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.

Source

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.

Source

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.

robert-cunningham

thepeoplesrecord:

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.

-Robert

Stumbled across this old post today. Good quotes. 

camouflage-camouflage
camouflage-camouflage:

theuppitynegras:

nezua:

culturenautique:

thepeoplesrecord:

Prison Labor Exposed: From Starbucks to Microsoft - A sampling of what US prisoners make & for whomMay 21, 2013
Tens of thousands of US inmates are paid from pennies to minimum wage—minus fines and victim compensation—for everything from grunt work to firefighting to specialized labor.
The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners. At the UnionCorrectional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a nearby lower-security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE), a privately held non-profit corporation that operates the state’s forty-one work programs. In addition to processed food, PRIDE’s website reveals an array of products for sale through contracts with private companies, from eyeglasses to office furniture, to be shipped from a distribution center in Florida to businesses across the US. PRIDE boasts that its work programs are “designed to provide vocational training, to improve prison security, to reduce the cost of state government, and to promote the rehabilitation of the state inmates.”
And Each month, California inmates process more than 680,000 pounds of beef, 400,000 pounds of chicken products, 450,000 gallons of milk, 280,000 loaves of bread, and 2.9 million eggs (from 160,000 inmate-raised hens).Starbucks subcontractor Signature Packaging Solutions has hired Washington prisoners to package holiday coffees (as well as Nintendo Game Boys). Confronted by a reporter in 2001, a Starbucks rep called the setup “entirely consistent with our mission statement.”
Texas inmates produce brooms and brushes, bedding and mattresses, toilets, sinks, showers, and bullwhips.
In Texas, prisoners make officers’ duty belts, handcuff cases, and prison-cell accessories. California convicts make gun containers, creepers (to peek under vehicles), and human-silhouette targets.
A stitch in time: California inmates sew their own garb. In the 1990s, subcontractor Third Generation hired 35 female South Carolina inmates to sew lingerie and leisure wear for Victoria’s Secret and JCPenney. In 1997, a California prison put two men in solitary for telling journalists they were ordered to replace “Made in Honduras” labels on garments with “Made in the usa.”
Open wide: At California’s prison dental laboratory, inmates produce a complete prosthesis selection, including custom trays, try-ins, bite blocks, and dentures.
Constructive criticism: Prisoners in for burglary, battery, drug and gun charges, and escape helped build a Wal-Mart distribution center in Wisconsin in 2005, until community uproar halted the program. (Company policy says, “Forced or prison labor will not be tolerated by Wal-Mart.”)
On call: Its inmate call centers are the “best kept secret in outsourcing,” Unicor boasts. In 1994, a contractor for gop congressional hopeful Jack Metcalf hired Washington state prisoners to call and remind voters he was pro-death penalty. Metcalf, who prevailed, said he never knew.
Federal Prison Industries, a.k.a. Unicor, says that in addition to soldiers’ uniforms, bedding, shoes, helmets, and flak vests, inmates have “produced missile cables (including those used on the Patriot missiles during the Gulf War)” and “wiring harnesses for jets and tanks.” In 1997, according to Prison Legal News, Boeing subcontractor MicroJet had prisoners cutting airplane components, paying $7 an hour for work that paid union wages of $30 on the outside.
Full article

Hmmm….under these circumstances, having a large slave, oops I mean prison population is advantageous.  What an “original” idea!
Damn, it is one thing if this was about rehabilitation and helping people gain skills and get jobs when they leave prison.   Maybe pocket away some money in an account for use when a man or woman gets out of prison.  At least you could argue some type of “win/win” scenario.  Investment firms like Fidelity Investments fund companies and organizations that administrate these types of “programs.  I do not think that is what is going on here.
 It is not clear to me, at all, that rehab and helping people get back into the workforce is what is intended or going on.  I have a hard time believing that inmates net any money or receive developmental assistance that translates to smoother re-entry into non-prison life.  My mind is open and I will keep researching, but this just sounds like re-legalized slavery to me.

Yes, and the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution clearly spells out the intention. It’s absolutely disgusting how comfortable our society has become with this. It’s sickening.

I fucking hate this country

I think you people forgot these people are criminals. They are liars, killers, thieves, rapists. First you complain about how easy they get off. Then you complain that they arent treated humanely enough. Im totally cool with this. Theyre in prison for a reason. And its not so they can enjoy themselves. Its tobpay their debt to socoety. And if you “fucking hate this country” then get the fuck out. See if you can handle living somewhere else.

“Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free…I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.
This order of things cannot always endure. I have registered my protest against it. I recognize the feebleness of my effort, but, fortunately, I am not alone.” - American Socialist Eugene V Debs upon being convicted of violating the Sedition Act

camouflage-camouflage:

theuppitynegras:

nezua:

culturenautique:

thepeoplesrecord:

Prison Labor Exposed: From Starbucks to Microsoft - A sampling of what US prisoners make & for whom
May 21, 2013

Tens of thousands of US inmates are paid from pennies to minimum wage—minus fines and victim compensation—for everything from grunt work to firefighting to specialized labor.

