On how Democrats should change the fiscal policy

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“Republicans have made clear time and time again that they don’t care about the deficit. And Democrats shouldn’t either. Rather than fixating on the GOP’s shaky math, Democrats should highlight the cruelty of shoveling money to the rich at a time when inequality is soaring and millions languish in poverty ”

Josh Mound, ‘The Democrats Are Eisenhower Republicans’, Jacobin Magazine

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On the colonial asset of the War for American independence

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“ People like to cite Washington, when he was president, on avoiding foreign entanglements. That represents what I see as a widespread fantasy that there could ever have been an independent American nation without expansion driven by a concentration of wealth and military power. That’s what nationhood meant — and that’s why, if we want a radical transformation, we have to stop seeking it somewhere in our national origins. Washington somehow managed not to see his conquest of the old Northwest in the 1790s as a foreign engagement, because the enemy was indigenous. Neat trick, but in fact many of the men who became revolutionaries, with Washington among the foremost, turned against England in the mid-1770s precisely because the mother country was blocking their expansion into Indian country, robbing the colonial speculators of their investments and of the massive potential profits to be made there. In the west, at least, the revolution was a war of American expansion ”

William Hogeland, ‘Not Our Independence Day’, Jacobin Magazine

On how Corbyn’s manifesto proved New Labour wrong

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“ Jeremy Corbyn has, after all, just managed to pull off one of the largest recoveries of all time in the Labour vote. He achieved that feat by running on a program that much of the press compared to the 1983 manifesto — and they did not mean that comparison kindly (…) Corbyn’s manifesto destroyed the central myth that justified all the retreats of the Kinnock era, the triangulations of the Blair years, and the fudges of Brown’s short-lived premiership. You can run on a left-wing platform and do well. A socialist campaign can attract more votes than Kinnock, Brown, Miliband, and even post-1997 Blair could achieve with their pitch to the center ground. The supposed lessons of the 1983 have been proven false ”

Steven Parfitt, ‘The Centrist Suicide Note’, Jacobin Magazine

On the replacement of knowledge and analysis by numbers

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“ There’s nothing wrong with quantitative metrics. But they should be supplemented with qualitative yardsticks, and assessed with rigor. Instead, administrators use a narrow set of metrics to justify the neoliberal policies they endorse. For example, they defend the shift to STEM education on the basis of some empirical research while ignoring findings that would suggest a different set of educational priorities. Numbers have all but replaced analysis (…) Faculty end up worrying more about the number of articles they publish than their quality. Students end up focusing on grades rather than acquiring knowledge. Assessing a school’s performance comes down to enrollment numbers, grade distribution, and the introduction of new technologies. Intellectual curiosity, a passion for knowledge, and the pursuit of exciting questions have disappeared; no one has time to do anything except perform by the numbers (…) Schools and states are attacking the idea that faculty, who work in a setting where the free flow of ideas is vital, should be protected from controversy in their teaching and research ”

Harry Targ, ‘An Education Worth Fighting For’, Jacobin Magazine

On AfD’s ‘defense’ of the common man and shift to the center

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“ Today, even the Union recognizes Germany as a country of immigration. Its right wing has been weakened and outright reactionary positions like an ethnic definition of German identity marginalized. Women are no longer seen as the natural servants of their husbands, and the rights of gays and lesbians to life partnerships and parenthood are legally enshrined. The modernization of the Union’s immigration, gender, and family policies is primarily strategic: particularly since Angela Merkel become party leader in 2000, the party has increasingly sought to attract new voters from the political center, rather than the right (…) The AfD rarely targets the wealthy in its defense of the common man, but instead focuses its ire on immigrants and refugees, accusing them of taking government handouts without contributing to the welfare state. According to the AfD, it is migrants and refugees who are robbing German workers of the fruits of their labor, not their German bosses ”

Sebastian Friedrich & Gabriel Kuhn, ‘Between Capital and Volk’, Jacobin Magazine

On ecology, democracy and the ‘French Third Way’

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“ Ecology, namely the question of the compatibility between human life and the sustainability of the ecosystem, itself brings us back to the democratic question. For ecology reveals, scientifically, the equality of all humans faced with a problem that is going to affect them. Of course, the rich have a lot more means for self-preservation than the poor do. But rarely is there a general problem that threatens human life as a whole. If this life disappears, then even the children of the rich will not have a planet left. There we have a problem. So this is a task for society, and we call for a democratic means of action to deal with it. Obviously we want very serious measures for that, and the worrying thing is that we now have a government packed with lobbyists (…) All the partisans of so-called social-liberalism or the Third Way, all the people who said there is no alternative, now have their own party, and it is Macron’s party. The party of no alternative. We think that this is a point of strength for us, because now at least it is clear where people stand. All those people are going off to govern together ”

Hadrien Clouet, ‘Resisting the Macron Surge’, Jacobin Magazine

On the right of housing

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“ The only way to stop tragedies like Grenfell Tower from happening again is to accept that adequate housing is a right, not a privilege. People on low incomes deserve governments and local authorities that value their lives. Our homes should protect us, not put our families at risk (…) As one resident told me, many people will have died locked in their homes, aware that nobody had cared for their safety while they lived. The only way to change a world where that can happen is through political action ”

Dawn Foster, ‘A Very Political Tragedy’, Jacobin Magazine