking a distinctly 18th-century style of American patriotism. Because the land and its resources belong to the people, and because a tyrannical government now conspires to take it from them-which they say is specifically and intentionally an effort to reduce free men to slaves-the free people of America have the right and even the moral obligation to take a stand against that government. "We're out here because the people have been abused long enough," as Ammon Bundy put it; "their lands and resources have been taken from them, to the point where it's putting them literally in poverty."

Read More

Imperium and the Sun: The Strange Case of Augustus Sol Invictus and the New Right | Shane Burley

Commentary | January 11th, 2016

In a world where Donald Trump has mobilized the fringes of the neo-fascist right-wing as a foundational base, then used this boost to dominate the GOP race, maybe it should not be a surprise that ripple effects are being felt inside of regional races often dominated by Beltway names. It may sound hyperbolic to say that a leading Florida political candidate comes from a backyard soaked in the blood of goats and is calling for "LSD and sorcery," but this time it is not a Vice piece of pan-irony.

Read More

The Black Working Class and the Early Civil Rights Movement | Devon Douglas-Bowers

History | December 7th, 2015

The Civil Rights Movement isn't just viewed as a struggle that was overall peaceful, with the emphasis being generally put on non-violent actions and figures such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., but also a movement that was organized mainly by middle-class individuals and focuses on the large struggles of the 1960s. In promoting this narrative, it ignores the working-class and how much of their struggles formed the beginning of what would become the Civil Rights Movement. Two examples can be found in labor and in teaching.

Read More

Challenging the Prisons: An Interview with the Free Alabama Movement | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Interview | December 7th, 2015

Free Alabama Movement is a prisoner's comrade's solidarity organization which advocates the self-addressing of our struggle of human rights dignity and respect while serving a debt to society in Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). Our motto is to "Educate, to Elevate, to Liberate". We pride ourselves in presenting our activism work in a peaceful & non-violent manner. Our organizing planning tactics and style of implementing strategies for effective protest, work stoppages, and shutdowns have been radical and successful thus far in our work.

Read More

Seattle Doubles Down on Socialism: On the Re-election of Kshama Sawant | Arun Gupta

Commentary | November 10th, 2015

The race between Seattle City Council Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative party and her challenger, Seattle Urban League President and CEO Pamela Banks that attracted national attention and set records for nearly $1 million in funding was over before it began. In August Sawant handily won a five-candidate primary, and Banks came in second after business interests had united behind her as their best hope to unseat the socialist who played the central role in Seattle's $15 minimum-wage bill and is now taking on skyrocketing housing costs in the Emerald City. As the first results trickled in on election night, November 3, showing Sawant leading 53 percent to 47 percent, Banks delivered the rote non-concession concession, "I am proud of the race that we ran," and thanked three City Council members by name who coached her through her first race. Banks' son, his eyes cast down, wrapped her in a full-body embrace as the enthusiasm of a few score supporters leaked out of a small coffee shop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood the two candidates were vying to represent.

Read More

One Bank to Rule Them All: The Bank for International Settlements | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Analysis | October 22nd, 2015

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an organization that is shrouded in mystery, mainly due to the fact that the majority of people don't even know of its existence. According to the BIS itself, the main purpose of the Bank is to "to promote the cooperation of central banks and to provide additional facilities for international financial operations" and "act as trustee or agent in regard to international financial settlements entrusted to it under agreements of the parties concern." This means that the BIS is to have the central banks work with one another to facilitate international operations and to oversee any international financial settlements.

Read More

What Time Is It?: Black Lives Matter, The Gary Convention, and Electoral Politics | Sean Posey

Analysis | September 21st, 2015

The social media presence of Black Lives Matter (founded by three black women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi) quickly spread to the streets during the community response to the murder of another black man, Michael Brown, in the distressed suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. At least five hundred activists, all drawn by the idea of manifesting the importance of Black Lives Matter in the real world, cut their teeth during the Ferguson actions. This new freedom ride brought together a wide variety of men and women who would carry the lessons of Ferguson on as the tide of police killings of African Americans continued to garner national attention.

Read More

Trumph of the Will: Taking Donald Trump's Fascism Seriously | Justin C. Mueller

Commentary | September 4th, 2015

The GOP presidential candidacy of Donald Trump has been seen by many as a hilarious farce. How could this former reality TV star, a multiply-bankrupt billionaire, an all of a sudden family-values champion with four failed marriages, whose official politics have shifted loudly with the political winds NOT be seen as a ridiculous indictment of the spectacle of American electoral politics? As some have noted, his very appeal to some people is in his willingness to say things that normal politicians just don't usually say… at least, out loud. As several commentators have observed, however, Trump is simply not funny any more. What has changed?

