When future historians write about 2018, what will stand out? Some might say the midterm elections that repudiated of the policies of Donald Trump and saw the ascendency of some pretty progressive figures – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who might potentially save our two-party system from the dreaded scourge of centrism. But to me one of the most important stories of the year is also one of the least understood.
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Stories about Thinking Politically.
Intuitively, it is a stretch to assert that a social system with a wide range of goals of which the development of the productive forces is only one, will surpass a society consumed by the singularity of that goal. The incentive-egalitarian balance highlights that trade-off. And if we accept that the path to socialism will involve sacrifices and choices all along the way, including in its construction, then winning people to the socialist cause and keeping them there will have to be based on their desire for something different rather than the questionable promise of socialism bringing not only more justice, more democracy, more workplace control, but also more growth.
A very comprehensive overview of the current state of social movements in the region, with a focus on extractivism, indigenous peoples, the role of youth and women, responses to the right, etc.
Malcolm X reminded us that we had to be careful about the difference between the wolf and the fox. The wolf for black people was the hardcore, racist white folks with the hoods and clearly articulated stance in support of white supremacy. The fox, on the other hand, was the liberals who were supposed to be our friends. Their ultimate support for white supremacy was always just as deadly but sugarcoated in diversionary language like “humanitarian intervention” and the “responsibility to protect.” The game, according to Malcolm, was that black folks would recognize danger of the wolf and run from the wolf straight into the jaws of the fox with the consequence being just as fatal because both the fox and the wolf are members of the same canine family.
We need to see the limitations of social democracy. It is designed to preserve and contain capitalism, not to confront it.
A conversation with Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson.
All memorialised events, when passing into mythology, must be seen critically. In some cases, there should be more than a hint of suspicion. The Christmas Truce of 1914 remains one sentimentalised occasion, remembered less to scold the mad mechanised forces of death led by regressive castes than to reflect upon common humanity.
There are an estimated 80,000 people, mostly men, in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. They are confined to windowless cells roughly the size of a king bed for 23 hours a day, with virtually no human contact except for brief interactions with prison guards. According to scientists speaking at the conference session, this type of social isolation and sensory deprivation can have traumatic effects on the brain, many of which may be irreversible. Neuroscientists, lawyers and activists such as King have teamed up with the goal of abolishing solitary confinement as cruel and unusual punishment.
The term degrowth comes from French ecosocialist André Gorz, and until recently was mainly used by European academics. Indigenous movements in Latin America, however, have provided perhaps the best model of a degrowth movement, resisting mining and deforestation projects and building cooperative economies outside the capitalist market.
In this interview, Wolff discusses how the revolutions that overthrew feudalism laid the foundations for our current crisis of capitalism, why historical models of socialism put into practice failed, and what lessons we can learn from them in creating a new socialism.