Sunday, October 05, 2008

Mama said there'd be crises like these

(If your Mama didn't, Marx and Engels sure did.)

A few good articles and blog posts about the financial crisis. The whole situation points in one general direction: a huge opening for socialist-minded social movements. We've got take advantage: both with a big vision and with broad and deep popular engagement and leadership development.

The Communist Manifesto Turns 160

No Deal

The Financial Crisis: A View from the Left

Obama's Bailout Strategy

Creative Destruction

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Immigrant workers and the right to organize

Kansas Senate wants to make it illegal for immigrant workers to join unions

Monday, March 31, 2008

Solidarity takes forever: a beginner's guide to building a global labor movement

Because that's what we are: beginners. All the revolutions in the world--from 1848 to 1917 to 1959 to 1994--haven't prepared us for what it will take to build the movement we need to take on global capital. This smart article offers a brief history and an open-ended prognosis.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bringing the raids to school

I don't have an articulate reaction to this right now, just raw anger.

Student's deportation roils New Mexico town.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This is more like it

Chinese worker protests increase as troubles mount, two reports find

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Adding insult to injury

Look who adopted the stretch of Interstate 5 that includes the infamous San Clemente Border Patrol checkpoint.

Choice quote from the LA Times article: "Caltrans spokesman Edward Cartagena said the Minutemen got the stretch of I-5 purely by chance."

Immigrant workers and the right to organize (latest installment)

Rarely does a mainstream media account of a legal proceeding make the real battle lines so clear:

These articles describe a union organizing campaign in which the employer, a New York City slaughterhouse, actually took the position in a court of law that they didn't have to bargain with the workers' union because the members of the union--the slaughterhouse's employees--were illegal immigrants. Of course, this is the unspoken position of corporate America as a whole, but individual corporations are rarely so honest about their intentions, and the media rarely reports those intentions, preferring to present the immigration issue as a conflict between "American" workers and the "illegals" out to steal their jobs.

To top it all off, the slaughterhouse management equates the union's entirely peaceful tactics with terrorism.

This week's most naive headline

Despite a decade of criticism, worker abuse persists in China
(from the International Herald Tribune)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What would it take?

Freedom Road Socialist Organization has put out a strategy document that raises some very important questions about the tragic failure of the revolutionary left to build any kind of base in this country, and what it would take to change that. I find it refreshing in its honesty and its willingness to re-examine just about everything. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are a few of the points (and questions) that struck me:
  • Among the obstacles to the building of a real revolutionary movement is "a factor that often goes unmentioned: the lack of a sense of what it will take to actually build a movement that can challenge for power in the US. Specifically, a failure to appreciate the scale of organization that will be needed and, therefore, the steps necessary to bring such an organization into existence."
  • "What do healthy and accountable relationships between people’s movements and the organized Left—whether parties or small left collectives and cadres—look like? How do we rethink the relationship between a party and organizations of workers, neighbors, etc., including the relationship between a party and spontaneous action?"
  • "There is a constant need to revolutionize organizations. This need exists irrespective of the period. It includes leadership development (emphasizing working-class women of color and building organizational models where they can lead as women); the personal development of individuals..."
  • "Ultimately, we need to be thinking in terms of a party of hundreds of thousands of members. This means, among other things, that those forces committed to the building of a party must themselves have roots in progressive social movements and mass struggles."
  • "The Left cannot afford to sit back in the role of perpetual naysayer."

I believe these five points are deeply connected. The crux of the issue, as I see it, is that real revolutionaries must commit themselves in a serious way to organizing and must have a much deeper respect for the social movement organizations (which may or may not identify as explicitly socialist or revolutionary) that are developing working-class leaders on a large scale. Out of this respect must come a practical vision of how a revolutionary organization, whose members are working full-time in these social movement organizations, can help bring the social movements to another level.