Supreme Court guts Clean Air Act, puts every government regulation in jeopardy / by C.J. Atkins

Emissions rise from the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant as the sun sets, Sept. 18, 2021, near Emmett, Kan. The right-wing-dominated Supreme Court says the EPA has no power to regulate emissions by power plants, setting the stage for a speed-up of climate change. | Charlie Riedel / AP

Continuing a right-wing rampage that has already seen abortion rights gutted, the open carrying of guns given free rein, eviction moratoriums killed off, and coronavirus controls eviscerated, the Supreme Court on Thursday gave big fossil fuel corporations the freedom to fill our air with more planet-warming carbon dioxide.

In a 6-3 ruling, the conservative majority announced it was stripping the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate emissions from power plants. The move destroys the core of the Clean Air Act of 1970 and puts the Biden administration’s plans for fighting climate change in jeopardy.

And with its broad denunciation of the power of government agencies to enact rules and standards without specific and down-to-the-last-detail instructions from Congress, the court has also potentially put every regulation on the chopping block—not just when it comes to emissions, but also things like safety conditions in the workplace, fair wages, exposure to toxins, environmental protection, what bathroom transgender students can use, which people can cast a ballot and how, and more.

The decision is a preview of what the far-right and its corporate backers envision for the country.

Victory for fossil fuels, loss for life on Earth

The ruling is a major win for polluting energy corporations. EPA data shows that the power sector is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, but now it will be largely beyond the reach of environmental regulation.

A mechanized shovel loads coal onto a haul truck at the Cloud Peak Energy’s Spring Creek mine near Decker, Mont. | Matthew Brown / AP

Corporate energy giants will be able to fatten their profits by saving on costly emissions control measures in their plants and offload the cost of environmental contamination onto the rest of us—via dirtier air, increased respiratory health problems, and a speed up in climate change and all the problems it brings.

The decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, sides with big energy producers and Republican attorneys general at the state level who have been trying for years to tie the hands of the EPA.

The court declared that the EPA is severely limited in its ability to regulate the fossil fuel sector as a whole and that it can only deal with major pollution issues that crop up at specific individual plants. It also rules out pursuing other climate change-combatting measures through the EPA, such as a carbon cap-and-trade market.

Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the dissent of the three Democratic-appointed justices, warned, “Today, the court strips the Environmental Protection Agency of the power Congress gave it to respond to ‘the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.’”

She wrote that right-wing justices had appointed themselves, “instead of Congress or the expert agency [EPA],” to be the “decision maker on climate policy.” Kagan said she “cannot think of many things more frightening.”

Climate change activists and environmentalists expressed outrage—but no surprise—at what the right-wing majority did.

The executive director of Food and Water Watch, Wenonah Hauter, characterized the ruling as “part of a broad-based assault on the ability of regulators to protect our air, water, and climate.” She said the decision has been “long-sought by corporate polluters, industry-backed think tanks, and politicians who serve monied fossil fuel interests.”

“A Supreme Court that sides with the fossil fuel industry over the health and safety of its people is anti-life and beyond broken,” John Paul Mejia, a spokesperson for the youth-led Sunrise Movement, said immediately after the decision was announced. “We cannot and will not let our Democratic leaders stand by while an illegitimate court and the GOP go on the offense.”

The Biden administration’s promise to put the nation on a path toward 100% clean electricity by the middle of the next decade may be sunk because of the ruling, as the president’s plan hinged on using tougher regulation to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels like coal.

It was a continuation of moves made by the Obama administration under its “Clean Power Plan,” which never went into effect thanks to endless lawsuits by power companies and Republican-run states, an earlier Supreme Court block, and a repeal by the Trump administration. The current court decision stems from one of those previous lawsuits.

Environmental groups were already skeptical of the scheme even before the Supreme Court’s ruling, however, because the government, even under Biden, has also approved many new oil and gas leases on public lands recently—moves seemingly at odds with the goal of reducing fossil fuel reliance.

Regardless, the entire plan now faces a rethink. Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that “capping carbon dioxide emission at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity” might sound sensible, but that the law does not allow it.

The impact of the court’s decision could go far beyond just emissions controls and sets a precedent for destroying the power of government to regulate almost anything.

Part of a bigger corporate offensive

Among legal and constitutional scholars, the EPA case has been called the “administrative state” case.

The term “administrative state” is a somewhat obscure one outside the circles of political science and public administration scholars, but it’s one Republicans use regularly in their meetings with disdain.

Dwight Waldo, a professor and former government price control official, first coined the term “administrative state” in 1948. He wrote that public servants should be informed, active agents of change dedicated to improving people’s lives and strengthening democratic participation.

He asserted that the orthodox notion of bureaucrats who just mindlessly follow orders from the top was incompatible with democracy. Bureaucrats had a responsibility to serve the public, not just their political masters.

The most important principle of the administrative state idea was that government cannot be run like a business. Democracy, the Constitution, and public interest required adherence to higher criteria than simply watching out for the bottom line or following orders.

Republicans have long detested the notion of such a government and have systematically set out to destroy it. The Trump administration, in particular, took steps to undermine the ability of agencies (like the EPA) to pursue the public interest, and instead wanted them to follow edicts issued by the president or his appointees—essentially, a more dictatorial arrangement.

At the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, top Trump advisor Steve Bannon laid out plans to strip apart the power of federal government agencies to regulate big business by reshaping executive branch cabinet departments and the courts.

Enumerating all the cabinet appointments that the incoming President Trump had made at that time, Bannon stated that the people chosen were all “selected for a reason…deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Bannon continued: “Every business leader we’ve had in is saying it’s not just taxes, but it is also the regulation… the way the progressive left runs, if they can’t get it passed, they’re just gonna put in some sort of regulation in…in an agency.” He vowed, “They’re all going to be deconstructed.”

What followed was a shock-and-awe campaign of rapid-fire executive orders, policy guidance memoranda, and a directive to drop two regulations for every new one implemented. Demanding adherence to presidential authority and extreme loyalty on the part of cabinet secretaries and other officials, the Trump White House made it clear that it viewed the entire American government as an instrument to be wielded by the man at the top.

Bureaucrats that don’t obey? They were shown the door. Courts that won’t validate decisions? Pack the judiciary with the most pro-business judges you can find so that you win next time. Total authority and unrestricted executive power was the goal.

Think tanks like the Heritage Foundation provided the intellectual ammunition, publishing claims that the “growth of the administrative state can be traced, for the most part, to the New Deal (and subsequent outgrowths of the New Deal like the Great Society).” Any pro-people policy that has come about since the 1930s was lumped into the trash pile.

And because presidential administrations come and go (though Jan. 6, 2021, showed that the Republicans wanted to do away with even that reality), the ultimate weapon in this war was to be the Supreme Court.

Speaking of Trump’s appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch at the 2017 CPAC meeting, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the Republicans would use the courts to cement their policies in place for a long time to come: “We’re not talking about a change over a four-year period. We’re talking about a change of potentially 40 years of law.”

Republican strategy comes to fruition

Thursday’s decision to gut the power of the EPA is proof that the GOP-corporate offensive against all government regulations is well underway. This ruling is a goalpost along the route that the extreme right ideologues and servants of big capitalists in the Republican Party want to take the country down.

Today, it is the struggle to reverse climate change which is under attack, but so many other things will follow.

The situation calls for massive mobilization at the polls in November and immediate pressure on elected officials to use the power of new legislation to codify regulatory power and make it resistant to elimination by the courts.

Youth activists march in the “No Climate, No Deal” rally in Lafayette Square in Washington, June 28, 2021. The rally, held by the Sunrise Movement, called on President Joe Biden to uphold his climate commitments in his infrastructure proposal and pass more climate and justice initiatives. The Supreme Court’s anti-EPA decision has made presidential action even more urgent. | Caroline Brehman / CQ Roll Call

When it comes to the climate, a coalition of over 1,200 environmental groups, People vs. Fossil Fuels, is calling on Biden to use the authority he still has to “declare a climate emergency and stop new fossil fuel leases, exports, pipelines, and other infrastructure today.”

