May 2023

Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)

Socialist Education Project

4th Monday Webinar

May 22, 2023

9 pm Eastern Daylight Time


A Conversation About the Transformation of Higher Education: Shifting from a Wholistic Education to STEM, Branding and Privatizing Educational Services, and Militarization


The authors, Dan Morris and Harry Targ, two Purdue University professors, use their institution as a case study to examine the changing nature of the American 'multiversity.' They take a book from an earlier time, Upton Sinclair's 'The Goose-Step A Study of American Education” from 1926, which exposed the capitalist corruption of the ivory tower, and bring it up to date with descriptions of far-reaching changes in higher education today.


You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

When: May 22, 2023 09:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

Click here to purchase the book

Click here to buy the book!

INTERVIEW: A Voice from the Monster: Charlene Mitchell in Tricontinental, 1971

Editors, The Black Agenda Review 15 Feb 2023


A 1971 interview with the late Charlene Mitchell reminds us of both the need for Black radical struggle against capitalism, militarism, and racism, and the contradictions of inter-racial organizing around US foreign and domestic terror.

Although the late Charlene Alexander Mitchell (June 8, 1930 – December 14, 2022 ) is among the most important radicals of the twentieth century, she is also among its least celebrated. The celebrity, fame, and notoriety that rained on many other Black radicals does not seem to have touched Mitchell and she has not been associated with a theoretical tendency or school of thought that bears her name. We do not speak of “Mitchellism,” and we do not have a backpack full of the glossy words or catchy phrases that she claims to have coined. While Mitchell left a modest bibliography of published works, she was an organizer, not a writer, and her true legacy is in the archive of her activism and political campaigns: in the campaigns to defend the Black Panther Party and the Wilmington Ten and to free Angela Davis, in her work as Secretary of the Youth Commission of the Communist Party of Southern California and directing the the Che-Lumumba Club in Los Angeles, and in her leadership of the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression (NAARPR) and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. Notably, when Mitchell ran for the presidency of the United States in 1968 (the first Black women to do so) as the nominee for the Communist Party, it was for reasons of political strategy, not the narcissism of personality.

The textual record we do have of Mitchell is unfailingly luminous. In speeches, essays, editorials, and interviews, Mitchell has a political, theoretical, and moral clarity that is too often missing in the present. Mitchell is able to not only map the complexity and contradictions of the political world, but to clearly articulate a strategic path through those complexities and contradictions. Her unflinching, unwavering, and unrevised Marxism certainly helps in this regard. Read, for instance, the 1971 interview Mitchell gave in Cuba to Tricontinental , the Havana-based theoretical organ of the Executive Secretary of the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, or OSPAAAL . In the interview, Mitchell analyzes both the potential and limitations of Black-white alliance in the south, the importance of local anti-racist organizing to have an internationalist, anti-imperialist dimension, the dynamics of race as they cut across the demands of class, and the fact that while the Black struggle may be unique among Third World liberatory movements, it is not exceptional. And yet, Mitchell argues, Black liberation is foundational to any anti-capitalist project.

Charlene Mitchell’s interview with Tricontinental is reproduced below. It deserves serious study.

A Voice from the Monster (read more)

Move the Money campaign in NYC. Try this in your city!

Move the Money-NYC Update

submitted by Tom Gogan

After months of delay, in early December 2022 a new “Move the Money” Resolution 423 was officiallyintroduced at the NYC City Council, with eight co-sponsoring Council members on board. MTM-NYC activists soon reached out to other Council members; and by April, some 22 had become co-sponsors, just a bit short of a majority. CCDSers here in NYC continue to be active in this campaign, led by Ted Reich and myself.

Not that a majority guarantees a hearing in our highly worker-unfriendly local “democracy”!

The Council Speaker in NYC – just like the Speaker in D.C. -- has tremendous capacity to delay or advance any piece of Council legislation, with unchecked power to control the Council’s agenda. Nothing short of massive sustained pressure abetted by the press and media affects that. Council Speaker Adams(unrelated to fellow Democrat Mayor Eric Adams), had supported our earlier Res. 747 in the previous Council, so we had hopes she’d help us spur along Resolution 423. So far that has not been the case at all.

