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The Bankruptcy of the American Left

6 Feb


There will be no economic or political justice for the poor, people of color, women or workers within the framework of global, corporate capitalism. Corporate capitalism, which uses identity politicsmulticulturalism and racial justice to masquerade as politics, will never halt the rising social inequality, unchecked militarism, evisceration of civil liberties and omnipotence of the organs of security and surveillance. Corporate capitalism cannot be reformed, despite its continually rebranding itself. The longer the self-identified left and liberal class seek to work within a system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” the more the noose will be tightened around our necks. If we do not rise up to bring government and financial systems under public control—which includes nationalizing banks, the fossil fuel industry and the arms industry—we will continue to be victims.

Corporate capitalism is supranational. It owes no loyalty to any nation-state. It uses the projection of military power by the United States to protect and advance its economic interests but at the same time cannibalizes the U.S., dismantling its democratic institutions, allowing its infrastructure to decay and deindustrializing its factory centers to ship manufacturing abroad to regions where workers are treated as serfs.

Resistance to this global cabal of corporate oligarchs must also be supranational. It must build alliances with workers around the globe. It must defy the liberal institutions, including the Democratic Party, which betray workers. It is this betrayal that has given rise to fascist and protofascist movements in Europe and other countries. Donald Trump would never have been elected but for this betrayal. We will build a global movement powerful enough to bring down corporate capitalism or witness the rise of a new, supranational totalitarianism.

The left, seduced by the culture wars and identity politics, largely ignores the primacy of capitalism and the class struggle. As long as unregulated capitalism reigns supreme, all social, economic, cultural and political change will be cosmetic. Capitalism, at its core, is about the commodification of human beings and the natural world for exploitation and profit. To increase profit, it constantly seeks to reduce the cost of labor and demolish the regulations and laws that protect the common good. But as capitalism ravages the social fabric, it damages, like any parasite, the host that allows it to exist. It unleashes dark, uncontrollable yearnings among an enraged population that threaten capitalism itself.



“This is a crisis of global dimensions,” David North, the national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party in the United States, told me when we spoke in New York. “It is a crisis that dominates every element of American politics. The response that we’re seeing, the astonishing changes in the state of the government, in the decay of political life, the astonishingly low level of political and intellectual discourse, is in a certain sense an expression of the bewilderment of the ruling elite to what it’s going through.”

“We can expect a monumental explosion of class struggle in the United States,” he said. “I think this country is a social powder keg. There is an anger that exists over working conditions and social inequality. However [much] they may be confused on many questions, workers in this country have a deep belief in democratic rights. We totally reject the narrative that the working class is racist. I think this has been the narrative pushed by the pseudo-left, middle-class groups who are drunk on identity politics, which have a vested interest in constantly distracting people from the essential class differences that exist in the society. Dividing everyone up on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference fails to address the major problem.”

North argues, correctly, that capitalism by its nature lurches from crisis to crisis. This makes our current predicament similar to past crises.

“All the unanswered questions of the 20th century—the basic problem of the nation-state system, the reactionary character of private ownership with the means of production, corporate power, all of these issues which led to the first and Second world wars—are with us again, and add to that fascism,” he said.

“We live in a global economy, highly interconnected,” North went on. “A globalized process of production, financial system. The ruling class has an international policy. They organize themselves on an international scale. The labor movement has remained organized on a national basis. It has been completely incapable of answering this [ruling-class policy]. Therefore, it falls behind various national protectionist programs. The trade unions support Trump.”



The sociologist Charles Derber, whom I also spoke with in New York, agrees.

“We don’t really have a left because we don’t have conversations about capitalism,” Derber said. “How many times can you turn on a mainstream news like CNN and expect to hear the word ‘capitalism’ discussed? Bernie [Sanders] did one thing. He called himself a democratic socialist, which was a bit transformational simply in terms of rhetoric. He’s saying there’s something other than capitalism that we ought to be talking about.”

