On November 27th, YouTube pundit and comedian Jimmy Dore proposed a provocative plan to advance the Medicare for All movement: refuse to re-elect Rep. Nancy Pelosi D-CA as Speaker of the House until she brings Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All bill H.R. 1384 to a floor vote. Because last month’s elections whittled down the Democratic majority in the House, it would take only a handful of Democrats to hold Pelosi’s speakership hostage. The “Squad,” composed of Reps. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), could theoretically find sufficient support from among the ranks of the nearly 100 members of the Progressive Caucus.
In the run-up to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris taking office on January 20, a key debate raging now is about what kind of change they will usher in. Some say it is clear from those two leaders’ biographies that they herald the bold transformations needed to tackle the inequalities that scar society. Others say it is clear from their biographies that they will not. History suggests, however, that neither of those arguments gets it quite right. That key to what happens is what we do, together. For my new book, How to Fight Inequality, I looked at what we could learn from how inequality had been tackled in the past. What I found, across the world, was that progress in tackling inequality was never simply gifted by political leaders. It was won through people power.
What makes the U.S. “chattering classes” so worthless is their refusal to talk about anything except those subjects that are approved for public discourse by the Lords of Capital, as certified by the high priests of corporate media. If the chattering classes were permitted to discuss truly important subjects – such as, Who Rules? -- their yammering might hold some social value. However, the obvious fact of corporate dictatorship is also the great taboo. When the overarching reality of our times – the Dictatorship of (White) Capital, from which all of the planet’s existential crises flow -- is verboten
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to D. D. Guttenplan, the editor of the Nation, about the history of populism in America, its current rise and the problem of democracy. His new book, ‘The Next Republic: The Rise of a New Radical Majority’, focuses on nine progressive activists emerging during the Trump administration. Among them, new labor activist Jane McAlevey, racial justice campaigner and Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and environmental activist Jane Kleeb, all working to restore America’s democratic, political, and economic systems against the rise of proto-fascist forces and demagogues seeking power.
By Greg Kaufmann for Moyers and Company - “Structural racism” has become a buzzword in white progressive circles. But every time I push a white writer to break down the meaning behind the words without success, or I see a Black Lives Matter sign in an apartment window in a gentrified neighborhood where longtime residents of color are now priced out, I have to ask myself: How much we really know about the theoretically woke words we’re throwing around? We’re finally starting to call out racial disparities, but do we understand the history that creates them? We’re finally starting to call out racial disparities, but do we understand the history that creates them? We pledge our allegiance to inclusiveness and shared power, but do we examine the roles our own lives play in maintaining policies, practices and cultures that continue to harm African-American friends and family, neighbors and co-workers? It is for these reasons that I believe every white progressive (and, really, every white person) should see Bob Herbert’s new documentary, Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class.
By Anthony Dimaggio for Counter Punch - We live in a time of tremendous instability and change. Concerns about growing authoritarianism in American politics – as reflected in the rise of corporate power in politics, the intensification of militarism, and the diversion of the masses from political participation – are legitimate. There’s always been negativity on “the left” regarding American politics and society, and for good reason. We live in a time of ecological unsustainability that threatens human survival. Record inequality means a growing number of Americans are economically insecure and struggling to pay for basic goods such as health care and education. The threat of militarism is real, with the Trump administration’s saber rattling against Russia and North Korea. Militarism was a problem under Obama as well, although many Americans held out hope based on Trump’s rhetoric that he’d cool relations with Russia. Progressives are right to spotlight the dangers to democracy and human survival we face, and to condemn a political-economic system that’s engaged in an all-out assault on the public. But these dangers are far from the whole story when we talk about American politics today.
By Matt Stannard for Occupy - Centrist Democrats are bragging that they don’t need progressives to win in November. But the partnership works both ways. It’s morally useful to look at American politics through the eyes of Laura Zuñiga Cáceres. Just before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the daughter of slain Honduran activist Berta Cáceres arrived in Philadelphia, where she stayed, spoke, and, with thousands of others, protested the convention.
By Yanis Varoufakis for Project Syndicate - ATHENS – Politics in the advanced economies of the West is in the throes of a political shakeup unseen since the 1930s. The Great Deflation now gripping both sides of the Atlantic is reviving political forces that had lain dormant since the end of World War II. Passion is returning to politics, but not in the manner many of us had hoped it would. The right has become animated by an anti-establishment fervor that was, until recently, the preserve of the left.
By Sigmar Gabriel, Martin Schulz and Ingar Solty - In light of “Brexit” and within 24 hours after the publication of the final results in the British referendum on EU membership, Sigmar Gabriel, Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) chairman, German vice-chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs in the Merkel government, and Martin Schulz, EU Parliament President, published a new strategy paper analyzing the origins of the deep legitimacy crisis of the European Union amid the Europe-wide rise of the nationalist Right and outlining political pathways to overcome this legitimacy crisis in order to prevent the EU's disintegration.
Do you feel dovish most of the time but suddenly hawkish when it comes to Israel? Are you critical of the Democrats for being too centrist but supportive of Likud? Do your liberal ideas apply to every issue except for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? If you answered yes to the questions above, you may be a PEP (Progressive Except on Palestine). But you are not alone! PEPism is extremely common, especially among liberal Jews. In fact, if you are a liberal Jew, there is a high probability that this syndrome runs in your family. If you aren’t a PEP, you likely have some relatives who are. Though not genetic, PEPism is sometimes, though not always, passed down from one generation to the next. Two PEPs will frequently, but not necessarily, have PEP offspring, some of whom will outgrow the condition. Conversely, occcasionally, the offspring of two PEPs will experience an adverse reaction, manifesting in hyper-keffiyeh use and fetishization of all things Arab. The onset of PEPism varies. Children of PEPs tend to manifest symptoms as pre-teens. People who do not come from PEP parentage might experience a later onset, especially following a Birth Right trip or, in later years, after a move to Florida.
Gabriel Kolko, historian and socialist, died last month in his home in Amsterdam. He was 81. When Kolko’s The Triumph of Conservatism appeared on the scene in 1963, it was not only a book of history but heresy. This was the era in which American liberalism reigned supreme, and social commentators such as Daniel Bell confidently assured the public that the formula for sustained economic prosperity and political freedom had been uncovered in the form of a capitalist system kept in check by a powerful and centralized regulatory government. American liberals of the era rarely challenged the basic assumption on which their worldview hinged: that the purpose of the modern state was to inhibit and constrain — not advance or sustain — corporate interests. As is evident from Bell’s contemporaneous declaration that the balance of powers between private enterprise and public policy signaled nothing short of an “end of ideology,” American liberals in the early 1960s were so utterly convinced of the diverging interests of state and capital that they could not even fathom that this assumption was ideological in itself.