Power Conceded Nothing: How Grassroots 
Organizing can Win the 2022
 Convergence Magazine (formerly Organizing Upgrade) 
and CCDS Socialist Education Project

Join us in conversation with Max Elbaum

April 25th 9pm ET, 8pm CT, 7pm MT, 6pm PT
Max is a Co-Editor, with Linda Burnham and María Poblet, of Power Concedes Nothing: How Grassroots Organizing Wins Elections and is on the Editorial Board of Convergence. Max Elbaum has been active in peace, anti-racist and radical movements since joining SDS in Madison, Wisconsin in the 1960s. The third edition of his book, Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che, was released by Verso in 2018. 

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By Carl Davidson
Feb. 27, 2022

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.”
 –Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Successful strategic thinking starts with gaining knowledge, in particular gaining adequate knowledge of the big picture, of all the political and economic forces involved (Sun Tzu’s Earth) and what they are thinking, about themselves and others, at any given time. (Sun Tzu’s Heaven). It’s not a one-shot deal. Since both Heaven and Earth are always changing, strategic thinking must always be kept up to date, reassessed and revised.

This statement above was part of the opening to a widely circulated article I wrote four times now, about two, four, six, and eight years ago. With the upcoming November 2022 elections, it’s time to take my own advice again and do another update. The electoral strategic terrain is constantly changing, and we don’t want to be stuck with old maps and faulty models.

In the earlier versions, I suggested setting aside the traditional ‘two-party system’ frame, which obscures far more than it reveals, and making use of a ‘six-party’ model instead. I suggested that the new hypothesis had far more explanatory power regarding the events unfolding before us. I still like this hypothesis.

Some critics have objected to my use of the term ‘party’ for factional or interest group clusters. The point is taken, but I would also argue that U.S. major parties, in general, are not ideological parties in the European sense. Instead, they are constantly changing coalitions of these clusters with no firm commitment to program or discipline. So I will continue to use ‘parties,’ but with the objection noted. You can substitute ‘factions’ if you like. Or find us a better term.

For the most part, the strategic picture still holds. The ‘six parties’, under two tents, were first labeled as the Tea Party and the Multinationalists under the GOP tent, and the Blue Dogs, the Third Way New Democrats, the Old New Dealers, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, under the Democratic tent. We had three ‘parties’ under each tent in the second and following versions.

There are still a few minor players outside of either tent—the Green Party campaigns in California, Kshama Sawant’s ongoing battles in the Seattle City Council, the local independent candidates of the Richmond Alliance, and a few more. They might be pretty important in local areas, but still lack the weight to be featured in this analysis.
But let’s move to the central terrain.

First and most essential for us on the left now is Biden’s victory over Trump alongside the persistent clout of Senator Bernie Sanders, who keeps showing far more strength than imagined. Today we would also certainly add the gains made by Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and the growth of ‘the Squad.’ Other progressives wins in Congress and DSA gains in several state legislatures are also noteworthy.

But here’s the danger. Biden’s won by a clear margin, but Trump also gained in total votes over his past numbers. This is dangerous and too close for comfort. Given a 50/50 Senate and a narrow margin in the House, Biden has to govern, as best as he can, alongside the continuing power of Trump and rightwing populism. Moreover, the right includes the full integration of Trump’s forces into the GOP national and state apparatus and Trump’s now overt alliances with growing fascist militias and related groups

Trump’s still refuses to accept his defeat by more than 7 million votes. Acceptance of this ‘Big Steal,’ transformed into a ‘Big Lie,’ is now a loyalty test throughout the Republican party, from top to bottom. Moreover, we all witnessed Trump’s attempted coup on Jan. 6, 2021, complete with an insurrectionary assault on the Capitol. Hundreds are now sitting in jail and their trials are underway. . The number of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys on trial is a case in point. More importantly, the House Committee on Jan. 6 is starting its public hearings, which promises to be a powerful media exposure.

Therefore, what has moved from the margins to the center of political discourse is the question of a clear and present danger of fascism. Far from an ongoing abstract debate, we are now watching its hidden elements come to light every day in the media. We also see the ongoing machinations in the GOP hierarchy and in state legislatures reshaping election laws in their favor. Now, the question is not whether a fascist danger exists, but how to fight and defeat it.

