It’s not a presidential election year — which explains my lack of gastrointestinal issues — so when better for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to quietly, behind closed doors, change their rules to make it even harder for regular people to have any impact on our completely unhinged government? That’s exactly what they did! But in their defense, they did send out invitations to all DNC voting members with one of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s inner thigh scabs in each envelope. The DNC is best known for being the most hated organization in the United States for 26 years running! You’ll never catch up, Child Molesters of Cincinnati Club!
Brazil went to the polls yesterday under unusual political circumstances: Lula, the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate and champion of the poor, confronted an extreme right-winger, racist, misogynist, homophobic, and pro-dictatorship ex-army captain Jair Bolsonaro. Lula won the first round with 48.42% of the vote and looks set to win in the second round. But Bolsonaro, defying polls’ predictions, performed better than expected, scoring 43.2%. The background is important here. Brazil’s elite managed both to impeach PT president Dilma Rousseff in 2016 on false charges of fiscal improprieties (now fully exonerated) and to jail former president Lula, thus eliminating him from the 2018 presidential race. This emboldened Brazil’s establishment, who turned these successes into a push to ostracise the PT.
This Sunday October 2, Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, will elect its president. This election is decisive not only for the South American country but also for the entire region, since its outcome will heavily influence the correlation of forces. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (progressive candidate of the Workers’ Party)’s predicted victory would be a boost for the Latin America left and the rejection of neo liberalism, which has strengthened in the last 3 years. Meanwhile, if Jair Bolsonaro (ultra-right and Trump supporter) wins, it would mean a retrenching for the right-wing to resist. Regarding this election that carries such weight, Resumen Latinoamericano in English interviewed Micaela Ovelar Marquez, who is in Brazil directing a documentary on the current political electoral process of that country.
João Pedro Stedile of the national leadership of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) talks about the current crisis in the agrarian sector and the way forward. He explains how the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro has wrecked agriculture, leading to a rise in hunger. He also talks about the MST’s proposals for reviving the sector which include both immediate steps to alleviate hunger and structural solutions to long-term problems. These include the key role cooperatives must play in the country.
The prowar mentality among the progressive Dem pols is not limited to Biden’s cruel proxy war to the last Ukrainian. It extends to a second proxy war now being ginned up in Taiwan. When Nancy Pelosi recently visited the island to stir up secessionist sentiment, not a single progressive Democrat in Congress made so much as a peep of protest. In fact Rep. Ro Khanna, Co-chair of Bernie Sanders’s 2020 Presidential campaign boosted it in rants on CNN and Twitter. Both of these proxy wars bring the US into conflict with two other major global nuclear powers. If the progressive pols cannot be against military escalation in cases like this, it is hard to see that they have any claim to be for peace. And yet all too many activists in the progressive antiwar movement are loyal to them.
Hundreds of Tunisians marched on the streets of capital Tunis on Sunday, September 25, protesting against the rise in the prices of essential commodities in the country. Sporadic protests broke out in the evening in different parts of the city, as protesters criticized the failure of President Kais Saied’s government to address their economic hardships. The protesters carried loaves of bread and shouted slogans such as “where is sugar?” and “we can’t support crazy price rise!” They demanded improvements in living conditions and “jobs, freedom, and national dignity!” Some protesters, for example those in Mornag on the outskirts of the city, blocked roads and burnt tires in response to claims that one person had committed suicide due to state repression and economic concerns.
When you arrive in another country, there is nothing more precious than new friends who adopt you, protect you, and teach you about their language, music, culture, and traditions. For an open-minded traveler, ethnographer and anti-imperialist organizer, this new family is more valuable than any air-conditioned hotel, amount of comfort or money. When I moved to Brazil in May of 2003, Binho, Mateuszinho, Thiago and their family and neighborhood crew took me in and put me up in O Morro do Santo Cristo and O Complexo da Penha, the heart of Río de Janeiro’s favelas and drug war. They walked me through the complex landscape of Rio’s corrupt brutal police who shoot first and rarely ask questions later, their violent blitzes (Río slang for stop and frisks), and a maze of morros (ghettos spread across hills) divided between two major paramilitary drug gangs: O Comando Vermelho and O Terceiro Comando (The Red Command and The Third Command).
