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United States

USA: 'Capitalism or Common Sense?' An Occupy Wall Street Class War Camp pamphlet

At the request of the author, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is happy to make available a new pamphlet produced by radical Occupy activists in United States, in the interests of the advancing discussion in the movement. The pamphlet can be downloaded free HERE (in PDF) or you can read it on screen below.

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For more on the #Occupy movement, click here.

By Pham Binh

April 18, 2012

Occupy!

Who would’ve imagined the word “occupy” would inspire millions to take direct action and stand up for the 99% here in America after brutal occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?

Now there’s Occupy Pakistan and even Occupy Nigeria.

Occupy is more than a movement, less than a revolution, and long overdue. Occupy isn’t about ideology, it’s about the 99%, hence why pacifists and insurrectionists, anti-capitalist anarchists/socialists and pro-capitalist libertarians, liberal Democrats and Ron Paul Republicans, vegans and omnivores have come together despite our differences.

Paul Le Blanc: Revolutionary organisation and the ‘Occupy moment’

Occupy Pittsburgh, October 15, 2011.

[For more discussion on revolutionary organisation, click HERE. Articles on left unity can be found HERE. The Occupy movement is discussed HERE.]

By Paul Le Blanc

February 16, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Occupy movement has been having a profound impact on the socialist left in the United States. I want to share some information on this, focusing on my own experience, and relate it to broader issues of Marxism and organisation that I have been engaged with for some time.

United States: Another socialist left is possible -- a reply to Paul D’Amato

[Click HERE to follow the entire debate on Tony Cliff's Lenin. For more discussion on revolutionary organisation, click HERE. Articles on left unity can be found HERE.]

By Pham Binh

February 10, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The first response to my “Occupy and the tasks of socialists” piece to be written by a leading member of an US socialist organisation is emblematic of what is wrong with the US socialist left.

I am referring to “The mangling of Tony Cliff”, written by Paul D’Amato, International Socialist Organization (ISO) member and managing editor of the International Socialist Review. He responds to my Tasks piece in his reply to a book review I did, writing:

United States: Who speaks for the 99%?

"It was decisive action and mass defiance – ultimately forcing the use of federal troops -- that ended Jim Crow legal segregation... Fundamental and radical change, as history shows, comes by mass direct action and popular outrage. Martin Luther King marched and demanded equal rights under Republican and Democratic presidents."

By Malik Miah

February 8, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Against the Current-- The bitter truth about US politics is that neither of the ruling-class parties speaks for the working class or poor. The Democratic Party’s President Barack Obama likes to talk about the “middle class” and how he stands up for them, but he rarely mentions that poverty disproportionately hits African Americans and Latinos. While he personally supports social programs for the working poor, his proposed budgets would reduce funding for these programs.

Dan La Botz on Occupy: 'The biggest social movement in 40 years'

For more on Occupy Wall Street, click HERE.

Dan La Botz speaking about what theUS  Occupy movement has accomplished, the Democrats and the role of the left. He was addressing the Open University of the Left on January 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.

[Dan La Botz is a teacher, writer and activist involved in Occupy Cincinnati. In 2010, Dan La Botz stood as the Socialist Party (USA) candidate for the US Senate in Ohio.]

Martin Hart-Landsberg: Globalisation, capitalism and China

Workers at the Foxconn (the Taiwanese multinational corporation owned) factory located in China in which many Apple products are assembled.

[For more discussion on China's economic and political development, click HERE.]

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

January 24, 2012 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A January 22, 2012 New York Times story, "The iEconomy: How US Lost Out on iPhone Work", has been getting a lot of coverage. The article makes clear that Apple and other major multinational corporations have moved production to China not only to take advantage of low wages but also to exploit a labour environment that gives maximum flexibility.

The following quote gives a flavour for what attracts Apple to China:

Mike Marqusee on Occupy in 2012: 'Mass action has returned'

Occupy the London Stock Exchange.

By Mike Marqusee

January 23, 2012 -- Red Pepper (February-March 2012) via Mikemarqusee.com -- 2011 has been hailed in the media as a year of “protest” in the abstract, but it’s been more challenging and concrete than that. In defiance of received political wisdom, mass action in the streets returned with undeniable impact. Contests over space and the public domain became vehicles for the assertion of radical alternatives, which thereby forced their way into a discussion long restricted to a narrow consensus.

