Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to pull the American Health Care Act (dubbed ‘Ryancare’ or ‘Trumpcare’) from consideration by the House of Representatives so it would not be defeated in a floor vote is the first legislative victory for the political revolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders. Continue reading →
Some months ago I responded to a piece that appeared on the New Politics blog by my longtime fellow New Politics (NP) editorial board member and friend Barry Finger.1In my own blog, I argued that Barry had a better, more sophisticated understanding of the peculiarities of the Democratic Party and the U.S. electoral system than do many on the radical left who refuse to support any Democratic candidate regardless of that candidate’s personal political platform. However, I also made clear that I believed that Barry still suffered from certain misunderstandings regarding just how different American political parties are from parties that exist anywhere else in the world, and this meant there were defects in his suggestions as to how left-wing socialists should relate to the Sanders campaign. Other defects still characterize the arguments of those who claim that to support Sanders, however critically, is to support a candidate of a party of capital. While invoking my debate with Barry, I’ll touch upon those other arguments and their problems and explain why I think that critical support for the Sanders campaign is a necessity if we’re to build a much larger socialist movement and how the campaign may lay the basis for an independent party of the left. Continue reading →
By Joel Kotkin. First published by The Daily Beast. [Comment: Sad that the best Marxist analysis of the modern two-party system is to be found at The Daily Beast rather than any ostensibly Marxist/left-wing publication, but here we are.]
Class is back. Arguably, for the first time since the New Deal, class is the dominant political issue. Virtually every candidate has tried appealing to class concerns, particularly those in the stressed middle- and lower-income groups. But the clear beneficiaries have been Trump on the right and Sanders on the left.
Class has risen to prominence as the prospects for middle- and working-class Americans have declined. Even amidst a recovery, most Americans remain pessimistic about their future prospects, and, even more seriously, doubt a bright future (PDF) for the next generation. Most show little confidence in the federal government, although many look for succor from that very source.
To understand class in America today, one has to look beyond such memes as “the 1%” or even the concept of “working families.” As Marx understood in the 19th century, classes are often fragmented, with even the rich and powerful divided by their economic interest and world view. In our complex 21st-century politics, there’s a big divergence among everyone from the oligarchic classes to those who inhabit, or fear they will soon inhabit, the economic basement. Continue reading →
As Hillary Clinton and her Democratic establishment surrogates utilize Republican talking points and attacks in their war on Bernie Sanders, it’s worth highlighting the striking phenomenon of Republicans who either support Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency or respect him for being a principled pragmatist despite their political differences. And this phenomenon is no longer anecdotal — Sanders won 2,095 votes in the Republican primary in New Hampshire, more than 50% of the write-in vote.
What follows is a compilation of videos, written material, and social media accounts that fall under this broad heading. Hopefully this compilation will prove useful to people who come from conservative political backgrounds or who operate in conservative political environments. Continue reading →
The news from the Soviet Union is breathtaking. Events which no one would have predicted 10 years ago are now occurring at lightning speed.
Glasnost; perestroika; free speech; open parliamentary debate televised before millions of viewers; the beginning of organized political opposition to the Communist Party; mass strikes and demonstrations by workers and ethnic minorities; serious publications dealing honestly with the nation’s sordid history which had been covered up for decades by official lies. Continue reading →
Now that Hillary Clinton has adopted or triangulated with nearly all of Bernie Sanders’ positions on issues ranging from the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership and gay marriage to paid maternity and family leave and ending for-profit prisons, the choice facing voters in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary is less about the candidates’ contrasting positions and more about their future trajectories. In erasing the contrast between herself and Sanders, Clinton is trying to present herself as the safer, more pragmatic candidate (even though she got less done in the Senate than he did). However, even from the standpoint of narrow pragmatism Sanders is the best choice.
This is Chapter 1 of Building Progressive Politics: The Vermont Story, a 1993 pamphlet by Marxist Terry Bouricius, that chronicles how the only successful left third party in the U.S. today was built over the course of three decades. The remaining chapters will be published on this blog in the coming days.
Having a “third party,” or more than two parties, has been the norm rather than the exception in Vermont’s history. Some of these parties have been national in scope and some have been Vermont grown. Some of the national “third parties,” which I shall refer to as alternative parties from here on, did especially well in Vermont. Many of these parties could be described as single-issue parties. Continue reading →