Incoming House Republican rulers plan barrage of anti-worker laws, sham probes / by Mark Gruenberg

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a UNITE union protest outside the Senate office buildings in support of Senate cafeteria workers employed by Restaurant Associates on July 20, 2022. With anti-labor Republicans now set to take over a key House committee, Sanders will have to act as the Senate firewall against their efforts. | Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via AP

WASHINGTON—The “anti-PRO Act.” Slow-walking union recognition elections. No card check. Comp time instead of overtime. Convoluted requirements bosses can impose on workers seeking paid family and medical leave. And partisan investigations, especially of Biden-named NLRB members Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty, coming out of our ears.

Welcome to the forecast, leaked from the self-proclaimed leading “union avoidance” law firm, a.k.a. union-buster, Littler Mendelson, plus other sources, of what the House Republican-run Education and Labor—whoops, Education and the Workforce—Committee will try to impose on workers and their allies in the upcoming 118th Congress.

There is one saving factor against this right-wing corporate-backed war against unions and workers. Senate control stays in Democratic hands, which means the nasty schemes the House panel dreams up will likely find a graveyard over on the other side of Capitol Hill.

And Sen. Bernie Sanders will probably be running that cemetery for the Republican brainstorms.

The Vermont independent, workers’ most-longtime and reliable ally in Congress, is in line to become the new chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, succeeding Washington State Democrat Patty Murray. It handles all labor legislation.

That’s because Murray, who now chairs the HELP Committee and the Senate Appropriations subcommittee which helps actually dole out Labor Department and other education and labor-oriented money, is slated to chair the full Appropriations Committee, which deals with all discretionary federal spending, defense and domestic.

Once the Republicans eliminate “labor” from the House panel’s name, again, who will send Sanders the bills to bury is up in the air. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., ran the committee the last time her party controlled the House. She wants to do so again. Foxx is so anti-union she once, to North Carolina media, questioned whether unions should legally be allowed to exist.

But Foxx has reached her party’s limit of six years in such top jobs, and needs a waiver to reclaim it. If there’s no waiver, the chief contender is Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind. In voting records, there’s no difference between Foxx (AFL-CIO 2021 score zero, lifetime 6%) and Banks (2021 zero, lifetime 5%).

That still leaves the question of what the ruling Republicans on the extremely partisan panel will try to push through, which is where the Littler Mendelson leak comes in.

The top measure they listed will be what could be called the anti-PRO Act. Think of anything workers and their allies proposed in the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which the House passed twice but which fell victim to Senate Republican filibuster threats.

Then, in his so-called Employee Rights Act, Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., flips those ideas around. Even Littler Mendelson chortlingly calls Allen’s bill “the antithesis of the PRO Act.”

“Among other things, it would add increased protection for secret ballot elections and extend such protections to workers deciding whether a union will go on strike,” the union-buster’s analysts write. It also includes a provision banning salting.

Allen’s measure would “require union recertification elections when union membership drops below 50%”—a scheme the Iowa legislature imposed on workers several years ago. It backfired there: AFSCME and the Teamsters won more than 90% of the recertification votes.

Allen would also “protect employee privacy,” corporate-speak for another boss idea: Banning firms from giving any contact information about workers to the union that qualifies for a recognition election. He also legalizes so-called “merit pay” and exempts Native American tribes, and their enterprises, from federal labor law.

And his legislation would “provide protection from political spending by requiring workers to ‘opt in’ to have any portion of their paycheck used by unions to support political candidates or parties.” Never mind that workers’ political contributions are voluntary, unlike those of middle managers. CEOs coerce them to support anti-worker politicians—or else.

Last but not least, Allen would “codify the traditional joint employer ‘direct, immediate control’” standard. That Republican rule leaves workers, especially franchise workers—think McDonald’s—caught trying to figure out who to bargain with, and who actually broke labor law: Their immediate boss or the corporate headquarters.

“It’s time to protect…the union election process from being abused by union bosses. It also provides all employees, independent contractors, and new gig economy workers the necessary protections so they can focus solely on their jobs,” says Allen.

The anti-PRO Act isn’t the only piece of anti-worker legislation pending on the Republican agenda, the union-buster firm says. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., would legalize—and extend nationally—a Republican Trump regime pilot project “which allows employers to self-report federal minimum wage and overtime violations as an alternative to litigation. Employers may apply to the program by submitting information from a self-audit that includes calculations of any unpaid minimum or overtime wages.”

The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division would have to verify the bosses’ figures. If it OKs the deal, DOL would “supervise a settlement with affected employees that provides payment of any unpaid wages.” And workers who agree to the settlement couldn’t sue later if the figures were proved wrong.

But with the Republican-run House committee passing anti-worker and anti-union bills and Sanders burying them—opposite of what occurred in this Congress—labor and the Biden administration will turn to regulations to help workers. Even Littler Mendelson recognized that.

So did the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department in its recent board meeting. Its first-look agenda in 2023 has a heavy emphasis on federal rules.

“The Biden administration is delivering on its promise to invest in infrastructure, create good middle-

class jobs, and put workers first,” said TTD President Greg Regan. “Our federation will continue to work with this administration and the new Congress to advance policies that improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for the dedicated workers who build, operate, and maintain our critical transportation and infrastructure systems.”

The federation’s workers-first agenda includes federal regulatory reforms to:

  • “Prevent recipients of federal passenger rail grants from displacing workers.
  • “Fully restore rail workers’ sickness and unemployment insurance benefits.
  • “Attach ‘Made in America’ requirements to all federal infrastructure grants.” That’s in addition to provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act requiring Davis-Bacon wages and Project Labor Agreements on such grants.
  • “Address ongoing air traffic control and technical operations staffing challenges.
  • “Reform the joint venture approval process for airlines.” Doing so would prevent “joint venture” arrangements, such as codesharing, which both hurt passengers financially and cost U.S. workers jobs.
  • “Establish a domestic prevailing wage for maritime workers on offshore wind projects.” That’s already in place in the first project, negotiated between a Danish firm and the Biden administration’s Commerce Department. It’s supposed to be a model for others.

The union leaders also want DOL to prevent U.S. airlines from further abusing visa worker programs to hire non-U.S. pilots, they told Biden Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, a Laborers Union member, who met with them.

“As the United States undergoes the largest-ever federal investment in transportation and infrastructure workers, these reforms will strengthen domestic manufacturing, alleviate systemic staffing issues that affect commercial flights, and establish a living wage for maritime workers on offshore wind projects as clean energy opportunities expand. These reforms will also protect wages and benefits for aviation and rail workers and ensure that the federal government has no role in outsourcing U.S. jobs or displacing U.S. workers,” TTD stated.

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People’s World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but a holy terror when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.El galardonado periodista Mark Gruenberg es el director de la oficina de People’s World en Washington, D.C. También es editor del servicio de noticias sindicales Press Associates Inc. (PAI).

People’s World, November 22, 2022,

‘People are closer together than we’re told’: Progressive newcomer on campaigning in rural Maine / by Dan Neumann

House District 81 Democratic candidate Daniel Sipe. | From Sipe’s Facebook page

Origninally published in the Beacon on November 24, 2022

Political newcomer Daniel Sipe came within 392 votes of unseating a conservative stalwart in a rural district in western Maine. He did it by talking to residents about their most immediate concerns: jobs, healthcare, housing, energy costs and the environment. 

