The Drumbeats of War

I am alarmed that people on the left (and others) are not alarmed what appears to me to be a trajectory toward wider and catastrophic war. To be nice I’ll call it a “World-like” War. While friends of mine are waving Ukrainian flags, the Biden Obama Democrats are realizing that the only way not to lose the House and the Senate later this year is to have Ukraine to declare a no fly zone. The US will then start intervening directly by shooting down Russian planes. Yes, this is Wag the Dog, but that wasn’t exactly fiction. It’s a perfect […]

Russia vs. Ukraine

The US left, such as it is, is all over the map regarding the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Too many are buying the US imperialist propaganda that Putin (unlike our own cabal of billionaires) is a power-hungry oligarch. Too many believe that the attack was provoked by the US/NATO backed coup in 2014 against a pro-Russian government in the Ukraine. Me? I’ll be honest: I don’t know. I do know, that even if it was provoked, the invasion is wrong. I support the Russian protesters against the war. At the same time, the Ukraine is no Denmark. The fascist […]


The struggle against closing school in Oakland is the fight for the soul of a city. Oakland. Home of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, an early progressive union led by Ron Dellum’s father. Home of the 1946 General Strike. Home of the Black Panther Party. Home of Boots Riley and the Coup. The Pointer Sisters. MC Hammer. The third largest port in Califonia controlled by the ILWU, by far and away the most progressive union in the country.   As most people know by now, the Oakland school board is being forced by the state of California to close 12 schools, […]

The Dawn of Everything

I just finished The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow. I don’t read much nonfiction, and when I do, I generally read the first third and figure the rest will give examples supporting the thesis. In this case, I read every fascinating page, full of descriptions of the wide array of Neolithic societies. The book challenges the basic assumption of history, archeology, and anthropology for the past couple hundred years: that egalitarian hunter-gathering societies inevitably “evolved” toward hierarchical and exploitative models as they developed agriculture and became more populous and complex.  Graeber and Wengrow argue that the evidence indicates […]

Martin Luther King calls for Reparations

Now would be a good time to aggressively raise the demand for reparations. HR 40 calling for a Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act has been introduced in the house and could well pass in the next year. The California Assembly has passed a similar resolution and is currently putting together such a commission for the state. The Oakland, California school board has passed a resolution calling for Reparations for Black Students. Reasserting the demand for reparations is the best response to the hysteria over Critical Race Theory (AKA history). The debate over reparations will force […]

Winter in America?

“There’s nobody fighting because nobody knows what to say.” Gil Scott Heron If it’s winter in America like Gil Scott says, maybe we’re all suffering from SAD – seasonal affective disorder. There are many reasons to feel discouraged — from Kyle, to COVID, to climate — even as we know in our heart of hearts that our discouragement serves the capitalist class.  But let’s look at what there is to be hopeful about.  Sixteen months ago, in the midst of the pandemic, we had 25 million people in the streets for Black Lives Matter, and police killings of unarmed Blacks […]

We’re in Deep Shit!

We’re in deep shit. This is the succinct conclusion from Nina Turner’s ignominious defeat in Cleveland this month 50-44%, The progressive wing of the party can’t be faulted for going all out for her in a bloody campaign. We pulled out all the stops. But so did our adversaries in both the Democratic and Republican parties, the neoliberal movement led by Barack Obama. He appears to have facilitated an elegant replay of the day before Super Tuesday when he convinced the neoliberal allies ganged up on Bernie to oust him from the race. It worked in the sense that despite […]

The Zone of Proximal Development and Political Organizing

It might be useful to those of us on the left who are sincere about implementing our vision of a human-centered society to think of ourselves as teachers and learners. One tool that teachers use is the zone of proximal development, a pedagogical concept developed by Soviet psychologist Lev Vigotsky in the 1920s. The way to teach a student is to learn from that student what they already know then help them to understand the next step. If you give them work that’s too easy, they won’t learn anything useful. If you give them work which is too hard, they […]

Oakland Black Student Reparations

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 5:30 PM the Oakland Board of Education will be voting on a proposal for Reparations for Black Students. You can get the link to the meeting here. Brought forth by a broad coalition of groups including the teachers union, Parent Voices, Black Organizing Project, and many others, this is an enormous step forward. It is likely to pass in some form, but two things to watch for: (1) Some board members may oppose and separate the critical provision to STOP ALL SCHOOL CLOSINGS, a racial justice issue. OUSD has closed 16 historically Black schools […]

Election Post Mortem

Here’s the deal. Black people elected Joe Biden, and he owes them big time. It’s time to once again raise the one demand that fully challenges white supremacy: reparations. The constitution has reproduced what it was written to produce: a white supremacist republic. Leftists have tended to extol the virtues of the American Revolution, Tom Paine, Jefferson at least rhetorically. I think we need to revise our view. 1776 was a slave owners revolt. As well as a revolt of the land pirate Native genociders. They could see the writing on the wall from London, which abolished slavery in 1831, […]