Washington, DC - More than 200 political scientists, legal scholars, and historians from academic institutions across the United States released an open letter calling on Congress to reject the United States’ winner-take-all system of elections in the wake of a failed 2020 redistricting process and adopt multi-member districts with proportional representation for the U.S. House of Representatives. The letter’s 200+ signatories include experts in fields ranging from comparative electoral politics to constitutional law. They include nine Johan Skytte Prize winners, often considered the ‘Nobel Prize of political science’: Robert Axelrod, Francis Fukuyama, Peter Katzenstein, Robert Keohane, David Laitin, Margaret Levi, Arend Lijphart, Philippe Schmitter, and Rein Taagepera.
“MAGA proposals are a threat to the very soul of this country.” Joe Biden“The MAGA agenda represents an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.” Joe Biden“The MAGA ideology looks at America and sees carnage and darkness and despair.” Joe Biden“MAGA Republicans in Congress look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th not as insurrectionists but as patriots.” Joe Biden Anyone paying attention knows that Joe Biden’s accomplishments as president are pretty sparse. The oligarchy allowed his American Rescue Plan stimulus program to go through but then put a stop on Build Back Better or any other legislation that would help the people in a meaningful way.
The abuse of executive powers has become so commonplace as to be accepted as the norm. We experience it in organizations public and private – ranging from the Oval Office to elite universities to charitable NGOs and foundations, and of course across the business world where the MBA mindset and CEO hubris reign. In this era of impunity, autocratic behavior is taken as a perquisite of office, if not indeed part of the job description. A general condition of social nihilism entices and emboldens the willful who crave arbitrary power for its own sake. The drifting attention of our political class and an inert citizenry are critical facilitating factors. The result in an overall weakening of the country’s dedication to civic principles.
Chicago, IL - Chicago saw two developments this past week in the struggle for democratic control of the police by the Black and Latino communities in Chicago. First, after a long delay, Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed the interim Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA). This was created out of the passage of historic legislation in 2021, Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS), the most democratic legislation for police accountability in the country. Second, election season began on August 30, when candidates for municipal office can start circulating petitions to get on the ballot in February 2023. The February ballot will include first-in-the-country police district council elections.
Soon to be former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney is the flavor of the month for liberals. The cause of the undeserved adulation is her condemnation of Donald Trump and his role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. She lost her Republican Party primary precisely because she turned on Trump, who is still loved by the masses of republican voters. Conversely, the idol worship from democrats has reached bizarre levels, including support for a Liz Cheney presidential campaign. Of course that was Cheney’s goal all along. She saw attacking Trump as her own ticket to the Oval Office. She always has been a rank opportunist. She began her political career challenging republican senator Mike Enzi by claiming that the arch conservative wasn’t conservative enough. Voters in the very red state of Wyoming weren’t fooled and she later had to settle for its lone congressional seat.
After four years of a right-wing Bolsonaro government, Brazilians will vote for a new president on 2 October 2022. Former president Lula—currently high in the polls—is confronting an increasingly delirious incumbent, who appears to have threatened violent unconstitutional action should he lose. Bolsonaro’s victory came two years after the impeachment of Workers’ Party president Dilma Rousseff in 2016, the first woman to be president. The Workers’ Party (aka Partido dos Trabalhadores, or PT) had held office since 2003. The period 2010-2016 was dominated by the ‘credit crunch’ crisis that sent the world into turmoil, with a generalised economic contraction, huge indebtedness in the advanced economies, and a considerable reduction in the consumption of raw materials. Brazil was badly hit.