Kshama Sawant to deliver Socialist response to State of the Union
January 28, 2014

Tweet your followers, message your friends, and call your neighbors, because Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant will be delivering tonight’s Socialist response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address!

President Obama is scheduled to start speaking around 6:00 pm (Pacific), with the official GOP response (from WA’s own Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers!) scheduled to start around 6:45 pm, followed by the Tea Party Caucus response about 20 minutes later. So Sawant will start her Socialist State of the Union around 7:15ish, give or take.

Remember to check out all of The Stranger’s SOTU coverage beginning at 6 pm tonight on Slog and on Twitter, and ending with Sawant’s live address. So much fun!

UPDATE: Turns out Sawant’s address will be streamed from the Seattle Channel’s studios—better video quality for her, fewer bragging rights for us. Ah, well. I’ll update with the new links and embed codes as soon as they are available.


From the #SawantResponse Facebook eventYou will be able to watch it over at her official Seattle City Council website: http://www.seattle.gov/council/sawant/ We expect to begin between 7:30 and 8pm, more details to come!

Kshama Sawant is the first socialist candidate in 22 years to advance to the general-election ballot for Seattle City Council
August 12, 2013

When was the last time a Seattle City Council candidate argued there was nothing extraordinary about herself? Or volunteered details about her recent arrest? Or freely admitted she expects her opponent to raise more money — by tens of thousands of dollars?

It’s been awhile, if ever, is the safe bet, which is also the answer to yet another question about the curious campaign of Kshama Sawant: When was the last time a socialist advanced to the city’s general-election ballot?

Sawant — who last week did just that by winning more than a third of the vote in a three-candidate primary field for the Position 2 council seat — is not your conventional candidate. And that’s exactly what she’s aiming for.

“There are some things that really set us apart from your-business-as-usual, corporate election campaigns,” said the 40-year-old Seattle Central Community College economics instructor and latest challenger to four-term incumbent Richard Conlin.

“Those campaigns revolve around the single-minded goal of advancing the political career of an individual. Everything else — including the needs of the people — is sacrificed.”

In a recent interview, Sawant largely deflected questions about herself, the individual, to instead focus squarely on the collective — or what she describes as her party’s primary goals: “fighting for social and economic justice.”

“There’s nothing unique about me,” she added. “I don’t want the main ideas of what we’re fighting for to be distracted by my stuff.”

What Sawant did offer, begrudgingly, about her own background were some generalities from an immigrant’s life that helped shape her into the activist she is today.

Born in Pune, India, Sawant largely grew up in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, India’s most populous city now with some 20 million residents.

“I grew up in an apolitical family full of doctors and engineers and mathematicians,” she said. “I wasn’t exposed to any particular ideology.”

She earned a graduate degree in computer science. But rather than seeking a well-paid career, Sawant sought answers to deeper social questions that resonated during her formative years, and became more pronounced after she came to America.

“Coming from India, what was striking is that you expect that in the wealthiest country in the history of humanity, there shouldn’t be any poverty; there shouldn’t be any homelessness,” Sawant said. “ … But when I came here, I found it was exactly the opposite.”

Growing divide
The gap between rich and poor — and the social and political constructs that created it — fascinated and appalled her, Sawant said. After obtaining a Ph.D. in economics from North Carolina State University, in 2006 she moved to Seattle, where the social divide became even more stark.

“The vast majority of Seattle people are facing a city that is becoming increasingly unaffordable for them,” she said.

Sawant became active in immigrant-rights causes and with other progressive movements, before finding what would become her political party in 2008.

Formed in Europe in the mid-1980s, Social Alternative is an independent political organization that came to America with the working-class immigrants who supported it. In the 1990s, the group took root in cities with strong labor unions, including New York, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Now active in at least 15 major U.S. cities, the group denounces Republicans and Democrats as the puppets of big business. Its website declares it’s “fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day.”