We press on! The delays in some ways help our case, giving us more time to keep reaching out to the public, to get on the radio and independent media, and to make our case to organizations across theCity.

Our latest important ally is the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/ UAW Local 425, which represents over 2600 public service lawyers in and around Metro NYC, which recently overwhelmingly passed their own resolution in support of Res. 423. We are excited to have them on board! This is just one example of our success in uniting labor, community, peace, environmental and faith-based groups in fighting to redirect a significant portion of current military spending towards aiding our communities, even as war and weapons spending rapidly approaches the trillion dollar per YEAR mark. This year it is $858 billion, not

counting the many other indirect aids to US empire built into the “national security” budget.

That’s a level of annual military spending that is on a par with WW2 yearly spending! It is an atrocity – only the war profiteers, top government and military officials and the corporate rulers profit off all this structural militarism in service to the new empire of neoliberal / neocon global attempts at world domination.

As our Move the Money Task Force has tried to demonstrate via our webinars regarding US military

bases, the attack on domestic needs and the creation of military-industrial jobs supplying the military in most every Congressional district, we have a long way to go. But as we all know, the longest journey starts with a single step! We hope Move the Money efforts will pop up, especially in other cities – where our hardest-hit nonwhite working class populations reside, suffer and vote.

For more information, see our new website. Google and it comes right up!

The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and

Socialism (CCDS) joins with four state legislatures, 25 city

councils, 25 labor councils and other labor organizations which

have resolved to:

-end the over sixty-year U.S. embargo/blockade of Cuba 

-Save lives through scientific collaboration with Cuba regarding the Covid-

19 Pandemic, lung cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening illnesses where

Cuban scientists have made enormous progress

-Urge that Cuba be removed from the U.S. List of State Sponsors of Terrorism



The painful hostility between the two countries has gone on far too long

and hurt millions of Cubans and Americans. The United States adopted a

policy of trying to starve the Cuban people into submission shortly after

the Cuban Revolution. While the Revolution survives, the suffering of

the people has continued. When former President Trump added Cuba to

the State Department list of terrorist states, miniscule trade, investment,

and travel to the island worsened. And while candidate Joe Biden

pledged to take Cuba off the terrorism list, he has not done so.

In sum we support all peoples and organizations, such as the IFCO

PASTORS FOR PEACE, who call for a full normalization of relations

between the United States and Cuba.


Tell Biden to stop following Trump on Cuba

by Art Heitzer

From the Wisconsin Peace Action “Mobilizer”

Just nine days before leaving office, Trump‘s Secretary of State Mike

Pompeo added Cuba to a US list of supposed “State Sponsors of

Terrorism” (SSOT). This was the last of over 240 sanctions Trump had

added against Cuba. This reversed President Obama’s 2015

determination that Cuba should not be on this list.

It was widely expected that Biden would follow the facts and not

maintain this unjustified designation. Instead, more than two years

later, this is continuing to cause serious injury to the people of Cuba,

including private entrepreneurs seeking to serve foreign tourists.

Richard Nuccio, former Special Advisor on Cuba affairs to President

Clinton, noted, “Frankly, I don’t know anyone in or outside of

government who believes in private that Cuba belongs on the terrorist

list. People who defend it know it is a political calculation. It keeps a

certain part of the voting public in Florida happy, and it doesn’t cost


Meanwhile, US colleges can’t get insurance for study in Cuba programs,

and any inclination by foreign banks or companies to deal with Cuba is

dashed by the risk they’ll be tarred for dealing with “a terrorist

country.” Further, solely because of this designation, citizens of 40

countries including all of Western Europe are now barred from

eligibility for normal expedited permission to visit the US — if they’ve

visited Cuba — risking their ability to enter the US at all, and at a

minimum delaying any planned trips by many months and costing

hundreds of dollars to seek a US visa. Cuba is cash-strapped, very short

on fuel, food, and even medicine.

