NLF Highlights: May 2020

NLF Highlights for May

As the impact of the coronavirus continues to sweep across the country, the long-term failures of capitalism are in stark view. Yet socialism—as both a critique of capitalism and an alternative political and economic system—has until recently remained outside the narrow limits of U.S. electoral politics. Well before the anti-communist fervor of the Cold War, socialist Eugene Victor Debs ran five times for president of the United States, never receiving more than six percent of the vote. Still, this constituted an all-time high for a socialist party candidate. For a hundred years afterward, socialism remained virtually dormant in American politics.

Then the tide began to turn in September 2011. In the wake of the global financial meltdown, Occupy Wall Street protesters massed in Zuccotti Park, and subsequently in other public spaces around the nation and the world, raising a banner for the 99 percent. And then the 2016 Sanders campaign, spurred by the broadening base of anti-corporate sentiment, especially among the young, brought this critique into the realm of American electoral politics. In comparison to the outcome of the Debs candidacy in 1912, the tens of millions who voted for Bernie in the current round of Democratic primaries, show that socialism, or Democratic Socialism, has achieved a measure of influence and reached a number of adherents previously unthinkable. According to a recent Gallup poll, 43 percent of Americans now view “socialism as a good thing for the country”; and fully 61 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 hold a positive view of socialism, with capitalism trailing at 58 percent.

These burgeoning ranks of socialist-leaning activists in the United States must now grapple with the relevance of socialist thought and practice to the central challenges of contemporary politics. The spring 2020 issue of New Labor Forum—available by May 15th online at no cost in response to the conditions of the pandemic — features four activist-intellectuals who have taken on this task. Among them, Sean Sweeney presents an argument for the necessity of socialism—and specifically the reclaiming of the state—to solve the climate crisis. And in his May 2020 “Organized Money” column, Max Fraser reveals the current lobbying interests engaged in undermining state action to halt climate change, namely the proposed Green New Deal legislation.

Table of Contents

  1. The Final Conflict? Socialism and Climate Change/ Sean Sweeney, New Labor Forum
  2. Corporate America vs. the Green New Deal / Max Fraser, New Labor Forum
  3. STATE INTERVENTION AND PUBLIC SERVICES IN THE POST-COVID ERA / from Rosa-Luxemberg-Stiftung in partnership with TUED

The Final Conflict? Socialism and Climate Change
By Sean Sweeney, New Labor Forum
In its most famous English version, the socialist anthem “The Internationale” invokes “the final conflict” and calls on socialists to unite, stand firm, and fight to liberate humanity, helping a better world to “rise on new foundations.” Written 150 years ago, its words today resonate with special urgency. The best science we have tells us we are in a race against time to limit the existential threat of climate change. More than any generation before us, we must mobilize all of our political resources to deal with it or face, probably within the lifetimes of people alive today, a potentially final crisis of human society. Where does this crisis leave the struggle for socialism?

Read the full article here

Corporate America vs. the Green New Deal
By Max Fraser, New Labor Forum
The upcoming election cycle for the Green New Deal to become a reality. Should a supportive slate of Democrats assume control of the White House and the Senate, we can be sure that any legislative package aimed at transitioning the American economy to carbon neutrality over the next ten years will face steep opposition from broad sections of corporate America and their political enablers in the Republican Party.

Read the full article here

We encourage you to join:
Speakers: Mike Davis, Maude Barlow and Martin Schirdewan
Date: Wednesday, 6 May 2020
Time: 10:00 AM PDT / 1:00 PM EDT / 7:00 PM CEST
This webinar is sponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, partnering organization with Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, directed by Sean Sweeney.

Register for the event here

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