In 2011, Socialist Alternative caught fire behind the “Occupy” movement, which articulated the frustrations among the politically and economically disenfranchised who blame corporate America for society’s failures.

Sawant became a key political organizer in Occupy Seattle.

“Our decision to run a candidate in 2012 came out of that experience and the prominence that Kshama played in the whole Occupy movement,” said Philip Locker, Sawant’s political director.

Sawant’s first campaign challenged Democrat state Rep. Jamie Pedersen in the 2012 primary. But she moved on as a write-in candidate to the general election in a different 43rd Legislative District race, against House Speaker Frank Chopp. She lost, taking 29 percent of the vote.

Now, in her second bid for office, Sawant advanced from last week’s primary as the runner-up in the Position 2 council race. She’ll face Conlin, who failed to crack 50 percent against two challengers.

Two decades ago
It has been 22 years since the last socialist advanced to the general election in a Seattle council race, city archivist Scott Cline said. In 1991, Yolanda Alaniz, a Freedom Socialist Party member, faced incumbent Sue Donaldson and lost badly.

Beyond Seattle, Socialist Alternative candidates are running this year in Boston and Minneapolis. But Sawant’s campaigns are hailed by her party as its most successful to date.

Although she touts her campaign results as signs of political momentum, Sawant still lost each race by double-digits.

Sawant has vowed she won’t take money from corporate executives or political-action committees but insists she can mount a legitimate grass-roots campaign against the well-financed Conlin.

Sawant’s campaigning so far has largely taken her to worker-rights rallies and other protests. In late July, deputies arrested her among a group peacefully protesting the eviction of a South Park man from his foreclosed home.

“If I’m elected, I would make my first order of business introducing an ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour,” she said. “Others may talk about it, but I’m the only candidate who’s committed to doing it.”

Sawant also said she’d seek to reform the city’s tax system to impose a fee on millionaires that would pay for public transit and would implement rent control.

She vows to “take only the average worker’s salary” — what she estimates at $40,000 — from a council member’s $120,000 of annual pay. The rest would go to social-justice causes, she said.

“It’s a scandal the City Council is paid that much,” she said.


The above video is an interview with Sawant conducted by Bill Bianchi. He speaks with the Seattle city council candidate on her past and present campaigns and the state of party politics, March 24, 2013.



These are a few of my favorite “Critics of Capitalism” photoquotes that we have on our Facebook photostream.

I think it’s important to regularly have conversations about capitalism and to contextualize our political problems within the economic-system our political problems exist in, and to really consider the popular criticisms of that economic system.

If criticism of capitalism is something that has been on the periphery of your political education, I can’t stress how important it is to bring it to the center and how helpful Marxism is for theorizing strategy for targeting one of the largest sources of oppression plaguing humanity. 

If you want to learn more, I would search Youtube for Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Cornel West, Richard Wolff and Slavoj Zizek videos (alongside the word ‘capitalism’) or read SocialistWorker.org (or a number of similar organizational socialist papers) or browse the video and audio talks at wearemany.org that answer a number of political questions.


Stumbled across this old post today. Good quotes. 

Letter to ‘The Nation’ from a young radical
May 25, 2013 

When I was growing up, the dinner table in my household was full of extremes. My immigrant parents encouraged intemperate arguments. Depth of knowledge was no barrier to entry, and only one rule applied: don’t be boring. It was an easy environment in which to loudly proclaim oneself a socialist. 

Things were different at the dinner tables of my childhood friends. Maybe it was because the conversations were kept to reasonable volumes or more cutlery was used, but I found myself wishing for different convictions. The chatter would inevitably turn to politics in conventional terms: Kerry or Bush, liberal or conservative, pre-emptive bombing or targeted sanctions? There was no “none of the above” on the menu. When pressed, I would meekly call myself a socialist, all the while regretting that I couldn’t just utter the word “liberal” instead. 