The Biden administration appears to be more interested in seeking

advantage from the extreme hardship of our neighbors, than acting in a

reasonable or rational way. The main rationales cited for this listing

early in 2021 was that Cuba had granted asylum to several US figures

such as Assata Shakur some 40 years ago, and also that it had allowed

Colombian rebels to remain in Cuba as part of internationally

sponsored ongoing peace negotiations with the Colombian


But last October Colombia’s elected president Gustavo Petro declared

in front of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that this continued US

listing of Cuba “is an injustice ... that does need to be corrected.”

Rather than defend its position, Blinken other Biden spokespeople have

said repeatedly in the last two years that they are “studying“ this issue.

And while the president could and should use his unilateral authority to

remove Cuba from this list, anti-Cuba Republicans and some Democrats

in Congress are now moving to insert that listing into US law and

remove the president’s authority, conditioning it on factors unrelated

to terrorism (in H..R 314).

For more information visit and please use this easy tool kit

to send a message to both the White House and your representatives in

Congress to take Cuba off this list: acere-advocacy-toolkit

Read Peace Action of Wisconsin Newsletter

Harry Belafonte—Giant of the arts and

the struggle for justice and democracy


Harry Belafonte speaks during a civil rights rally in New York, May 17, 1960. | Jacob Harris / AP

The multi-talented, widely admired performer Harry Belafonte died Tuesday, April 25, at age 96. He was born on March 1, 1927, in New York City as Harold George Bellanfanti, Jr. His ancestry is Jamaican and Martiniquan, and his paternal grandfather had Dutch Jewish origins.

Belafonte’s career took off with the film Carmen Jones (1954). Soon after, he had several hits, such as “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” and “Jamaica Farewell.” In addition to his acting and singing career, Belafonte worked as a champion for many social and political causes.

The oldest son of Caribbean immigrants, Harry Belafonte spent his early years in New York. His mother worked as a dressmaker and a house cleaner, and his father served as a cook in the British Royal Navy. When Belafonte was a young child, his parents divorced and he was sent to Jamaica, his mother’s native country, to live with relatives. There, he saw firsthand the oppression of Black Jamaicans by the British colonial authorities.

Belafonte returned to New York’s Harlem neighborhood in 1939 to live with his mother and was often cared for by others while his mother worked. “The most difficult time in my life was when I was a kid,” he once told People magazine. “My mother gave me affection, but because I was left on my own, also a lot of anguish.”

Dropping out of high school, Belafonte enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944, serving in the Pacific at the end of World War II. After the war, he returned to New York, working a series of odd jobs. But after attending a performance of the American Negro Theater, he found his career inspiration.

He studied acting at the Dramatic Workshop run by famed German émigré director Erwin Piscator. His classmates included Marlon Brando, Walter Matthau, Bea Arthur, Sidney Poitier, and Rod Steiger. Belafonte appeared in numerous American Negro Theater productions but caught his first big break singing for a class project. Offered a chance to perform at a jazz club, the Royal Roost, backed by such musicians as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, Belafonte became a popular act. In 1949, he landed his first recording deal.

Soon, Belafonte switched his musical style, dropping popular music in favor of folk. He became an avid student of traditional folk songs from around the world and started appearing in such New York City folk clubs as the Village Vanguard.

Debuting on Broadway in 1953, Belafonte won a Tony Award for his performance in John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, in which he performed several of his own songs.

On film, Belafonte played a school principal opposite Dorothy Dandridge in his first movie, Bright Road (1953). They reunited the following year for Otto Preminger’s Carmen Jones, a film adaptation of Oscar Hammerstein II’s contemporary, African-American Broadway version of Bizet’s opera Carmen. Belafonte received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Joe, a soldier who falls for the title character, played by Dandridge.