It pointed to the powers of the presidency under the National Emergencies Act and the Defense Production Act, saying Biden could “also halt crude oil exports, stop offshore oil and gas drilling, restrict international fossil fuel investment, and rapidly manufacture and distribute clean and renewable energy systems.”

Hauter, of Food and Water Watch, said that “while this ruling intends to hamstring the federal government’s ability to regulate dangerous emissions, it does not signal the end of climate action.”

State-level regulatory action now moves to the frontline, especially where Democratic governors and legislative majorities prevail. There, in alliance with growing climate justice movements, progress is being made to achieve carbon neutrality. Such efforts now have to expand further.

Hauter vowed that the climate movement “must and will continue to pressure agencies and elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels to enact policies that ensure a swift reduction in climate pollution and an end to the fossil fuel era.” She said not even the Supreme Court can “stand in the way of the fight for a livable planet.”

It won’t stop the right-wing majority on the court from trying, though. Still expected in the coming days is a decision on a major immigrant rights case, and the Supreme Court has also announced it will hear a case that could give Republican state legislatures unchecked power to suppress votes via gerrymandered districts—setting the stage for widespread election fraud in 2024.

It all makes getting out the vote for this fall’s midterms even more essential.

C.J. Atkins is the managing editor at People’s World. C.J. Atkins es el editor gerente de People’s World. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from York University in Toronto and has a research and teaching background in political economy and the politics and ideas of the American left. In addition to his work at People’s World, C.J. currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director of ProudPolitics.

People’s World, June 30, 2022,

Peace Forces Mobilize as NATO Summit in Madrid Plans for War / by W.T Whitney Jr.

‘Yes to peace, No to NATO’: Anti-imperialist activists organized by the World Federation of Democratic Youth march against the NATO Summit that opens in Madrid on June 29. | via WFDY

The NATO Summit taking place in Madridon June 29-30 “will be transformative,”  asserted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; it will project “a new Strategic Concept for a new security reality.” At its 50th anniversary summit, in Washington in 1999, NATO had expanded its Cold-War era mission of collective defense of Europe to include protection for democracy “within and beyond our borders.”

According to Stoltenberg on June 27, NATO will provide “support to Ukraine now, and for the future.” The “Allies consider Russia as the most significant and direct threat to our security.” NATO “will address China for the first time …[and also] the challenges that Beijing poses to our security, interests, and values.” Pacific nations – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand – will be attending a NATO summit for the first time.

The Summit provoked opposition beforehand. A “Peace Summit,” described as “the People’s Alternative to NATO and War,” gathered in Madrid on June 24-25. A conglomeration of Spanish and European anti-capitalists, environmentalists, feminists, anti-imperialists, peace activists, and spokespersons for struggles in the global South attended workshops, panel discussions, cultural presentations, and plenary sessions.

The Peace Summit made demands. First, NATO will be disbanded: “NATO violates the UN Charter … authoritarian, fascist, and colonial regimes are included in its alliance …NATO’s military interventions have destabilized and destroyed Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Libya. Now NATO pursues a new Cold War against China and Russia. … NATO leads the worldwide arms race … NATO’s nuclear agenda greatly endangers our survival.” Regarding environmental contamination: “The U.S. army “is the most contaminating institution on the planet … NATO generates poverty and inequalities.”

The Summit then declared, “Yes, to Peace … we need a non-militarized system of security, without nuclear arms, without foreign bases, and with a drastic reduction of military expenses. We defend a politics of active peace … [We want] investment in social progress, not in war … Europe and North America must commit to disarmament.”

The statement concluded with an invitation: “March with us against NATO and for building a world of peace.” Indeed, on June 26 thousands marched through central Madrid, their banners flying. Organizers claimed 30,000 marchers. The government reported considerably less. 

The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) and the United Left (Izquierda Unida) were the only political parties that joined with dozens of Spanish and international organizations endorsing the declaration and march. The PCE belongs to the United Left electoral coalition that, after the November 2019 general election, combined with the larger United We Can alliance (Unidas Podemos) to form a government under the leadership of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, head of the Socialist Party.

Sánchez issued a statement welcoming the NATO summit to Madrid. He mentioned concerns about Spain’s “southern flank,” a reference, presumablyto migrants from Africa.

PCE member Yolanda Díaz serves as labor minister and second deputy prime minister in Sánchez’s government. Even so, Enrique Santiago, secretary general of her party, on June 7 offered ideas at odds with those of the prime minister: “We don’t want the NATO summit in Madrid. The story of the Ukraine conflict is of a war foretold, what with the continuing expansion of NATO to the East … And in wars, the peoples, the workers, always lose out.” Santiago cited the risk of “nuclear confrontation” and commended the upcoming Peace Summit and “international demonstration against war on June 26.” 

In remarks two days prior to the Summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg greatly heightened the urgency of the peace proponents’ fears. “At the summit,” he said, “we will strengthen our forward defenses. We will enhance our battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance.”

One report predicted that, “NATO allies will decide at a summit this week to increase the strength of their rapid reaction force nearly eightfold to 300,000 troops …  The NATO response force …currently numbers around 40,000 soldiers.” As part of efforts “to shore up the defenses on Europe’s eastern flank,” the NATO Summit will speed up arrangements for the entry of Finland and Sweden’s into the alliance

Stoltenberg spoke of a “strengthened Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine” and “about the military build-up in Kaliningrad … with highly advanced weapon systems.” Partly because of Kaliningrad, “we have modernized our armed forces, our capabilities, and also increased our presence in that part of the region”.

According to the Brookings Institute, Kaliningrad, a tiny Baltic Sea, Russian-controlled enclave, located between Poland and Lithuania, “could become a new flashpoint in Russia’s war on Ukraine.” That’s because Lithuania is blocking the passage of EU-sanctioned Russian goods into the territory for delivery beyond.

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a political journalist whose focus is on Latin America, health care, and anti-racism. A Cuba solidarity activist, he formerly worked as a pediatrician, lives in rural Maine. W.T. Whitney Jr. es un periodista político cuyo enfoque está en América Latina, la atención médica y el antirracismo. Activista solidario con Cuba, anteriormente trabajó como pediatra, vive en la zona rural de Maine.

The original version of the article appeared in People’s World, June 28, 2022,

The Abortion Rights Movement Must Now Turn to Grassroots Organizing and Direct Action / by Anne Rumberger

Thousands gathered at Washington Square Park and took to the streets to protest against the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case on June 24, 2022, in New York City. (Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court’s abortion rights rollback is a major victory for the Right and a crushing blow for the rest of us. But millions of people are pissed off and ready to fight for reproductive freedom — and they aren’t looking to the Democrats to save them.

We all knew that Roe v. Wade would fall, but the pain and rage when the decision was officially announced on June 24 still felt like an overwhelming body blow. In a six-three ruling along ideological lines, the conservative justices decided that the constitutional right to privacy, which Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are contingent upon, does not include abortion and was “egregiously wrong from the start.”

In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said:

We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.

Now that abortion policy is in the hands of the states, abortion providers and patients will have to deal with a chaotic legal limbo for months in some places as court challenges and legal maneuvering continues. Abortion is illegal, or soon will be, in up to sixteen states following the gutting of Roe and at risk of being severely limited or prohibited in twenty-six states and three territories in total.

The religious right has been laying the groundwork for this moment for decades. Conservative politicians, strategists, and legal advocacy groups like Alliance Defending Freedom have built a well-organized and well-funded movement to advance conservative family values political priorities, including limiting access to abortion and attacking LGBTQ rights. The right-wing Christian movement criminalizing people seeking and providing abortion care is also banning gender-affirming care and passing “Don’t Say Gay” bills. The fight for reproductive freedom must be connected to the fights for gay and trans liberation.

In their dissent, the three liberal justices warned that, in addition to dismantling federal abortion rights, the top US court was also threatening the future of things like the right to contraception, same-sex relations, and marriage equality. “No one should be confident that this majority is done with its work,” the liberals wrote.