The outcomes for Biden and Trump, then, challenge, narrow, and weaken the old dominant neoliberal hegemony from different directions. For decades, the ruling bloc had spanned both the GOP transnationals and those transnational globalists in the Third Way Democrats. Now neoliberalism is largely exhausted. This is a major change, opening the terrain for new bids for policy dominance. Team Biden is groping for a yet-to-be-fully -defined LBJ 2.0, largely making major investments in physical and social infrastructure, like universal child care or free community college. Weirdly, the GOP claims to stand for nothing, save fealty, Mafia-style, to Trump. Behind that smokescreen are the politics of fascism and a neo-confederacy.
But the GOP still has three parties. Back in 2016, Politico had characterized them this way: “After the Iowa caucuses” the GOP emerged “with three front-runners who are, respectively, a proto-fascist, [Trump] a Christian theocrat [Cruz] and an Ayn Rand neoliberal [Rubio] who wants to privatize all aspects of public life while simultaneously waging war on the poor and working classes.”
So here’s the new snapshot of the range of forces for today (including a graphic map above).
Under the Dem tent, the three main groups remain as the Blue Dogs, the Third Way Centrists and the Rainbow Social Democrats. Although small, the Blue Dogs persist, especially given their partnership with West Virginia’s Joe Manchin in the Senate. With Biden in the White House, the Third Way group keeps and grows its major clout and keeps most of its African American, feminist and labor allies. The Sanders Social Democratic bloc has gained strength, especially with the growing popularity of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the growth of ‘The Squad. ‘Sanders has also formed and kept a progressive-center unity against Trump and has helped define ‘Build Back Better’ and other Biden reform packages.

The changes under the GOP tent have been radical, although keeping its three parties. The ‘Never Trumpers’, despite voting for Biden, have yet to split off entirely. In fact, despite the efforts to purge her, Liz Cheney of Wyoming continues fighting fiercely against Trump and his fascist measures and minions. The Jan. 6 insurrection also brought to the surface the tensions between the Christian nationalists headed by former Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s rightwing populists. Apart from tactics, a key difference between the two is Koch money and its institutional power. The Koch brothers never liked or trusted Trump, and never funded him directly, pouring their millions into the Christian Nationalist bloc instead.

Trump still has a tight grip on the entire party, but without his White House power, the number of his GOP critics is on the rise. Daily. Trump has denounced all rivals from these two groupings, and is building his alliances with the Jan. 6 insurrectionist supporters in state legislatures. The goal is new anti-voter laws to control those counting the votes and defining the districts in the years ahead.

Let’s now look closer, starting from the left upper corner of the map:

The Rightwing Populists

This ‘party’, as mentioned, has taken over the GOP and is now tightening its grip. Trump was originally an ‘outlier elite’ with his own bankroll but now supplemented with funds from Russian oligarchs and Arab oil fortunes (See ‘Proof of Conspiracy ‘by Seth Abhramson). He is also still directly connected to the Robert Mercer family fortune, the 4th ranking billionaire funding rightwing causes. For example, the Mercers keep Breitbart News afloat and funded the career of Steve Bannon, former Trump ‘strategist’ that took him to victory in the last stretch. Along with Breitbart, Fox News is the main hourly mouthpiece for Trump’s war against the mainstream ‘fake news’ mass media. There are dozens of smaller outfits, but with millons of followers.

Trump is also pulling in some new wealth. One example is Julia Jenkins Fancelli, an heiress to the fortune of the popular Publix supermarket chain. Alternet reports others: “One example is Dan and Farris Wilks, two billionaire siblings who have worked in the fracking industry in Texas and have “given a combined $100,000 toward the president’s reelection.” The Wilkes Brothers supported Sen. Ted Cruz over Trump in the 2016 GOP presidential primary but are supporting Trump in 2020.”

But major events reveal some fault lines. The House has now impeached Trump twice, once following the Jan. 6 events and earlier in 2019. The Senate followed up by acquitting him in both cases. In Trump’s second impeachment, 10 GOPers in the House and seven in the Senate votes against him. This is as good of an indictor as any of the remaining small but persistent strength of ‘regular’ Republicans in their own party.

The impeachment efforts, worthy in their own right, were also a major result of Trump’s fierce ongoing political warfare against the ‘Deep State.’ The battle is actually a contest for a new ‘America First’ white nationalist hegemony against the old neoliberal globalists under both tents. The ‘Deep State’ is the federal civil service and includes the ‘Intelligence Community,’ with a long list of Trump-targeted CIA and FBI leaders, supposedly corrupt, of which FBI director James Comey was the first to be purged. The real ‘corruption’ was their refusal to pledge loyalty to Trump personally, again like an old-style Mafia boss.

In the first impeachment vote in Feb. 2020, the sole breakaway vote was Mitt Romney on Article One. Romney, with considerable wealth himself, is also a Mormon bishop, and his LDS church recently listed holdings of over $37 billion with the SEC. This is a factor in Romney’s ability to stand alone. At the moment, however, the much-weakened GOP’s old Establishment is left with the choice of surrender, or crossing over to the Third Way bloc under the Dem tent. A good number already did so to vote for Biden in the Dem 2020 primary and general, expanding the Dem electorate to the right.

