Democratic Left

Fairer Sex

This piece originally appeared in Jacobin.

There’s been a lot of handwringing lately over what is or is not feminist. Notable bones of contention include: ladyblogs, working in finance, doulas, having it all, housewifing, rioting, protesting, protesting in lingerie, getting married, watching “Girls.” Essays in publications ranging from mass-circulation glossies like the Atlantic to small literary magazines like n+1 have appealed to a widespread fascination with the confused meaning of the term. The narcissism underlying the debate is parodied by the blog “Is This Feminist?” featuring stock photos of people shaking hands, walking the dog, and doing laundry. The pictures are rated as either “representing feminism” or “problematic.”

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Claiming the 1963 March on Washington

August 28 will mark the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Publicly associated with Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, this march brought more than 250,000 people to the nation’s capital to demand freedom and jobs. Initiated by Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters President A. Philip Randolph, the effort became a joint project with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the day went down in history as a powerful show of force against Jim Crow segregation.

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The Summer 2013 Issue of Democratic Left is Available for Download

Fathers’ Day: Parental Leave, Labor Market Flexibility and the Definition of Maleness

BillBarclayChicago.jpg     Bill Barclay

In 1909 Sonora Smart Dodd began to campaign for a Fathers’ Day holiday. She later got assistance from the Father's Day Council (founded by the New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers). The campaign culminated with President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s 1966 designation of the third Sunday in June as the holiday, followed by President Nixon’s signing that date into law in 1972.

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June Jobs Report: More of the Same

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The labor market remained sluggish in May.  Unemployment rose from 7.5 percent to 7.6 percent, while the nonfarm payroll increased by 175,000.  Much of the job growth was concentrated in retail, food services, drinking places and temporary help.  Manufacturing fell slightly.

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What’s Left for Education?

For more than two decades the assault on public education has been underway; it shows no sign of slowing down.  From redirecting public funds from community schools to public and for-profit charters and home schooling to the growth of educational entrepreneurship, the loan-sharking of commercial student loans and Arizona’s vote to ban ethnic studies , public education (and those few  private schools serving a genuine public good) has suffered multiple hits.

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The Socialist Roots of the March on Washington

Political pundits have long lionized the August 1963 March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech as a clarion call to end legal segregation.

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The I.R.S Was Right, Obama Caves Again

It’s happening again. Another imaginary crisis, and instead of fighting back, the President   agrees with his enemies and starts making concessions.  He should be defending the I.R.S.  employees who have been doing  their jobs under difficult circumstances.  As a careful reading of the Inspector General's Report shows, there is no scandal.  Well, let’s put it this way:  there are scandals at the I.R.S., but this isn’t one of them.  Look instead to the under-regulation of huge political organizations such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads.

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