“I really think that people are closer together on how they want the country to move forward than we are told by the media,” said Sipe, a resident of Norway and a first-time political candidate. 

Sipe, a Democrat, lost to incumbent Republican Rep. Sawin Millett by nine percentage points in House District 81, which includes Norway, Waterford, Greenwood and Stoneham. Millett, who has been in the legislature off and on since 1969 and served in the administrations of four governors, is an influential member of the legislature’s powerful budget-making committee.

Sipe was able to keep the race relatively close, considering his opponent’s name recognition and the perception that his district leans conservative. However, after knocking on over a thousand doors and having countless conversations, he’s begun to question that characterization. 

Sipe found that while voters may consume different media and identify with different candidates or parties, if he kept the conversation on the issues that impact them most, there is a surprising degree of commonality. 

“The first thing is meeting people where they’re at and listening to the problems they face,” Sipe said. “When you get them talking, you see that people want good jobs and they want their neighbors to have good jobs. They don’t want to be saddled with medical debt. And they don’t want their neighbors to be saddled with medical debt either.”

Democratic candidate Daniel Sipe talks with a resident at a food co-op in Norway last summer. | From Sipe’s Facebook page.

People want real solutions, not tweaks

Sipe entered Maine politics as a canvasser with the Maine People’s Alliance (of which Beacon is a project), working on referendum campaigns to increase the minimum wage, expand Medicaid eligibility and increase funding for public education through taxes on the wealthy. He moved to Norway in 2020 when he co-founded a non-profit consulting company where he works closely with local artists and craftspeople in the community. 

He said the issue that voters in his district were most concerned about this election season is the lack of good-paying jobs in the community. The biggest employers in the district are the school system, Stephens Memorial Hospital, and the New Balance shoe factory in Norway. There are no chain stores in the entire district.

“People feel forgotten about out here in western Maine,” Sipe said. “We have massive infrastructure problems. Our roads are quite bad. A lot of folks don’t have access to good internet. No one is going to move their business here if we don’t have good roads and internet.”

People are also worried about the high cost of goods and energy, he said. The price for a gallon of heating oil has hit a record high. Electricity bills for many customers of Central Maine Power and Versant will increase by as much as 49% at the beginning of next year. This follows rate hikes made earlier this year with more likely to come next summer. 

“It’s scary to think about the winter that’s coming,” Sipe said. “I think that it’s one of those things as a state legislator, unfortunately, there’s not much that we can do about high prices, but we can work to provide heating assistance to low-income families.”

On a complex issue like healthcare, Sipe found that rural voters are not afraid of confronting difficult and persistence problems at their root.

“People talk about getting rid of insurance companies and providing healthcare for everyone. That is not as radical an idea as it seems,” he said.

While Maine’s larger towns and cities often get the headlines, Sipe said the housing crisis hits all corners of the state. Across Maine, rents are soaring. Home prices have climbed dramatically in many areas. Average long-term mortgage interest rates have risen above 7% for the first time in decades. As a result, people are taking on more debt to buy a house. 

Residents want the state to take urgent action, Sipe said.

“People feel that housing is a huge problem here. It’s a huge problem everywhere,” he said. “We need to invest at the state level in housing.”

And, as Europe had its most severe drought in 500 years last summer, residents in western Maine were also concerned about the lack of rain. It was the third consecutive year that large parts of the state experienced drought. 

“People have started experiencing drought that they’d never experienced before. People’s wells are running dry,” Sipe said. 

He added, “They’re worried about large corporations taking advantage of our landscape. They’re worried about CMP, for instance, not just the rising electricity costs, but the fact that they are not really going to benefit from a corridor that is just owned by an out-of-country corporation,” referring to CMP and Hydro-Quebec’s 145-mile transmission corridor that was rejected by voters in 2021.

Hitting the right target

There has been some debate in Maine politics about what Democrats need to do to win in rural districts. Rifts in the party emerged after former Democratic legislator Chloe Maxmin of Nobleboro co-authored a book, “Dirt Road Revival,” claiming that the party has lost touch with rural voters. 

Despite losing his race on Nov. 8, Sipe believes that Democrats can steadily win voters in rural districts if they consistently prove themselves to be loyal to working-class Mainers. That has not always been the case, he said, and that failing has given Republicans an opening to present themselves as the party of “family values and workers.”

“I think Democrats need to stop kowtowing to large corporations and go to work for the people that live here. We need to focus on the things that make people’s lives a little bit easier,” he said.

Sipe said progressive policy arguments will win, even in rural areas, if the correct sources of problems are consistently articulated to voters. Otherwise, right-wing narratives and scapegoating will win the day. 

“Oftentimes people focus on who they see as taking advantage of the system. But I think when you have a real conversation about who’s taking advantage of the system, you can change their lens,” he said. “It’s not your neighbor who might be getting assistance to pay for food or who has a disability and can’t work who is the source of the problem. It’s the corporation that is not paying any taxes and is raising the cost of goods and making it really hard to survive.” 

Sipe continued, “We need to be constantly pivoting away from blaming the folks who have it hard and putting the focus on the folks that are taking advantage of us. I think most people instinctively know what the actual problem is. It’s just not always what they go to first.”

Dan Neumann studied journalism at Colorado State University before beginning his career as a community newspaper reporter in Denver. He reported on the Global North’s interventions in Africa, including documentaries on climate change, international asylum policy and U.S. militarization on the continent before returning to his home state of Illinois to teach community journalism on Chicago’s West Side. He now lives in Portland. Dan can be reached at

On Black Friday, workers of the world unite…against Amazon / by Mark Gruenberg

Garment workers in Bangladesh join the ‘Make Amazon Pay’ protests on Black Friday 2020. | @NazmaAkter73 for Sommilito Garment Sramik Federation / via IndustriALL

WASHINGTON (PAI)—For at least the third year in a row, workers worldwide will mark “Black Friday,” this year on Nov. 25, with mass protests, this time against one of the most exploitative companies on the planet, Amazon.

Entitled the “Make Amazon Pay Day of Action,” demonstrations are scheduled in at least 32 countries by at least 80 unions against the monstrous corporate giant and its mistreatment of its workers.

“Amazon is squeezing every last drop it can from workers, communities, and the planet,” declares Our Revolution, the activist group of Bernie Sanders backers that is one of several dozen organizations, including international union coalitions, seeking participants in the protests.

“We are workers and citizens divided by geography and our role in the global economy, but we’re united to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes, and for its impact on the planet.”

They have good cause.

Amazon, owned by one of the world’s richest people, Jeff Bezos—even if he isn’t CEO anymore—has profited hugely and especially off the suffering the coronavirus pandemic inflicted on the entire globe. Its profits since the modern-day plague began skyrocketed to $470 billion in 2021, and in its latest report, $121.6 billion in the second quarter—April-June—of this year.

All this while raking in a 55-billion Euro profit in the same quarter, and receiving a one-billion Euro tax rebate, another progressive group reports. And all this while spending millions of dollars on union busters to stop organizing drives by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and the independent grass-roots Amazon Labor Union in the U.S. alone.