Trump now needs even more to shore up an alliance with the Blue Dogs. But it remains tactical, stemming from his appeals to ‘Rust Belt’ Democrats and some unions on trade and tariff issues, plus white identity resentment politics. The economic core of rightwing populism remains anti-global ‘producerism’ vs ‘parasitism’. Employed workers, business owners, real estate developers, small bankers are all ‘producers’. They oppose ‘parasite’ groups above and below, but mainly those below them—the unemployed (Get a Job! as an epithet), the immigrants, poor people of color, Muslims, and ‘the Other’ generally. When they attack those above, the target is usually George Soros, a Jew.

Recall that Trump entered politics by declaring Obama to be an illegal alien and an illegitimate officeholder (a parasite above), but quickly shifted to Mexicans and Muslims and anyone associated with ‘Black Lives Matter.’ This aimed to pull out the fascist and white supremacist groups of the ‘Alt Right’–using Breitbart and worse to widen their circles, bringing them closer to Trump’s core. With these fascists as ready reserves, Trump reached farther into Blue Dog territory, and its better-off workers, retirees, and business owners conflicted with white identity issues—immigration, Islamophobia, misogyny, and more. Today they still largely make up the audience at his mass rallies.

Trump’s outlook is not new. It has deep roots in American history, from the anti-Indian ethnic cleansing of President Andrew Jackson to the nativism of the Know-Nothings, to the nullification theories of Joh C. Calhoun, to the lynch terror of the KKK, to the anti-elitism and segregation of George Wallace and the Dixiecrats. Internationally, Trump combines aggressive jingoism, threats of trade wars, and an isolationist ‘economic nationalism’ aimed at getting others abroad to fight your battles for you. At the same time, your team picks up the loot (‘we should have seized and kept the oil!’).

Trump’s GOP still contains his internal weaknesses: the volatile support of distressed white workers and small producers. At present, they are still forming a key social base. But the problem is that Trump did not implement any substantive programs apart from tax cuts. These mainly benefited the top 10% and created an unstable class contradiction in his operation. Moreover, apart from supporting heavy vaccine research, his inability to deal adequately with the coronavirus emergency– over 900,000 dead—is is still undermining the confidence of some of his base. Most of what Trump has paid out is what WEB Dubois called the ‘psychological wage’ of ‘whiteness’, a dubious status position. Thus white supremacist demagogy and misogyny will also continue to unite a wide array of all nationalities of color and many women and youth against him.

Trump’s religious ignorance, sexual assaults and a porn star scandal always pained his alliance with the Christian Nationalist faction: (Mike Pence, Betsy DeVos, et. al.), and the DeVos family (Amway fortune). They were willing to go along with it for the sake of judicial appointments, with the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling against Black voters in Alabama only one major achievement. The alliance, nonetheless, has become more frayed since Jan. 6 and the ‘Hang Mike Pence’ spectacle. But some stalwarts stood fast. The billionaire donor to the GOP right, Devos’s brother Erik Prince is a case in point. He amassed billions from his Blackwater/Xe firms that train thousands of mercenaries, These forces serve as ‘private contractors’ for U.S. armed intervention anywhere. Prinz is now reportedly preparing to spend a few million sending spies and other disruptors into ‘liberal groups’ to do dirty work in Trump’s favor.

The Christian Nationalists

This ‘party’ grew from a subset of the former Tea Party bloc. It’s made up of several Christian rightist trends developed over decades, which gained more coherence under Vice President Mike Pence. It includes conservative evangelicals seeking to recast a patriarchal and racist John Wayne into a new warrior version of Jesus. It was strengthened for a period by the addition of William Barr as the Attorney General, He brought Opus Dei and the Catholic far-right, a minority with the American Catholic Church, closer to the White house. But seeing that Trump was about to go beyond the law in trying to overturn the 2020 election, Barr jumped ship and resigned just in time.

A good number of Christian nationalists, however, are the Protestant theocracy-minded fundamentalists, especially the ‘Dominionist’ sects in which Ted Cruz’s father was active. They present themselves as the only true, ‘values-centered’ (Biblical) conservatives. They argue against any kind of compromise with the globalist ‘liberal-socialist bloc’, which ranges, in their view, from the GOP’s Mitt Romney to Bernie Sanders. They are more akin to classical liberalism than neoliberalism in economic policy. This means abandoning nearly all regulations, much of the safety net, overturning Roe v. Wade, getting rid of marriage equality (in the name of ‘religious liberty’) and abolishing the IRS and any progressive taxation in favor of a single flat tax. Salon in April 2018 reported:
“This rightwing Christian movement is fundamentally anti-democratic. Their ‘prayer warriors’ do not believe that secular laws apply to them, thus making it acceptable, if not honorable, to deceive non-believers in order to do God’s work. Many evangelicals in the Christian nationalist or ‘dominionist’ wing of the movement want the United States to be a theocracy. In some ways, this subset of the evangelical population resembles an American-style Taliban or ISIS, restrained (so far) only by the Constitution.”

