The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair For students of political history, a cottage industry has grown in recent years around identifying the historical circumstances and intellectual origins of neoliberalism. While the initial conditions have been identified in the post-WWII effort to cleave German fascism from its American roots, what hasn’t been explained is the hold it … Continue reading “The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won”

It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.

Photograph Source: Old School WWC Fan – CC BY-SA 4.0 “In the colonial context there is no truthful behavior. And good is quite simply what hurts them most.” -Frantz Fanon “And I say that between colonization and civilization there is an infinite distance; that out of all the colonial statutes that have been drawn up, … Continue reading “It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.”

System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics

The Democratic primary season is upon us, and the party’s candidate list is a useful starting point for assessing the impact of affluence on American politics. Classic works by sociologists of decades past, including C. Wright Mills and G. William Domhoff, posited that U.S. political institutions were captured by elite economic actors, who seek to … Continue reading “System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics”

South Carolina Speaks for Whom?

Image Source: Flag of South Carolina – Public Domain Because the African American vote is crucial, the conventional wisdom nowadays is that for Democrats to end up with a nominee who can defeat Donald Trump, Democratic candidates must win over African Americans’ hearts and minds. This is a rare case in which the conventional wisdom … Continue reading “South Carolina Speaks for Whom?”

Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man

Torso in a box, Nathan Purifoy Outdoor Museum, Joshua Tree. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair. + After the scenes of mass psychosis in North Carolina on Wednesday night, you’d think the Democrats would finally extinguish their happy trope about “bringing the country together”, concentrate on protecting their most valuable assets (the 4 Horsewomen of the Political … Continue reading “Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man”

The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t

Image Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Public Domain What variable is associated with a 12 times greater likelihood of a suicide attempt—and also doubles the likelihood of cancer, heart disease, or stroke? In the late 1990s, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study revealed a stunningly powerful relationship between childhood trauma and later … Continue reading “The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t”

How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair The federal government is by no means a perfect organization. It mirrors society. Yet it is the only saving grace that prevents the collapse of society under the stress of capitalism. It funds the military establishment and provides socialist medical care to its veteran soldiers – and members of Congress. … Continue reading “How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government”

All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago

Image Source: Fuimos siempre ladrones nacionales – Public Domain This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Sandinistas taking power in Nicaragua, a milestone that merits celebration regardless of our opinions on how the Sandinista Revolution evolved. Nor should the hand of United States imperialism in distorting that revolution be ignored — the huge cost … Continue reading “All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago”

Parallel Lives: Cheney and Ailes

Still from The Loudest Voice (Showtime). Two of the more infamous Republican Party operatives have become the subjects of biopics within the past year. In “Vice”, a 2018 film now available on Amazon streaming, Adam McKay portrayed Dick Cheney as a cynical opportunist who was both responsible for the “war on terror” and the extension … Continue reading “Parallel Lives: Cheney and Ailes”

Big in the Bungalow of Believers

Free tickets from a friend sent my companion and me to a production of the musical Big staged by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre on a sunny Sunday afternoon in July. My companion grew up in London and spent many an afternoon and evening in that greatest of theatre-city’s myriad venues seeing the greatest British actors … Continue reading “Big in the Bungalow of Believers”

Bernie Sanders, Anti-Imperialism and Venezuela

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair Throughout the last century, socialists have faced an uphill battle within the United States. Unlike other similarly high-income countries, the U.S. has largely remained a bastion of deeply individualist attitudes and unregulated capitalist policies. Yet, over the span of the past decade, socialism has transformed from a demonized ideology to … Continue reading “Bernie Sanders, Anti-Imperialism and Venezuela”

Cuba and a New Generation of Leaders Respond to U.S. Anti-People War

Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair For almost 60 years Cuba has successfully defended its socialist revolution against a steady onslaught of U.S. aggressive actions, serious enough at times to warrant extraordinary measures. Cuba, for example, established alliances with the Soviet bloc of nations in the early 1960s, readjusted its economy and politics following the Soviet … Continue reading “Cuba and a New Generation of Leaders Respond to U.S. Anti-People War”

Ye Cannot Swerve Me: Moby-Dick and Climate Change

Electrical power transformer station, Imperial Valley, Cal. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair. “Come, Ahab’s compliments to ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is … Continue reading “Ye Cannot Swerve Me: Moby-Dick and Climate Change”

Sofi’s Choice

Still from Sophie’s Choice. If you saw Sophie’s Choice (1982), you will remember the film’s climax. It’s unforgettable. A young Polish woman, Zofia “Sophie” Zawistowski (Meryl Streep), arrives at Auschwitz with her two small children. There, with the Nazis’ characteristic blend of sadism and ingenuity, a camp officer presents her with a choice: one of … Continue reading “Sofi’s Choice”

Epstein, Jane Doe, and Trump

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair MSNBC calls it the “Epstein Firestorm.” Billionaire philanthropist and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was arrested again July 6 on sex trafficking charges dating back to the early 2000s. Post-Cosby, post-Weinstein, #MeToo movement era America learned (suddenly, for some reason) that the Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta while a U.S. … Continue reading “Epstein, Jane Doe, and Trump”