The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners. At the UnionCorrectional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a nearby lower-security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE), a privately held non-profit corporation that operates the state’s forty-one work programs. In addition to processed food, PRIDE’s website reveals an array of products for sale through contracts with private companies, from eyeglasses to office furniture, to be shipped from a distribution center in Florida to businesses across the US. PRIDE boasts that its work programs are “designed to provide vocational training, to improve prison security, to reduce the cost of state government, and to promote the rehabilitation of the state inmates.”

And Each month, California inmates process more than 680,000 pounds of beef, 400,000 pounds of chicken products, 450,000 gallons of milk, 280,000 loaves of bread, and 2.9 million eggs (from 160,000 inmate-raised hens).Starbucks subcontractor Signature Packaging Solutions has hired Washington prisoners to package holiday coffees (as well as Nintendo Game Boys). Confronted by a reporter in 2001, a Starbucks rep called the setup “entirely consistent with our mission statement.”

Texas inmates produce brooms and brushes, bedding and mattresses, toilets, sinks, showers, and bullwhips.

In Texas, prisoners make officers’ duty belts, handcuff cases, and prison-cell accessories. California convicts make gun containers, creepers (to peek under vehicles), and human-silhouette targets.

A stitch in time: California inmates sew their own garb. In the 1990s, subcontractor Third Generation hired 35 female South Carolina inmates to sew lingerie and leisure wear for Victoria’s Secret and JCPenney. In 1997, a California prison put two men in solitary for telling journalists they were ordered to replace “Made in Honduras” labels on garments with “Made in the usa.”

Open wide: At California’s prison dental laboratory, inmates produce a complete prosthesis selection, including custom trays, try-ins, bite blocks, and dentures.

Constructive criticism: Prisoners in for burglary, battery, drug and gun charges, and escape helped build a Wal-Mart distribution center in Wisconsin in 2005, until community uproar halted the program. (Company policy says, “Forced or prison labor will not be tolerated by Wal-Mart.”)

On call: Its inmate call centers are the “best kept secret in outsourcing,” Unicor boasts. In 1994, a contractor for gop congressional hopeful Jack Metcalf hired Washington state prisoners to call and remind voters he was pro-death penalty. Metcalf, who prevailed, said he never knew.

Federal Prison Industries, a.k.a. Unicor, says that in addition to soldiers’ uniforms, bedding, shoes, helmets, and flak vests, inmates have “produced missile cables (including those used on the Patriot missiles during the Gulf War)” and “wiring harnesses for jets and tanks.” In 1997, according to Prison Legal NewsBoeing subcontractor MicroJet had prisoners cutting airplane components, paying $7 an hour for work that paid union wages of $30 on the outside.

Full article

Hmmm….under these circumstances, having a large slave, oops I mean prison population is advantageous.  What an “original” idea!

Damn, it is one thing if this was about rehabilitation and helping people gain skills and get jobs when they leave prison.   Maybe pocket away some money in an account for use when a man or woman gets out of prison.  At least you could argue some type of “win/win” scenario.  Investment firms like Fidelity Investments fund companies and organizations that administrate these types of “programs.  I do not think that is what is going on here.

 It is not clear to me, at all, that rehab and helping people get back into the workforce is what is intended or going on.  I have a hard time believing that inmates net any money or receive developmental assistance that translates to smoother re-entry into non-prison life.  My mind is open and I will keep researching, but this just sounds like re-legalized slavery to me.

Yes, and the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution clearly spells out the intention. It’s absolutely disgusting how comfortable our society has become with this. It’s sickening.

I fucking hate this country

I think you people forgot these people are criminals. They are liars, killers, thieves, rapists. First you complain about how easy they get off. Then you complain that they arent treated humanely enough. Im totally cool with this. Theyre in prison for a reason. And its not so they can enjoy themselves. Its tobpay their debt to socoety. And if you “fucking hate this country” then get the fuck out. See if you can handle living somewhere else.

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free…I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.

This order of things cannot always endure. I have registered my protest against it. I recognize the feebleness of my effort, but, fortunately, I am not alone.” - American Socialist Eugene V Debs upon being convicted of violating the Sedition Act

Thousands keep up protest at Cambodian garment factory
May 29, 2013

About 3,500 workers protested on Wednesday at a factory in Cambodia that makes clothing for U.S. sportswear company Nike, refusing to give up their campaign for higher pay despite a crackdown by police this week.

At least 23 people were injured on Monday when police with riot gear and stun batons were deployed to assault about 3,000 workers, most of them women, who had blocked a road outside the factory owned by Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing in Kampong Speu province, west of the capital, Phnom Penh. One woman who was two months pregnant lost her child after military police pushed her to the ground, according to a trade union representative.

The workers walked out on strike on May 21. Sun Vanny, president of the Free Trade Union (FTU) at Sabrina, said about 4,000 workers were expected to join the protest on Thursday. “We will continue the strike to demand what they want,” Vanny said, adding that union representatives had been invited for talks on Wednesday but no agreement had been reached. "We want to know why violence was used against the woman and workers, we want to know who hired these officers to come," he added, referring to Monday’s clash.