“As the [capitalist] system universalizes and becomes more and more intersectional, we need intersectional resistance,” Derber said. “At the end of the 1960s, when I was getting my own political education, the universalizing dimensions of the left, which was growing in the ’60s, fell apart. The women began to feel their issues were not being addressed. They were treated badly by white males, student leaders. Blacks, Panthers, began to feel the whites could not speak for race issues. They developed separate organizations. The upshot was the left lost its universalizing character. It no longer dealt with the intersection of all these issues within the context of a militarized, capitalist, hegemonic American empire. It treated politics as siloed group identity problems. Women had glass ceilings. Same with blacks. Same with gays.”

The loss of this intersectionality was deadly. Instead of focusing on the plight of all of the oppressed, oppressed groups began to seek representation for their own members within capitalist structures.

“Let’s take a modern version of this,” Derber said. “Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, she did a third-wave feminism thing. She said ‘lean in.’ It captures this identity politics that has become toxic on the left. What does ‘lean in’ mean? It means women should lean in and go as far as they can in the corporation. They should become, as she has, a major, wealthy executive of a leading corporation. When feminism was turned into that kind of leaning in, it created an identity politics that legitimizes the very system that needs to be critiqued. The early feminists were overtly socialists. As was [Martin Luther] King. But all that got erased.”

“The left became a kind of grab bag of discrete, siloed identity movements,” Derber said. “This is very connected to moral purity. You’re concerned about your advancement within the existing system. You’re competing against others within the existing system. Everyone else has privilege. You’re just concerned about getting your fair share.”



“People in movements are products of the system they’re fighting,” he continued. “We’re all raised in a capitalistic, individualistic, egoistic culture, so it’s not surprising. And it has to be consciously recognized and struggled against. Everybody in movements has been brought up in systems they’re repulsed by. This has created a structural transformation of the left. The left offers no broad critique of the political economy of capitalism. It’s largely an identity-politics party. It focuses on reforms for blacks and women and so forth. But it doesn’t offer a contextual analysis within capitalism.”

Derber, like North, argues that the left’s myopic, siloed politics paved the way for right-wing, nativist, protofascist movements around the globe as well as the ascendancy of Trump.

“When you bring politics down to simply about helping your group get a piece of the pie, you lose that systemic analysis,” he said. “You’re fragmented. You don’t have natural connections or solidarity with other groups. You don’t see the larger systemic context. By saying I want, as a gay person, to fight in the military, in a funny way you’re legitimating the American empire. If you were living in Nazi Germany, would you say I want the right of a gay person to fight in combat with the Nazi soldiers?”

“I don’t want to say we should eliminate all identity politics,” he said. “But any identity politics has to be done within the framework of understanding the larger political economy. That’s been stripped away and erased. Even on the left, you cannot find a deep conversation about capitalism and militarized capitalism. It’s just been erased. That’s why Trump came in. He unified a kind of very powerful right-wing identity politics built around nationalism, militarism and the exceptionalism of the American empire.”

“Identity politics is to a large degree a right-wing discourse,” Derber said. “It focuses on tribalism tied in modern times to nationalism, which is always militaristic. When you break the left into these siloed identity politics, which are not contextualized, you easily get into this dogmatic fundamentalism. The identity politics of the left reproduces the worse sociopathic features of the system as a whole. It’s scary.”

“How much of the left,” he asked, “is reproducing what we are seeing in the society that we’re fighting?”


Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, activist and ordained Presbyterian minister. He has written 11 books,…

Source: The Bankruptcy of the American Left


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Noam Chomsky on the Long History of US Meddling in Foreign Elections

26 Dec

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Thursday, January 19, 2017By C.J. PolychroniouTruthout | Interview


A wide range of politicians and media outlets have described the alleged Russian interference in the last US presidential election (by way of hacking) as representing a direct threat to American democracy and even to national security itself. Of course, the irony behind these concerns about the interference of foreign nations in the domestic political affairs of the United States is that the US has blatantly interfered in the elections of many other nations, with methods that include not only financial support to preferred parties and the circulation of propaganda but also assassinations and overthrows of even democratically elected regimes. Indeed, the US has a long criminal history of meddling into the political affairs of other nations — a history that spans at least a century and, since the end of World War II, extends into all regions of the globe, including western parliamentary polities. This interview with Noam Chomsky reminds us that the United States is no stranger to election interference; in fact, it is an expert in this arena.