“Instead of sharing its wealth with its workers, it squeezes them with real-terms pay cuts and doubles down on union busting and dangerous working conditions,” workers and analysts say on a two-minute video posted at #MakeAmazonPay. “Even as the cost of housing is going up, and food, and gas, they thought it would be a good idea to lower our pay.

“Amazon is squeezing our planet. It emits more CO2 than three-quarters of the world’s countries. Amazon’s CO2 emissions have grown by 18% in 2021 compared to the year before,” speakers add.

“What Amazon does matters to us all. Its bad practices drive down standards everywhere. That’s why workers and citizens all over the world are fighting back to make Amazon pay…Amazon can afford to pay, but only if we make it.”

Sponsoring federations include the International Trades Union Congress, IndustriALL, and federations for education workers, building trades workers, public service workers, transport workers, and agricultural, clothing, and retail workers. Other sponsors include Our Revolution, Public Citizen, and the Sunrise Coalition.

To find a protest in your area, check out the map here.

 Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People’s World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but a holy terror when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.El galardonado periodista Mark Gruenberg es el director de la oficina de People’s World en Washington, D.C. También es editor del servicio de noticias sindicales Press Associates Inc. (PAI).

People’s World, November 22, 2022,

Review: Being Aware is First Step to Resisting US Militarization / by W.T. Whitney Jr.

Photograph Source: Jason Eppink – CC BY 2.0

The military draft in the United States has disappeared. There’s no major U.S. war and military affairs rate little attention in the media. The U.S. public embraces the pervasive influence of the military-industrial complex across U.S. society. The U.S. Congress seems never to hold back on wildly exorbitant military spending.

Travelers entering North Carolina on Interstate 95 almost immediately see a sign proclaiming “Nation’s most military friendly state” – a sign paid for, in part, by the N.C. Bankers Association.  In high schools, military recruiters “insinuate themselves into school life at every level.” Loudspeakers at sports events sound out tributes to veterans and active-duty troops. The latter may receive free tickets to performances, preferential parking, and discounts on merchandise.

Unveiling of the new “Welcome to North Carolina” sign for interstate highways in the state – Fayetteville Observer

Clarity Press, 2023

Author Joan Roelofs has written a new and much needed book that explains much about praise and support for the U.S. military. The Trillion Dollar Silencer, provides atravelogue of sorts through the U.S. military-industrial complex. It moves from the military establishment and big corporations to colleges, universities, NGOs, philanthropies, foundations research institutes, and other kinds of defense contractors.

Her thesis is that dependency on the part of civilian institutions involved with the military establishment has the effect of shielding the military from widespread popular outrage at war-making and big spending. She asks, “Why is there so much acceptance of and so little protest against our government’s illegal and immoral wars and other military opera­tions?”

The author shows her anti-war perspective in rejecting NATO and in criticizing U.S. military interventions, subversion, and covert military actions as violations of international law. She condemns U.S war-makers’ use of Cold War and anti-terrorism pretexts to have free rein to maim and destroy.

Roelofs, a retired professor of political science, is the author also of Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (SUNY Press) and Greening Cities (Rowman and Littlefield).

She argues that the incentive for civilian institutions and private companies to support military funding and U.S. military purpose lies in their interests being satisfied. Propaganda, distractions, and fear of repression, she points out, are other persuaders. Her new book is about “the interests created by [the] military’s penetration into so many aspects of civilian life.”

Roelofs writes about large and small defense contractors and private, public, and non-profit ones. They are colleges, universities, research foundations, healthcare organizations, and groups working on political and legal issues and the environment.  They provide the military with supplies, logistics, weapons development, human services, defense against atypical threats.

She indicates that, “75% of the [Defense Department] budget is paid to contractors.” These had enough funds, she reports, to financially support dozens of think tanks and foundations. Money, we suggest, is basic to the “interests” cited by the author.

Other observers point out that U.S. companies in 2019 accounted for 57% of the arms sold by the world’s 100 top weapons manufactures. The world’s five biggest weapons manufacturers are U.S. corporations.

Lockheed Martin took in $58.2 billion in revenues in 2020 and showed profits of $9.1 billionin 2021. Raytheon Technologies reported arms sales of $36.8 billion in 2020 and profits of $5 billion in 2021. Boeing’s profits in 2021 were $5.19 billion. Northrop Grumman sold arms worth $30.4 billion in 2021 with $7.0 billion in net income. General Dynamics’s arms sales totaled $25.8 billion; its 2021 profits were $3.3 billion.  The average salary of the CEOs of these companies was $20,795,527, according to

According to the book, defense contracts provide economic rescue even for next-door operations.  In 2012 an $866,000 three-year contract for making cribs for childcare centers helped to revive a children’s furniture manufacturer in the author’s hometown Keene, New Hampshire. Granite Industries of Vermont was declining until it received a contract for making up to 4000 headstones a year for Arlington National Cemetery.

Surprises turn up as to who are the big defense contractors. The for-profit health insurance company Humana is the seventh largest of all of them, according to Roelofs. Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranks in 38th place.

Relationships are tight within the military industrial complex. Upper-level employees of universities, philanthropies, and non-government organizations and the top military brass and Defense Department officials oscillate between one sphere and the other. According to the author, Defense Department grants to philanthropies, foundations, and to environmental and civil rights groups are oriented to reforms and not so much to basic social change.

The single-issue orientation of most of the contracting philanthropies and NGOs fits with military and official preferences; their fear would be that different issues seen as connected might encourage critical thinking and even dissent. Roelofs looks at the role of state and local government entities in reaching out to youth to serve military needs such as ROTC units, recruitment, and encouragement of scientific and technical educational paths.

Roelofs’ purpose has been to make “the extent and implications of the military industrial complex more visible.” But, as she notes, “many look away, and the mountain is huge to move.” Additionally, “Our political system …  does not afford citizens much democratic control over policies, and hardly any over foreign policy.” The question is: “What can be done.”

Roelofs is alluding to the powerful forces attached to the economic and political status quo, among them the civilian enablers of the military establishment. She is saying, in essence, that the process of consciousness-raising that does lead to useful political action would be a long and arduous one.

Her book, which is written in a readable, accessible style, would have us start out at the beginning. The first item on the agenda is that of persuading ordinary people to say “No.” They would stand up, test the waters, be active in some way, and make a few gains.

She calls upon her readers to speak out, write to editors, contact elected officials, join and work with antiwar organizations. She advocates for a Green New Deal, a “national service program,” and “conversion to a civilian economy.” She is evidently hoping that masses of people will build a resistance movement, score some victories, gain confidence, and learn.

If Roelofs had presented all-encompassing themes like past U.S. military misadventures and the evils of a profit-driven political system, her call to action would have yielded almost nothing. Instead, more promisingly, she is lending support to a protest movement in its infancy. Now is exactly the right time for her highly recommended book.

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.

Counterpunch, November 18, 2022,

French ambassador: U.S. ‘rules-based order’ means Western domination, violating international law / by Ben Norton

France’s Ambassador to the US Gérard Araud with President Barack Obama in the White House in 2016

Originally published in Multipolarista on November 21, 2022

France’s former ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud, has publicly criticized Washington, saying it frequently violates international law and that its so-called “rules-based order” is actually an unfair “Western order.”