In Europe and North America, this democratic insurgency sought to free democracy itself from the straitjacket imposed by neoliberalism, which has deepened the historic tendency of capitalism to confine “politics” to the non-economic realm. Raising the banner of the 99%, the Occupy movement (with associated developments) broke through 30 years of neoliberal ideological hegemony to make the system itself – and the interests that drive it – the subject of debate. As a result, perceptions of the possible have been redefined. Horizons broadened. We do not have to be slaves of the financial sector, sacrificial victims to appease angry fiscal gods. Whatever else, this systemic challenge means the struggles of the coming years will be fought out on different terrain.

Demands

Martin Luther King Day: The gulf between promise and fulfillment

[For more on Martin Luther King, click HERE.]

By Billy Wharton

January 16, 2012 -- Socialist Webzine, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- More than 40 years since the death of Martin Luther King Jr., his significance remains an uneasy battleground between those wishing to sanitise his legacy and those seeking to draw inspiration from his radical deeds and words.

United States: Labor Notes Conference, Chicago, May 4-6, 2012

Labor Notes Conference 2012

Labor Notes conferences are the biggest gatherings of grassroots union activists, worker center leaders,

Road maps, dead ends and the search for fresh ground -- How can we build the socialist movement in the 21st century?

[For more discussion on how socialists organise, click HERE.]

By Dan DiMaggio

December 2010 -- Cultural Logic, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Dan DiMaggio's permission -- For the past seven-plus years I have devoted much of my life to effort to build a socialist movement in the United States. As a member of one of the many tiny socialist groups on the US left, I have organised dozens of anti-war, labour solidarity, immigrant rights and other rallies and campaigns. I have toured the country to speak at college campuses about socialism. I have set up numerous study groups and conferences and written and edited hundreds of articles for socialist publications. Most people might say, “Dan, you’re crazy if you think that socialism can be achieved in a country like the United States!” But despite the challenges, I hope to continue doing this for the next 50 or so years.

Anniversary of the 1937 US sit-down strike wave: Remembering another Occupy movement

Sit-in strikers at General Motors' Fisher No. 1 plant.

By Don Fitz

[See also With Babies & Banners, the classic 1977 documentary about the 1936-37 Flint sit-down strike, and the role of women in it.]

January 3, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The year 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the great sit-down strike wave of 1937. It also begins the second year of the Occupy movement, which has more than a few similarities to the time when hundreds of thousands of Americans occupied their workplaces.

The first recorded sit-down strike in the US was actually in 1906 among General Electric workers of Schenectady, New York. When three organisers for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) were fired, 3000 of their fellow workers sat down and stopped production.

By the 1930s, the IWW was on the wane, but many of its organisers were active and workers across the US had seen its tactics first hand.

United States: 'With Babies & Banners' -- 75 years since the 44-day Flint sit-down strike

To view With Babies & Banners go to http://links.org.au/node/2681.

December 30, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Flint-based filmmaker Michael Moore has described the 1936 Flint sit-down strike as the "first Occupy" movement. Whether this is strictly accurate or not, the 1936-37 occupation/strike was a ground-breaking development in the US labour movement. To mark this anniversary, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  is making available the classic 1977 documentary on the strike and the role of women in it, With Babies & Banners (via the link at the top of this article, or click here).

As Moore recounts, "On this day, December 30th, in 1936 -- 75 years ago today -- hundreds of workers at the General Motors (GM) factories in Flint, Michigan, took over the facilities and occupied them for 44 days. My uncle was one of them. The workers couldn't take the abuse from the corporation any longer. Their working conditions, the slave wages, no vacation, no health care, no overtime -- it was do as you're told or get tossed onto the curb.

United States: Occupy wake-up call caps remarkable year

Trade unionists join Occupy Wall Street.

[For more on the #Occupy movement, click here.]

By Jane Slaughter

December 30, 2011 -- Labor Notes -- It’s been an exhilarating year. Crowds of people finally moved into resistance after decades of misrule.

The year began with Egypt, moved quickly to the snowy streets of Wisconsin, and re-erupted in August with Verizon workers out on strike and longshore unionists in Washington state dumping scab grain onto railroad tracks.

What no one could have predicted was that a relatively small number of young people at Occupy Wall Street would touch off a wave of imitators across the country, from Detroit to Abilene.

November’s electoral victory in Ohio, where Governor John Kasich’s anti-union bill went down to sound defeat, capped off a remarkable year for US workers.

United States: #Occupy activists and the Democratic Party -- a debate

For more on the #Occupy movement, click here.