The success of Carmen Jones made Belafonte a star, and soon he became a music sensation. He released Calypso (1956) on RCA Victor, an album featuring his take on traditional Caribbean folk music. “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” became a huge hit. More than just a popular tune, it also had a special meaning for Belafonte. “That song is a way of life,” Belafonte later told The New York Times. “It’s a song about my father, my mother, my uncles, the men and women who toil in the banana fields, the cane fields of Jamaica.”

Calypso introduced America to a new genre of music, selling more than a million copies. As the “King of Calypso,” Belafonte also worked with other folk artists, including Bob Dylan and Odetta.

Belafonte also broke ground as the first African-American television producer, working on numerous musical shows. In the early 1970s, he teamed up with singer Lena Horne for a one-hour special.

By the mid-1970s, Belafonte was no longer hitting the charts, but continued his film career with 1972’s Buck and the Preacher and 1974’s Uptown Saturday Night. Later films include White Man’s Burden (1995), with John Travolta, and Robert Altman’s Kansas City (1996). He also appeared in 2006’s Bobby, a film about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. On television, he appeared on The Muppet Show and with Marlo Thomas on the 1974 children’s special Free To Be. . .You and Me.

The social activist

Belafonte enjoys a laugh with his friend, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. | Harry Belafonte Archives

Always outspoken, Belafonte found inspiration for his activism from such figures as singer Paul Robeson, writer and activist W.E.B. Du Bois, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., with whom Belafonte became close friends.

Belafonte emerged as a strong voice for the civil rights movement. He provided financial backing for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and participated in numerous rallies and protests. Belafonte was with King for the 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., and visited with him days before King was assassinated in 1968.

During the mid-1960s, as the movement against colonialism expanded around the globe, Belafonte began supporting new African artists. He first met exiled South African artist Miriam Makeba, known as “Mama Africa,” in London in 1958, and together they won a Grammy for Best Folk Recording in 1966. He helped introduce her to international and American audiences, thus calling attention to life under South African apartheid.

In the 1980s, Belafonte led an effort to help people in Africa, coming up with the idea of recording a song with other celebrities, to be sold to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, “We Are the World” featured vocals by such music greats as Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, and Smokey Robinson. Released in 1985, it raised millions of dollars and became an international sensation.

Belafonte was a long-time critic of U.S. foreign policy. At various times over the decades, he made statements opposing the U.S. blockade of Cuba, praising Soviet peace initiatives, attacking the U.S. invasion of Grenada, praising the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, honoring Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and praising Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

Belafonte’s visit to Cuba helped ensure hip-hop culture’s place in Cuban society. In 1999, he met with Cuban rappers just before a meeting with Castro. Subsequently, the Cuban government approved funds to help integrate rap music into the country’s musical culture. Rappers gained official recognition and acquired their own recording studio.

Over the years, Belafonte supported many other internationalist solidarity causes as well. In addition to his role as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, he campaigned to end apartheid in South Africa and spoke out against U.S. military actions in Iraq. He met several times with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. He also acted as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues.

Belafonte earned censure in some quarters for his candid opinions. In 2006, he referred to President George W. Bush as “the greatest terrorist in the world” for launching the Iraq War. He also insulted African-American members of the Bush administration Gen. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, referring to them as “house slaves.” Rejecting media pressure, he steadfastly refused to apologize for his remarks. In regards to Powell and Rice, Belafonte said, “You are serving those who continue to design our oppression.”

Reminded that he could expect criticism for his remarks on politics, Belafonte responded: “Bring it on. Dissent is central to any democracy.”

Remained a force for progress

Harry Belafonte showed down during his tenth decade. In 2016, he endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Primary, saying, “I think he represents opportunity, I think he represents a moral imperative, I think he represents a certain kind of truth that’s not often evidenced in the course of politics.”

He produced a new album promoting racial harmony in 2017, When Colors Come Together: The Legacy of Harry Belafonte. It included a new version of “Island in the Sun” with a children’s choir, which he co-wrote for the 1957 film of the same name. “The differences that exist between us should be things that attract us to one another, not alienate us from one another,” Belafonte said when the album was released.

