Left groups and people

Howie Hawkins

After the withdrawal of Bernie Sanders, we are supporting the US presidential campaign of Howie Hawkins. Hawkins, a long-time socialist and associated with the socialist group Solidarity (USA), is running for the Green Party nomination, due to be decided in July 2020. For Hawkins’ campaign, see here, and for our interview with Howie here.

The Sixties Left in the USA

An SDS national council meeting, 1963. SDS would grow dramatically, convert dramatically to variants of Maoism, split and disperse dramatically Book Review: Michael R. Fischbach, The Movement and the Middle East: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Divided the American Left, Stanford, Stanford University Press 2020 It is the conceit of this volume that the history of the American New Left and its residual legacy can be fruitfully reexamined in terms of the divisions that arose in the anti-war movement over the Palestinian (Arab) conflict. According to the author, “the major split in the Left came...

Reminiscences of Ted Knight (1933-2020)

I am saddened by the death of Ted Knight (30 March 2020). I knew him well long ago in the Orthodox Trotskyist organisation of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Covid-19: Bernie Sanders' six point plan

Bernie Sanders has drafted a six point plan for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the looming economic crisis – and the strange thing is that he doesn’t mention the presidential election nor the name of America’s current president, Donald Trump. While Joe Biden tries to make his voice heard from his basement studio in Delaware, Sanders remains an active member of the US Senate, fighting to get things done without waiting for the Democratic party primary season to end – and without waiting for Trump to be replaced in office either. “Congress must pass, in the very near future, the...

French workers occupy to demand oxygen production

Until 2019, the British firm Luxfer Holdings PLC owned and ran an oxygen cylinder factory in Gerzat in northern France. In May 2019, production ceased. In January 2020, construction teams arrived at the site, only to find it occupied by former workers demanding its nationalisation. That occupation lasted until 19 March. This plant can produce 950 oxygen cylinders a day, which would be very useful to many sorely-afflicted sufferers of Covid-19. The owners of the plant refuse to reopen it for production. French President Emmanuel Macron might have declared in a speech that “this pandemic reveals...

La France Insoumise and Covid-19

After agreeing with the government to "leave the controversies for later", Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the MPs of La France Insoumise have spoken. On a live LCI broadcast on Monday 30 March, the head of LFI opined that "the time has come to ban posted worker contracts, to repatriate posted workers by putting in the papers, or to keep them here and treat them properly", because "in France lorries are still coming in from a series of countries where there is no containment and which can therefore these lorries and be vectors for disseminating the virus". LFI's answer to the virus: foreign workers go...

Fiendishly/not so difficult political quiz

In these troubled and isolating times here’s a chance to have a bit of fun and demonstrate to all and sundry that you are a real smart-arse. Most of these questions are not that difficult, there are a few stinkers however. Try and resist the temptation to look everything up on Google. Use the quiz as you see fit. I hope some of the answers at least will prove interesting. The full answers will be posted in ten days from when they are made available online. Deaths, assassinations etc. 1. Gavril Princip assassinated Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. To which secret organisation did Princip...

The left and the epidemic

Most Labour and trade union leaders have fallen silent, or rallied behind the government, in the Covid-19 epidemic. There are exceptions. But mostly it falls to the activist left to insist that the labour movement make itself an "essential service" now, fighting for workers' control and to look out for the worst-off. The semi-lockdown (no meetings, many workers at home) obviously makes it hard to coordinate. But the more the activist left can unite to insist that union and Labour structures continue to operate, especially above workplace level, the better. Solidarity has argued for three main...

Does America need a socialist party?

In the aftermath of the disappointing results for the Sanders campaign in the primaries following Nevada, supporters of the self-described “democratic socialist” Senator from Vermont have been discussing what happens next. If Sanders chooses to leave the race, he has already announced – many months ago – that he will endorse and campaign for any candidate chosen by the Democratic Party. Most of his supporters will follow Sanders’ lead, as they did in 2016 when he endorsed Clinton. Sanders has made clear that the top priority must be to defeat Trump, and if that means campaigning for the tired...

Sanders' socialist plan for the pandemic

The mainstream media has already written off Bernie Sanders and crowned Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate to challenge Donald Trump (despite the primaries being far from over). But that hasn’t silenced the Vermont senator. Sanders has long seen himself as more than just a conventional politician and acts as the voice for a movement. This last week, he laid out a socialist programme for the pandemic. Sanders began with a recognition of the severity of the crisis, saying that “the crisis we face from coronavirus is on the scale of a major war, and we must act accordingly. Nobody knows how...

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