A Nike spokeswoman in the United States told Reuters by email on Monday that the company was “concerned” about the allegations that workers had been hurt and was investigating. Nike requires contract manufacturers to respect employees’ rights to freedom of association, the spokeswoman added, but instead of acting in any way that reflects their statements, they have only made decisions to create suffering for workers.

Many Western capitalists, attracted by cheap labor, have turned to Asia to get their garments made at a cost that will make them attractive to customers in the troubled economies of Europe and North America looking for discounted clothing. A series of deadly incidents at factories in Bangladesh, the world’s biggest clothing exporter after China, including the collapse of a building last month that killed more than 1,000 people, has focused the world’s attention on safety standards.

Strikes over pay and working conditions have become common in Cambodia, where garments accounted for 75 percent of total exports of $5.22 billion in 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund.

This month, two people were killed at a factory producing running shoes for Asics when part of a warehouse fell in on them.

Source

“Neoliberalization has not been very effective in revitalizing global capital accumulation, but it has succeeded remarkably well in restoring, or in some instances creating, the power of an economic elite. The theoretical utopianism of neoliberal argument has, I conclude, primarily worked as a system of justification and legitimation for whatever needed to be done to achieve this goal.”― David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism

“This is the permanent tension that lies at the heart of a capitalist democracy and is exacerbated in times of crisis. In order to ensure the survival of the richest, it is democracy that has to be heavily regulated rather than capitalism.”― Tariq Ali, The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

We have people refusing to be wage-slaves working in terribly dangerous, life-threatening conditions who organize democratically in protest and the response of the capitalists, of course, is to hire a brute force to stomp out the democracy. Disgusting. Capitalism is evil.

The French left hold socialist President Hollande accountable, march through Paris to protest his selling out & becoming an austerity puppet for capitalists Brussels & Berlin
May 6, 2013

At least tens of thousands of far-left protesters have marched through Paris, to vent their anger over economic austerity. Sunday’s demonstration came on the eve of the first anniversary of Francois Hollande’s election as French President.

The crowd were fired up by far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon. “We don’t want the financial sector in power,” he told the crowds.“We do not accept austerity policies that usher in endless suffering for our people, like all others in Europe.”

The protest highlighted fierce opposition on the left to the Socialist president’s market-friendly reforms.- and the loosening of labor rules which makes hiring and firing slightly easier.

“A number of economists, whose thoughts are well regarded, have recently said that this policy of austerity is driving us into the wall. The people of the world are getting poorer and poorer,” said one demonstrator.

France is on the edge of recession and unemployment is at an all time high. Hollande has suffered the sharpest fall in popularity of any president in more than half a century.

Source

The protesters held brooms to symbolize the need to clean the government of it’s dependence on the capitalist financial sector.

April 3, 2013 

From Adbusters (who published the initial call to Occupy Wall Street along similar lines to this, which ended up igniting a sprawling protest movement that spawned scaled-up political consciousness & protest culture. Let’s hope this can catch on!):

Hey all you wild spirits out there,

Here is how the Global Spring begins:

A few lone wolves among us start pasting posters in and around Goldman Sachs HQ at 200 West Street, Manhattan, New York. Groups of two or three turn up and hand out leaflets at their branch office at Maria de Molina 6-5a, Madrid, Spain. People start gathering and having fun outside Goldman’s offices in 50 cities…

Then … on Thursday May 23, when Goldman Sachs holds its annual shareholders meeting at 222 South Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 500 people turn up and solidarity games are held across the world. It gets serious when thousands start playing on September 17 in front of Goldman’s branches in Los Angeles, Toronto, Moscow, London, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Beijing, Mexico City. The media picks up on this fledgling global revolt…

And, one fine day, the whole thing suddenly catches fire … #GOLDMAN becomes a rallying cry for people everywhere to rise up against the financial fraudsters who have been fucking around with our lives for far too long.

When the moment is ripe, all it takes is a spark.

for the wild, Kono Matsu / kono@adbusters.org Culture Jammers HQ

P.S. Find teammates and Goldman Sachs locations at meetup.com/goldman

Catch up on the gameplay thus far, here.

Printable flyers available in many languages on the adbusters site. It seems to be down right now, hopefully due to excessive traffic and not due to problematic government agencies. In the mean time, don’t let that stop the spreading of this idea, reblog now!

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.

Source

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.

