Campaigning for Democracy And Socialism
Sept 15, 2023: The Week in Review
Wars of Movement Within Wars of Position:
UAW, Universities, the Deep State, and More
Our Weekly Editorial
The cartoon to the right, one of a set created by anarchist-minded students, takes aim at both the fears of the right and the liberal use of Gramsci in the academy.

The rightwing fears it has lost the 'culture wars' a long time ago, starting with a Gramsci-inspired New Left of the 1960s. The liberal professors get a wink for their readiness to apply Gramsci to everything, to render themselves more profound.

Our take is to highlight the truth in both sides of the humor. Understanding today's political terrain is helped considerably by making use of Gramsci's framework of 'wars of position' and 'wars of movement.' They can be used to frame an entire period as well as subsets within a given period.

Today, for example, we are overall in a period of the strategic defensive, and not yet at strategic stalemate and the strategic offensive. That means our situation is non-revolutionary, we are building our strength in the 'war of position,' waging drawn-out battles in all the institutions of civil society, including the electoral arena and trade unions.

But every period divides into two. Within our strategic 'war of position,' wars of movement' erupt, often dramatically. The women's mass actions following Trump's election, the George Floyd rising against white supremacy, and this week's trade union insurgencies, especially the UAW, for also the writers in Hollywood, the Starbucks baristas, and the Amazon workers.

Our task is to make the most of these insurgencies, to build organization and campaigns within them as they flow and ebb. That helps us enter the next wave with greater organized strength. We have to walk on both legs. Only stressing 'position' or 'movement' leads to stagnation or burnout. Not everything in the Gramsci cartoon is useless hype. Our adversaries fear his lessons for good reasons. The Italian genius who left us too soon still has a lot to offer. And too many who praise him miss the main point: he was a communist, and building 'The Modern Prince, the revolutionary organization, was the apple of his eye.

Please send us your letters, comments, queries, complaints, new ideas. Just keep them short and civil. Longer commentaries and be submitted as articles.

Click Here to send a letter


We're going to try something new, and you are all invited.

Saturday Morning Coffee!

Started in August 2022, then going forward every week.

It will be more of a hangout than a formal setting. We can review the news in the previous days' LeftLinks or add a new topic. We can invite guests or 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 a 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!

Reconstructing a Rainbow Democracy Vs.
Redeeming a White Supremacist Nationalism

Go here for the website:

The YouTube presentation by Carl Davidson and the discussion is linked below.

Dear Friends and Comrades:
Join us as we Celebrate the Life of our comrade and friend, Pat Fry.

  • Zoom will start at 6pm.  

     When: Sept 22, 2023 
     Time:  6:00 PM, ET;

Join Zoom Meeting

Abortion Rights and
the Future of State Constitutions

Tues Sept 19, 6pm EST
Brennan Center for Justice

As the U.S. Supreme Court retreats from protecting many civil rights, it has opened a vacuum for state courts to fill. State constitutions, which often include rights not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, have taken on new importance. There has been a flurry of state court activity since the Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling in Dobbs ended the federal constitutional right to an abortion.

With so much at stake, the Brennan Center for Justice has launched State Court Report, offering context and commentary about notable state cases, legal trends, and cutting-edge scholarship. On the State Court Report website, newsletter, and in events, experts will take a closer look at state constitutional rights litigation and the consequences for American democracy.

Panelists include Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court; David Cohen, a reproductive rights scholar at Drexel University; and Alicia Bannon, director of the Brennan Center Judiciary Program and editor-in-chief of State Court Report, and Emily Bazelon of the New York Times Magazine and Yale Law School

Sign up to the Liberation Road Newsletter

SEP 15, 2023

Welcome…to the first of many posts from the comrades, friends and fellow travelers of Liberation Road, a socialist organization keen on mass struggle, study, left refoundation, and the revolutionary chutzpah of both the multi-racial working class AND the many oppressed peoples and nations.

It’s our 38th year!

In nearly four decades, we’ve helped write and produce Forward Motion, Road Signs, many pamphlets, and countless articles for various publishers. We are bringing you this newsletter now because history is rumbling. The neoliberal consensus is kaput. That common sense of billionaire bourgeoisie, generals, big politicians and think tanks which for a long time stabilized the global system of theft we call capitalism, hasn’t been working so well lately.

Inequality that will give you vertigo, cinematic climate catastrophe, more forms of sickness and violence than cereal on the shelf—all are dissolving the foundations of our political status quo. The people, money, and ideas in the center that have bound the elite together since the late 70s will hold no longer. 

Peril and Possibility

When the old falls down, when there is a crisis, when something new is possible, there is both great hope and great danger. The offspring of Adams, Calhoun, Jackson, Goldwater, Reagan– the white christian fascist movement, AKA the New Confederate political bloc, is strong. To defeat it will require a long-term, strategic effort from our bloc in favor of social democracy, racial justice, bodily autonomy and democracy. Click here for more
Last Week's Saturday Morning Coffee
News of the Week, Plus More
A bit of Gallows Humor to Start Us Off...

Republicans Demand Biden Tell Them
Why They Are Impeaching Him

By Andy Borowitz
The New Yorker

Sept 14, 2023 - WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In an irate letter to the White House, Kevin McCarthy and other congressional Republicans have demanded that President Biden reveal why they are impeaching him.

The letter claims that, after Republicans announced their impeachment inquiry, “the White House has stubbornly refused to provide us with any reasons for our doing so.”

The Republicans go on to demand that Biden reveal the rationale for his ouster “immediately, or face the consequences.”

“The American people are waiting, Mr. President, for you to explain to us why we are impeaching you,” the letter concludes. “Your silence will not be forgiven.” ...Read More
PHOTO: President Biden on September 13 BY KEVIN DIETSCH/GETTY IMAGES

Joe Biden’s Impeachment Opportunity

Republicans are giving the president a foil
and the chance to reset his own narrative.

By Alan Shephard
The New Republic

Spt 13, 2023 - Democrats are right to laugh off House Republicans’ futile effort to impeach President Joe Biden, as Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman did on Tuesday. The inquiry, announced earlier this week by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, is embarrassing and futile, a waste of everyone’s time.

House Republicans are quite open about the fact that they have no evidence of any wrongdoing and have instead gestured wildly to a massive conspiracy that they will “uncover”—proof that they don’t have the goods.

The vague, sinister-sounding bribery and corruption charges Republicans have invented are no actual justification for either inquiry or action: Multiple investigations have found no evidence of wrongdoing by the president. The impeachment effort is strictly political.

Republicans want to impeach Biden, both because many believe wild, false, fever-swamp narratives about the Biden family’s venality and corruption and because they want to get revenge for House Democrats’ impeachments of Donald Trump. (Some may also believe that it will damage Biden’s reelection chances, though that is far from certain.) McCarthy, ever-vulnerable as speaker, needs to keep his right flank happy. And so Republicans will embark on a silly, self-defeating impeachment that is certain to fail.

Given the bombastic rhetoric coming out of a likely impeachment effort, some Democrats may be tempted to ignore the whole affair rather than draw attention to the obviously false and insane charges. That would be a mistake, however. The impeachment will offer the Democrats a strong, early opportunity to make their best election argument: that Republicans are fundamentally unfit to govern. It will, moreover, also serve as an early opportunity to test the strength of Biden’s reelection effort more broadly.

The strongest case Democrats have against impeachment is that it’s not only a waste of time but is coming at the expense of governing: that the House GOP is privileging frivolous, political investigations over trying to fix a host of other pressing problems. Voters remain skeptical of the Biden administration’s economic record, despite its many substantial successes. As more projects funded by the Inflation Reduction Act pop up around the country, the administration can point to these as the tangible progress possible when they’re allowed to govern—as opposed to the political circus unfolding in Congress.

That clown show is also a gift because of timing. A government shutdown is looming—if appropriations bills aren’t passed by September 30, it will happen. And yet House Republicans are more concerned with their ridiculous impeachment inquiry than they are with averting what could be (another) catastrophic shutdown. Maybe the speaker will be able to do both at once—many observers see the impeachment push as a McCarthy sop to get his right flank to agree to fund the government—but that seems unlikely, especially given his precarious perch as House speaker. An actual impeachment—i.e., with the House Judiciary Committee being tasked with writing articles of impeachment—is unlikely in the next three weeks, of course. But the inquiry’s existence is an obvious distraction from more pressing issues.

Most importantly, however, the impeachment inquiry allows Biden to reset the political narrative. Voters have been wary of his leadership for some time—his poll numbers cratered in the late summer of 2021 and have hardly recovered. One possible explanation is the lack of a serious alternative or rival. Donald Trump remains the leader of the Republican Party but has hardly regained the prominence he held in the American political imagination before January 6, 2021. He has only recently started tweeting, he refused to participate in the one Republican presidential debate that has occurred, and it seems unlikely that he will show up to the one being held later this month. American politics is something of a vacuum at the moment, with Biden—an aging and often uninspiring figure—at its center, lacking a visible foil. The lack of a real contrast has been an albatross, especially in an era dominated by negative partisanship. The impeachment inquiry represents the first opportunity to reset that narrative. It makes McCarthy, a Trump lackey, the face of the opposition. (The fact that Trump has been pushing the impeachment behind the scenes only makes it easier for Team Biden.) ...Read More
UAW: What Is The Stand Up Strike?

The Stand Up Strike is our generation’s answer to the movement that built our union, the Sit-Down Strikes of 1937.

Then as now, we face massive inequality across our society. Then as now, our industry is rapidly changing and workers are being left behind. Then as now, our labor movement is redefining itself.

This is a strike that grows over time, giving our national negotiators maximum leverage and maximum flexibility to win a record contract.


The Stand Up Strike is a new approach to striking. Instead of striking all plants all at once, select locals will be called on to “Stand Up” and walk out on strike.

As time goes on, more locals may be called on to “Stand Up” and join the strike. This gives us maximum leverage and maximum flexibility in our fight to win a fair contract at each of the Big Three automakers.

Locals that are NOT called on to join the Stand Up Strike will keep working. We will NOT extend the contracts, so you will be working without an agreement. Click here to learn more about what that means.


That option is still on the table. The Stand Up Strike gives your national negotiators maximum flexibility. The Stand Up Strike gives our union the ability to escalate all the way up to a national, all-out work stoppage if necessary. It keeps the companies guessing, and builds economic leverage against the Big Three over time if they refuse to negotiate a contract we deserve.


The national leadership will communicate with regional and local leadership, who will walk members off the job if their local is on strike. This will be very clear, and communicated from national to regional to local leadership, and announced to our membership list shortly before we announce new targets publicly.

