Archive by Author

Taxing the Rich and Its “Left” Critics

rl07282012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

 In a recent article published on the website of Socialist Viewpoint, Chris Kinder criticized those on the left who call for raising taxes on the rich. Identifying himself as a Trotskyist, Mr. Kinder displayed particular displeasure with Trotskyists who embrace this demand. Yet, as we will argue, his arguments fundamentally deviate from the political-strategic framework […]

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Taxing the Rich and the Jobs Crisis

rl07222012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

In a recent article, “Pensions Under Attack in America?,” Mr. Leo Kolivakis took issue with a proposal by Mark Vorpahl, a union steward, to defend pensions by taxing the rich in order to create jobs (see Pensions Under Attack). Both authors agree that solving the jobs crisis is indispensable to solving the pension crisis, but […]

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Money, Power, and Politics

rl06262012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

When it is a question of the efficacy of money in politics and workers fail to put up a fight, money prevails. The moral is: money counts — but only if we let it.

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How Not To Be a Union

567_rl06102012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer Unions were originally built on the principle of solidarity. Workers soon realized that as individuals they were powerless when trying to defend their interests in relation to their profit-maximizing employers. But when they were organized and stood together, their combination gave them the upper hand. Under the banner of “an […]

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AFL-CIO Declares Victory in Wisconsin in the Face of Defeat

rl06052012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer  In the wake of the Wisconsin elections and the failure to unseat Governor Walker, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has issued a victory statement of sorts, resorting to the most tortured and convoluted logic. (more…)

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How the Democrats Exploit Occupy

rl06012012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

There has been much talk about attempts by various organizations such as the Democratic Party and some top officials in organized labor to co-opt Occupy in order to steer this movement in directions beneficial to themselves. Such attempts can hardly be surprising, given the use that many in the Republican Party made of the Tea […]

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Gov. Jerry Brown’s Terrorizing Tactic

rl05282012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer Current political developments in California highlight the gaping chasm that divides the established political process — which is routinely mislabeled as “democratic” — with the positions embraced by the vast majority of Californians. Unfortunately, California is to the United States as Greece is to Europe: both are fiscal basket cases. California has […]

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Los banqueros y el perdón: La ley suave para el 1%

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Cuando los propietarios de casas se retrasan en el pago de sus hipotecas, sea porque han perdido su empleo o por el vertiginoso aumento de las tasas de interés, los banqueros reaccionan fríamente. Motivados por sus intereses económicos ponen a hacer horas extras a su maquinaria de embargos y obligan a millones de personas a […]

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Bankers and Forgiveness

rl05232012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer When homeowners have fallen behind in their mortgage payments, whether because of a job loss or because the interest rates just shot up, the bankers have responded coldly. Led by their economic interests, they set their robo-signers working overtime on foreclosures, forcing millions of people out of their homes. Back during the […]

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Capitalists and Other Psychopaths

wa05132012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

The following op-ed article that appeared in The New York Times, May 12, 2012, cites hard evidence for beliefs that revolutionary socialists have held for years: the rich are morally degenerate. According to the article, a recent study concluded that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are “clinical psychopaths. Another study noted that the rich […]

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The Strategic Role of the United Front Approach

rl11102010
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Unfortunately, there are some who regard themselves as Marxists who insist on squandering these opportunities. They argue that all such struggles must be linked to the goal of socialism on the grounds that any working class gains within the framework of capitalism are simply illusory reforms — they will eventually be eroded by the capitalist […]

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The Unions, the Millionaires Tax, and the Road to Success

rl03202012
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer This winter the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) sent tremors of hope through its ranks by announcing it was going to spearhead an attempt to place an initiative on the California ballot — appropriately called the “Millionaires Tax” — that would raise taxes only on millionaires (3 percent on those […]

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The Working Class Begins to Fight Back

rl01072012-567
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Bill Leumer and Ann Robertson After decades of losing ground and feeling helpless, working people are beginning to fight back. This development has emerged in part because the Occupy Wall Street movement has thrown a national spotlight on the growing inequalities in wealth and the mainstream politicians who have enabled this trend to continue for […]

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Ten Lessons for Today’s Unions from Labor’s Militant History

rl07192011-567
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Although they bill themselves as “friends of labor” and many in the labor community accept this fraudulent packaging, Democrats are at best entirely unreliable allies of workers and at worst determined opponents. Truman, who claimed he opposed Taft-Hartley and initially vetoed the legislation – only to be overruled by Congress – nevertheless made recourse to […]

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How We Can Effectively Defend Our Unions!