It’s an important moment to note the ties between the antiabortion movement and white supremacist and Christian nationalist groups. Members of the Proud Boys, as well as other antiabortion extremists, have been protesting outside of Planned Parenthood clinics, especially in the Pacific Northwest, since around 2017, and have participated in March for Life demonstrations around the country and showed up to counterprotest pro-abortion Bans Off Our Bodies rallies after the draft opinion was leaked in May. After the announcement of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision on June 24, Proud Boys and other far-right activists on Telegram discussed “how to use Dobbs to ‘make life suck’ for their left-leaning neighbors — including by ‘stalking pregnant women to make sure they follow through’ with their pregnancies, brandishing guns or burning crosses.”

These far-right white supremacists are not just targeting abortion supporters in conservative states. Last month in New York City, a white nationalist Groyper stood in front of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral and shouted at pro-abortion activists, “You have no choice. Not your choice, not your body, your body is mine,” captured in a video that went viral.

Convicted abortion-clinic bomber John Brockhoeft, associated with the violent antiabortion group Army of God, livestreamed himself on January 6 outside of the US Capitol Building; he was one of many antiabortion activists who took part in Donald Trump’s rally or the following insurrection. Erin Matson, executive director of Reproaction, which tracks anti-abortion activists, commented in Vice, “Anti-abortion agitators have been calling and supporting the president’s call to storm Washington for some time. . . . We’ll see more and more overlap between the anti-abortion movement and the white supremacists who tried to overthrow the United States of America.”

A rally of around 20,000 people gathered to oppose the Supreme Court’s anti-abortion ruling on Friday, June 24. (Anne Rumberger)

Randall Terry, founder of the militant antiabortion group Operation Rescue, celebrated the Dobbs ruling outside of the Supreme Court on June 25. The ruling “was a victory, but it’s like D-Day,” Terry said. “Our goal is to get to Berlin. Our mission is to make it illegal to kill a human being from conception until birth in all fifty states.” The Religious right has made it clear that its next move is a federal abortion ban and fetal personhood bills that give more rights to embryos than to pregnant people.

Abortion Is Part of the Fight for Single-Payer Health Care

For political and tactical reasons, the movement for abortion access must become more closely aligned with the fight for universal health care and other reproductive justice priorities like universal childcare, federal payments to parents, guaranteed paid parental leave, and a higher minimum wage. Without more support for working families, our reproductive options will always be circumscribed, and our movement for full bodily autonomy won’t be as broad as it needs to be to win against an entrenched and politically powerful conservative right.

Sixty-one percent of Americans support the legal right to abortion in all or most cases, and 63 percent of Americans say the government has the responsibility to provide health care coverage for all, a demand that’s been enormously popular especially since Bernie Sanders made it a core plank in his 2016 presidential campaign. Passing legislation for single-payer health care, including abortion care, would be the most effective and equitable way to ensure that everyone has access to the full range of reproductive health care options; it would eliminate the financial barriers that currently limit federal funding for abortion and could bypass state abortion bans if the federal government opened abortion clinics on federal lands in red states, as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for at a June 24 New York City rally.

Abortion supporters turned out in huge numbers to voice their dissent following the Dobbs decision. An estimated 20,000 people rallied and marched in New York City, and thousands showed up in cities across the country to express their disapproval with the Supreme Court’s undemocratic decision. The goal for abortion activists is to turn the huge swell of anger into a long-term mobilization for abortion access and a mass feminist movement able to go on the offensive and influence national political priorities.

With this latest blow to bodily autonomy and sexual freedom, younger people most affected by abortion restrictions are becoming increasingly frustrated by Democratic leaders’ unwillingness to codify abortion rights and their cynical moves to exploit the overturning of Roe for fundraising appeals and political gain in the upcoming midterm elections. What’s needed now are not appeals to vote “harder” for an ineffective Democratic Party but more grassroots organizing to support those most in need of care and build our capacity for direct action.

Doctors, providers, and activists will be vulnerable targets in this post-Roe landscape, and the most marginalized people seeking abortion care will continue to be disproportionately criminalized and in need of support. Doctors in Texas have already defied the state’s abortion restrictions and openly challenged the unjust ban by providing abortion care illegally.

Not everyone will be able to take on the legal and financial risks of breaking state laws, but pro-abortion activists have decades of civil disobedience inspiration to draw on that should constitute one of many tactics deployed in the next stage of this struggle. It’s important to remember that many more people will be unwilling participants in civil disobedience as they are forced to illegally (but safely) manage their abortions at home. Feminist activists in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere in Latin America have led the way in developing networks of support and activism around abortion that we can learn from; this melding of direct service provision, mutual aid, and political activism can inspire our sometimes narrowly focused movements.

The fight is just beginning, and if the enraged crowds after the court’s decision are any indication of what’s to come, it’s a fight that we can win.

Anne Rumberger is an activist with NYC for Abortion Rights and NYC Democratic Socialists of America.

Jacobin, June 28, 2022,

Paris Marx: Improving the world is a political project, not a technological one / by James Wilt

Paris Marx is a socialist writer and host of the left wing tech podcast Tech Won’t Save Us. Photo supplied.

Tech Won’t Save Us host and ‘Road to Nowhere’ author on the many problems with Silicon Valley’s visions of the future

Paris Marx ( is one of the leading authorities on all things “tech.” As host of the award-winning Tech Won’t Save Us podcast and author the upcoming Verso book Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation, Marx expertly dissects the countless promises—and far more often, failures—of Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and fads like cryptocurrency and the Metaverse.

Canadian Dimension spoke with Marx, who’s based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, about their new book, some of the core claims made by the tech industry, and how “ultimately, improving the world is a political project, not a technological one.”

Canadian Dimension (CD)You’ve been writing and thinking about these issues for many years, including your essential Radical Urbanist blog and newsletter, your podcast Tech Won’t Save Us, and many articles for different publications. What was the process in forming a central argument and coalescing these critiques and analysis into the book?

Paris Marx (PM): It’s really the product of many years of working on and thinking about these issues. I really started to write about them around 2015. Then I did a master’s degree that was focused on the tech industry and transportation, and what was going on there. That obviously helped me to develop my perspective on it and the theoretical side of the argument.

When I went into actually shaping the book, I had this idea that I wanted to focus on these different proposals that the tech industry had for transportation. But I knew that it had to be more than that. It was really talking about it with my editor, Leo Hollis, that made me realize that it couldn’t just be about what has happened with these ideas over the past 10 years or so. It needed to stretch beyond that to give it that broader perspective, to historicize it, and to actually let us see it in an even more critical light than just looking at those past 10 or 15 years.

That’s where building out the history and looking more broadly at how these ideas—whether it’s electric cars, or ride-hailing services and the history of the taxi industry, or autonomous vehicles which were first proposed in some form around the 1920s—are not novel at all, have been around for a long time, and how looking at that history helps us to see it another way and get out of this mode where we believe that Silicon Valley is doing these things that are totally new and innovative when really it’s just making the same promises that have been made so many times before and not delivered on.

CDWhat is the ideology of tech? How does it differ from a more general concept of technology?

PM: It’s a big question and you can look at it from multiple directions. I think actually knowing the history of the tech industry really helps us to understand how it approaches problems and the ideology that underpins Silicon Valley. It’s really important to look back at that to see that Silicon Valley really comes out of all this public funding that went into the Bay Area around the Second World War and later the Cold War, how it was this really conservative place back then. And then how these ideas of the libertarian counterculture really start to infect it through the late 1960s, 70s, and 80s, and how those libertarian ideas about technology, particularly about how personal technology can empower the individual.

So you have this real individualization and really libertarian ideas around technology, and how this fuses with neoliberalism in the 1980s as Ronald Reagan is pushing it—and Reagan is certainly connected with the tech sector. You have these ideas pushed by people like Steve Jobs that the personal computer is going to empower the individual in the way that the mainframe computer empowered the hierarchical organization.

The idea is that by engaging with these technologies, we’re going to transform the economy and society, when what we see time and time again is that technology serves to further empower these existing power structures and elevate new ones in the place of old ones. Really, we see the same dynamics repeating themselves, even though this narrative is suggesting that’s not what happens.