Always follow the lead of your local leadership.


If your local is not called to strike you will keep working. Your contract will not be extended, which means you will be working under an expired agreement. There are special rules that you need to be aware of, but also special rights against certain workplace changes made by management.

For a full rundown of working under an expired agreement, click here. For our digital palm card explaining the basics, click here.

You should be organizing rallies, protests, supporting active picket lines, spreading awareness and organizing in your community. It is imperative that the companies see that EACH local is prepared to Stand Up and go out on strike on a moment’s notice, if called to do so by national UAW leadership.


Please familiarize yourself with our FAQ on Strikes and UAW Strike Assistance, here.


If your local is not called to “Stand Up” and go on strike, you will be working under an expired agreement. Many unions work under expired agreements, which is part of our strategy in our Stand Up Strike. Learn more about your rights and obligations: ...Read More

An excited group of six, mostly African American, hold up fists and blue UAW contract campaign signs. Photo: UAW.

When Auto Workers Stand Up, Here's How to Stand with Them

By Keith Brower Brown
Labor Notes

Sept 13, 2023 - This article has been updated to identify the plants where workers will strike on day one.

The Auto Workers (UAW) strike, which the union is dubbing the "Stand Up Strike," could be a turning point for the U.S. labor movement—and all of us across the movement can lend a hand to help the strikers win.

Cross-union solidarity can turn up the heat on the Big 3 to end tiers and make green jobs good jobs. It can also boost strikers’ morale and build connections that endure for years to come.

When Frito-Lay workers went on strike two summers ago in Topeka, Kansas, the Bakery Workers were amazed at the support they received, including from UAW members who brought them water and donuts.

“It was unbelievable how many unions showed up to support us,” said striker Chantel Mendenhall. “A lot of us now have an idea of how it could be if unions stuck together like that.”

Three weeks after their own strike ended, she and some co-workers got in a car on one of their rare weekends off and drove eight hours to support striking Nabisco workers in Colorado.

“Never once had I considered going and standing on somebody else’s strike line or bringing them food and water,” Mendenhall said. “Now I’m like, ‘Oh, this is what we do for each other! I get it now!’”

Here are tips for those of us near an auto plant—and for those far away, too.


Find a UAW Big 3 workplace near you. This map shows every Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis workplace that might strike, including assembly plants and parts distribution centers—some of the latter are all over the country, not only in the Midwest.
Three plants will strike on Friday: Stellantis’s Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio; GM’s Wentzville Assembly Center, near St. Louis; and the final assembly and paint departments at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, west of Detroit. Other facilities may join as the strike escalates in the days ahead.

Many plants run 24 hours, so pickets will be up day and night. Sites that don’t strike may still have rallies you can look out for.

A major rally featuring UAW President Shawn Fain and Senator Bernie Sanders is planned for Friday, September 15, in Detroit; find details here. Wear red!

Organize a crew from your workplace. Instead of showing up alone to a picket line, bring your co-workers out too.

Talk to co-workers on your breaks or at a union meeting about why this strike matters to you—perhaps as a fight that could set standards against tiers and forced overtime, or as an inspiring model if your local needs to strike.

You and your excited co-workers could also spread the word in any community organizations you’re a part of. Your soccer team, for instance, already knows how to take a side together.

Reach out to strikers beforehand. The best way to figure out where and when you’re most needed is to ask. Let them know you’ve got a group from your union that wants to support the strike.

A personal contact is ideal; ask your co-workers if anybody has friends or family in the UAW nearby. You can also ask around in community groups you’re active in, or your local labor council. If that runs dry, Google the UAW local for the site you’re going to, and call their union hall for advice.

Make a sign that says who you are and why you’re there. “Nurses stand with UAW for healthy jobs” and “Teachers agree: no more 60-hour weeks!” will lift spirits, catch the eye of local press, and spook managers.


Get to know strikers. Meet new people, and introduce yourself with your workplace or union. Ask which demands are most important to them, and why. Ask if you can get their number to coordinate when to show up in the future, and stay in touch about local union issues together.

Bring food and firewood. Nourishing food and extra wood to warm the night shifts will be appreciated. Your local can chip in to cover costs. Grocery stores or local restaurants will sometimes be game to donate, if you ask a few days beforehand.

Adopt a picket line. Solidarity isn’t a one-time gig. Once the strike gets rolling, get advice from strikers on a specific picket shift that often needs extra hands and supplies. Make it a point of pride for your solidarity crew to make that shift two to three times a week.

Flying squadrons. If you’re in an area with multiple picket lines, get a crew together to roll through a few. That’s a tradition in the UAW that strikers will love to see turned back their way.

Spread the strikers’ message. Once you get to know a striker, ask if you can take a short video of them saying what they're fighting for, and why community support matters to them. Ask if you can share it with your co-workers or on your social media. Put a few picket-line quotes in a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, along with why this is your fight too.


Pressure the profiteers. BlackRock, Capital Group, and Vanguard are finance giants who are top shareholders across the Big 3, and they have offices that might be closer to you than a plant.

General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis have authorized $5 billion in stock buybacks in the last year. At the same time they've been throwing cash at investors, major Big 3 plants have claimed they're in an “emergency” to force auto workers into 60-hour weeks to keep their jobs.

Public spaces in front of these profiteer offices are fair game for non-UAW members to protest and spread the word: auto workers deserve more, and big investors have taken what they never toiled to earn.

As a last resort, call. In-person pickets and rallies will build relationships and pressure the boss the most.  ...Read More
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Will January 6th be Buried Like the JFK Assassination?

Will January 6th be like the Kennedy assassination? Will we never know the whole story?

By Thom Hartmann
The Hartmann Report

SEPT 14, 2023 - This week we heard from a Secret Service agent who says there was more than one shooter at Dealy Plaza in Dallas back in November 1963. JFK’s top aide, Dave Powers — who was in the car just behind JFK at the time of the assassination — told me the same thing, as Lamar Waldron and I reported in our book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination.

While people may disagree on their favorite theory of who was behind and who executed the killing, there’s broad agreement across America that we still don’t know the entire story (and the CIA and FBI continue to refuse to declassify thousands of pages of documents).

Will January 6th be like the Kennedy assassination? Will we never know the whole story?

Andrea Junker recently tweeted:

  • “Anybody else still curious who planted the pipe bombs, disabled Mike Pence’s key card, removed the panic button in Ayanna Presley’s office, and shared the locations of non-reinforced Capitol windows?”

Inquiring minds want to know.

In a troubling turn, a new biography of Mitt Romney by McKay Coppins dropped this week, with a fascinating excerpt published in The Atlantic. In it, Coppins tells the story of Romney hearing, on January 2nd, from Maine Senator Angus King that a high-ranking Pentagon official had just given him a mind-blowing warning:

  • “Law enforcement has been tracking online chatter among right-wing extremists who appear to be planning something bad on the day of Donald Trump’s upcoming rally in Washington, D.C. The president has been telling them the election was stolen; now they’re coming to steal it back.

  • “There’s talk of gun smuggling, of bombs and arson, of targeting the traitors in Congress who are responsible for this travesty. Romney’s name has been popping up in some frightening corners of the internet, which is why King needed to talk to him. He isn’t sure Romney will be safe.”

Alarmed, Romney reached out to Mitch McConnell with a text message:

  • “In case you have not heard this, I just got a call from Angus King, who said that he had spoken with a senior official at the Pentagon who reports that they are seeing very disturbing social media traffic regarding the protests planned on the 6th.

  • “There are calls to burn down your home, Mitch; to smuggle guns into DC, and to storm the Capitol. I hope that sufficient security plans are in place, but I am concerned that the instigator—the President—is the one who commands the reinforcements the DC and Capitol police might require.”

Romney’s concern was prescient. But the interaction (Mitch McConnell never replied to Romney) leaves us with more questions than answers.

For example, why did Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller issue a memo on January 4th explicitly saying that the DC National Guard was:

  • — Not authorized to be issued weapons, ammunition, bayonets, batons, or ballistic protection equipment such as helmets and body armor.
  • — Not to interact physically with Trump’s protestors, except when necessary in self-defense or defense of others.
  • — Not to employ any riot control agents.
  • — Not to share equipment with law enforcement agencies.
  • — Not authorized to use Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets or to conduct ISR or Incident, Awareness, and Assessment activities in assistance to Capitol Police.
  • — Not allowed to employ helicopters or any other air assets.
  • — Not to conduct searches, seizures, arrests, or other similar direct law enforcement activity.
  • — Not authorized to seek support from any non-DC National Guard units.

Why didn’t our federal police, investigative, and military agencies do anything when they knew full well in advance that an armed mob was coming to the Capitol to try to overthrow our government, and that many within the mob were armed and willing to kill (and did) to try to accomplish their goal?

Why, afterward, did the Secret Service and the Department of Defense wipe their phones so the data could never be retrieved?

Why has there never been a public examination of most of this? What did then-and-now FBI Director Christopher Wray know, and when did he know it?

It’s as if a small-town police force was warned that a gang of bank robbers was on their way into town on the following Saturday, and that weekend the entire police force decided to leave their phones off the hook and go fishing. And after the bank was robbed, they all said they didn’t realize they’d really intended to rob the town’s bank. And then destroyed the note warning them the robbers were coming to town.

Why are so few people openly speculating that corrupt individuals — possibly only a handful — within the FBI, Secret Service, and Department of Defense may have participated in a plot led by Donald Trump to overthrow our government? And how many of Trump’s stooges are still in our government, perhaps waiting for his return?

Why isn’t our media pursuing these questions?

Is it simply because treason is such an unimaginably heinous act? Does journalistic integrity require them to await “smoking gun” evidence that, at the very least, some people within these organizations were knowing or unknowing participants in Trump’s plot to become America’s last president? Is it fear of losing sources in these agencies?

If this isn’t bad enough, on January 6th itself — as armed traitors were attacking police and searching to “hang Mike Pence” — Chris Miller oversaw a mid-afternoon, mid-riot conference call in which Army Secretary McCarthy was again begging for authority to immediately bring in the National Guard.

Then-Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations General Charles Flynn, the brother of convicted/pardoned foreign agent General Michael Flynn (who had been pushing Trump to declare martial law and have the military seize voting machines nationwide) was on the call; both the Pentagon and the Army, it has been reported, lied to the press, Congress, and, apparently, to the Biden administration about his presence on that call for almost a year.