Belafonte was an honorary chair of the Jan. 21, 2017, Women’s March in Washington.

In February of that year, he joined a number of Palestinian groups and renowned figures such as Angela Davis, Alice Walker, and Danny Glover, as well as athlete-activists John Carlos, Craig Hodges, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, signing an open letter urging NFL players to reconsider an invitation to Israel as part of an effort to get them to “become ambassadors of goodwill for Israel.”

In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Belafonte was an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump. He authored a powerful article in the New York Times just before the 2020 vote in which he urged Black voters to pay close attention to what Trump “says when he is ‘alone in the room’ with his white supporters, promising them at his rallies that if he is re-elected, people of color will not invade their ‘beautiful suburbs’ from our ‘disgusting cities.’”

Answering Republican claims that Trump could win Black votes, Belafonte said that African Americans would “not be bought off by the empty promises of the flimflam man.”

Among his many achievements and recognitions, Belafonte won three Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. In 1989 he received the Kennedy Center Honors. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994.

“Art,” said Belafonte: “There’s nothing more powerful in the universe than it, because it is the recorder of the truth.” Speaking of himself, Belafonte said he was “an activist who became an artist: I was not an artist who became an activist.”

Sunday, May 7, 2023


Harry Targ

Remarks prepared for participation in a panel discussion of The Letter  From a Birmingham Jail

Diversity Roundtable Summit

April 29, 2023

Lafayette, Indiana

Barbara Ransby wrote in a recent Nation article about the election of Brandon Johnson to serve as the new mayor of Chicago. Johnson, is an African American, a teacher, and a longtime Chicago Teachers Union activist  She reported  that “Johnson described his victory as the coming together of the civil rights and labor movements, much as Martin Luther King always envisioned.”

Reflecting on the corpus of Dr. King’s writings, speeches and activism suggests a continuity of his worldview and politics over a decade before the dramatic Letter From a Birmingham Jail was written, the seeds of which were planted when Dr. King was a graduate student. Given this approach, it can be argued, that the Letter From a Birmingham Jail represents a piece in the puzzle of King’s work, not the initiation or conclusion of it.

Race and History, Economics, Politics, Culture, and Interpersonal Relations

To clarify we can identify racism as a multidimensional process, with causes that can be understood historically, economically, politically, culturally, and in social psychological terms. Using what may be called a “levels of analysis” approach we can identify the multiple causes and impacts of racism in the United States.

If we begin with the historical and political economy “level”, we see that racism emerges with the introduction of the globalization of capitalism in the fifteenth century. The countries of Northwest Europe, Portugal, Spain, Great Britain, France, Belgium began to traverse the seas, establishing colonies where they could by military conquest. The purpose of such expansion was the acquisition of land, people, and resources. In North and South America, indigenous people were killed and land and resources were appropriated for processing and transport back to the home country and then the world.

Along with technological advances, shipping and guns, and the occupation of land and resources, the colonial powers needed inexpensive labor to grow the crops and extract the gold, silver, and rubber. Thus, with the globalization of capitalism came conquest and the enslavement of peoples, mostly from Africa. In this sense,  modern racism begins with colonialism and slavery. Without slaves kidnapped from their homes and brought to the Western Hemisphere, there would have not been the appropriation and growth of cotton, sugar, coffee, and the extraction of other commodities such as silver and gold. Without land, resources, and slave labor there may not have been the industrial revolution.

Along with global economic realities, the slave system was institutionalized in new constitutions and the creation of military and police forces to control the slave populations. Scholar of white supremacy Theodore Allen noted that when indentured servants, Black and whites, rose up in opposition to the exploitation by large plantation owners in the seventeenth century, these owners “invented” the white race and the Black race. Race was a  social/political creation designed to divide the exploited workers who produced the agricultural commodities and natural resources central to the economic system. Race forever more was used to split the exploited so that they would not join together to overthrow an oppressive system. Again, political institutions were established to ensure the divisions between Blacks and whites. Slaves were defined as three-fifths of a person in the United States constitution, for example. Furthermore, African Americans could not vote, Slave rebellions were crushed, and after the US civil war the system of Jim Crow was established.

