Democratic Left

Viking Love: The Economist Gets it Wrong

Cornel West has noted that “justice is what love looks like in public.” By that measure, the Nordic countries take the cake. But The Economist magazine, long identified with libertarian economic ideals, lauds the “Nordic model” in its February 2nd cover story as a “centrist” economic path for global capitalism while ignoring the very politics which make it the most humane.

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Capitalism and Poverty: A Socialist Analysis

Poverty is not created in a vacuum. Socialists understand that poverty is caused by the natural workings of a capitalist marketplace that has always excluded a significant part of the population from decent jobs and, thus, from the ability to purchase on the private market goods necessary for a decent life for themselves and their children. Socialists also recognize that poverty under capitalism is largely maintained by a skewed distribution of wealth and services, not by lack of a work ethic.

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Justice for Immigrant Workers

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) favors both the DREAM Act as well as broader immigration reform legislation that would grant immediate permanent resident status to all undocumented workers and their children and would establish an expeditious and non-punitive road to citizenship for these workers and their families. Such measures should render illegal the all-too-frequent local law practice of using racial-profiling to arbitrarily check individuals’ immigration papers. These practices effectively criminalize “breathing while brown.”

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MLK Was a Radical, Not a Saint

Today Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is viewed as something of an American saint. His birthday is a national holiday. His name adorns schools and street signs. Americans from across the political spectrum invoke King's name to justify their beliefs and actions, as President Barack Obama will no doubt do in his second Inaugural speech and as gun fanatic Larry Ward recently did in outrageously claiming that King would have opposed proposals to restrict access to guns.

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Martin Luther King, Economic Justice, Workers' Rights and Multiracial Democracy

MLK.pngIn 1968, a united black community in Memphis stepped forward to support 1,300 municipal sanitation workers as they demanded higher wages, union recognition, and respect for black personhood embodied in the slogan “I Am a Man!” Memphis’s black women organized tenant and welfare unions, discovering pervasive hunger among the city’s poor and black children. They demanded rights to food and medical care from a city and medical establishment blind to their existence.

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We Won - Now Keep Pushing

As recently as this summer, it looked as if the 2012 national elections had the potential to be nothing short of disastrous. Mitt Romney remained within striking distance of President Obama’s narrow lead, while the GOP seemed poised to increase its far-right majority in the House and threaten the Democratic majority in the Senate.

What a difference a few months makes.

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The Voters Defeated the Right; Time to Build the Left

President Obama owes his re-election to the black, Latino, trade union, feminist, and LGBT communities. It is they who rebuffed a Romney candidacy that relied heavily on the thinnest of veiled white nationalist appeals. A whopping 92 percent of Romney voters were white; and the only age group that Romney won handily was seniors. Obama in turn drew 55 percent of his vote total from whites and 45 percent from people of color. He won 55 percent of the women’s vote, 65 percent of union members, and 80 percent of voters of color (including 71 percent of the Latino vote and 73 percent of the Asian-American vote).

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After the Election: Keep Fighting

The Right, backed by a toxic flow of big money into politics and shameless efforts at voter suppression, tried to turn the 2012 election into a mandate for a regressive political agenda. The Republicans intended to overturn the modest gains of the president’s first term and roll back progressive reforms dating back to the New Deal. Political circumstances – a weak economic recovery, a gerrymandered redistricting of the House of Representatives in many states, U.S. Senate contests for twice as many Democratic than Republican seats and a disillusioned progressive voting base – favored the Right.

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