The US Gets F for Covid

by Ellen Isaacs

January 10, 2022

F for failure, failure of the US capitalist system to exert any control over Covid-19. In fact, US capitalism now has the worst death rate of any “advanced” nation in the world (https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer), despite being the richest and most powerful (at least for now). By January 10, 2022, the US had the most infections since the start of the pandemic of any country – 61,263,030- and the most deaths – 851,356.

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CAPITALISM BLOWS WORKERS TO BITS

by Ellen Isaacs

December 20, 2021

Workers crushed under structures collapsed by storms of greed – sounds like the theme of an overblown drama, but it’s literal, not literary, in the USA today. Not only are those who perished more likely to be poor and black or brown, but, based on prior experience, assistance to the survivors will be highly disparate. Just another example of racism, profiteering and the sacrifice of workers’ lives at the altar of the dollar.

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Don’t Judge an Issue Just by Its Cover – 12 Important Points from Jacobin’s Latest Issue: “Reduce the Crime Rate”

by Joseph G. Ramsey

November 27, 2021

It’s not enough to judge a left journal by its cover. A recent case in point: people in left social media circles of late have been taking shots at the democratic socialist magazine Jacobin’s latest issue (https://jacobinmag.com/issue/lower-the-crime-rate), with its provocative (and maybe confusing) cover bearing the slogan “Lower the Crime Rate.” A range of radical voices online have reacted to this cover as if it amounts to a kind of endorsement of police repression in liberal guise. But actually the lead articles inside the issue are, in this comrade’s view, quite good. From the Opening Statement by Benjamin Fogel to the interview with Marie Gottschalk, the contents here are valuable for the way they highlight major blindspots structuring liberal and much “left” common sense and activism around policing, prisons, and the carceral state these days. The issue deserves wide engagement, as it can help us to see more clearly some of the real challenges that lie before us in terms of radically changing the system of “criminal justice” in the USA. One need not share Jacobin‘s emphasis on electoral politics (or the specific organizational vehicle of the Democratic Socialists of America) to find value in the magazine’s pages.

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Rittenhouse

by Ellen Isaacs

November 19, 2021

U.S. “JUSTICE” MEANS WE NEED TO KILL THIS SYSTEM

White men with guns can kill at will.

White cops can shoot black men at will.

Black men go to prison without killing anybody.

It’s no surprise that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges for killing two protesters against the police shooting Jacob Blake 7 times in the back and paralyzing him. It’s no surprise that no charges were brought against that cop.

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REfund the Police – The American Way to Deal with Poverty, Racism and Disruption

by Ellen Isaacs

November 16, 2021

What happened during 2020-21 in the USA? Lots of cataclysmic stuff:

  • Over 750,000 people died from Covid, blacks at twice the rate as whites
    • Schools were shut for a year
    • Unemployment, poverty, evictions increased
    • Access to social services, mental health care decreased
    • Community programs for recreation, tutoring, and social support closed

At the same time,

  • A police officer was finally convicted of murder in the death of a black  man
    • Protests against racist policing and calls for defunding or abolishing the police grew nationally
    • Detainees in immigration and criminal jails protested dangerous conditions
    • Calls for bail reform and decarceration grew

There is no question that gun violence also increased during this period. Shooting deaths in 2020 were up from previous years, and in the first five months of 2021 alone 8100 people were killed in the US, an average of 54 deaths a day. There was also a big increase in gun sales, 23 million in 2020, which is a 64% increase from 2019.1 Many articles and newscasts attribute the increase in shootings to this increase in gun sales, which is an easy explanation, but research shows this is not actually the case.

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On Medical Violence in Our Jails

by Ian Jenkins, MD

October, 2021

This article appeared in Psychology Today and is expanded from an earlier piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine

“I can’t breathe,” my 22-year-old patient said. He was the last patient I would see on a long shift at a jail where I worked occasional shifts as a medical doctor. He was breathing, fast and hard, frighteningly so. He said he was a type-one diabetic, previously well controlled on four tailored shots a day, but had been denied his usual insulin since he was arrested. A fingerstick showed his sugar was higher than the device could detect.

I asked the nurse if he was right. Had he been underdosed? She confirmed his story. They’d given him regular (the wrong kind of) insulin, on a low-dose sliding scale instead of based on food, and at half the frequency of the injections he needed. He was breathing hard because he had a potentially lethal diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), acid blood from insulin deficiency.

“Call an ambulance,” I said. “He has DKA.”

