Sound, Fury and the Midterms

David Finkel

November 17, 2018

The much-discussed results of the U.S. midterm elections represent, in this writer’s view, a “rebalancing” rather than something “transformative.” It is of course significant that the far-right Republican stranglehold on both houses of Congress as well as the presidency will be broken by the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. But after the sound and fury, it’s also important to understand some sharp limitations.

To begin with, let’s imagine the scenario if the 2016 election hadn’t produced the rather fluky Electoral College victory of Donald Trump. In that case, following two years of the stagnant neoliberalism of an unpopular Hillary Clinton presidency, we’d likely have been looking at a massive “red wave” of Republicans consolidating very large Congressional and state house majorities (especially with over two dozen Democratic Senate seats on the line).

Instead, the key factor this November was certainly mass revulsion against the grotesque performance of the Trump regime – a show that his base loves, but repels pretty much everyone else. It’s important that the African American and Latinx voter turnout expanded, reacting against racist voter suppression and Trump’s anti-immigrant atrocities, along with an impressive youth turnout that holds progressive potential for the future. The Republicans’ plans to “reform” (destroy) Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and wipe out what remains of health care protections under Obamacare were obvious huge factors in their defeat.

The increase in women elected to Congress is positive, of course, even if their proportion there remains pitiful by the standards of most ”advanced” countries and some “Third World” nations too. What would be essential for an electoral result to be seen as transformative, however, is a context of powerful social mobilization. That’s what wasn’t happening in this election.

Despite the heroic turnouts against Trump’s Muslim travel ban,...

Dan La Botz
November 16, 2018

Thousands of Google employees throughout the United States and around the world walked off their jobs yesterday, Nov. 1, “to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace that doesn’t work for everyone.” Beginning in Singapore and working its way around the globe the movement closed Google offices from Mountain View, California, in Boulder and New York, as well as in London, Dublin, Zurich, Berlin and Hyderabad.

Signs on placards or on the walls read “Don’t...

Chris Brooks
November 15, 2018

Massachusetts nurses suffered a devastating defeat at the polls yesterday as a union-led ballot initiative, Question 1, lost by more than 2 to 1.

Question 1 would have improved hospital care by limiting the number of patients that bedside nurses could legally be assigned.

The ballot question was shepherded by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents nurses at 70 percent of the hospitals in the state, including 47 private and five public hospitals.

On the face of it, the appeal of Question...

Solidarity Steering Committee
November 2, 2008

THERE’S A LOT to be said about the caravan of Central American refugees, hundreds of miles from the U.S. border as they struggle through southern Mexico in hopes of achieving asylum in the United States. Here we will only touch on some of the most basic facts.

It’s a myth, of course, that the refugees are an “invasion force” coming to infiltrate the United States “illegally.” Quite the contrary, they want to reach regular ports of entry and make their applications for asylum — a...

IIRE
October 26, 2018

On October 26 the International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE) held a public meeting in Amsterdam called “Eighty years of the Fourth International” to commemorate the founding of the Fourth International (FI) in September 1938.

The meeting consisted of an opening presentation by Michael Lowy on the founding and significance of the Fourth International and an open discussion with contributions on the FI and the method of the Transitional Program, Asia, Mexico, ecology, women,...

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We write to ask your support for a strike at La Poste, the French post office. The strike began on March 26, 20018 and has continued now for more than six months. We are striking to defend decent postal jobs, to stop privatization of the postal service, and because we want to provide good service to the public. Since the strike began we have received no pay, and while other unions and organizations have assisted us, we must now come to you to ask for your help.

Who are we?...

Dianne Feeley
October 30, 2018

Michael Moore’s Roger and Me introduced people all over the world to Flint, Michigan, the city that lost more than half its population when General Motors moved most of its plants out of town. In the movie, Moore also visits the site of AutoWorld, an amusement park that promoters predicted would draw a million visitors a year and “save” Flint. It quickly went bust.

Leaving the...

Ron Lare
October 18, 2018

Readers following events in Germany may have seen the alarming news that in late August the far right took over the streets of Chemnitz in two days of racist, anti-immigrant actions. There is video of fascists in Chemnitz openly chasing down and beating immigrants. A police official said the cops regained their presence in Chemnitz streets only behind social-democratic mobilizations. More than 65,000 people attended an anti-racist rock concert in Chemnitz on September 3 protesting against the far...

Clayton Morgareidge
October 25, 2018

When Saidiya Hartman visited Ghana some years ago to follow the tracks of the slave trade in Africa, she was told by an African American who had lived there for many years, “Soon the Europeans will own all of it again. Do you think slavery is just some old buildings and dead folks? No, it’s when other people decide whether you live or die.”

American history is often presented as a long, upward climb towards freedom. The Declaration of Independence declared that “all men are created equal and...

Alain Savard
October 4, 2018

The following is an article on the October 8 provincial elections in Québec by New Socialist, which organizes supporters of the Fourth International in the Canadian state. The Québec elections showed a polarization in which the traditional parties, the Liberal Party of Québec and the Parti Québécois (PQ), lost out to parties to their right and left. This article appeared first on the the New Socialist website on October...

David Finkel
October 23, 2018

The abduction-torture-murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey must have been planned as a kind of perfect crime in which the journalist would mysteriously disappear without a trace. It went “wrong” because the death squad dispatched by the Saudi royal court – which everyone knows means Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) – made several miscalculations.

They didn’t anticipate that Khashoggi’s fiancé would be waiting outside the consulate with instructions...

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