Politics Is About Power: Assessing the 2018 Mid-Terms

This Guest Blog from Max Elbaum is one of the most cogent analyses of the recent mid-term election in the U. S. It’s long but worth reading in full: Politics is about Power. One of the positive things about this moment is that the question of power has moved central to discussion on the left. Not just how to speak truth to power, or how to protest those in power, or pressure those in power. Rather, how to take chunks of power from those who have it now and get it for the exploited and oppressed. I haven’t seen that […]

Unity?

I’d like to propose to the progressive movement that we try something new: unity. What a concept. The most unifying figure to have emerged in recent memory is Bernie. Let’s unite behind him and see what we can do. His 2016 campaign accomplished the impossible: he ran a nearly successful campaign without taking money from Wall Street. This should have been the aspect of his campaign that the party adopted, but no one else is even trying to do this: not Warren, not Harris, not Franken. I have my differences with Sanders. He’s too close to the Zionists in Israel; […]

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

I understand that it’s necessary for progressives to play defense on so many levels right now: defending immigrants, defending black and brown people against the police, defending public education, reproductive choice, environmental regulation, science, Social Security, Obamacare, the people of the Middle East against U. S. aggression. The list goes on. The old adage says the best defense is a good offense. One area where I think we need to go on the offensive is in the battle for the content and structure of the public schools. The curriculum of most elementary schools is stuck in the 19th century factory […]

Don’t mourn. Organize.

Don’t mourn. Organize. The words of Joe Hill, a working-class martyr, executed by firing squad in 1915. Electoral politics are important, but not as important as organizing. Most importantly: at the point of production, meaning in the workplace, schools, or neighborhoods. This concept has been understood by all leftists since Marx himself. At this point, the nature of the organization that you organize people into is not that important. The connections you make with people are what matters. But, damn it people, we need unions. We need community organizing campaigns. Find an issue that touches a nerve and organize people around […]

Hiring Parents as Teaching Assistants

[Data from 2007] Last week, the parents (about 25) in the Parent Café that my organization facilitates at one of the West Oakland (low income, predominantly black) elementary schools initiated a campaign for parents to be hired in the school as teaching assistants. There are several reasons why this is a powerful proposal: By providing employment, this program addresses the primary cause of lower student performance: poverty. The more money your family has the better you will do in school. It will cut child-adult ratio in half, doubling the amount of personal attention the students receive. Children can get the […]

Unity

I feel like too many people on my FB feed just aren’t getting it. Oh, they were all for Bernie when he was winning. But damn, he didn’t win. Really? What Bernie has done, is doing, is building the largest progressive movement in years. He showed us it was possible to get big money out of politics. What? I know on some level it’s unfortunate, but movements need leaders. Lenin. Mao. Castro. Mandela. King. Malcolm X. Huey. Bernie is right up there. Black Lives Matter is the exception that proves the rule, whatever that means, having three leaders, Alicia, Opal, […]

The Civil War continues

Here is the Black History presentation we made to the West Oakland Black and Yemeni parents last week. Someone would read one of the vignettes and then we would do a 3 minute each way dyad, where the parents took turns listening to each other, a good way to deal with material that’s on the heavy side. ONE THIRTEENTH AMMENDMENT (1865)  Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to […]

Black Leadership Matters — Guest blog by Juana Bordas

Black Leadership Matters – Guest blog by Juana Bordas  Black History Month is a time to reflect, learn, and celebrate the countless contributions African Americans have made to our country – a time to recommit to the work of Civil Rights and Community Engagement.  We must remember that Black History month is necessary because their journeys and contributions were excluded from the “American story”. Respecting and integrating the history of African Americans, however, should be continuous and not limited to one month! One crucial step is incorporating Black Leadership principles into our organizations and society. We begin by acknowledging the last year of […]

The Leap Manifesto

I had the privilege of attending the San Miguel Writer’s Conference in Mexico this week, the final keynote of which was given by Naomi Klein, Canadian author of “This Changes Everything” and “The Shock Doctrine.” She acknowledged that since Trump’s victory, we will need to focus on playing defense for a while, but that we should do so in the context of a powerfully humane vision of the future, exemplified by the Leap Manifesto, reprinted below. Clearly the manifesto was written for Canada, but, with an additional focus on Black and Latino communities, could be adopted for the movement in […]

Visions of the future

Let’s not channel “irrational exuberance” over our victory in the 9th Circuit re the Muslim Ban. Yes, it was beautiful. Yes, it was totally predictable. 45 doesn’t care if the courts approve his plan or not. To 45, it’s all about building the movement. His governing style is to throw shit against the wall and see what sticks. His political style is to keep throwing his carnivorous base chunks of red meat. 45 is a symptom of the imminent collapse of capitalism. The concentration of wealth is systemic, another symptom of the collapse. No society can survive the levels of […]