“Like Sweden?” I would be asked. “No, like the Russian Revolution before its degeneration into Stalinism.” It’s a wonder I was ever invited back. But liberalism—including in the pages of The Nation, save for a few redeeming essays and columns—seemed, even at its best moments, well-intentioned but inadequate. It’s a feeling that I haven’t been able to shake. 

Maybe I wasn’t alone in looking for alternatives. A Pew Research poll from 2011 shows that more Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have a favorable opinion of socialism than of capitalism. We don’t know exactly what they mean by “socialism,” but it certainly reflects a discontent with what’s on offer in the political mainstream. 

And yet, the decay of liberal reform traditions has been nothing to celebrate. Real wages have stagnated, indebtedness is on the rise, and the deregulatory “free market” revolution has not only fostered massive new disparities in wealth and power but a historic recession. If liberalism once had teeth, that memory has faded. Many in my generation who found voice in the Occupy protests had no knowledge of the way that strong liberal administrations, backed up by vigorous social movements, forced concessions from capital throughout the last century. 

To radicals, the sad state of liberalism comes as no surprise. It represents merely the re-emergence of flaws embedded deeply in its roots, making so much of the social policy that The Nation supports difficult to revive. American liberalism is practically ineffective and analytically inadequate—and a jolt from its left is a prerequisite for its resurgence. 

Liberalism’s original sin lies in its lack of a dynamic theory of power. Much of its discourse is still fixated on an eighteenth-century Enlightenment fantasy of the “Republic of Letters,” which paints politics as a salon discussion between polite people with competing ideas. The best program, when well argued by the wise and well-intentioned, is assumed to prevail in the end. Political action is disconnected, in this worldview, from the bloody entanglement of interests and passions that mark our lived existence. 

Barack Obama’s inclination to sit the health insurance companies down at the table rather than confront them head-on is a useful example of this def iciency at work. You didn’t have to be a Marxist to realize this was a doomed strategy; plenty within the liberal ranks knew it at the time. Liberalism has evolved and incorporated views of politics that were traditionally associated with the socialist movement. But this development happened only under the influence of the left, and now the dominant currents in the liberal movement, especially in the Democratic Party, are forgetting lessons learned from radicals in the past. 

* * *

Some clarifying is in order. “Liberalism” has always been a slippery term, but to the extent that we can assign coherence to the ideology, two main camps of modern American liberalism are identifiable: welfare liberals and technocratic liberals. The former, without the radicals they so often attacked marching at their left, have not adequately moored their efforts to the working class, while the latter naïvely disconnect policy from politics, often with frightening results. 

Welfare liberals remain committed to the New Deal paradigm: equality of opportunity, collective-bargaining rights, an expanded social safety net. They call for higher marginal tax rates, want to restore union density, oppose austerity measures and support the struggles of public sector workers. More inclusive and progressive than their predecessors on social issues, they nevertheless form a continuum with the past. Elements in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, dominant tendencies within labor and much of The Nation’s output are true to this tradition.

For all their admirable qualities, welfare liberals not only fail to account for the welfare state’s crisis in the 1970s; they have struggled to imagine what political forces could return it to its previous dominance. Without strong trade unions and a visible center-left reform movement—linchpins of the New Deal coalition—austerity has been hard to resist as a solution to the current economic crisis. These measures, in turn, have further undermined the social basis for progressive politics in America. 

Unlike its center-left counterparts elsewhere in the developed world, the American reform tradition has battled to enact policy without the benefit of a labor party. Absent such a party and faced with intense corporate resistance, the bulk of the American left has been tied to the Democratic Party, a social liberal, not a social democratic, formation. Workers and trade unions were brought into the big tent, but they were never structurally connected to or put in the vanguard of reform efforts. This lack of agency and of a solid institutional foundation for combating the excesses of capitalism eventually undermined liberal programs to build a more expansive welfare state. 

