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On the Lack of Left Wing Discourse in the Blogosphere

Who, exactly, represents the left extreme in the establishment blogosphere? You'd likely hear names like Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald. But these examples are instructive. Is Hamsher a socialist? A revolutionary anti-capitalist? In any historical or international context-- in the context of a country that once had a robust socialist left, and in a world where there are straightforwardly socialist parties in almost every other democracy-- is Hamsher particularly left-wing? Not at all. It's only because her rhetoric is rather inflamed that she is seen as particularly far to the left.
Freddie De Boer on the lack of left wing discourse in the blogosphere. [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz on Jan 18, 2011 - 84 comments

Distributism Review

Distributist Review promotes distributism (wiki), a "third way" of economics between capitalism and socialism, inspired by Catholic social teaching. Popularized by G. K. Chesterton (more, more), Fr. Vincent McNabb (more, more), Hilaire Belloc (more, more), and E. F. Schumacher (more, more, more), as well as through the pages of the Catholic Worker (more, also), distributism seeks to put "productive" property into the hands of the many, with implications for urban homesteading and agricultural reform, as well as the rebirth of the guild as an idea. Distributism is not merely an economic system - it is wholly fused with Catholic teachings, fusing the left and right, standing against modern, liberal political and sociological thought. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Nov 28, 2010 - 33 comments

You have nothing to gain but free time.

Workers of the world, relax. via
posted by DU on Oct 12, 2010 - 24 comments

David, Ed, and Ralph.

In the runup to the British Labour Party's leadership election, John Gray writes about Labour's embrace of (and attempts to tame) capitalism, and what the frontrunners' father might think of it all.
posted by greymullet on Sep 6, 2010 - 7 comments

The earth is ours now, comrades.

Land and Freedom, in its entirety. It's a film about a young English Communist who goes to fight the fascists amidst the Spanish Revolution as a member of the POUM militia. He sees both the reality of a people's revolution and the consequences of Stalinism. It's directed by Ken Loach, who also directed Bread and Roses and The Wind that Shakes the Barley. Subtitles will help a lot if you don't speak Spanish.
posted by cthuljew on Jul 17, 2010 - 29 comments

Four Economic Benchmarks We Need Now

With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 13, 2010 - 15 comments

After the revolution, life goes on... and so do the bugs.

The Exterminator’s Want-Ad, a short story by Bruce Sterling, is a twisted first-person missive by a former K-Street lobbyist making his way in a post-collapse socialist regime of sharing. It's part of the Shareable Futures series of short stories and speculative essays at Shareable.net. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 24, 2010 - 41 comments

Communists, Socialists, And Anarachists Oh My

The Internationale, the anthem of international socialism, has been sung in many different ways. The original French. In Irish - Gaelic. In Russian. Hungarian. Romanian. By Billy Bragg. By Alistair Hulett and Jimmy Gregory. As Disco. As Chinese rock karaoke. As Gypsy guitar.
posted by The Whelk on May 1, 2010 - 35 comments

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Emerging from a debate on "epistemic closure" (of the conservative mind) John Quiggin looked beyond the dead horses and gazed upon the need "to offer hope, in the form of goals that can excite enthusiastic commitment to a progressive alternative." Matthew Yglesias pondered and penned a response providing a glimpse of the very big picture... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 28, 2010 - 17 comments

give up that dream

It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us. And that's what we've forgotten. Give up that dream! Chris Hedges talks neoliberalism and neofeudalism, the civil rights movement, Camden, Obama, Clinton, Tea Parties, moral nihilism, inverted totalitarianism and corpocracy, NAFTA, welfare reform, health care, labor, poverty, Yugoslavia, post-industrial capitalism, economic crisis, imperial collapse, socialism, and democracy, among other things. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Apr 24, 2010 - 51 comments

America: Have vs Have-not

The Obama Coalition "These general findings suggest the possibility that the political strength of voters whose convictions are perhaps best described as Social Democratic in the European sense is reaching a significant level in the United States. With effective organization and mobilization, such voters are positioned to set the agenda in the Democratic Party in the near future."
posted by Glibpaxman on Apr 4, 2010 - 37 comments

Be it resolved that financial 'innovation' does not boost economic growth

Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2010 - 34 comments

Money in Socialist Economies: The Case of North Korea

Money in Socialist Economies: The Case of North Korea by Dr. Rüdiger Frank [more inside]
posted by Tlery on Mar 1, 2010 - 27 comments