C. J. Polychroniou: Noam, the US intelligence agencies have accused Russia of interference in the US presidential election in order to boost Trump’s chances, and some leading Democrats have actually gone on record saying that the Kremlin’s canny operatives changed the election outcome. What’s your reaction to all this talk in Washington and among media pundits about Russian cyber and propaganda efforts to influence the outcome of the presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor?

Noam Chomsky: Much of the world must be astonished — if they are not collapsing in laughter — while watching the performances in high places and in media concerning Russian efforts to influence an American election, a familiar US government specialty as far back as we choose to trace the practice. There is, however, merit in the claim that this case is different in character: By US standards, the Russian efforts are so meager as to barely elicit notice.

Let’s talk about the long history of US meddling in foreign political affairs, which has always been morally and politically justified as the spread of American style-democracy throughout the world.

The history of US foreign policy, especially after World War II, is pretty much defined by the subversion and overthrow of foreign regimes, including parliamentary regimes, and the resort to violence to destroy popular organizations that might offer the majority of the population an opportunity to enter the political arena.

Following the Second World War, the United States was committed to restoring the traditional conservative order. To achieve this aim, it was necessary to destroy the anti-fascist resistance, often in favor of Nazi and fascist collaborators, to weaken unions and other popular organizations, and to block the threat of radical democracy and social reform, which were live options under the conditions of the time. These policies were pursued worldwide: in Asia, including South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Indochina and crucially, Japan; in Europe, including Greece, Italy, France and crucially, Germany; in Latin America, including what the CIA took to be the most severe threats at the time, “radical nationalism” in Guatemala and Bolivia.

Sometimes the task required considerable brutality. In South Korea, about 100,000 people were killed in the late 1940s by security forces installed and directed by the United States. This was before the Korean war, which Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings describe as “in essence” a phase — marked by massive outside intervention — in “a civil war fought between two domestic forces: a revolutionary nationalist movement, which had its roots in tough anti-colonial struggle, and a conservative movement tied to the status quo, especially to an unequal land system,” restored to power under the US occupation. In Greece in the same years, hundreds of thousands were killed, tortured, imprisoned or expelled in the course of a counterinsurgency operation, organized and directed by the United States, which restored traditional elites to power, including Nazi collaborators, and suppressed the peasant- and worker-based communist-led forces that had fought the Nazis. In the industrial societies, the same essential goals were realized, but by less violent means.



Yet it is true that there have been cases where the US was directly involved in organizing coups even in advanced industrial democracies, such as in Australia and Italy in the mid-1970s. Correct?

Yes, there is evidence of CIA involvement in a virtual coup that overturned the Whitlam Labor government in Australia in 1975, when it was feared that Whitlam might interfere with Washington’s military and intelligence bases in Australia. Large-scale CIA interference in Italian politics has been public knowledge since the congressional Pike Report was leaked in 1976, citing a figure of over $65 million to approved political parties and affiliates from 1948 through the early 1970s. In 1976, the Aldo Moro government fell in Italy after revelations that the CIA had spent $6 million to support anti-communist candidates. At the time, the European communist parties were moving towards independence of action with pluralistic and democratic tendencies (Eurocommunism), a development that in fact pleased neither Washington nor Moscow. For such reasons, both superpowers opposed the legalization of the Communist Party of Spain and the rising influence of the Communist Party in Italy, and both preferred center-right governments in France. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger described the “major problem” in the Western alliance as “the domestic evolution in many European countries,” which might make Western communist parties more attractive to the public, nurturing moves towards independence and threatening the NATO alliance.”

