SYRIZA’s Historic Win

Posted in Curated Links on January 26th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

European politics has been plunged into a volatile new era following a historic victory in Greece’s general election by far-left radicals committed to ending years of austerity.

More than five years into the euro crisis that started in Greece in October 2009 and raised questions about the single currency’s survival, Greek voters roundly rejected the savage spending cuts and tax rises imposed by Europe which reduced the country to penury.

The Guardian reports: Syriza’s historic win puts Greece on collision course with Europe | World news | The Guardian.

Not Lovin’ Racism at McDonald’s

Posted in Curated Links on January 26th, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

McDonald’s workers who were fired last year after being told, “There are too many black people [working] in the store,” filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the company Thursday alleging a widespread pattern of racial and sexual discrimination and harassment at three stores in Virginia.

Read More: McDonald’s workers sue fast food giant over racial and sexual discrimination » peoplesworld.

Ten Classics: The Communist Manifesto

Posted in Curated Links on January 23rd, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Socialist Worker published a series on ten classics of the socialist tradition back in 2008 and 2009. I think that these works would form the basis for a marvelous book club or discussion group, which I may eventually attempt to organize.

In the first installment, Todd Chretien writes about the Communist Manifesto.

Liberal and conservative historians want you to believe that society has always been divided between the rich and the poor, the weak and the strong, men and women, etc. — division based on money, race, nationality is built into our human nature.

The Manifesto takes a radically different view: Humans lived for thousands of years in what Marx and Engels called “primitive communism” — by which they meant societies that existed in every part of the world where cooperation and mutual reliance, and not competition, formed the basis of survival. At the time, this was based on cutting-edge anthropological research that was very controversial, but today, all but a few right-wing cranks accept that this is the truth about pre-class human society.

Read the article: The Communist Manifesto | SocialistWorker.org.

Read the book: Manifesto of the Communist Party | Marxists.org.

Report: $15 Fast-Food Minimum Wage Possible

Posted in Curated Links on January 23rd, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

The fast food industry could adjust to a $15 per hour federal minimum wage without cutting jobs, according to a new study from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute.

Read it: A $15 U.S. Minimum Wage: How the Fast-Food Industry Could Adjust Without Shedding Jobs | PERI.

Railroad Workers Reach Out

Posted in Curated Links on January 22nd, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

With public attention focused on the railroads in a way it hasn’t been for decades, the cross-craft solidarity group Railroad Workers United is seizing the opportunity to teach the general public “railroading 101”—and teach rail workers “environmental politics 101.”

Read More: Rail Workers and Environmentalists to Teach Each Other | Labor Notes.

Charade of the Union

Posted in Curated Links on January 22nd, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Eric Ruder weighs in on SOTU 2015.

“Memories of another second-term Democratic president came flooding back. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, when Democrats controlled Congress during his first term, Clinton didn’t mention raising the minimum wage in his public statements. However, once the Republicans swept into Congress in 1994–riding a wave of discontent with Clinton’s broken promises–Clinton regularly used the issue to put the Republicans on the spot, trapping them between a broadly popular measure and their corporate backers who detested the idea.”

via Obama’s Charade of the Union | SocialistWorker.org.

My SOTU 2015 Post-Mortem

Posted in Commentary on January 21st, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

I did not watch the 2015 State of the Union Address, nor the GOP response. I didn’t have the stomach for the theatrics this year. I did, however, read the President’s speech in full last evening, and this morning I took to Facebook, prior to reading any other analysis or reactions, to sketch out my thoughts. What follows is a reposting of those thoughts, polished up a tiny bit.

As usual, President Obama is extremely good at saying the things that many of us are thinking. He says them powerfully and eloquently, turning phrases in a way that stir up strong emotions. He may even believe them himself. This is a good thing to be able to do when one is speaking truth to power, and when one’s rhetoric can rouse people to unite for the purpose of making things better.

The problem with the 2015 State of the Union speech is that he wasn’t speaking truth to power. He is the power, and his actions over the past six years have been entirely contrary to the spirit of these words. From the very start of the speech, he painted an absurdly rosy picture of the “state of the union.” If anyone has paid attention to the conditions that gave birth to the economic crisis, they will know that it is far from over. Some of his statements about our wars and protection of civil liberties were outright lies, and his statements about climate change and protecting the environment were laughable, coming as they did from “the fracking president.”

For those who are inclined to believe that somehow, now unconstrained by the need to run for office again, the “real” Obama is coming out, and that he will be a champion of the people, I would ask you to look back at every speech the man has given, and think about how you felt at the time. Think of how you were inspired – how you were given to hope – and then think about what actually happened after each of the speeches.

Our fundamental problem is that we judge these politicians by what they say, and not by what they do. We judge them based on whether or not they are personally like-able, and by how we perceive their style. We on the Left allow ourselves to be bamboozled and co-opted, time and time again, by pretty words from the Democrats. What we should be doing is building an independent party of the working people that will truly stand for the best interests of the majority of us.

Liberals and other Democrats may make all of the excuses you would like. You may say that Obama’s heart is in the right place, and that it’s those damnable Republicans in congress who have tied his hands, but it just doesn’t wash. The reason Obama has been ineffective is that the people know in their hearts that his words and actions don’t match up. Otherwise there would have been a groundswell of support so large that it could not have been ignored, even by the GOP.

Pointless And Utterly Pointless

Posted in Curated Links on January 21st, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

From Doug Mataconis:

“Last night’s State of the Union Address was about what everyone expected it would be. The President set a broad, ambitious agenda that Congress will promptly ignore, Republicans put out another sacrificial lamb to tackle the worst job in America, and, after reading through the speech, it became clear that my instinct to skip the speech altogether was the right idea after all.”

via An ‘Ambitious’ Yet Pointless State Of The Union, And An Utterly Pointless Response.

SOTU 2015 Sawant Response

Posted in Video on January 21st, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

On January 20, 2015 Socialist Alternative member and Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant gave a Socialist’s response to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address.

Read the transcript: Kshama Sawant Gives #SocialistResponse to Obama’s State of the Union Address | Socialist Alternative.

SOTU 2015 Full Text

Posted in Curated Links on January 21st, 2015 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Do these words from last night’s State of the Union Address ring true to you?

“America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.”

Read the speech: President Obama’s State of the Union Address — Remarks As Prepared for Delivery — Medium.