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Jair Bolsonaro

The Brazilian Crisis and the New Authoritarianism

This article will be released in full online June 15, 2020.

Three decades after liberal democracy replaced the military dictatorship of 1964–85, the far right in Brazil has made a comeback, most starkly with the electoral victory of Jair Bolsonaro in 2018. Bolsonaro, however, is not an isolated individual; rather, his government is characterized by an authoritarian style of neoliberalism built on a series of alliances, a prominent one of which is with the judiciary. This coalition boasts connections with the military and police forces, the evangelical religious right, and agribusiness. | more…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Deunification

Gerhard Schršder, Angela Merkel, and the Liberal Roots of German Neofascism

This article will be released in full online June 22, 2020.

In 2021, Angela Merkel’s fourth and last term as the chancellor of Germany will end. To understand Merkel’s domestic and foreign policy, one must understand the country she inherited. She came to power in 2005 following the first center-left government since 1982, the government of Gerhard Schröder, and was in the fortunate position of becoming chancellor after a coalition government of social democrats and Greens had done the devil’s bidding of implementing very unpopular neoliberal policies to the sole benefit of German capital and the rich. | more…

Tell the Bosses We're Coming: A New Action Plan for Workers in the Twenty-First Century

Tell the Bosses We’re Coming: A New Action Plan for Workers in the Twenty-First Century

Lengthening hours, lessening pay, no parental leave, scant job security… Never have so many workers needed so much support. Yet the very labor unions that could garner us protections and help us speak up for ourselves are growing weaker every day. In an age of rampant inequality, of increasing social protest and strikes— and when a majority of workers say they want to be union members—why does union density continue to decline? Shaun Richman offers some answers in his book, Tell the Bosses We’re Coming. | more…

Tractor factory in the Soviet Union in 1972

Crisis of Socialism and Effects of Capitalist Restoration

The main criticism leveled at the socialist economies was that a planned economy was inherently less efficient than a market one, due to the sheer scale of the bureaucratic task involved with planning a major economy. But the collapse of the Soviet and later the Russian economy under Mikhail Gorbachev and then Boris Yeltsin was an economic disaster that was otherwise unprecedented during times of peace. The world’s second superpower was reduced to the status of a minor bankrupt economy with a huge decline in industrial production and in living standards. | more…

Democracy, Planning, and Big Data

A Socialism for the Twenty-First Century?

Starting in the late 1960s, the development of the productive forces of society entered a new stage: the Information Revolution, an era focused on the application of information theories such as cybernetics combined with advances in computer technology and digital communication networks, culminating in the Internet. Under capitalist conditions, this has already resulted in a knowledge economy, but the social, auto-regulatory possibilities it opens up are bound to be incompatible with the private appropriation characteristic of capitalism. | more…

Chevron refinery fire in Richmond, VA in August 6 2012

Dead Labor

My pop was always working on our house, a shack that was all my parents could afford in the great hunger for homeownership that came after the Second World War. But nothing ever quite got finished, either for lack of funds or motivation. But if he wasn’t quite a craftsman himself, he admired craft. He was moved by the effort and intricacy of how things were made. ‘Honey, look at this old wooden chest with these lovely silver handles. Think of all the work that was done to this thing by someone’s hands.’ | more…

Labor leader Clinton Jencks (center) in the fictionalized film "Salt of the Earth"

The Legacy of Clinton Jencks

In 1950, the mainly Mexican and Mexican-American members of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Local 890 went on strike against Empire Zinc in southern New Mexico. One of the only fair-haired and pale-skinned union men in meetings and jail was Mine Mill organizer Clinton Jencks. Raymond Caballero’s study, McCarthyism vs. Clinton Jencks, exhaustively details how the federal government brought the entire weight of its repressive apparatus down on the heads of Jencks, his family, and his union siblings. | more…

Leszek Kolakowski and Henri Lefebvre at a conference in the Netherlands on March 9, 1971

Mystified Consciousness

The great French Marxist Henri Lefebvre authored sixty-eight books, since translated into thirty languages, making brilliant analyses on dialectics and alienation, everyday life and urbanism, ecology and citizenship. Yet, his La conscience mystifiée(Mystified Consciousness), published in 1936, has seemingly been forgotten in every language, largely ignored everywhere. Though it may well be his most enduring political tract, it was his most prescient thesis for understanding the human condition in the twenty-first century. | more…

Radical Seattle: The General Strike of 1919

The Origins of the Seattle General Strike of 1919: The Timber Beast

Seattle in 1919 was an island in a still immeasurable sea of timber. The Pacific coastal forests were estimated to contain nearly two-thirds of the timber in the country, and the Washington State forests accounted for the largest part of these. The physical hardships associated with the lumber industry, including isolation deep within the rain forests, made working conditions an even more miserable burden than low wages. The work was seasonal and layoffs were common; the completion of one job might mean termination and the search for work elsewhere. When the winter rains brought an end to work in the woods, the state’s loggers fled to the city, not welcome elsewhere. In some years, there might be thousands on Seattle’s streets. | more…

Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals

Healing the Hurricane in Our Chest

Healing through the stories we rescue and the history we make is what Aurora Levins Morales’s Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals is about. The author, a historian curandera, compiled a series of twenty-eight essays in this second edition, published twenty years after the first. Levins Morales theorizes movements for social justice and how to overcome challenges faced by activists and all those fighting and resisting oppression. She does this through accounts of her studies, personal experiences, and social conditions, providing a view of the world that allows collective healing and encourages it in others through a comprehensive understanding of history. | more…

A Map of Palestine at Arab American National Museum (AANM) Lower Level Gallery, 2016-2017

Messianic Zionism

The Ass and the Red Heifer

The relation between Zionism and Judaism (the Jewish religion) is paradoxical and complex. In its early days, Zionism was apparently a thoroughly secular political movement. In reality, while its ego was secular, its id has always been religious. And in recent times, the latter has emerged from its hidden recess and is parading in full view. | more…