The practical consequences of this failure are evident. In their 1987 study The American Perception of Class, Reeve Vanneman and Lynn Cannon showed that self-identified working-class voters in the United States, lacking a party like Britain’s Labour, often do not vote. The growth of highly organized, mass-membership political parties was a development of Europe’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century labor movements, starting in Germany. That the Democratic Party retains a looser political structure than its counterparts elsewhere finds reflection in its relatively inchoate, and at times contradictory, politics, and the lack of meaningful political action it inspires. 

It is, after all, only a party in the broadest sense of the word. Open to all, the Democratic Party has no ideological requirements for membership. Anyone can register, making it little more than a coalition of social forces in which various groups contest for influence under a common banner. The American left, without a natural base and condemned to support the Democratic “lesser evil,” has traditionally conceded legitimacy to forces governing in the center. 

* * *

It’s no surprise that publications like The Nation, no matter how earnest in their opposition to the worst excesses of the Clinton or Obama administrations, have been prone to paint too many segments of the diverse Democratic Party as good-faith partners with progressives. Case in point: during last year’s labor dispute, in her “Sister Citizen” column [October 8], Melissa Harris-Perry equivocated between the insurgent Chicago Teachers Union and Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Instead of closing ranks and protecting a vulnerable union during an important fight, she pitied the children stuck “between the leaders and teachers who are supposed to have their best interests at heart but who seem willing to allow this generation to be lost.” There was no deeper analysis of the stakes of the dispute or acknowledgment that the demands of the teachers—geared almost entirely toward student needs—enjoyed high levels of community support. Political conflict itself was painted as regrettable, and perhaps because Emanuel was a prominent Democratic leader, as a kind of fratricide.

But even The Nation’s bravest material has, like welfare liberalism as a whole, struggled to articulate a clear critique of the structures and social forces that have rolled back many of the social gains of the past century. Hence the room for some contributors to make battles over neoliberal education reform seem like the result of mutual intransigence and the clash of personalities rather than a broader class struggle. 

The other half of the liberal scene, technocratic liberals, best embodied by Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, seem at first glance to have responded to the global social democratic impasse in more sophisticated ways than their peers. In a January piece, “After ‘the end of big government liberalism,’ ” Klein claimed that “the progressive project of building a decent welfare state is giving way to the more technocratic work of financing and managing it. How government is run, more than what exactly it does, seems set to be the main battleground of American politics in coming years.” 

Unlike the welfare liberals with whom they share the same political party, technocratic liberals are less nostalgic for the postwar Fordist compromise between a strong labor movement and growing corporations. They are more apt to advocate reduced government spending and the introduction of markets into previously decommodified spaces—public schools, for instance. It’s a self-consciously “realist” approach to a new historical moment.  

For technocratic liberals, sound policy has become an end in itself. But big policy changes require mobilized political actors. By acquiescing in the conservative consensus on welfare entitlements (largely transformed into “workfare” by President Clinton in 1996) and attacks on teachers disguised as education “reform” (pushed by mainstream Democrats at the local level across the country), the technocrats launch broadsides at the very people who got them elected, eroding the base from which they can enact policy. Even sharply progressive calls, like a recent one from The New York Times in favor of strengthening collective-bargaining rights, are more often than not presented as a wonkish policy program for economic stimulus, to be turned on and off at will, rather than a vehicle for working-class power and long-term progressive advance. 

Socialists would not make this mistake. And neither would conservatives, for that matter. Though there are fierce battles in their party, House Republicans bind themselves to an ideological code, enforcing a set of standards that ironically resemble that of European socialist parties: dues are paid, commitments made explicit and members occasionally expelled. Declarations like Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” unite conservatives in Congress, while a network of think tanks, political action committees, grassroots activists and organizations at the state level keep them setting the national discourse, even as the demographics continue to skew in the Democratic Party’s favor. 

The basic liberal program—a responsive government and the preservation of key social protections—is far more popular than, say, weakening child labor laws or forcing pregnant women to get transvaginal ultrasounds. But the conservative program is not only “on the agenda,” it is often enacted, and for good reason: the right is generally more confident, more ideologically consistent and better organized than those who oppose it. 