By Dave Duhalde and Dan La Botz

December 4, 2011 -- Against the Current -- Below is a debate between David Duhalde of the Democratic Socialists of America and Dan La Botz of Solidarity that was first published on the website Talking Union.

Where is the beef? An open letter to Dan La Botz on DSA and the Democrats

Dear Dan,

Occupy and the tasks of socialists

"Out of clouds of pepper spray and phalanxes of riot cops a new generation of revolutionaries is being forged, and it would be a shame if the Peter Camejos, Max Elbaums, Angela Davises, Dave Clines and Huey Newtons of this generation end up in separate “competing” socialist groups ... Now is the time to begin seriously discussing the prospect of regroupment, of liquidating outdated boundaries we have inherited, of finding ways to work closely together for our common ends. "

For more on the #Occupy movement, click here.

By Pham Binh

United States: Occupy protesters shut down major West Coast ports; Shutdown tactic debated

Above: December 13, 2011 Democracy Now! report on the port shutdown. Click here for transcript.

For more on the #Occupy movement, click here.

December 13, 2011 -- Socialist Worker -- Ports up and down the US West Coast were shut down or disrupted December 12 in a day of demonstrations organised by the Occupy movement to protest police repression and union-busting.

The call for the December 12 West Coast port shutdown originated in Oakland, where the high point of a general strike call on November 2 -- one week after a savage police attack on the Occupy Oakland encampment -- was a 15,000-strong march to the Port of Oakland and a community picket that stopped work on the evening shift.

Barry Sheppard: Ce que révèle Occupy Wall Street

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/2636.]

Par Barry Sheppard

5 - décembre - 2011 -- A l'encontre -- Personne n’avait prédit le phénomène que l’on connaît aujourd’hui sous le nom de Occupy Wall Street (OWS) et nul n’aurait pu le prédire.

Un petit groupe canadien de gens de la mouvance libertaire ont d’abord proposé qu’on essaie de mettre en place une «occupation» près de la Bourse de New York. Ils étaient inspirés par les tentes et campements installés plus tôt dans l’année sur la Place Tahrir du Caire et par la propagation de tactiques similaires en Espagne et ailleurs.

Leurs objectifs étaient à la fois la Bourse de New York en tant que telle et le 1% des gens les plus riches. Le quartier de Wall Street est connu partout comme le symbole du capitalisme financier américain. Quant au 1%, ce sont les gens que l’on a pointés comme étant ceux qui possèdent et contrôlent l’économie et le gouvernement, les «gros capitalistes». Dans la configuration actuelle, ce serait plutôt le 0,1%, mais c’est un détail.

African Americans and #Occupy: a convergence of interests

By Malik Miah, San Francisco

December 7, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What strikes you about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and its popular slogan “We are the 99%” is how much the central demand of the movement resonates with the Black community. African Americans, with few exceptions, are in the bottom 20% of income and wealth. Double digit unemployment is the norm in “good” economic times. Yet the social composition of most OWS occupations (some 10,000 including college campuses) has had few Black faces including in urban areas with large Black populations.

The reality of high unemployment, few job opportunities, poverty and inadequate health care has most poor people trying to survive. It is why African Americans are not visible in large numbers.

In many cases, however, African Americans are taking to the streets. They are using civil action to protest police brutality and the shutdown of community schools, hospitals and obvious acts of discrimination.

These protests, while widely known in the Black community and Black-oriented media, rarely get prominence in the mainstream newspapers and networks.

Barry Sheppard: What Occupy Wall Street reveals

Occupy has led to an outburst of creativity ...One example is the many photos circulated on the internet showing the cop who pepper sprayed non-violent students at a California campus super-imposed on works of art and other pictures, pepper spraying the people picnicking in a Surrat painting, pepper spraying the members of the Constitutional Convention and so forth.

For more on the #Occupy movement, click here.

By Barry Sheppard, San Francisco

December 7, 2011 – Submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author. It first appeared in Direct Action -- No one predicted the phenomenon that has become known as Occupy Wall Street (OWS), nor could it have been predicted.

United States: Occupy the Democratic Party? No way!

During the 1960s, Michael Harrington, leader of the group that became the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), argued that if socialists and people from the civil rights and anti-war movements entered the Democratic Party they could change its direction. Yet during a half century the DSA has utterly failed to move the Democrats to the left. 

By Dan La Botz

November 22, 2011 -- New Politics -- At a moment when Occupy faces severe police repression and cold weather, and as we are both extending our movement to the streets and rethinking our future, various pressures are beginning to build with the objective of taking our movement into the Democratic Party.

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