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Thinking Politically

Stories about Thinking Politically.

In Mexico, Solidarity Versus the State

Christy Thornton

The horrifying coincidence of this week’s devastating earthquake in central Mexico, coming on the 32nd anniversary of the temblor that killed more than 10,000 people in 1985, has led observers and survivors to draw constant parallels between the two disasters. But if the corruption and ineffectiveness of the state took some by surprise in 1985, unraveling the last threads of legitimacy of PRI single-party rule, today there is no ambiguity. The truth that Mexicans came to know in 1985 has only been reinforced: once again they insist, as they have so many times in recent years, and again in recent days, fue el estado. It was the state.

Single Payer, the Democratic Party and the Nonprofit Industrial Complex

Russell Mokhiber

Residents of a small town in West Virginia are approached by land agents for a gas pipeline company. The residents are told that unless they sign over their property rights to the pipeline company, the company will use eminent domain to take it.

The residents begin to organize to defeat the pipeline. Mainstream environmental groups hear about the fight and latch on. Just before one of the first meetings between the local organizers and the mainstream groups, a young lawyer for one of the groups says — “We were told by one of our funders that we can’t work on fossil fuel issues. Instead we should concentrate on storm water runoff issues.”

Dialectical Materialism

Ish N Mishra

The term Dialectical Materialismwas not used by Marx himself but by subsequent Marxists to delineate the synthesis of Marx’s critiques of Hegel’s Dialectics, which he called idealist and Feuerbach’s materialism, which he called mechanical or metaphysical. For the first time the term Dialectical Materialism was used by Plekhanov in 1891.Five years after Marx’s death Engels expressed his and Marx’s gratitude in Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy (1888) “To Feuerbach , who after all, in many respects forms the link between Hegelian philosophy and our conception”. For the “influence which Feuerbach, more than any post Hegelian philosopher” had   upon them Engels acknowledged his “undischarged debt of honor”. [SW:585] .

The Left Wing of the Permissible: the Politics of Michael Harrington


The beginning of the American New Left is usually dated from the appearance of the Port Huron Statement in 1962 . Drawn up by a handful of members of Students or a Democratic Society (SDS) at a conference in the Michigan town it is named for, the statement is an expression of the  growing discontent of middle-class students–“raised in modest comfort”, in their words–with the social and political status quo of mid-century America. Its call for the revitalization of American democracy is far removed from the radical leftist politics that SDS was to embrace later in the decade. It decries the prevalent apathy and social atomism on the college campus and in the larger society, and advocates “participatory democracy”—the direct involvement of citizens in the decisions that affect them. It enumerates concrete policy objectives , all clearly intended to be achieved by peaceful, democratic means.

A Historical Alternative to Pink Pussy Cat Hats

Barbara MacLean

Today, in the midst of the pink pussy hat women joining “The Resistance” by denouncing Trump while blaming those who didn’t vote for Hillary, I keep searching for strong women socialist feminists to follow and emulate. There are some, but they’re not very visible in the mainstream media. Kshama Sawant the Seattle City Council member is one. María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, a Nahua indigenous healer, The Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress’ (CNI) selection of as their spokesperson and presidential candidate for the 2018 elections in Mexico, is another. Gloria La Riva, presidential candidate for the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) is a third. All of these women are, and have been, fighting for social and economic equality, including the rights of women. But their primary focus has always been to see capitalism as the problem and the reason for inequality. In my mind, feminism can’t be separated from socialism.

Congo Genocide, 5.4 Million Dead: An Interview with Sylvestre Mido

Ann Garrison

August 2nd is the day that US allies Rwanda and Uganda invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo, starting the Second Congo War in 1998. Though a peace treaty was signed in 2003, the violence, displacement, and mass killing continue. War epidemiologists working with the International Rescue Committee estimated the death toll at 5.4 million during just 10 years of the nearly 20-year old conflict.

Genocost asks that nations formally recognize August 2nd as Congo Genocide Commemoration Day. I spoke to Genocost spokesperson Sylvester Mido, a Congolese British IT professional and activist. His family fled Congo in 1999, when he was 16 years old.


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