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Dan La Botz
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.
By Dan La Botz
November 2, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — Imagine that it is 1840 and someone approaches you on the street and hands you a flyer for James G. Birney, the presidential candidate of the new Liberty Party. The flyer says that the Liberty Party opposes slavery. It is the only party that does.
The Democrats and the Whigs--the two parties of the two-party system of that time--supported slavery, not to the same degree perhaps, but neither party opposed slavery. The Liberty Party is new and small, tiny. It’s candidate Birney has absolutely no chance to win the election. But he stands opposed to slavery. Who will you vote for on voting day in 1840?
Will you argue that voting for the Liberty Party would be wasting your vote, and that instead you would vote for the Whig or Democratic parties, both of which accepted slavery?
By Michael Löwy, translated by Dan La Botz
August 8, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — Rosa Luxemburg’s defense of socialist democracy and her critique of the Bolsheviks in her pamphlet The Russian Revolution (1918) are well known. Less well known and often forgotten is her critique of bourgeois democracy, its limits, its contradictions, and its narrow and partial character.
[Original article in English here]
Por Dan La Botz
July 13, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal traducción por Viento Sur -- El ambiente entre los 3 000 seguidores de Bernie Sanders reunidos el pasado fin de semana en el McCormick Place de Chicago rezumaba un optimismo improbable. Muchas de las personas que intervinieron proclamaron, entre vítores de la multitud, que el movimiento había triunfado, a pesar de que Hillary Clinton, la probable candidata oficial del Partido Demócrata, haya obtenido la mayoría de los votos populares y cuente con el apoyo de la mayoría de delegados y superdelegados, además del respaldo del presidente Barack Obama, del vicepresidente Joe Biden y de la senadora Elizabeth Warren. Esta paradoja –entre la creencia del movimiento de Sanders de que hemos logrado algo muy importante y la clara victoria de Clinton en las primarias– marca el contexto contradictorio de esta conferencia de gentes, yo entre ellos, progresistas, radicales y socialistas que buscan una vía hacia el futuro.
By Dan La Botz
July 6, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — The mood among the 3,000 Bernie Sanders supporters meeting in Chicago McCormick Place was improbably optimistic over the weekend of June 17-19, with many of the speakers proclaiming to cheering crowds that the movement has been victorious — even though Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party has received a majority of the popular votes and a majority of elected delegates and super-delegates, as well as the endorsements of President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
That disjuncture — between the Sanders’ movement’s belief that we have achieved something quite important and Clinton’s clear victory in the primary — provides the contradictory context for this conference of progressives, radicals, and socialists searching for the way to the future, I among them.
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.
Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto.
By Dan La Botz
June 15, 2015 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Despite widespread disillusionment with the political system, an organised attempt to prevent the election from taking place in a few states and continuing economic doldrums, President Enrique Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) were the big winners in Mexico's June 7 election, followed by the conservative National Action Party (PAN). Both parties are committed to continuing the deepening of the country's neoliberal, free-market economic reforms.
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
January 8, 2015 -- New Politics -- Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto, who had been so successful in advancing his fundamentally conservative economic program during his first year and a half in office, suddenly faced a serious challenge beginning in September 2014 when police, apparently cooperating gangsters, killed six students, injured at least 25 and kidnapped 43 in the town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero.
Protest demonstrations demanding that the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College be returned alive, led by parents, students and teachers quickly spread from Guerrero to Mexico City and around the country. An international solidarity movement has also developed, with demonstrations at consulates in several countries.
Tens of thousands protest in Acapulco, Mexico, over the disappearance of 43 students.
By Dan La Botz
November 29, 2014 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The Mexican government confronts a major political crisis on two fronts. The first is as a result of the massacre and kidnapping that took place on September 26 when police and other assailants in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero killed six, wounded 25 and kidnapped 43 students.
Since the massacre and kidnapping, there have been demonstrations in Guerrero, Mexico City and several other states, some of them massive and some violent. Mexicans are appalled at the abduction of these young people and indignant at both the involvement of local officials and police and the national government’s failure to deal with the issue.
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.
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.
A Communist Odyssey: The Life of József Pogány/John Pepper
By Thomas Sakmyster
Budapest-New York: Central European University Press, 2012
Photos, bibliography, index; 249 pp.
Reviewed by Dan La Botz
October 2013 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- During normal times in a capitalist society, skill and drive are harnessed by the corporations, the labour union bureaucracy and the political parties, but when the crisis comes a revolutionary party must harness the most talented and most ambitious for its purposes. The idealistic and the opportunistic, the selfless and the self-aggrandising, the ruthless and the kind, the brave and the cowardly among those most determined and striving souls must somehow be made use of for the higher purposes of the revolution and ultimately for of all of humanity. The revolutionary movement must bring out the best in them, for we are the only material we have.
By Dan La Botz
September 25, 2013 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Since school began again on August 19, tens of thousands of teachers have been engaged in strikes and demonstrations throughout Mexico—including seizing public buildings, highway toll booths and border crossing stations, occupying public buildings and city plazas, and blocking foreign embassies—actions taken against the Education Reform Law and the new Professional Teaching Law and over local demands linked to wages and working conditions. While these are traditional tactics, these are the largest and most militant teachers’ union demonstrations in Mexican history.
Striking Chicago teachers rally, October 2012.
By Dan La Botz
December 31, 2012 -- New Politics -- The most important social conflict in the United States in 2012—the Chicago Teachers Union strike—suggests that the rising trajectory of social struggle in the United States that began at the beginning of 2011 may be continuing. While the United States has a much lower level of class struggle and social struggle than virtually any other industrial nation—few US workers are unionised (only 11.8%) and unionised workers engage in few strikes and those involve a very small numbers of workers—still, the economic crisis and the demand for austerity by both major political parties, Republican and Democrat, have led to increased economic and political activity and resistance by trade unions, particularly in the public sector.
By Dan La Botz
July 29, 2012 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Mexico's presidential election that took place on July 2 is over—but it is not done. Tens of thousands of Mexicans have been marching every week for almost a month in Mexico City and other cities throughout the country against what they call the “imposition” by Mexican election authorities of Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) as president of Mexico.
By Dan La Botz
July 8, 2012 -- New Politics -- Carrying signs denouncing fraud, tens of thousands of students and other voters marched through Mexico City on July 7 to protest what they see as the government’s imposition on the country of presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Peña Nieto received 38 per cent of the vote, compared to 32 per cent for Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the left-of-centre Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and 25 per cent for Josefina Vázquez Mota of the conservative National Action Party (PAN). López Obador claims that the election was fraudulent and has called upon the election authorities to investigate claims of vote buying.
Students, however, have led the protests. In addition to the mass march in Mexico City, they also marched in smaller numbers in several other major Mexican cities, including an impressive demonstration by an estimated 7000 in Guadalajara on July 6. The protest was organised largely through social media by the “I am #132” movement which has dogged Peña Nieto for two months, criticising in particular his close ties to the powerful Televisa television network.