* * *

Somewhat ironically, given the history of violence and repression inflicted on the left throughout its history, the solution to liberalism’s impasse lies in the re-emergence of American radicalism. The prospects are more promising than they may seem at first glance. The present context on the socialist left is one of institutional disarray but critical vibrancy, not unlike the moment that fueled leftist milieus in the early 1960s, when journals like Studies on the Left anticipated the upsurges that were soon to come, but groups like the Socialist Party of America were in terminal decline. Current literary journals like n+1 have taken a turn toward the political through engagement with Occupy Wall Street, while radical thinkers like Vivek Chibber, Doug Henwood and Kathi Weeks are finding broad new audiences for their work. A younger cohort is emerging as well. This generation of Marxist intellectuals is resurrecting debates about the reduction of working time, exploring the significance of new forms of labor, and arguing about the ways a democratic society would harness technological advance to universal material benefit, while avoiding ecological ruin. 

It’s a big mission, but in covering these themes, Jacobin, the magazine I founded in 2010, has garnered a measure of mainstream attention and success that would have been inconceivable even a few years ago. Still, the actual political situation in the country hasn’t caught up to the hype. Ideas don’t mean much without avenues for action. 

Which is to say that the left needs a plan—a plan that must incorporate more moderate allies. American radicalism has had a complex and at times contradictory association with liberalism. At the peak of the socialist movement, leftists fed off liberal victories. Radicals, in turn, have added coherence and punch to every key liberal struggle and advance of the past century. Such a mutually beneficial alliance could be in the works again. The first step is to smash the existing liberal coalition and rebuild it on a radically different basis.

Socialists must urgently show progressives how alien the technocratic liberal worldview is to the goals of welfare-state liberalism—goals held by the rank and file of the liberal movement. The ground can be softened at the intellectual and cultural levels, but a schism will have to be forced through actual struggle. Broad anti-austerity coalitions, particularly those centered at the state and municipal levels like last year’s Chicago Teachers Union strike, point the way toward new coalitions between leftists and liberals committed to defending social goods, especially if that means standing up against pro-corporate members of the Democratic Party like Rahm Emanuel. 

A last bastion of progressive strength, public sector labor unions, will be crucial in these battles, but they will have to adopt new tactics. The teachers union’s commitment to community-wide agitation and social-movement building—a commitment that kept it in the public’s favor—is a model to emulate. And groups like the AFL-CIO’s Working America, which is currently not serving an especially radical purpose, could potentially give labor a tool to circumvent restrictive labor laws and build alliances with unorganized sectors of the population. 

These national campaigns will have local roots. The recent neoliberal turn of Democratic mayoralties, for example, has much to do with their intense budget constraints. But these isolated struggles must be tied to broader campaigns to centralize our welfare system, shifting local and state burdens onto the federal government. Such a change would allow for a deeper development of social protections and allow progressives who are elected to office to govern without having to impose austerity on workers. 

This is just one example of the kind of class politics that has to be reconstituted in America today; surely there are many others. The Next Left’s anti-austerity struggles must be connected to the environmental movement, to the struggle of immigrants for labor and citizenship rights, and even, as unromantic as it sounds, to the needs of middle-class service recipients. Baby boomers are facing retirement without pensions or private savings; they have a stake in defending Social Security. Recent college graduates are saddled with student loans and fear they won’t be able to buy homes or start families. The left must organize around these aspirations and expand its coalition until left-liberalism becomes the dominant force in American politics.

And what then? Socialists aren’t just doctors with remedies for liberalism’s ailments. We’re members of a movement with aspirations distinct from it: a society free from class exploitation, a democracy extended from political spheres to social and economic ones, a world dramatically transformed. This means pushing struggles beyond the limits of liberalism, or even the boundaries of a single nation. It means a pitched battle for supremacy within the broader progressive movement and, at the very least, a golden age of dinner-table political banter.

Read John Nichols on “How Socialists Built America” (May 2, 2011), adapted from his book The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition… Socialism (Verso). 