Then, when we look at that in the present, we need to recognize that the narrative we’re receiving about Silicon Valley does not reflect the real ideology that underpins it with these kind of libertarian ideas of what technology can do and how neoliberalism and this kind of entrepreneurial culture is so baked into the very foundation of the ideology of the tech industry.

I think when we look at the solutions being presented by people in the tech industry, we also need to recognize where these people come from. A lot of these people are from rather well-off backgrounds, a lot of white men who have a particular experience of the world. The way that they see how they can solve these problems is shaped by their experience of the world. You have Travis Kalanick of Uber finding it hard to get a taxi or black cab, so he has a really particular way of seeing the solution to that through Uber. Or Elon Musk, who gets stuck in traffic and all of a sudden wants to build a ton of tunnels under the city and that’s the solution to transportation.

Recognizing that the solutions that we’re being presented for the transportation system are shaped by the type of people who are proposing them. And they think that particular solutions are going to work because of how they perceive the problem with transportation, even if that isn’t actually the problem that most people face when they try to get around.

CDTech journalists obviously get very enthralled with new companies and technologies like Tesla. But in the big picture, many of the companies that will profit most from this transition are the huge established companies in auto manufacturing, road construction, real estate, and resource extraction. What continuities do you see between the last era of mobility and the future era?

PM: It’s so important to recognize. The narrative that we have is that these tech companies are entering into the mobility landscape and “disrupting” what was there before, completely altering it to make it better for people—at least that’s what they would say, even though we can very much see that’s not what happens.

But when we actually dig into their ideas for transportation and seeing what they’re actually doing in the city, you can see that they’re not actually disrupting very much. They’re trying to stick themselves and their technologies in the middle of a bunch of interactions that are already happening.

Verso, 2022

For the most part, there’s not really a fundamental challenge to the dominance of the automobile within the city, particularly here in North America. There’s also not a challenge to the way that our cities are constructed with these sprawling suburbs that have particular impacts on the way that we live. That is not really what they see as what they’re going to change because their idea is that to solve these problems we just need new technologies: we don’t need these larger-scale political solutions or transformations to the way that we live. Rather, we just need to stick a new technology within what already exists and then that this is going to solve these problems around traffic or emissions or equity or anything else.

We can see that’s not accurate but that is the assertion that gets made. The tech companies then serve to relegitimize what already exists, and we see that the auto companies are going to benefit immensely from whatever is happening because the automobile is still central to transportation. If we do have this shift towards electric vehicles, they’re going to sell a whole load of cars—or trucks and SUVs, more accurately—in a short period of time. There are a ton of companies that supply those automobile companies, there’s a ton of companies that rely on the construction of cities for the automobile that will continue to benefit from the existing structure because not a whole lot is changing.

There’s an example that Elon Musk gives when he’s talking about the Boring Company where he basically says you can have this transportation system, you can place it in your community, and your community is not going to change. The implication being that you can have this Boring Company and tunnel but you can still have your suburban auto-oriented landscape and it’s not going to change that.

CDThere’s been a lot of recent efforts by these tech companies to frame themselves as becoming more “progressive” or “responsible.” What do you make of these moves?

PM: The framing is the key piece. How much they’ve actually materially changed is something I would be very suspect of. I think the key is rebranding. If you look at Uber, in particular, they turfed Travis Kalanick and brought in Dara Khosrowshahi. The notion was “we need to change the culture of Uber because it has created all these problems.”

I am sure there have been some internal changes that have happened. But since Khosrowshahi took over, they have still gone to war against the drivers. They have still tried to ensure that they’re not regulated as a taxi company or anything else; they still fought for deregulation. They campaigned hard for Proposition 22 in California to ensure that drivers would be a subclass of workers and not get the same rights and benefits as an employee. In the UK, they have fought and got this court decision that went against them, but then they didn’t actually observe all of the rules that came out in the decision, so drivers have to take them back to court again just to get the original ruling. So I don’t think there’s been a significant change.

I think that’s particularly visible in the past year or so where there has been all this enthusiasm in some corners about Web3, crypto, and the Metaverse. And very much after five years of what people call the “techlash” where there was this more critical approach to technology and it felt like the tech companies had to accept that there might be some changes to their business models or rein things in. Then all of a sudden, there was a new attempt to rearticulate and reassert the values of Silicon Valley, and that was seen in particular with Marc Andreessen—a prominent venture capitalist—writing a blog post not long after the pandemic began saying that it’s “time to build.” The idea being that after these years, Silicon Valley needs to reassert itself and needs to build all these new technologies to transform the world and make its imprint on society.

You saw that language being used by other people in the tech industry to justify what they were trying to do, even though these were really harmful companies. The most prominent one is Mark Zuckerberg, who before his keynote address to introduce the Metaverse recorded a short video. This was just after the revelations from Frances Haugen about all the problems within Facebook and how it knew about all these problems. Zuckerberg basically asserted that there are some people who want to imagine a better future and other people who want to hold us back from that. He was with the “builders” and the people who were trying to “build” that better future. It was very much “I’m not accepting this criticism, I’m trying to change the world and sometimes you mess things up.”

There hasn’t actually been very much that has changed. I think that there’s kind of a renewed boldness, almost, or we have seen that more recently.

CDIn the final chapter, you contrast Silicon Valley’s ideology of tech with Ursula Le Guin’s thoughts or writings on technology. What drew you to Le Guin’s approach and what do you think it offers the left in terms of thinking about alternatives?

PM: I love Ursula Le Guin’s work. I can’t say that I’ve read everything but I’ve read quite a bit of her fiction and non-fiction. I think what’s great about Le Guin is you can read her fiction and she really is able to bring you into these other worlds and use fiction to have you reassess the world that we’re in. The Dispossessed is one that I always go back to, of course, because it contrasts these two different societies against one another, or The Word for World is Forest with these thoughts on imperialism.

But then you look at her non-fiction work that looks at the way that we conceive of history, certainly inspired by her upbringing by two anthropologists. And her writings on technology and science fiction, as well. She just challenges this idea that progress is achieved by developing these major new technologies that require all of this industrial work and that technological development is what drives society forward. She notes that we can think of technology in so many other ways but industry are purposefully narrowed what we think of as “technology” to serve its ideas of what progress and technology should be.

I drew upon her because I thought it was really important after a book digging into and criticizing the ideas of Silicon Valley—for transportation, for the future—her ideas really give you a way to say “just because these people are proposing new technologies, just because they’re saying they’re developing these big new systems, that doesn’t mean that things are going to automatically get better or that we’re going to have a better world as a result.”

Because ultimately, improving the world is a political project, not a technological one. We need to recognize that before we can actually start to make the world a better place. I feel like Le Guin’s work can help us do that.

CDFinally, what’s the main thing you want people to takeaway from the book?

PM: The core idea of the book is really to have people question these ideas that we get from Silicon Valley, and their ideas of what the future should be, what progress looks like, what it actually means to create a better transportation system or city. I think that we need to stop accepting that because a company in Silicon Valley or in the tech industry proposes something, that that’s naturally a positive addition to human society and world.

What we find again and again and again is after taking them at their word and believing the big promises they make initially, they very rarely follow through on those things and often they actually harm a lot of people and cause a lot of negative consequences while benefiting people who are already doing OK in society and don’t need the help. If we think about what, in the context of a transportation system looks better, it really requires a rethinking of how we think about mobility: to be less focused on the individual solution of the automobile and building cities around that, to thinking about the collective solutions that make mobility better for everybody.

That means investments in public transit, certainly. Investments in cycling infrastructure, so people can easily get around without having a car. And ensuring that our communities and neighbourhoods are walkable and accessible and have the services that people need within a reasonable distance of where they’re going to live.