Hundred-to-won

Last December, the government of North Korea unexpectedly revalued its internal currency, the North Korean won, at a rate of 100-to-1 and capped the amounts that residents could exchange old currency at 300,000 won (approx. $90 U.S. on the black market). This effectively wiped out many peoples' savings and killed the nascent market economy that had begun to emerge after a series of economic reforms starting in July, 2002. Professor Rüdiger Frank of the University of Vienna argues that while it represents a temporary victory for the North Korean government, this move may ultimately lead to the end of North Korean socialism. [Recently here]
posted by albrecht on Feb 3, 2010 - 23 comments

They want capitalism back

First they wanted socialism. Now they want capitalism back. Rescued from bankruptcy by UK taxpayers, the directors of the Royal Bank of Scotland are threatening a mass resignation unless they are permitted to share £1.5 billion in bonuses. Some people have asked why we have to share the bad times but not the good.
posted by bobbyelliott on Dec 3, 2009 - 69 comments

George Soros on the Way Forward

Soros lectures
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2009 - 13 comments

Obama as Joker goes viral

First seen on the web this week, posters have sprung up in LA and Atlanta. Interesting discussions on the Washington Post.com site. Lots of different ideas about the posters and their meaning. Tampa Bay Times takes up the debate.
posted by garnetgirl on Aug 8, 2009 - 127 comments

In writing this book my intention was to present, in the form of an interesting story, a faithful picture of working-class life...

In August 1910, an Irish sign-painter and decorator named Robert Noonan left the town of Hastings on the south coast of England, and made his way north and west towards Liverpool, with the hope of emigrating to Canada. Already sick with tuberculosis, his condition worsened once he reached the city, and he was to die there in a workhouse hospital ward, in February 1911. He had, however, left in the care of his daughter Kathleen a package that was to change the political landscape of twentieth-century Britain. [more inside]
posted by hydatius on Aug 6, 2009 - 12 comments

"All fur coat and no knickers."

Solving America's hunger crisis is an article by Sacha Abramsky
Feeding America has a Hunger quiz and Hunger 101 - Feed your mind. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Jun 9, 2009 - 66 comments

Proletarians of All Lands, Unite!

Peasant! Free your pregnant wife from work, don't allow her to pick up heavy items since this will harm her and the child. An excellent collection of vintage soviet propaganda, public health, and infographics posters from 20s to 30s, many with full translations.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 7, 2009 - 17 comments

The Adaptive Value of Human Institutions:* Building a Better (Secular) 'Religion'

Keynes & Marx thought "that productivity would grow sufficiently to allow our needs to be met with very little labour," and that humankind's biggest preoccupation in the future would be leading lives of comfortable (or comparative) leisure. Obviously, that has not yet come to pass. But why?** Yochai Benkler (previously), for one, is working on it... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 25, 2009 - 37 comments

Beware the Red Menace!

Rasmussen Reports published a poll recently which showed that 20% of respondants believe socialism is better than capitalism. Among those under 30, the percentage goes up to 33%. And apparently, some Republicans believe that percentage is actually much higher, as the Republican National Committee has called upon RNC chairman Mike Steele to start calling Democrats "Democrat Socialists". Steele, for his part, told Fox News, "We don't see this president so much as a socialist as we see him as a collectivist".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Apr 24, 2009 - 105 comments

You don't even have to be a Marxist to enjoy it

Everything you ever wanted to read about left-wing political theory but were afraid to look up. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Mar 23, 2009 - 67 comments

Obama vs. Marx

Despite The Republican Talking Points, There's A Difference Between Obama And Marx: One Of Them's Not A Socialist. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 22, 2009 - 155 comments

Scott Nearing (1883-1983)

He was fired from his university for challenging the most prominent evangelist in the country. He was put on trial for criticizing American war policy. He became an inspiration for the back-to-the-land movement. At the age of 100, he chose to stop eating.
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 16, 2009 - 13 comments

Chavez' Venezuela At 10 Years

Just ahead of a re-election referendum in Venezuela (scheduled for February 15), The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators [PDF][Via]
posted by Rykey on Feb 10, 2009 - 26 comments

Greatest Achievements of American Socialism

Great achievements in American socialism: A slide show of two dozen excellent things the federal government bought with your money.
posted by homunculus on Feb 6, 2009 - 98 comments

