May 2021Spectacle

Good Links from April

Here are some of the best reads we pulled out from our April GOOD READS — a roundup that appears at the end of each Weekly Update.


Socialist Strategy

Looking to the past, Jacobin excavates lessons for socialists today in looking at the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground, as The Dig podcast centers a discussion on ultraleftism, as informed by Washington Socialist article The Liberal to Ultraleft Pipeline by our own chapter comrade Brian W. The debate also pulls from “Liberalism, ultraleftism or mass action,” a speech delivered by Socialist Workers Party leader Peter Camejo in 1970.

Talking differences and disagreements within the left, an entry in Black Perspectives invites us to consider the rift between academic “revolutions” and working-class militants. An interview with Maurice BP-Weeks details how exploitation of racial division is essential for capitalist reproduction. And a woobly recounts his experience in aiding (ongoing) efforts to unionize a pickle plant in West Virginia.

For socialists pondering electoral approach — a roundup of 2020 pollster errors in Politico reminds us to be cautious of statistics. And a report out of The Intercept details how Democratic Socialists out of Nevada sent corporatists sulking in Nevada.

Labor Wars

As the labor movement marches to pass the PRO Act, the American working class finds itself engaged in the highest stakes confrontation with capital in decades. Remember, socialists don’t just stand behind the push — they are crucial in driving it. The Los Angeles Democratic Socialists created an excellent video summarizing the strategy and imperative behind the PRO Act. If you’re not caught up, press play:

Need some reasons to join the labor wars? Observe Amazon's track record of labor law violations during the pandemic (and the National Labor Relations Board's failure to appropriately take them on), corralled last month in BuzzFeed. What is the cost of that decades-long crash in unionized workforce in the United States? Check out one estimate from the Economic Policy Institute. And an infuriating report from American Prospect on how workers really get "cancelled" on the job.

And though labor's loss at the Battle of Bessemer stings (see Jane McAlevey's post-mortem), the larger war carries on, with momentum still held by labor. Though, if we take a quick break, we might consider some branching possibilities the war path is opening up. Outlined in part of a larger series on alt-labor efforts, the American Prospect asks us to consider Black worker centers — an alternative strategy for building rank-and-file power for organized labor.

Water Cooler

A thoughtful assessment on digital appropriation and internet etiquette — a find from the left-wing blogosphere. How to square Bruce Springsteen’s working-class cred with his recent forays into presidential podcasting and perplexing car commercials — from The Baffler. An excellent essay exploring the rampant gentrification of DC over the past decade — published earlier in the year in n+1 (but recently brought out from behind the paywall). And an interview with Mckayla Wilkes — previously endorsed by Metro DC DSA last year — featured in one of the District's locally-run post-capitalist news sources.

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