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United States

The raw material of exploitation: Harry Braverman's 'Labor and Monopoly Capital'

For more by Doug Enaa Greene.

By Doug Enaa Greene

August 26, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Work sucks. Every day, workers go into jobs they hate, whether in a factory, office or on a checkout line. Workers are made to perform menial and demeaning tasks that have already been outlined for them, down to the smallest details, by management. Their job is so simple that anyone can do it. Ultimately, the worker possesses no control at the workplace.

How that situation came about and what it means for class struggle is the subject of Harry Braverman's classic work, Labor and Monopoly Capital. Braverman's book not only unveils how work is degraded under capital, but remains an important resource for how we understand capitalist society, working-class consciousness, and the class struggle today.

Puerto Rico, la Grecia americana

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4542.]

Por Barry Sheppard, traducción Faustino Eguberri para VIENTO SUR

31 de julio de 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, Viento Sur -- Mientras el mundo entero tiene su atención fija en el espectáculo que dan el FMI, la CE y el Banco Central Europeo (la troika) aplastando al pueblo griego, hay otros numerosos ejemplos de poderosos países imperialistas que utilizan la "crisis de la deuda" para extraer más riquezas de los países más débiles que ellos, así como de países imperialistas más pobres.

Un caso típico es el de la colonia de Puerto Rico (3,6 millones de habitantes). En una entrevista concedida al New York Times, el gobernador de la nación caribeña declaró: "Nuestra deuda, que asciende a 73 mil millones de dólares, no es pagable. No hay otra opción. Sería feliz si hubiera otra opción más fácil. Pero no es cuestión de política, sino de matemáticas". Puerto Rico no ha podido pagar un plazo de más de mil millones de dólares que vencía el pasado 1 de julio.

Barry Sheppard: Screwed by vulture funds, Puerto Rico is the Washington's 'Greece'

For more on Puerto Rico, click HERE, and more by Barry Sheppard.

By Barry Sheppard

July 27, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The world has been focused on the spectacle of the “Troika” of the International Monetary Fund, European Union and the European Central Bank crushing the Greek people, but it is far from the only example of strong nations using a “debt crisis” to extract more wealth from those that are weaker.

A case in point is the US colony of Puerto Rico. In a June 28 New York Times interview, the governor of the Caribbean archipelago nation declared its debt of US$73 billion “is not payable. There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics. This is math.”

Puerto Rico, which remains a territory of the US, has missed a July 1 deadline on a payment of more than $1 billion.

United States: Kshama Sawant wins 52% of vote in primary

Kshama Sawant's 2015 primary election night speech. As of the close of counting August 7, Kshama's total vote was 51.88%.

Click HERE for more on Kshama Sawant and other socialist municipal election campaigns.

By Tom Crean, Seattle

August 5, 2015 -- Socialist Alternative, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  -- A fired-up crowd of more than 200 supporters of Socialist Alternative Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant gathered in the Melrose Market Studios in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighbourhood to hear the result of the non-partisan primary for the Seattle City Council election.

Many thousands more around Seattle and the nation were anxiously awaiting the outcome of the first stage of the most important electoral battle for the left in the United States in 2015, to hold the seat Kshama won in 2013 as the first open socialist elected to a council in a major urban area in decades.

Porto Rico. La «Grèce» américaine

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4542.]

Par Barry Sheppard

18 juillet 2015 -- A l'encontre -- Pendant que le monde entier a eu son attention fixée sur le spectacle montrant le Fonds monétaire international, la Commission européenne et de la Banque centrale européenne (la « Troïka ») en train d’écraser le peuple grec, il y a de nombreux autres exemples de pays impérialistes parmi les plus puissants qui utilisent une «crise de la dette» pour extraire plus de richesse de pays plus faibles qu’eux, ainsi que de pays non impérialistes plus pauvres.

United States: Should the left back Bernie Sanders' campaign? Two views

The attitude to the presidential campaign of long-time independent US senator and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders has become a major debate on the US left. Some see his decision to run as a Democrat as the major dividing line, accusing him of sidetracking the left into support for the capitalist Democratic Party. Others, while recognising Sanders' shortcomings, point to the wider role his campaign can offer in providing a more radical pole of attraction in US politics at a time when the left is weak. Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal makes available two views from significant sections of the US socialist left. Readers' comments are encouraged in the comments box after the articles.

Puerto Rico: Washington's 'Greece' -- Party of the Working People fights austerity

Rafael Bernabe, spokesperson for the Partido del Pueblo Trabajador. He was its candidate for governor in 2012.

By Rafael Bernabe

July 2015 -- New Politics, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Partido del Pueblo Trabajador—the Party of the Working People (PPT)—is a political project of the Puerto Rican left addressed to working people in the context of the island’s deep economic crisis. It would be hard to exaggerate the gravity of Puerto Rico’s present social and economic situation, which can only be compared to the impact of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

United States/Cuba: Cuban embassy opens in Washington

Democracy Now! July 20, 2015 -- Report from the opening of Cuba's new embassy. Transcript available HERE.

