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Portland’s Socialists Protest New Navy Ship, U.S.S Portland

This article was originally published by CounterPunch on April 27, 2018 While Trump was ordering his Navy ships to rain missiles on Syria, Oregon’s anti-Trump Democrat “resistance” was planning a grand birthing ceremony, welcoming the U.S.S. Portland into Trump’s array of Navy death machines. Oregon’s Democrats are among the most “progressive” in the country, the […]

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Janus, the Meaning of Freedom, and Striking West Virginia Teachers and Staff

This article was originally published on CounterPunch on March 8, 2018. With the Janus vs. AFSCME case now before the Supreme Court, the deep-pocketed corporate right wing has been pressing its anti-union agenda. One such group raised the argument in a mailing to public sector union members that by abandoning their union “you will have […]

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Will the Supreme Court Break or Remake the Labor Movement?

Article first published by CounterPunch on December 18, 2017. The invasion was a long time coming, but it’s finally arrived. Many public sector unions will be smashed in the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision of “Janus vs. AFSCME.” Many labor leaders are privately panicked: the machinery is in motion and unprepared unions will get crunched in […]

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The Demoralizing Impact of Trump, But Hope Has Arrived

Article first published by CounterPunch on December 15, 2017. It has been one defeat after another for working people, particularly the most oppressed: Native Americans, African Americans, undocumented immigrants, and the LGBTQ community. The corporate agenda is on a winning spree at the expense of almost everyone else. The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines […]

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History Blinded by Anti Socialism: Ken Burns’ Vietnam

This article was originally published on CounterPunch on October 12, 2017 It’s not surprising that an Americana-obsessed filmmaker botched a history of the Vietnam War. National pride doesn’t mesh with the Empire’s lost war. And though Ken Burns’ Vietnam is worth the watch for its footage alone, Vietnam war experts such as John Pilger and […]

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Police Unions vs. Black Lives

This article originally appeared on CounterPunch on October 6, 2017 In “progressive” Portland, Oregon the city’s police stand out as political outliers. Whereas most of the city leans left the average cop is, unapologetically, on the far-right of the political spectrum. Portland’s rightwing cops mirror the politics of police across the country, reflected in the […]

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Protest Alone Won’t Stop Fascism: White Supremacists Have a Deeper Political Strategy

This article original appeared on CounterPunch on September 4, 2017 When news struck that anti-Muslim protests with ties to white supremacists cancelled rallies across the country — in response to the huge anti-fascist rally in Boston — a clear victory was celebrated by the Left. A further anti-fascist victory was won in San Francisco, where a giant […]

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Trump Versus the Venezuelan Revolution

This article originally appeared on CounterPunch on August 14, 2017. Trump’s threats against Venezuela escalated recently from the economic to the military: after announcing sanctions he threatened that all military options were “on the table.” Trump’s actions were perfectly timed to lend support to the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela, whose ongoing violent rebellion aims to […]

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Why Can’t the U.S. Left Get Venezuela Right?

As Venezuela’s fascist-minded oligarchy conspires with U.S. imperialism to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro, few in the U.S. seem to care. Instead of denouncing rightwing violence that aims at regime change, many on the U.S. left have stayed silent, or opted to give an evenhanded analysis that supports neither the Maduro government […]

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Lessons from Portland’s Clash With Fascists

“Hey Hey Fascist Scum, You’re Outnumbered 10 to 1“ — chant at Portland’s June 4th counter-protest. Portland, Oregon has had its collective mind blown in recent weeks. A Nazi murdered two people on public transit and a week later, on June 4th, Portland police were “protecting and serving” a rally of 300+ “Alt-Right” white supremacists, […]

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The Trump “Resistance” is Slipping Through Our Fingers

Social movements are notoriously finicky. They can peter out quickly or grow into a transformative force. Their longevity is questionable, but eventually the establishment re-establishes its power or the social movement rebalances the political equilibrium; or smashes it altogether. Without optimal strategy movements tend to have short lives, and the pendulum swings in the other […]

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Will the “Alt-Right” Hijack the Antiwar Movement?

Millions marched against Trump for fear he’d cause devastation at home and abroad. This resistance movement still remains a powerful social force, and recently one of the movement’s biggest fears — a new war — was fully realized when Trump bombed the Syrian government and expanded the Middle East wars, at a time of immense […]

Robert Reich’s Impossible Quest: To Save Capitalism for the Many

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Robert Reich’s latest book, Saving Capitalism For the Many, Not the Few, graphically details how current U.S. capitalism operates in stark contrast to the post-World War II period of the 50s, 60s and 70s. For Reich, the earlier period represented almost an ideal state: “the rules of the game were basically fair.” The rules defined […]

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The Organized Left and the Death of “Pragmatic” Politics

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Shifting political winds are battering the establishment, as the breeze flows to the back of the populists. The left-populist Bernie Sanders didn’t conjure the hurricane but adjusted his sails to it. As the political storm will grow apace with rising income inequality, new social attitudes are bringing fresh expectations, transforming politics as we know it. […]

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Bernie Sanders is No Jeremy Corbyn

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It is becoming popular to compare the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, as if the two belong to the same “populist” movement, marching in the same direction from different sides of the Atlantic. Far from being significant, however, their points of agreement are entirely superficial and only serve to mask the almost diametrically […]

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Have Unions Cheated Death With Scalia Gone?

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Equality loving people breathed easier after Justice Scalia’s last breath. And labor activists partied like it was New Years Eve. Their would-be hangman dropped dead and unions gained a stay of execution. Scalia’s timely departure implies that the landmark union case “Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association” will be a 4-4 stalemate, meaning the pro-labor status […]

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Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?

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The Democrats’ fight against Bernie is appearing futile. Like a python choking on an elephant, they’ve miscalculated. The Party elites underestimated their opponent, and with each new attack the snake swallows an extra inch, harming only itself. Establishment figureheads are taking turns ruining their reputation as they attempt to ruin Bernie’s. The U.S. ruling class as a whole […]

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The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment

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War can sneak up on you. And now unions are scrambling desperately for shelter, realizing they were in the crosshairs just as the Supreme Court was about to pull the trigger. After dreamily sleepwalking in denial, unions were shocked and awed awake by the Supreme Court’s hearing of “Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association.” If unions lose […]

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It’s Not Too Late For Unions to Win Friedrichs

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If the future of labor unions is in the hands of the Supreme Court, the outlook is bleak. Labor’s denial was shattered when Judge Alito signaled that the Court had the votes to decimate union membership nationwide. This specific attack aims at public sector unions, the last high-density stronghold of the labor movement. It also […]

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Does Bernie Sanders’ Imperialism Matter?

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Critiquing Bernie Sanders from the left can be a lonely project. There is a “hope”-powered hysteria surrounding his campaign, and bursting the “hope” bubble can produce a fierce backlash. The Sanders “hope” explosion is so fierce because capitalism has become a hopeless place. Hope can be positive by pushing people into political action, but it’s also […]

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AFL-CIO Endorses $15 Ballot Measure

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Originally published on the Oregonians for 15 website on October 26, 2015 After rigorous debate, Oregon’s largest labor federation voted to support Oregonians for 15, the campaign to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour. Hundreds of union members were in Seaside this past weekend as delegates to the annual Oregon AFL-CIO convention, […]

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Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria will Inflame the War Zone

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The road to war is paved with a thousand lies. A fresh fib was tossed on the lie-cluttered warpath to Syria, when it was announced that the U.S. and Turkey would create a “safe zone” inside of Syria — supposedly to be aimed against ISIS. This “safe zone” is a major escalation of war, but […]

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