NAFTA Is An Accomplice To Murder
Oscar Hernández Romero’s friends searched for him in garbage dumps, ravines and all the other places that could hide what they feared to find—the bullet-riddled body of a Mexican labor activist. But they’ve turned up no trace of Oscar, who disappeared near the open-pit gold mine in southwestern Mexico where workers went on strike two years ago demanding to join the independent labor union Los Mineros. Anti-union thugs murdered three other men involved in the organizing effort by workers at the Media Luna mine, and Oscar is feared dead, too. NAFTA, which siphoned a million jobs from America and mired Mexican workers in poverty, is an accomplice to murder because it incentivized the killing of labor activists like Oscar. Corporations in Mexico exploit workers and pollute the environment to slash costs, which enables them to undercut U.S. and Canadian competitors. They aggressively thwart unions because their business model requires cheap labor. That puts targets on the backs of labor organizers who work to improve conditions in Mexican factories, mills and mines. If this situation is going to change, NAFTA must change. Strong labor standards and enforcement provisions must be written into the text of the proposed new NAFTA, including an ironclad right to organize and protection for activists, so Mexican workers can join real labor unions like Los Mineros, throw out company-controlled imposter unions like the one at Media Luna and get better wages and working conditions. Without these safeguards in the new NAFTA, formally known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Mexican labor activists will risk death. And corporations will continue to fire American and Canadian workers and move operations to Mexico.
Tom Conway is president of USW, the United Steelworkers
In contrast with Obama’s strategy, Sanders said that he met with the former president and shared his thoughts directly.
“I’m a great fan of Barack Obama, who’s a friend of mine. He and I have actually discussed this very issue. His view is, it’s hard to do it,” said Sanders. “I understand that. But the essence of my politics, and I think Alexandria’s as well, is that we need an ongoing grassroots movement of millions of people to pressure Congress, to pressure the corporate establishment, so that we can bring about the changes that this country desperately needs. So that’s why I have said that I will not only be commander-in-chief, I’m going to be organizer-in-chief.” (An aide to Sanders said the meeting with Obama took place in the spring of 2018.)
The full conversation will be posted on Monday. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez discussed the Espionage Act, Syria, Joe Biden, monopoly politics, and why Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Sanders over Elizabeth Warren. To get an early look, sign up for The Intercept’s newsletter.
Ryan Grim is the author of “We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement
The Great Recession Ten Years On
William J. Barclay, 2019
June 2019 marked ten years since the official end of the Great Recession. Of course, declaring the ends (and beginnings) of recessions is rather arbitrary and always done in retrospect. It was not until September 2010 that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared that what became known as the Great Recession had ended in June 2009. The same body determined the Great Recession began in December 2007, but did not make that call until a year later, in December 2008.
The Great Recession was the deepest and longest since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and books and papers analyzing the event are legion. Ushered in by the financial crisis of 200-2007, the Great Recession featured high unemployment, housing foreclosures, GDP downturns, government interventions aimed at countering the downward spiral, and more. However, less attention has been paid to the structure and functioning of the economy in the years that followed, and the long shadow of the Great Recession is still with us a decade later—particularly in the ways that the crisis changed, or failed to change, the U.S. economy.
There are three striking features of the American economy that have emerged in the past decade—two that are new and one that is a reincarnation of an already established trend:
Trump destroyed the Rojava project
By Dave Anderson - October 17, 2019
When Turkey invaded Syria, there was almost universal condemnation
across the political spectrum. But the most unique protesters are the
anarchists all over the planet who say that a new egalitarian society
is being created in Rojava, the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in
Shortly after the invasion, an international campaign called “Rise Up
For Rojava’” was formed (riseup4rojava.org/). The campaign declares:
“Seven years ago a revolution began in Rojava that was to radically
change the lives of millions of people. The Kurds liberated themselves
from the dictatorship of the Assad regime and began to organize
themselves in self-governed councils, communes and cooperatives. In
particular, the autonomous organization of women became the driving
force behind the social revolution. Over the course of the struggle
against the Islamic state, a unique multi-ethnic and multi-religious
project developed, which today guarantees the peaceful coexistence of
millions of Kurds, Arabs and Christians. The Democratic Federation of
Northeast Syria is a unique example of the vision of a peaceful and
democratic Middle East and has therefore always been a thorn in the
side of both regional powers and imperialist states.”