In addition, economic and political order was rationalized over and over again by culture. What was written in history books about economic and political institutions, about history, and cultural stereotypes in literature, the stage, radio, television and in virtually every transmission of ideas served to justify the economic and political systems based on race. Racist narratives found their way into science, religion, and educational curricula. And finally, the institutionalization of racism historically, economically, politically, and culturally was reproduced every day in interpersonal contacts. Here is where the word “discrimination” fits.\

It is important to add that while each of these levels of racism reinforce each other to create a powerful system of white supremacy, they all are affected, shaped, and challenged by resistance. All of these forces, economic, political, cultural, and interpersonal are not omniscient. And Dr King articulated and organized against these forces his entire life. And his Letter from a Birmingham Jail argues particularly for an ethical and political resistance against racism at all levels.

The Letter therefore is located in a community struggle, a political culture of racism, a regional institution of segregation, and the need for resistance. Also it was implicitly about the history of slavery, systems of oppression based on “haves” and “have nots” and the common struggles of people of color all over the world.

The Importance of Class Struggle for Dr. King’s Project of Resistance

Dr. King’s thinking about the need for an alliance between the civil rights and labor movements was expressed many times. As far back as 1957 at a convention of the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) he asserted that “organized labor can be one of the most powerful instruments in putting an end to discrimination and segregation.” During an organizing effort of the Hospital Workers Local 1199 in the fall of 1964, King was a featured speaker at a fundraising rally, He said of the 1199 struggle;

“Your great organizing crusade to win union and human rights for New Jersey hospital workers is part and parcel of the struggle we are conducting in the Deep South. I want to congratulate your union for charting a road for all labor to follow-dedication to the cause of the underpaid and exploited workers in our nation.”

Upon his return from Norway in 1964 after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, King returned to the picket line, this time in support of Black women workers of the Chemical Workers union at the Scripto Pen Plant in Atlanta. He said there: “Along with the struggle to desegregate, we must engage in the struggle for better jobs. The same system that exploits the Negro exploits the poor white…”

Dr. King recognized in the Letter that the Birmingham struggle paralleled the struggles of Black and Brown people going on all around the world to liberate themselves from the historical patterns of colonialization then just ending. Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever, he wrote. “The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro….Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South /America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice.”

And finally the Dr. King of Birmingham connected the race and class issues at home with US imperial war in Vietnam in his famous Riverside Church speech of 1967: “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken,” He spoke defiantly of the need for a “radical revolution of values,”  an unremitting commitment to “go out into a sometimes hostile world, declaring eternal opposition to poverty, racism, and militarism.”

The Relevance of Dr, Martin Luther King for Today

This Diversity Round Table Summit demonstrated the continued relevance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s work, protests, writings, speeches, for today. The material above reminds us that Dr. King was fully aware of the history, economics, politics, culture, and interpersonal relations of racism in his day. He was also cognizant of the connections of  domestic political life and international relations. The struggles for social and economic justice, for King, were truly global.

Therefore we can conclude these brief remarks with the following conclusions about the relevance of Dr. King, and his writings, such as The Letter From a Birmingham Jail.

This relevance for today includes the facts that:

--he articulated what is today a global struggle against violence and war

--he articulated what we see today as the enormity of economic inequalities within countries as well as between them

--he emphasized that combatting racism, white supremacy, and neo-colonialism require alliances between the poor, the oppressed including women, and workers

--he correctly argued that a just society, local and global, a beloved community is one in which people's needs are met, cooperation supersedes competition, and every member of these communities is an active and equal participant in their development.\

Today visionaries in the King tradition include Vijay Prashad, Medea Benjamin and members of Code Pink. And particularly Reverent William Barber and the New Poor People’s Campaign, and the thousands of young people, workers, who are struggling to acquire the right to form unions, and Black Lives Matter activists, are pursuing the King legacy.