The top French diplomat warned that the United States is engaged in “economic warfare” against China, and that Europe is concerned about Washington’s “containment policy,” because many European countries do not want to be forced to “choose a camp” in a new cold war.

Araud condemned U.S. diplomats for insisting that Washington must always be the “leader” of the world, and stressed that the West should work with other countries in the Global South, “on an equal basis,” in order “to find a compromise with our own interests.”

He cautioned against making “maximalist” demands, “of simply trying to keep the Western hegemony.”

Araud made these remarks in a November 14 panel discussion titled “Is America Ready for a Multipolar World?“, hosted by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a think tank in Washington, DC that advocates for a more restrained, less bellicose foreign policy.

Gérard Araud’s credentials could hardly be any more elite. A retired senior French diplomat, he served as the country’s ambassador to the United States from 2014 to 2019. From 2009 to 2014, he was Paris’ representative to the United Nations.

Before that, Araud served as France’s ambassador to Israel, and he previously worked with NATO.

He was also appointed as a “senior distinguished fellow” at the Atlantic Council, NATO’s notoriously belligerent think tank in Washington.

This blue-blooded background makes Araud’s frank comments even more important, as they reflect the feelings of a segment of the French ruling class and European political class, which is uncomfortable with Washington’s unipolar domination and wants power to be more decentralized in the world.

The ‘rules-based order’ is actually just a ‘Western order’

In a shockingly blunt moment in the panel discussion, Gérard Araud explained that the so-called “rules-based order” is actually just a “Western order,” and that the United States and Europe unfairly dominate international organizations like the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF):

To be frank, I’ve always been extremely skeptical about this idea of a ‘rules-based order.’

Personally, for instance, look, I was the permanent representative to the United Nations. We love the United Nations, but the Americans not too much, you know.

And actually when you look at the hierarchy of the United Nations, everybody there is ours. The Secretary General [António Guterres] is Portuguese. He was South Korean [Ban Ki-moon]. But when you look at all the under secretaries general, all of them really are either American, French, British, and so on. When you look at the World Bank, when you look at the IMF, and so on.

So that’s the first element: this order is our order.

And the second element is also that, actually, this order is reflecting the balance of power in 1945. You know, you look at the permanent members of the Security Council.

Really people forget that, if China and Russia are obliged to oppose [with] their veto, it is because frankly the Security Council is most of the time, 95% of the time, has a Western-oriented majority.

So this order frankly–and you can also be sarcastic, because, when the Americans basically want to do whatever they want, including when it’s against international law, as they define it, they do it.

And that’s the vision that the rest of the world has of this order.

You know really, when I was in–the United Nations is a fascinating spot, because you have ambassadors of all the countries, and you can have conversations with them, and the vision they project of the world, their vision of the world, is certainly not a ‘rules-based order’; it’s a Western order.

And they accuse us of double standards, hypocrisy, and so on and so on.

So I’m not sure that this question about the ‘rules’ is really the critical question.

I think the first assessment that we should do will be maybe, as we say in French, to put ourselves in the shoes of the other side, to try to understand how they see the world.

Araud argued that if the international community is serious about creating a “rules-based order,” it must entail “integrating all the major stakeholders into the managing of the world, you know really bringing the Chinese, the Indians, and really other countries, and trying to build with them, on an equal basis, the world of tomorrow.”

“That’s the only way,” he added. “We should really ask the Indians, ask the Chinese, the Brazilians, and other countries, really to work with us on an equal basis. And that’s something – it’s not only the Americans, also the Westerners, you know, really trying to get out of our moral high ground, and to understand that they have their own interests, that on some issues we should work together, on other issues we shouldn’t work together.”

“Let’s not try to rebuild the Fortress West,” he implored. “It shouldn’t be the future of our foreign policy.”

French diplomat criticizes U.S. new cold war on China

Gérard Araud revealed that, in Europe, there is “concern” that the United States has a “containment policy” against China.

“I think the international relationship will be largely dominated by the rivalry between China and the United States. And foreign policy I think in the coming years will be to find the modus vivendi … between the two powers,” he said.

He warned that Washington is engaged in “economic warfare” against Beijing, that the U.S. is trying “basically to cut any relationship with China in the field of advanced chips, which is sending a message of, ‘We are going to try to prevent you from becoming an advanced economy.’ It’s really, it’s economic warfare.”

“Really on the American side is the development of economic warfare against China. It’s really cutting, making impossible cooperation in a very important, critical field, for the future of the Chinese economy,” he added.

Araud pointed out that China is not just “emerging”; it is in fact “re-emerging” to a prominent geopolitical position, like it had for hundreds of years, before the rise of European colonialism.

He stressed that many countries in Asia don’t want to be forced to pick a side in this new cold war, and are afraid of becoming a zone of proxy conflicts like Europe was in the first cold war:

Asia doesn’t want to be the Europe of the Cold War. They don’t want to have a bamboo curtain. They don’t want to choose their camp.

Australia has chosen its camp, but it’s a particular case. But Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, they don’t want to choose their camp, and we shouldn’t demand they choose their camp.

So we need to have a flexible policy of talking to the Chinese, because talking is also a way of reassuring them, trying to understand their interests, also to define our interests not in a maximalist way, of simply trying to keep the Western hegemony.

Araud challenged the idea that the United States must be the unipolar “leader” of the world, stating:

The Americans entered the world, in a sense, being already the big boy on the block. In 1945, it was 40% of the world’s GDP.

Which also may explain what is American diplomacy. The word of American diplomats, the word of American diplomacy is ‘leadership.’

Really, it’s always striking for foreigners, as soon as there is a debate about American foreign policy, immediately people say, ‘We have to restore our leadership.’ Leadership. And other countries may say, ‘Why leadership?’

West must ‘try to see the world from Beijing’

Gérard Araud similarly criticized Western media outlets for their cartoonishly negative coverage of China. The top French diplomat called on officials to “try to see the world from Beijing”:

When you look at the European or Western newspapers, you have the impression that China is a sort of a dark monster which is moving forward, never committing a mistake, never really facing any problem, and going to the domination of the world–you know, the Chinese work 20 hours a day, they don’t want a vacation, they don’t care, they want to dominate the world.

Maybe that if we will try to see the world from Beijing, really we will consider certainly that all the borders of China are more or less unstable, or threatened, or facing unfriendly countries, and that’s from the Chinese point of view.

Maybe they want to improve their situation. It doesn’t mean that we have to accept it, but maybe to see, to remember, that any defensive measure of one side is always seen as offensive by the other side.

So let’s understand that China has its own interests. You know, even dictatorships have legitimate interests. And so let’s look at these interests, and let’s try to find a compromise with our own interests.

Araud went on to point out that the U.S. government is constantly militarily threatening China, sending warships across the planet to its coasts, but would never for a second tolerate Beijing doing the same to it:

When I was in Washington, just after the [hawkish anti-China] speech of Vice President Pence to the Hudson [Institute] in October 2018, I met a lot of specialists on China in Washington, DC, but when I was trying to tell them, you know, your [U.S.] ships are patrolling at 200 miles from the Chinese coast, at 5000 miles from the American coast, what would be your reaction if Chinese ships were patrolling at 200 miles from your coast?