The Rojava project is the brainchild of Abdullah Öcalan, the founder
of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Turkish based party adopted
authoritarian Marxist Leninist politics and initiated a campaign of
armed conflict against the Turkish government in 1984 in order to
create an independent Kurdish state. The PKK attacked government
forces as well as civilians.
A contribution to the discussion of the role of labor and the participation of DSA in labor.
Without a Clear Strategy for Labor, Socialists are Falling Behind Workers, Ryan Mosgrove,
Also; In These Times has 3 articles by DSA members on union organizing.
IN the November issue. Will be on line in November. One is by Bill Fletcher Jr.
Amid Reports of Civilian Deaths, Sanders Condemns Trump for 'Giving Turkish Army Permission' to Slaughter Kurds in Syria
"I strongly condemn Trump's reckless decision to abandon our Kurdish allies to their fate at the hands of Turkish President Erdoğan."
by Jake Johnson, staff writer
Syrian Arab and Kurdish civilians flee amid Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border on October 9, 2019. (Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)
As Turkish troops invaded northeastern Syria and launched airstrikes that reportedly killed at least seven civilians, Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a statement late Wednesday condemning U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abandon Kurdish forces and pave the way for Turkey's military assault.
"I strongly condemn Trump's reckless decision to abandon our Kurdish allies to their fate at the hands of Turkish President Erdoğan," said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "This is not a case of sending American troops there. They are already there and Trump is withdrawing them, giving the Turkish army permission to invade."
"This is not a case of sending American troops there. They are already there and Trump is withdrawing them, giving the Turkish army permission to invade."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Trump on Sunday abruptly announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, a decision that was met with outrage and warnings of a deadly Turkish invasion.
On Wednesday, that invasion began as Turkey began bombarding Kurdish targets in Syria, forcing civilians to flee in panic.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) warned in a statement Wednesday that Turkey's assault "will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded."
Sanders said the U.S. president "should not make significant national security decisions impulsively, by tweets after a single phone call," and urged Congress to assert its constitutional authority over foreign policy.
"Kurdish fighters have fought and died in our joint effort to eliminate ISIS," said the Vermont senator. "They should not be abandoned in this way. Congress must assert its important responsibility over foreign policy and serve as a check on our unstable president."
After Turkey launched its assault on Wednesday, Trump issued a tepid statement denouncing the invasion as a "bad idea."
As The Guardian reported late Wednesday, "activists and observers said at least seven civilians had been killed so far."
"There were also early reports of civilian casualties in border towns hit by shelling," according to The Guardian. "Pictures and video shared on social media showed wrecked buildings and bodies in the rubble."
Reposted from Common Dreams.
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
The fight for democracy can’t be left to the centrists.
Reprinted from In These Times.
BY Max B. Sawicky
Democracy is not merely an identifier or assertion of bona fides for socialists. It is an operational requirement, both to attain power and to employ it.
If you’re trying to build a mass political organization while ignoring the political issue everybody in the country is talking about, you’re doing it wrong.
Why in the world not impeach Donald Trump? You’re a socialist and you don’t want to see him impeached? Really? Back in April—admittedly, before the latest Biden-Ukraine revelations—my friend Bhaskar Sunkara, editor of the socialist magazine Jacobin, made the case against impeachment. He acknowledged that Trump is reprehensible in the extreme, yet dismissed impeachment as “squandering a historic opening to advocate for social reforms in exchange for some political theater.”