‘Global Capitalism: A Monthly Update’ published on May 15, 2013

Economics Professor Richard Wolff publishes these monthly updates on developments relevant to capitalism around the world. His analysis is really on point. It’s long but it’s worth watching, listening to & learning from. 

Anti-capitalist protesters are taking inspiration from Mexican revolutionaries ahead of the G8 summit
May 17, 2013

No one can accuse the anti-capitalist protesters planning to disrupt the runup to next month’s G8 meeting in Northern Ireland of not being thoroughly up to date. The online call has gone out for a carnival against capitalism – curiously illustrated by a century-old photo of Mexican revolutionaries in sombreros, sitting on horseback – in London on 11 June. It’s some way away from Fermanagh where the world leaders will actually be gathering, but that isn’t going to stop them: a map pointing out “the dens of the rich” in central London has helpfully been published to assist the anti-capitalist activists in finding their way around the capital. It includes Buckingham Palace, Fortnum & Mason, “supermarket of the ruling class”, Mahiki, “cocktail bar of the feral rich” and the headquarters of Vogue magazine on the map for telling women how to look and act.

More from StopG8

Posted on The People’s Record Facebook page. Like our page for daily news. “Favorite” the page to get more than 10% of our posts in your feed (10% is the facebook default for likes, if you don’t favorite).
Get the message out, share it on Facebook.
I originally came across the article that posted these graphs from something we reblogged from anarcho-queer (you should follow anarcho-queer for daily news & information along the same lines as what we post. They post just-as, if-not more regularly than we do).

Posted on The People’s Record Facebook page. Like our page for daily news. “Favorite” the page to get more than 10% of our posts in your feed (10% is the facebook default for likes, if you don’t favorite).

Get the message out, share it on Facebook.

I originally came across the article that posted these graphs from something we reblogged from anarcho-queer (you should follow anarcho-queer for daily news & information along the same lines as what we post. They post just-as, if-not more regularly than we do).

Article segment: Why the left must support Syria’s revolution
April 9, 2013

BEYOND THOSE who support the Syrian regime as a progressive opponent of imperialism, there are those who are justly suspicious of the motives of the U.S. and other powerful governments—and who fear that Syrians are doomed to a civil war between a bloodthirsty dictator and groups of intolerant little tyrants sustained by the U.S. and other powers.

What these pictures of the situation miss—intentionally or not—is the fact that Syria is in the grips of more than a civil war. What is taking place is a popular revolution, with an armed component. There are a wide variety of groups involved and at least as many strategies and ideas about what the struggle is about—including those that are not left wing and that will make accommodations with imperialism.

But the uprising is also a very dynamic process that has involved millions of people becoming active in public life for the first time. There are political advances and retreats, and moments of triumph and disappointment, just as there are military victories and defeats. But it would be wrong to reduce the Syrian Revolution to the question of the armed struggle and the role of imperialist powers in trying to shape and co-opt that armed struggle.

Take the role of women in the uprising—something that is not widely appreciated anywhere, and especially not in the mainstream media. Women have been very active participants and leaders from the beginning. They have played a role not just as victims and mothers and sisters of the martyrs and detainees, but also in demonstrations, on the front in field hospitals, in citizen reporting, and in the distribution of medicine and humanitarian supplies.

As a group of women activists in Aleppo wrote, “We will not wait until the regime falls for women to become active.” At the same time, they write, the “militarization of the revolution” has overshadowed the role of women—so in early March, the revolutionary local council of Aleppo was elected and didn’t include a single woman, despite some well-known female activists being nominated.

So there is—like everywhere in the world—some distance to go before women have equality in Syria. But the role they have played in the struggle so far—and will in the future—underlines how the uprising has opened up many different fronts in the battle against the Assad regime. As Ghayath Naisse said in an interview published by SocialistWorker.org:

The popular masses have invented many forms of struggles, including massive popular demonstrations that we saw in July of last year in Hama and Deir Ezzour; fast demonstrations (like flash mobs) that only last for several minutes; and demonstrations in neighborhoods with narrow streets in order to prevent the security forces from finding and cornering them, thus allowing protesters to disperse in narrow alleys when faced with repression.