The key to that is also recognizing that it’s not just about changing transportation, because transportation is just one factor in a much larger system of systems. Because if you make these transportation improvements but then they cause housing prices to skyrocket, that’s really not making life better for a lot of people who need it to get better. Better transportation is one piece of a larger framework that ensures that people can actually afford to live in these great neighbourhoods that we’re talking about and can actually see the benefits that come from these investments, rather than just being priced out and pushed out to the areas that don’t have them.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

James Wilt is a freelance journalist and graduate student based in Winnipeg. He is the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars? Public Transit in the Age of Google, Uber, and Elon Musk (Between the Lines Books) and the upcoming Drinking Up the Revolution (Repeater Books). You can follow him on Twitter @james_m_wilt.

Canadian Dimension, June 29, 2022,

Opinion: 140 Million Poor People Are Not A Disease. They Are The Result Of Policy Murder / by Bishop William J. Barber II

Man sleeps on Third Street sidewalk in downtown L.A., 9/19/ 06 | Illus: HuffPost; photo: Brian Vanderburg, L.A. Times via Getty

Originally published in the Huffington Post, June 27, 2022,

The American Rescue Plan lifted 4 million children out of poverty. This legislation didn’t simply make life a little easier for some Americans. It saved lives.

Standing before tens of thousands gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., on June 18, I was led to say these words: “We come here from every corner of this land because there are unnecessarily 140 million poor and low-wealth people in this country.

“These numbers and the interlocking injustices that produce them are not just about debates between the right, left and moderates. They represent a crisis of democracy and a shared failure to center poor and low-wealth people. But there is something else that is even more grotesque: the regressive policies which produce 140 million poor and low wealth people are not benign. They are forms of policy murder.”

As a pastor, some of the hardest sermons I’ve had to preach were at funerals for people who were murdered. I’ve funeralized people murdered by police, and I have eulogized young men who were shot dead in the street over little more than $20. But whenever you stand over the body of someone who has been murdered, you know they died an unnatural death. God did not simply “call them home.” Their life was cut short by someone who decided that they could play God and determine when a life should end. Murder is a sin not only because it takes another human’s life; it is also an act of idolatry.

People attend a rally calling for attention to the living conditions of the low-income people and urging policymakers to do more to support those on the bottom, in Washington, D.C., on June 18 | LIU JIE/XINHUA NEWS AGENCY VIA GETTY IMAGES

While murder has a legal definition and can be prosecuted under state and federal laws, murderers are not the only people who commit the idolatrous act of deciding that someone else’s life doesn’t matter. In fact, far more people are killed every year by policy violence than by murderers in America. According to a study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, nearly 700 people die every day in America from poverty. That’s more than those who die from cancer or heart disease. But unlike these diseases, poverty is largely a political choice. We know that policies like the expanded child tax credit, which was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan, lifted 4 million U.S. children out of poverty in 2021 before it was discontinued in 2022 after the Senate failed to extend it. This legislation didn’t simply make life a little easier for some Americans. It saved lives.

When politicians use the power they have by virtue of being elected to kill legislation that saves lives, what should we call it? Policy violence may not meet the legal definition of murder, but that is more of a statement about the insufficiency of our laws than it is about the seriousness of the legislative negligence. If an individual doctor failed to do something in her power to save the life of a child, she would be charged with malpractice. If an engineer failed to take the necessary measures to ensure that a bridge doesn’t collapse under the weight of traffic, he would be charged with criminal negligence. But when politicians refuse to renew life-saving policies, they are called “moderates.” Something is wrong with our language.

This inability to even name the violence that is causing the most unnecessary death in our society suggests that we are held captive by something we do not understand. In ancient scripture, the prophets spoke out in the public square against such social captivity. They held up a mirror, demanding that the nation must see itself, and offered vivid images to describe the policy violence that was consuming people’s lives.

Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress presidential forum in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 2019. Political activist Bishop William Barber sits at left | SUSAN WALSH VIA AP

“Your politicians are like ravenous wolves,” Ezekiel prophesied in ancient Israel, comparing the policy violence of those who denied poor people their rights to flesh-eating wild animals. Ezekiel gave the people language to name an offense that the criminal code did not recognize. And he did not allow the people to think that politicians alone were responsible for the policy violence that plagued their society. “Your priests are like [the politicians],” he declared, “whitewashing their sins.” Policy violence never happens without the cultural wrapping of religious nationalism to justify legally sanctioned inhumanity. The worst evils in human history have been committed with the blessing of the court prophets, under the fiery cross of the Ku Klux Klan rally, and wrapped in the flag of the religious nationalists who believe they are justified in their cruelty because they are somehow defending God’s good order.

America, too, has had her prophets. After she walked away from the brutality of human bondage, Sojourner Truth heard the spirit’s call to travel across the United States and expose the nation’s sin. Like Ezekiel, she relied on vivid imagery to awaken people from a collective stupor in which owning other human beings was not only seen as acceptable, but was also represented as God’s will. The role of the prophet has always been to expose policy violence, and history has often conspired with the prophets to make it easier for everyone to see and feel how decisions made by the powerful impact all of us.

Over the past two years, poor and low-income people have been two to five times more likely to die from COVID. Together with the United Nations Sustainable Development Network, the Poor People’s Campaign conducted a study earlier this year which found that these extreme disparities cannot simply be explained by vaccination status. They are related to the policy violence against poor and low-wealth people that is endemic in American public life.

Recently, the National Academy of Sciences said that more than 330,000 lives could’ve been saved if we simply had a policy of universal health care for all people when the pandemic hit. This basic commitment, which was first proposed in the United States by a Republican more than a century ago, is not out of reach. Every other wealthy country in the world guarantees health care to its citizens, whether a conservative or liberal government is in power. That we do not is an exception which exposes America’s policy violence. Whatever their stated reasons for doing so, our elected representatives chose to let hundreds of thousands of Americans die. Yet we do not have a name for this particular form of mass slaughter.

Los Angeles, CA – March 10:Los Angeles county sheriff deputies stand by as crews begin removing a homeless encampment in front of the Veterans Administration in Westwood, California, on Nov. 1, 2021. About 50 homeless vets who had been living on the sidewalk in front of the facility were being relocated | MEDIANEWS GROUP VIA MEDIANEWS GROUP VIA GETTY IMAGES

“Words make worlds,” the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said, and the absence of words can likewise prevent us from seeing the world that some people live in. On June 18, tens of thousands of Americans from every state in the union and from every race, creed, and culture marched together on Pennsylvania Avenue with the Poor People’s Campaign to demand that the nation see their reality. For more than five hours, they told stories of losing loved ones to a lack of health care and mass incarceration, losing housing because of low wages and gentrification, and losing communities to ecological devastation and displacement. Standing before Congress for all to see, they issued a collective indictment against America’s policy violence.

In doing so, poor and low-wealth people were able to see clearly that, however powerful those in office may seem, there are actually far more of us who suffer from policy violence than there are people who support it. Even as the Jan. 6 committee in Congress continued to lay out the desperation of Trump’s seven-step plan to overturn the 2020 election when he and others felt they were losing power, the Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly issued its own seven-step plan to build legitimate power between now and the midterms in November.

When we find language to name policy violence and listen to the people who suffer from it, we not only see the world as it is, we can also see our capacity to change it. The greatest violence of all may be the lie that they tell us, in the face of monstrous evil, that we can do nothing — that this is just the way things are. When those who have suffered violence join hands and rise up together to insist that their voices be heard, it is a reminder that none of us have to accept policy violence as a given.

“We made the world we are living in,” James Baldwin said, “and we must make it over again.” The work of all who oppose policy violence is the work of reconstructing American democracy.

William J. Barber II is an American Protestant minister and social activist. He is the president and senior lecturer at Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. He also serves as a member of the national board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and is the chair of its legislative political action committee.

Huffington Post, June 27, 2022,

‘Not a Justification but a Provocation’: Chomsky on the Root Causes of the Russia Ukraine War / by Ramzy Baroud

Photograph Source: Cityswift – CC BY 2.0

One of the reasons that Russian media has been completely blocked in the West, along with the unprecedented control and censorship over the Ukraine war narrative, is the fact that western governments simply do not want their public to know that the world is vastly changing.

Ignorance might be bliss, arguably in some situations, but not in this case. Here, ignorance can be catastrophic as western audiences are denied access to information about a critical situation that is affecting them in profound ways and will most certainly impact the world’s geopolitics for generations to come.