I’ve posted most of this list before, but I’m happy to share it again, with a few additions.
A list of good leftist/politically-conscious blogs on Tumblr…
Almost exclusively news & conscious politics:
http://fuckyeahmarxismleninism.tumblr.com
http://socialistorganizer.tumblr.com/
http://the-uncensored-she.tumblr.com/
http://anarcho-queer.tumblr.com/
http://sans-nuage.tumblr.com/
http://sinidentidades.tumblr.com/
http://disciplesofmalcom.tumblr.com
http://canadian-communist.tumblr.com/
http://randomactsofchaos.tumblr.com/
http://amodernmanifesto.tumblr.com/
http://rebeltranscripts.tumblr.com/
http://socialismartnature.tumblr.com/
http://leftskewed.tumblr.com/
http://cognitivedissonance.tumblr.com
http://anarchistpeopleofcolor.tumblr.com
http://dentonsocialists.tumblr.com
 Blend of political & personal:
http://nitanahkohe.tumblr.com/
http://socialistexan.tumblr.com
http://youngbadmanbrown.tumblr.com/
http://blackraincloud.tumblr.com/
http://crookedthinking95.tumblr.com
http://tranqualizer.tumblr.com/
http://afellowmartian.tumblr.com/
http://pragnacious.tumblr.com
Movement/fraction/specific-activism focused:
http://democracyatwork.tumblr.com/
http://oppression-and-feminism.tumblr.com/
http://justice4janitors.tumblr.com/
http://chileanstudentmovement.tumblr.com/ (inactive for a few months now)
http://wearethe1in3.tumblr.com/  (inactive for quite a bit but could still use submissions & is generally a good idea)
— — —
I know this could be infinitely longer. I know I left some good ones (that I probably follow & read and others that I don’t) out.
This would be a great starting point though if you’re new to tumblr and/or socially-conscious news & politics and want some great blogs to follow to stay informed & learn. These blogs make tumblr a better place. <3
And if I forgot you, I’m sorry. Please add other great blogs in the same vein as these when you reblog. :D

I’ve posted most of this list before, but I’m happy to share it again, with a few additions.

A list of good leftist/politically-conscious blogs on Tumblr…

Almost exclusively news & conscious politics:

 Blend of political & personal:

Movement/fraction/specific-activism focused:

— — —

I know this could be infinitely longer. I know I left some good ones (that I probably follow & read and others that I don’t) out.

This would be a great starting point though if you’re new to tumblr and/or socially-conscious news & politics and want some great blogs to follow to stay informed & learn. These blogs make tumblr a better place. <3

And if I forgot you, I’m sorry. Please add other great blogs in the same vein as these when you reblog. :D

I&#8217;m not exactly sure, but I’ll do my best to offer a starting place. 
I really don&#8217;t claim to be an expert so if I&#8217;m listing these areas and readers out there are like &#8216;WHAT?! I KNOW SOME GREAT BLOGS ABOUT THAT?!&#8217; just reblog and list them and I will be really appreciative.
But in terms of news, I think domestic politics in pretty much all Western countries, and large segments of the Middle East are pretty well documented on Tumblr (and often on this blog). We (The People’s Record) don’t do a near complete enough job covering internal domestic politics in Central America, South America, East &amp; South-East Asia, or Africa.
We also don’t do a good enough job covering indigenous issues, throughout the world and particularly in the above mentioned places.
In terms of analysis, I personally see a lack in/would like to see more blogs or even get some people writing columns for The People’s Record that:
Compare &amp; discuss the differences between various tendencies in revolutionary politics: Trotskyists vs Maoists vs anarcho-syndicalists, etc. Something fair minded and critical of all the tendencies (since none has technically liberated us from capitalism or imperialism or ended colonialism yet). But I think a thoughtful blog or column about that would be really helpful, I’ve been thinking about writing one myself but I’m concerned I would start and then not finish, lol.
It would be cool to see a blog just dedicated to co-ops, cooperatively run economies, anarcho-syndicalism and democratic workplaces
International news blogs and/or a column representing/covering perspectives of international happenings from non-Western points-of-view. Like, what’s being said about India in the Chilean media, or how is the first female president of South Korea being received across the South-African blogosphere, for instance.
 I’d like to see a blog and/or column focused on ‘what capitalism does’ to various aspects of society: like medical care, law enforcement,
Lastly, something that dares to speculate/discuss/inspire-discussions about the particular forms a new world might take, how we might alternatively structure society, what could it look like – would we want to get rid of all the concrete as the anarchist chant goes: ‘Whose streets? No streets. Tear down the concrete.’ How would that work? Would we try and build large-scale rails for transportation? How might new technologies be utilized to make a new world more possible, (a tech focused/leftist/radical/revolutionary blog might be really cool) etc?
Add your own to the list, Tumblr. And if anyone wants to write about any of this (or anything along these lines) for The People’s Record in a regular column or even just post about this stuff regularly for us to reblog, send us an email: thepeoplesrec@gmail.com 
If we haven’t gotten back to you yet, that’s because we are terrible slackers and not because we don’t want to work with you. We will be catching up on those messages shortly. We’re trying to compile a list so that we can transition into a larger team in the most efficient way possible. 

I’m not exactly sure, but I’ll do my best to offer a starting place. 

I really don’t claim to be an expert so if I’m listing these areas and readers out there are like ‘WHAT?! I KNOW SOME GREAT BLOGS ABOUT THAT?!’ just reblog and list them and I will be really appreciative.