The classic liberalism of most Christian Nationalist is also a key reason they attract money from the Koch Brothers networks. While the Koch’s hold Trump and his populists in some contempt, as mentioned above, the Christian Nationalist faction has access to Koch funds and its ALEC legislative projects, along with access to the DeVos fortunes. Effectively, Christian nationalist’ prosperity economics’ amounts to affirmative action for the better off, where the rise of the rich is supposed to pull everyone else upwards. Those below must also pay their tithes and pull upward with their ‘bootstraps.’ They argue for neo-isolationism on some matters of foreign policy. But as ‘Christian Zionists’ they favor an all-out holy war on ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ to the point of ‘making the sand glow’ with the use of nuclear weapons. They pushed for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and ripping up the Iran nuclear deal. All this is aimed at greasing the skids for the ‘End Times,’ the ‘Rapture, ‘and the ‘Second Coming.’ With Cruz, Pence and Devos as leaders, they have become the second most powerful grouping under the GOP tent, and the one with the most reactionary platform and outlook, even more so than Trump himself in some ways.

The Establishment Neoliberal ‘RINOs’

This is the name now widely used in the media for what we previously labeled the Multinationalists. It’s mainly the upper crust and neoliberal business elites that have owned and run the GOP for years, but are now largely out in the cold. It included the quasi-libertarian House’ Freedom Caucus,’ the smaller group of NeoCons on foreign policy (John Bolton and John McCain), and the shrinking number of RINO (Republican In Name Only) moderates in The Lincoln Project. The Establishment also favors a globalist, U.S. hegemonist and even, at times, unilateralist approach abroad, with some still defending the Bush-Cheney disaster in Iraq. Their prominent voice today is Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

We also need to keep in mind the global backdrop to these shifts. The worldwide process of technology-driven financialization has divided the ruling class of late capitalism in every major country into three—a local sector of the transnational capitalist class, the nation-based multinationals, and an anti-globalist national sector. Thus among traditional U.S. neoliberals, some are U.S. hegemonists, but many have a transnational globalist understanding of the world with vast amounts of their money in foreign stock. China and global value chains integrate them with other global capitalists. This is why Trump’s trade policy is so controversial with Wall Street elites of both Republican and Democratic leanings. U.S. economic hegemony makes no sense at this financial and productive integration level. The global three way division also serves to explain why Trump’s rightwing populism, despite its American characteristics, is connected to the rightwing nationalist-populist rise in all European countries. He is not ‘explainable’ in American terns alone.

This subordination is a big change for the traditional GOP top dogs. They would like to purge a weakened Trump from the party and rebuild, but so far lack the ability. They could try to form a new party with neoliberal Dems. Or, more likely, they could join the Dems and try to push out or smother those to the left of the Third Way grouping.

Now let’s turn to the Dem tent, starting at the top right of the graphic.

The Blue Dogs

The Blue Dogs, according to the online newsletter Sludge, “operates a political action committee, Blue Dog PAC, that raises millions of dollars each election cycle, mainly from corporate PACs, and spends money to help elect more conservative Democrats. Corporate PACs that donated to Blue Dog PAC in the 2018 election cycle include those affiliated with drug company Pfizer, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, oil company ExxonMobil, and Wall Street bank Citigroup.”

This small ‘party’ has persisted and gained some energy. The recent effort of West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin to bloc or gut Biden’s reforms is a case in point. One earlier reason was that the United Steel Workers and a few craft unions had decided ‘to work with Trump’ on tariffs and trade. The USW also got firmly behind Connor Lamb (D-PA) for Congress. Lamb won a narrow victory in a Western PA CD in a rural and conservative area, but with many USW miner’s votes. He was endorsed by the Blue Dog PAC, although he is not yet a formal member of the caucus. Getting into a nearly physical floor fight with the GOP over Jan. 6 ‘radicalized’ Lamb a bit, moving him leftward.

But the small Blue Dog resurgence may not last. On the one hand, the DNC Third Way gang currently loves people like Lamb, and wants to see more candidates leaning to the center and even the right. On the other hand, an unstable Trump out of office has little to offer on major infrastructure plans save for ‘Build The Wall’ chanting at rallies. His potential votes among USW and other union members may shrink.
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CODEPINK Statement on the Crisis in Ukraine
February 22, 2022

We are horrified by the recent escalation of the Ukrainian Civil War. We stand with the countries from all over the world that reaffirmed their support for the Minsk Protocol at the February 21 emergency UN Security Council meeting in New York, recognizing it as the legitimate framework for diplomacy and peace in Ukraine. Notably, those countries included both Russia and Ukraine, and we call on both of them to live up to their words.