I Had an Abortion and Now I’m Not Ashamed

Photograph Source: ann harkness – CC BY 2.0 I have never said this publicly before, but in December 1974 I had an abortion. I was 22 years old, living in a cold, dark house in Portland, Oregon, spending my days huddled in front of a wood stove trying to finish my undergraduate senior thesis. I … Continue reading “I Had an Abortion and Now I’m Not Ashamed”

In the US and Brazil, Two Trends Underline the Creeping Fascism of Both Governments

Photograph Source: Palácio do Planalto – CC BY 2.0 The word fascism is undoubtedly overused in today’s political lexicon. It is used by figures from across the political spectrum as a shorthand for anything that one’s opponent does that is deemed sinister or disagreeable. This phenomenon has obscured the real meaning of the word, creating … Continue reading “In the US and Brazil, Two Trends Underline the Creeping Fascism of Both Governments”

“Go Back Where You Came From:” an Episode From Canada

An inuit family (1917) Photograph Source: George R. King – Public Domain “… go back where you came from…” Not something one expects to hear from a head of state addressing his own citizens. When these taunts come from a man, a second generation American, whose entire pedigree as Captain America rests on having one … Continue reading ““Go Back Where You Came From:” an Episode From Canada”

How Big Strike 30 Years Ago Aided Fight for Single Payer

Image Source: logo for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – Fair Use Thirty years ago this summer, 60,000 telephone workers walked off the job in New York and New England — and stayed out for seventeen weeks. Their struggle against NYNEX, a telecom giant, became one of labor’s few big strike victories, during a decade … Continue reading “How Big Strike 30 Years Ago Aided Fight for Single Payer”

Sexual Predators in the Power Elite

“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensating to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom.” —Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Power corrupts. Anyone who believes differently hasn’t been paying attention. Politics, religion, sports, … Continue reading “Sexual Predators in the Power Elite”

Teach the Children Well: the Unrealized Vision In Teaching and Learning in the Residential Schools

Haida totem pole, British Columbia. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair. Through the entire era of the residential school in Canada, from the 1880s until the 1980s, parents, public school inspectors and departmental officials made serious complaints about the “poor education” the Native children were receiving. John Milloy (A national crime: the Canadian government and the residential … Continue reading “Teach the Children Well: the Unrealized Vision In Teaching and Learning in the Residential Schools”

A Firm Grasp of the Obvious: Kim Darroch and the Weakness of Britain

Photograph Source: UK Government – OGL 3 The resignation of Sir Kim Darroch as British ambassador to Washington, because of his leaked messages to London criticising President Trump, is highly revealing about the real state of British knowledge of what is going on in the US. Supporters of the former ambassador portray him as a … Continue reading “A Firm Grasp of the Obvious: Kim Darroch and the Weakness of Britain”

The World Needs a Water Treaty

Image Source: Keenan Pepper – CC BY-SA 4.0 During the face-off earlier this year between India and Pakistan over a terrorist attack that killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, New Delhi made an existential threat to Islamabad. The weapon was not India’s considerable nuclear arsenal, but one still capable of inflicting ruinous destruction: … Continue reading “The World Needs a Water Treaty”

Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador

Photograph Source: U.S. Department of State – Public Domain Here in Ukania, where I’ve been for the past week, many things are going on: Wimbledon tennis, the cricket World Cup, the British Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Brexit fiasco, the shitty drama that is the Tory party leadership contest, revived interest in the “friendship” between … Continue reading “Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador”

What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?

Photograph Source: Bengt Nyman from Vaxholm, Sweden – CC BY 2.0 “We have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas Refinery in Syria. That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria.” – Fabian Picardo, chief minister … Continue reading “What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?”

Democratic Virtues in Electing a President

Photograph by Joshua Frank Privatizing the US elections? I enjoyed listening to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates speak of their hopes for the future of this country. What I did not like was the NBC umbrella over the aspiring candidates. Why should large TV monopolies run the presidential campaigns? Who gave this “media” money-machine the right to … Continue reading “Democratic Virtues in Electing a President”

Free Speech Just isn’t That Complicated

It’s hard to believe we need to have this conversation in this day and age. But if we don’t keep having it, at some point we might not be allowed to have it. Question: What is free speech? Or, rather what is NOT free speech? In 2017, former Vermont governor,  presidential candidate, and Democratic National … Continue reading “Free Speech Just isn’t That Complicated”

The Resigning Ambassador

Rarely do ambassadors resign after an intense self-assessment of worth. Diplomatic immunity does not merely extend to protecting the official from the reach of local laws; it encourages a degree of freedom in engaging as a country’s representative. Sir Kim Darroch, as UK ambassador to the United States, felt that any freedom afforded him in … Continue reading “The Resigning Ambassador”