Read More

False Gods: The Truth About BRICS | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Interview | August 19th, 2015

No, these institutions do not view themselves as competitive. It is only various media pundits who have speculated that these new banks are in fact some sort of challenge to the so-called "Washington consensus." What none of these experts has bothered to report (for obvious reasons) is the remarkable fact that the Vice President of the NDB is also an Executive Board member of the IMF , who then went on to pledge cooperation and joint action between the NDB and IMF. Also missing from this narrative is the fact that the NDB's chief, Kundapur Vaman Kamath, is a former staffer of the supposed NDB "rival" Asia Development Bank. Or there's Jin Liqun, widely tipped to be the head of the AIIB, who also happens to be a former Vice President of the Asia Development Bank and alternative Executive Director of the World Bank.

Read More

Socialism and Electoral Politics in the US: An Interview with Mimi Soltysik | Devon Douglas-Bowers and Colin Jenkins

Interview | July 30th, 2015

The campaign I will be running will not be about votes, will not be about ballot status, and will not be about revenue raised. It will primarily focus on the unique media opportunities that are presented during a general election. Given the Bernie Sanders candidacy, it may be reasonable to expect that any candidate from a democratic socialist organization might see enhanced opportunities to discuss socialism from an explicitly anti-capitalist perspective. Failure to take advantage of those opportunities in this general election would be a crucial mistake, in my opinion. I am not a fan of respectability politics. It doesn't resonate with me or many of the others who I have spoken with throughout my time as an organizer.

Read More

Questioning the Left: An Interview with Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker and Michael J. Thompson | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Interview | July 30th, 2015

We agree that the problem is not solely with the academy. It is important to look at the academy because the kind of work that is done in the academy is, in part, often a reflection of what people think they can achieve on the ground. The main issue seems to be that moral revulsion has supplanted the critique of social mechanisms that produce the problems that outrage people. It is also important to stress that moral revulsion is not a substitute for, nor an equivalent of, political action and political strategy. The key, as we see it, is to understand that politics is about shaping not only the mentality of citizens and the norms of culture, but more crucially about organizing the legitimate power of the state to enforce laws that prevent social injustice and expand the horizon of social justice.

Read More

The Question of Benghazi: An Independent Investigation Into the Attack on the US Embassy | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Analysis | July 8th, 2015

Immediately after the attacks on the US embassy in Benghazi, the Obama administration began pushing a narrative based on a video. The official narrative was that "The violence began around 10 p.m. Tuesday amid a protest by the radical Islamist group Ansar Al-Sharia against a film mocking Islam's prophet. Four hours later, the consulate was destroyed, its walls blackened by shooting flames." The following week, on September 18th, Press Secretary Jay Carney stated that "Our belief based on the information we had was that it was the video that caused the unrest in Cairo and the video that - and the unrest in Cairo that helped - that precipitated some of the unrest in Benghazi and elsewhere."

Read More

Damn the Debt: Lessons and Tactics from Debt Resistance Movements | Devon Douglas-Bowers

History | May 5th, 2015

An active debt resistance movement is seizing hold across the United States. Currently, the debt strikers number over 100 students who are refusing to pay back the student loans they borrowed to go to the now-defunct for-profit Corinthian Colleges. The move has attracted media attention and could potentially provide a platform for a larger student debt movement to expand from here. However, students of history take note: this isn't the first time there have been debt resistance movements in the United States. And the lessons we learn from prior movements can just as easily be applied to today's situation.

Read More

Ted Cruz and the Racist, Paranoid Id of the Right | Eoin Higgins

Commentary | April 10th, 2015

With his quixotic bid for the Presidency now official, Ted Cruz has attained semi-divinity within the extreme right wing of American politics. There's no way he'll get the nomination, of course. The gatekeepers of the Republican Party will see to that, much as they saw to it that Rick Santorum's come from behind surge fell limply aside in 2012. But Cruz's base will make the primary fight nasty. They see themselves as the real bearers of the right-wing standard. And they have God on their side. Cruz and his base see the rest of the Republican Party as sellouts and political cowards. The term RINO- Republican In Name Only- is used for anyone of the party in the Congress who even feints at a compromise with the President or the Democrats. The base has swallowed whole the racism and paranoia to the point that any compliance with what they perceive as the "one world, non-white government" is literally treason against their view of the United States.

