This is the first installment of the series, "Reclaiming History from the Revisionists". In this episode we take a closer look at an often suppressed aspect of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many throughout mainstream US society do they best, year after year, to suppress the revolutionary and radical aspects of MLK. They don't want youth to know why the United States government vilified and targeted this man. The do this, in part, to prevent others from following in the enormous footsteps of this social justice giant. We must do our part to expose this often untaught history to as many as we can, especially the youth. A brighter and better future depend on it.
The Wobblies emerged more than a century ago, a revolutionary, anti-capitalist union that shook up the nation’s industrialists, including Oregon’s timber barons. Their political descendants no longer toil in logging camps on the American frontier. Now they’re behind the counters of a beloved fast-food chain in Portland, up to their elbows in burger grease, marionberries and Walla Walla onion rings. “Workers are pissed, and they want to change things,” said Mark Medina, who seized on the notion of organizing Burgerville workers while pulling shifts at the company’s Southeast 92nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard restaurant. "A lot of us are poor, hungry and even homeless."
By Richard Moser for Counter Punch - During the 1960s and 1970s, radical activists set out to organize the white working class. They linked the pursuit of working class interest and economic democracy with anti-racist organizing. They discovered, and helped others realize, that white supremacy and racism are not a friend to white people but one of the main obstacles to fulfilling our own destiny as a free people. The context was the last revolution. The civil rights, black power, feminist, student movements and community organizing set the stage for working class whites to make important contributions to the democracy movements of the time. While these efforts were initiated by various groups, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), radicalized working class youth, and the Black Panthers, they all eventually depended on the leadership of working class communities. The organizers had been deeply radicalized by the social upheavals of the time. Yet, their own working class backgrounds often placed them on the margins of the New Left. But the activists knew the white working class had enormous untapped potential. The movement to stop the War in Vietnam, fight the bosses, and win the battle against racism needed the hard work and political vision that everyday working people could help provide.
By Immanuel Wallerstein for Toward Freedom - In what I call the pan-European world (North America; western, northern, and southern Europe; and Australasia), the basic electoral choice for the last century or so has been between two centrist parties, center-right versus center-left. There have been other parties further left and further right but they were essentially marginal. In the last decade however, these so-called extreme parties have been gaining in strength. Both the radical left and the radical right have emerged as a strong force in a large number of countries. They have needed either to replace the centrist party or to take it over. The first spectacular achievement of the radical left was the ability of the Greek radical left, Syriza, to replace the center-left party, Pasok, which actually disappeared entirely. Syriza came to power in Greece. Commentators talk these days of “pasoksation” to describe this. Syriza came to power but was incapable of carrying out its promised program. For many, Syriza was therefore a great disappointment. The most unhappy faction argued that the error had been to seek electoral power. They said that power had to be achieved in the streets and then it would be meaningful.
By Chip Gibbons for Jacobins - Last week, a little over an hour after the Intercept published a story about a classified National Security Agency report concerning Russian election interference, Reality Winner, the alleged leaker, was arrested and charged under the Espionage Act. In recent years, the Espionage Act has been used as a statutory sword against whistleblowers. Donald Trump allegedly told former FBI director James Comey he wanted to prosecute journalists under the statute. But historically, the Espionage Act is perhaps most significant not for its role in persecuting whistleblowers, but for crushing dissent during World War I. Nowhere was this crackdown felt more acutely than within the Socialist Party (SP). While never on par with some of its international counterparts, the SP was a genuine mass party that elected countless local officials, sent two members to Congress on its own ballot line, and fostered a vibrant socialist press that reached millions. Its longtime standard-bearer, Eugene Debs, was a nationally known figure.
By Paul Buhle for Portside - Not that "Direct Action" is new, even in the normally non-radical United States. Taking control of a factory, taking control of streets, occupying a university or some other venue, has been familiar for at least a century, arguably beginning when the Industrial Workers of the World first "sat down" instead of leaving the factory to picket its entrances. (Women's actions in the urban Rent Strikes of the early 1930s would be another great example). Spartacus may have been one of the earliest radical occupiers, of territory that is. But let's stick with the past century, for convenience. The general problem of strikes is that the strikers are on the outside, as are demonstrators in most instances, people (like me) listening to talks and then marching. The alternative, if it works, is to be in the inside, holding on, at least for long enough to make a point. Kauffman begins with an apparent success that was more of a failure: an occupation of DC in 1971 that apparently took the authorities by surprise, but more likely tested their ability, at that stressful historical moment, to let the demonstrators have their moment, never actually threatening the functions of government, including the Vietnam War.
By Kate Hudson for Defend Democracy Press - Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election to the leadership of the Labour Party on an increased vote is a significant victory for the left in the Labour Party and for progressive politics in Britain. It is a victory that everyone on the left celebrates. It demonstrates the strength of support that exists for changing the politics of the Labour Party: for shifting the balance of power within our society, away from the political and economic elites towards the majority, to empower and enfranchise the working class and communities hardest hit by the long run attacks upon the welfare state.
By Ben Morken for In Defense of Marxism - The rally took place at a capacity crowd of more than 56,000 people at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, a township with deep revolutionary roots and immense historic and symbolic significance to the South African working class. It is not only the biggest township, but also the country’s biggest working class area. The event was held near the site where the Soweto Uprisings of 16 June 1976 began. Those uprisings started when the police opened fire on protesting students.
By Steven Singer for Badass Teacher Association - There was a point during Chris Hedges keynote address today when I could barely catch my breath. My chest was heaving, tears were leaking from my eyes and I wasn’t sure I would be able to stop. The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist had his audience enraptured at the United Opt Out Conference in Philadelphia Saturday morning. I’ve read Chris before. We’ve all read Chris before. But I had never seen or heard him speak.
By Jim Wallis for Sojourners - Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and my boys could tell you how much I always want to get to good carol services. It’s the amazing Christmas narratives that I love so much. I am a Christian and what Christmas means to me is this: In Christ, God hit the streets. Immanuel means God with us. It’s not just that God came, but how God came. It wasn’t accidental that the savior of the world was born to a poor peasant woman in an occupied country in an animal stall because they were literally homeless at the time of his birth.
When liberals align with the power structure, as they did on healthcare we get an abomination -- Obama's ACA -- that does not solve the healthcare crisis. The radicals need to show enough strength so the liberals realize winning is possible. We could not do that over healthcare (even though 80% of Dems were with us on single payer and 60% of the country agreed with us) so we got stuck with insurance an industry dominated market rather than healthcare for the public good. Obama played the Stratfor strategy well. He picked off the opportunists who could be bought with big donations or access to politicians. This led the realists to doubt the possibility of really putting in place an effective health policy, that and the same things the opportunists wanted brought them to the side of Obama and the insurance industry.