• International

    Superhero Protest of Soviet Monuments in Bulgaria

    Understandably, the Russian government is not happy with this protest. The Russian Embassy in Bulgaria has issued a note demanding that its former Soviet-era ally clean up the monument in Sofia’s Lozenets district, identify and punish those responsible, and take “exhaustive measures” to prevent similar attacks in the future, the news agency reported Monday. Making the god-like figures into superhero icons seems the logical end to me.

  • Israel,  The Left

    DSA endorses BDS

    The Democratic Socialists of America has seen a surge in membership and attention following the failed campaign of Bernie Sanders. It is, without a doubt, the largest socialist organization in American politics (sorry Social Democrats USA). Last week, they held their largest conference to date in Chicago, debating and passing their current manifesto. During my radical days, the DSA always seemed like a marginal afterthought in political organizing; most of its members were boomers from the Michael Harrington era and not young activists. That has changed with a massive insertion of youth into its ranks. I fancy myself a type of social democrat, so I decided to reassess the group…

  • International,  The Left

    Confronting the Memory of Che

    Not everyone in Che Guevara’s hometown of Rosario, Argentina have a soft spot for the communist revolutionary. Under the motto “a murderer doesn’t deserve state tributes”, Mr López’s foundation has produced videos to educate Argentines, and rosarinos in particular. One shows a clip of Guevara promising to “continue the firing squads for as long as necessary” in a speech to the UN General Assembly in 1964. In another, a narrator reads out the accusatory suicide note of Reinaldo Arenas, a gay novelist who died in 1990 after suffering decades of persecution by Cuba’s government. Mr López is looking for a sympathetic councillor to present the petition on the anniversary of Guevara’s…

  • Stateside,  The Left

    Dealing with Speech at UC Berkeley

    Berkeley has been the front line of recent “free speech” battles raging across universities around the country, but it appears the university administration is finally getting serious about its approach to dealing with controversial speakers on campus. Ben Shaprio, conservative columnist and pundit, was invited by the College Republicans to speak but was told by the university that the school was “unable to identify an available campus venue.” This announcement followed a year of troubled events on campus. Following a riot before Milo Yiannopoulos’ presentation last spring, the university canceled other events set up by the student group to host Ann Coulter and David Horowitz.  Understandably, many on the left…

  • antisemitism,  Stateside

    Anti-Semitism in Bay Area Schools

    Vice recently posted a fine piece that affirms what I have seen while teaching in the Bay Area over the last few years: a growing level of anti-Semitic incidents carried out by students against other classmates.  Max Cherney writes: During the first quarter of 2017, compared with the first quarter of 2016, there has been an 86 percent spike in anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Among those 541 preliminarily identified incidents were 380 cases of harassment and 155 reports of vandalism—as well as the wave of 161 bomb threats against Jewish institutions. … I decided to take a closer look at what’s happening at Bay Area public…

  • Stateside

    An Unfortunate Turn of Events

    This piece is cross-posted at Ordinary Times. I feel for the people of Berkeley. For the last couple of months, the city has been the site of fights and riots between forces of the hard right and left. Berkeley has long held a reputation for being a city that attracts those adhering to radical persuasions, but the recent street clashes are unlike anything observed in my life. The local paper Berkeleyside summed up the April 15th confrontation: Pro-Trump supporters and white supremacists clashed with members of far-left, self-described anti-fascism factions, including the By Any Means Necessary group and Berkeley AntiFa. The riot closed down parts of downtown, including the BART station, and forced…

  • Israel/Palestine,  Stateside

    Rasmea Odeh at Jewish Voice for Peace Conference

    Jewish Voice for Peace had their annual conference this weekend, earning more press than normal due to the inclusion of Rasmea Odeh. She’s a convicted terrorist preparing to be deported for entering the United States illegally, but Rasmea Yousef Odeh has seen her status as a leftist celebrity remain intact. The Palestinian and feminist activist is scheduled to speak this weekend at the Jewish Voice for Peace conference in Chicago despite agreeing last week to a plea deal in which she will admit to failing to disclose her criminal record on her visa application. In exchange Odeh will be sent to Jordan and receive no jail time. Still, Jewish Voice…

  • Stateside

    Stop Feeding Milo Yiannapolous

    This piece is cross-posted at Ordinary Times. Milo Yiannapolous found himself in the headlines yet again this week as his speech to UC Berkeley was canceled due to protests and rioting. Protests that erupted at UC Berkeley ahead of a planned Wednesday appearance by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos caused $100,000 worth of damage to the campus, the school said Thursday. The university blamed “150 masked agitators” for the unrest, saying they had come to campus to disturb an otherwise peaceful protest. … Administrators decided to cancel the Wednesday event about two hours before the Breitbart editor’s speech. UC Berkeley said it removed him from campus “amid the violence and destruction of…

  • Stateside

    Looking Ahead to President Trump

    Here are just a few thoughts about how to approach the next four years. Don’t Curse, Organize – Dissent Magazine Leftists, in and out of social movements, should instead seize the opportunity that Hillary Clinton’s defeat has given them. Join local chapters of the Democratic Party. Start Democratic clubs where liberals, moderates, and radicals can debate how to challenge Trump and his allies at every level. Consider running for the city council or the state legislature or Congress—and seek out advice about how to set up a campaign and, yes, raise money to finance it. Come up with a strategy to convince registered Democrats to vote in midterm elections. President…

  • International

    McCain, Trump and Glavin on Syria

    It is hard to believe that John McCain was his party’s standard bearer just 8 years ago. From his recent piece in the Washington Post: The words “never again” ring hollow as the city of Aleppo, Syria, has fallen to regime forces of Bashar al-Assad. A brutal siege that has ground on for years was finally brought to a bloody end by a surge of Russian airpower, Iranian shock troops and assorted regional militia fighters. As we eulogize the dead of Aleppo, we must acknowledge the United States’ complicity in this tragedy. President Obama speaks of the need to “bear witness” to injustice. He did little else for Aleppo. To what have…