Guest Voices

Are We Living in a Dystopia?

State police officers during a “Reopen Virginia” rally around Capitol Square in Richmond on April 22, 2020. Getty/Ryan M. Kelly / AFP Shauna Shames, Rutgers University and Amy Atchison, Valparaiso University Dystopian fiction is hot. Sales of George Orwell’s “1984” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” have skyrocketed since 2016. Young adult dystopias – for example, Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger...
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There is a New Possibility in the Air

By Louis Colombo (June 9, 2020) What’s striking about Democratic proposals for police reform, aside from the awful optics provided by Pelosi and Schumer (best forgotten), is that proposals that would have seemed to most people pretty bold and forward looking a few weeks are already being met by charges that they don’t go far enough (they don’t). But the...
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Labor Must Be Part of the Movement to Defund the Police

By Hyung Nam (June 9, 2020) As we work to Defund Police and rethink public safety, it’s important for labor be a part of this struggle. We need to avoid the jobs vs justice argument we’ve dealt with in climate and #Medicare4All campaigns (people who work in insurance and billing). There are bad individual cops but a bigger problem is the role they play...
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No Longer Defensive

(Photo by Heather Mount, @heathermount) By S. (June 2, 2020) A number of thoughtful friends have reached out to ask me how I’m doing in the wake of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Christian Cooper and the riots that followed. Short answer: I’m optimistic. Longer answer: 20 years ago Amadou Diallo was murdered by the police and the conversations I...
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Covid19 is Not the Flu and Requires a People's Bailout for Working People

By Zakk Flash (April 28, 2020) It took 20 years, from 1955 to 1975, for the United States to lose 58,220 men and women — 47,434 in combat — in Vietnam. In less than four months, just as many Americans will have died from the #Covid19 pandemic — the toll, on April 26, stood at 55,383, a few thousand shy of the...
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What the Left Should Know about Opening the Economy

By Louis Colombo (April 27, 2020) I’ve seen too many posts implying that opening up the economy/getting back to work is simply an effort to boost the profits of the rich. Invariably, these posts come from folks on “the left.” I won’t debate the truth in that claim, but if this is all that gets posted, seen, shared, communicated, then...
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We Were Never Lazy, We Were Living in a Culture that Sapped Our Time and Energy

By Beth Strano (April 27, 2020) This is also me seeing so many folks embracing gardens, new cooking skills, mutual aid, bartering, and mending as healthy ways to rebuild the feeling that we have some control over our lives. We were never lazy, we were living in a culture that demands so much of our time and energy to survive....
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Astroturf Protests Have Some Grassroots Backing

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Aoril 23, 2020) The face of US fascism/white nationalism, a right wing populist element to it, but also the major Republican party donors, Koch, DeVoss, Coors, etc. The Republican Party has become a US-style Fascist organization with its storm troopers and radical ideology, the price worth paying apparently for the billionaire donors, themselves libertarian and neoliberal (privatize...
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We Are At Risk with Business as Usual: A Tale from Taos

By Rivera Sun (April 21, 2020) I want to share a story. It’s personal. Here in Taos, NM, our governor was on the early side of the stay-at-home orders. Our businesses closed, the town turned into a ghost town. We even have a nightly curfew. But here’s the thing: our total COVID-19 cases are 15. They have plateaued for two...
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"Open the Economy" is a Right Wing Attempt to Doom Working People

By Zakk Flash (April 20, 2020) They don’t want to “open the economy.” That’s bullshit language, cooked up in some think tank and seized upon by the media as a neutral descriptor instead of a right-wing euphemism for dooming hundreds of thousands of immunocompromised, elderly, homeless, imprisoned, and marginalized people to an early, painful death. These folks need our support....
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We Need a People's Bailout

By Red Corbeau (April 19, 2020) It is difficult to argue for a ‘stay at home’ strategy to limit the deaths when so many unemployed people are now wondering where the money is going to come from for food and rent. I understand the temptation to deny the severity of this pandemic and, out of fear, clamor for an immediate...
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Conspiracy Theories of the Left: 5G, Corona Virus, and Aliens

By Arun Gupta (April 10, 2020) I am on a listserve of leftists who are debating the role of 5G and chemtrails in the pandemic, with some claiming there is no virus at all. One person is even trotting out anti-semite conspiracist David “lizard aliens rule us” Icke. This isn’t coming out of thin air. These conspiracies on the Left...
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To Be in the United States During a Pandemic