US interventions in the political affairs of other nations have always been morally and politically justified as part of the faith in the doctrine of spreading American-style democracy, but the actual reason was of course the spread of capitalism and the dominance of business rule. Was faith in the spread of democracy ever tenable?

No belief concerning US foreign policy is more deeply entrenched than the one regarding the spread of American-style democracy. The thesis is commonly not even expressed, merely presupposed as the basis for reasonable discourse on the US role in the world.

The faith in this doctrine may seem surprising. Nevertheless, there is a sense in which the conventional doctrine is tenable. If by “American-style democracy,” we mean a political system with regular elections but no serious challenge to business rule, then US policymakers doubtless yearn to see it established throughout the world. The doctrine is therefore not undermined by the fact that it is consistently violated under a different interpretation of the concept of democracy: as a system in which citizens may play some meaningful part in the management of public affairs.

So, what lessons can be drawn from all this about the concept of democracy as understood by US policy planners in their effort to create a new world order?

One problem that arose as areas were liberated from fascism [after World War II] was that traditional elites had been discredited, while prestige and influence had been gained by the resistance movement, based largely on groups responsive to the working class and poor, and often committed to some version of radical democracy. The basic quandary was articulated by Churchill’s trusted adviser, South African Prime Minister Jan Christiaan Smuts, in 1943, with regard to southern Europe: “With politics let loose among those peoples,” he said, “we might have a wave of disorder and wholesale Communism.” Here the term “disorder” is understood as threat to the interests of the privileged, and “Communism,” in accordance with usual convention, refers to failure to interpret “democracy” as elite dominance, whatever the other commitments of the “Communists” may be. With politics let loose, we face a “crisis of democracy,” as privileged sectors have always understood.

In brief, at that moment in history, the United States faced the classic dilemma of Third World intervention in large parts of the industrial world as well. The US position was “politically weak” though militarily and economically strong. Tactical choices are determined by an assessment of strengths and weaknesses. The preference has, quite naturally, been for the arena of force and for measures of economic warfare and strangulation, where the US has ruled supreme.



Wasn’t the Marshall Plan a tool for consolidating capitalism and spreading business rule throughout Europe after World War II?

Very much so. For example, the extension of Marshall Plan aid in countries like France and Italy was strictly contingent on exclusion of communists — including major elements of the anti-fascist resistance and labor — from the government; “democracy,” in the usual sense. US aid was critically important in early years for suffering people in Europe and was therefore a powerful lever of control, a matter of much significance for US business interests and longer term planning. The fear in Washington was that the communist left would emerge victorious in Italy and France without massive financial assistance.

On the eve of the announcement of the Marshall Plan, Ambassador to France Jefferson Caffery warned Secretary of State Marshall of grim consequences if the communists won the elections in France: “Soviet penetration of Western Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East would be greatly facilitated” (May 12, 1947). The dominoes were ready to fall. During May, the US pressured political leaders in France and Italy to form coalition governments excluding the communists. It was made clear and explicit that aid was contingent on preventing an open political competition, in which left and labor might dominate. Through 1948, Secretary of State Marshall and others publicly emphasized that if communists were voted into power, US aid would be terminated; no small threat, given the state of Europe at the time.

In France, the postwar destitution was exploited to undermine the French labor movement, along with direct violence. Desperately needed food supplies were withheld to coerce obedience, and gangsters were organized to provide goon squads and strike breakers, a matter that is described with some pride in semi-official US labor histories, which praise the AFL [American Federation of Labor] for its achievements in helping to save Europe by splitting and weakening the labor movement (thus frustrating alleged Soviet designs) and safeguarding the flow of arms to Indochina for the French war of re-conquest, another prime goal of the US labor bureaucracy. The CIA reconstituted the mafia for these purposes, in one of its early operations. The quid pro quo was restoration of the heroin trade. The US government connection to the drug boom continued for many decades.