It wasn’t until December, 2021 that it was widely reported that the National Security Council’s Colonel Earl Matthews (who was also on the call) wrote a memo calling both Charles Flynn and Lt. Gen Walter Piatt, the Director of Army Staff, “absolute and unmitigated liars” for their testimony to Congress in which they both denied they’d argued to withhold the National Guard on January 6th.

Then we discovered that the phones and text messages of most of the group, including Chris Miller, Walter Piatt, Kash Patel, and Ryan McCarthy were all wiped of all conversations and text messages they had on and in the lead-up to January 6th.

Most of the communication-based evidence was destroyed. Completely destroyed. By coincidence, they said. And the FBI, still run by Trump appointee Wray, seems to have never followed up on any of it.

Why was the riot gear for the Capitol Police stored — after they were warned a mob would be coming for them — in a locked bus? As The Washington Post reported:

  • “As a mob incited by President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, officers scrambled to get the body armor. But the bus was locked, and no one could find the key. They were forced to defend the complex, and themselves, in their regular uniforms. All told, about 140 officers reported suffering injuries during the most significant breach of the Capitol since the War of 1812.”

Was it the same person or people who disabled Presley’s panic buttons?

How did the mob know the secret hideaway that Jim Clyburn used for most of his work when they came looking to possibly lynch him with the noose they had outside? He told CBS News:

  • “They knew where to go. … Yes, somebody on the inside of those buildings were complicit in this.” Adding, “The office with my name on the door was not touched. But the office where I do most of my work in, they were on that floor and outside that door.”

Why has there been no follow-up to Lauren Boebert live-tweeting the location of Nancy Pelosi as she was being hunted for assassination?

Why haven’t we heard any more about the members of Congress who were giving tours to insurrectionists? Why has there been no investigation whatsoever — at least that the public knows anything about — into complicity at the highest levels of our government?

And now we’re watching with jaws agape as Tommy Tuberville is holding open hundreds of senior military positions in a fashion similar to the way Mitch McConnell held Merrick Garland’s seat on the Supreme Court open for well over a year before Trump took office in 2017.

That would be the Senator Tuberville whose hometown newspaper printed pictures showing him in Trump’s private residence the evening of January 5th, 2021, at what appears to be a planning session just hours before the Capitol was invaded.

As the Alabama Political Reporter newspaper reported at the time:

  • “The night before the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville and the then-director of the Republican Attorneys General Association met with then-President Donald Trump’s sons and close advisers, according to a social media post by a Nebraska Republican who at the time was a Trump administration appointee. 

  • “Charles W. Herbster, who was then the national chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee in Trump’s administration, in a Facebook post at 8:33 p.m. on Jan. 5 said that he was standing ‘in the private residence of the President at Trump International with the following patriots who are joining me in a battle for justice and truth.’ …

  • “Among the attendees, according to Herbster’s post, were Tuberville, former RAGA director Adam Piper, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, adviser Peter Navarro, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and 2016 deputy campaign manager David Bossie.”

Tuberville has denied to the press that he was at the meeting, but the Alabama Political Reporter noted not only the pictures of him there but also reprinted Facebook and Instagram posts from others who attended citing Tuberville as being part of this particular war room event planning for January 6th.

One, a rightwing tech CEO named Daniel Beck, even wrote on Instagram just before midnight January 5th (with a picture at the hotel) that he’d just:

  • “[S]pent the evening with Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tommy Tuberville, Michael J. Lindell, Peter Navarro, and Rudy Giuliani. We talked about the elections, illegal votes, court cases, the republics’ status, what to expect on the hill tomorrow. TRUMP WILL RETAIN THE PRESIDENCY!!!”

Remember, it was the military that apparently refused to go along with Trump’s plan for them to seize voting machines and help him overturn the election and appoint himself dictator-for-life.

Is Tuberville holding those seats open for a second Trump term so Trump can appoint leaders to our military who will go along with the next seditious attempt?

The excerpt from the new Romney biography is alarming, but when put into the context of these other revelations it becomes outright shocking.

It’s been 60 years since JFK was murdered, and we still don’t know the whole story. We can’t afford to wait 60 years to find out who was in on the attempt to overthrow our government on January 6th.

Americans deserve some answers. ...Read More
Fox News: A Festival of Biden Bashing, some Border Crisis Hysteria, and More Hunter Nonsense.

A condensed overview of 15 hours of Fox News for the week ending 9/10/23

By Juliet Jeske

SEPT 12, 2023: Fox News went from briefly ignoring the former President Donald J. Trump to obsessing about polls that showed Trump beating Biden in any number of metrics. The network shaped the presidential race as a beleaguered genius who was beloved by the American people who would solve every problem if he just got four more years in office.

Fox News personalities largely ignored the 91 criminal charges the former president is facing along with the civil trials that will likely distract him as his campaign progresses. Hunter Biden’s legal problems and the border crisis were also major topics on the network last week.

As usual Fox News failed to inform its viewers about various climate disasters, new Biden administration policies that could help nursing home residents and various developments in the war in Ukraine along with the growing humanitarian crisis that could lead to a genocide in Sudan and Darfur.

Shows I covered last week:

Fox & Friends

The Five


Hannity: 'Biden’s Leadership Failures'

Sean Hannity took ‘Biden bashing,’ to a whole other level when he dedicated an entire hour-long program on Friday to a review of every misstep the president had taken.

“Welcome to this Friday special edition of “Hannity: Biden's Leadership Failures.” Now we begin with a very simple question and every American needs to ask this question. Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” asked Hannity as he trashed the president for his failures with the U.S. economy.

Hannity left out that inflation has been a global problem for months and the U.S. is actually performing better than most G20 countries. The Fox host also downplayed a several-month streak of positive jobs reports and historic low unemployment along with a rise in construction jobs and steep increase in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Hannity transitioned to the president’s troubled son.

“But there is real evidence of bribery, corruption, tax fraud, FARA violations, and money laundering. So that's why I called the Joe Biden money laundering and bribery scandal allegations. You have pictures, you have tax year videos, you have emails, bank statements, eyewitness testimony, the FBI, 1023 form government whistleblowers and so much more. And the DOJ simply doesn't even seem to care,” said Hannity.

Most of the evidence against Hunter Biden is piecemeal, circumstantial, or unverified.

Hunter Biden was an untreated addict who accidentally supplied his father’s many detractors with a plethora of embarrassing homemade porn videos and images of him smoking crack cocaine. Republican lawmakers pounced expecting to find proof of various crimes but so far haven’t turned up much of anything.

Hannity moved on to the border crisis, and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan then abruptly pivoted to the train disaster in East Palestine and the wildfires in Maui.

He included a Republican congressman from Hawaii along with the mayor of East Palestine in the same segment. This was misleading as the train derailment in Ohio was caused by corporate malfeasance not a natural disaster.

The federal government should not have the same role in cleaning up the mess created by a highly profitable corporation as it would in helping people after a natural disaster. Hannity ended his Biden bashing episode by claiming the president is on some sort of crusade against the oil and gas industry.

“It's no secret that Joe Biden hates fossil fuels. He pledged to ban them during the campaign. Cancel the Keystone XL pipeline on day one . . . Now he's canceling oil and gas leases in Alaska's Anwar that Donald Trump just opened up,” said Hannity.

Fox News promotes the idea that the U.S. oil and gas industry is near bankruptcy when in reality the U.S. has been the single largest producer of crude oil since 2013 and according to the Energy Information Administration is on track to beat the previous record set under the Trump administration by the end of 2023.

Trump Will Beat Biden! We have the Polls to Prove it!

On Tuesday on “Fox & Friends” the network dedicated nearly ten minutes to a discussion about various polls and how they show Trump could beat Biden in the next election.

“Why would so many of the Republicans be supporting Donald Trump? Because he is the clear cut winner. He's saying the majority of Republicans. I disagree with that. If you look at the polls, the majority of Republicans want Donald Trump,” said Ainsley Earhardt.

Her co-host Griff Jenkins agreed.

“Those voters said that Trump with 51% compared to 41% for Biden, had a record of accomplishment, had done things. And you just heard a few moments ago Biden talking about that last guy didn't do anything. Well, 51 to 40 says he did.”

Steve Doocy was a bit of a wet blanket citing polling that wasn’t positive for Trump.

“So there are legal issues that hang over Donald Trump. And in the Wall Street Journal poll, a majority of the people who responded view Donald Trump's actions after the 2020 election as an illegal effort to stop Congress from declaring Joe the winner. So a majority said, yes, that's bad,” said Doocy.

Later that night on “The Five,” the cast pushed the same narrative.

“I like how they were shocked. They were shocked that Trump is still able to be tied with Biden. No, they should be shocked that Biden is able to be tied with Trump. Sure, you can keep throwing January 6th out there, but all in all, Trump is still cogent. He's still a human being. He still can use his brain. What you have there is not workable. Biden is barely a figurehead . . .and nobody seems to care that nothing is getting done,” said Greg Gutfeld.

Biden has gotten quite a bit of legislation passed as well as navigated a number of diplomatic gestures such as the pending agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel and the recent summit with South Korea and Japan.

Dana Perino also discussed the recent polling and how it made Biden look bad.

“So it's not same poll that Greg and you mentioned by an eight point margin, more voters said Trump has a vision for the future and elections are about the future. And there was also people saying that they want change. Last week, the poll said 77% of Americans think he's too old. This week at 73%. So I'm pretty sure that's not an outlier,” said Perino.

Jessica Tarlov, the liberal on “The Five,” was the only person besides Steve Doocy to discount the polls. ...Read More
Photo: After its 'Long March Through the Institution,' Wheaton students today are more diverse.

Wheaton College Releases Report on Its History of Racism

Task force and trustees call for community repentance, starting with a change to the name of the library.

By Daniel Silliman and Kate Shellnutt
Christianity Today

SEPT 14, 2023 - Wheaton College embraced racist attitudes that “created an inhospitable and sometimes hostile campus environment for persons of color,” according to a 122-page review of the school’s history released by trustees today.

Though the flagship evangelical institution was founded by abolitionists, over the next century and a half it turned away from concerns about racial equality. Even when the school’s leadership knew what was right, they frequently lacked the courage to “take a more vocal role in opposing widespread forms of racism and white supremacy,” the report says, and too often “chose to stay silent, equivocate, or do nothing” about racial injustice.

“We cannot be healed and cannot be reconciled unless and until we repent,” the task force concluded at the end of an 18-month study. “These sins constituted a failure of Christian love; denied the dignity of people made in the image of God; created deep and painful barriers between Christian brothers and sisters; tarnished our witness to the gospel; and prevented us from displaying more fully the beautiful diversity of God’s kingdom.”