Unilateral diplomatic and military actions like those recently taken by Russia cannot be the solution to this crisis, and risk further and even more dangerous escalation. We must also recognize the dangerous escalation of attacks inside the de facto borders of the Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republic that Russia was reacting to. For the four days ending on February 20, OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) ceasefire monitors in Ukraine documented a dangerous increase in ceasefire violations in Eastern Ukraine, with 5,667 violations, including 4,093 explosions. The OSCE’s maps clearly show that most of the explosions were inside the Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics, consistent with incoming shell-fire from Ukraine government forces. 

With nearly 700 OSCE ceasefire monitors on the ground, it is not credible that these attacks and explosions were staged by DPR and LPR forces as “provocations” or “false-flag” incidents, as U.S. and British officials have claimed. The escalation is real, and further escalation endangers 4 million Russian citizens of Ukraine in the DPR and LPR.
President Trump made a terrible mistake in 2019 when he encouraged newly-elected President Zelensky of Ukraine to refuse to talk to DPR and LPR leaders within the framework of the Minsk Protocol, as it requires. Trump instead began sending weapons to Ukraine, reversing Obama’s policy, as if Ukraine could recover its lost territories by force. 

This is only one of a series of errors by U.S. leaders that have built up over time to contribute to today’s crisis: broken commitments not to expand NATO into Eastern Europe; confirmation in 2008 that Ukraine would sooner or later join NATO; the significant but still largely secret U.S. role in the 2014 coup; and U.S. failure to support the Minsk Protocol, despite having no alternative plan beyond weapons shipments, sanctions and brinkmanship.

We call on the Biden administration and Members of Congress to fully support the Minsk Protocol, the real path to peace in Ukraine. Now is the time for President Biden to show his leadership, not by escalating the crisis and imposing sanctions that will hurt ordinary Russians and affect the global economy, but by intense negotiations that can bring us back from the brink of a potentially calamitous nuclear war. On the larger breakdown in U.S.-Russian relations, we call for a re-examination of NATO, which has long outlived any good purpose, and holding serious disarmament talks with Russia.

by Harry Targ, Stephen David

The brutal war in Ukraine continues. Russia attacks targets in various parts of the country, mostly in the South and East. Ukrainians and Russian soldiers die. Millions flee the violence as the  physical landscape of cities and towns are destroyed. And neither Russia, Ukraine, or NATO/the United States appear to engage in any serious negotiations to end the violence.
Meanwhile military spending in the United States and Europe increase at the expense of desperately needed social programs and transformations from economies based on fossil fuels. Presumably the Russian military/industrial complex (and perhaps the Ukrainian military establishment) experiences boosts in resources and legitimacy as is occurring in the west. And on all sides the mass media and cultural and educational institutions spin narratives about the righteousness, glory, and the efficacy of policy of the country from which the narratives are produced.

Spokespersons from the United States government and the US corporate media particularly have produced and disseminated stories about aspects of the Ukraine war that together constitute a series of interconnected delusions about the context and causes of the war in Ukraine; the US/NATO response; the deleterious impacts of the war on the Russian invaders; and, most importantly, the immediate and long-term impacts of the war on international affairs. A delusion is "an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument."
If one goes beyond the US/Western corporate media and if one gives serious thought to the historical logic of such narratives it would be clear that core premises of US/NATO policies are delusional.

For example, there are at least seven kinds of delusions that are broadly accepted and/or articulated by the US government and the corporate media.

Delusion number one  is that the United States can reproduce the coalition of hegemonic forces that existed after World War 2. It is clear that the US Cold War international system cannot be replicated. After World War 2, the United States, the overwhelmingly hegemonic economic and military power,  institutionalized a world order based upon economics (the Bretton Woods system, the Marshall Plan, the subsequent development of the European Economic Community and the European Union),  military dominance (from the construction of the NATO alliance to a worldwide network of alliances, bilateral treaties, and military bases), and an ideology (the “free world versus communism” or in our own day “democracy” versus “authoritarianism”). While this hegemonic goal - economics, military and ideological - was never fully achieved it has been whittled away by multiple poles of economic power (particularly the rise of the Chinese economy), a declining ability of the United States to control the world militarily (as evidenced historically by military defeats from Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even in the Western hemisphere), and growing global skepticism about what the United States means by “democracy.”