US policies toward Italy basically picked up where they had been broken off by World War II. The United States had supported Mussolini’s Fascism from the 1922 takeover through the 1930s. Mussolini’s wartime alliance with Hitler terminated these friendly relations, but they were reconstituted as US forces liberated southern Italy in 1943, establishing the rule of Field Marshall [Pietro] Badoglio and the royal family that had collaborated with the Fascist government. As Allied forces drove towards the north, they dispersed the anti-fascist resistance along with local governing bodies it had formed in its attempt to establish a new democratic state in the zones it had liberated from Germany. Eventually, a center-right government was established with neo-fascist participation and the left soon excluded.

Here too, the plan was for the working classes and the poor to bear the burden of reconstruction, with lowered wages and extensive firing. Aid was contingent on removing communists and left socialists from office, because they defended workers’ interests and thus posed a barrier to the intended style of recovery, in the view of the State Department. The Communist Party was collaborationist; its position “fundamentally meant the subordination of all reforms to the liberation of Italy and effectively discouraged any attempt in northern areas to introduce irreversible political changes as well as changes in the ownership of the industrial companies … disavowing and discouraging those workers’ groups that wanted to expropriate some factories,” as Gianfranco Pasquino put it. But the Party did try to defend jobs, wages and living standards for the poor and thus “constituted a political and psychological barrier to a potential European recovery program,” historian John Harper comments, reviewing the insistence of Kennan and others that communists be excluded from government though agreeing that it would be “desirable” to include representatives of what Harper calls “the democratic working class.” The recovery, it was understood, was to be at the expense of the working class and the poor.

Because of its responsiveness to the needs of these social sectors, the Communist Party was labelled “extremist” and “undemocratic” by US propaganda, which also skillfully manipulated the alleged Soviet threat. Under US pressure, the Christian Democrats abandoned wartime promises about workplace democracy and the police, sometimes under the control of ex-fascists, were encouraged to suppress labor activities. The Vatican announced that anyone who voted for the communists in the 1948 election would be denied sacraments, and backed the conservative Christian Democrats under the slogan: “O con Cristo o contro Cristo” (“Either with Christ or against Christ”). A year later, Pope Pius excommunicated all Italian communists.

A combination of violence, manipulation of aid and other threats, and a huge propaganda campaign sufficed to determine the outcome of the critical 1948 election, essentially bought by US intervention and pressures.

The CIA operations to control the Italian elections, authorized by the National Security Council in December 1947, were the first major clandestine operation of the newly formed agency. CIA operations to subvert Italian democracy continued into the 1970s at a substantial scale.

In Italy, as well as elsewhere, US labor leaders, primarily from the AFL, played an active role in splitting and weakening the labor movement, and inducing workers to accept austerity measures while employers reaped rich profits. In France, the AFL had broken dock strikes by importing Italian scab labor paid by US businesses. The State Department called on the Federation’s leadership to exercise their talents in union-busting in Italy as well, and they were happy to oblige. The business sector, formerly discredited by its association with Italian fascism, undertook a vigorous class war with renewed confidence. The end result was the subordination of the working class and the poor to the traditional rulers.

Later commentators tend to see the US subversion of democracy in France and Italy as a defense of democracy. In a highly-regarded study of the CIA and American democracy, Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones describes “the CIA’s Italian venture,” along with its similar efforts in France, as “a democracy-propping operation,” though he concedes that “the selection of Italy for special attention … was by no means a matter of democratic principle alone;” our passion for democracy was reinforced by the strategic importance of the country. But it was a commitment to “democratic principle” that inspired the US government to impose the social and political regimes of its choice, using the enormous power at its command and exploiting the privation and distress of the victims of the war, who must be taught not to raise their heads if we are to have true democracy.

A more nuanced position is taken by James Miller in his monograph on US policies towards Italy. Summarizing the record, he concludes that “in retrospect, American involvement in the stabilization of Italy was a significant, if troubling, achievement. American power assured Italians the right to choose their future form of government and also was employed to ensure that they chose democracy. In defense of that democracy against real but probably overestimated foreign and domestic threats, the United States used undemocratic tactics that tended to undermine the legitimacy of the Italian state.”

