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April 2021

Spring has undeniably returned to DC – even if the hordes of tourists desperate for a peek at the cherry blossoms are (thankfully) absent. Gaggles of the city’s professional class return, albeit self-consciously, to reopened patios on the District’s over-priced bars. Suits and ties have made their awkward return to K Street. Social norms are being rewritten in real time as locals try to remember what it means to socialize in a post-pandemic, post-social-distancing, post-coup Washington.

It’s hard not to feel a bit of hope. The worst of the pandemic is behind us. Trump’s fascist dogs are on the run. Biden’s administration seems at least willing to consider big action on big problems like climate change and infrastructure investment. And the prospect of a renewed labor movement lingers on the horizon by way of the PRO Act – providing the often-distant clans of the left a clear objective to unite around. Yet, as our cover image reminds us, we’re all operating on borrowed time. The economic system that organizes our life is unsustainable; the ecstasy of hope can be easily abused as an opiate.

Two entries give us focus. In “Medicare for All,” the need for a health system that cares for everyone is not just a matter of working-class justice, but imperative for seriously smashing the United States’ systems of racial caste. “Voting Expansion vs Suppression” covers the ongoing national battle for voting rights – reemphasizing the need for socialists to position themselves against Republicans even as we challenge capitalists in the Democratic Party.

As much of the political left continues to debate strategy and tactics, “Building the Left” emphasizes the need for socialists – and the DSA in particular – to consider the question of how it will disrupt the capitalist order. “Focus on Amazon” notes the focus on labor organizing has evolved in Maryland – both a strategic and moral necessity. And “Two Cheers for MMT” provides an overview of the economic theory which can help put the big projects on the left into action.

Two essays re-center struggles of the past. In “Remembering John Sweeney,” the former labor leader's passing provides an occasion to look back on the anti-radical positions adopted by national labor formations during the heights of the Cold War (and how they were softened). A republished Socialist article from 1987 – “Sanctuary vs Imperialism” – reiterates how long immigration and refugee crises have been realized in the US, and how imperialist policies pushed by the American government creates them.

And a few entries on culture. “Considering Dr. Seuss” addresses conservative overreaction to “cancelled” children’s books. Kim Stanley Robinson’s sci-fi thriller is reviewed in “Book Review: The Ministry for the Future,” with emphasis placed on its eco-socialist themes and ideas. And for a roundup of headlines for the last month, check out “Good Links for March.”

The banner image for this month, "All on borrowed time," was provided by DC-based mixed-media artist and DSA member Camila Tapia. You can find their work under the handle @byunnaturalcauses.

In this issue