Delusion number two  suggests that the United States can remain the global hegemon. Here again any number of writers, and more importantly key leaders from countries in Europe, Asia, and throughout the Global South see the United States as a declining power economically, militarily, and politically. As the Ukraine crisis has unfolded many voices from the Global South have evidenced indifference to what appears to be a “white people’s war” that is being  used  to increase demands for fundamental changes in global economics and politics. Many around the world see the conflicts in Eastern Europe as a manifestation of the breakdown of North American and European power and control of what goes on in their countries. The most significant takeaway from the United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian intervention in Ukraine is the fact that 35 countries abstained in the vote; not only African and Asian countries but several from the Western Hemisphere. The population of those countries constituted about one-third of the population of the world. Not too long ago a loose coalition of big powers, the BRICS, began dialoguing about making modest demands for changes in power dynamics in global institutions and practice. Witnessing greater underdevelopment in developing countries instead of the promise of development, BRICS began charting a course not entirely dependent on the World Bank, IMF, and World Trade Organizations. While the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) talks have stalled, it is expected (particularly after upcoming elections in Brazil) they will resume. Some modest redistribution of decisioning power in major international institutions is in the air.
Delusion number three is that the United States can intimidate China. Since the 1980s, China has steered an economic course that involves encouraging foreign investment, utilizing technologies derived from these investments, and adopting an economic development model incorporating advanced capitalism and appropriate state controls. Not only is China about to surpass the United States in its gross domestic product but in its progress it has lifted 700 million Chinese out of poverty. And in terms of China’s global presence, it is establishing more attractive economic relations with nations all across the globe. Through its Belt and Road Initiative for example, China has already become the largest trading partner with the countries of Latin America. In this context, media reports of US threats if China maintains economic ties with Russia are matters of bluster and of little consequence.

Delusion number four is that the countries of the global south support the United States. Given the declining relative power of the United States on the global stage, the rising economic influence of China on the world stage, and the history of United States interference, (from sanctions to soldiers) in the affairs of other countries and peoples, nations of the Global South see the United States as the latest, perhaps last, imperial power. As V J Prashad pointed out, “all war is criminal” - both ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ wars. Therefore, economic exploitation and political interference in the  Global South is increasingly viewed with disdain and discomfort. Again, this disdain is suggested by the number of countries that refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the recent General Assembly vote. Yet despite such clear signs the US media continues to praise US sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and now Russia, without discussing the horrific impacts these sanctions have on ordinary people in these countries. Nor does the media report that the United States and the European Union currently have some kind of sanctions imposed on 39 nations. Sanctions alone make it very unlikely that victimized people from the Global South regard the United States with respect and admiration.*And alternative forms of payment and paths for international trade will be the logical outcome of weaponizing trade and the banking system.

Protesters demonstrate against police brutality in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 8, 2020. The protest against police brutality in Kenya was in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and in response to the recent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis. 

Delusion number five is that the United States remains the ‘indispensable nation,” the “last resort,” the model of democracy and market economies for the world. For the reasons suggested above and the demonstrable racism, violence, environmental disasters more frequently associated with the United States itself (while admired for certain achievements such as in education and science) most global citizens regard the US as a failed state, surely one not to emulate. More recently the overbearing, unfair, and restrictive moves against Chinese competitive strength in the form of banning Huawei’s 5G technology and Tiktok compromises the notion of free-market fairness and a just global economic world order. The “American Dream” begins to morph into a hollow specter in the global context. Together they mark an unmistakable decline.

Delusion number six is that the United States cannot learn from others: Cuba, China, peoples on the Africa continent and elsewhere. It has historically been central to the consciousness of the hegemonic actors in the world, the imperial powers, that they are and can be the exemplars and teachers; and, the countries that have been conquered and/or been impoverished have nothing to teach the powerful and only have to follow. Meanwhile examples of alternative healthcare delivery systems, adaptations to the natural environment, or forms of workplace democracy in less powerful nations are ignored.

Cuban doctors travel around the world to help cure pandemics.

And delusion number seven suggests that global hegemony can be maintained or achieved without major (indeed nuclear) war and/or climate disaster. This is the most dangerous delusion because it suggests that the powerful countries can proceed with their drive to dominate without increasing the risk of nuclear war or speeding up the destruction of nature.
Therefore, one project the peace and justice movement in the United States and hopefully with peace and justice activists around the world can do is to challenge the delusions articulated by American and European leaders and to challenge the mythologies that are deeply embedded in the corporate media. And now, this includes developing an historically grounded analysis of the Ukraine war; one that denounces the initiation of the war but understands the history and mythologies that undergird it. With such understandings we can only improve our chances for a sounder basis for peace.
*Countries facing economic sanctions include: 1. Afghanistan, 2. Belarus, 3. Bosnia and Herzegovina, 4. Burundi, 5. Central African Republic, 6. China (PR), 7. Comoros 8. Crimea Region of Ukraine> 9. Cuba, 10. Cyprus, 11. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 12. Guinea, 13. Guinea Bissau, 14. Haiti, 15. Iran, 16. Iraq, 17. Kyrgyzstan, 18. Laos, 19. Lebanon, 20. Libya, 21. Mali 22. Mauritania 23. Moldova 24. Montenegro 25. Myanmar, 26. Nicaragua, 27. North Korea - DPRK, 28. Palestinian Territories, 29. Russia, 30. Rwanda, 31. Serbia 32. Somalia, 33. South Sudan, 34. Sudan, 35. Syria, 36. Tunisia 37. Venezuela, 38. Yemen, 39. Zimbabwe. https://sanctionskill.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/39SanctionedCountries3.pdf