Other actions include night demonstrations, releasing balloons carrying revolutionary slogans, dyeing the fountains red in major city squares, raising the flags of the revolution in streets and balconies, renaming streets with names of the revolution’s martyrs and, of course, a series of general strikes. The most recent one, in December 2012, was called the Strike of Dignity and lasted two days.

Every Friday, the masses raise their slogans, most of them united, in response to specific situations or to express their opinion regarding any matter of concern to the revolution. These are also a means to form a common mass consciousness and to generalize revolutionary experiences.

I WANT to leave the last word to a brave revolutionary, leftist writer Nahed Badawiyya, speaking from inside Syria:

The Arab Revolutions have come to put an end to the traditional left, and especially the traditional Communist Parties, which have been ineffective for a long time. They have become conservative, reactionary structures, devoid of members. In Syria, these Communist Parties gravitated towards the murderous regime and become accomplices to its crimes.

Therefore, much of their base, especially the youth, abandoned them and took to the streets to join their generation in protest. You will notice this phenomenon in all the traditional political movements in Syria. The youths of the Palestinian, Arab and Kurdish political movements have all separated from their leadership and joined the revolution. In all these political movements, the party leaderships were an obstacle and a brake on the revolutionary Syrian youth. At the same time, however, new Leftist youth formations emerged from within the revolution giving voice to its essence. I hope they grow and proliferate.

Full article here in which Yusef Khalil answers the objections of those on the left who reject the Syrian uprising against dictatorship—and demands to know which side they’re on.

As Sherry Wolf put it on her Facebook: Don’t reduce the Syrian Revolution to the question of the armed struggle and the role of imperialist powers in trying to shape and co-opt that armed struggle. Read this thoughtful and nuanced piece by Yusef Khalil. If you want to comment, please read the article. For some reason the Syrian Revolution inspires radicals to talk out of their ass.”

Bank of Cyprus to cut 30% off deposits over €100,000
March 25, 2013

Depositors in the Bank of Cyprus, the biggest bank on the island, will reportedly lose 30 percent on their holdings above 100,000 euros, the chairman of the Cypriot parliamentary finance committee said on Monday.

"I haven’t heard a formal announcement about the haircut, but this is the figure I heard," Irish radio quotes Nicholas Papadopoulos as saying.

At dawn on Monday, Cyprus and the troika of international backers reached agreement on a €10bn bailout plan, aimed at preventing the bankruptcy of the island’s financial system and the country’s exit from the Eurozone. Under the plan the depositors in Bank of Cyprus will be compensated with equity in the bank, while Laiki Bank, which is the island’s second largest financial institution, will be closed down.

Those with deposits under 100,000 euros in both banks will continue to enjoy the protection of the state’s guarantees, after an earlier proposal to impose a 6.75% tax on them provoked anger.

Banks are due to reopen on Tuesday, however, withdrawal limits will be imposed to avoid a run of capital.





In response to this post.

Sorry…but without elaboration, I don’t really know at all what you’re saying about the ‘law of commons’. I think in order to identify a solution, we have to pin-point the source of the problem. As I see it, the problem is a ‘private’ sector. Meaning, collaboratively run enterprises/spheres-of-society (not talking about your private home, but the actual wealth-producing entities in society) in which democracy is not only not-required, it is rarely thought about as a possibility. 

So I think we need a system that doesn’t have a segment of society immune to democracy, a system that doesn’t prioritize profit accumulation over human interest. I could imagine a number of acceptable scenarios to get rid of the private sector. 

Where I’m at right now, what I imagine that could deliver the best possible results with the least blood-shed & social turmoil would be a shift toward democratic workplaces, an eventual union of those democratic workplaces, and eventually using that union (or those many democratic-workplace unions) to abolish structures in society that are not democratic. 