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Pupils or Perpetrators? How “Safety Officers” Treat Students in US and NYC Schools

by Ellen Isaacs

October, 2021

Young black – and Latin, immigrant, and Native American – children in the US have been chained up and abused for centuries. Today in schools where poor and nonwhite students are the majority, students are targeted and attacked for misbehavior, much of it minor, some of it mere dissention, some of it nonexistent. If incidents have a basis in mental health or other needs of the child, there is little help available. If there is deprivation out of school, such as unstable housing or insufficient food, there is little help available. Because this is the US we live in, a profit-driven society that depends on racism to exploit and divide workers.

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Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Speaking Out For Antiracist Marxism

by Karyn Pomerantz, 9-12-2021

This article reviews the revolutionary politics of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Marxist, anti-racist scholar, author, and activist. It presents her positions on class, racism, and capitalism, and the critical need for working class unity.

Over the last ten years, tens of thousands of people have rebelled against racist police murders, immigrant deportations, climate disasters, Covid-19 catastrophes, and incarceration rates that disproportionately endanger black and brown workers. People are asking about the causes of oppression and strategies and solutions to end them. Explanations range from the exploitative practices of capitalism, bad legislation to misbehaviors of poor people. Strategies include voting, building organizations to fight specific injustices, decentralized and uncoordinated organizing, unionizing, cooperatives, community control of the police, and communist parties. People call for abolition to defund and eliminate the police and prisons and end all forms of injustice. Many believe in white privilege and blame all whites for racism.

In a time of these identity politics, leaderless protests, and decentralized organizing, Taylor’s call for organized, multiracial, revolutionary struggle provides a more realistic course of action that can achieve working class power. Her works are worth understanding and applying.

The editors strongly recommend reading her publications and listening to her presentations on YouTube. She has written 3 major books, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, and How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective.

This blog has promoted multiracial organizing that fights the system of capitalism. Take some time to read the posts on “white privilege,” exploitation, and “It’s Time to Name Names: Capitalism and Imperialism” at  https://multiracialunity.org/category/capitalism-and-imperialism/page/3/ . (If you’d like to get together and discuss these topics, come to our biweekly discussion group and email us for the details).

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Your Money or Your Medicine: Corruption at the FDA

by Ellen Isaacs

August 1, 2021

$56,000 a year for a new Alzheimer’s drug, aducanumab (Aduhelm), that has little if any clinical benefit and substantial risk. A 40% rise in the share price for its producer, Biogen. All this despite lack of a single positive vote by any of 11 expert Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee members(1). Is there something wrong here or is this just the way capitalism is supposed to work? Seems that way.

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Critical Race Theory Threatens Ruling Class Power

by Karyn Pomerantz, July 1, 2021

As I write this, Critical Race Theory debates dominate the media, school board meetings, state legislatures, and university campuses. The Oklahoma City Community College canceled a course that discussed white privilege. Politicians in eight states have outlawed its teaching, and nine more are considering legislation to do so (https://www.heritage.org/data-visualizations/education/critical-race-theory-legislation-tracker/). Antagonisms at several school boards led to the cancellation of face-to-face meetings to avoid physical fights. Florida already passed legislation to ban its teaching and requires civics courses to include “portraits in patriotism” … to tell stories and “first-person accounts” of victims of ostensibly communist governments which are then compared with the more supposedly democratic US.” Florida’s Duvall County School Board fired a teacher for hanging a Black Lives Matter flag in her classroom. Texas passed a bill that prohibits teachers from discussing any theories of racism. For example, one section of the bill prohibits lessons that make:

“… any individual (should) feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex”

Another section prohibits teaching that:

“meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a members of a particular race to oppress members of another race (https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/HB03979I.pdf).

Proposed bills in other states call for putting cameras on teachers to reveal whether they teach the “wrong” ideas and outlaw any student demonstrations for social justice issues. University faculty in Florida will be required to register their political positions, and students and faculty will have to take surveys about their beliefs, and students must pass a “civic literacy” exam to graduate. If these beliefs deviate from the conservative, racist ideas of the state, the state legislature can remove their research projects and funding, seriously imperiling their jobs and increasing self-censorship.

Emboldened by Trump, opponents claim discussing racism offends and blames white people, that it rejects color blindness. They cite weepy accounts by white children allegedly exposed to these ideas. They never acknowledge the trauma people of color experience from physical, economic, and verbal abuse caused by racism.

Opposition to CRT at Loudoun County, VA School Board Meeting

What is this theory? Why has it generated so much opposition and disinformation? Why is racism so vital to capitali

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