President Philip Ryken told CT he believes the report is important and he’s glad the college will be making it publicly available.

“The record of the people of God, in so many ways, is a record of their failures as well as their successes,” he said. “I think we can be more effective in living for Jesus Christ today if we’re aware of the challenges that our brothers and sisters have faced in the past and how they have responded to the challenges and opportunities of their day.”

The historical review was conducted by a 15-member task force of trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Led by trustee Dale Wong and archivist Katherine Graber, they reconstructed the history of race relations from Wheaton’s founding in 1853 up to the year 2000. The school was started by abolitionist John Cross and then reorganized and renamed by Jonathan Blanchard, who was one of the first ministers to urge president Abraham Lincoln to “let the oppressed go free.”

After that, though, the record was not always stellar. Wheaton leadership showed little concern for Black people in the years after the Civil War, hired no nonwhite faculty, and enrolled only a few nonwhite students, the report found. Minority students who did attend faced overt racism, including students refusing to live or eat alongside them and school-sanctioned blackface performances.

By the 1920s, Wheaton had surrendered any claim to a countercultural position on race, according to the task force report. A new president, J. Oliver Buswell, stopped admitting Black students altogether in 1926. Privately, Buswell said he didn’t think integration was immoral, but he was concerned about too much “social contact” between races.

“I have been trying to dodge this issue,” he wrote to a friend toward the end of his presidency. “I am inclined to think that it would be better in a practical way if colored people would go to their own colored schools.”

Thirty states had laws against interracial relationships at the time, and the US considered amending the constitution to make what was then called “miscegenation” a federal crime. The Wheaton task force noted, however, that Christians should not accept arguments that Buswell and others were just “men of their time.” Historical context is not an excuse for failing to stand up for biblical ideals of equality and human dignity, it said.

“Our goal,” the task force wrote, “is to remind our readers—and ourselves—of how easily our fallen world can shape each of us into its mold.”

Dale Wong, one of the chairs of the task force, said the deep dive into the historical record was sobering.

“We are proud of our history at Wheaton,” he said, “and it’s difficult to understand how that original vision, from that founding by abolitionists, was lost, and how we fell into going along with the culture. That’s something I think we have to deal with.”

The task force found some positive episodes in Wheaton’s history of race relations as well. On several occasions, harkening back to its abolitionist founding, the school sharply broke from culturally accepted racism. During World War II, for example, Wheaton agreed to enroll Japanese and Japanese American students who were facing internment. By 1944, there were more than 20 Japanese students taking classes at the evangelical institution.

President V. Raymond Edman, who took the helm in 1940, also started admitting Black students again around that time and asked the anthropology and sociology department to study race relations on campus. The faculty commission wrote a five-page report in 1960. It strongly rejected any scientific basis for racial hierarchies and called on the college and evangelicals more generally to reject racial discrimination. The anthropology and sociology professors specifically wanted the school to hire Black faculty, recruit minority students, and accept interracial marriages among students.

If implemented, the proposals “would have made Wheaton College a leader among Christian institutions in its rejection of racial prejudice and pursuit of kingdom diversity,” the task force said. Instead, Edman and other Wheaton leaders decided to suppress the report. It was not released.

The school did not hire its first Black full-time professor until the 1980s. It would not make student body diversity a priority until the 1990s.

“Based on the careful research in this historical review, tested against the perfect standard of the Word of God and the high moral calling of a Christ-centered community, we also see specific areas where we need to repent as an institution,” the task force said.

The report cites the Bible’s calls to corporate repentance and lamentation over sin and injustice, including the failures of past generations, citing Isaiah 59:12, Jeremiah 14:7, and Daniel 9:16. It also recommends concrete actions. ...Read More

Photo: Rescue work is hindered by the political fractures in a country of 7 million people, at war on-and-off and with no government holding nationwide reach since a NATO-backed uprising toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. — Reuters

Libya’s Catastrophe Is Part Of Imperialism's Legacy

Hillary laughs: 'We came. We saw. He died.'

By Michael Klonsky

SEPT 15, 2023 - A torrent unleashed by a powerful storm burst dams on Sunday night and hurtled down a seasonal riverbed that bisects the eastern city of Derna, washing multi-story buildings into the sea with sleeping families inside.

Confirmed death tolls given by officials have varied. All are in the thousands, with thousands more on lists of the missing. Derna Mayor Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi said deaths in the city could already reach 18,000-20,000, based on the extent of the damage.

He told Reuters he was afraid the city would now be infected with an epidemic, "due to the large number of bodies under the rubble and in the water".

The World Meteorological Organization said the huge loss of life could have been avoided if Libya - a failed state for more than a decade - had a functioning weather agency in place.

The Reuters piece refers to a “NATO-backed uprising.” In fact, it was Gaddafi’s assassination carried out by NATO and the US under the direction of Obama’s Sec. of State. Hillary Clinton left Libya in a state of chaos and anarchy from which it has never recovered.

In Clinton’s own words, “We came. We saw. He died.”

Obama later would call Libya the 'worst mistake' of his presidency. But he didn’t mean that murdering Gaddafi after his capture, or regime change in Libya were mistakes. It was “probably failing to plan for the day after.”

The killing of Gaddafi was criticized as a violation of international law.

Now I’m anticipating the US and NATO seeing the devastation in Libya not so much as a crisis, but an opportunity to regain a foothold in this oil-rich country. ...Read More
Digging Deeper into the Current Conjuncture:
Illustration by João Fazenda

The Challenges
Facing Joe Biden

A new book praises the President’s handling of the midterms, but the midterms are beginning to feel like a long time ago.

By Amy Davidson Sorkin
The New Yorker

Sept 10, 2023 - On a hot day in May, 2022, Ron Klain, who was then President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, found himself in the midst of a joyous crowd at the Tufts University commencement, and railed at the heavens.

“Why aren’t we receiving any credit for making this possible? ” he thought, according to an account in “The Last Politician,” a new book about the Biden Administration, by Franklin Foer.

The pandemic was finally in abeyance: students were gathering with their families, and, as Klain saw it, the “whole nation could rush to see Top Gun: Maverick in theaters thanks to the White House.”

But Biden’s approval rating was around forty per cent—about the same as Donald Trump’s. Klain found it “darkly humorous” that the public got so worked up about problems like the baby-formula shortage but didn’t applaud when the Administration would “drop everything” to deal with them. To him, it seemed terribly unfair.

And yet when voters went to the polls several months later, in midterm elections that were expected to be a brutal rebuke to the Administration, Democrats held on to the Senate and only narrowly lost the House. Foer’s book ends with the midterms, so it is imbued with a sense of vindication. Biden, it argues, proves the doubters wrong.

Perhaps so, but the midterms are beginning to feel like a long time ago. Unemployment is low and inflation has eased, but it would be perilous to consider this a period of ascendance for Biden, or to be all that confident about the 2024 election. Foer writes, by way of praising the President’s political instincts, that in the 2022 midterms he “desperately wanted to avoid a referendum on his performance,” given his unpopularity, and that he encouraged Democrats to focus instead on the extremism of “ultra-maga” Republicans.

Such a dodge is a lot harder in a Presidential election, even though his opponent will most likely be the ultra-ultra-maga Republican himself, Trump. Biden’s favorability ratings are about the same now, after Trump’s fourth criminal indictment, as they were a year ago.

Surveys released last week suggest further reasons for Democrats to worry. An analysis of Times/Siena College polls found a sharp drop in support for the President among Black and Hispanic voters, particularly younger ones. A CNN poll, meanwhile, showed Biden not only trailing Trump, among registered voters, but behind or tied with every other major Republican contender, except Vivek Ramaswamy. What’s more, only thirty-six per cent of Biden supporters said that they were more “for Joe Biden” than “against Donald Trump.” Trump supporters had a different answer: sixty-two per cent were “for” him, which may reflect a different degree of commitment.

The poll numbers are a reminder that the Biden boosters may be missing something. There are clear sources of discontent: the dearth of affordable housing; problems managing the influx of migrants; the surge in fentanyl use, which pushed the number of overdose deaths above a hundred thousand in 2021; fear of crime; economic stress; the mental-health crisis among young people. ... Read More
Photo: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez standing outside. Photograph: Dani

‘There’s a Very Real Danger Here’: AOC on 2024, the Climate Crisis and ‘Selling Out’

Twice re-elected and comfortable in her political skin, the Democratic congresswoman makes clear that Biden can't take progressives for granted

By David Smith
The Guardian

The campaign office of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sits deep in the Bronx, across the street from a Chinese takeaway and 99-cent discount store, near enough to a railway bridge to hear the rumble of passing trains.

The front window of the plain redbrick building is dominated by a big, smiling photo of the US congresswoman and notices that say: “We welcome all races, all sexual orientations, all gender identities, all religions, all abilities,” and “We say gay in the Bronx”. Inside, the words “¡AOC! ORGANIZING BASE” are printed in giant purple letters on a wall.

Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 became the youngest woman and youngest Latina to serve in the House of Representatives, is now 33, twice re-elected and comfortable in her political skin. She could hardly be described as an old hand but nor does she channel the shock of the new. She deploys social media with enviable authenticity; she grills congressional witnesses like a seasoned interrogator; she is an object of perverse fascination for Fox News and rightwing trolls; she has been around Washington long enough to draw charges of “co-option” and “selling out”.

“AOC Is Just a Regular Old Democrat Now,” ran a headline on New York magazine’s Intelligencer website in July. The article’s author, Freddie deBoer, argued that Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance on the Pod Save America podcast to announce her endorsement of Joe Biden for president in the 2024 election was her “last kiss-off to the radicals who had supported her, voted for her, donated to her campaign, and made her unusually famous in American politics”.

The Ocasio-Cortez who sits for an interview with the Guardian is clearly aware of the leftist’s eternal dilemma – purity versus pragmatism – and determined to navigate it with care. She makes clear that Biden cannot take progressives for granted next year but urges Democrats to unite against the bigger threat of “fascism” in America.

She condemns the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, but wants the US to be clear about its aims there and acknowledge “the anxieties of our history”.

And after a summer of extreme heat and wild weather, she evidently worries that incrementalism will not be enough to address a climate crisis that is crying out for revolution.

Ocasio-Cortez’s first legislative proposal after arriving on Capitol Hill was a Green New Deal that envisions a 10-year national mobilisation in the spirit of President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal. That went nowhere, but last year Biden did sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law, touting its $369bn investment in clean energy and climate action as the biggest of any nation in history.