This, I think, would be beneficial to the social consciousness, personal fulfillment, and intellectual/mental-stimulation of all people in society (all of whom would be part of the decision-making-process about what to produce, how to produce, etc at their jobs), and it would be a buffer against a lot of the problematic aspects of globalized capitalism, now in its grotesque monopoly-accumulation stage.

But this isn’t the only potential solution and it may not be the one that ends up being most-appealing to most people. Maybe something like an actually international Trotskyist revival. I think syndicalism seems a little more realistic/do-able, but Trotskyists would certainly disagree. I’m open to whatever could bring us to the abolition of profit-driven-interests trumping human-interests (like the health and welfare of the planet we live on).

Either way, the point is to put the decision making power in the hands of people, not profit-driven-non-human entities and not in the hands of a few, very-powerful people who own most of the wealth in society and who, for whatever reason, are driven to hoard resources and destroy anything, including the planet, that stands in the way of more profit$.

I had never thought about the fact that capitalism relegates democracy to *just* the government. Huh. This is true, and makes sense.

That’s the best kind of feedback. You have no idea how happy it makes me to see that sometimes the information & realizations that get exchanged on Tumblr actually help shape & change perspectives & inspire realizations in others. Talking about these things, in as many ways and through as many mediums as possible is important to shaping the direction of our collective futures.

When I was younger & more nihilistic, I thought fundamental change was impossible. I don’t know when this happened, but somewhere down the line I came to understand that society is changing, whether we’re silent & apathetic or actively engaged in the most important conversations of our time. History is moving; if we work purposefully & collectively we can nudge, push or shove it in the right direction.

Thousands of Greeks protest planned gold mining site that would be destructive to the environment
March 9, 2013

More than 10,000 people have taken to the streets of Greece’s second largest city to protest a planned gold mine they see as an environmental risk.

Police blocked the crowd’s march to the Canadian Consulate in Thessaloniki, but Saturday’s protest took place and ended peacefully. Eldorado Gold Corp., based in Vancouver, Canada, has been granted the rights to the gold mine in Halkidiki peninsula, east of Thessaloniki.

The company has established a camp employing 1,200 people and plans to begin digging soon.

The issue has bitterly divided Halkidiki residents, with some claiming the mine will harm tourism and release toxic substances, and others denying that and saying new jobs are crucial during Greece’s severe economic crisis.


Ours is a time of multiple crises generated by global capitalism.  It is a time of global resistance, occupation, and insurgency. It is a time to connect with the ideas of Luxemburg, Trotsky, and Lenin – a critical-minded engagement with revolutionary resources, based on past revolutionary experience, as we consider future action for social change.

New waves of young activists are compelled to become radical– going to the root of today’s problems, demanding a shift of power in society from the super-wealthy 1% to the increasingly hard-pressed 99%.

It will not be a simple thing to win the battle of democracy, to create a world in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. The problems we face have been more than two centuries in the making.  Millions of people, generation after generation, have engaged in revolutionary struggles for basic human rights and dignity – liberty and justice for all, experiencing defeats and victories, learning and passing on an accumulation of lessons for those who would continue the struggle.

Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin were among the most perceptive and compelling revolutionaries of the 20th century. The body of analysis, strategy and tactics to which they contributed was inseparable from the mass struggles of their time.  Critically engaging with their ideas can enrich the thinking and practical activity of those involved in today’s and tomorrow’s struggles for a better world.

A global activist collective – multiple individuals exploring texts on how to understand and change the world, proliferating study groups connecting revolutionary theory with the struggles of today and tomorrow – reaching out to the rest of the 99%, can have a powerful impact for social change. It is time, in the most revolutionary sense, to get political.


Although power-points aren’t exactly the most thrilling or efficient way to present information with text & visuals (I like Tumblr for that, for instance) this is still a pretty cool, creative Marxist project. Click on the source to see their powerpoints and read more about the project.