The Working Class, the Election, and Trump
An Interview with Sean Posey
It's true. As the New York Times put it, "In the end, the bastions of industrial-era Democratic strength among white working-class voters fell to Mr. Trump." Basically, voters in the Rust Belt states of Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania allowed Trump to breech Clinton's "blue wall" and win the election. But yes, it's interesting that working class voters - white working class voters, anyway - were a significant part of the media's presidential coverage for the first time in many years. The media's focus on the white working class is predominately because of Trump and the kind of campaign he chose to run. Trump honed in on what he called "forgotten Americans," largely working class people in "flyover country," as it's often derisively called. Somehow Trump understood the enormous malaise that exists in wide swaths of America where local economies-and cultures-have disintegrated. He tapped a vein of populist rage and channeled it back into his campaign. It seemingly took everyone by surprise, especially the media and the political elite. It's important to remember how concentrated the media is now-mostly on the coasts around Washington, New York City, Boston, places like that. So it comes as no surprise that many journalists are deeply puzzled by Trump's rise. It's far less surprising to those of us rooted in what you might call "Trump Country." Although poorly covered by the media, white working class support buoyed Obama in 2008 and 2012. As the New York Times put it, Obama's "key support often came in the places where you would least expect it. He did better than John Kerry and Al Gore among white voters across..
Lies and Legacy
A Conversation on Fidel Castro
We saw the political line of the American government come out through all media sources in the United States. Whether this was print or broadcast, the line was the same. There was also very little attention to given to Cubans in the island. The emphasis was on the Cuban exiles and their story out of Miami. Showing people living in Key Biscayne, which is one of the most exclusive and wealthiest parts of Miami, to get their take on the death of Fidel and of course to through some punches at his legacy. This was to be expected though, every emperor rejoices in the death of their enemy. To say the least, I did not fit in with the other children that came from staunch Anti-Castro, Republican homes. I would listen to the stories they have heard from their parents and I would tell mine. My family supported the revolution because they remembered and were not blind to the abuses of the Batista government. They saw the need for a total change in Cuba and its relationship with the United States. I would hear about how Havana was controlled by the Mafia and American corporate interests. They would tell me the stories about the "Saca Uñas," the Nail Pullers. These were special secret police that would kidnap, interrogate, imprison, even kill Anti-Batista Cubans, or just those that did not do what the secret police told them to do. My own great grandfather who was Captain of the Police force in Havana was forced to resign his post when he refused to assassinate people for the government. These were stories that many Cubans in Miami would never talk about or allow their children to hear. Along with the corruption my family remembered the poverty and injustice outside of Havana. How people could just be thrown off their land...
Vladimir Putin and the Return of Russophobia
Symbols of a Changing World
Michael Orion Powell-Deschamps
Something peculiar has happened in modern geopolitics. Russia, a country that arose nearly as a fractured version of the much larger Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, has arisen in our time as one of the most powerful and feared power brokers in the world. President Vladimir Putin's role in Russia's rebound has led to his vilification in the United States and much of the Western world. He has been featured numerous times on the cover of mainstream Western magazines, whether leading a rebellion of nationalist leaders on the cover of the Economist or being accused of attempting to subvert American elections on the cover of Time. Some covers have even gone as far as picturing him with enhanced, evil green eyes. Putin is a chameleon. American progressives see him as a white nationalist, while leftists such as Venezuelean leader Nicholas Maduro award him peace prizes. American conservatives see him as a "KGB thug," as Adam Taylor of Business Insider put it, while America's new Trump-style crop of "Alt Right" nationalists see him as an icon. Putin somehow gets a warm reception in Bejiing, Caracas, America's Rust Belt, and even Jerusalem. Putin's decade-plus-long ascent comes at the time of America's great decline from global control, and his combination of power and charisma is timed just when much of the world, including the United States itself, is looking for alternatives to the Western order. A general alienation from American command is the uniting facet from the quite disparate leaders that have attracted to Putin's rise, be it Nicholas Maduro, Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, or Rodrigo Duterte, and the various groups that they represent.
President Rodrigo Duterte's Killing Fields and People's War in the Philippines
While the U.S. set up the electoral system in the Philippines, the feudal/comprador classes manipulate it so that personalities, not ideology, and bribery determine the outcome. Democracy in the Philippines is actually the rule of the privileged minority of landlords, bureaucrat capitalists, and business partners of foreign mega-corporations (called compradors) over the majority. All presidential candidates promise change for the better. In the last two decades, the popular demand has been: get rid of corruption, drugs, rapes, wanton murders, etc. Over 75% of 130 million Filipinos are impoverished, sunk in palpable misery. Consequently, over 12 million have travelled to all continents to earn bare subsistence-about 5,000 OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) leave every day for Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, North America, Europe, etc. Scarce decent jobs, starvation wages for contractual labor, unaffordable housing, lack of adequate medical care and schooling-symptoms of terrible underdevelopment- have pushed millions out of the country, or driven them into the hills and forests to take up arms against an unjust, exploitative system whose military and police are trained and supplied by Washington-Pentagon, IMF/World Bank, and global capitalist powers. The country has been a basket-case in Asia since the Marcos dictatorship in the seventies, outstripped by smaller nation-states like Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. Relatively unknown to the MetroManila political milieu, Duterte's reputation as a scourge of druglords was glamorized to the point that he..