7. New movements of resistance, USA - Michael Marchmann
I chose this article because it gives a pretty good overview of the both the economic and political crisis in the US from a 4th International perspective and is quite recent. As part of the analysis, La Botz discusses the state of organized labor and the relationship between the radical left, labor and OWS. So, I think it ties the three aspects of my lecture(s) together well.
This article provides a very nice materialist history of the labor movement in the US and how and why it has been in decline, since the 1980s (perhaps earlier). What I especially like about the article is that it briefly outlines the material and ideological conditions that gave rise to the early, very powerful and militant union movement in the US and the process by which these have been undermined in recent decades. It is a excellent piece for understanding why the labor movement and the left more generally in the US have been so quiet and (seemingly) passive in recent decades.
In recent years there have been encouraging signs of a potential re-emergence of the left in the US. In addition to Occupy Wall Street, a series of working-class campaigns have arisen that give some reasons for optimism, including labor union victories in the fast food industry and among teachers, the deployment of innovative and militant union strategies, immigrant activism, and electoral victories by socialists. Despite these victories, there remain serious weaknesses on the left and challenges for moving ahead. This article gives us to tools to think about how the left in the US and elsewhere might respond to these challenges.
Additional reading: Additional reading:
This is a statement given by US Senator Bernie Sanders (from Vermont) in late June. Sanders is the only US congress person who openly identifies himself as a socialist. He is, essentially, a social democrat and not an anti-capitalist. Nonetheless, I selected this speech/statement as a reading because it articulates a wide range of problems and crises affecting the US - from the economic crisis to the ecological crisis to the devolution of democracy and the growth of oligarchy in the US. So, it provides a pretty good overview of the state of things in the US.