Read More

The Internal Struggle: Battling Oppressive Tendencies in Radical Spaces | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Interview | March 24th, 2015

I think it is typically, generally, privilege (and white-male anarchists) clouding the analytical and emotional lens of those downplaying/ignoring sexism and racism. Many if not most white western anarchists seem to come to anarchism through a processes of de-conditioning themselves from the values and perceptions imbued in to them from the dominant culture often it's a process, an exponential shedding of negative, bigoted, privileged sensibilities and ideals, which is not to say downplaying racism, sexism or any other oppression is okay/excusable. I'm not suggesting it's incumbent for anyone to have patience with those express or retain bigoted and insensitive views.

Read More

Disproportionate Representation: A Look at Women Leadership in Congress | Cherise Charleswell

Analysis | March 5th, 2015

Political representation is defined as the election of officials, who then stand in for, and speak for a group of their constituents in the legislature, for a set period of time. Unfortunately moneyed interests, the threat of being "primaried" by the tea party lunatic fringe, and other factors have dismantled this process. Over the last few years, and certainly for most of the Obama Administration, Congress has had a low approval rating. So, much so that they have been nicknamed the "Do Nothing" Congress. These elected officials have been voting in lock-step with each other, and often opposite the opinions and desires of the American people.

Read More

On the Left/Right Paradigm, Capitalism's Grow-Or-Die Imperative, and Murray Bookchin | Ursula Le Guin

Commentary | February 20th, 2015

"The Left," a meaningful term ever since the French Revolution, took on wider significance with the rise of socialism, anarchism, and communism. The Russian revolution installed a government entirely leftist in conception; leftist and rightist movements tore Spain apart; democratic parties in Europe and North America arrayed themselves between the two poles; liberal cartoonists portrayed the opposition as a fat plutocrat with a cigar, while reactionaries in the United States demonized "commie leftists" from the 1930s through the Cold War. The left/right opposition, though often an oversimplification, for two centuries was broadly useful as a description and a reminder of dynamic balance.

Read More

Demonstrating Their Determination In Greece | Sarah Levy

Commentary | February 20th, 2015

The Sunday night (2/15/15) gathering in Athens felt more like a celebration than a demonstration. For hours, more than 15,000 people packed Syntagma Square, the plaza in front of parliament building, and the surrounding streets in support of the newly elected government as it continued with negotiations with Eurozone government officials over Greece's massive debt and against the policies of austerity. The February 15 rally followed a 20,000-person-strong turnout the previous Wednesday night--on both days, there were similar demonstrations in the Greek cities of Thessaloniki, Patras and Volos, as well as Crete and other islands.

Read More

Socialist Unity and the Zeitgeist | Curtis Hansoni

Commentary | February 12th, 2015

In the preface to the 1847 German edition of "The Communist Manifesto", Marx and Engels noted that in the 25 years since the Manifesto was written, "although in principle still correct", it was "antiquated, because the political situation has been entirely changed, and the progress of history has swept from off the earth the greater portion of the political parties there enumerated.". They further note that due to the historical nature of the Manifesto even by 1847 they had no right to alter it. Engels updated this preface again in 1888, five years after the death of Marx, and noted that if it were written today it would be worded quite differently, noting for example the "gigantic strides of modern industry" as well as lessons from the Paris Commune. He also credits Bakunin with the Russian edition of the Manifesto.

Read More

From Behind Closed Doors: The Insidious Nature of Traditional (Corporate) Think Tanks and Non-Profits | Ryan MacLeod

Analysis | February 6th, 2015

The Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a small independent and non-profit public policy think tank located on Wall Street that focuses on "…highlighting the critical opportunities and challenges facing New York and other cities, and providing fresh ideas and workable solutions to policymakers" (Center for an Urban Future), exhibits many of the unsavory characteristics associated with other self-interested organizations. I served as a research assistant with the organization between August and December of 2014. When offered the position of research assistant, I was very excited about the possibility of amassing research experience while simultaneously helping poor and disadvantaged New Yorkers. However, I quickly became somewhat disillusioned with the organization. While steadfastly against the nefarious actions of the financial institutions in the lead up to the financial crisis, working at a firm physically located on Wall Street imbues this or any organization with an added sense of prestige. I joked that I was working on the "good part of Wall Street," where people fought for the poor and working class.

