Tag Archives: slides

History Blinded by Anti Socialism: Ken Burns’ Vietnam

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Shamus Cooke

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

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Shamus Cooke

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

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Shamus Cooke

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

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Shamus Cooke

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?

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Shamus Cooke

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

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Shamus Cooke

“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

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Shamus Cooke

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?

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Shamus Cooke

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 […]

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The Necessity For, and Obstacles To, Transforming the Unions into a Fighting Force For Workers

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

While the Trump administration has been pressing forward with its hate-filled, bigoted, 100-percent-pro-corporate agenda, the resistance movement has been rising admirably to the challenge by organizing massive demonstrations in defense of Trump’s victims: immigrants, Muslims, women, people in the LGBTQ community, etc. Labor unions represent one potentially crucial component of this movement. After all, the […]

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Inauguration Day and Beyond

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Shamus Cooke

January 20th is set to be a historic day. It’s likely to be the biggest inauguration protest in world history, where millions of people will challenge the Trump regime in the streets. The following day will also be a national day of protest, where women’s marches are scheduled across the country. The Washington D.C. women’s march is expected […]

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Urgent Next Steps in the Anti-Trump Movement

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Shamus Cooke

Trump’s presidency takes gruesome shape with every vile appointee. Each choice signals an intent to follow through with sinister campaign promises, threatening every demographic of working people. His appointments are a hodgepodge of the right-wing fringe, the “loyalists” who endorsed Trump early because they had nothing to lose: their extremist, unhinged views made them irrelevant wing-nuts […]

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Can a Mass Movement Seize This Anti-Trump Moment?

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Shamus Cooke

Change is in the air. Millions of people in the U.S. woke up to the living nightmare of a Trump presidency. The threat and shock posed by Trump jolted hundreds of thousands off their couch and into the street. People of all ages now want to “do something,” joining protests nationwide that the Washington Post […]

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Stopping Hillary’s Coming War on Syria

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Shamus Cooke

With Hillary Clinton’s victory in the bag, there’s a growing fear that her presidency will begin with a bang: regime change in Syria. Clinton has said as much. Last year Reuters reported that “removing President Assad” would be Clinton’s “top priority.” This regime change sentiment was echoed more recently by her foreign policy advisor, Jeremy […]

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The New York Times Rejects Majority Rule

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

In a recent front-page New York Times article (October 5, 2016) two authors reviewed what they thought were disastrous results of referendums around the world, including Brexit in the U.K., the peace accords in Colombia, a constitution in Thailand, and more. The results of these referendums, according to The Times, “eroded their own [the voters] […]

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A Seismic Shift Toward Socialism in the U.K. Labour Party

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Jeremy Corbyn’s unexpected 2015 rise to the leadership of the U.K. Labour Party and his recent resounding victory over the right-wing forces within the party that tried to dislodge him are sending shockwaves throughout Europe – waves that could reach the shores of the U.S. if events continue to unfold in the same direction.   […]

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Can the Left Survive a Trump Presidency?

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Shamus Cooke

It’s easy to overestimate an adversary. Especially a billionaire who says scary, racist things. The disbelief triggered by Donald Trump’s candidacy exposed a mass crisis of confidence in the establishment, whose policies alienated the electorate, creating a Trump-sized political void. Trump seems strong because the establishment is so weak, and hated. Trump himself is a decades-old […]

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Class War in the U.K. Labour Party

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

As inequalities in wealth expand, many working people are losing ground, with some falling out of the “middle class.” Classes have become more clearly defined, raising the possibility for outbreaks of class struggle. The Bernie Sanders campaign represented a small step in this direction as Sanders polemicised against the 1%. But the turmoil in the […]

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

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

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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Shamus Cooke

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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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

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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Shamus Cooke

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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Shamus Cooke

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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Shamus Cooke

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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Shamus Cooke

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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Shamus Cooke

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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Oregonians for 15

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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Shamus Cooke

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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In Defense of Greece’s Syriza

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Many on the left have been recently condemning Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipris and the Syriza government leadership for their “betrayal” of the Greek people who voted overwhelmingly (61.5 percent) against further austerity measures in the recent referendum. Immediately afterwards the leadership seemed to execute an about-face by accepting even worse austerity than they had […]

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Unions Must Act Now to Survive Supreme Court Deathblow

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Shamus Cooke

Unions have a decision to make: organize or die. It’s that simple. These are the only two options now that the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case “Friedrichs v. California Teacher Association.” The court intends to take aim at the head of organized labor by ruling against the California Teachers Association, and in […]

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Organized Labor: To Be or Not To Be

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

With the landmark case Friedrichs v. California Teacher Association scheduled to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court soon, organized labor is bracing itself for a possible crippling blow. A negative ruling will establish “right to work” throughout the country for public sector unions, meaning that public workers who are not union members will […]

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Syrian War Set to Re-Explode

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Shamus Cooke

The Syrian war stalemate appears to be over. The regional powers surrounding Syria — especially Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Jordan — have re-ignited their war against the Syrian government. After over 200,000 dead and millions of refugees, the U.S. allies in the region recently re-committed to deepening the war, with incalculable consequences. The new war […]

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Behind the Media’s Assault on Seymour Hersh

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Shamus Cooke

He’s the most respected journalist in U.S. history, and for decades Seymour Hersh has consistently broken major international stories, winning him the Pulitzer Prize among other prestigious awards of journalism. But the media establishment that once idealized him now seeks his destruction. Hersh is facing a coordinated attack from his former colleagues, each scrambling to […]

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Arne Duncan Fouls Out on Common Core

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Opposition to the Common Core Standards and the tests tied to them is rising, as a recent Wall Street Journal article (May 6) underlined. Approval for Common Core is now languishing at a mere 17 percent while disapproval has shot up to 40 percent. The article continues: “This year hundreds of thousands of students across […]

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How a $15 Minimum Helps All Workers

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Shamus Cooke

Giant corporations and the wealthy are naturally united in their hatred of the $15 minimum wage. Surprising, however, is the strong opposition sometimes encountered by workers who make barely above $15 an hour. The anti-$15 logic of these workers varies. Some simply repeat the misinformation they hear on the media, that a higher minimum wage […]

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A Paper Peace and Proxy War With Iran

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Shamus Cooke

Obama’s foreign policy is bound in a thousand knots, all threatening to unwind. At the same time that the U.S. is engaged in nuclear negotiations with Iran the two are fighting proxy wars against each other in Yemen and Syria. Which begs the question: are the nuclear talks with Iran really that meaningful, if war is […]

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