Harry Targ is a long-time peace activist, writer, and teacher of courses on United States foreign policy. Stephen David is also a long-time peace activist, cultural critic, and participant in the struggles against apartheid in South Africa.

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Putin Is Attempting to Center Russia
as a Hub of the Global Right Wing

reprinted from Truthout

In the current crisis, the left needs a full and thorough understanding of Vladimir Putin and his aspirations for Russia. We have been troubled by some of the statements from the U.S. left concerning the invasion of Ukraine. It seems when confronted with a complex array of contradictions, too many have lost an ability to sort out and grasp the principal contradiction: the Putin regime’s effort to subjugate Ukraine, end its sovereignty and deny its right to exist independently.

“Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia, more precisely, Bolshevik, communist Russia. This process began immediately after the revolution of 1917,” Putin said in a televised address in February. “As a result of Bolshevik policy, Soviet Ukraine arose, which even today can with good reason be called ‘Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s Ukraine.’ He is its author and architect. This is fully confirmed by archive documents…. And now grateful descendants have demolished monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. This is what they call decommunization. Do you want decommunization? Well, that suits us just fine. But it is unnecessary, as they say, to stop halfway. We are ready to show you what real decommunization means for Ukraine.”
Putin here is clear enough: Ukraine has no national rights that Russians are bound to respect. Prepare for reunification, reabsorption, or some other euphemism for subaltern status with Mother Russia.

Submitted by Richard Ochs
"Thank heaven, one day we'll all find out that all of our songs was just little notes in a great big song, and when we do, the rich will disappear like the morning fog, and the poor will vanish like a drunkard's dream - and we'll all be one big happy family, waking up with the chickens, chickens we don't owe nothing on, and a skipping through the morning dew, just as far as you want to skip." - Woody Guthrie
["Introduction," Alan Lomax, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Hard Hitting Songs
for Hard-Hit People. New York: Oak Publications, 1967, (originally written in 1941), 15-20.]
In case you missed it!
Past months 4th Monday's programs.

The Left, Progressives and Social Media-- October 2021

November Fourth Monday: Assessment of COP 26, US-China cooperation and future prospects: https://www.facebook.com/OULeft.org/videos/1249206465561348.
Fourth Monday in September, watch here: IDEOLOGICAL HEGEMONY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
From the CCDS Socialist Education Project...
A China Reader

Edited by Duncan McFarland

A project of the CCDS Socialist Education Project and Online University of the Left

244 pages, $20 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

The book is a selection of essays offering keen insight into the nature of China and its social system, its internal debates, and its history. It includes several articles on the US and China and the growing efforts of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.

Click here for the Table of Contents

Taking Down White Supremacy 

A Reader on Multiracial and Multinational Unity 

Edited by the CCDS
Socialist Education Project

166 pages, $12.50 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

This collection of 20 essays brings together a variety of articles-theoretical, historical, and experiential-that address multi-racial, multi-national unity. The book provides examples theoretically and historically, of efforts to build multi-racial unity in the twentieth century.

      Click here for the Table of contents
CHANGEMAKER PUBLICATIONS: Recent works on new paths to socialism and the solidarity economy

Remember Us for Gift Giving and Study Groups

We are a small publisher of books with big ideas. We specialize in works that show us how a better world is possible and needed. Click Gramsci below for our list.

Standing Up: Tales of Struggle
by Ellen Bravo and Larry Miller
(Brooklyn, NY: Hard Ball Press, 2022) 

reprinted from The New York Labor History Association (NYLHA)

Art Imitates Life

Ellen Bravo has spent more than five decades as an activist. The founder of the Milwaukee Chapter of 9 to 5 in 1982 (part of the National Association of Working Women), Bravo moved on in 2004 to direct Family Values @ Work. She has participated in numerous campaigns for gender equality and economic self-sufficiency. As recently as January 4, 2022, Bravo’s letter to the editor appeared in The New York Times weighing in on a story asking: “What Do You Think You Should Be Paid?” No surprise, Bravo argued that standards should be “clear, fair and transparent and applied equally to all.” Now, with the publication of Standing Up: Tales of Struggle, she translates her experiences into fiction. This isn’t her first foray as a fiction and non-fiction author. Her previous books include the fictional Again and Again (2015) and the non-fiction Taking on the Big Boys, or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation (2007), based on her grassroots organizing work. This time, she has partnered with her husband, Larry Miller, also an organizer with decades of experience.