The “foreign threats,” as he had already discussed, were hardly real; the Soviet Union watched from a distance as the US subverted the 1948 election and restored the traditional conservative order, keeping to its wartime agreement with Churchill that left Italy in the Western zone. The “domestic threat” was the threat of democracy.

The idea that US intervention provided Italians with freedom of choice while ensuring that they chose “democracy” (in our special sense of the term) is reminiscent of the attitude of the extreme doves towards Latin America: that its people should choose freely and independently — as long as doing so did not impact US interests adversely.

The democratic ideal, at home and abroad, is simple and straightforward: You are free to do what you want, as long as it is what we want you to do.

Note: Some of the material for this interview was adapted from excerpts from Deterring Democracy (Verso).

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.


C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His main research interests are in European economic integration, globalization, the political economy of the United States and the deconstruction of neoliberalism’s politico-economic project. He is a regular contributor to Truthout as well as a member of Truthout’s Public Intellectual Project. He has published several books and his articles have appeared in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and popular news websites. Many of his publications have been translated into several foreign languages, including Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. He is the author of Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change, an anthology of interviews with Chomsky originally published at Truthout and collected by Haymarket Books.

Source: Noam Chomsky on the Long History of US Meddling in Foreign Elections


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Newsletter – Now’s The Time! Next Phase For Popular Resistance 

18 Dec


By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers,



Today, we are excited to announce the next phase of Popular Resistance. We are starting with a new website that is easier for you to use and to share, and then we’ll bring you expanded media and the Popular Resistance School in the new year. Together, we are building the culture of resistance necessary at this point in human history.

The countdown this past ten days has been like a walk down Memory Lane for us and an opportunity for you to meet some of the people who work with Popular Resistance. Before we describe the next phase in more detail, we would like to tell you about Popular Resistance’s origins.

The History of Popular Resistance

When we started Popular Resistance over four years ago, it was after the Occupy encampment era. We helped to organize Occupy Washington, DC on Freedom Plaza in 2011. In the beginning, we called it October 2011 based on the revolutionary movements in Egypt and Spain, which used dates to describe their protests. The Occupy movement did not exist yet, but something was in the air. Many groups were discussing and planning types of sustained actions.

Occupy Washington, DC was planned to be a national action. There were more than 50 state coordinators in 36 states working to bring people to Freedom Plaza on October 6, 2011. We all hoped that the action would be successful, but never did we expect the fantastic take off of the Occupy movement. It changed the national conversation quickly by exposing the corruption of Wall Street and the obscene wealth divide. It built a space where people could see that they were not alone, that their circumstances were caused by a system, not by their actions, and where people could learn about how that system works and how it could be changed.

When the encampments wound down, many people formed groups to focus on specific root causes of the crises we face, such as debt and an unfair economy, or organized around specific issues such as housing, education and health care. The activity kept going, but many people were unaware of it because the corporate media didn’t cover it. We felt a strong need to keep informing people about the beautiful resistance actions and work being done to build alternative systems. As we organized campaigns of our own, we also kept posting about other activities on the Occupy Washington, DC website.

In the Fall of 2012, we took on a process of determining how our work could better serve what needed to be done to build a movement of movements to transform the country, and so we took a partial hiatus and focused on a series of strategy meetings. This culminated in a retreat in March, 2013, where we delved deeply into what the current environment was in the country, what were impediments to change and what we could do to augment the work that needed to be done. Out of that, we developed our priorities and Popular Resistance was launched in June, 2013.

One of our priorities is education. The government and corporate media try to mislead people on many issues, so an analysis that explains what is really happening is essential. In addition, we knew the corporate media would not report on the movement, so media for the movement is necessary. There is also a need for examination of the history of movements and understanding movement strategy and tactics. And, there is a need for people to see how the various issues are connected to each other in order to build a mass movement of movements. Understanding the root causes of injustice, how power operates and how it can be challenged is the foundation of every effort to organize people into an effective force.