  1. But in terms of news, I think domestic politics in pretty much all Western countries, and large segments of the Middle East are pretty well documented on Tumblr (and often on this blog). We (The People’s Record) don’t do a near complete enough job covering internal domestic politics in Central America, South America, East & South-East Asia, or Africa.
  2. We also don’t do a good enough job covering indigenous issues, throughout the world and particularly in the above mentioned places.
  3. In terms of analysis, I personally see a lack in/would like to see more blogs or even get some people writing columns for The People’s Record that:
  4. Compare & discuss the differences between various tendencies in revolutionary politics: Trotskyists vs Maoists vs anarcho-syndicalists, etc. Something fair minded and critical of all the tendencies (since none has technically liberated us from capitalism or imperialism or ended colonialism yet). But I think a thoughtful blog or column about that would be really helpful, I’ve been thinking about writing one myself but I’m concerned I would start and then not finish, lol.
  5. It would be cool to see a blog just dedicated to co-ops, cooperatively run economies, anarcho-syndicalism and democratic workplaces
  6. International news blogs and/or a column representing/covering perspectives of international happenings from non-Western points-of-view. Like, what’s being said about India in the Chilean media, or how is the first female president of South Korea being received across the South-African blogosphere, for instance.
  7.  I’d like to see a blog and/or column focused on ‘what capitalism does’ to various aspects of society: like medical care, law enforcement,
  8. Lastly, something that dares to speculate/discuss/inspire-discussions about the particular forms a new world might take, how we might alternatively structure society, what could it look like – would we want to get rid of all the concrete as the anarchist chant goes: ‘Whose streets? No streets. Tear down the concrete.’ How would that work? Would we try and build large-scale rails for transportation? How might new technologies be utilized to make a new world more possible, (a tech focused/leftist/radical/revolutionary blog might be really cool) etc?

Add your own to the list, Tumblr. And if anyone wants to write about any of this (or anything along these lines) for The People’s Record in a regular column or even just post about this stuff regularly for us to reblog, send us an email: thepeoplesrec@gmail.com

If we haven’t gotten back to you yet, that’s because we are terrible slackers and not because we don’t want to work with you. We will be catching up on those messages shortly. We’re trying to compile a list so that we can transition into a larger team in the most efficient way possible. 

This video is from about a month ago, so it’s really recent/relevant.

Education activist Brian Jones discusses Real vs. Phony Education Reform and punctures the myth that privatization (charter schools, high-stakes testing, merit pay) will create racial and economic justice for under served communities.

Jones is an elementary school teacher in New York City, a union activist and author, most recently of a chapter in the book Education and Capitalism on The Struggle for Black Education.

If you enjoy this, here is a pretty strong collection of similarly framed articles on the topic of education and fighting to save our school system.

A FEW AMAZING BLOGS&#8230;
Almost exclusively news &amp; conscious politics:
http://fuckyeahmarxismleninism.tumblr.com
http://socialistorganizer.tumblr.com/
http://the-uncensored-she.tumblr.com/
http://anarcho-queer.tumblr.com/
http://sans-nuage.tumblr.com/
http://sinidentidades.tumblr.com/
http://canadian-communist.tumblr.com/
http://randomactsofchaos.tumblr.com/
http://rebeltranscripts.tumblr.com/
http://socialismartnature.tumblr.com/
http://leftskewed.tumblr.com/
 Blend of political &amp; personal:
http://nitanahkohe.tumblr.com/
http://youngbadmanbrown.tumblr.com/
http://blackraincloud.tumblr.com/
http://tranqualizer.tumblr.com/
http://afellowmartian.tumblr.com/
http://share.biyuti.com/
 Movement/specific-activism focused:
http://democracyatwork.tumblr.com/
http://oppression-and-feminism.tumblr.com/
http://justice4janitors.tumblr.com/
http://chileanstudentmovement.tumblr.com/ (inactive for a few months now)
http://wearethe1in3.tumblr.com/  (inactive for quite a bit but could still use submissions &amp; is generally a good idea)
&#8212; &#8212; &#8212;
I know this could be infinitely longer. I know I left some good ones (that I probably follow &amp; read and others that I don&#8217;t) out.
This would be a great starting point though if you&#8217;re new to tumblr and/or socially-conscious news &amp; politics and want some great blogs to follow to stay informed &amp; learn. These blogs make tumblr a better place. &lt;3
And if I forgot you, I&#8217;m sorry. Please add other great blogs in the same vein as these when you reblog. :D

A FEW AMAZING BLOGS…

Almost exclusively news & conscious politics:

 Blend of political & personal:

 Movement/specific-activism focused:

— — —

I know this could be infinitely longer. I know I left some good ones (that I probably follow & read and others that I don’t) out.

This would be a great starting point though if you’re new to tumblr and/or socially-conscious news & politics and want some great blogs to follow to stay informed & learn. These blogs make tumblr a better place. <3

And if I forgot you, I’m sorry. Please add other great blogs in the same vein as these when you reblog. :D

