By Rev.William J. Barber
On election night I felt a great sadness for America — not a Democratic or Republican sadness, but a sadness for the heart and soul of the nation. It is impossible to react to the election of Donald Trump with anything less than moral outrage. Trump is, as David Remnick wrote for The New Yorker, “vulgarity unbounded ,” and his election has not only struck fear in the hearts of the vulnerable but also given rise to hundreds of documented cases of harassment and intimidation
By Ben Dalton
After immigrating from China, Lynn Wang’s parents lived in the United States for three decades without encountering discrimination or racial abuse, until the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign.
“My mom was leaving yoga, and a woman from our hometown just pulled up next to her, leaned out of her car and started calling her racial slurs,” said Wang, a student at the University of Southern California. “We’ve been in Manhattan Beach for decades and never had that kind of thing happen before.”
October 29, 2016
For decades, the dominant approach to electoral politics on the left has followed a now-familiar formula. The formula goes something like this: the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate leave much to be desired. They fall far short of our aspirations for a free and just society. Despite these shortcomings, however, the Republican Party and its candidate are far worse and will inflict much harm on the institutions and constituencies we care about. We have no illusions about the Democrats, but leftists and progressives should vote for them because the political terrain will be much more favorable to us with them in office. Once the threat from the right is defeated at the polls, we will mobilize to hold the Democrats accountable whenever they move to implement neoliberal and militaristic policies.
However, we 75 signatories of this statement seek an alternative.
By Slawomir Sierakowski
WARSAW – Jarosław Kaczyński and Donald Trump, two politicians who have shocked the world this past year, have mostly gotten away with their outrages. But not anymore.
By Harold Meyerson
In 1906 German sociologist Werner Sombart wrote an essay entitled Why Is There No Socialism in the United States? that sought to explain why the US, alone among industrialized democracies, had not developed a major socialist movement.
Today, however, we need to pose a different question: why are there socialists in the United States? In this nation that has long been resistant to socialism’s call, who are all these people who now suddenly deem themselves socialists? Where did they come from? What do they mean by socialism?
|Gramsci Monument Bronx NY/ Flickr|
By Bill Barclay
Why do many people in the U.S. "vote against their interests?" Why do many people not vote at all?
There have been a variety of answers suggested to these questions but not many have thought about these questions in the framework of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci’s analysis of common sense and good sense. A recent report, “The Politics of Financial Insecurity,” provides some important insights when interpreted in Gramscian terms.
The report confirms a pattern common to U.S. voting and politics: there is a fairly strong relationship between economic well-being and choice of party. The economic well-being measure is more complex than simply income, however. It is based on a series of questions about whether a household has a checking account; savings account; credit cards; retirement account(s); or troubles financing mortgage or rent, medical or food costs. Taken together, these questions measure financial security/insecurity.
As democratic socialists, we have a long-term vision and, by necessity, a long-term strategy. At the same time, we must understand the current terrain in order to get us from here to there. Last month’s election results were disastrous for the Democratic Party and, by extension, the progressive movement. Not just because who holds state power has real implications (should we hold our breath about a national right-to-work law or more governors enacting policies from the ALEC playbook?), but also because, for many people, elections are their only engagement with the political process, and they engage in elections around one of the two major parties.
Lessons for the Left from the 2014 Elections: Part One -- Build A Grassroots Anti-Racist Class Politics
|Scott Walker Wins On Anti-Worker Agenda (Politico)|
By Joseph M. Schwartz
(This is the first part of a two-part article. Find Part Two here.)
1. Democratic Funders and Consultants Avoid the Politics of “Class Warfare” by Saying Nothing
Mainstream pundits cite as causes of the Republican triumph in the 2014 elections an electorate whiter and older than the presidential vote and the unfavorable terrain for the Democrats, who defended 21 of 34 Senate seats, eight of them in “red” southern and border states. But too few point to the Democratic consultants’ and affluent funders’ conscious choice to avoid any populist, economic justice themes in the campaign. They advised the Democrats to focus on winning swing voters, mostly affluent suburban women and single women. This would not necessarily be a problematic strategy if they put the needs of women in a broader economic context. But, instead, the consultants pushed the vapid theme of “we are not crazy Republicans who make war on women,” without speaking to policies such as publicly-financed child care and parental leave, nor to the reality that poor- and moderate-income women often cannot access reproductive health services.
Thus, the Democratic national establishment, by running a strictly anti-Republican campaign, inadvertently turned the election into a national referendum on the Obama administration. Given that real family income has fallen six percent since 2008 and that the benefits of the uneven economic recovery have almost all gone to the top 10 percent, the Democrats fared poorly, even in traditional blue states. Folks are angry at Washington’s failure to improve their living standards, and the majority of voters took it out on the party that controls the White House. Populist resentment can also take a racist form, and undoubtedly some of the ire towards President Obama derives from that source.
But was another road possible? The electoral success of Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) demonstrates that an anti-corporate agenda can appeal to working-class voters of all races. Of course, the national Democratic leadership was unlikely to bite the Wall Street hand that feeds its campaign coffers; but what if the administration had at least prosecuted some of “the banksters” who caused the economic crisis?
|DSA members Greg Ames, Daniel Hanley and Lorraine Fontana arrested at Georgia Secretary of State's office. (Credit: Reid Freeman Jenkins)|
By Barbara Joye
On Monday, Oct. 27, eight men and women were arrested when they refused to leave the Georgia Secretary of State’s office until some 40,000 registration applications submitted in three counties are processed and the voters’ names entered on the rolls so they can participate in the mid-term election. A group of about 60 supporters held up signs saying “Let us vote!” in the hallway outside the sit-in. The arrestees -- who included three DSA members -- and their supporters are participants in Moral Monday Georgia (MMGA, see below). Early voting is already underway in Georgia.
The National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights has filed a lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on behalf of Third Sector Development, the national NAACP and the Georgia NAACP, asking for a writ of mandamus, which would order the counties to do their jobs and register the missing names by Nov. 4. The three counties of course have large minority populations and are Democratic strongholds. (Two other counties have been dismissed from the suit since it was filed.)
by Harold Meyerson
The winner in last Tuesday's mind-boggling defeat of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wasn't just David Who? (Actually, David Brat.) It also was gridlock — for the remainder of this congressional session, and the next one, and probably for a number of years beyond that.
Brat's victory is almost certain to push the Republican Party to the right on the very issue that will cement the Democrats' hold on the White House: immigration. It's not that Cantor's alleged squishiness on the undocumenteds was the only issue in play; there were many reasons why Brat prevailed. One of them, surely, had to be voters' almost pan-ideological revulsion at the congressional leadership. Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, also attacked Cantor for his consistent defense of Wall Street. "All the investment banks in New York and D.C. — those guys should have gone to jail," Brat said at a tea party rally last month. "Instead of going to jail, they went on Eric's Rolodex, and they are sending him big checks."