I disagree. This career draft dodger, tax evader, adulterer, debt-defaulter, chiseler, four-flusher and all-around gonif —Donald Trump, our fucking president—is the poster boy for everything we despise. And the entire Republican Party has stood foursquare behind him from the beginning.
Impeachment formalizes and emphasizes that the current administration and all its works—its legislation, its deregulation, its judicial appointments—are fundamentally illegitimate. Impeachment does not only challenge current authority; it challenges its genesis.
A distinction between the current priorities of the Left—Medicare For All, the Green New Deal, etc.—and impeachment is illogical. For the foreseeable future, if not indefinitely, democratic socialists will have to work within the framework of the U.S. state. For this to be feasible, the State’s democratic processes need to be preserved, if not strengthened. We need to attack the legitimacy of the administration in order to defend our increasingly embattled democratic institutions. We need democracy to pursue all our priorities in social reform.
Democracy is not merely an identifier or assertion of bona fides for socialists. It is an operational requirement, both to attain power and to employ it.
Impeachment is not a substitute for a social justice agenda, or a positive electoral outcome in 2020. It is a facilitator. Immediately, it preoccupies the Trump administration and limits the damage it would do on other fronts. It dramatizes a wealth of detail on the administration’s malfeasance. It strengthens the case for whoever opposes Trump, against any Republicans who support him, and against any Democrats who fail to prosecute the case against him energetically.
There is a risk that the impeachment proceedings will be narrow and legalistic, and even worse, that they will feature neoconservative attacks on Trump for failing to support Ukraine against Russia. As with every other issue, the debate within the Democratic caucus in Congress on how to do impeachment will be ideological.
It is up to the Left to promote a progressive frame for impeachment. The chief prospective victim in the Ukraine affair was not Ukraine—it was our own democracy. The degradation of our democratic institutions, from voter suppression to gerrymandering to the stonewalling of Merrick Garland, is the source of Republicans’ current political advantage and prevents urgent reforms supported by strong majorities of the public.
A Race-Class Narrative About Immigration
Encouraging people to see their fates as linked across color lines is critical to defeating dog whistling and its mass violence. The race-class research suggests that efforts to broaden the “we” will be most successful when those not at risk of deportation come to see how fearmongering imperils their own well-being. When people perceive that messages of racial threat are strategic lies that harm them and their families, they’re more likely to reject these fear stories entirely and to recognize their shared humanity with those they’re told menace them. The following box offers a race- class narrative on immigration.26 The one after that dissects the message into its component parts, offering a pocket summary of a typical race-class message.
The Narrative About Immigration
Regardless of where we come from, what our color is, or how we worship, every family wants the best for their children. But today, certain politicians and their greedy lobbyists are putting our families at risk. They rig the rules to enrich them- selves and avoid paying their fair share of taxes, while they defund our schools and threaten seniors with cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Then they turn around and point the fin- ger for our hard times at new immigrants—even tearing families apart and losing children. When we reject their scapegoating and come together across racial differences, we can make this a nation we’re proud to leave all of our kids—whether we’re white, Black, or brown, from down the street or across the globe.
Anatomy of a Race-Class Narrative
Regardless of where we come from, what our color is, or how we worship, every family wants the best for their children.
Discuss race overtly and as including everyone. Beyond physical features, this can be done by invoking the differences the Right seeks to racialize, including national origin and religion. As a matter of general messaging advice, start with an affirmative value statement rather than a problem.
But today, certain politicians and their greedy lobbyists are putting all of our families at risk.
identify the actual source of threat to working families, taking care to explain motives, even through simple terms like “greedy.”
They rig the rules to enrich themselves and avoid paying their fair share of taxes, while they defund our schools and threaten seniors with cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Excerpts from Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America.
Ian Haney López. 2019. See post below and opportunity to download the chapter.
CAN PROGRESSIVES BEAT TRUMP'S WAR ON IMMIGRANTS IN 2020 ?
The opinions expressed here are those of members and allies of DSA North Star Caucus meant to educate, inspire discussion and encourage comradely debate.