Sanders, Debs and the lessons of 1920

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 18:33

Eric Lee

Earlier this year, a photograph made the rounds on the Internet. It showed Bernie Sanders meeting a young supporter in Iowa. Bernie is smiling and pointing to the young man’s t-shirt. On the t-shirt, it says “Listen here, Bud, America deserved 9/11.”

The photo was a fake. In the real image, the photo on the young man’s shirt which brings a smile to the Senator’s face is one of Eugene V. Debs. And that makes a lot more sense.

Bernie Sanders has long admired Debs, who was the Socialist Party’s candidate for President in a number of elections more than a century ago. And many have drawn parallels

Socialism for us, not for the rich!

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 17:16

Bernie Sanders

A June 2019 speech by Bernie Sanders delivered at George Washington University (and abridged here) on what he means by socialism.

With so many crises converging upon us simultaneously, it is easy for us to become overwhelmed or depressed — or to even throw up our hands in resignation.

In the year 2019 the United States and the rest of the world face two very different political paths. On one hand, there is a growing movement towards oligarchy and authoritarianism in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a significant part of the economy and exert

The New Deal: starting socialism or saving capitalism?

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 17:07

The above is a cartoon from the US Trotskyist paper Socialist Appeal, 11 July 1939, portrays Roosevelt (“FDR”) making a show of attacking conservative plutocrats (“Tories”).

In parts of his speech not reprinted here, Bernie Sanders expands on the idea that his socialism is a continuation and expansion from where the New Deal of Roosevelt, president from 1933 to 1945, left off.

Roosevelt himself saw it differently. In 1935 he explained: “I am fighting Communism… I want to save our system, the capitalist system…

“To combat crackpot ideas, it may be necessary to throw to the wolves the forty-six

ISO: stirrings in the ashes

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 16:46

Simon Nelson

People from the leadership of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) which was in place before the ISO’s convention in February 2019, have launched a new website, the International Socialism Project (ISP),, and some forums in Chicago.

The project also involves one or two former members of the “Orthodox Trotskyist” (in fact, semi-Assadist) Socialist Action group.

Background: the ISO was long the most active group on the US far left, with up to 1500 members. Apparently overwhelmed by criticism from the ranks, the old leadership (many of them leaders since the

Trump blocked putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 note. This is why

Published on: Tue, 03/12/2019 - 15:36

Sacha Ismail

I’m struck by how many (left-wing, engaged) people I know haven’t heard of 19th century slave turned anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman. Hopefully Harriet, the new film about a crucial decade of Tubman’s life, will help right that. She was one of the most remarkable of many remarkable figures in a world-altering social and political upheaval, the civil war and revolution that destroyed slavery in the US. Though not a socialist, she is firmly in our broad tradition.

Despite the dark subject matter of slavery, the makers have told Tubman’s story as a pretty easy to watch action-adventure film.

Sanders campaign: Impeachment? What impeachment?

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:37

Eric Lee

Something strange is going on with the Democratic presidential candidates and the impeachment of Donald Trump. All the candidates support Trump’s impeachment. But none of them want to talk about it.

At a recent event in Las Vegas, Bernie Sanders said that Trump “will be impeached, and he should be impeached.” But he quickly added that his own campaign is about “more than just defeating” the Republican president.

When California Senator Kamala Harris was asked recently if she was following the impeachment hearings, she replied “not so much”. “I’ve been in Iowa,” she explained. As Politico put

Another socialist for US president

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 18:29

Howie Hawkins, Stephen Wood

Q: Tell us about your campaign for president

A: My campaign is about putting forward ecosocialist solutions to the life and death issues we face: the climate emergency, growing inequality, the new nuclear arms race. All these crises flow from the structure of the capitalist system.

My central campaign theme and program is an Ecosocialist Green New Deal. I am talking about socialising the energy, transportation, and manufacturing sectors of the economy in order to rapidly zero out greenhouse gas emissions and build 100% clean energy by 2030. During the World War 2 emergency, the US federal

Sanders and Warren: What’s the difference?

Published on: Thu, 21/11/2019 - 00:17

Eric Lee

American politics has made a sharp turn to the left in recent years – a turn that few anticipated, but that underpins much of what is going on in the Democratic primary now underway.

The two leading progressive candidates, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, together represent a clear majority of Democratic voters. The party’s “moderate” wing thought it had a winner in Joe Biden, but the implosion of his campaign has led to a search for viable alternatives to the two Democratic senators from New England.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is emerging as the hope of that wing of the party as all the other

Letter: The “strategist-dilettantes”

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 23:19

Stuart Jordan

Bernie Sanders’s poll ratings will be important in convincing those who argue that we should support the candidate most likely to beat Trump (see Eric Lee’s article Can Sanders win? ).

But Sanders’s success will also require winning over the “anyone but Trump” tendency to more principled socialist politics.

The “anyone but X” tendency is a longstanding feature of left politics the world over. The argument that we should pick policies and personnel solely because they appear most likely to defeat the right is a corrosive force in working-class politics, and in recent years has been electorally

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