Democratic Left

We Must Celebrate the Life and Work of Nelson Mandela

Young_Mandela.jpgI expected to hear the news.  I did not know when it would arrive.   I did not believe that he had much longer to live.  So, when, this afternoon, I heard that Nelson Mandela, at the age of 95, had passed away, I was nevertheless surprised at my reaction.  Actually there were two reactions.

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Building a New Generation of Socialists; Revitalizing Socialist Strategy

By Maria Svart

The 2013 DSA convention, held in Emeryville, Calif. from October 25-27, brought together socialists from across the country to rejuvenate DSA’s organizing capacity and reorient our strategy.

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Thanksgiving - More Than a Turkey Dinner

By Lawrence Ware

It’s Thanksgiving once again: the day every year when we all engage in gluttony to celebrate the fact that White People were saved by Native Americans — at least that is how it has been framed historically.

I was horrified to learn that my son was being taught that the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving is because Pilgrims (read: white people) were given food and learned farming techniques from those helpful, colorful Indians. In class he was shown pictures of happy Native Americans bringing food to joyful Pilgrims — as if the whole thing were a dinner party. 

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The Detroit Financial Crisis

By David Green

The national media have trumpeted the neoliberal narrative for Detroit’s financial woes. Detroit is portrayed as a mismanaged municipality whose corrupt politicians have driven the city into the ground. Our municipal debt (including pension obligations) approaches $18 billion. Our former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, was recently convicted of racketeering. He and his associates reportedly extorted a 10% premium on all city contracts. Over several decades, the city’s elected leaders allegedly negotiated sweetheart deals with municipal labor unions in exchange for political support. Recently, the New York Times reported in a front page story how Detroit’s pension fund managers had depleted the funds over many years by handing out annual bonuses to pension holders.

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“12 Years a Slave”: A Reflection with Spoilers

By Lawrence Ware 

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: “12 Years a Slave” is a 2013 British-American film, an adaptation of the 1853 autobiography Twelve Years a Slave   by Solomon Northup.] 

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Major R. Owens, the People’s Congressman (1936-2013)

By Marsha Borenstein

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Major Owens was an unconventional political leader – a librarian not a lawyer, a work horse not a show horse and not one to court the press rather than his constituents.  He would seem quiet or unassuming at times, but in fact he was a fiery speaker, advocate and organizer whose accomplishments were well known and appreciated by the people whose lives he touched.

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Heighten the Contradictions Around Food Stamps

We’re angry. We bet you are too. Two weeks ago, roughly 47 million people, nearly half of them children, lost part of their food stamp (SNAP) benefits. Apparently the average allocation of $1.40 per person per meal is too generous for the “lazy moochers” that the Right-wing characterizes as anyone who needs a helping hand, even five years into the greatest recession to hit this country since the Great Depression.

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Wealth and Power in the U.S. Out of Whack

220px-Robert_Reich_in_Inequality_for_All.jpgWealth and Power in the U.S Out of Whack: Growing Income Disparities ‘Danger to System,’ says Former Clinton Labor Secretary.

(Review of Robert Reich’s documentary ‘Inequality for All.’)

 By Michael Hirsch

 Robert Reich, the intellectual giant, stands 4 foot 11 inches tall, dripping wet. He jokes about it. He comfortably drives a Mini Cooper and once co-hosted a talk show with terrifically tall and terrifyingly conservative (except by Tea Party standards) ex-Wyoming  Sen. Alan Simpson (the show was called “The Long and the Short of It”). The author of 13 books, he served in the Ford, Carter and Clinton administrations—the later posting as secretary of labor from 1993 to 1996, a post he resigned from after losing one last intramural battle to Treasury secretary and Wall Street princeling Robert Rubin. Among his good senior hires: labor leaders Karen Nussbaum(SEIU Local 925) and Joyce Miller (Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers).  His presentations come with equal parts easy-to-assimilate detail and a self-deprecating, wry humor.  

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