Sometimes I wish there were as many leftist reading groups on The Art of War as there are on Marx’s Capital. It’s not that I don’t think leftists should understand socialist economics. Plenty of people I respect teach classes on Marx’s Capital. But it’s one thing to know what you want; it’s another to know how to get it. One fair critique of the revived American left is that while we have developed a compelling platform and inspired many to embrace the creed of democratic socialism, we are insufficiently savvy about the pursuit and use of power. I don’t think this can entirely be blamed on the left. American socialism has always been marginal, and it’s impressive that we have as many democratic socialists in office around the United States as we do.
Ever since a member of the right-wing “Patriot Prayer” group was shot and killed during a violent rally in downtown Portland August 29, the police investigation has reportedly focused on 48-year-old Michael Forest Reinoehl, an Army veteran and father of two who has provided what he called “security” at Black Lives Matter protests. The Wall Steet Journal reported earlier that Reinoehl was a person of interest in the killing of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was taking part in a massive pro-Trump caravan that began in Clackamas earlier in the day.
You’d think it would be big news that there’s a liberated area in the Middle East led by kickass socialist-feminists, where people make decisions through local councils and women hold 40 percent of leadership positions at all levels. You’d think it would be even bigger news that their militias are tough enough to beat ISIS. You’d think analyses of what made this victory possible would be all over the left-wing press. According to Janet Biehl, who was part of an academic delegation to the Cizîre canton in December 2014, the district commune is the building block of the whole structure. Each commune has 300 members and two elected co-presidents, one male, one female. Eighteen communes make up a district, and the co-presidents of all of them are on the district people’s council, which also has directly elected members. The district people’s councils decide on matters of administration and economics like garbage collection, heating-oil distribution, land ownership, and cooperative enterprises.