Todd Chrieten: Why I&#8217;m still not voting for Obama
October 29, 2012
FOUR YEARS ago, I wrote an article for Socialist Worker titled "Why I&#8217;m Not Voting For Obama." The atmosphere in which President Barack Obama is running for reelection could not be more different from the high hopes and expectations that surrounded his 2008 campaign. But I believe socialists and the left must take the same attitude to this election.
I started my article four years ago by pointing out the disgusting racist attacks on Obama. Unfortunately, these attacks have only gotten worse in the past four years&#8212;Romney supporters have even added the slogan "Put the white back in the White House". This racist backlash is one of the reasons the election is so close.
Romney himself has joined in. For instance, while campaigning in Michigan with his wife last August, Romney stated, &#8220;I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born&#8230;No one&#8217;s ever asked to see my birth certificate.&#8221;
A Romney victory will embolden the most vile elements in American society, which explains why opinion polls suggest he will get close to 0 percent of the Black vote.
There can be no doubt that Mitt Romney in office will do his damnedest to makes things worse for all workers and poor people, but especially for people of color. The question, though, is this: Does casting a vote for President Obama and the Democratic Party help make things better?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Sometimes Lesser, But Still an Evil
Socialist Worker's Lance Selfa makes it crystal clear in his book The Democrats: A Critical History that placing faith in the Democratic Party has led to a series of disasters for social movements over the course of the 20th century.
Here are just two examples. Students for a Democratic Society backed President Lyndon Johnson&#8217;s reelection campaign in 1964 with the slogan &#8220;Half the way with LBJ.&#8221; Antiwar activists hoped they would avoid war in Vietnam with Johnson back in the White House. But they ended up with an &#8220;ALL the Way&#8221; bloodbath when Johnston sent in 600,000 troops. The result was over 50,000 American soldiers killed and 2 million dead in Vietnam and the surrounding region.
In the 1990s, voting for Bill Clinton was presented as the only &#8220;realistic&#8221; for stopping the Republicans, who in the post-Reagan era clearly stood for an anti-poor, racist, law-and-order, anti-gay, pro-business agenda. As president, Bill Clinton proudly &#8220;ended welfare as we know it,&#8221; presided over an unprecedented growth in the U.S. prison population, deregulated Wall Street, signed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and implemented &#8220;don&#8217;t ask, don&#8217;t tell&#8221; in the military.
Of course, Republican presidents also have a long list of crimes. But these examples ought to make it clear that Democratic presidents and politicians are, at best, a lesser evil.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -But Isn&#8217;t This Election Different?
I want to address the rest of this article to readers who may already be highly critical of the Democrats, but who believe there is no choice but to support them as a defensive measure.
For instance, few Chicago teachers believe that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is anything other than an anti-union bully, bent on destroying public education. At the same time, a very large majority of them will vote for President Barack Obama simply because they see no alternative on the national level to Romney.
As noted previously, close to 100 percent of African American voters will support Obama for many of the same reasons&#8212;as well as a logical desire to express pride in the first Black president and to defend him from racist attack. And my guess is that a very large majority of the people who took part in an Occupy Wall Street protest over the past year will vote for Obama as well, however reluctantly.
These groups will vote for Obama&#8217;s reelection despite his dismal policies that have made their lives worse: from bank bailouts, to the failure to provide help to homeowners facing foreclosure, to the surge in Afghanistan and more.
Radicals who dismiss these pro-Obama people as simply &#8220;ignorant&#8221; or &#8220;brainwashed&#8221; are missing the point. Millions of people who want strong unions, real solutions to stop global warming, increased taxes on the rich, etc., will support Obama because they can&#8217;t see an alternative.
The reality at this point is that those of us who want to build powerful social movements of workers, students and the oppressed have very limited options on November 6. Casting a protest vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein or some other left-wing party is a worthwhile option. But those campaigns have almost no social weight behind them.
In 2000, Ralph Nader and the Green Party received almost 3 million votes and were closely connected to the rising global justice movement. But then, Bush stole the election, the Democrats blamed the Greens and Nader&#8212;and the global justice struggle collapsed after September 11.
Several Green Party and independent campaigns managed to put forward an antiwar message in the years that followed, but the unfortunate reality is that some key Green Party leaders abandoned an all-out fight against the Democrats by adopting a &#8220;safe state&#8221; strategy or other means by which they effectively threw their support to the Democrats. In other cases, Greens simply quit the party and returned to the Democrats, leaving a severely weakened organization in their wake.
I think this only goes to show that if we want to build a radical political alternative to the Democrats, we have to be better prepared.
Many people believe that building an alternative to the Democrats is a waste of time. Former Obama staffer Van Jones typifies this thinking. One particularly infantile version of this argument was put forward recently by writer Rebecca Solnit. She accused a &#8220;rancid sector of the far left&#8221; of &#8220;left-wing voter suppression&#8221; because we criticize Obama and other Democrats.
If I were Rahm Emanuel, I would read Solnit&#8217;s piece and think, &#8220;With enemies like this, who needs friends?&#8221;
There are more thoughtful cases being made along the same lines. For example, veteran activists Bill Fletcher Jr. and Carl Davidson stress the danger in a rising racist wave of attacks and argue that, despite Obama&#8217;s miserable record as a &#8220;corporate liberal,&#8221; &#8220;we think the matter of a lesser of two evils is a tactical question of simply voting for one candidate to defeat another, rather than a matter of principle. Politics is frequently about the lesser of two evils.&#8221;
If Fletcher and Davidson&#8217;s formulations are primarily defensive in nature, Bob Wing asserts that an alliance of progressives has a positive opportunity to gain influence within the Democratic Party:

In recent years, progressives have grown more united, more organized, more aggressive and strategically smarter. We are occasionally able to gain initiative (opposition to the war in Iraq, Wisconsin, Occupy), but we have not yet become a consistent and undeniably powerful force in national politics or even within the Democratic Party, two crucial and mutually interconnected tasks&#8230;though some on the far left still harbor abstentionist or third party dreams.