By Robert Craven and Olivia Marple

July 20, 2015 -- COHA, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Amid cheers of “Cuba sí, bloqueo no” (Cuba yes, embargo no), hundreds gathered on Washington, DC’s busy 16th Street to bear witness to the symbolic close to one of the more misguided chapters of US foreign policy. Trumpeting fanfare sounded as Cuban honour guard soldiers raised their country’s flag above what is now Cuba’s embassy in the United States.

Cuba's foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla presided over the flag raising and was accompanied by a large US delegation led by assistant secretary of state Roberta Jacobson.[1]

“It’s a new beginning, it’s a new opportunity for the people of Cuba,” said Karla Ramos, one of the spectators, in an interview with COHA, mirroring the sentiments of many others there to celebrate this momentous occasion 54 years in the making.

Barry Sheppard: Racist Charleston massacre has clear political roots

A Black Lives Matter protest last August in New York. Photo by Edward Leavy.

Read more by Barry Sheppard HERE.

By Barry Sheppard

June 20, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --  The mass murder of nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white racist has been widely denounced. But to understand this hate crime – a terrorist attack – it has to be put into a broader political context.

The killer, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, deliberately spared the life of one woman, telling her he wanted her to report on what he had done. He told her, among other things, that he decided to kill Black people because they “are taking over the country”.

In short, his motives were blatantly political. And the killings occur in the political context of the rise of the new Black Lives Matter movement with its mass mobilisations since Ferguson last August, and the racist counter-movement spearheaded by the police in reaction to it.

Roof’s actions should be seen as part of that broader racist reaction - and inspired by it, even if his mass murder is an extreme example.

EE UU: Cooperación sin precedentes en la izquierda

Por Dan La Botz

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4412.]

12 de mayo de 2015 -- Vientosur.info -- Unos 200 activistas políticos, individuales o miembros de diversas organizaciones independientes, han protagonizado un debate enriquecedor y amistoso sobre la manera de colaborar en la construcción de una amplia alternativa política a la izquierda del Partido Demócrata.

Los participantes en la Conferencia sobre el "Futuro de la Izquierda y la Política Independiente" – candidatos y activistas nacionales, estatales y locales, así como cargos electos del Partido Verde, del Partido de la Paz y la Libertad, la Alianza Progresista de Richmond, la Alternativa Socialista y el Partido Progresista de Vermont– debatieron en un espíritu de cooperación sin precedentes sobre los retos electorales y las dificultades que entraña ejercer un cargo público mientras se intenta construir movimientos y llevar a cabo políticas progresistas. A la conferencia también asistieron miembros de los Demócratas Progresistas de América y del Partido de la Justicia.

United States: Unprecedented cooperation at Future of Left/Independent Action conference

By Dan La Botz

May 5, 2015 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Some 200 political activists from a variety of independent political organisations, as well as individual activists, carried out rich discussion and amicable debate about how to collaborate in the work of building a large political alternative to the left of the Democratic Party.

Participating in the Future of the Left/Independent Politics Conference in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, national, state, and local candidates and activists, as well as elected officials from the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Socialist Alternative, International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Vermont Progressive Party discussed the challenges of campaigning and the difficulties of actually holding office while trying to both build movements and push progressive policies. Also at the conference were members of Progressive Democrats of America and the Justice Party.

United States: Small victory for independent working-class politics in Chicago

Chicago teachers now have one of their own on the city council. Susan Sadlowski Garza, school counselor and Chicago Teachers Union executive board member, declared victory this week. Photo: Citizens to Elect Susan Sadlowski Garza.

Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level.

By Samantha Winslow

April 9, 2015 -- Labor Notes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Chicago teachers now have one of their own on the city council. Susan Sadlowski Garza, school counselor and Chicago Teachers Union executive board member, declared victory this week over incumbent John Pope. Absentee ballots are still being counted, but signs indicate she will squeeze past by less than 100 votes.

United States: Pro-Democratic Party 'left' targets Kshama Sawant

Click HERE for more on Kshama Sawant and other socialist municipal election campaigns. 

By Ben Norton

March 17, 2015 -- Socialist Worker (USA), posted at Links International of Socialist Renewal -- The Urban League is going after the only leftist and the only woman of colour on the Seattle City Council. Rather than challenging the pro-corporate advocates of neoliberalism, whether Democrat or Republican, who increasingly dominate US politics, this well-known liberal organisation is expending its energy on defeating the left.

Pamela Banks, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, announced this month that she will run in the next municipal election against City Council member Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative candidate who won national attention for her successful 2013 campaign.