The growing inflation, an imminent global recession, a festering refugee crisis, a deepening food shortage crisis and much more are the kinds of challenges that require open and transparent discussions regarding the situation in Ukraine, the NATO-Russia rivalry and the responsibility of the West in the ongoing war.

To discuss these issues, along with the missing context of the Russia-Ukraine war, we spoke with Professor Noam Chomsky, believed to be the greatest living intellectual of our time.

Chomsky told us that it “should be clear that the (Russian) invasion of Ukraine has no (moral) justification.” He compared it to the US invasion of Iraq, seeing it as an example of “supreme international crime.” With this moral question settled, Chomsky believes that the main ‘background’ of this war, a factor that is missing in mainstream media coverage, is “NATO expansion”.

“This is not just my opinion,” said Chomsky, “it is the opinion of every high-level US official in the diplomatic services who has any familiarity with Russia and Eastern Europe. This goes back to George Kennan and, in the 1990s, Reagan’s ambassador Jack Matlock, including the current director of the CIA; in fact, just everybody who knows anything has been warning Washington that it is reckless and provocative to ignore Russia’s very clear and explicit red lines. That goes way before (Vladimir) Putin, it has nothing to do with him; (Mikhail) Gorbachev, all said the same thing. Ukraine and Georgia cannot join NATO, this is the geostrategic heartland of Russia.”

Though various US administrations acknowledged and, to some extent, respected the Russian red lines, the Bill Clinton Administration did not. According to Chomsky, “George H. W. Bush … made an explicit promise to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand beyond East Germany, perfectly explicit. You can look up the documents. It’s very clear. Bush lived up to it. But when Clinton came along, he started violating it. And he gave reasons. He explained that he had to do it for domestic political reasons. He had to get the Polish vote, the ethnic vote. So, he would let the so-called Visegrad countries into NATO. Russia accepted it, didn’t like it but accepted it.”

“The second George Bush,” Chomsky argued, “just threw the door wide open. In fact, even invited Ukraine to join over, despite the objections of everyone in the top diplomatic service, apart from his own little clique, Cheney, Rumsfeld (among others). But France and Germany vetoed it.”

However, that was hardly the end of the discussion. Ukraine’s NATO membership remained on the agenda because of intense pressures from Washington.

“Starting in 2014, after the Maidan uprising, the United States began openly, not secretly, moving to integrate Ukraine into the NATO military command, sending heavy armaments and joining military exercises, military training and it was not a secret. They boasted about it,” Chomsky said.

What is interesting is that current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “was elected on a peace platform, to implement what was called Minsk Two, some kind of autonomy for the eastern region. He tried to implement it. He was warned by right-wing militias that if he persisted, they’d kill him. Well, he didn’t get any support from the United States. If the United States had supported him, he could have continued, we might have avoided all of this. The United States was committed to the integration of Ukraine within NATO.”

The Joe Biden Administration carried on with the policy of NATO expansion. “Just before the invasion,” said Chomsky, “Biden … produced a joint statement … calling for expanding these efforts of integration. That’s part of what was called an ‘enhanced program’ leading to the mission of NATO. In November, it was moved forward to a charter, signed by the Secretary of State.”

Soon after the war, “the United States Department acknowledged that they had not taken Russian security concerns into consideration in any discussions with Russia. The question of NATO, they would not discuss. Well, all of that is provocation. Not a justification but a provocation and it’s quite interesting that in American discourse, it is almost obligatory to refer to the invasion as the ‘unprovoked invasion of Ukraine’. Look it up on Google, you will find hundreds of thousands of hits.”

Chomsky continued, “Of course, it was provoked. Otherwise, they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as an unprovoked invasion. By now, censorship in the United States has reached such a level beyond anything in my lifetime. Such a level that you are not permitted to read the Russian position. Literally. Americans are not allowed to know what the Russians are saying. Except, selected things. So, if Putin makes a speech to Russians with all kinds of outlandish claims about Peter the Great and so on, then, you see it on the front pages. If the Russians make an offer for a negotiation, you can’t find it. That’s suppressed. You’re not allowed to know what they are saying. I have never seen a level of censorship like this.”

Regarding his views of the possible future scenarios, Chomsky said that “the war will end, either through diplomacy or not. That’s just logic. Well, if diplomacy has a meaning, it means both sides can tolerate it. They don’t like it, but they can tolerate it. They don’t get anything they want, they get something. That’s diplomacy. If you reject diplomacy, you are saying: ‘Let the war go on with all of its horrors, with all the destruction of Ukraine, and let’s let it go on until we get what we want.’”

By ‘we’, Chomsky was referring to Washington, which simply wants to “harm Russia so severely that it will never be able to undertake actions like this again. Well, what does that mean? It’s impossible to achieve. So, it means, let’s continue the war until Ukraine is devastated. That’s US policy.”

Most of this is not obvious to western audiences simply because rational voices are “not allowed to talk” and because “rationality is not permitted. This is a level of hysteria that I have never seen, even during the Second World War, which I am old enough to remember very well.”

While an alternative understanding of the devastating war in Ukraine is disallowed, the West continues to offer no serious answers or achievable goals, leaving Ukraine devastated and the root causes of the problem in place. “That’s US policy”, indeed.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is

Counterpunch, June 28, 2022,

Opinion: Is US dangling another carrot to attack China?: Global Times editorial / by Global Times

US President Joe Biden (left) and French President Emmanuel Macron attend the G7 Summit on June 27, 2022 at Elmau Castle, southern Germany.Photo: AFP

A corner of US’ “toughest playbook on how to tackle China” was unveiled. During the G7 summit on Sunday, US President Joe Biden said: “Collectively, we aim to mobilize nearly $600 billion from the G7 by 2027.” He did not name China but US and Western media made no attempt to disguise that it is to “confront” or “compete” with China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

The first impression this ambitious plan has left on people is that the US dangled a carrot in front of the world again. The US “claimed” to contribute $200 billion out of the $600 billion goal and the rest will be shared by the other six countries. Not mentioning the other countries, it is simply impossible for the US to take out $200 billion. This is not looking down upon the US. US’ own behavior has left such a deep impression on the outside world.

At the G7 summit held in the UK last June, the US also painted a rosy picture with the nice name of Build Back Better World (B3W). It claimed to be aimed at narrowing the $40 trillion in infrastructure investment needed by developing countries, but was in fact designed to “compete with the BRI.” Over the past year, the US has invested a merely $6 million in global infrastructure construction, far from Biden’s plan. Today, how can people believe that the US will bring forward $200 billion?

In fact, this routine by the US has been long seen through. Washington is not interested in the construction of global infrastructure. Besides, the US still has too much debt to pay for its own infrastructure. According to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers issued last year, the US faces a $2.59 trillion shortfall in infrastructure needs. In this context, the purpose of the US is to sabotage the China-proposed BRI and the carrot it is dangling is in fact used by Washington to attack China.

The key of the US’ attack is slandering the BRI for creating “debt traps.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian issued a strong response on Monday. Zhao quoted the World Bank as saying that if all BRI transport infrastructure projects are carried out, by 2030, the BRI will generate $1.6 trillion of revenues for the world, or 1.3 percent of global GDP. And up to 90 percent of the revenues will be shared by partner countries, and low-income and mid-to-low-income economies are expected to benefit the most. 

Between 2015 and 2030, 7.6 million people will therefore be lifted out of extreme poverty and 32 million people out of moderate poverty. In fact, none of the BRI partners has endorsed the narrative that “the BRI creates debt traps.”

A recent article by Foreign Affairs magazine on the B3W initiative argued that the most serious flaw of the initiative is that it seems to be existing based on Washington’s condemnation against China. In recent years, the US has “followed” China to the places that have benefited from China’s development. In various versions of Washington’s “solutions,” what is visible is the so-called democracy, real confrontation and a demonized China, but the demands of the targeted developing countries and the local people are invisible to the US.

