what’s wrong with kansas? russia iran disco suck

Sharon Borthwick writes on the meaning of the success of right-wing ‘Tea Party’ candidates in the United States midterm elections

Shocking as it may be, the Tea Party movement has been a great success. This ‘grass roots’ conservative activism is not a new phenomenon and it would be interesting to look at its recent history.

Thomas Frank’s 2003, What’s the Matter with Kansas? proves a useful tool in that regard. Frank himself, grew up in Kansas and was a deeply conservative adolescent who hero-worshipped Ronald Reagan. He learnt from older men an anger that was “endless, implacable, spectacular”. Continue reading “what’s wrong with kansas? russia iran disco suck”

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obamacare: the nuns strike back

by Ernie Haberkern
Berkeley, California

The Health Care Reform bill has finally made it through the archaic legislative labyrinth our slave-owning founding fathers left us. Our modern corporate capitalists have found this unrepresentative system as useful as the slave owners did. One of features of the system is that it facilitates behind-closed-doors dealing that makes it extremely difficult for the average voter, or even the fairly well-informed voter, to find out what exactly the effect of the legislation will actually be. In fact, the result is usually so complicated that it often has consequences unforeseen and unintended by the authors of the legislation.

So what does this ‘reform’ actually amount to? In the first place, there is no regulation of the cost of drugs. In particular, the current twelve year monopoly granted to companies for brand name drugs remains in effect. This deal was made last August and in return the pharmaceutical industry, which played a major role in the defeat of Bill Clinton’s attempt to pass a health care bill, actively lobbied in favor of Obama’s plan. Continue reading “obamacare: the nuns strike back”

dawn of the crisis generation in california

On 4th March thousands of workers and students across California took action in protest against budget cuts, lay-offs and fee hikes caused by the state’s financial crisis. This article from Indybay was written after 157 people were arrested for occupying the I-880 motorway.

“Why the hell did you get on that highway?” asked the cops, our cell mates, our coworkers, our classmates. There are many responses that could be given that have been outlined by banners, occupation demands, student leaders, or budget statistics, but none of them really connect to why one would take over a highway. Obviously there are no libraries on a highway. The funding for schools isn’t going to be found on any one of those lanes of oncoming traffic. And, in fact, a lot of people who were arrested on the highway were not students or teachers. This is because the highway takeover is an action against a power structure that is much larger than this year’s budget crisis. Continue reading “dawn of the crisis generation in california”

crisis ploughs on in united states

by Dennis Marcucci
from Philadelphia

Worst than expected economic reports and job cut announcements show that the prospects for working people in the USA and around the world are going to worsen. After all, most of the world is capitalist, and most of the world is poor. So what does that tell you about this canker sore of an economic system?

Wall Street economists had said that unemployment claims would fall below 450,000. They were wrong. There was only a slight decrease to 470,000. Any reports have to be viewed with suspicion. I was speaking to an “expert” economist on a radio talk show two weeks ago who was telling the audience how claims for unemployment fell. I said that what is not being reported is (i) workers who exhausted their benefits and are now off the rolls and are viewed as employed. (ii) workers who were collecting benefits and found part time minimum wage employment and (iii) workers working temp jobs or contract work. Continue reading “crisis ploughs on in united states”

haiti, western intervention and the left

by Rob Kirby

Tony Blair’s appearance before the Chilcot Inquiry brought up once again his hoary old argument that as Iraq is better off without Saddam, the invasion of British troops was a progressive thing for Iraqis.

Whilst Blair’s stance is clearly a self-serving attempt at justification for the barbarism that was unleashed on Iraq, the broader argument that Western troops can sometimes be a force for good does have currency for some on the left. Continue reading “haiti, western intervention and the left”

what the TV doesn’t tell us about haiti

by Claudio Testa
Socialismo o Barbarie

The world’s TV is showing, as we might expect, a false picture of reality. In the case of Haiti, this is all the more outrageous given the circumstances. With barely disguised racism they paint the picture of a people who are suffering but “ignorant” and “barbarous”, incapable of “keeping order” by themselves after the earthquake, necessitating a renewed colonial occupation, with a fresh US invasion.

Of course, no-one mentions the two-hundred-year sentence capitalism and imperialism imposed on the Haitian people for having carried out the only successful slaves’ social revolution in history. Still less do they tell us about recent events, like the significant workers’, students’ and peasants’ struggles against colonial occupation and Preval’s puppet government which developed in 2009. Continue reading “what the TV doesn’t tell us about haiti”

solidarity with the people of haiti – US troops out!

by Claudio Testa
Socialismo o Barbarie

Much of the media has portrayed Haitians "looting" - the US has intervened to "restore order"

Although UN troops have been occupying the country for six years, the USA has decided to engage in a second invasion of its own, without even going through the farce of “consulting” previous occupiers. Continue reading “solidarity with the people of haiti – US troops out!”