The “Bernie Blackout” is now over

Published on: Wed, 15/01/2020 - 13:33

Eric Lee

A few weeks ago, the mainstream media narrative about Bernie Sanders ran like this: Sanders appeals to a very limited audience in the Democratic Party and therefore cannot win the nomination. In the early caucus and primary states he leads the pack nowhere. Mayor Pete Buttigieg could win Iowa, and Elizabeth Warren may take New Hampshire, but Joe Biden will win all the rest. So little attention was being paid to the Vermont Senator that Sanders’ supporters began to talk about a “Bernie Blackout”.

Fast forward to the first weeks of January 2020 and everything has changed.

The mainstream

The politics of Jewish victimisation

Published on: Thu, 09/01/2020 - 14:31

Barry Finger

Orthodox Jews in the New York metropolitan area alone have been the victims of no less than a dozen attacks in the last few weeks.

Women have been smacked across the face, spat upon and their wigs ripped off. Men have been assaulted with chairs wand one whacked so hard with a brick that he lost all his teeth. A woman and her child were pelted with eggs, another mother beaten with her child in tow. Jews have been harangued and baited on public transportation. Jews have been targeted in the streets, in their houses of worship and on-line.

And in the most dramatic attacks, three people were

Sanders and Soleimani

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 12:53

Eric Lee

The drone attack ordered by US President Donald Trump has shaken up the entire Middle East, raising fears of a regional conflict – or worse, a world war.

But it has also shaken up the Democratic primary, sharpening the differences between Senator Bernie Sanders and all the other candidates.

To the extent to which foreign policy has played a role in the Democratic contest so far, it has largely focussed on the past. Sanders is often quick to point out that he opposed the Iraq war, and voted against it, while Biden and other Democrats were cheering George W. Bush on. This echos the 2016 race,

Tackling the union bureaucracies

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 11:22

Bob Carnegie

Trade union organisation has always tended to centre in the better-off sections of the working class. But that tendency has been sharpened in the neoliberal era by increased inequality within the working class, and union organisation receding into more limited “bastions”.

In Australia — and in general — trade unions have been able to hold on to a degree in some strongholds, but in my working life, 45 years now, the influence of trade unions in society has markedly decreased.

Unions have become much more bureaucratic.

Most union leaders put the trends down to the anti-union laws which have been

Sanders, Corbyn and anti-Semitism

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 13:13

Eric Lee

Bernie Sanders has a proud record both of supporting Israel and of being critical of its government. He summed up his views in a recent article for the magazine Jewish Currents, in which he wrote;

“I think it is very important for everyone, but particularly for progressives, to acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people after centuries of displacement and persecution.”

The choice of the phrase “in particular for progressives” is deliberate. Because people on the Left, in recent years, have not acknowledged that the creation of Israel was,

Sanders, Debs and the lessons of 1920

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 18:33

Eric Lee

Earlier this year, a photograph made the rounds on the Internet. It showed Bernie Sanders meeting a young supporter in Iowa. Bernie is smiling and pointing to the young man’s t-shirt. On the t-shirt, it says “Listen here, Bud, America deserved 9/11.”

The photo was a fake. In the real image, the photo on the young man’s shirt which brings a smile to the Senator’s face is one of Eugene V. Debs. And that makes a lot more sense.

Bernie Sanders has long admired Debs, who was the Socialist Party’s candidate for President in a number of elections more than a century ago. And many have drawn parallels

Socialism for us, not for the rich!

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 17:16

Bernie Sanders

A June 2019 speech by Bernie Sanders delivered at George Washington University (and abridged here) on what he means by socialism.

With so many crises converging upon us simultaneously, it is easy for us to become overwhelmed or depressed — or to even throw up our hands in resignation.

In the year 2019 the United States and the rest of the world face two very different political paths. On one hand, there is a growing movement towards oligarchy and authoritarianism in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a significant part of the economy and exert

The New Deal: starting socialism or saving capitalism?

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 17:07

The above is a cartoon from the US Trotskyist paper Socialist Appeal, 11 July 1939, portrays Roosevelt (“FDR”) making a show of attacking conservative plutocrats (“Tories”).

In parts of his speech not reprinted here, Bernie Sanders expands on the idea that his socialism is a continuation and expansion from where the New Deal of Roosevelt, president from 1933 to 1945, left off.

Roosevelt himself saw it differently. In 1935 he explained: “I am fighting Communism… I want to save our system, the capitalist system…

“To combat crackpot ideas, it may be necessary to throw to the wolves the forty-six

ISO: stirrings in the ashes

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 16:46

Simon Nelson

People from the leadership of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) which was in place before the ISO’s convention in February 2019, have launched a new website, the International Socialism Project (ISP),, and some forums in Chicago.

The project also involves one or two former members of the “Orthodox Trotskyist” (in fact, semi-Assadist) Socialist Action group.

Background: the ISO was long the most active group on the US far left, with up to 1500 members. Apparently overwhelmed by criticism from the ranks, the old leadership (many of them leaders since the

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