Lesser evil or Left alternative? In fact, this is not a true either/or. Our task is by definition to build a Left alternative. But this does not mean that we can ignore aspects of the existing framework that may facilitate or obstruct this effort. Whether or not this entails identifying and voting for a “lesser evil” depends on the immediate circumstances.
Massachusetts lost one of its more important thinkers earlier this month. The economist Alice Amsden passed away suddenly just as colleagues thought she was on her way to recovery. Like many intellectuals who have contributed much to our understanding of the world, hers was not a household name, certainly not in her homeland. This is no accident for several reasons: her work focused on the economic growth of other countries and, perhaps more significantly, Amsden debunked much of orthodox economic development theory.
The Occupy movement around the country is gearing up for what some have called the “American Spring.” Still reeling from the hammer-blow of police repression which put an end to the birth phase of the movement, the Occupy movement has been driven underground over the past two months, like many other hibernating organisms.
Howard Zinn would have loved to see you all here today, and to have been part of this historical moment. He believed that we should each do the right thing regardless of whether or not it has a visible impact. When a positive impact materializes, it then comes as a pleasant surprise. But it wouldn’t happen without all the seemingly thankless work that came before.
What the Occupy movement recognizes is that the problems facing the 99% are systemic in nature. They won’t be cured by putting one or other of the two capitalist parties in office.
I think that at events like this it’s good for us to remember how lucky we are to have had this opportunity to work together with so many wonderful people over the years: to engage with each other both as colleagues and even as friends.* I know Howard Zinn used to talk about this, and as usual, he was right. What a privilege to have been fellow travelers with people from different generations who long for worldwide human community and an end to socially created human suffering. Of course we have to deal with each others craziness. But who else would you want to hang out with?
In this impromptu talk, veteran organizer and movement thinker Mel King, outlines his thoughts about the significance of the #Occupy movement, its potential for radical social change and its methods. Although an enthusiastic supporter of the movement, Mel suggests that in time the movement will have to choose targets (once it is ready) and also consider moments where the consensus process may be less effective. He goes on to applaud the movement for engaging in the battle of ideas, "You are occupying minds!"
I was enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday in New York with my wife and her family, when I noticed that there was a voice message on my cell phone.
Black Friday is upon us. The malls have been mobbed since midnight, and retailers are saying they want to be allowed to open on Thanksgiving Day too. They argue that consumers should have the choice to shop on Thanksgiving, which state law now prohibits. Fortunately for them, Rep. Colleen Garry has filed legislation (House Bill 00989; perhaps it’s one of several) to allow stores to sell anything, anytime – even on Christmas, unless it falls on a Sunday. Say what?
Video of the UMass Boston Student Union - an outgrowth of the Occupy UMass Boston movement - rallying on campus on Thursday and then participating in an Occupy Boston march with labor in downtown Boston shortly afterwards.
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has given our timorous, unimaginative, and politically ambivalent unions a much-needed ideological dope slap. Some might describe this, more diplomatically, as a second injection of “outside-the-box” thinking and new organizational blood.