There are currently 7,383 state legislators in the United States. Nine of them are affiliated with the Vermont Progressive Party. One of them is an independent from Alaska who caucuses with the Democrats.
This is the grand sum of the left presence in American state legislatures outside the Democratic Party. There has been a single instance of federal-level victory in my lifetime—Bernie Sanders’s election as an independent to the U.S. House, then Senate, in Vermont. No one else has even come close. And Sanders, after 30 years as an Independent, elected to seek the presidency through the Democratic primary. Continue reading →
Politics in the U.S. may have reached a new low on Friday when a Maine legislator took the governor up on his challenge to make a voicemail message public:
“Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage,” a recording of the governor’s phone message says. “I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cock sucker. I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cock sucker. You … I need you to, just friggin. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”
Debbie Medina has lived her entire life south of Grand Street in the Southside of Williamsburg, a historically Puerto Rican neighborhood in Brooklyn. The office of Southside United HFDC — better known as Los Sures — where Medina has worked as a housing organizer for 30 years, is on South Fifth, eight blocks away. When she walks down Driggs Avenue, Debbie can point at the buildings and recite their histories. “This neighborhood has always had some nasty landlords,” she says.
Debbie Medina (center) with the city council’s Antonio Reynoso (D) (right).
Running for president of the United State means taking on not only the country’s problems but the world’s problems. Whoever is sworn in as president in January 2017 will be forced to deal with crises around the globe the previous administration was either unable or unwilling to resolve:
Beyond reiterating the undeniable truth that war is bad and peace is preferable, Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders has said little about his foreign policy plans on the campaign trail. Foreign policy isn’t listed on the “Issues”* page of his campaign website and the foreign policy section of his Senate website is literally blank.
Robert Fatton Jr’s article “Killing Haitian Democracy”appears on the Jacobin website with the following subtext: “The US’s repeated imperialist interventions in Haiti have left a legacy of despotism.” This certainly an accurate assessment. What is bizarre about this article are its flagrant omissions. American most recent interventions in 1994 and 2004 — as well as the resistance to them — are completely and inexplicably glossed over.
It’s as if the struggle of the Haitian people against American imperialism and capitalism was a past, historical phenomenon rather than an ongoing battle. Continue reading →