The Working Class and Left Politics: Back on the American Radar

Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin no. 1011, by Dan La Botz, July 17, 2014.

… Electoral Breakthrough?

In November 2013, the statistics seemed to be confirmed by the stunning victory of socialist Kshama Sawant in Seattle that attracted the attention of both the U.S. left and the major news media. The victory of Socialist Alternative candidate Sawant seemed to suggest that something might be changing politically in America. Now, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who openly calls himself socialist but is not a a member of any political party, says that he is considering a run for President of the United States, though he is not clear about whether he will run as an independent or a Democrat.  

At the same time, we are seeing other innovative, progressive political campaigns developed by labour unions, community organizations, and social movements, some of them at the far left edge of the Democratic Party, some within the Green Party, and others which are simply independent. We had the African American Chokwe Lumumba’s Democratic Party campaign for mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, and now Howie Hawkins’ second Green Party campaign for governor of New York, Dan Siegel’s non-partisan campaign for mayor of Oakland, Mike Parker’s Richmond Progressive Alliance campaign for mayor of Richmond, California, the Central Labor Council of Lorain, Ohio’s successful campaign for city council, and the Chicago Teachers Union’s creation of an Independent Political Organization (IPO), which may end up backing some Democrats but also running independent candidates. Taken together, this is a remarkable collection of political campaigns and a development worthy of considerable discussion and debate.

Several questions are raised by these cases: Has the erosion of America’s economic and political system reached the point that significant numbers of Americans are willing to consider new and possibly radical alternatives? Are the labour and social movements strong enough to push forward and sustain political movements, organizations, and candidates? Are we witnessing the driving of a left political wedge into the country’s fundamentally conservative two-party system? Or are the victories we have seen and are likely to see more dependent on charismatic candidates, local conditions, special circumstances, and non-partisan races than on the economic crisis and social movements? Perhaps most important, does the election of candidates on the left actually encourage the growth and strengthening of social movements, so that we enter into a virtuous cycle of movements leading to political campaigns which in turn build the movements? The goal, after all, is to build a working-class mass movement that can challenge fundamentally the existing economic and political system.

The Crisis, Austerity, and the Attack on Unions: … //

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Other Links:

Malaysian jet tragedy propagandized – Ron Paul, on Russia Today RT, July 19, 2014: … Drawing parallels between the potential for a Russian-made missile system’s connection to the attack of the passenger jet on Thursday over the restive Donetsk region of Ukraine and the capture of US-made weapons by Islamist insurgents in Iraq, Paul pointed out that the missile’s potential source of manufacture was largely immaterial …;

Father of six dead following NYPD street choking incident, on Russia Today RT, July 19, 2014: … The incident – much of which was caught on film by a witness – began when NYPD officers questioned Garner about selling untaxed cigarettes. According to Ramsey Orta, the 22-year-old who recorded the footage, Garner had just broken up a fight that took place in the area when police walked up and said they saw him selling cigarettes. …;

A Nation on the Brink: How America’s Policies Sealed Iraq’s Fate, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, July 18, 2014: Yves here. I’m publishing this piece on Iraq not just on its own merits, but as a vehicle for discussing America’s ever-more destructive foreign policies. I was disheartened by the events of yesterday. It wasn’t simply the tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines plane crash and the almost certain intensification of the Ukraine conflict, and the escalation in Gaza. It was also the speed with which some of the leftie hawks who’d eagerly called for the invasion of Iraq were quick to demonize Putin …;

Six Years After the Global Financial Crisis, What Have We Learned? on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, July 18, 2014;

Malaysia MH17 crash: 10 questions Russia wants Ukraine to answer, on Russia Today RT, July 18, 2014;

Interview with German Foreign Minister: Further Escalation Not Out of the Question’ in Ukraine, on Spiegel Online International, by Roland Nelles and Severin Weiland, July 18, 2014: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier calls the downing of the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine “appalling” in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE. He also discusses the flare-up in the Middle East and US espionage in Germany …;

DHS keeping a list, checking it twice, on Intrepid Report, by Lisa Simeone, July 18, 2014;

A Damned Paradise: Does Haiti Need Tourism? Or Does It Need Justice? on Spiegel Online International, by Samiha Shafy, July 18, 2014 (Photo Gallery): Human rights attorney Mario Joseph and Tourism Minister Stéphanie Villedrouin are both trying to improve Haiti, but they are following radically different paths. The one wants justice, the other wants tourism …;

US Sentencing Commission Votes Unanimously to Reduce Drug Sentences Retroactively, on Activist Post (first on Stop The Drug ), by Phillip Smith, July 18, 2014;

Egypt: Parliamentary woes, on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Gamal Essam El-Din, July 17, 2014: The House of Representatives’ elections will be held in a legislative environment that parties say is hostile to a multi-party system …;

The Bearable Lightness of Being: How Germans Are Learning to Like Themselves, on Spiegel Online International, by SPIEGEL Staff, July 17, 2014 (Photo Gallery): Germans discovered a new lightness of being in the run-up to their World Cup victory. It’s a shift apparent not only in football. Increasingly confident and content, Germany is emerging from the dark shadows of its past, but its global role remains elusive …;

Gaza: all options open, on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Dina Ezzat, July 17, 2014: on the diplomatic scramble to avert yet more Palestinian casualties …;

Egypt: Changing tack, on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Reem Leila, July 17, 2014: on the National Council for Women’s strategy to combat sexual violence …;

The Return of George Orwell and Big Brother’s War: On Israel, Ukraine and Truth, on Counterpunch, by JOHN PILGER, July 11-13, 2014;

All RTshows: /on Air/Archive; /Politicking with Larry King;

… and this:

… und noch das:

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