By Jasper Smith (April 9, 2020) To be in the United States during a pandemic: – People without homes are told to stay home. – People without clean water are told to wash their hands. – People lose their job and with it their healthcare. – Most people don’t have enough savings to cover two weeks of lost income to...
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It's in the Blood of the American Liberal to Lose

By Julio Covarrubias (April 8, 2020) The most heavily black and Democratic part of Wisconsin has the greatest obstacles to the ballot. It is much easier to vote in Waukesha county, for example; it is 92 percent white and has 50 polling locations for a population of 404,198. Madison, which is 78 percent white, has 66 open polling locations for...
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In a Properly Civilized World

By Louis Colombo (April 6, 2020) In a properly civilized world, we would view this pandemic as nothing but a reminder of our interconnectedness to nature, a reminder that we are part of, but not above, nature. We would treat this time as a time to pause, retreat, reflect, be with those we love, tend to those we care about....
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United States of Sinverguenzas

By Julio Covarrubias (April 2, 2020) United States of Sinvergüenzas “Intellectuals still argue whether Amerika is a fascist country. This concern is typical of the Amerikan left’s flight from reality. … This is actually a manifestation of the authoritarian process seeping into its own psyche.” —George Jackson   Watching DNC running dogs pile-on on Bernie’s National Press Secretary Brie Joy’s...
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Seeing Inequality in Zoom

By Alexandro Jose Gradilla (April 1, 2020) One of the problems we struggle with in the university is getting a lot of the faculty to honestly see the “whole student”. As I Zoom teach with my students…I see their realties…”attending” class with a phone in a car. In very small cramped rooms. You can tell they are precariously positioned in...
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Please Do Not Thank Me For Viet Nam

By Tom Motko (March 30, 2020) (For National Viet Nam Veterans’ Day 3/29) Please do not thank me for Viet Nam. Just welcome me home and let me finally rest. Gratitude misplaced grants you no absolution. Congratulate my survival and my brothers’ but atone for your country and its sins. Do penance for the whores and the half bloods, put...
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We, the Workers, Will Build a Better World

By Zakk Flash (March 25, 2020) We’re going to see some serious supply chain problems as my fellow “essential workers” and I fall sick. Workplace protections have never been good in most industries; I’m grateful for the Teamsters collective bargaining agreement that I work under that gives me a bit more security. Unions are going to be a big part of what...
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Utopia in the Midst of Pandemic: Lessons of the Decameron for Collective Liberation

By Joseph Orosco (March 24, 2020) Looking around for articles that highlighted speculative fiction responses to pandemics, I ran across this piece from Alan Yuhas from a few years ago.  Yuhas mentions some obvious things such as Camus’s The Plague and The Walking Dead, etc, but what I found most interesting was a mention of Italian Renaissance writer Boccaccio and...
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Human Beings Aren't A Virus; Capitalism and Civilization are the Cancer

By Natan Rebelde (March 24, 2020) Many people are currently becoming more accepting of the reality that there’s something very, very wrong with our way of life. Declarations such as “humans are the virus!” are indeed misguided, but I would caution against knee-jerk accusations of eco-fascism. Of course, fascists utilizing ecological realities to forward their agendas will likely make use...
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Welcome to the Great Pandemic Depression

By Arun Gupta (March 23, 2020) I wrote this days ago saying an economic contraction of 10% or more and an unemployment rate of 20%. Only now are investment banks worth hundreds of billions of dollars considering we are in a depression. I haven’t seen anyone acknowledge what is obvious: The same economic denialism is going on now as in...
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I Am Because We Are, and So We Will Rebuild in the Aftermath

By Louis Colombo (March 22, 2020) Lots of doom and posts prophesying the end of the world. No doubt, these are some unsettling times and it’s hard to know where the bottom is. No doubt too that there’s lots of reasons to be concerned for yourself, your loved ones, and even folks you’ve never met. But here’s the thing. From...
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The Left Needs to Think About the Political-Economic Future in Six Months

By Joe Lowndes (March 21, 2020) Tucker Carlson is being cheered by some liberals for calling out NC Sen. Richard Burr for insider trading. Burr should be investigated for this, to be sure. But this is consistent with Carlson’s right-wing nationalism more generally – just as it was Pat Buchanan’s before him. However, it will matter in a new way...
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This is a Biological and Political Crisis

By Astra Taylor (March 20, 2020) If you know me, you know I love etymologically. I love the buried meanings of the word we use, their hidden resonance. The word “crisis” comes from the ancient Greek. It means the turning point in an illness—death or recovery, two stark alternatives. Someone just told me the root of “apocalypse is “to reveal”...
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