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

This is the text of a leaflet which Workers Action distributed at the April 4, 2011 demonstration in San Francisco in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin. Working people are confronting a historic crisis. Those of us who are lucky enough to have a job are facing unrelenting attacks on our wages, our benefits, and our pensions, […]

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Why Reject Concessions in Wisconsin

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Ordinary people get it immediately when presented with the facts about the growing inequalities in wealth, the ever-decreasing taxes on the rich and the corporations, and the increasingly difficult struggle of working people to maintain a dignified standard of living. Instead of capitulating to the polls, unions must launch their own offensive, stand up for […]

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Why Reject Concessions In Wisconsin?

rl03082011
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

At the outset of the struggle, many Wisconsin union officials signaled that they were prepared to accept concessions, which are being demanded in many states by Democrats and Republicans alike. But when Wisconsin public workers themselves were interviewed, one after another rejected the concessions. They know better than anyone that the concessions are not affordable, […]

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Why Inequality Matters

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

What can be done? The tension resulting from these growing inequalities is rapidly approaching an explosive climax. But organized labor officials, who are in a position to mobilize massive numbers of working people to put up a fight, are giving the impression that they are suffering from a state of complete paralysis. Of course, every […]

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Por qué la desigualdad importa

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Spanish translation of Why Inequality Matters. El paisaje social y económico norteamericano está cambiando rápidamente. Las desigualdades en la riqueza, que iniciaron su ascenso en la década de los años 80, se aceleraron en los 90. Ahora vuelan ya por encima de los gráficos, gracias en primer lugar a los recortes de impuestos introducidos por […]

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The Strategic Role of the United Front

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

The united front, then, is the necessary approach that workers use to unite themselves, as members of the same class, in order to put up a fight. It lies at the heart of class struggle. Here, workers put their political differences aside and come together because of their common grievances over a single or a […]

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Jerry Brown Widens The Chasm Between Labor and the Democratic Party

robleum_09-12-2010
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer With the November elections rapidly approaching, most Americans are unimpressed and uninvolved, having concluded that elections have changed little in their struggling lives, despite all the promises of politicians. But a minority of the population is intensely immersed in partisan politics, doing whatever they can to promote the politicians of […]

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The True Nature of a Revolutionary Marxist Party and Its Common Distortions

rl06152009
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

The following passages, written by Leon Trotsky, appear in “A Letter to the Convention of the French Communist Party” (October 1922) and is included in The First 5 Years of the Communist International, Volume 2. Virtually all parties in the U.S. today that call themselves Marxist are guilty of the error that Trotsky is describing […]

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Arne Duncan and Corruption at the Top

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

A recent New York Times article (March 23, 2010) — discreetly tucked in the back pages of the newspaper — reported that Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education, kept a confidential log of names of the rich and powerful who were trying to take advantage of their political connections to get their children admitted into Chicago’s best […]

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Dueling Strategies in the Defense of Public Education Part II

Dueling Strategies in the Defense of Public Education Part II
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

In Part I of this essay we looked at strategies in defense of public education that are referred to as “ultra-left,” meaning that they veer so far left that they sever ties with the working class and consequently lose all traction when it comes to influencing the movement. Here we will examine strategies that veer to the […]

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Dueling Strategies in the Defense of Public Education Part I

Dueling Strategies in the Defense of Public Education Part I
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

The massive turnout across the state of California on March 4 in defense of public education provides indisputable evidence that this movement is just at the beginning stage. And much credit is due to the countless number of students, staff, and teachers who committed many, many hours of their time, tirelessly organizing for March 4; […]

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The Way Forward for the Movement in Defense of Public Education

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

On March 4, students, staff, teachers, faculty and their unions on all levels of public education created history by uniting and pouring out onto the streets to engage in what were overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations to defend public education. The movement swept through small towns and large cities with demonstrators, including young elementary school students, carrying […]

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Why Join a Revolutionary Socialist Party

rl05272009
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

There are basically two benefits to being a member of a revolutionary party. The first, an educational benefit, plays out on several different levels. (1) Having a strong command of Marxist theory can be extremely valuable on many different fronts. (a) For example, Marx’s Capital provides a sharp analysis of capitalist society so that one […]

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