A ground for the love of men

Colm Tóibín reviews Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love by Sheila Rowbotham a fine essay and good introduction to the life, thought and work of "the poet, socialist, free-thinker and sexual rebel" of high Victorian England, Edward Carpenter.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 25, 2009 - 15 comments

The Iron Heel

The Iron Heel, published a century ago this year, is a novel by Jack London about socialist revolution in the United States. It is set mostly between 1912 and 1932, with a foreword and numerous footnotes written from the point of view of a historian who has just discovered the manuscript some 700 years later. Here is an excerpt (which is printed on the back cover of some editions) from chapter five:
"This, then, is our answer. We have no words to waste on you. When you reach out your vaunted strong hands for our palaces and purpled ease, we will show you what strength is. In roar of shell and shrapnel and in whine of machine-guns will our answer be couched. We will grind you revolutionists down under our heel, and we shall walk upon your faces. The world is ours, we are its lords, and ours it shall remain. As for the host of labor, it has been in the dirt since history began, and I read history aright. And in the dirt it shall remain so long as I and mine and those that come after us have the power. There is the word. It is the king of words--Power. Not God, not Mammon, but Power. Pour it over your tongue till it tingles with it. Power."

posted by finite on Oct 10, 2008 - 30 comments

Ecuador has a new constitution

Voters in Ecuador appear to have approved a new constitution yesterday, guaranteeing rights to clean water, universal healthcare, pensions, and free state-run education through the university level. It also may allow President Rafael Correa to remain in power until 2017. Particularly of note is a world first bill of rights for nature which grants inalienable rights to nature. [more inside]
posted by PercussivePaul on Sep 29, 2008 - 38 comments

Gerd Arntz and the origins of the stick figure

The Gerd Arntz Web Archive collects graphics from the career of the man who - in creating over 4000 Isotypes for social scientist Otto Neurath in 1930s Red Vienna - can make a serious claim to be the inventor of the modern stick figure. He attacked the corruption of German society as the Nazis rose to power, then joined Neurath in an attempt to create a transnational visual language that bore later fruit in Otl Aicher's 1972 Olympic pictograms and the AIGA passenger/pedestrian symbol signs. [via Mark Larson and Austin Kleon]
posted by mediareport on Jul 7, 2008 - 9 comments

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care, Part I. Part II: Debunking the Free Marketeers. [Via Orcinus.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 13, 2008 - 227 comments

The 'advantage' of 'low human rights'

Only China can destroy socialism. Qin Hui, one of the country's most important public intellectuals, argues "China's rampant state-dominated, welfare-lite capitalism could so undercut competitors that it could threaten the social democratic traditions that underpin the West." [As ever, via.]
posted by Abiezer on Jan 8, 2008 - 26 comments

Looking Backward

Looking Backward: From 2000 to 1887, a Utopian novel by Edward Bellamy. A classic 19th century socialist vision of the future.
posted by nasreddin on Jun 17, 2007 - 12 comments

Her home is a factory.

The limits of pop music, and Marxist critical theory, by way of the Gang of Four.
posted by jmhodges on Sep 10, 2006 - 64 comments

Thou Knowest O' Lord!

The Abrigded King James Version
And the LORD Capital said unto the socialist, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Hope you enjoy!
posted by nofundy on Feb 22, 2006 - 11 comments

South American dominoes

[NewsFilter] A leftist candidate from one of Bolivia's Indian peoples who wants to legalise coca-growing has claimed victory in the presidential election. Mr Morales, an admirer of Fidel Castro, said on Sunday that he wanted ties with the US but "not a relationship of submission". He also promises to make foreign oil and gas investors pay what he says is a fairer share to Bolivians.
posted by wilful on Dec 18, 2005 - 120 comments

Too fat to be worth anything to society, except for the tax money.

Lifestyle on the line. UK to allow hospital's opinions on personal lifestyle to define state healthcare decisions.
posted by shepd on Dec 17, 2005 - 39 comments

Goddamn socialists

Cheap oil for the masses. "Officials from Venezuela and Massachusetts have signed a deal providing cheap heating oil to low-income homes in the US state. The fuel will be sold at some 40% below market prices to thousands of homes over the winter months. Local congressman William Delahunt described the deal as "an expression of humanitarianism at its very best". [Newsfilter] Why do you hate America, Hugo?
posted by wilful on Nov 22, 2005 - 135 comments

Do They Know It’s G8 Time?

