America’s New Class War

There is one last hope for the United States. It does not lie in the ballot box. It lies in the union organizing and strikes by workers at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, Lyft, John Deere, Kellogg, the Special Metals plant in Huntington, West Virginia, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the Northwest Carpenters Union, Kroger, teachers in Chicago, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, fast-food workers, hundreds of nurses in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

Organized workers, often defying their timid union leadership, are on the march across the United States. Over four million workers, about 3% of the work force, mostly from accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, transportation, housing, and utilities have walked away from jobs, rejecting poor pay along with punishing and risky working conditions. There is a growing consensus – 68% in a recent Gallup poll with that number climbing to 77% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 – that the only way left to alter the balance of power and force concessions from the ruling capitalist class is to mobilize and strike, although only 9% of the U.S. work force is unionized. Forget the woke Democrats. This is a class war.

The question, Karl Popper reminded us, is not how we get good people to rule. Most of those attracted to power, figures such as Joe Biden, are at best mediocre and many, such as

— source | Chris Hedges | Jan 18, 2022

Nullius in verba

Antiracist, anti-capitalist, abolitionist feminism

Angela Davis. She has two new books out this week: Abolition. Feminism. Now., which she co-authored, and a new edition of her autobiography, which was first published and edited by Toni Morrison in 1974. The book details Angela Davis’s early life, from growing up in a section of Birmingham, Alabama, known as Dynamite Hill due to the frequency of bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, to her work with the Black Panther Party and the U.S. Communist Party. In 1970, the FBI named Angela Davis as one of the 10 most wanted fugitives. Once caught, she faced the death penalty in California. After being acquitted on all charges, she spent her life fighting to change the criminal justice system.

I think that when Toni Morrison first raised the possibility of my writing an autobiography, I laughed, because it seemed that it was almost ridiculous to consider writing an autobiography in my twenties. However, we both came to the conclusion that it might be possible to write the kind of book that would be meaningful, that would not focus on me individually but would rather be more of a political autobiography. And I’m so thankful to Toni now, that she managed to convince me to write this book, not only

— source | Jan 19, 2022

Nullius in verba

Think Big to Overcome Losing Big to Corporatism

The progressive citizen groups, that in the sixties and seventies, drove through Congress the key environmental, worker, and consumer legislation, since unmatched, must feel nostalgic. Those were the years when legislation throwing cruel companies on the defensive was signed by arch-corporatist, President Richard Nixon, because he read the political tea leaves.

These bills included the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and environmental laws, the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for worker health and safety, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and worker pension protection, among others.

Alas, Richard Nixon was the last Republican president to be afraid of liberals. When grade B actor Ronald Reagan flew into Washington, he opened all doors to Big Business. A cruel man with a smile, Reagan gave an actor’s cover to the greatest collapse into the corporate power pits in American history.

Here is a checklist showing the takeovers of our government at all levels by the corporate supremacists for whom enough is never enough when it came to profits and power.

1. Regulatory agencies curbing corporate ravages were essentially shut down. Reaganites thought companies should regulate themselves when it comes to the health, safety, and

— source | Ralph Nader | Jan 10, 2022

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Socialists Must Be the Champions of Freedom

The topic of freedom was raised when I was giving some talks in Peru. The students there were very interested in the question: “Does socialism require a surrender of individual freedom?”

The right wing has managed to appropriate the concept of freedom as its own and to use it as a weapon in class struggle against socialists. The subservience of the individual to state control imposed by socialism or communism is something to be avoided, they said, at all costs.

My reply was that we should not give up on the idea of individual freedom as being part of what an emancipatory socialist project is about. The achievement of individual liberties and freedoms is, I argued, a central aim of such emancipatory projects. But that achievement requires collectively building a society where each one of us has adequate life chances and life possibilities to realize each one of our own potentialities.
Marx and Freedom

Marx had a few interesting things to say on this topic. One of them is that “the realm of freedom begins when the realm of necessity is left behind.” Freedom means nothing if you don’t have enough to eat, if you are denied access to adequate healthcare, housing, transportation, education, and the like. The role of socialism is to provide those basic

— source | David Harvey | 10.22.2020

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The GOP Is a “Gang of Radical Sadists”

We should look at exactly what’s happening. If you look at global maps, like the kind that the New York Times posts every day, the United States stands out. It’s the main global hot spot outside of Mongolia and a couple of others. If you look closely, it’s not the United States. It’s selected parts of the United States. Overwhelmingly, it’s the old Confederacy and a couple of outliers like Idaho and Wyoming, which are rock-ribbed Republican states. There’s even been analysis by counties by now, and it turns out that there’s a quite sharp difference between counties that voted for Joe Biden and counties that voted for Donald Trump. So, to a very substantial extent, it’s a partisan issue.

Parts of the Left have bought into this, too. They’re not statistically significant as compared with the mass refusal on the part of Republicans. And, in fact, the last poll I saw showed that over 50 percent of Republicans said they were not going to get vaccinated. So it’s not just that the country is refusing — very substantially, it’s a Republican issue.

It’s very serious. The hospitals in Republican areas like Idaho and Alabama are being crushed by COVID cases. Some states have had to stop providing regular services in hospitals because

— source | Oct 14, 2021

Nullius in verba