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Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing a series of statements releases by left parties and organisations in the United States in the wake of Donald Trump's election as president. This includes statements by the US Green Party's presidential candidate Jill Stein and VP running mate Ajamu S. Baraka, the national steering committee of Solidarity, and the International Socialist Organization, as well as an article by Dan La Botz.
August 25, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Solidarity (US) — A year after marriage equality was legalized nationwide, and two months since the June 12 massacre at a gay club in Orlando, the LGBT movement confronts a contradictory future. Although Orlando dramatized that violence against LGBT people persists, fueled by rightwing politicians’ hateful attacks, great victories have been won, and public acceptance of queer people has expanded to levels that once seemed unimaginable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Dan La Botz
July 2014 -- New Politics -- The US political system, so highly polarised between conservative Republicans and moderate Democrats, has experienced in the last year some interesting changes on the left-hand margin of the national political scene.
From Bill de Blasio’s victory in the mayoral election in New York City, to Kshama Sawant’s winning of a city council seat in Seattle, from the late Chokwe Lumumba’s popularly based campaign in Jackson, Mississippi, to self-described socialist Bernie Sanders’ talk of a run for the presidency, something new appears to be happening.
Independent politics and socialist party campaigns, so long marginal to US political life and from discussion in the media, seem to be back on the radar again. This is all the more remarkable given our terrible election laws that make it so difficult in so many states to get parties and candidates on the ballot.
Zapatistas observe the 20th anniversary of the 1994 rebellion in January 2014.
By Dan La Botz
June 14, 2014 -- Against the Current, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Subcomandante Marcos, the famous voice of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) announced in the early hours of Sunday, May 26 that he ending his role as the group's spokesperson and military commander. Or as he put it, Subcomandante Marcos, a “harlequin” and a “hologram” created by the EZLN, has now ceased to exist.
Nearly 100 people met at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum on January 22 for the founding meeting of the Chicago Socialist Campaign. Photo by Isaac Silver.
By Andrew Mortazavi
January 24, 2014 -- In These Times -- If a socialist can win an election in Seattle, why not Chicago? That was the spirit at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Jane Addams Hull House Museum on January 22, where close to 100 Chicagoans gathered for the founding meeting of the Chicago Socialist Campaign.
Drawing on the example of Seattle’s Kshama Sawant—who in November became the first socialist in recent memory elected to a city council—the campaign seeks to run a socialist candidate for alderman in Chicago’s 2015 city council race. Activists also plan to use the electoral effort to amplify the demands of popular movements in Chicago, such as the call for a $15 minimum wage.
By Dan La Botz
January 14, 2014 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Chiapas rebellion led by the Zapatistas took place 20 years ago this month. What was the importance of the rebellion and of the Zapatistas? What was the impact at the time? And what has been its political legacy? What is the role of the Zapatistas in Mexico today?
The Chiapas rebellion had an enormous impact at the time, not only in Mexico but around the world. The EZLN had led the first leftist, armed rebellion since the fall of Communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union just a few years before, suggesting that contrary to claims about the death of the left and the “end of history”, a new left had arisen in the Lacandón Jungle of Chiapas.
Introduction by Ian Angus
April 23, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I was unable to attend the Ecosocialist Conference in New York City on April 20, 2013, and it is clear from all reports that I missed an important and inspiring event. The meeting was organised by the Ecosocialist Contingent, the alliance that participated as a united anti-capitalist voice in the demonstration against the Keystone XL Pipeline in Washington on February 17.
Initiated by members of Solidarity and the International Socialist Organization, the Ecosocialist Contingent quickly expanded to include the broadest range of left organisations and individuals yet seen in the US environmental movement.
See the list of conference endorsers, which includes Climate & Capitalism, here.
"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 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.
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
Below are a number of statements issued by left organisations in the United States.
It is five minutes to dawn and the wind smells like freedom
By Mike Ely, Kasama Project
October 14, 2011 -- Click here for PDF version of this statement -- It is no longer five minutes to midnight. After Arab Spring leaps to Spain, and Greece, and on to New York’s Wall Street, it suddenly feels like five minutes to dawn.
We no longer need assume that there is no time to stop the world going to shit. There is an opening and we are flooding into it.
We are suddenly in a moment that is not marked by exhausted routine protests that speak for no one and speak to no one.
(Updated Oct. 18) From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy America: A mass movement emerges; Reports from around the USA
[Are you a participant in an Occupy action in your city or town? Please leave a report in the comments section below. For more on Occupy Wall Street, click HERE.]
By Dan La Botz
October 12, 2011 -- SolidaritéS (Switzerland) via International Viewpoint -- A handful of young people started Occupy Wall Street in mid-September, as a protest against the banks and corporations that have grown rich while most have grown poorer. Within weeks they had attracted hundreds and then thousands to marches and demonstrations in New York City — one of them leading to the arrest of hundreds on the Brooklyn Bridge. The movement's chant “We are the 99%" rang out not only in the Wall Street canyon but also across the country. Now there are scores of Occupy groups across the United States [and soon across the world] camping out in public places, marching and rallying in cities and towns against corporate greed.
Malcolm’s political evolution was influenced by his own experiences and his discussions with Fidel Castro and Che ..., with Nasser in Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, as well as with discussions with North American ex-patriates in Africa.
By Malik Miah
[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]
By the Solidarity (USA) National Committee
April 4, 2011 -- Solidarity -- For socialists and for antiwar forces, the events in Libya have presented — and continue to present — agonizing political and ethical choices. It is entirely logical and inevitable that thoughtful activists find themselves in disagreement among each other, and indeed in internal conflict within themselves, over questions raised by the Libyan popular uprising and by the military intervention of the western powers. Recognizing the difficulties of the situation is the essential first step for the international left to work through them.
By Dan La Botz
March 4, 2011 -- Solidarity Webzine -- The new US workers' movement, which has developed so rapidly in the last couple of months in the struggle against rightwing legislative proposals to abolish public employee unions, suddenly finds itself at a crossroads. Madison, Wisconsin, where rank-and-file workers, community members and social movement activists converged to create the new movement, remains the centre of the struggle. In Ohio, which faces similar legislation, unions have also gone into motion, while working people around the country have been drawn into the fight.
In both states, things are coming to a head. In Wisconsin the courts have ordered the capitol building closed and the governor is threatening layoffs to begin next week. In both Wisconsin and Ohio the legislators are threatening to push the bills through one way or another. And now, in the fight to win, the movement has come to a fork in the road.
Two different tendencies in the labour movement point in two quite different directions. The top leaders of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have thrown their weight into the struggle in the only way that they know how. Following the model they use in political campaigns, they have reached out to established organisations to build coalitions. They have sent organisers into take charge and to reach out to communities. Their goal is to rebuild their institutional power and their relationship with the Democratic Party, hoping to turn the upsurge in support for public employees into a political victory.
Protesters fill the Rotunda at the state capitol building on February 16, 2010, in Madison, Wisconsin.
By Dan La Botz
February 28, 2011 -- Solidarity Webzine -- The new US workers' movement—born in the last few weeks in the giant protests in Wisconsin and Ohio—faces a fateful confrontation. In Madison and Columbus, Republican legislators are pushing to abolish public employee labour unions and tens of thousands of workers are protesting and resisting. We have seen nothing like this face-off between workers and bosses in the United States since the labour upheaval of the early 1970s, though the issues in the balance are more like those of the 1930s. The very existence of the US labour movement is at stake. The question is: What will it take to win?