While they pitch their arguments in terms of 2012, it&#8217;s worth recognizing that this strategy of orienting social movements to work within the Democratic Party is a decades-old approach whose results must be judged in that light.
In that regard, I disagree that our goal should be to become, as Wing puts it, a &#8220;powerful force&#8230;within the Democratic Party.&#8221; In my judgment, history has shown that it is not revolutionaries who qualitatively change the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party that qualitatively changes revolutionaries. One small example is Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. She used to be a communist. Now she directs the police to bludgeon protesters.
Consider the Democrats today, and remember that this is after the challenge of the 1960s and &#8217;70s social movements and Jesse Jackson&#8217;s Rainbow Coalition. Yet it&#8217;s hard to imagine how the Democratic Party as an institution could be more neoliberal, anti-democratic and hostile to grassroots struggle.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -But What Do We Do Now?
First, we must look reality in the face. The economic crisis will continue after November 6, and conditions for the majority of the population will continue to deteriorate. We face years of austerity, an increasingly violent state, attacks on civil liberties and civil rights, and a growth of sexist and especially racist ideas and attacks.
Second, at the same time, we are finally seeing a response from our side: the uprising in Wisconsin and the Occupy Wall Street movement last year; the Chicago Teachers Union strike in September; and smaller fights against police brutality, anti-immigrant policies and so on. Our side remains weak, but a new layer of radicals is emerging, and they are asking big questions.
Third, we have a long way to go before we can successfully challenge the two-party system on a national scale. But it remains the case that if the bosses have two parties, we need (at least) one of our own. We need a party that won&#8217;t trade principles for votes or bargain away the demands of movements on the streets and on the picket line for a few seats in Congress. We need a party one that sees elections as simply one aspect of a larger strategy for social transformation.
Some people will say that voting for Obama will only take a few minutes&#8212;and then we can get on with the job of building a genuine left-wing alternative.
But the Democrats don&#8217;t let social movements and unions off the hook so easily. They demand that unions hand over tens of millions of dollars to help Democrats get elected, and that movements demobilize so they don&#8217;t embarrass the party.
Mitt Romney is disgusting. But Obama and the Democrats want us to play by the rules of the game determined by the intensity of the capitalist crisis: austerity, poverty, war, repression. Those are rules we have to break, and the sooner we start learning how, the better.
That&#8217;s why I&#8217;m still not voting for Obama in 2012.
Source

Todd Chrieten: Why I’m still not voting for Obama

October 29, 2012

FOUR YEARS ago, I wrote an article for Socialist Worker titled "Why I’m Not Voting For Obama." The atmosphere in which President Barack Obama is running for reelection could not be more different from the high hopes and expectations that surrounded his 2008 campaign. But I believe socialists and the left must take the same attitude to this election.

I started my article four years ago by pointing out the disgusting racist attacks on Obama. Unfortunately, these attacks have only gotten worse in the past four years—Romney supporters have even added the slogan "Put the white back in the White House". This racist backlash is one of the reasons the election is so close.

Romney himself has joined in. For instance, while campaigning in Michigan with his wife last August, Romney stated, “I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born…No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.”

A Romney victory will embolden the most vile elements in American society, which explains why opinion polls suggest he will get close to 0 percent of the Black vote.

There can be no doubt that Mitt Romney in office will do his damnedest to makes things worse for all workers and poor people, but especially for people of color. The question, though, is this: Does casting a vote for President Obama and the Democratic Party help make things better?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sometimes Lesser, But Still an Evil

Socialist Worker's Lance Selfa makes it crystal clear in his book The Democrats: A Critical History that placing faith in the Democratic Party has led to a series of disasters for social movements over the course of the 20th century.

Here are just two examples. Students for a Democratic Society backed President Lyndon Johnson’s reelection campaign in 1964 with the slogan “Half the way with LBJ.” Antiwar activists hoped they would avoid war in Vietnam with Johnson back in the White House. But they ended up with an “ALL the Way” bloodbath when Johnston sent in 600,000 troops. The result was over 50,000 American soldiers killed and 2 million dead in Vietnam and the surrounding region.

In the 1990s, voting for Bill Clinton was presented as the only “realistic” for stopping the Republicans, who in the post-Reagan era clearly stood for an anti-poor, racist, law-and-order, anti-gay, pro-business agenda. As president, Bill Clinton proudly “ended welfare as we know it,” presided over an unprecedented growth in the U.S. prison population, deregulated Wall Street, signed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and implemented “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military.

Of course, Republican presidents also have a long list of crimes. But these examples ought to make it clear that Democratic presidents and politicians are, at best, a lesser evil.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
But Isn’t This Election Different?

I want to address the rest of this article to readers who may already be highly critical of the Democrats, but who believe there is no choice but to support them as a defensive measure.

For instance, few Chicago teachers believe that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is anything other than an anti-union bully, bent on destroying public education. At the same time, a very large majority of them will vote for President Barack Obama simply because they see no alternative on the national level to Romney.

