The media have already christened Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Clinton’s coronation should come as no surprise, as she has positioned herself as a friend of Wall Street (and Wal-Mart). She advocates fiscal discipline and so-called “privatized Keynesianism” and takes her political advice from “the markets.” She prides herself on her role in gutting welfare, her aggressive foreign policy and her close relationships with Republican leaders. Most damning of all: BENGHAZI! I don’t think I have to convince readers of this blog that she is the epitome of a neoliberal Democrat and her candidacy represents what Tariq Ali calls “the extreme center”.
Senator Bernie Sanders has been mulling over a presidential run for the past few months and is set to make an announcement this week or next about his potential candidacy. Bernie, a self-proclaimed and vocal socialist, is a talented campaigner, a remarkably successful politician and broadly popular across the ideological spectrum in his home state. Should he decide to run, socialists need to play an active role in building his campaign, but we also need to think carefully about why a Bernie candidacy is important and how socialists should best support and shape such a campaign. For starters, I don’t think socialists should work for Bernie in the hopes of “reclaiming” the Democratic Party (when was it ours to begin with?). Further, Bernie’s presidential run shouldn’t be seen as a means to pull Clinton to the left, a failing strategy for sure. Continue reading →
The following notes are intended to discuss some of the most important characteristics, tendencies and problems of Eurocommunism; and to do this by reference to three of the books which have been published on the subject recently – Santiago Carillo’s Eurocommunism and the State (Lawrence and Wishart, 1977); Fernando Claudin’s Eurocommunism and Socialism (New Left Books, 1978); and the discussion between Eric Hobsbawm and Giorgio Napolitano, published under the title The Italian Road to Socialism (The Journeyman Press, 1977). None of them are weighty publications; but they do offer a useful view of the main lines of thought of Eurocommunism and, in Claudin’s case, a qualified critique of its strategy. The focus is on Italy, Spain and France; but the discussion is relevant to all advanced capitalist countries. What is at issue is the elaboration of a strategy of socialist advance which, notwithstanding obvious differences, is broadly applicable to all such countries. Continue reading →
“In Search of Workers’ Power” by the Red Atlanta blog is an interesting Marxist attempt to grapple with the changes in the U.S. economic and class structure over the past quarter to half century. It combines fresh and original insights about the changes in the nature of the workforce, political organizations, and intellectual trends with a strong dose of ill-conceived nostalgia for the certainties of the past when Marxist orthodoxy concerning the industrial proletariat seemed to be confirmed by the course of the existing class struggle. Nowhere is the contradiction between the author’s forward-thinking and backward-looking approach captured than in the essay’s second paragraph: Continue reading →
If Michael Brown’s death is to lead to meaningful change, if he is not to become another Abner Louima or Amadou Diallo — shot by cops, protested about, and ultimately nothing changed — the struggle in Ferguson must become political, that is, it must develop a fighting electoral wing.
In the 20 years since the Rodney King beating inaugurated the citizen’s video camera as a new weapon in the fight against police brutality, there has been little to no meaningful police reform in the United States because such fights never developed such a wing. Continue reading →