However, the president also approved more oil and gas drilling permits in his first two years in office than his predecessor, Donald Trump, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

It is, Ocasio-Cortez acknowledges, a mixed picture. ...Read More
Graphic: Lasers and aerial relays could beam power over vast distances DARPA

More revolution in the productive forces

DARPA Looks To Laser To Beam Power Across The World

By David Szondy
New Atlas

Sept 13, 2023 - In a move that sounds like the wildest of science fiction, DARPA has announced its new Persistent Optical Wireless Energy Relay (POWER) program that plans to use lasers relayed by airborne platforms to power machines thousands of miles away.

There are a lot of potentially brilliant technologies out there that could change the world but stumble on one fundamental limitation – how to power them. This is especially true for aircraft. Electric planes sound like a great idea, but the batteries needed to power them are so bulky and so heavy that they eat up valuable payload and range.

For over a century, the idea of the wireless broadcast transmission of power seemed like the obvious solution, but things like the basic laws of physics kept getting in the way. Now, DARPA is looking at using lasers to beam power from a ground source to distant receivers, providing, for example, electric aircraft with virtually infinite range.

In theory, this seems simple enough, but there are all manner of technical problems to be overcome. Lasers work along the line of sight, so airborne relays are needed in the upper atmosphere to minimize distortion and attenuation caused by air and water vapor. Also, like laser weapons, the transmitter and relays need to be able to lock on target and correct the beam to stay focused.

However, the biggest problem is the massive losses caused by changing laser light to electricity and back across multiple hops.

According to DARPA, POWER is in the first phase, which involves developing conceptual designs for the relays. The second phase will concentrate on integrating the technology into an existing airframe, and the third will be a test to deliver 10 kilowatts of laser power across 200 km (125 miles).

"This project has the potential to advance power beaming by orders of magnitude, which could radically reshape society’s relationship with energy," said Dr. Paul Jaffe, leader of the POWER program at DARPA. A wireless energy web could unlock power from new and diverse sources, including from space, and rapidly and reliably connect them to energy-starved consumers.

"Energy underpins every human activity, including defense. We need ways to deliver energy that overcome the vulnerabilities and other shortcomings of our current paradigm. The next leap forward in optical power beaming could hinge on relay technologies." ...Read More
New Journals and Books for Radical Education...
From Upton Sinclair's 'Goose Step' to the Neoliberal University

Essays on the Ongoing Transformation of Higher Education

Paperback USD 17.00
This is a unique collection of 15 essays by two Purdue University professors who use their institution as a case-in-point study of 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 1923, which exposed the capitalist corruption of the ivory tower back then and brought it up to date with more far-reaching changes today. time. They also include, as an appendix, a 1967 essay by SDS leader Carl Davidson, who broke some of the original ground on the subject.

The Man Who Changed Colors

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

When a dockworker falls to his death under strange circumstances, investigative journalist David Gomes is on the case. His dogged pursuit of the truth puts his life in danger and upends the scrappy Cape Cod newspaper he works for.

Spend a season on the Cape with this gripping, provocative tale that delves into the
complicated relationships between Cape Verdean Americans and African Americans, Portuguese fascist gangs, and abusive shipyard working conditions. From the author of The Man Who Fell From The Sky.

“Bill Fletcher is a truth seeker and a truth teller – even when he’s writing fiction. Not unlike Bill, his character David Gomes is willing to put his life and career in peril to expose the truth. A thrilling read!” − Tavis Smiley, Broadcaster & NY TIMES Bestselling Author 

VVAW: 50 Years
of Struggle

By Alynne Romo

While most books about VVAW focus on the 1960s and 1970s, this photo-with-text book provides a look at many of actions of VVAW over five decades. Some of VVAW’s events and its stands on issues are highlighted here in stories. Others show up in the running timelines which also include relevant events around the nation or the world. Examples of events are the riots in America’s urban centers, the murders of civil rights leaders or the largely failed missions in Vietnam.

Paul Tabone: This is a must read for anyone who was in the war, who had a loved one in the war, who is interested in history in general or probably more importantly for anyone who wants to see how we repeat history over and over again given the incredible idiot and his minions that currently occupy the White House. To my fellow Viet Nam veterans I say "Welcome Home Brothers". A must read for everyone who considers them self an American. Bravo.

The Private Practice Heirs of China’s Socialist Aid Program

China has sent more than 20,000 trained medical professionals on aid missions to Africa over the last 60 years. Some have never left.

Jodie Yuzhou Sun is a senior lecturer in modern African and global history at Fudan University and a research fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Center for African Studies.

By Jodie Yuzhou Sun
Sixth Tone

Sept 12, 2023 - Take a stroll around Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and you’ll almost certainly come across buildings adorned with Chinese-language signs. There are the usual Chinese restaurant markers, of course, but many are for Chinese-run medical clinics, often bearing the surname of their head doctor. Similar sights can be found in two of the country’s largest mining towns, Kitwe and Chingola, where Chinese clinics dot the towns’ more well-off neighborhoods.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first Chinese medical team (CMT) to arrive in Africa. Invited by the newly formed Algerian government in July 1962, the team touched down in Algiers in January of the following year and helped kick off decades of close medical cooperation between China and countries on the African continent.

After the famed TAZARA railway in East Africa, CMTs are probably the most important and longest-lasting legacy of Mao Zedong’s emphasis on “Third World” solidarity. During the Korean War, China sent numerous doctors and nurses to the front lines. In the context of the Cold War, medicine and public health became battlefields for the ideological struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs. In the late 1950s and the early 1960s, China signed health cooperation agreements with all Eastern Bloc countries except Cuba. Africa was an area of particular focus: Over the past 60 years, more than 20,000 trained Chinese medical professionals have been sent to 51 African countries, where they have provided life-saving care to 270 million locals, according to an official tally.

Initially centered on communist states or other countries friendly to the Eastern Bloc, Chinese medical aid diversified beginning in the early 1980s. China’s market reforms meant new opportunities, and the CMT program, although initiated and developed during the Mao era, has continued into the post-socialist period in some unexpected ways. While conventional CMTs continue to be dispatched to various African countries, a growing number of former CMT members have opted to stay in their assigned countries and enter into private practice after the completion of their official missions.

What led these doctors to stay, and how did that decision affect their lives and careers? I conducted fieldwork in Zambia and Kenya between 2015 and 2019, as part of my research on the historical relations between Africa and China, interviewing numerous health practitioners and conducting participant observations in several hospitals and clinics in the region.

When China dispatched its first CMT to Zambia in 1978, the group comprised 20 members, including 16 doctors and four support staff. The team was split between the mining towns of Kabwe and Luanshya, which were struggling to provide health services to mineworkers and their families.

Yu Huizhen, who first arrived in Zambia in 1990 as part of a CMT from the central Chinese province of Henan, recalled that this policy of providing healthcare to the “masses” failed to move the diplomatic needle. “It now appears that the closer you are to cities, the easier you get access to high level officials,” Yu told me in an interview. Yu returned as a CMT captain for a five-year tour in 1996; this time, his team was sent to the capital. “We moved to the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, as well as hospitals in the cities of Ndola and Livingstone,” he said.

After wrapping up his second tour, Yu decided to stay in Zambia and open a private clinic. Although there are no exact statistics on how many former CMT members have opened private practices in the country, there were a number of reasons why Chinese medical professionals might find Zambia appealing. Compared to their peers at central hospitals in Beijing, most CMT doctors hail from less-developed regions in China and their jobs back home pay poorly. Running a private business in Zambia not only offers a chance to improve their living standards, it also allows them to take their family overseas, where their kids can be educated at international schools.

Another “Old Zambian,” local slang for a longtime migrant, is Gao Ke’an. Originally from Beijing, where she worked at a military hospital, Gao first arrived in Zambia as an aid doctor in 1988. After her service was over, she stayed and opened the now-nationally renowned KG Dental Clinic in Lusaka in 1994.

Despite the clear-cut official distinction between CMTs and Chinese doctors in private practice, the two are often perceived by locals in a blurred, collective way: Yu, for example, is still widely referred to as “Captain,” a relic of his CMT days. But while the presence of CMTs can be helpful to aspiring Chinese private practitioners, they are not a prerequisite to success.

In Kenya, which never received Chinese medical aid due to its alignment with the “capitalist” bloc, former CMT doctors have managed to carve a foothold for themselves. Li Chuan, a native of China’s eastern Shandong province, served on a CMT at Dodoma Regional Hospital in Tanzania from 1989 to 1991. In 1992, he followed the then-Chinese ambassador to Kenya, and two years later he opened a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi.

Li’s clinic is essentially a monument to the potential of TCM outside China. The walls are covered in photos of him standing next to prominent Tanzanian leaders, as well as a framed recommendation from former Tanzanian Minister for Health P.M. Sarungi. The clinic’s guest book was likewise filled with glowing testimonials, including a photo of a baby conceived after a round of treatment at the clinic.

Although mainly targeted at the region’s sizeable Chinese community, Chinese clinics in East Africa have also become increasingly popular among local urbanites who can afford their services. The financial rewards can be great for doctors from poorer parts of China, where doctors are often paid little. Li, for instance, was quite open about the fact that he had decided to stay in Africa for primarily economic reasons.

Chinese medical practices, and especially TCM, are not always welcomed by local regulators, however. The first specialist in Chinese acupuncture ever dispatched to Tanzania, Li complained to me that “Africans don’t understand traditional Chinese medicine.” As evidence, he pointed to the fact that, until recently, it was the Kenyan cultural authorities, rather than the Ministry of Health, which regulated acupuncture.

Combining herbal medicines with various mind and body practices, such as acupuncture and tai chi, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is primarily used as a form of complementary medicine outside China. Li’s daughter, who took a job in his clinic after completing her medical training in the United Kingdom, explained that there is no clear distinction between conventional and complementary medicine in Kenya: “In the end, it all depends on whether the relevant government officials believe you are legal or not.”

Nevertheless, historically contingent factors such as interpersonal connections between Chinese and African elites, though often dismissed as “anecdotal,” have played a critical role in fostering closer Sino-African ties over the past 60 years. During my interview with Yu, he mentioned how his personal relationship with a former politician’s relative had helped the team win official acceptance. The man, who operated a hotel and a farm in Kabwe, regularly visited the nearby CMT for a heart problem. Sometimes, he would invite the medical team to his farm, developing close relations with them as a result. According to Yu, the man’s relative, a politician, eventually became familiar with the CMTs and later summoned Yu’s team to help when he was injured in a traffic accident.