And obviously my interlocutors didn’t understand what I meant. And that’s the question, you know, really trying to figure out what are the reasonable interests of the other side.

Araud stressed that China “is not a military threat” to the West.

French diplomat: Western sanctions on Russia are causing us to ‘inflict pain on ourselves’

With this new cold war between the United States and China, Gérard Araud explained, “in this context, Russia is a bit like Austria-Hungary with Germany before the First World War, is a bit doomed to be the ‘brilliant second’ of China.”

While Araud harshly denounced Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, he also criticized the Western sanctions on Moscow, which he cautioned, “on the European side, it is inflicting to ourselves some pain.”

He warned that Europe is in a “dead end” with Russia, “because as long as the war in Ukraine will go on, and my bet unfortunately is that it may go on for a long time, it will be impossible for the Europeans, and the Americans in a sense, but also for the Europeans to end the sanctions on Russia, which means that our relationship with Russia may be frozen for an indefinite future.”

“And I think it’s very difficult to have diplomatic activity [with Russia] in this situation,” he added.

You can watch the full panel discussion hosted by the Quincy Institute below:

MRonline, November 23, 2022,

Activists reject escalation in Ukraine, even when it’s unpopular / by People’s Dispatch

Manolo De Los Santos of the People’s Forum addresses the event

Originally published in Peoples Dispatch on November 21, 2022

On November 19, 300 activists, organizers, and working people gathered in New York City to listen to seven anti-war leaders speak out against U.S. and NATO involvement in the war in Ukraine. The event hosted at the Peoples Forum was titled “The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine,” and featured philosopher Noam Chomsky, historian Vijay Prashad, People’s Forum executive directors Manolo De Los Santos and Claudia De La Cruz, Brian Becker of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, Eugene Puryear of Breakthrough News, former U.S. presidential candidate for the Green Party, Jill Stein, and CODEPINK .

In Saturday’s event, speakers specifically underlined the need for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine and not escalation of violent conflict. Many pointed out that this war, like many before it, works directly against the interests of working people across the globe. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has sent over $80 billion to Ukraine in military and non-military aid.

Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, highlighted:

People who are working for things like healthcare for all in the United States, a free college education, all of those people have to recognize that as we are going to spend over $100 billion in less than a year on this war, we must make people understand that that money could be going for needs at home.

Despite this, voters in both the Democratic and Republican parties overwhelmingly support sending weapons to Ukraine. However, a majority in the U.S. is becoming concerned with the growing possibility of direct confrontation between two nuclear powers.

Who benefits from this war?

In the very outset of the war, the stocks of the top war manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin skyrocketed. An October 2 headline in Barron’s read,

Russia’s War on Ukraine Is Escalating. It’s Time to Buy Defense Stocks.

“We see very clearly that the only group of people who benefit from this war—the only people who benefit from there not being peace negotiations—are the elites in Washington,” said De Los Santos.

We will not allow them to sacrifice the planet for their new war of greed!

De La Cruz highlighted that the people of the U.S. have a responsibility to stand against the war as it is their tax money that is funding the war. “We have a responsibility to say, shut down NATO, shut down AFRICOM, and shut down every instrument of war that [the U.S. has] across the globe,” said De La Cruz.

Not in our name!

The struggle for peace

While De La Cruz focused on collective responsibility in winning peace, others highlighted the enormous power that average working people have in ending the war. Stein quoted author Alice Walker when she said, “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Eugene Puryear, who brought up the rich history of fightback against slavery, said “People power has defeated every terrible institution that you can imagine.”

ANSWER Coalition director Brian Becker touched upon the historic role of the U.S. anti-war movement during struggles in the cases of past wars, such as Vietnam.

“Whenever people have organized and fought for and mobilized for peace, they draw the wrath of the warmakers,” Becker said.

It doesn’t matter if their slogans are soft or mild, whether they talk about negotiations or overturning capitalism, just mobilizing the people against war is a great danger to the warmakers, because if the people finally say no to war, the wars end. The ruling class can’t do the wars without the people.

Between escalation and negotiation

The specter of nuclear war also hangs in the horizon as two nuclear superpowers inch closer and closer to direct conflict. This is especially true considering that when a missile hit Poland on November 15, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky immediately jumped to blame Russia. “Hitting NATO territory with missiles…This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a really significant escalation. Action is needed,” Zelensky urged on the same day. This was a potentially catastrophic language, as Article 5 of NATO states that “an armed attack against one or more of [the members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” Zelensky was advocating for a war between nuclear powers. The next day the truth came out: the missile was launched by accident by Ukrainian forces.

Despite the possibility of a world-ending nuclear war, NATO and the U.S. steadfastly refuse to move towards peace. “The central matter is the ghastly gamble,” said Chomsky.

The willingness to gamble that Russia will accept defeat and not react in the manner of the Western warrior states.

“The international committee of the Red Cross said that there would be a catastrophic humanitarian crisis from even a limited nuclear war, whatever that is,” said Eugene Puryear.

Nuclear winter. Crops destroyed. Water poisoned…talk about sowing salt in the soil, this is a million times worse than that.

Puryear drew attention to the often neglected consequences of the war: the calamitous impact on the Global South and among oppressed populations in the Global North. “From Sudan, to Sri Lanka, to São Paulo, to South Carolina, to the South Bronx, working class people and poor people on every corner of the globe are suffering from a massive cost of living crisis,” Puryear said, referring to the myriad crisis around the world, exacerbated by limited imports from Ukraine and sanctions on Russia.

“When do we have the right to speak?” Puryear asked.

Can the people in the Congo speak? How come no one is even talking about the Congo right now? War going on there. War has been going on for multiple decades. Maybe as many as ten million people have died. That never really makes the front page.

Historian and Tricontinental Institute director Vijay Prashad closed out the panel with a powerful statement: “No war but class war.” Prashad also called for the abolition of NATO and the CIA. “What has the CIA done that’s ever been good?” asked Prashad.

One of the reasons you need to build a massive peace movement, not only in the United States, but in all the Western warrior states, including Canada…it’s because you have to join the global movement. The mood is changing, friends. People are not interested in this anymore.

Peoples Dispatch, formerly The Dawn News, is an international media organization with the mission of bringing to you voices from people’s movements and organizations across the globe. Since its establishment three years ago, it has sought to ensure that the coverage of news from around the world is not restricted to the rhetoric of politicians and the fortunes of big companies but encompasses the richness and diversity of mobilizations from around the world. Peoples Dispatch also seeks to bring to you breaking news from a perspective widely different from that of the mainstream media. We invite people’s movements and political organizations everywhere to send us information and news from their countries. The information can be in Spanish, Portuguese, English or Hindi.

MRonline, November 23, 2022,

Is the Russia-Ukraine war at a crossroads? / by Gilbert Doctorow

Peace March – The Banner Reads ‘Together against the War’—the Message of the Combined Russian and Ukrainian Flags, Moscow, September 21, 2014 | Photo by E. Razumnyi/Vedomosti

Originally published on the Gilbert Doctorow Blog on November 21, 2022

In a new 25-minute live broadcast devoted to the war, Iran’s Press TV showcases key issues from this week’s developments on the front lines, including the latest bombardments of the Zaporozhie nuclear power station and the missiles which fell on Polish territory, threatening to bring in NATO as full co-belligerents. The panelists were asked to comment on likely ‘end game’ scenarios for this war.

