Good Reads for Socialists - December 2017

Recommended by Bill B..."but they'll be yelling at you all the time. It's like the military. They have to break you down so they can turn you into what they want you to be. So they're going to tell you, 'You're not good enough, you're not good enough, you're not good enough,' to make you work harder." Life in the warehouse of the 21st century.

How to grow a solidarity economy at the grassroots, a longread from Yes! magazine via Portside.

"To read Harvey's devastating indictment of how we live today is to doubt as never before our prime minister's conviction that free market capitalism is unquestionably the best means of increasing the living standards of everyone. Indeed, I feel about May's 'collective human progress' much the same as Gandhi felt about western civilisation: it would be a good idea." Thus Stuart Jeffries in a Guardian review of David Harvey's Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason.

What will the Internet look like if Ajit Pai's FCC reverses net neutrality and unleashes the big telcom corporations? John Nichols has a take in the latest Nation.


And some more reads reprised from November's updates...

Good Reads goes meta - here is a wide-ranging and multi-topic "good reads" from the Guardian with some irresistible offerings, neatly categorized!

Chicago DSA's Bill Barclay, our favorite in-house radical economist, on the emerging GOP Tax Scheme.

Local activist Ellen Brown, a proponent for many years of public banking, updates the state of play in Portside. Note that the Democracy Collaborative is a strong ally on this issue, which is also central to MDCDSAs campaign against DC municipal deposits in Wells Fargo and the proposal to create a public bank for the District of Columbia.

The J20 trials are under way. Here's an account from The Guardian.

Also from the Guardian: the current culture-wrenching focus on abusive male behavior is skirting class issues. A trenchant argument against the tipped-wage exception in minimum-wage measures is that it makes low-paid workers vulnerable to abuse of all sorts. Barbara Ehrenreich and Alissa Quart outline the stakes.

From Philly Magazine, a great deep-dive article into the lives and views of our DSA comrades in the Philadelphia local chapter.

From the NYT, Ben Fong's op-ed, "The Climate Crisis? It’s Capitalism, Stupid."

"A Plan To Win" -- The overriding aim of democratic socialist strategy is to weaken the power of business, before breaking with capitalism entirely. "We need left politicians to win elections, and we need a politics that can set them up to keep winning elections. In order to do so, we have to restore confidence in the public sector - as an owner, an investor, and a provider of services."

An illuminating interview with Ronnie Kasrils of the South African Communist Party, former minister for intelligence of the post-apartheid South African government, with great insights into where things went wrong with the ANC and led to Zuma and what might happen next.

Now that Red October is over and the actual date of the Russian Revolution has come and gone, what's still to learn? From Portside and Against the Current, a detailed review of a book some comrades of have getting into, the leftist sci-fi writer China Mieville's October: the story of the Russian Revolution.

Bill Fletcher Jr. explores a part of the October 1917 revolution that's sometimes overlooked: "the national-colonial question" refers to a designation of the special oppression - including but not limited to colonialism - of peoples (based on alleged race and/or ethnicity) and the subjugation of nations around the planet, most especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America, but also including Ireland, First Nations in the Western Hemisphere, the Chicano people in the US Southwest, and African Americans in the USA. The national-colonial question was at the heart of the October Revolution because the October Revolution was not only a movement for socialism, but a revolution against empire.  It was a revolution within and against the Russian Empire, a state structure referenced at the time as a "prison house of nations."

Tom Frank in The Guardian: "It's not enough to say, in response to the Paradise Papers revelations, that we already knew that rich people parked their money in offshore tax havens, where their piles accumulate far from the scrutiny of our government. Nor is it enough to say that we were already aware that we live in a time of 'inequality.' What we have learned this week is the clinical definition of the word."


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