Everybody Must Get Stoned

I recently wrote on these pages about the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee. Reading an article that the committee references on the Pentagon’s past commemoration of the war, I was not surprised to find pure and unabashed vitriol hurled at the peace movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Yogi Berra might have observed that “It’s like déjà vu all … Continue reading “Everybody Must Get Stoned”

The United States of Overreaction

On July 4, at a Starbucks in Tempe, Arizona, six police officers were asked to either move out of a customer’s line of sight or leave the establishment because they were making a patron uncomfortable—for being police. As a progressive-minded American who believes certain (unjust) laws are meant to be broken and who strongly opposes … Continue reading “The United States of Overreaction”

Children’s Trafficking and Exploitation is a Persistent, Dreary Phenomenon

Child trafficking and exploitation are again in the news after the Wall Street trader Jeffrey Epstein was charged on July 8 with sex trafficking crimes involving dozens of minors. Among the latest accusation is one by Jennifer Araoz, 32, who said that Epstein raped her when she was 15, and she had been working at … Continue reading “Children’s Trafficking and Exploitation is a Persistent, Dreary Phenomenon”

The Fear Party

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair The politics of fear led by President Trump attacking undocumented immigrants and religious minorities is pushing our political parties apart. Political divisions in the United States are increased when our two major political parties do not agree on what are the important issues. Historically, Democratic and Republican parties essentially agreed … Continue reading “The Fear Party”

UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela

Photograph Source: Gobierno de Chile – CC BY 3.0 CL UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s report on Venezuela echoes the US government’s talking points, which are designed to terminate the two-decade-old Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. The report fails to acknowledge Venezuela’s manifest accomplishments or even recognize victims of US-backed right-wing violence in Venezuela. … Continue reading “UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela”

Skull of Death: Mass Media, Inauthentic Opposition, and Eco-Existential Reality in a Pre-Fascist Age of Appeasement

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair Alongside and consistent with other privilege- and power-serving missions, so-called mainstream corporate media’s role is to keep the populace focused as best it can on relatively trivial matters and diverted from the most urgent topics of our time. Kamala Harris Wants to Kill Your Health Insurance Two Sundays ago, in … Continue reading “Skull of Death: Mass Media, Inauthentic Opposition, and Eco-Existential Reality in a Pre-Fascist Age of Appeasement”

“Strategic Extremism”: How Republicans and Establishment Democrats Use Identity Politics to Divide and Rule

Photograph Source: Tyler Merbler – CC BY 2.0 As we know, both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are bought, sold, and paid for by big business. For that reason, both have a history of avoiding the issues that are common to Americans of all political persuasions. Addressing such issues would undermine the profits … Continue reading ““Strategic Extremism”: How Republicans and Establishment Democrats Use Identity Politics to Divide and Rule”

Toward an Eco-Socialist Revolution

The most important political project of the modern era is an appropriately conceived and implemented eco-socialist Green New Deal. If done right, such a program would facilitate a transition away from the environmental and social pathologies of industrial capitalism to a world where people exist in symbiosis with the bounty of nature. If done wrong, … Continue reading “Toward an Eco-Socialist Revolution”

How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?

Photograph Source: White House – Public Domain Although widely derided by the Washington Establishment as an empty photo opportunity, the recent meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un at Panmunjom produced an agreement to resume working-level talks in the near future. According to the North Korean news agency KCNA, the two leaders discussed … Continue reading “How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?”

Roaming Charges: Pâté Politics in the Time of Trump and Pelosi

Rocket ranch, Salton Sea. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair. + Why do we need Democrats? In order to help Republicans enact measures they can’t pass on their own. + Two figures stand out larger than any others in the transformation of the Democratic Party from the eroded remnants of FDR-style liberalism to Thatcher-style neoliberalism: Bill Clinton … Continue reading “Roaming Charges: Pâté Politics in the Time of Trump and Pelosi”

The Electoral Circus as the End of Its Initial Phase Looms

Photograph Source: Beatrice Murch – CC BY 2.0 Democratic hopefuls will be back at it over two nights in Detroit later this month; more or less the same twenty candidates as in June, presumably again at ten a pop. The composition of the two groups will be determined later and, as before, left to chance. … Continue reading “The Electoral Circus as the End of Its Initial Phase Looms”

The Flawed Food Dependency

Photograph Source: Carl Wycoff – CC BY 2.0 “The most destructive object on the planet… is the human jawbone.” (Food or War, Cambridge University Press, 2019) pg 177 Whether by sight, taste, touch, feel, or smell, it’s only too obvious that “food” affects every aspect of life and is key to crucial life-supporting ecosystems. Day-in, … Continue reading “The Flawed Food Dependency”

Defeating the Trump Administration’s Racist, Republican-Rescuing Census Corruption

Photograph Source: United States Bureau of the Census Vectorization – Public Domain President Donald Trump, thanks to a congenital inability to stop running his mouth, may ultimately undermine his administration’s effort to corrupt the integrity of the upcoming 2020 Census. His latest blurting out that the reason for his wanting to add a controversial question … Continue reading “Defeating the Trump Administration’s Racist, Republican-Rescuing Census Corruption”