As we know, mainstream Western media is rock-solid in its predictions of ultimate Ukrainian victory, with the Russian evacuations of Kharkov and Kherson as their leading arguments.  In the alternative media, opinion is divided over whether there will indeed be a new Russian offensive in coming weeks when the 220,000 recently mobilized reservists still in training are ready for action or whether the U.S. administration will push Zelensky into negotiations with the Russians that temporarily or even permanently put an end to the fighting.

A lot of attention is directed in world media to the resistance of Zelensky to entering into negotiations. That is explored as well on this Iran TV program. However, an issue which is not addressed there is the willingness and even the ability of the Russian President to enter into negotiations.

Ever since the October mobilization of reservists, the military operation in Ukraine has de facto become the war of a nation in arms about which everyone in Russia now has an opinion. The fact is that Russian society from top to bottom is very unhappy with the present state of the war—but their discontent is with what they see as the pusillanimity of their own government in not responding more resolutely to Ukrainian provocations in the form of continuing artillery strikes on the Kursk and Belgorod regions from the Kharkov oblast just across the border or through atrocities such as the just released video of the cold-blooded murder of Russian prisoners of war by gleeful Ukrainian soldiers. The withdrawal from the city of Kherson inflamed the passions of the Russian public who demand better explanations in their parliament and on their television than they have received so far.

The pressure on Mr. Putin is from his own patriotic supporters, and an untimely truce for negotiations right now could lead to civil disorder in Russia. This is not idle speculation: it was perfectly clear from the latest edition of yesterday’s talk show Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov in which a deputy speaker of the Duma from the ruling party United Russia and a Duma committee chairman from the Communists took an active part, meaning that the nation’s elites are moving with the popular current against Defense Minister Shoigu if not against those still higher in the Kremlin. Meanwhile, discredited Russian Liberalism is taking down with it the commitment to free markets for the sake of more effective war production. There is serious talk of reintroducing Five Year Plans. And the recent official approval of plans to proceed with traditional celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s in Russian cities was denounced as inappropriate for a country at war in an existential struggle with NATO.

We may conclude that the Special Military Operation is indeed a watershed in Russian domestic politics.

Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. He chose this third career of ‘public intellectual’ after finishing up a 25 year career as corporate executive and outside consultant to multinational corporations doing business in Russia and Eastern Europe which culminated in the position of Managing Director, Russia during the years 1995-2000. He is presently publishing his memoirs of his 25 years of doing business in and around the Soviet Union/Russia, 1975 – 2000. Memoirs of a Russianist, Volume I: From the Ground Up was published on 10 November 2020. Volume II: Russia in the Roaring 1990s will go to press in two months.

MRonline, November 22, 2022,

Burning of Odessas House of Trade Unions Building on May 2, 2014 / By Jeremy Kuzmarov

Burning of Odessa’s House of Trade Unions Building on May 2, 2014.

“The once bright city became gloomy and sad:” survivor of 2014 Odessa Massacre reflects back on tragedy.

On May 2, 2014, at least 48 people were killed when right-wing Ukrainian forces burned down the Trade Unions Building in Odessa. The victims had taken refuge in the building after opposing the February 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine that was backed by the U.S. State Department.

Eight years after the massacre, the International Action Center, a New York-based anti-war group founded by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, hosted a public commemoration that included testimony from a survivor named Alexey who currently lives in Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Alexey spoke movingly about his friend and comrade, Andrey Brezevsky, who was beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs with a metal bar after he jumped out of the Trade Unions Building to escape the fire.

Brezevsky’s mother, after her son’s death, lost her teaching position at a local university after being denounced by right-wing groups.

Alexey emphasized that none of the perpetrators of the Odessa massacre was ever punished. In the aftermath of the atrocity, neo-Nazi groups mocked and persecuted the relatives of the victims, like Alexey’s mother.

Memorial to victims of the Odessa Trade Unions Building massacre. [Photo:]

The once bright city became “gloomy and sad,” Alexey said. The massacre had not happened by accident, but was a “planned act of intimidation” by Ukraine’s post-coup government. It was “designed to intimidate the opposition [and] was an act of political terrorism perpetrated by the Ukrainian state targeting unarmed civilians [the victims in the fire were all unarmed].”

Alexey believes that the power of the Nazis will soon come to an end in Ukraine. He said that now “they are dying every day. The Russians are destroying these murderers, and rapists and justice will prevail. The people guilty of the Odessa trade union massacre will finally be brought to justice.”

“A Human Rights Disaster”

Leonid Ilderkin, a Ukrainian communist in exile and member of the coordination council of the Union of Political Refugees and Political Prisoners of Ukraine, followed Alexey, stating that Ukraine has become a “human rights disaster” following the 2014 Maidan coup.

Leonid Ilderkin. [Photo:]

Since that time, the Ukrainian government under Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelensky have tried to demolish all types of political opposition and to hunt down everyone who does not like them.

The CIA, it should be noted, has assisted in these latter operations and helped to produce blacklists that are used to pinpoint dissidents for arrest.

The unrest led not only to the coup ousting pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych but the resurrection of Nazi ideals in the country, resulting in this situation where anyone who is progressive and on the left of the political spectrum is being hunted down.

Ilderkin said that he was a witness to the protests in Maidan Square which began in November 2013, and saw the kinds of groups that were supporting them.

Petro Poroshenko, left, Volodymyr Zelensky, right. [Photo:]

According to Ilderkin, the Odessa massacre followed a pattern of state repression that was also exemplified by the crushing of demonstrations after the 2014 coup in Mariupol, Odessa and Zaporizhzhia, where the people almost took back control from the central government.

Kyiv army bringing in tanks and shooting at civilians in Mariupol on May 9, 2014. [Photo:]

OnMay 9, 2014, seven days after the burning of the Odessa Trade Unions Building, an unknown number of unarmed demonstrators were shot and killed by state security forces and neo-Nazi militias in a massacre that was never reported on in the West.

The resistance to the new regime, Ilderkin said, was more successful in Donetsk and Luhansk, where armed struggle developed.

Which Side Are You On?

Besides fueling state repression and civil conflict, the disastrous 2014 coup, according to Ilderkin, brought in leaders—Poroshenko and Zelensky—who have demolished workers’ rights and accelerated Ukraine’s deindustrialization.

Far from being a beacon of democracy as is presented in the U.S. and Western media, Ukraine is a police state where people considered disloyal to the regime are arrested and then vanish—no one knows where they are taken. The Azov Battalion is only one of many group of Nazi regiments which constitute the core of the Ukrainian army.

Ilderkin compared the Ukrainian army today to the morally bankrupt armies that fought with U.S. forces under the puppet Lon Nol regime in Cambodia and Thieu-Ky governments in South Vietnam during the Indochina War.

Azov Battalion troops. [Photo:]

Ilderkin asked audience members: Who are you going to support: the South Vietnamese or Ho Chi Minh in North Vietnam?

Zelensky, he said, is like Lon Nol—who courted Western intervention that destroyed his country. Another similarity is to General Francisco Franco and the Fascist forces in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

Ilderkin ended his talk by asking the audience: Which side are you on?

