To Escape Trump's America, We Need to Bring the Militant Labor Tactics of 1946 Back to the Future
The last general strike in the US was in Oakland in 1946. That year there were 6 city-wide general strikes, plus nationwide strikes in steel, coal, and rail transport. More than 5 million workers struck in the biggest strike wave of US history. So what happened? Why haven't we ever gone out like that again? Congress amended US labor law in 1947, adding massive penalties for the very tactics that had allowed strikes to spread and be successful - and the business unions accepted the new laws. In fact, they even went beyond them by voluntarily adding "no-strike clauses" to every union contract for the last 70 years, and agreeing that when they do strike in between contracts it will only be for their own wages and working conditions, not to support anybody else or to apply pressure about things happening in the broader society. When we allowed ourselves to lose our most important weapons 70 years ago, we took the first step towards Trump's America. We're stuck in the wrong timeline - if we want to get out, we have to bring the militant labor tactics of 1946 back to the future! The Oakland General Strike began early in the morning of December 3, 1946, when police were trying to break up a picket line of mostly female department store clerks who had been on strike since October 21 ("Back to the Future Day"). A streetcar driver saw it happening and stopped his car. This stopped all the cars behind him. All of the passengers who were no longer going to work began immediately picketing at other businesses in Oakland, calling out those workers, and shutting down the businesses. The strike spread from there.
Total Crisis in Egypt
A Marxist Analysis
With regards to foreign policy Sisi has not been any more lucky. The relationship with its long-time US ally had been weakened due to Barack Obama's heavy criticism over Sisi coming to power. However, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states filled in the vacuum left by the US by stepping in with $31 billion worth of aid in the past 3 years. This was the key to initially stabilising the Sisi regime. When it came to paying back the Saudis, however, Sisi could not offer much. First he had to hastily draw back from early promises of support for the kingdom over their war in Yemen. Besides regarding the Houthis as a good buffer against Al-Qaeda and other Islamic Fundamentalist organisations, the Egyptian ruling elite knew that the unwinnable conflict in Yemen - where Egypt has already lost one costly war in modern times - would only lead to further instability. The Egyptian masses have no appetite to send their children to fight and die on behalf of the hated Saudi monarchy. Then, in April, during a visit by Saudi King Salman, Sisi made the surprise announcement of handing over the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. This humiliating act of submission to the Al-Saud family caused huge uproar throughout Egypt. Small protests mushroomed all over the country leading to hundreds of arrests and a war of words began between Egyptian and Saudi journalists and TV presenters. In the end, sensing rising tensions, the ruling class had to retreat and a court reversed the decision. Needless to say King Salman was not pleased. The authority of the regime..
How to Go On
Do We Have the Stomach for What's Required
Watching the election results come in, and as the dawning realization of what was happening began to become apparent, the following quotation from Henry James came to me: Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly ever apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no narrow illusion … we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it. I learned this quotation from reading Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, a book penned in 1971 when the 60s were going sour. Richard Nixon was in office, the Weather Underground had issued their "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States and were in the midst of a bombing campaign, and the leaking of the Pentagon Papers had revealed a long history of the U.S. government deceiving the American public about the war in Vietnam. The scandal of Watergate was yet to come. This quote seems as fitting now as it did to Alinsky in 1971. But, theologically, the quote is always fitting. This is the world as it is: a world that a robust doctrine of sin should teach us to expect but which idolatry seduces us into forgetting. The chasing after idols is always foolish, but some have the luxury to indulge such foolishness at no physical cost to themselves. The election of Trump is a wake-up call to remember what those who are black, brown, queer, disabled, or a religious minority can only forget at their peril: that oppression is likely to get worse, but the struggle goes on; that the absurd becomes normalized, but must nevertheless be ridiculed even to the point where ridicule feels absurd; that love is more real than hate, but real love means hating what is evil; that the space between the world as it is and the world as it should be must be grieved in order to find the hope to go on; that a truly good, happy and meaningful life..
On Queer Anarchism
An Interview with the Pink & Black Collective
My introduction to the anarchist school of thought has come about rather recently, perhaps within the last six months I have fully come to appreciate where my beliefs lay. However, given my interest in politics, I believe it was inevitable. I grew up listening to Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh on the radio with my grandparents, often they'd discuss their feelings on it through their own lens. After 9-11 occurred, my mother joined in on politicking, and my immediate sphere of influence was cemented in as a right-wing echo chamber. I have known that I was a transgender woman since I was old enough to create memories of the world, and as I began to critique my own beliefs and theirs it began to chip away at the prison which had been constructed around me. As I desired for other people to be free from the same cages I had to deal with, I steadily shifted towards libertarianism of the right. When Obama proposed the Affordable Care Act, I viewed it as an egregious overreach of government, and quickly took to the streets in protest, gave speeches, the whole nine yards. It was during that research that I first discovered the feelings of cognitive dissonance. While pouring through the thousands of pages of the legislation, I could not verify any of the right-wing distortions about it nor any evidence that it could be anything but a blessing for thirty million people. Yet, I still swallowed the bitter pill and forged ahead - ignoring it and my own principles. From what I have seen these last few months, the history of anarchism is a principled one. More often than the adherents do not, an ethical stance is chosen through careful consideration of the complexities of a topic until it is picked clean as though carrion beetles defleshed it themselves. Emma Goldman's explanation for why she chose to stand up for her friend Oscar Wilde when he was convicted for his sexuality in the 1900s struck the biggest chord with me, "No daring is required to protest against a great injustice."