As a matter of fact, there has been great room for the US, the superpower of the world, to improve its infrastructure, let alone the whole world. According to a previous G20 report, the world is facing a $15 trillion infrastructure gap by 2040. There has been an incomparably broad space for the development of infrastructure as a major tool for promoting the overall progress of mankind. Nobody will think there has been enough investment in it. If the US was not so narrow-minded, there might be a possibility and a need for the US to cooperate with China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, or at least approach it in a benign way.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said that Europe will mobilize 300 billion euros ($317.28 billion) to finance developing countries to build up a sustainable alternative to BRI. The remarks have been criticized by many netizens from developing countries. Some of their questions include: Why did Von der Leyen say “alternative” instead of “supplement” to Chinese funds? Does she mean that developing countries must take sides between the West and China? But why does international cooperation involve “taking sides”? 

Very few developing countries like the game of camp confrontation. More importantly, everyone knows that the dangling carrot cannot fill a belly.

Global Times, June 28, 2022,

Progressives march in Bavaria, Germany, denouncing 48th G7 summit / by People’s Dispatch

Protest against the G7 meeting at Garmisch-Partenkirchen on June 26. (Photo: via Junge Welt)

The three-day summit of the Group-7 (G7) countries is being held from June 26-28 in Krunvin the Bavarian Alps with around 20,000 security personnel present in the region

Various groups ranging from anti-imperialists to climate justice activists protested in various parts of the German State of Bavaria against the ongoing 48th G7 summit which started on Sunday, June 26, at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps. At least 6,000 people participated in a major demonstration called by environmental groups, developmental and social associations, NGOs, and others in Munich’s Theresienwiese on Sunday in the run-up to the G7 summit.

The police acted against the protest march which included communists, trade unionists and cadres from the German Communist Party (DKP), Socialist German Workers Youth (SDAJ), Kommunistischer Aufbau (KA), Association Perspektive Kommunismus, MLPD, as well as the Communist Parties of Greece and Turkey. Kurdish youth groups, Die Linke (The Left) and Left Youth also participated in the protest march. They denounced the exploitative, neo-colonial and war mongering policies of the G7 and resolved to continue the fight against such policies. Progressive sections in Germany and abroad denounced the police attack on the protesters in Munich. Thousands of people also marched on Sunday in Garmisch-Partenkirchen against the summit.

The spokesperson of the anti-capitalist bloc told Junge Welt (JW) that “despite drastic police harassment and numerous preliminary checks, it had already been possible to carry out a militant and successful demonstration near the summit.”

The three-day summit of the Group-7 (G7) countries is being held from June 26-28 in Krun town in the Bavarian Alps under tight security with around 20,000 security personnel present in the region. Leaders from the G7 club of advanced economies, the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan, along with representatives from the EU, IMF, WTO, and others, and several other countries including India and Ukraine are taking part in the summit. The West’s sanctions against Russia and support for Kiev through weapons supply in the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war are the dominant topics at the current G7 summit, but the agenda also includes the fight against the climate crisis and the threat of famine in parts of Africa.

Franz Haslbeck from the Munich Alliance against War and Racism told Unsere Zeit (UZ) that “the heads of state and government of the G-7 group want to find solutions to the problems that are being circulated by the media, especially the Ukraine crisis and the climate crisis. To be honest, however, solutions are not to be expected, but rather an exacerbation of these crises. Whether arms deliveries to the war zone or other symbolic policies for climate protection: Since the range of their toolbox only moves within the capitalist principles, only placebos or superficialities are to be expected. This is particularly hypocritical when we are aware that these problems and crises, together with their systemic roots, must be addressed if anything is to change for the better.”

Janine Wissler from Die Linke stated that “the hunger crisis is ramping up worldwide. Every ten seconds, a child under the age of five dies of hunger. However, a ban on food speculation, which further alleviates global hunger, is not expected at the upcoming G7 Summit in Elmau.”

The Socialist German Workers Youth (SDAJ) accused that “the G7 states represent the banks and corporations of the Western industrialized nations. They want to bypass talks at the UN level to enforce their Western capital interests on the backs of dependent countries as well as wage dependent classes in the imperialist centers.”

“Instead of the promised climate protection, plundering is carried out in nature. Instead of global justice, sanctions are being imposed that harm the world’s population by driving up energy prices and thus food prices,” added the SDAJ.

People’s Dispatch, June 27, 2022,

Communist Party condemns Roe reversal: ‘All out to defend abortion rights’ / by Special to the People’s World

Members of the Communist Party USA and Young Communist League protest in New York City on Friday, June 24, 2022, immediately following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. | Courtesy of CPUSA

The following statement was released by the Communist Party USA on June 24, 2022.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a horrific setback for women their partners, their families, and society overall. As expected, the Court overturned Roe v. Wade, making abortion rights susceptible to the whims of extreme-right state legislators.

A woman may not get an abortion in Texas, but a resident of New York can. Just as where you live determines whether you can vote with ease, breathe fresh air, access Medicaid, or have your children attend a well-funded school, the same is now true regarding abortion rights.

Human rights in this country have never been universal, and the Dobbs decision highlights this fact even further.

The Supreme Court decision surely ranks high among the worst, anti-human decisions in its history, such as the Dred Scott decision of 1857 or Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896. The first decision, made by a Supreme Court dominated by slaveholders, eliminated all restrictions on slavery in the Republic. Adding insult to injury, the Court stated that the Constitution’s authors never intended any Black person to have citizenship rights. Plessy held that racial segregation was constitutional, enshrined in the “separate but equal” doctrine. We all know how the “equal” part went.

Like the 19th-century justices, today’s right-wing Supreme Court has determined that certain people, in this case women and trans men, are even less equal than they were before the Court ruled on June 24.

What will be the impact of the ruling? The Southern Poverty Law Center writes that it will:

“have serious, long-term consequences for women and others. This terrible ruling also endangers other fundamental rights, putting many other communities at risk. The constitutional rights in jeopardy include the right to contraception and equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. . . . The decision is particularly harmful for those people living in poverty because they lack the resources to travel to a state where abortion is legal or pay for necessary medical procedures.”

Members of the Communist Party USA and Young Communist League protest in New York City on Friday, June 24, 2022, immediately following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. | Courtesy of CPUSA

We must fight back to prevent this from becoming reality.

Today, we mourn this horrific setback. Tomorrow and beyond, we organize. Everywhere—in our communities, unions, schools, places of worship, and workplaces. We must help build a backlash against the right, one in the same spirit as the women who rebelled after Trump’s election and helped take the House of Representatives away from the GOP in 2018; the millions who marched for Black Lives after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others; and the teachers, auto workers, and nurses who went on strike these past four years.

As big as these movements were, the current situation demands a much larger movement, one that’s more inclusive, broader, more militant. Civil disobedience is in order. By inclusive we mean the involvement of a wide range of society, genders, classes, and ethnic backgrounds.

We also mean inclusiveness in terms of tactics. Some may only be willing to make phone calls to their elected officials. Some may want to work in the electoral arena to vote out anti-abortion politicians. Others may demonstrate and engage in civil disobedience and risk arrest. All tactics are on the table. We must engage with people who have never carried a picket sign or called their members of Congress.

This is the kind of unity needed to turn the Court’s decision into a temporary setback. The Communist Party USA is committed to helping build unity to restore women’s right to an abortion.

Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.

Supreme Court kills abortion rights, sets target on marriage equality, contraception, more / by John Wojcik and C.J. Atkins

A tear rolls down an abortion rights activist’s cheek as they speak outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022.

As expected, the Supreme Court of the United States has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion across the nation nearly 50 years ago. The decision was already revealed in an unprecedented leak reported by Politico in early May, but now the nation has the final version of the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated among the other justices in February.

The ruling marks the first time in U.S. history that a constitutionally-guaranteed right has ever been removed by the Court. But the extremists on the Court do not appear content with just killing abortion rights. Justice Clarence Thomas, a signatory to the decision, called for the Supreme Court to overturn other past rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex, and the use of contraceptives.

The destruction of Roe is having immediate impact. In the state of West Virginia Friday morning, the last clinic in the state providing abortion services closed its doors. The sole clinic in Mississippi continued to provide services but was expected to stop at any time as right-wing protesters gathered outside. In Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood issued an order to stop abortion services at both of its clinics. Similar scenes are playing out across the country.