An ongoing priority is building a culture of resistance. As we looked at efforts across the country, we could see that people in the US were rising up to challenge injustice in their communities, but this revolt wasn’t widely known. The corporate media works to divide and distract us and to convince us that we are powerless. Seeing people and groups taking action to confront injustice demonstrates that resistance is an acceptable and effective strategy and teaches us how to resist. We are inspired by the actions of others. And it is important to know that there are groups challenging the status quo and advocating for bold solutions. Some groups, members of the non-profit industrial complex and/or partisan groups, are limited in what they can do. The presence of a more radical element pulls those groups to be bolder.

One approach to this was for Popular Resistance to choose campaigns that unite movements, e.g. stopping the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which impacts every issue we work on, and fighting for Internet freedom and net neutrality because everyone in the movement requires equal access to the Internet to reach people with their messages and to organize, as well as for day-to-day activities. Expanded and improved Medicare for all is another campaign because health care impacts everyone, and it helps people understand the overall philosophy of putting people and the planet ahead of profits in a very palpable way. Working to stop dependence on oil and gas and transitioning to a clean energy economy is another fundamental issue. Of course, challenging militarism abroad and at home is also a critical concern. Through the campaigns that Popular Resistance organizes and collaborates on, we work to improve activists’ skills and to provide tools for action. This is done through action camps, national calls and issue-specific websites.

Hand-in-hand with resistance actions, there must also be constructive programs – work to build alternative systems to replace the current dysfunctional ones. The “Create” section on Popular Resistance highlights those activities, as does our campaign to build a democratized economy that reduces the wealth divide, It’s Our Economy. We also see the essential need to highlight art in the movement and do so through Creative Resistance. The tagline for the October 2011 occupation was “Stop the machine, create a new world.”



The Next Phase of Popular Resistance

We have reached a very critical phase in the state of resistance in the United States, and we must be prepared to navigate it.

Although they were largely quiet about wars, militarism, economic injustice, destruction of the environment and racism during the Obama Presidency, many Democratic Party-aligned groups have risen up under President Trump and proclaimed themselves to be “the resistance.” They are resisting the Republicans and their theory of change involves electing more Democrats. The Democrats have tremendous resources for reaching and mobilizing people, which they are using to channel people into electoral work. This will escalate in the next three years, especially during election seasons.

But, the reality is the crises we face are bigger than Trump and the Republicans. If people who consider themselves to be progressive, many of whom are activated for the first time, lack an understanding of what is happening, why it is happening and what to do about it, they will be mislead down a false path. Our work must be to reach more people and to provide education and skills-building to help them to be effective change agents, and we must do this in an environment that is hostile to dissent and works to confuse and mislead people.

This means that our work must expand, and that is what  this next phase is intended to accomplish.

The centerpiece of our next phase will be a significant upgrade of the Popular Resistance website. The site will continue to be a hub for coverage of the movement and issues, but it will also make it much easier for you to share media through social media. The attack on independent and people’s media is becoming more extreme so we must each increase our efforts to spread the news and share information. Sharing media is an act of resistance. You will also  find it easier to access videos and our podcasts and to submit your events directly to the national calendar.

Popular Resistance is building its own audio and video studio. We have been producing a weekly podcast, Clearing the FOG, for the last six years. This will allow us not only to continue Clearing the FOG but also to produce more audio and video media. We will be able to respond to breaking news, interview key people, produce live streams and reach a wider audience.

Related to this, Popular Resistance is developing a school. This web-based school will cover strategy and tactics, detailed analysis of key issues and skills-building videos. Our first school, which will begin early next year, will focus on how movements grow and succeed and what strategies and tactics have been shown to be effective.

Popular Resistance will continue its current campaigns, but is also considering new campaigns in 2018. They are campaigns that unite different segments of the movement in order to demonstrate that we are a movement of movements. Our action camps will continue too. The next one will be part of the Health Over Profit for Everyone (HOPE) campaign to win National Improved Medicare for All. The HOPE action camp will take place April 7 to 10 in Washington, DC.

