Last month, unidentified agents stormed into Portland, demonstrating the federal government’s contempt for non-violent objectors to the status quo. In response to mainstream criticism of the Administration’s actions, acting secretary Homeland Security Chad Wolf had stated that his troopers “will not retreat,” as failed VA politician Ken Cuccinelli had simultaneously taken to openly antagonizing protesters, a transparent attempt to exploit the ordeal to squeeze out propaganda for the cheap seats. Meanwhile, Trump continues to posture himself against protesters, going so far as to demand the postponement of the November 3rd election. These actions should be nothing short of alarming for anyone concerned about democracy, freedom of speech, or the right to assembly. Although it was recently announced that the Portland forces would retreat, deployment of DHS troops to other American cities, and continued aggression from authorities in New York and elsewhere suggests that these engagements are hardly dwindling. If events continue, there is a risk of authoritarian aggression becoming normalized across the country.
How do we make sense of this era, and where do we go from here? In "The Before Times are Over," we think about which changes brought about by the pandemic are permanent, which are fleeting, and which ones socialists can hope to shape to the task of realizing a non-capitalist future. "When Impossible Becomes Inevitable: The Fall of ‘Petty Racism" remembers the social and political inertia that kept offensive Confederate statues on their pedestals in Richmond, VA, and the startling near-revolutionary changes that prompted their demise. And in "Dispatch from Alexandria: Housing is a Human Right," the struggle between tenants and rental companies explores the contemporary social and economic issues that are happening locally to contain and control COVID’s economic turmoil.
"Self-education and the Path of a Socialist" takes a walk along the path through apathy and escapism to knowledge, empowerment and the camaraderie of the collective. A classic account of how we learn and win. An account from the Washington Socialist from 1986 presents sharp critiques by black socialists delivered point-blank at a DSA meeting in "Race and the Left." And finally, "A Self-Guided Walking Tour of DuPont and Kalorama" gives readers a guide on how to explore radical history in the DuPont Circle area.