The scene outside the Supreme Court, Friday, June 24, 2022. | Jacquelyn Martin / AP

The decision strikes down both Roe v. Wade, the Court’s 1973 ruling that enshrined the constitutional right to an abortion, and a decision in 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that essentially upheld that right.

Alito wrote: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have inflamed divisions in the country.”

Joining him in tossing Roe were Thomas and Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. The latter three justices were appointed by former President Donald Trump. Thomas first voted to overrule Roe 30 years ago.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan—the last remaining Democratic appointees on the Court—dissented.

“With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent,” they wrote, warning that right-wing abortion opponents would now try to impose a nationwide ban “from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest.”

Though he did not sign their dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the liberal wing.

Protected by Roe no more

At least half the states in the country are expected to quickly make abortion completely illegal, with poor and working-class women and women of color in Republican-governed states having their rights stripped away first.

Abortion rights advocates say this will result in desperate people traveling to get abortions in states where the procedure remains legal, such as Illinois or New York. Some 13 states have “trigger laws” on the books which outlawed abortion the minute Roe was officially overturned.

In those places, the ruling marks a return to the time before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was a crime everywhere.

As late as the early 1970s, for example, police departments and governments around the U.S. were conducting crackdowns on what they called the illegal “abortion industry.” Almost totally forgotten these days are the vicious attacks against women in government-led terroristic campaigns.

The story of one such campaign, in Chicago, gained wide circulation again following the Politico leak. In the early ’70s, police came crashing down on “Call Jane,” a feminist collective of young women who, since 1965, had provided safe but then illegal abortions to roughly 3,000 Chicagoans per year. The collective, led by the famed civil rights and human rights activist Heather Booth, was raided after two Catholic women told police their sister-in-law planned to have an abortion provided by the group.

A homicide detective assigned to the case traced “Jane” to the South Shore neighborhood. There, police raided an apartment, arrested nearly 50 people for questioning, and tore three women who were actively undergoing abortion treatment away from their procedure and hauled them off to the hospital.

Members of the Jane Collective, arrested by Chicago Police. | Chicago Police Department

Seven women were charged with 11 counts of performing an abortion and conspiracy to commit abortion. They would soon be known in Chicago’s newspapers as the “Abortion Seven.” Members of Call Jane protected the women they served and prevented many of them from being arrested by eating the index cards that bore the details of the patients’ information.

There were similar cases across the country where working-class women went to incredible and dangerous lengths to access abortion or to protect those who needed them.

A woman working for the Parks Department in Brooklyn found a woman who performed her own abortion bleeding and dying in a ravine in Prospect Park. She was able to get the woman to the emergency room at a nearby hospital where her life was saved.

In 1973, the Abortion Seven had to be released by prosecutors when the Supreme Court issued Roe v. Wade. With the decision, the Court affirmed that access to safe and legal abortion was a constitutional right. It said that states could not ban abortion before 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

The nightmare of state harassment suffered by women in Chicago in the early 1970s may pale in comparison, however, to the level of surveillance and repression that will be deployed against women, non-binary people, and trans men seeking reproductive services in those parts of America where abortion is again illegal.

The data produced by cell phones, internet browsers, search engines, and social media could be used to prosecute those who seek abortions, and the heaviest crackdowns would undoubtedly descend on poor women and women of color.

Many people in the states where abortion is now illegal are unlikely to make, nor can they afford, the long, expensive, and health-endangering journeys that will be required. The poor, the young, and people of color will more likely be forced to turn to illegal methods, creating another racist feature in the already racist criminal justice system.

Now, stunned women’s rights activists fear prosecutions like that of the “Call Jane” collective will become business as usual.

Women as criminals

A national organization for defense attorneys has published a report that lays out a future in which the U.S. could undertake “rampant criminalization” and “mass incarceration on an unprecedented scale” in the name of “defense of the unborn.”

“States are laying the groundwork now, and have been laying the groundwork for criminal penalties that are completely different,” than the pre-Roe era, says Lindsay A. Lewis, a New York criminal defense attorney who co-authored a report on abortion for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL).

Abortion rights advocates marched in the 1970s. |

“They are so much more advanced and so much harsher than what existed before Roe was enacted.” State legislatures have spent recent decades “modifying their criminal codes” in ways that “completely change the calculus when it comes to what it would mean to go back to pre-Roe times,” according to Lewis.

Lawyers warn that the states where the procedure is illegal are laying the groundwork to go after even those women who travel to other states where it is legal in order to get abortions denied in their home states.

Criminal charges could come from specific abortion laws, but also from criminal codes that penalize “attempted crimes, conspiracies, and accomplices to crime, all relics of laws developed during the U.S.’ so-called ‘war on drugs.’ Those laws could subject a wide range of individuals to criminal penalties if Roe is overturned”, the NACDL report says.

They would include prosecuting people from states where the procedure is illegal who attempt to seek abortions in states where it remains legal.

For example, Louisiana law defines an “accomplice” to a crime as “anyone involved in its commission, even tangentially, whether present or absent if they aid, abet, or even counsel someone.” Lawyers say this could be used against a wide range of spouses, partners, friends, loved ones, or counselors, such as clergy or abortion fund networks, which help direct people or help transport them to clinics in places where abortion is still legal.

Turning dissent into action

The Court’s decision opens the way for a future Republican Congress and president to ban abortion entirely across the whole country. In the immediate weeks and months ahead, the decision is expected to set off an avalanche of legal challenges as the fight over abortion moves to state capitals and as Roe becomes a central issue in the November midterm elections.

President Joe Biden addressed the nation after the ruling was made official, calling Friday “a sad day for the Court and the country.” With Roe gone, he said, “the health and life of women across this nation are now at risk.”

The reaction from abortion rights, women’s equality, and other movement leaders was more stinging.

“The hands of time have once again been turned back,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty. “In the midst of a Black maternal mortality crisis, restricting access to abortion will disproportionately endanger the lives of Black Americans,” Beatty declared. “Let me be very clear: Government-mandated pregnancy is not pro-life, it is pro-policing of women’s bodies.”

In a statement sent to People’s World, Working Families Party spokesperson Nelini Stamp said: “Make no mistake, white Christian nationalists have been working towards this moment for 50 years. They have exploited the most anti-democratic features of our political system, from the courts to the Electoral College to the United States Senate. They have engaged in outrageous power grabs, bulldozed basic norms, and can’t be bothered to justify their hypocrisy. They know their views are unpopular, so they rig our democracy to enshrine minority rule, trampling our rights.”

Members of the Communist Party USA march for reproductive rights. | via CPUSA

Opinion surveys show a majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe and handing the question of whether to permit abortion entirely to the states. Polls conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and others also have consistently shown that only about 1 in 10 Americans want abortion to be illegal in all cases. A majority are in favor of abortion being legal in all or most circumstances.

Laura Dewey, a leader of the Communist Party USA’s Michigan district, pointed to the 2022 elections as a frontline in the battle to stop the anti-abortion assault. She said, “We must help build the biggest backlash against the far right, one far larger than the right-wing backlash against Obama’s election, one comparable to the women’s uprising after Trump’s election. We need to be in the streets in the coming months and at the polling booths in November.”

She said that “a strike by women and trans men should be considered.”

Dewey called the decision “fascistic” in nature and connected it to other aspects of extremist Republican policy. “Along with the police violence against and the mass incarceration of Black and brown people and the wave of anti-voting laws, the reversal of Roe v. Wade signals the right’s determination to control and suppress human beings. It may very well be a sign of fascism to come unless we the people halt this frightening trend.”

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People’s World. John Wojcik es editor en jefe de People’s World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and ’80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper’s predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

C.J. Atkins is the managing editor at People’s World. C.J. Atkins es el editor gerente de People’s World. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from York University in Toronto and has a research and teaching background in political economy and the politics and ideas of the American left. In addition to his work at People’s World, C.J. currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director of ProudPolitics.

People’s World, June 26, 2022,