That may seem like a minor achievement, but it’s a testament to the ways health diplomacy has brought China closer to the rest of the world. Now, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, China is doubling down on health initiatives on the continent, with vaccine cooperation topping the agenda at the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation meeting in Shanghai.

This article draws on research from the author’s new book, “Kenya’s and Zambia’s Relations with China 1949-2019.”  ...Read More
A China Reader

Edited by Duncan McFarland

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

244 pages, $20 (discounts available for quantity orders from, or 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.
Taking Down
White Supremacy

Edited by the CCDS
Socialist Education Project

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.

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

  Click here for the Table of contents

Learning from Chile:
Navigating Complexities of Political Crises

By Pauline Lipman and Rico Gutstein

Sept 7, 2023 - Chileans were unable to turn a national uprising into transformation of the social order. For the US there is much to learn about relationships between left government, movements, and popular protagonism and the importance of political clarity, socialist strategy and organization.

Twenty years of grassroots organizing by Black and Latinx community organizations, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), and the broad Left propelled CTU organizer Brandon Johnson to victory in the April 2023 Chicago mayoral race. Similarly, across the country, progressive and left organizations are focusing on electoral politics as a central arena of struggle.

These campaigns are part of a larger motion—a new generation of social movements, union organizing, and Black-led uprisings against racist state violence—provoked by intertwined political, economic, social, and ecological crises in the US and globally.

Yet our movements and campaigns lack political cohesion. We have not yet developed the collective organizational capacity, shared strategies, and political vision to take advantage of this moment of destabilization of the patriarchal racial capitalist order. Simultaneously, this crisis has fueled a white nationalist, patriarchal backlash lurching toward authoritarian rule. So where can we look for experiences to shed some light on how to navigate these complexities?

Despite our different contexts, one place to look is the Global South. Specifically, we believe Chile’s political developments over the last four years provide sharp lessons.

(These developments occurred against the background of the violent US-backed Chilean military coup on Sept. 11, 1973 that overthrew the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende and installed General Augusto Pinochet as dictator, launching 17 years of brutal repression. Under Pinochet, Chile, guided by US economists, enshrined in their constitution the world’s first neoliberal experiment —privatizing public goods, banning popular organizations, and shifting wealth to the top. In 1990, popular mobilizations forced the re-establishment of electoral democracy, but the power of the Right, oligarchs, and the Pinochet-era constitution remained.)

In October 2019, Chile erupted in the largest uprising since the dictatorship—the estallido—against all the abuses of neoliberalism, patriarchy, and the coercive state. The estallido was an accumulation of social struggles over the last two decades: movements for public pensions, housing, water, environmental justice, and feminist and Mapuche (Indigenous) struggles, but most prominently, student movements which spawned new left parties and a left-party coalition, Frente Amplio (FA, “broad front”). Along with six months of demonstrations across Chile, it unleashed a flourishing of local spaces of popular participation (protagonism) and joy—grassroots assemblies, revolutionary culture, creative protest, community formations, and communal kitchens. A spirit of social solidarity and hope infused everyday life.

The next phase of struggle opened with the October 2020 national plebiscite that voted almost 80% to replace Chile’s neoliberal constitution through a grassroots process. Chileans elected a veto-proof, super-majority, progressive constituent assembly, with gender parity and Indigenous representation, to draft the new constitution, and in December 2021, they elected former student leader, leftist Gabriel Boric, as president over ultra-right José Antonio Kast. This process, starting with the estallido, marked an historic opportunity to move toward fundamental transformation of the existing order.

However, Chile’s extreme COVID lockdown, the estallido, campaign for Boric, etc., left social movements exhausted with weakened capacity. Meanwhile, oligarchs and elites used their control of the media to spread lies and fear about the new constitution. Due to these and other factors, despite the many popular victories, in September 2022, in a mandatory national vote, Chileans overwhelmingly rejected (rechazo) the proposed new constitution for a plurinational Chile that expanded democracy and economic, gender, and social rights, and weakened neoliberalism. The rechazo was a huge setback to the Left and all progressive forces. Since then, an emboldened Right is on the offensive and now controls a top-down process to redraft the constitution. In 2019, Republicanos, an ultra-right/fascist party emerged. They justify the 1973 coup and use anti-communism and racism against Haitian and Venezuelan migrants to play on fears and disorientation and sow disunity.

Our perspective

We have been collaborating with Chilean education activists/organizers since 2011. We were working in Valparaíso for four months in 2019, our third time in Chile. When the estallido erupted, we spent October and November participating in/observing popular assemblies, daily demonstrations, and community events, and documenting the uprising. In December, 2022, we returned for three weeks of in-depth conversations—4 cities, 28 meetings, 36 people, including grassroots colectivas, social movement activists/leaders (feminist, Mapuche, union, immigrant rights, housing), independent leftists, government officials, members of left parties, academics, participants/leaders in the constituent assembly, and human rights defenders.

The questions that sent us back to Chile were: What can we learn from Chile’s intense experiences—though different from ours—to inform our movements here? What can we learn about transforming popular uprisings into a force towards developing real power? How does the Left use governing power when it does not control capital and confronts a powerful Right and inherited crises and ideologies of neoliberal racial capitalism? For us, these are key challenges in the US.

Here, we want to acknowledge Chile’s complex political reality. The stakes are high, and there are multiple perspectives on rechazo, social movements, political parties, strategies to move forward, etc. We are not Chile “experts,” and our purpose is not to analyze the situation for Chileans. Our intent is to synthesize what we have learned from them to draw lessons and pose questions relevant for US contexts. As outsiders from the US, our analyses are grounded in our relationships, visits, and collaboration with Chilean comrades; our own study and political experience as leftists and organizers; and especially our deep conversations in December. This writing represents our current thinking (all mis-assessments are our own). We hope it sparks dialogue and deepening.

Reflections/analysis relevant to the US (Quotations—anonymous and unidentified for security purposes—are from people we met with. “Left” refers to grassroots organizations, social movements, left political parties, and independent leftists.)

1) In moments of crisis and political upheaval, ideological and political clarity are critical. Like the US, Chile faces multiple, intertwined crises. Fifty years of neoliberalism privatized almost all public goods and services, intensified extreme inequality, and perpetuated the repressive, dictatorship-era police/military force. Due to dictatorship-era repression and neoliberal policies, the working class is fragmented, impoverished, debt-ridden, and lives precariously, many without unions, benefits, or sustainable pensions, or subsists in the informal economy. Chileans want “a dignified life”(a key slogan of the estallido), evidenced by the 80% vote to rewrite the constitution, Boric’s election, Mapuche resistance, and many social movements. This is part of an historical process, most recently originating in the Allende period, percolating through the dictatorship and 1990 transition to democracy, and regenerated by student movements in 2006 and 2011/2015.

But the extreme COVID lockdown and rechazo were demoralizing and disorienting, e.g., in the north of Chile, a grassroots leader told us that some estallido participants later joined racist attacks on Venezuelan migrants. People working within the government told us that it “did not know what to do” and was “cornered by right-wing press.” FA, assessing that it is weak and the Right is strong, appears to be in retreat. Meanwhile, the Right has a clear message of fear, racism, and anti-communism rooted in Chile’s history of settler colonialism and dictatorship. Chilean comrades told us that with the approaching 50th anniversary of the coup, the Right is rewriting the narrative to “erase the student movements and justify the coup” as necessary to control “violence.” This illustrates that if the Left fails to provide ideological and political clarity, organization, and direction, and work with the people to create solutions, a moment of crisis can evolve into fascism. We see this in the US as well.

2) Mis-assessments of social forces have strategic consequences.

Overestimating the Left. Before rechazo, many on the Left were overconfident, riding on the estallido, the overwhelming vote to rewrite the constitution, and Boric’s victory (one person called it “Fiesta of the Left”). With no threat of a right-wing veto, some left assembly members experienced a “distracting sense of power” that contributed to underestimating how much education was needed and insufficient attention to framing constitutional provisions so working-class people “could see themselves in it.”

Misunderstanding the Right and failing to take opportunities to tactically divide/disrupt them. The Left needs tactical flexibility and a sharp analysis of the Right to weaken their bloc. The Right is heterogeneous: Some favored a new constitution to quell the crisis, others to dispel the “shadow of the dictatorship” hanging over Chile’s international reputation.

But when the Right fell short of veto power in the constituent assembly, they coalesced around disrupting/attacking it. For example, some left assembly members proposed a constitutional provision to eliminate charter schools, but the Right slickly voted with the Left, turning thousands of charter parents against the new constitution.

A prominent union leader said, had the Left better understood the Right, they could have tactically divided them to undermine rechazo.
Mis-assessing the people. We heard consistently across our visits that there is widespread cynicism about political parties. In December, activists told us that social movements and FA were disconnected from the 40% of Chileans, who, for decades, have expressed their discontent by withdrawing from institutional politics (e.g., voting), but who voted 80-90% rechazo in the mandatory vote on the new constitution. They said the Left didn’t appreciate the distance between this discontent and people’s understanding how the new constitution would concretely change their lives. This lack of clarity also contributed to the Left doing insufficient education and organizing for the new constitution.

These mis-assessments—of the Left, the Right, the people—contributed to rechazo and stymied the capacity of progressive sectors and movements to move Chile towards fundamental transformation—a path that might have been clarified by a better understanding of relations of social forces.

3. Dialectically assessing, and learning from, accomplishments/ defeats, from a strategic point of view. To be clear, rechazo was devastating. It set back momentum to dismantle structural and ideological bases of neoliberalism, much less consider an alternative to capitalism and begin to redress settler colonialism. This defeat for Latin America, and really the world, led to demoralization and arguments for retrenchment from some we talked with—and a green light for the Right. But others are dialectically assessing and learning from defeats and accomplishments to see how far the Left has come, how far they need to go, and what could be done differently.

Despite rechazo, 4.8 million people (38%) voted for a feminist, plurinational constitution that challenged neoliberalism, patriarchy, and settler colonialism. Grassroots elected representatives from social sectors across Chile wrote this constitution democratically, learning about each other’s experiences and demands. Key actors said, “we know each other now,” and “now we have a minimum program” to continue to organize and a departure point for dialogue and connecting disparate movements. The experiences of working together, the weaknesses, and rechazo itself are pedagogical. We heard many reflect on what they saw as mistakes and how they might transcend them. And many thousands experienced the collective power of popular participation.