"I had been planning to set up a socialist band, which I hope will play a leading role in the world socialist revolution because it is possible to influence people greatly through music and I have acquired sufficiently strong singing abilities through karaoke to convince myself that I would be capable of singing in a band." [music here]
posted by dodgygeezer on Nov 15, 2005 - 80 comments

Katrina seen from the Left

Storm Hits, Capitalism Preserves Profits, Humanity Drowns. Beyond pointing out that Bush cares greatly about rich white people, what does the Left have to say about Katrina? How accurate is it to blame racism and capitalism for the federal governments's lack of response?
posted by cleardawn on Sep 4, 2005 - 62 comments

A crash course in Venezuelan history

Hugo Chávez is crazy! Hugo Chávez is certainly making a lot of news these days. No doubt we'll find the truth somewhere between "evil dictator" and "third world savior," but the long, dark history of U.S. involvement in Latin America casts suspicion on everything. Chávez is gaining a heroic light in the third world for "standing up to" the United States. He's making friends with Cuba, China and Iran. Is Chávez heading up a new rogues' gallery ... or gearing up for the resource wars?
Previous MetaFilter coverage: [1,2,3,4]
posted by jefgodesky on Aug 24, 2005 - 62 comments

Gotta love unrestricted uncensored internet

Capitalism and other kids stuff Four UK based socialists produced this hour long documentary in which some of the problems of capitalism are presented in a simplified, kindergarten model. Tought provoking, incomplete but NOT derailing into bipartisan hate for a change ..an hour well spent IMHO. You can also DL it with Bittorrent program.. a good reason to install it (5 minutes ) and witness how a distributed cooperative program such as Bittorrent can do wonders.
posted by elpapacito on May 30, 2005 - 25 comments

Student Attacks Against Teachers: The Revolution of 1966

Student Attacks Against Teachers: The Revolution of 1966 At the Middle School attached to Beijing Teacher's College, Yu Ruifen, a female biology teacher, was knocked to the ground and beaten in her office. In broad daylight, she was dragged by her legs through the front door and down the steps, her head bumping against the cement; a barrel of boiling water was poured on her. Though she died after approximately two hours of torture, it did not satisfy the students. All other teachers in the "ox-ghost and snake-demon team" were forced to stand around Yu's corpse and take turns beating her.
posted by Kwantsar on May 2, 2005 - 41 comments

All About Jack London

Jack London was a prolific writer best known for White Fang, The Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf. However, he also wrote about his experiences as a hobo, a socialist and a journalist. While most biographies portray his life as vibrant and engaged, his legacy and arguable suicide has some troublesome baggage.
posted by sciurus on Feb 3, 2005 - 46 comments

'We are the Gay Men's Radical Singing Caucus!' the lead singer yelled in his exquisite tenor.

Tis the Season -- a new short story from China Mieville, just in time for the Holidays™ ... Don't get me wrong. I haven't got shares in YuleCo™, and I can't afford a one-day end-user licence, so I couldn't have a legal party. I'd briefly considered buying from one of the budget competitors like XmasTym, or a spinoff from a non-specialist like Coca-Crissmas, but the idea of doing it on the cheap was just depressing...
posted by amberglow on Dec 23, 2004 - 14 comments

from kibbutz to

Private kibbutzim? The kibbutz, unique and successful socialist experiments in communal living, helped build a country. Has their time passed? Different wages for different jobs, deeding property to individual members, and privatization of production are being instituted at 100 of them, out of an estimated 270 total. In a world where selfishness and capitalism seem to rule, is there hope for communal living?
posted by amberglow on Mar 12, 2004 - 7 comments

I want a refund on this cannabis!

Marijuana meets Socialism. Health Canada's government-approved marijuana is apparently not up to snuff, acording to it's first 'patients'. [more inside]
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood on Sep 16, 2003 - 48 comments

Social Programs breed cruelty

" Socialism teaches you to avoid taking care of other people. The state will – why should you?  If people in France and elsewhere in Europe take less care of their aging parents, it is because they are taught from childhood to allow others – i.e., the state – to take care of everybody... The bigger the government, the worse the people."
posted by gregb1007 on Sep 6, 2003 - 47 comments

LNSGP

The Nazis are back and this time they're green! I can't seem to tell if it's real or not... which is kind of worrying.[Via memepool]
posted by knapah on Aug 1, 2003 - 19 comments

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