Suggested reading: Michael K. Honey, To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice,W.W. Norton, 2018.



by Carl Davidson

Why are we witnessing the recent uptick in perfectly innocent encounters at front doors being met with 'justified' homicides that this Washington Post report asks? First, there is no justice in any of them. The killers should face homicide charges. But second, this piece digs deeper into how we need to think about the matter. 'Fear' is cited as the underlying motive, especially in fear of strangers.

At my age, I can remember a different time. The doors in our house were rarely locked. The car keys were kept in the car. A stranger approaching our house was greeted with a welcoming 'hello,' and the assumption was he or she was a salesperson, an evangelist, or someone lost seeking directions. And we were almost entirely right. I asked my Dad once if he was worried about robbers when we weren't home. 'Nah,' he replied. 'The neighbors will watch out for us, and we do it for them.'

A time of innocence? No, it was a time of a greater 'normal' community. With the rise of neoliberalism in the early 1980s, Ms. Thatcher sold us all a warped bill of goods when she asserted, 'There is no such thing as society, only individuals and families.' In fact, she replaced society with its opposite, an anti-social individualism rooted in 'fear of the other.'

Our far right has made Ms. Thatcher's delusion into what Antonio Gramsci, the famed Italian Marxist of the 1920s and 1930s, called 'common sense,' meaning ideas that are widely held, not in the American sense of 'practicality.' Fortunately, Gramsci also pointed out the opposing element in our conflicted consciousness, what he called 'good sense.' This is made up mainly of things we learn from science and work, both in skills and human relations, as in teamwork and solidarity.

We need to expand our 'good sense' to overpower the most irrational and destructive elements of our 'common sense.' One prominent and flawed bit of 'common sense' shared by many is that there is such a thing as a 'white race and you're in it,' plus the 'darker races are inherently dangerous.'

I'm also old enough to remember when our part of the country was blessed with a stronger sense of solidarity, partly formed into the blue-collar struggles of labor against capital. But the solidarity stretched beyond wages and conditions. It needed improvement, to be sure, but it also meant community and working for the common good, inside and outside of the mill or factories. It's why the bowling alley was packed five nights a week with dozens of 'leagues.' Social bonds were formed and maintained. As my Dad said, 'The neighbors will watch out for us.'

While it's been pushed down, that underlying solidarity and other forms of 'good sense' is still with us. We need to find every way we can to build it up and bring itto the surface in a strong way. We don't have to unlock our doors or leave the keys in the car. But at least we won't be so afraid of a cheerleader selling candy bars at our door that we shoot her first and ask questions later.

It is Time to Examine Alternatives to The Deficit Myth

by Harry Targ

During the last several years, newer generations of economists have begun to question the proposition that the federal debt constitutes a fundamental threat to the survival of the US economy and polity. For example, Stephanie Kelton, a Professor of Economics at the University of Stonybrook, builds on the emerging tradition of “modern monetary theory” (MMT). (The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy, Public Affairs, 2020).

Professor Kelton discusses four key elements of MMT. First, using the household budget as a metaphor for governmental budgeting is inappropriate. Family debt can be incurred but over time must be repaid. In the twenty-first century many households and individuals can charge goods and services they purchase but the expenditures have to be paid for in a relatively short order. Politicians of both parties then argue by analogy that government expenditures have to be repaid. Therefore, short-term deficits should be avoided or repaid in subsequent national budgets. Of course, these strictures are not adhered to even by the most fiscally conservative politicians. They give blank checks to the military, and they support pork barrel legislation advantageous to their favorite lobbyists and districts. And, of course, these same politicians who oppose deficit spending are the first to endorse massive tax cuts for the rich.

Second, Professor Kelton argues, however, that while some spending might be irresponsible, sovereign governments are not analogous to household or individual spenders. This raises the issue of sovereignty. Max Weber pointed out over one hundred years ago that states hold a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Modern Monetary Theorists argue that nation-states also have a monopoly on the issuing of money. States can print as much money as is needed by the economy. Contrary to individuals and families, who are not sovereign, governments do not have to repay themselves.

