There is a runoff election upcoming in Colombia on June 19 between a staunch right winger, Rodolfo Hernández, and a so-called leftist, Gustavo Petro, both of whom got more votes in the first round than the centrist candidate representing the status quo. “So-called” leftist is the key word here, because, to quote Petro, he is fighting for “democracy and peace, not socialism.” 1 He wants to raise taxes on the rich, combat hunger, increase access to health care and education, and halt oil exploration, but he envisions accomplishing this by allying himself with liberal politicians in order to “ pass progressive liberal reforms.”2
There is a great crescendo of clashes and dangers in the world, a true cacophony of violence and suffering, and yet from the media we hear only the cymbal crashes of Ukraine. While the great imperialists of the US, Russia, China and the underlings in NATO, Israel, Iran and elsewhere are sharpening their swords, only Russia is being labeled evil.
As the US surpasses one million Covid-19 deaths, and the world possibly 18 million, Africa remains barely vaccinated and public health protections are being discarded.
As fossil fuel use and pipelines continue to expand, scientists warn that climate change is already at least partly irreversible.
From the point of view of public health, there are two overwhelming reasons to promote global vaccination against Covid-19. One is that since early in 2020, there have existed vaccines which are highly effective at preventing death and serious illness. Thus it is incumbent on all of us concerned with prioritizing human health to demand that all the people of the world have an understanding of and access to these vaccines. Second, if we allow large population groups to remain unprotected, the virus will have ongoing opportunity to mutate, creating variants which may be more lethal or vaccine-resistant and thereby endanger the health of the whole world, including those already vaccinated. Achieving global vaccination is no less important than practicing sound public health with masking and social distancing.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is motivated by imperialist ambitions and is rightly condemned by most for its military aggression against Ukraine. This is not a war of ideology for Putin. Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, but rather an authoritarian capitalist state where only Putin and the Oligarchs wield power. In a word, this is a war of empire.
On June 1, 2021, Newark undercover plainclothes police attacked four young black men–the four brothers Branden, Justin and Jaykil Rodwell and Jasper Spivey– in front of their home in the South Ward of Newark, NJ. According to the police complaint, the cops stopped the Rodwell/Spivey brothers because they were “wearing white T-shirts and dreads” — clearly racially profiling and targeting them because they were black. Without announcing themselves as police, the cops immediately began harassing and then roughing up one of the brothers. The other brothers, seeing their family being attacked by armed white armed men, rushed to their defense. The cops then violently attacked all the brothers, put them all in chokeholds, and arrested two and then filed serious aggravated assault charges against all four.
It is not possible to serve two masters with opposing goals. In the case of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it has not always been obvious that such a dichotomy exists, but it has become ever more apparent since Trump and Covid-19. Before that, many of us relied on the CDC for accuracy, integrity, public health science, and sound policy. Indeed, most of those who labor there do their utmost to live up to that ideal, and the CDC has had many notable achievements, such as the eradication of polio and control of Ebola. But, like the FDA, the CDC is not an independent agency free from corporate or political pressures, which has now been brought into excruciating focus. Indeed, the CDC is now openly complicit in the capitalist dictate to prioritize the health of the economy over that of workers. Thus it is essential, although difficult, that we continuously evaluate which CDC recommendations actually protect our health versus those designed or mitigated to protect the dollar.
Like all the nations of the Horn of Africa that abut the Red Sea, the main passageway for the transit of Middle Eastern oil, Sudan has been a prize desired by many imperialist nations. (For a background summary of the region, see https://multiracialunity.org/2017/09/16/inter-imperialist-resource-rivalry-brings-devastation-to-the-horn-of-africa-and-the-middle-east/.) For 75 years, there has been a large leftist opposition within the country. Now another military coup has taken place and led to mass protests. We international anti-racists and anti-capitalists should take note, support, and assess what chance there is that these large, valiant rebellions with their great human costs will actually bring about the kind of worker run society we need and strive for everywhere.
I never studied the Civil War, except briefly in an eighth grade US History class. Thus my knowledge was confined to the myths in American textbooks and what I imbibed from the culture in general, such as movies and other media. My conception was that southerners before and during the Civil War were solidly united in favor or slavery and the war to preserve it, and were solidly racist. Williams’ book shows that the latter notion was true–even those opposed to slavery were for the most part racist. But there were a few cases of whites opposed to both slavery and the war uniting with slaves to fight the confederacy, examples of the multiracial unity that remains so critical for the success of workers’ struggles today.