We have more plans we’d like to implement if we obtain the necessary resources. And this is where we appeal to you. We are aware that most of our readers, like the majority of people in the United States, are struggling to meet their basic needs. At the same time, we must build an effective resistance if we are to change the current situation, and this takes funds. Groups that challenge the status quo are less likely to receive grants. If you are able to donate, please consider supporting Popular Resistance with a tax-deductible end-of-the-year donation. Perhaps, you would consider becoming a monthly donor. A few dollars a month from many people is significant. 




Preparing a Transformational Future

With the extremism that is currently being shown in government and the economy, it is hard for some to imagine a social movement making advancements, but we see the extremism as an opportunity, like a spring being pushed down before it releases.

Every society has a tipping point. A  study published last month looked at wealth divide and tipping points throughout human history. Measuring inequality is done by the  Gini coefficient, which gives perfect, egalitarian societies a score of 0 and high-inequality societies a score of 1. The United States has a score of .81, one of the highest in the world. Research shows that inequality leads to social instability. Tim Kohler, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, warned “we could be inviting revolution, or we could be inviting state collapse. There’s only a few things that are going to decrease our Ginis dramatically.”

Some people are predicting a boomerang in response to the proposed tax cuts, which are a grotesque money grab on behalf of the wealthiest people in the United States, and greater austerity. The money grab comes at a time when three people have the wealth of half the population and when corporate profits are soaring while workers struggle with survival. According to the Tax Policy Center, by 2027, the top one-fifth of earners would receive 90 percent of the tax bill’s benefits.

Sam Pizzigati, who studies and writes about inequality, describes the current situation as akin to 1932. He writes “Back in 1932, just as today, conservatives had a lockgrip on the White House and both houses of Congress. Then as now, America’s wealthy lusted for fundamental tax changes that would significantly reduce their already reduced tax burden.” He describes how the corporate media pushed legislation for the wealthy and both parties were guilty of serving big business. The government went too far, and in reaction “Americans would push back. They would mount the first national political surge against plutocracy…The surge broke out almost as a matter of spontaneous political combustion. From across the nation.” The political reaction to big business extremism and the depression resulted in more than doubling the top tax rate to 63% and a host of programs to lift people up economically and provide for basic necessities. Franklin Delano Roosevelt rose to power on this political movement calling for policies on behalf of the “forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”

The current political culture is more divided than it looks – not just between Republicans and Democrats, who are two wings of a Wall Street and war party – but also between the people and those in power. The issue of inequality is on the political table – forced there by Occupy, the Fight for $15 among others, racial inequality and police violence are part of the political dialogue because of Black Lives Matter, fair immigration is being fought for by multiple vibrant immigration groups, healthcare for all is being urged by a single payer movement, Freedom of Speech, Internet freedom and net neutrality are supported by tens of millions of people and climate justice movement against fracking, oil, gas and their infrastructure are being fought by a growing movement. The peace movement continues with a variety of new groups working to end war and challenging militarism. These are just a few of many vibrant fronts of struggle where people are educating and organizing.

Our job now is to build on these efforts to create a mass-based foundation for the boomerang against plutocratic extremism. The more we do now to educate, organize and activate, the stronger our opportunities will be in the future. Popular Resistance is entering this new phase to help build the movement so positive transformations can occur when opportunities arise.

As a member of the Popular Resistance community, you are part of this growing resistance that will transform our society and the world. We urge you to continue sharing what you are doing in your communities. Send us your press releases, articles and videos. Share the content that you find on Popular Resistance through social media. Join or support the campaigns that you learn about on Popular Resistance. We also urge to support Popular Resistance with your funds and make a donation today.

This is an exciting, though challenging time, and we are excited for the real possibilities that it provides. Together we will stop the machine and create a new world.




The “Rigged 2 Party System” holds no future for the 99% a Political Revolution does – Book Sale in Progress – Revolutionary Ideas included – Left Wing & Progressive Books & Blogs –


Source: Newsletter – Now’s The Time! Next Phase For Popular Resistance | PopularResistance.Org

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