Indeed, which side are you on?

Jeremy Kuzmarov ( is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine and author of The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018).

MRonline, May 16, 2022,

Right wing’s anti-LGBTQ hate creates atmosphere for Colorado Springs shooting / C.J. Atkins

Tyrice Kelley, center right, a performer at Club Q, is comforted during a service held at All Souls Unitarian Church following an overnight fatal shooting at the gay nightclub, in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Sunday, Nov 20, 2022. | P. Seibold / The Gazette via AP

At least five dead. More than two dozen others injured. The LGBTQ community again shattered.

The mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs late Saturday night has echoes of the June 2016 Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, where 49 people were murdered. We can only be grateful the damage done by the gunman in this latest incident, Anderson Lee Aldrich, was more limited.

The date of the attack—the eve of Trans Day of Remembrance, honoring the victims of anti-trans violence—seems to have been chosen intentionally.

Reports have it that two people present sprang into action to defend the crowd as bullets tore through the air, disarming the shooter, beating him with his own gun, and restraining him until police arrived.

“It’s an incredible act of heroism,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told the Associated Press. Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said, “We owe them a great debt of gratitude.”

Certainly, their resistance should be applauded, but no one out for a night at the bar with friends should have to be on edge, prepared to fight for their lives at any moment.

Seth Stang, a 34-year-old trans man who counts two friends among the dead, said outside a makeshift memorial at Club Q on Sunday:

“It’s like having a bucket of hot water dumped on you…. I’m just tired of running out of places where we can exist safely.”

But that is the reality for queer people in America when a constant bombardment of hatred and scapegoating is rained down on them by the fascist wing of the Republican Party and its Evangelical base.

That point was driven home for this writer just this past summer in small-town Oklahoma, where, for the first time, I saw the host of a drag show wearing a pistol in a holster on his hip. The absurd thing is that such an action didn’t seem unwarranted by anyone present. It was a symbol of the normalization of living in constant fear, like children accustomed to the notion that a school shooting could occur in their classrooms.

Authorities say Aldrich has been tight-lipped since being taken into custody, sharing no hints of his motive. Speculation is of course swirling as to whether family politics might have played a role; his grandfather is California State Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a confirmed MAGA Trumpite.

Voepel cheered on Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt, comparing it to the American Revolutionary War. “This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny,” Voepel told the San Diego Union-Tribune at the time. “Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear-in on January 20th.”

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert regularly spews anti-trans and anti-gay hatred.

Even if Voepel’s politics did influence his grandson’s decision to become a mass murderer, the California lawmaker is just one soldier in the right-wing’s army of hate. All the leaders of this fascist movement have blood on their hands after what happened at Club Q.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, who represents Colorado in the House of Representatives, offered her “prayers” Sunday morning. Typical. She has spent years vilifying LGBTQ people, calling Muslim members of Congress “the jihad squad,” celebrating gun culture, and spreading QAnon conspiracy nonsense. But when the violence finally explodes, she pretends to be the caring Christian.

Boebert was intimately involved in the Jan. 6 effort to destroy U.S. democracy. She led a pre-attack tour for one of the groups that invaded the Capitol, and she voted against certifying the 2020 election results. She barely won re-election in the midterms earlier this month, nearly becoming a casualty when the GOP’s “red wave” failed to materialize.

Anti-gay and anti-trans rhetoric has been a building block of Boebert’s political career. She called the Equality Act—a bill which would make LGBTQ rights permanent—an effort to enforce the “supremacy of gays, lesbians, and transvestites.”

Boebert says LGBTQ people are “perverting” America and that no kid should be allowed to come out until they are 21. When schools offer LGBTQ-inclusive curricula, she calls it a case of “the Left grooming our kids” sexually. “Take your children to CHURCH, not drag bars,” she tweeted.

The rogues’ gallery of Republican hatemongers includes many more besides Boebert, though. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, determined to out-Trump Trump, pushed his “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law just months ago, making it illegal to mention sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom. He’s almost guaranteed to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

The right-wing propaganda machine amplifies and repeats the hatred of these elected officials. Fox News commentators Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham regularly make anti-trans and anti-gay hit jobs a feature of their programs. “Liberals are sexually grooming elementary students,” scream the TV headlines. “Puberty blockers are not healthcare.”

The constant promotion of a political agenda saturated with the demonization of a particular group and then the outbreak of violence against that group cannot be separated. One begets the other—just look at the history of fascism.

There is a direct correlation between the far-right, Evangelical wing of the Republican Party waging a “culture war” against trans kids and drag queens and the shooting that happened in Colorado Springs. The leaders of the GOP helped cause this.

As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday, referring to Boebert and others in the GOP, “You have played a major role in elevating anti-LGBT+ rhetoric and anti-trans lies while spending your time in Congress blocking even the most common-sense gun safety laws. You don’t get to ‘thoughts and prayers’ your way out of this. Look inward and change.”

But we have no reason to expect Boebert and the rest to change their ways. Their entire careers have been built on this kind of hatred and division. As for gun laws, with a Republican majority set to take charge of the House in January, there will be no movement on that issue, either.

The rainbow flag flies at half-mast with a black mourning banner attached. | AP

But even the gun laws already on the books can only work if local law enforcement and prosecutors enforce them. A year and a half ago, Aldrich, this weekend’s shooter, was arrested for threatening his mother with a bomb. The entire neighborhood had to be evacuated, and police spent hours negotiating with Aldrich to convince him to surrender.

But did prosecutors charge him with kidnapping or menacing? Apparently not. And did authorities trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law, an ordinance allowing them to seize the weapons of persons deemed a danger to themselves or others? No. Aldrich was allowed to keep the guns and ammunition he possessed when he took his mother captive.

No one can say whether triggering the red flag law against Aldrich would have prevented his attack on Club Q with an AR15-style assault rifle, but there’s the possibility five lives might have been saved.

Today, we mourn the lives lost in yet another mass murder. Six years after the Pulse massacre, the amount of work to be done to combat the hatred of the right is even greater.

The Equality Act still hasn’t made it out of Congress, stalled in the Senate since February 2021. Anti-trans and anti-gay bills litter the agendas of state legislatures across the country. Too many transphobic, homophobic, racist, and Islamophobic politicians and preachers still have platforms to spread their hatred.

“I could have lost my life—over what?” asked survivor Joshua Thurman, who hid in a dressing room to escape the gunman Saturday night. “What was the purpose? We were just enjoying ourselves. We weren’t out harming anyone. We were in our space, our community, our home.”

But this is not just a community of victims. Queer people—in all their racial, ethnic, national, sexual, and gender diversity—are also fighters. We have to be in order to survive.

While Republicans like Boebert and DeSantis mimic figures like Hitler and Goebbels, we should look to the queer anti-fascists who fought back against these Republican role models. People like Willem Arondeus, an openly gay member of the anti-Nazi resistance in German-occupied Holland during World War II. Because of his sexuality, for decades his name rarely appeared in the history books.

However, Arondeus was one of the most dedicated and creative organizers of the Dutch Underground. In 1943, he and a group of resistance fighters—including other gay and lesbian comrades—blew up a public records building containing documents that the Gestapo used to track down Dutch Jews and other targeted groups.

