Can the Left Recover?
By Neal Lawson
European social democrats have been engaged in serious efforts to rethink how the social democratic tradition must be transformed to meet the demands of the 21st century.
One of the online publications advocating this reappraisal in the United Kingdom is Compass, whose Neal Lawson recently posted a thought-provoking essay asking how one can have social democracy without social democrats. Though specifically addressing the UK, Lawson’s essay is relevant to the dilemmas of all social democrats/democratic socialists in the rest of Europe and North America.
By Dan La Botz
During the last two weeks of April I visited three European countries speaking about Bernie Sanders and the American elections. I spoke in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and in French-speaking Switzerland, while in May I spoke in four Brazilian cities: Rio de Janeiro, the Rio suburb of Niteroi, Vitoria, and Fortaleza. In Paris I spoke to Ensemble, part of the Front de Gauche, in the suburb of Bagnolet. In Madrid and Barcelona, I spoke at meetings organized by the journal Viento Sur which is linked to Anticapitalistas, the leftwing of Podemos. In Switzerland, I spoke at the Spring University of solidaritiéS Suisse, an independent, multi-tendency left wing group.
And the White Working Class
by Thomas Wells
The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders has given voice to a new class politics in the United States. What do I mean by this? By using the term “class politics,” I am referring to the self-identification by working people of all races and genders that their economic interests are in conflict with those who own and control concentrations of wealth and power in our society (Bernie’s billionaire class). This is often expressed by working people as class antagonisms against, or alienation from the corporate and political elite in society, and it can take many forms. To be sure, working people in the U.S. have always given expression to this economic politics of class, whether consciously or unconsciously. Any authentic socialist analysis should understand how deeply rooted these class antagonisms are in the capitalist system.
The National Political Committee (NPC, DSA’s elected leadership) is providing the following Talking Points, passed by the NPC on May 20, 2016 to enable DSA members to present a coherent description of how the NPC believes DSA members should engage in electoral work at various points between now and the November 2016 election. DSA members are free to disagree with these talking points, but the NPC asks that DSA members articulate these points as the organization’s perspective and then indicate where the individual member disagrees. Finally, these are just preliminary talking points on the elections; the NPC will issue a formal statement on DSA and the elections directly after the National Conventions this summer.
By Frank Stricker
We've had job growth for five years and the official unemployment rate is below 5%. But 6 million part-timers want full-time work, 8 million people are officially unemployed and another 6 million also want jobs. That's 20 million people and 12% unemployment. Some experts think we're at full employment, but if we were, employers would be raising pay faster to attract workers. But they don't have to. Chipotle had 60,000 applicants for 4,000 low-wage positions. In Los Angeles, a licensed vocational nurse could not find work and sold her blood to pay the bills.
By Neal Meyer
Reading groups have been the backbone of socialist groups since the start of our movement. They are where new people go to connect their intuition that the world is unjust to an analysis and critique of capitalism. They are where socialist activists go to learn from the past and adapt their forebears’ strategies to new conditions. Most important, reading groups are where socialists stop reading by themselves and start to socialize their knowledge.
By David Duhalde
Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign offers many questions as well as hope in who will continue to mobilize the millions of voters now open to democratic socialist politics. This June’s People’s Summit, which brings together many pro-Sanders groups and their allies, may provide one answer to what will happen after the Sanders campaign. Socialists would be wise to study the past to develop a strategy for post-election efforts to build long-term, well-structured progressive unity.
Two experiences in presidential politics with lessons for socialists are the Democratic Agenda (connected to Ted Kennedy) and the National Rainbow Coalition (connected to Jesse Jackson). Socialists should understand both events in order to inform ourselves how to strategically plan for the post-Bernie-campaign political landscape.
Ireland was a laboratory for every manner of colonial repression by the British. 100 years after the Easter Rebellion, it is once again — this time by banks.
By Conn Hallinan, 2016.