The stories in Standing Up are linked thematically and appear in chronological order, beginning with 1970. For those of us who have similarly spent time as organizers, the book feels like an anthropological field trip into the past. It could feel like a trip to a distant planet for some, if not for the problems that appear repeatedly and still resonate, sadly, in 2022. Almost like an echo chamber – the same concerns and fraught situations confronted the characters in the 1970s: Racism; class inequities; incarceration; ex-convicts and the entry-level, low-wage jobs they are confined to; arrests for crimes that are a result of poverty; people of color being assigned to the more difficult jobs. “Jim Crow? Oh, you thought that was over?”

The stories pay attention to jobs we normally don’t think about; the call centers; the people who make pipe; or process checks; the hospital laundries. What they entail close up, the daily indignities, and the dangers inherent in routinized sloppy procedures that are just part of the day’s work. One example — the contaminants employees are exposed to while working in the hospital laundry. The hardships resulting from the lay-offs and shift work and the havoc they cause in a working person’s life. One character, questioning company policy, says: “Why do we have to wait five years to get sick?”

The stories describe the choices people have to make and their impact, a sick child, an abusive husband; the constant costs of having too little money; the sheer drudgery of doing these jobs and the utter lack of any control over their working lives; the small indignities and the larger practices that play havoc with those lives.

The main theme that runs like a thread throughout the stories is organizing. In the acknowledgments, Bravo describes a conversation with her father, as he dismissed her plan to become an organizer. Countering his litany of drawbacks, she presciently told him: “You’re forgetting the joy.” The stories describe what happens when the people who Imbolo Mbue calls “the deliberately unheard” (as opposed to “the voiceless”) stand up for themselves and others.

The book captures the process in different settings, when people consciously act to fathom and then dismantle the obstacles they encounter, piece by piece. The process of convincing one’s self and the challenge of then convincing others to take a risk and speak up, act up. What it’s like to challenge one’s immediate environment through taking collective action and the changes – the personal epiphanies – that can result. The small victories and then passing it on, finding the next cause, once empowered by the contagious spirit of organizing.

A few of the stories stand out for their fine-grained examination of this process. Two favorites are “We Won’t Let You Pollute Our Playground,” about an inspired bit of community environmental organizing and “Feminists and Firefighters” about the work of advocates during a training session on sexual harassment. This story is pitch-perfect and worth quoting for some of its insights. “She thought of those women whose stories filled her head at night when she couldn’t sleep. What those women wanted was so simple it hurt. Believe us; don’t blame us.” Trying to distinguish between being a passive observer and speaking up, one character says: “It would make all the difference in the world. You know who they are but did nothing to stop them.”

Bravo and Miller’s hopes for the book are that it will nourish those already engaged in struggles and spur on new generations of activists. Combined, the stories are like a cookbook for activists with details of inspired campaigns borrowed from the records of two senior organizers who are happy to share. Outside the focus traversed in the novel, there is another question organizers need to confront. And that is, assembly line by assembly line, workplace by workplace organizing will only get us so far. It leaves untouched the larger forces that have eradicated the American Dream – the dreams of hard work and fairness; of justice and a life worth living. The power dynamics and political equation that have robbed the working-class of so much over the decades since 1970.

Reviewed by Jane LaTour, a former Executive Board member at the New York Labor History Association, Jane worked on factory assembly lines for seven years and took part in many campaigns in the workplace. Her first job in the labor movement was as a union organizer for District 65. She twice served as the director of the Women’s Project for the Association for Union Democracy (AUD). Her book, Sisters in the Brotherhoods: Women in New York City Organizing for Equality was published in 2008.  

The New York Labor History Association (NYLHA) was founded in 1976 by trade unionists, academics, students, archivists, educators, labor editors, attorneys, and retirees, mostly from New York State. NYLHA encourages the study of workers and their organizations and serves as a bridge between past and present labor unionists and academics.
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James Campbell: A Life To Remember


A tribute to James E. Campbell, a well-known and widely influential leader of the civil rights and socialist movements for the last seven decades. He worked as an actor, writer, and organizer, working with Jack O'Dell, Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz, Bayard Rustin, James Balwin, and many others. He served as an editor of Freedomways magazine and as national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. He passed away earlier this year in Charleston, NC.

Order your copy today here.
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