Barry Sheppard: Recovering the revolutionary legacy of Malcolm X

For more on Malcolm X, click HERE. More by Barry Sheppard.

By Barry Sheppard

March 5, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- February 21 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, one of the greatest leaders of the 1960s Black liberation movement in the United States.

Lenin once wrote:

During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander.

United States: Conference to explore left electoral possibilities

Left to right: Brian Jones (ISO), Kshama Sawant (Socialist Alternative) and Howie Hawkins (Greens). Hawkins, the ISO and Socialist Alternative have endorsed the conference.

By Robert C.

February 17, 2015 -- Against the Current, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Activists and candidates from around the United states will come together on May 2-3, 2015, in Chicago to share their experiences and to launch a network for future cooperation at the Future of Left/Independent Electoral Action Conference.

The past few years have seen a significant uptick in independent political initiatives on the left, from election campaigns to new local electoral and social movement formations, to referenda campaigns.

Kshama Sawant’s November 2014 election to the Seattle City Council captured the attention of leftists across the country, but a number of other exciting campaigns have also been path breaking, including the Jackson Plan of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Richmond Progressive Alliance’s David and Goliath fight against Chevron in the East Bay. Many recent political developments have brought organisers building alternatives to the two-party system together with those using direct action and referenda to help win gains against fracking, for a $15 minimum wage, and other important initiatives.

United States: Chicago unionists force Democrat mayor into runoff election

Chicago teacher Tara Stamps campaigns in the 37th Ward for a spot on the city council, and for mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. Both Stamps and Garcia earned enough votes to make the April 7, 2015, runoff. Photo: Tara Stamps.

Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level.

By Samantha Winslow

February 25, 2015 -- Labor Notes, posted at Links International journal of Socialist Renewal -- On election night, February 24, 2015, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and its new independent electoral organisation didn’t knock out Democratic Party mayor Rahm Emanuel—but they did take him down a notch, forcing him into a runoff with the union’s preferred candidate, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

It’s the first runoff in a Chicago mayoral election in 20 years.

Union-friendly city council candidates and ballot initiatives gave Garcia’s campaign a boost. Three rank-and-file CTU members running for city council seats—Tara Stamps, Susan Sadlowski Garza and Tim Meegan—made it into the April 7 runoff, too.

Socialists and World War I: Turn the imperialist war into a civil war

Industrial Workers of the World poster against WWI.

By Doug Enaa Greene

February 2, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It has been a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. The centennial of the “war to end all wars” has seen countless commemorations of the millions of heroic soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for king and country.

Yet missing from all of the observances of the war are the deeper questions of its causes – to divide colonies among predatory ruling classes – and the heroism of those who opposed the mass slaughter. And for the left, that is how we should remember this 100th anniversary – but honoring those socialists and communists who fought against all the odds to end the slaughter.

Paul Le Blanc: Explorations in plain Marxism: revolutionary theory, practical action

"For many developing intellectually in the English-speaking world during the early 1960s, the radical sociologist C. Wright Mills (on his way to work above) was an incredibly important influence."

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of Marxist theory, click HERE.

By Paul Le Blanc

January 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ideas of Karl Marx are often put forward as an invaluable resource for those wishing to understand the world in order to change it for the better. Yet various people who speak as Marxists often insist upon divergent ways of understanding even the most basic concepts associated with Marxism – such as capitalism and the working class.

James Connolly: National liberation and socialism

Tribute to James Connolly by MyLittleTripod.

By Doug Enaa Greene

[See the video of this talk below.]

December 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "My business is revolution."[1] These words of the Irish socialist James Connolly succinctly sum up the main focus of his life. James Connolly is one of the towering socialist figures of our time. Connolly’s commitment to socialism and internationalism saw him work as labour organiser in Scotland, the United States and Ireland.

Connolly was also a stalwart member of the left wing of the Second International along with Lenin, Eugene Debs, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky. However, Connolly is most well known for his central role in the struggle of Irish independence, especially in leading the Easter Uprising of 1916. The revolt failed and cost Connolly his life, but it was the spark that led to the end of British rule in the 26 counties of southern Ireland.

United States: Lorain County labour defends political independence

Ohioans successfully defeated Right to Work last time -- but it may come around again. Meanwhile, unions around Lorain have had it with Democrats who attack labour. Photo: AFSCME.

Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level.

By Bruce Bostick

November 17, 2014 -- Labor Notes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In Ohio’s most trade union-dense county, the dominant Democratic Party machine declared war on what has historically been its own base: labour. So last year, in opposition to the machine, the labour federation in Lorain County, the Central Labor Council (CLC), ran and elected several independent candidates.

This time around, as an anti-union “Right to Work” bill looms again in Ohio, the CLC is taking aim at the leader of the pack: City of Lorain mayor Case Ritenauer.

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