Strategically, these lessons and relationships are gains for the Left. They further develop the basis and create conditions to align social movements and organize around a strategy and program. But as some activists told us, summing up dialectically is key.

4. Re-visioning the role of the Left in government. While the broad Left over-estimated popular support, the Left in government under-estimated its power in relation to popular movements. For us, this points to the Left using governing power differently from traditional politicians.

We heard often that Boric/FA didn’t intervene to support the draft constitution. Social movement activists said Boric could have used his TV channel and public visibility to combat the Right’s smear campaign, debunk fake news, and do popular political education about the draft. Instead, FA was defensive, some saying “the constitution is flawed, but vote for it and we can fix it later.” Their inaction created space for a right offensive.

People in government we talked with saw the Left as weak and rechazo as a sign that Chileans don’t want radical change: “Chile is not ripe for dismantling neoliberalism let alone capitalism, and even less ready for revolution.” They concluded they should be patient, learn, hold onto power, keep open the process of change, pass one big reform (like pensions) and gain people’s confidence.

While from their view, this is a sober assessment of the limits of their governing power at this moment, many in social movements—the force that put FA in government—have a different understanding. They told us that they are another source of power, arguing that Chileans do want change. They said that in this time of a right offensive and limited power, FA needs to work closely with the people but instead relies on alliances with center parties and retreats. A housing activist said, “we thought the new government would consult with us, but we are excluded.” We heard this in education also. In the view of these social movement actors, the constitution failed partly because FA was disconnected from the people, and because Boric/FA did not use their power and public platform to support the new constitution and mobilize people—while also acknowledging the power of the Right (fake news, narrative shaping) and social movements’ lack of capacity contributed to the rechazo.

In FA’s case, it is not clear, and we did not hear articulated, how moving into government is linked to a long-term strategy to fundamentally move past the neoliberal model and transform Chile in the spirit of the estallido, towards a “dignified life.”
We draw from this the imperative for left parties and elected officials to be rooted in the working class and strategically aligned with popular movements.

This implies the ideological understanding that the protagonism of working-class communities, organizations, social movements, institutions, and other progressive sectors is the driving force for social transformation (as social movements argue). Electoral politics is important, but not decisive—it is a form of struggle more effective when strategically linked to mass organizations. Left parties, their elected officials, and social movements need deep connections with the broad working class and its most active sectors, and they need strategy through which all actors play their specific roles, in coordination toward shared political goals—a vision of how the Left can move towards real power that is eminently relevant to the US.

5. Importance of inter-generational movements rooted in the working class. Many current leaders come from student movements that importantly re-envisioned left politics as feminist, plurinational, and environmental. But they don’t have the benefit of the experience of Allende-generation leftists, militants, and union and peasant leaders, many of whom were assassinated, tortured, or exiled, and whose children were terrorized—deep trauma that persists today. Chile’s new leadership is largely middle-class vs. the Allende period when the Left was rooted in a much more organized working class. The lack of intergenerational experience and disconnection from the working class are legacies of Chile’s dictatorship, limitations faced by the new, young government. We face similar issues in the US.

6. Combating patriarchy, racism, and settler colonialism. Patriarchy and settler colonialism are integral to Chile’s economic and political order—patriarchy maintains the subordination of women and legitimates unpaid reproductive labor, and settler colonialism, including past and current Chilean governments, continues the overall domination of Indigenous life. Abortion is virtually illegal; gender oppression and violence against women have fueled a powerful feminist movement that played a major role in the estallido and constitutional process. The state preserves a violent settler colonial relationship with Indigenous people through extractivism, militarization, political marginalization, theft of land, culture, and language, fueling resistance.

However, some movement leaders claimed feminism and plurinationality are “identity” issues distracting from “material” class issues, and the focus on them in the draft constitution undercut working-class support. And although Mapuche flags were iconic in the estallido, few people we talked with, other than Mapuche, human rights defenders, and some grassroots activists, mentioned racism. But the Right understood that, as in the US, ideologies that legitimate these systems are essential to prevent class/race/gender solidarity. In their pro-rechazo campaign, they played “legal abortion” and “Mapuche terrorism” cards, exploiting fear and insecurity.

For us, this is a sharp example of the importance of political clarity on challenging patriarchy, racism, and settler colonialism as class issues and fundamental to forge a political project for the vast majority. “We need to go together” a feminist Mapuche leader said, and “La Revolución Será Feminista, o No Será” emblazons feminist banners.


Chile’s twists and turns exemplify the political volatility of the present conjuncture. The demand for “a dignified life” was objectively revolutionary—unable to be met by Chile’s existing order. The estallido and constitutional process created an historic opportunity to not only break with the legacy of the dictatorship and neoliberalism but to embark on a trajectory toward an economic and political order focused on human flourishing.

But Chile illustrates, again, that political ruptures can go either way. Chileans were unable to convert a social uprising into concrete steps toward social transformation. Essentially everyone we spoke with told us a key factor was lack of strategy toward a common political project. In many conversations, the need for ideological and political clarity was a throughline. There were sharply different assessments of the relations of social forces, positioning of feminism/anti-racism/anti-colonialism in a broad social agenda—and how to move forward. These contradictions reflect the current political development of the Chilean Left, and are central challenges we face in the US.

In particular, there was consensus that FA was unsure how to govern when confronted with rechazo, deep social crises, and the right offensive—a situation not so distant from US progressive politics. Based on her experience in Latin American social movements, Chilean political theorist Marta Harnecker re-visioned the role of the Left in government, grounded in understanding that the people make history. Harnecker concluded that while left governments like FA have to improve material conditions and instill confidence, they also need to risk trusting the people. Seeing their role as political organizer and teacher/learner, they practice a “pedagogy of limitations”—explain to people the challenges and what it would take to shift the relation of forces, “simultaneously accompanied by the fomentation of popular mobilizations and creativity.” Chilean people have clearly demonstrated their capacity for protagonism. And a sector of the movements is focused on base organizing, educating, and connecting with the disconnected 40% “so next time they will know where to find us.”

We also are confronted with an historic opportunity—a crisis brimming with danger and possibility, with no clear resolution, exemplified by social movement political victories and challenges and contradictions we face in Chicago. Above all, Chile (re)confirmed for us the necessity for a new kind of party, or “political instrument,” that Harnecker proposes—a non-sectarian, democratic, disciplined political organization capable of developing revolutionary strategy that can actually dismantle racial capitalism and move towards reinventing socialism for our century. Rooted in social movements and working-class organizations, it works inside and outside institutional politics to educate, organize, and promote broad protagonism to shift the balance of forces away from fascism and toward liberation. We are inspired and encouraged by steps some social movement leaders with whom we talked are taking toward this goal in Chile “so next time this doesn’t happen.”  ...Read More
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Photo: Woody Strode (L) and Kirk Douglas (R) in gladiatorial battle in a publicity still issued for the 1960 film Spartacus.(Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images)

History Lesson of the Week:
How Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus
Broke the Hollywood Blacklists

By Taylor Dorrell

Telling the story of a slave revolt in ancient Rome, the 1960 film Spartacus was penned by two blacklisted Communist writers. Its arrival in theaters was a middle finger to the McCarthyist witch hunt in Hollywood and publishing.

May 1, 1946 was an unparalleled May Day for the Left in America. Recently discharged veterans joined with teachers, writers, artists, lawyers, and other workers to march triumphantly through Manhattan. “The number of paraders, as we counted them, was over 150,000, and when they packed Union Square, cheering left-wing and Communist leaders and speakers,” the Communist writer Howard Fast wrote in his memoir, Being Red, “one would have said that the future of the left in America was extremely bright and of course they would have been wrong.”

By May Day of 1948, the same Communists who were celebrated only two years earlier became the targets of violent reactionary crowds chanting “Kill a commie for Christ!” Fast was leading the Communist Party’s “culture block” made up of thousands of academics, artists, and writers who quickly found themselves in a street fight with anti-communist students from a nearby parochial school.

The second parade was a bad omen. With the advent of the Second Red Scare and Cold War, Communists soon became the national enemy, seen not as freedom-fighting progressives, as they had been by many on the broad left, but instead as anti-American authoritarians and dangerous subversives. Fast himself was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and was imprisoned when he refused to name names.

Fast was blacklisted from the publishing industry. He was only one of a generation of artists who were purged from America’s mainstream, the blacklist ruining their careers, consigning them to obscurity and often poverty. Many books from that time still remain unpublished and screenplays unmade; cultural figures, once famous, have been largely erased from America’s history.

But within the unwavering terror of the McCarthyist period are stories of resistance. Fast’s experience in prison, for example, led him to write the novel Spartacus, which was later adapted into a screenplay by the Communist writer Dalton Trumbo. When the movie was screened in 1960, after a decade of remaining underground, two Communists’ names illuminated the beginning of the film, a giant middle finger to the reactionaries of the era. This is the story of Spartacus, or how Communists first broke through the blacklists.

'Today’s Prisons Will Be Tomorrow’s Victory'

Howard Fast is one of those forgotten figures in the spotty memory of America’s literary canon. He published his first novel at age eighteen, and spent several decades building his career in publishing, emerging as a popular novelist. He was also an active member of the Communist Party. Before being blacklisted, he was passionately involved with supporting Spanish Republican fighters; in 1945 he joined the executive board of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee. The group was hardly subversive, bringing in donations from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Edith Lehman, the wife of New York governor Herbert Lehman. But political currents shifted, and in 1946 Fast was issued a subpoena to appear before HUAC to give over the donor list.

Fast refused to name names, assured by lawyers that contempt of Congress wouldn’t result in any jail time. But later that same year he was subpoenaed again, this time for a book he’d written on the Yugoslav revolutionary, The Incredible Tito, and his future became uncertain. In 1947, he and ten others from the Refugee Committee were sentenced to prison.

Fast and his comrades had faith in their appeal, but there was little to be done for his reputation and career. “My new book, The American” — a portrait of John Atgeld, the progressive governor of Illinois — “was being trashed mercilessly,” Fast recalled. He was also now under constant surveillance. “My telephone was tapped. Featherbrained FBI agents were slipping into my apartment [during fundraisers] . . . and other agents were following me through the streets,” he remembered.

J. Edgar Hoover sent agents ordering New York Public Library librarians to destroy Fast’s books. The FBI blocked publishers from printing his new works.

In 1949, New York schools were instructed to remove any copies of his historical-fiction book, Citizen Tom Paine, from their shelves. J. Edgar Hoover sent agents ordering New York Public Library librarians to destroy Fast’s books. The FBI blocked publishers from printing new works of Fast’s, even some he had written under the supposed anonymity of a pen name.