Read More

Is SYRIZA Radical Enough? | Ed Rooksby

Analysis | January 27th, 2015

It would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, but a party of the radical left is on the cusp of power in an EU country. The latest opinion polls indicate that Syriza will triumph in the Greek national elections to be held on Sunday and although it may not win an absolute majority in parliament it would (assuming it can find coalition partners) certainly be the dominant force in any coalition government that emerged. Unsurprisingly, the imminent prospect of a left government committed to breaking with the brutal reign of austerity has alarmed the powerful within and beyond Greece. In a thinly veiled attack on SYRIZA, for example, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, recently warned Greeks about electing 'extreme forces' into power and suggested, rather in the manner of a threat, that they ought to consider 'what a wrong election result would mean for Greece and the Eurozone.'

Read More

We Are the Insurgency: An Interview with Abolition | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Interview | January 27th, 2015

We stuck with our refusal to compromise, turned to the tradition of abolitionists before us, and encoded this principle in our manifesto's first line: "Abolitionist politics is not about what is possible, but about making the impossible a reality." Of course, in our own lives, we are always caught up in compromises-buying commodified goods made through exploited labor, legitimating the settler colonial state through obeying its laws, etc. But why should we let our personal compromises bleed into our radical projects? The title, Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics, also signals this 'no compromises' fanaticism of our approach.

Read More

From Dublin to Detroit: We say Water is a Right | Becca Bor

Commentary | January 15th, 2015

2014 WAS a year of struggle in Ireland against water charges. The Irish have been suffering under a draconian regime of austerity since the Euro crisis erupted in 2009. The much hated troika, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, forced Ireland to borrow 85 billion euros in a bailout deal. The levies and taxes brought in as part of the bailout have impoverished the Irish working class for the past five years. Yet, each year the Irish government has dutifully paid back the bond holders, while wages and pensions have been slashed, so much so that public-sector wages have been cut by a massive 20 percent in five years.

Read More

Anarchism and Political Non-engagement | Jordan Shanti

Commentary | December 19th, 2014

As an anarchist, being politically engaged looks very little like the way most people understand political engagement. Political engagement typically brings to mind all kinds of activism, handshakes with the rich and powerful, and emotional speeches about why some candidate or policy is the ultimate good, but anarchists don't like to play that game. It's a losing game for all parties and for every living being on this living planet. Anarchism precludes something wholly different from political engagement, and that is political non-engagement. Under a system which dominates and oppresses all aspects of our lives, all acts have been rendered political. Where you buy your food, who you bank with, what clothes you wear, what shoes you wear, where you work, how you worship, these basic aspects of life are all deeply political - perhaps even a great deal more political than the ballot you cast or the petitions you sign.

Read More

Waking Up America: An Interview with AmericaWakieWakie | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Interview | December 19th, 2014

I chose the name America Wakie Wakie because I just think the majority of the United States needs to wake the fuck up. Admittedly I was a bit more patriotic 4 years ago, so I might have named it something different if I had started the blog today. The "Wakie Wakie" part though comes from a scene I once saw on a television show called Titus. It wasn't a good show, but I was a teenager and I watched it for some reason. In the show the main character was this custom car shop owner who had a REALLY dysfunctional - aka, probably a white supremacist hetero-patriarchal capitalist - family. To highlight this dysfunction the show would feature the main character, Titus, in flashbacks as a teenager where he would look exactly the same as in the present but with a mullet wig. In one flashback he was lying in bed when his father tells him to get up, which he doesn't. The father then throws a big bowl of spaghetti on Titus' face and taunts him with the words "Waaakkie Wakkkie". I don't know why, that's just always stuck with me.

Read More

Ferguson Revolts and Beyond: Is Property Worth More than Black Life? | Devon Douglas-Bowers

Commentary | December 11th, 2014

On a deeper level, this is where capitalism and racism intersect. One of capitalism's main tenets is the dominance of private property and how it must be protected. We can see that this has been transcribed in law, such as with the Stand Your Ground laws. Yet, also within the larger society, there is a lack of caring for black life. In any situation, the media and general public regularly engage in victim blaming and look for anything - anything at all - to assassinate the character of those who died at the hand of the police. This can be seen even today, when the media brings up Akai Gurley's criminal record when discussing his death at the hands of a police officer. These two ideas have come together in Ferguson, creating a situation where people are more concerned about private property destruction than they are about the death of Michael Brown.

Read More