Willem Arondeus, a queer anti-fascist fighter in the anti-Nazi underground in the Netherlands during World War II. At his execution, he defiantly declared: ‘Homosexuals are not cowards.’ | United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Arrested and put on trial, Arondeus remained defiant. His message to the fascists just before they executed him: “Homosexuals are not cowards.”

That is still true today, as the two courageous Club Q patrons who took down Aldrich in the midst of his shooting spree showed. Queer people are not cowards, and we will unite with other oppressed people and allies to take down those who want to commit violence against us. And using our ballots, we will take down those who encourage that violence—in 2024 and every time the polls are open.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article reflects the opinions of its author.

C.J. Atkins is the managing editor at 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, November 21, 2022,

Those who struggle to change the world know it well / by Vijay Prashad

K.C.S. Paniker (India) Words and Symbols, 1968

Originally published in Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research on November 17, 2022

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In 1845, Karl Marx jotted down some notes for The German Ideology, a book that he wrote with his close friend Friedrich Engels. Engels found these notes in 1888, five years after Marx’s death, and published them under the title Theses on Feuerbach. The eleventh thesis is the most famous: ‘philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it’.

| Confidence | MR Online

For the past five years, we, at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, have considered this thesis with great care. The most widely accepted interpretation of this thesis is that, in it, Marx urges people not only to interpret the world, but also to try and change it. However, we do not believe that this captures the meaning of the sentence. What we believe that Marx is saying is that it is those who try to change the world that have a better sense of its constraints and possibilities, for they come upon what Frantz Fanon calls the ‘granite block’ of power, property, and privilege that prevents an easy transition from injustice to justice. That is why we, at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, develop our analysis from the wisdom that political and social movements have accumulated over the years. We believe that those who struggle to change the world have a certain clarity about the structures that define it.

People’s movements across the world emerge out of the greviences and hopes of workers and peasants, of people who are exploited to accumulate capital for the propertied few and oppressed by social hierarchies. If enough people refuse to submit to the obstinate facts of hunger or illiteracy, their actions could turn into a rebellion, or even into a revolution. This refusal to submit requries confidence and clarity.

Confidence is mysterious, at times a force of personality, at others a force of experience. Clarity comes from knowing who exercises the levers of exploitation and oppression and how these systems of exploitation and oppression work. This knowledge emerges out of the experiences of work and life, but it is sharpened through the struggle to transcend these conditions.

Confidence and clarity that are built in the struggle can dissipate easily unless they are accumulated in an organisation, such as a peasants’ union, a women’s organisation, a trade union, a community group, or a political party. As these organisations grow and mature, they inculcate the habit of carrying out research led by the people and, in doing so, build a historical consciousness, an analysis of the political conjuncture, and a clear assessment of the vectors of hierarchy.

| Chandra | MR Online

This process of conducting activist research is the heart of the interview we conducted with R. Chandra of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) for our dossier no. 58 (November 2022). Chandra tells us the story of how AIDWA activists conducted surveys in the southern state of Tamil Nadu to best understand the living and working conditions of women there, and she explains how these surveys have provided information about exploitation and oppression that has become the basis of AIDWA’s campaigns. Through these campaigns, AIDWA has learned more about the ‘granite block’ of power, privilege, and property. The recursive process between struggle and survey has enabled the organisation to build their theory and strengthen their struggle.

Chandra goes into detail to show us how AIDWA designed the surveys, how local activists conducted them, how their results led to concrete struggles, and how they trained AIDWA members to develop a clear assessment of their society and the struggles that are needed to overcome the challenges people face. ‘AIDWA members no longer need a professor to help them’, Chandra tells us. ‘They formulate their own questions and conduct their own field studies when they take up an issue. Since they know the value of the studies, these women have become a key part of AIDWA’s local work, bringing this research into the organisation’s campaigns, discussing the findings in our various committees, and presenting it at our different conferences’.

This activist research not only produces knowledge of the hierarchies that operate in a particular place, but it also trains the activists to become ‘new intellectuals’ of their struggles and leaders in their communities.

Over the years, based on interviews with movement leaders from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, our team at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research has begun to develop our own methodology of activist research, a methodology to build knowledge out of praxis. This methodology consists of five main axes:

  1. Our researchers meet with leaders of popular movements and conduct long interviews with them about the following:
    1. The history of the movement
    2. The process to build the movement
    3. The limitations and strengths of the movement
  2. Our team then studies the interview, reads the transcript carefully, and provides an analysis of what the movement has summarised and what kind of theory it has been developing. The initial interview could be published as a text by Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, as we have done with interviews with K. Hemalata, president of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, S’bu Zikode of Abahlali baseMjondolo, South Africa’s shack dwellers’ movement, and Neuri Rossetto of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement.
  3. Based on the analysis presented in the interview, the researchers isolate the main themes that appear to be useful and make a note to study them further. These themes are then shared with the movement’s leaders for their input.
  4. When there is agreement on these themes, our researchers – sometimes alongside researchers from the movement, sometimes on their own – work to build a process to study these themes by reading relevant academic literature and conducting more research in coordination with the movement (such as more interviews) as well as carrying out surveys amongst the people. This research forms the heart of the project.
  5. The research is then analysed, elaborated into a text, and shared with the movement’s leaders for their input and assessment. A final text for publication is produced in collaboration with the movement.
| Tricontinental Institute for Social Research has begun to develop our own methodology of activist research | MR Online

This is how we carry out our work, our form of activist research that we learned from organisations such as AIDWA.

As we published our dossier on activist research, heads of state and representatives from across the world gathered in Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt) at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a conference detached from the mood of the people. This is the 27th COP, funded, among others, by Coca-Cola, a major abuser of water and the planet. Meanwhile, in Cairo, not far from this resort town, the human rights activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah sits in prison, where he has been for the past decade. He has decided to deepen his hunger strike by no longer drinking water, water that is increasingly privatised by companies such as Coca-Cola and stolen, as Guy Standing puts it, from the Blue Commons. Nothing good will come out of this COP, no agreement to prevent the climate catastrophe.

Last year, I attended the COP26 meeting in Glasgow. While standing in the queue for a PCR test, I met a group of oil executives, one of whom looked at my press badge and asked me what I was doing at the conference. I told him that I had recently reported about the horrendous situation in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, where the people were in open rebellion against a gas extraction project led by the French and US companies Total and ExxonMobil, respectively. Despite the profits generated from the gas taken from their region, the people have continued to live in abject poverty. Rather than addressing this inequity, the governments of Mozambique, France, and the United States alleged that the protestors were terrorists and asked the military from Rwanda to intervene.

As we stood in line, one of the oil executives told me, ‘Everything you say is true. But no one cares’. An hour later, sitting in a hall in Glasgow, I was asked my opinion about the climate debate, whose terms have been shaped by fossil fuel executives and privatisers of nature. This is what I said:

Vijay Prashard People’s Summit Speech from OUR TIME IS NOW #3

Sadly, a year later, this intervention remains intact.



Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is the chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He has written more than twenty books, including The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (The New Press, 2007), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016) and Red Star Over the Third World (LeftWord, 2017). He writes regularly for Frontline, the Hindu, Newsclick, AlterNet and BirGün.

MRonline, November 18, 2022,