As noted previously, close to 100 percent of African American voters will support Obama for many of the same reasons—as well as a logical desire to express pride in the first Black president and to defend him from racist attack. And my guess is that a very large majority of the people who took part in an Occupy Wall Street protest over the past year will vote for Obama as well, however reluctantly.

These groups will vote for Obama’s reelection despite his dismal policies that have made their lives worse: from bank bailouts, to the failure to provide help to homeowners facing foreclosure, to the surge in Afghanistan and more.

Radicals who dismiss these pro-Obama people as simply “ignorant” or “brainwashed” are missing the point. Millions of people who want strong unions, real solutions to stop global warming, increased taxes on the rich, etc., will support Obama because they can’t see an alternative.

The reality at this point is that those of us who want to build powerful social movements of workers, students and the oppressed have very limited options on November 6. Casting a protest vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein or some other left-wing party is a worthwhile option. But those campaigns have almost no social weight behind them.

In 2000, Ralph Nader and the Green Party received almost 3 million votes and were closely connected to the rising global justice movement. But then, Bush stole the election, the Democrats blamed the Greens and Nader—and the global justice struggle collapsed after September 11.

Several Green Party and independent campaigns managed to put forward an antiwar message in the years that followed, but the unfortunate reality is that some key Green Party leaders abandoned an all-out fight against the Democrats by adopting a “safe state” strategy or other means by which they effectively threw their support to the Democrats. In other cases, Greens simply quit the party and returned to the Democrats, leaving a severely weakened organization in their wake.

I think this only goes to show that if we want to build a radical political alternative to the Democrats, we have to be better prepared.

Many people believe that building an alternative to the Democrats is a waste of time. Former Obama staffer Van Jones typifies this thinking. One particularly infantile version of this argument was put forward recently by writer Rebecca Solnit. She accused a “rancid sector of the far left” of “left-wing voter suppression” because we criticize Obama and other Democrats.

If I were Rahm Emanuel, I would read Solnit’s piece and think, “With enemies like this, who needs friends?”

There are more thoughtful cases being made along the same lines. For example, veteran activists Bill Fletcher Jr. and Carl Davidson stress the danger in a rising racist wave of attacks and argue that, despite Obama’s miserable record as a “corporate liberal,” “we think the matter of a lesser of two evils is a tactical question of simply voting for one candidate to defeat another, rather than a matter of principle. Politics is frequently about the lesser of two evils.”

If Fletcher and Davidson’s formulations are primarily defensive in nature, Bob Wing asserts that an alliance of progressives has a positive opportunity to gain influence within the Democratic Party:

In recent years, progressives have grown more united, more organized, more aggressive and strategically smarter. We are occasionally able to gain initiative (opposition to the war in Iraq, Wisconsin, Occupy), but we have not yet become a consistent and undeniably powerful force in national politics or even within the Democratic Party, two crucial and mutually interconnected tasks…though some on the far left still harbor abstentionist or third party dreams.

While they pitch their arguments in terms of 2012, it’s worth recognizing that this strategy of orienting social movements to work within the Democratic Party is a decades-old approach whose results must be judged in that light.

In that regard, I disagree that our goal should be to become, as Wing puts it, a “powerful force…within the Democratic Party.” In my judgment, history has shown that it is not revolutionaries who qualitatively change the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party that qualitatively changes revolutionaries. One small example is Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. She used to be a communist. Now she directs the police to bludgeon protesters.

Consider the Democrats today, and remember that this is after the challenge of the 1960s and ’70s social movements and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. Yet it’s hard to imagine how the Democratic Party as an institution could be more neoliberal, anti-democratic and hostile to grassroots struggle.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
But What Do We Do Now?

First, we must look reality in the face. The economic crisis will continue after November 6, and conditions for the majority of the population will continue to deteriorate. We face years of austerity, an increasingly violent state, attacks on civil liberties and civil rights, and a growth of sexist and especially racist ideas and attacks.

Second, at the same time, we are finally seeing a response from our side: the uprising in Wisconsin and the Occupy Wall Street movement last year; the Chicago Teachers Union strike in September; and smaller fights against police brutality, anti-immigrant policies and so on. Our side remains weak, but a new layer of radicals is emerging, and they are asking big questions.

Third, we have a long way to go before we can successfully challenge the two-party system on a national scale. But it remains the case that if the bosses have two parties, we need (at least) one of our own. We need a party that won’t trade principles for votes or bargain away the demands of movements on the streets and on the picket line for a few seats in Congress. We need a party one that sees elections as simply one aspect of a larger strategy for social transformation.

Some people will say that voting for Obama will only take a few minutes—and then we can get on with the job of building a genuine left-wing alternative.

But the Democrats don’t let social movements and unions off the hook so easily. They demand that unions hand over tens of millions of dollars to help Democrats get elected, and that movements demobilize so they don’t embarrass the party.

Mitt Romney is disgusting. But Obama and the Democrats want us to play by the rules of the game determined by the intensity of the capitalist crisis: austerity, poverty, war, repression. Those are rules we have to break, and the sooner we start learning how, the better.

That’s why I’m still not voting for Obama in 2012.

Source