By 1950, anti-communism had spread, and Fast’s hopes for a reversal of his prison sentence were lost. Fast was booked in a district prison, an experience he recalled as distinctly dehumanizing:

There on long benches sat about a hundred men, black men and white men, all of them naked. They sat despondently, hunched over, heads bent, evoking pictures of the extermination camps of World War Two. . . . The dignity we had clung to so desperately was now taken from us.

He was put in a five-by-seven foot cell with a frightened eighteen year old who’d been in and out of prison since he was twelve and, according to Fast, had been raped by other prisoners over a hundred times. Fortunately for Fast, he was transferred to Mill Point, a minimum security prison in West Virginia. ...Read More

Technology Serves Capitalism. Can It Serve Us?
from the Sept 13, 2023 Bulletin
Digital platforms are umbilical cords connecting us to everything else. How do these platforms impose corporate interests on us without our conscious knowledge?

Jes Ciacci: The current digital platforms promote a model of economic centralization. We all live in this model — it focuses on profits for a few and fails to serve the needs of the majority.

The financial basis of these platforms is opaque to most customers. For example, they tell us we’re getting a “free” service. But if “they” are a company with assets of billions, listed on the stock market, and they provide services for free, where do the billions come from?
Their profits come from monetizing our data, gathered whenever we use their platforms, then analyzed and sold to other companies. We aren’t human beings with our genuine need for connection and choice, we are consumers and the focus of their profit-making. Meanwhile, information technology has expanded and continues to expand — it’s the big engine of the neoliberal economy.

Melanie Bush: And unfortunately, they don’t just serve corporate interests. Around the world, the platforms serve governments, including our so-called “democracies.” Through surveillance, they suppress dissent and disable their enemies.

A well-known example — Pegasus spyware was developed in Israel and sold to governments and militaries. This set of programs looks for flaws in your computer, especially if you are active in a liberation or resistance movement. It exploits the flaws to infect programs and enable them to provide information. It's now known that Pegasus had collected the phone numbers of relatives and close friends of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The business of spyware and other kinds of surveillance is huge, much more everyday than we ever see.

So is MayFirst Movement Technology developing an alternative to Google, Facebook, and other platforms that surround us?

Jes: MayFirst is not creating an alternative platform, in the sense of competing with corporate services. But it IS an alternative in the values that underpin it. MayFirst offers an option for social movements to participate in creating an infrastructure for communications technology that is based on social principles and values.

Technology is not in itself against liberation — it can serve the social movements. MayFirst builds technology based on the values of the collective good, democratic participation, respect for the abilities and humanity of each one of us

How does your collective process produce a different result, and why is May First a bi-national US/México cooperative?

Jes: The boundaries between nation states are imaginary. Unlike imperialist actors, we recognize that the US and México are integrally connected; the futures of the peoples of these two places are intertwined and interdependent. And operating as a cooperative is a clear expression of our collectivist values.

Estrella Soria: MayFirst has around 650 members, mostly organizations based in a wide variety of struggles. Only a few are media organizations, such as the Progressive Technology Project; examples of others are Black Lives Matter, NACLA, and the Brecht Forum. Some are big, others are small and local; about 20% of the members are in México, such as La Coperacha, Sursiendo, and Tlatolli Ollin.

You don't have to be a techie to contribute to the project, including in leadership roles. The organizations all have different capacities. Levels of involvement differ as well, from developing technologies to attending monthly meetings (political education and discussion, documentation of our work, mutual support) and getting elected to our governing body.

All meetings are bilingual and we have built simultaneous translation into our free open-source video conferencing software, jitsi. Unlike other platforms, ours focuses on security.

Zoom recently announced they would use conversations on its platform for artificial intelligence training. They later released a “clarifying” statement, but the truth is that proprietary software works that way — they can change terms and conditions whenever they want without warning. When they do, because its software cannot be fully reviewed, we are at the mercy of “believing” that they tell the truth.

Can you explain how MayFirst’s political vision is the basis for building digital space?

Melanie: A recent meeting of the Global Tapestry of Alternatives described social movements as “territories.” We see technology as a territory that links all struggles — but it is a disputed territory. Technology affects every aspect of our lives. We must acknowledge its presence in order to avoid ceding control to the corporations that dominate digital space as thoroughly as they do physical space. This digital territory —the worldview of indigenous and rural populations understands this better —can be a space where the community is anchored and is connected to the land, to cultural expressions, to spirituality. Technology as a territory implies much more than the infrastructure itself, but it contains it.

Estrella: After Roe v. Wade, we hosted a “get the tech off my body” conversation. The struggle for digital autonomy and bodily autonomy are linked; data about your reproductive health is stored and can be misused. If you track your menstrual cycles with an app, that data can be sold (monetized) to private companies that sell women's reproductive health products. If abortion is criminalized, as it now is in several US states, data about your abortion could be used to prosecute you. ...Read More
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Karl Marx's ideas are a common touchstone for many people working for change. His historical materialism, his many contributions to political economy and class analysis, all continue to serve his core values--the self-emancipation of the working class and a vision of a classless society. There are naturally many trends in Marxism that have developed over the years, and new ones are on the rise today. All of them and others who want to see this project succeed are welcome here.

Video for Learning: Try this experiment: Compare how you/your group aims to lead politically with this TedTalk. Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers -- and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling....18mins
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This week's topic:

50 Years After the Chilean Coup: Consequences for Chile and the Global South Today: a radio conversation

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Tune of the Week: With A Little Help From My Friends ... From left to right: Justin Moses, Jason Carter, Cody Kilby, Rob McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, Eric Gibson, Sierra Hull, Del McCoury, Ethan Jodziewicz, Leigh Gibson, Dre Anders, and Alan Bartram....9 min

Future Podcasts Coming soon from Convergence:

Convergence Community Insider: Vol. 2, No. 8

Dear Convergence Insiders,

You got an introductory note from William Lawrence last month – the host of forthcoming Convergence Podcast Hegemonicon. And next week, you’ll be able to hear the final product of months of work with William, as well as Indebted host Maurice BP-Weeks. Convergence Podcasts officially launch on Tuesday, September 19th!

This fall’s lineup

TUESDAYS: Hegemonicon with William Lawrence, premiering Tuesday September 19th.

Join Sunrise Movement co-founder William Lawrence as he talks with left activists and researchers to make sense of the social movements and heightening crises of the last decade and beyond. Hegemonicon breaks down what organizers have learned and how we can apply it to build power from below — including what power is, how it’s exercised, and how it’s distributed. Season 1 guests include National Director of the Green New Deal Network Kaniela Ing, immigration organizer and former Bernie 2020 staffer Carlos Rojas Rodriguez, and veteran campus organizers Sean Estelle and Akin Olla.

THURSDAYS: Indebted with Maurice BP-Weeks, premiering Thursday, September 21st.

Join lifelong economic and racial justice organizer Maurice BP-Weeks in an exploration of how debt works in America and why that spells bad news for Black people and our entire economy. Hear stories from Black and Brown folks struggling with debt and learn about the financial entities that control our economy through debt. With insight from activists, campaigners, and organizers, understand why debt in America works this way — and how we’re fighting back. Season 1 guests include Persis Yu, Deputy Executive Director and Managing Counsel for the Student Borrower Protection Center, economist Gary Wolfram, and recent Howard graduate Shyann McDonald.

Both shows will be available on the Convergence website as well as wherever you get your podcasts. You can also look forward to a third season of Black Work Talk featuring brand-new hosts Bianca Cunningham and Jamala Rogers, launching later this fall.

We can’t wait to share these shows with you, and hope you’ll tune in next week when our first episodes drop.

In solidarity,


Film Review: ‘El Conde’ Is the Fascist-Vampire Movie of the Year

Pablo Larraín’s brilliant, pitch-black take on Chile’s notorious dictator asks the question: What if Augusto Pinochet was a literal monster?

El Conde. Jaime Vadell in El Conde. Cr. Pablo Larrain / Netflix © 2023
Jaime Vadell in 'El Conde.' PABLO LARRAÍN/NETFLIX

Rolling Stone

SEPT 15, 2023 - BORN ON NOV. 25, 1915, Augusto José Ramón Pinochet would rise through the ranks of the Chilean military and, having become commander-in-chief of the nation’s army, lead a coup against the country’s president Salvador Allende in 1973.

This would kick off Pinochet’s political reign — and reign of terror — for the next 17 years. He’d escape persecution for the countless crimes committed during his regime and was unrepentant about his dictatorship (what were mass graves of dissidents but more “efficient ways of burials?”) up until his death in 2006.

This is what the history books tell us. Pablo Larraín, however, would like to set the record straight. Per the Chilean filmmaker, Pinochet is not dead. In fact he’s very much undead — a 250-year-old vampire that was bitten when he was a soldier in the French army during Louis XVI’s tenure on the throne, and who escaped persecution and fought against revolutions in Haiti, Russia, and Algeria before ending up in Chile in 1935.

That “death” in 2006? Completely faked. He’s alive, if somewhat unwell, and residing in a countryside estate. Pincohet prefers British blood, “which tastes of the Roman Empire,” but any plasma will do. Mostly, he drinks blender-made heart smoothies. This vampire would like to shuffle off this mortal coil soon, though that’s proving to be harder than he thought. Besides, when you’re a dictator whose brutal rule over a nation still taints generations upon generations of Chileans, do you ever really die off?

Taking its title from Pinochet’s preferred nickname (“The Count”), El Conde is many things: a conceptual horror film, a pitch-black political satire, a reckoning in the most fantastic and capital-G Gothic way imaginable, and the last word on fascists as actual monsters.

Mostly, however, it’s Larraín’s way of trying to come to grips with what happened to his country when a madman bent it to his corrupt, power-hungry will, with the only logical conclusion being that it had to be a literal bloodsucker sucking the blood out of Chile. He’s dealt with Pinochet’s legacy and looming presence in a lot of his previous work, from the disco-feverish serial-killer thriller Tony Manero (2008) to his recounting of Chile’s 1980 referendum vote No (2012) to the secluded-offenders drama The Club (2015). This is the first time he’s taken on the dictator directly, and his decision to do it by giving El Presidente fangs — and keeping his own tongue resting comfortably in his cheek — is beyond inspired. It may not be Larraín’s best film (we’d nominate No). But it’s unquestionably the movie he was, in so many ways, born to make. (It drops on Netflix Sept. 15 after a brief theatrical run.) ...Read More
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