Third, therefore, sovereign governments can use their capacity to print money to support projects that promote the general health and welfare of the society. They do not have to accept the myth that the debt will somehow punish future generations, create chaos, and destroy the normal course of social and political interactions.

Fourth, the deficit hawks warn that the printing of money could have negative consequences, the most often discussed is uncontrollable inflation. That is, with the printing of more and more money, the price of goods and services could skyrocket. Professor Kelton and others have referred to historical examples of unbridled inflation that destabilized economies and societies, what former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels called “the failed regimes of history.” Although Kelton argues that inflationary spirals can occur, and have historically occurred, it has been because too much money chased too few goods and services. In other words, if citizens/consumers acquire more money while the production of goods and services stagnate, the price of those commodities can rise to dangerous levels. What this suggests to MMT is that the printing of money should be proportional to societal needs, the availability of goods and services, and the employment of workers.

In sum, MMT suggests that the printing of money can be calibrated to the fulfillment of short and long-term needs.  Money could and should be provided for health care for all, support for education (K through university), structural renovation, transitioning away from fossil fuels, the creation of jobs for all and universal basic income programs, and support for a Green New Deal. These programs were vitally needed before the pandemic and are even more essential since its onset. Of course, cutting military spending, pork-barrel legislation, and creating a progressive tax system helps. But the human needs articulated by progressives should be defended. And doing so requires a realistic assessment of the causes and consequences of national debt. History has shown that the idea of “the debt” has been an ideological tool used to challenge the creation of a just society. 

We're trying something new, and you are all invited.

Saturday Morning Coffee!

A Zoom conversation with Carl Davidson and comrades from the Online University of the Left...and other places as well.

It will be more of a hangout than a formal setting. We can review the news in the previous days' Leftlinks, or add new topic. We can invite guests, or just carry on with those who show up. We'll try to have a progressive stack keeper, should we need one. Most of all, we will try to be interesting and a good sounding board. If you have at point you would like to make or a guest to invite, send an email to Carl Davidson,

Continuing weekly, 10:30 to Noon, EDT. The Zoom link will also be available on our Facebook Page. 

Meeting ID: 868 9706 5843

Let's see what happens!

Watch a video of Saturday Morning Coffee

China: peoples congress, expanding economy, world stage

SEP's Fourth Monday in April

The Man Who Changed Colors, the new mystery novel by esteemed labor journalist Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a sequel to his acclaimed debut The Man Who Fell From The Sky. It's the story of one reporter's search for the truth when a shipyard worker mysteriously falls to his death. Release date: April 10.

Also in development, an exhilarating non-fiction thriller about the group of San Francisco dock workers who refused to load arms to send to a fascist regime in El Salvador (title & release date TBD).

So Far From Home is a collection of fiction and creative nonfiction stories by immigrants working in Singapore, a long way from their own Viet Nam, China, Philippines or Malaysia.

From Little Heroes Press we will have the inspiring true story of a group of New York City kids who got the bill banning pesticides in school yards and public arks into law (Working title: Please Don't Poison Me!). Release date TBA.

We will also have A Piece of The Pie, a sequel to the adorable The Cabbage That Came Back. In this installment, Bunny Rabbit organizes the workers in mean Mr. Weasel's pie factory. Who better than a field rabbit to teach your kids the value of a grass-roots campaign?

So stay tuned, there are many great things to come from your favorite labor and social justice publishing house. And don't forget to check out our current catalogue, it's not too late to buy a book from our Hard Ball Press web site for the holidays

Solidarity forever, Timothy Sheard, editor Hard Ball & Little Heroes Press

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

Vijay Prashad, “The Rise of ‘The Darker Nations’ in the 21st Century: Responses to Crises of War, Poverty, and Environmental Disaster

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.
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San Francisco, CA 94110
415 863-6637