Profits Over People (With a Little Help from Their Friends)

Florida is the latest state to have on its November 4 ballot an initiative that would legalize medicinal cannabis sativa (aka marijuana) for people with debilitating medical conditions such as cancer and cerebral palsy. Florida has already legalized the use of Charlotte’s Web for children suffering from epilepsy. A recent poll believes 62% of Floridians will vote for Amendment 2, a slim margin over the 60% needed for passage. [Editor’s note: this piece was written before the election; in the event, the measure failed, with only 57% voting in favor. Advocates vow to continue the struggle.]

Hopefully Florida will not follow corrupt Rhode Island’s path through this process. Continue reading

The Union’s Election Day Dilemma

I had meant to write something about the election before now. But with these candidates, what is there to write? They are all corporate tools. A vote for any of them, even the “less worse”, is nothing more than a vote for more corporate control over Rhode Island’s teachers, parents and students. Continue reading

Mourning Becomes Elections: Rhode Island’s Progressive Democrats in the Midterms

Brian Chidester and Shaun Joseph assess progressive strategy in Rhode Island.

As summer slouches into fall in these United States, most of the nation is wondering whether, come November, it will be thrown under the control of claque of racist wackadoos. Excitement! And indeed, the kind of organic excitement that you can’t get at the movies, because it can’t be reproduced in explosions or even IMAX 3D.

Still, as mentally stimulating as the prospect of Tea Party America is, it is at the same time the cause of some anxiety. From this angle, the politics of Rhode Island must seem like a refreshing oasis; its GOP is vile, no doubt, but also so superlatively disorganized that it is sure to capture not a single statewide office, and a mere handful of seats in the General Assembly. (You may need more than two hands to count them, but certainly not all your digits. Male readers can keep their shoes on in any event.) Sunk well in the deep blue “D,” Rhode Island is thus delivered in advance from the depredations of teabag rule—right?

Slow down.

Continue reading

What Happened to the Progressive Democrats?

Shaun Joseph tracks the fate of the left wing of the Democratic Party.

I think the usual approach when a left-wing socialist talks about the Democratic Party is to explain that the Party is a critical part of the political defense system of American big business–in Kevin Phillips’s apt phrase, “history’s second-most enthusiastic capitalist party.” This is proved quite easily through an examination of the typically awful reactionary policies of the Democratic “mainstream” throughout the ages–pro-war, anti-labor, against oppressed people–and by noting the many influential racists and dinosaurs in the Party’s right wing.

Now I completely agree with all that, but that’s not what I’m going to write about here, or not quite. When progressives or activists gravitate toward the Democratic Party, it’s generally not because of the panache of people like Joe Lieberman or Frank Caprio–it’s because of Dennis Kucinich or David Segal. That is, when people pin their hopes on the donkey, they pin it to the left flank. Therefore, an analysis of the progressive Democrats is of particular importance to those of us who want to build a non-sectarian yet independent political left.

Continue reading