Democratic Left

Solidarity is in the Details: Unions Adapt to a COVID-19 World

Linking labor movements to organizing around rent and debt is critical not only to improving peoples’ lives in the short-term, but also to resist financial capitalism’s multiple sites of extraction and expose some of the contradictions between them. High rents aren’t payable on low, insecure wages. Instead of individualizing this economic problem, unionizing enables people to collectively refuse responsibility for it. In 2017, for example, when faced with a 60% to 80% hike, the LA Tenants Union carried out a nine-month rent strike and won an agreement to limit rent rises to 5% and the right to negotiate on future increases.

Logo for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, for which one of the authors is an organizer.

LETTER TO DSA CHAPTERS: November 4, Hit the Ground Running!

Prospects appear good that Donald Trump will be defeated in November, but even with a change in the White House and power shifts in both the House and Senate, the country – especially the working class – will still be struggling with an economic disaster and a disastrous pandemic. We will need a recovery for all that includes the items listed above and goes beyond them. 

Queens DSA comes through. (Photo via Kristin Fetkovich)

Lessons from People’s Park, Occupy, and Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protest

George Floyd’s murder unleashed a firestorm of protests, fueling demands for an end to rubber bullets and tear gas for crowd control, a ban on chokeholds by arresting officers, and defunding of police. No less striking was the creation of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), also known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP). CHOP…

Barrier used in the standoff between police and protesters prior to the establishment of CHAZ with residents and visitors in the background. (Wikimedia Commons)

Red Scare Rising: A New Cold War with China?

It began as a trade conflict (Roots of the U.S.-China Trade Conflict), but recently it has escalated into a drive to start a new global Cold War with China. On July 23, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave an ominous speech titled “Communist China and the Free World’s Future.”  He warned that China seeks…

Image: KarolinA Grabowska,

The Bankruptcy Games: Cashing In on the COVID-19 Slump

Despite what we have been told, we are NOT all in this together.  The strategic use of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings has actually been good for some, especially executives of these companies as well as the private equity firms that executed retail leveraged buyouts (LBOs). 

Why hasn’t the pain been shared? The answer lies in the difference between personal bankruptcy and corporate bankruptcy.

Photo by Melinda Gimpel. (Unsplash)

The Painful Legacy of King Cotton

Returning 50 years after Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, a photographer-writer duo chronicle sadness, struggle, poverty, and tragedy as capitalism shapes the South.