Thursday, July 25, 2019


Harry Targ

Numerous international human rights documents firmly estab­lish the principle that no human being can be “illegal” or outside the protection of the law. Yet despite the clearly established principle that discrimination and abuse based on immigration status are violations of human rights, U.S. government policies continue to sanction human rights violations against migrants and im­migrants.

Federal immigration enforcement policies, including border enforcement measures by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), have led to an increase in racial profiling, border killings, and denial of due process rights. Immigrant workers are often abused, exploited, and have become scapegoats and victims of racism and stereotyping. (See The American Civil Liberties Union, “Human Rights and Immigration,”
Nameless People

The world is observing a massive violation of human rights being perpetrated at the United States/Mexican border today. And the human tragedy has many historical parallels.

Over sixty years ago Woody Guthrie wrote his famous song “Deportees” decrying that “All they will call you will be ‘deportees.’” And “they chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.”  He wrote at a time when the US political economy depended upon temporary immigrant labor.

Since the 1940s particularly, the globalization of the economy, increased violence and repression within countries (largely involving United States interference),  growing income and wealth inequality and poverty, and the rise of repressive regimes everywhere,  emigration has increased. Some estimates indicate that 37 million people left their home countries (some 45 countries) between 2010 and 2015 for humanitarian reasons. Many more people were forced to flee their homes and communities to other locations within their own countries.

One of the ironies of world history is that capital in the form of investments, trade, the purchase of natural resources, the globalization of production, and military interventions have been common and necessary features of capitalism since its emergence in the sixteenth century. But, paradoxically, and except for the global slave trade, the movement of people has often been defined as “illegal.” The idea of national sovereignty is been used to justify branding some human migrants as “illegal,” while others receive legal status. If capital is and has been global, the movement of people should be respected as well. It makes no sense, nor is it humane, to brand any human beings as, Guthrie’s term,  “deportees.”

The horrific atrocities of World War II led nations to commit themselves permanently to the protection of basic rights for all human beings. Eleanor Roosevelt, the widow of the wartime President, Franklin Roosevelt, worked diligently with leaders from around the world to develop a document, to articulate a set of principles, which would bind humankind to never carry out acts of mass murder again.

In addition, the document also committed nations to work to end most forms of pain and suffering.

In December, 1948, the year Guthrie wrote his song,  delegates from the United Nations General Assembly signed the document which they called “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” It consisted of a preamble proclaiming that all signatories recognized "the inherent dignity" and "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family" as the "foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world."

The preamble declared the commitment of the signatories to the creation of a world “in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want...”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights consisted of 30 articles, with varying degrees of elaboration. The first 21 articles referred primarily to civil and political rights. They prohibited discrimination, persecution for the holding of various political beliefs, slavery, torture, and arbitrary arrest and detention.

Persons had the right to speak their mind, travel, reside anywhere, have a fair trial if charged with crimes, own property, form a family, and in the main to hold the rights of citizenship including universal and equal suffrage in their country.

The remaining nine articles addressed what may be called social and economic rights. These included rights to basic social security in accordance with the resources of the state in which the persons reside; rights to adequate leisure and holidays with pay; an adequate standard of living so that individuals and families had sufficient food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; and education, free at least at the primary levels.

In addition, these nine articles guaranteed a vibrant cultural life in the community, the right to enjoy and participate in the arts, and to benefit from scientific achievements.

While each article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provided a rich and vivid portrait of what must be achieved for all humankind, no article speaks to our time more than Article 23. It is one of the longer articles, identifying four basic principles:

 Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work, and to protection against unemployment.

·        Everyone, without discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

·        Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself (or herself) and his (her) family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

·        Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his (her) interests.

Using the language of our day, the principles embedded in Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights constituted a bedrock vision inspiring the global 99 percent to rise up against their exploiters from Cairo to Madison, to Wall Street, to cities and towns all over the world.

The global political economy is broken. The dominant mode of production, capitalism, increasingly cannot provide work, fair remuneration, rights of workers to speak their mind and organize their own associations, and the provision of a comfortable way of life all because the value of what they produce is expropriated by the top 1 percent of global society.

Data about the world, data about the United States, and right now the experience of emigres from Central America seeking their human rights, make it clear that there has been a 30-year trajectory in the direction opposite to the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Global inequality is growing. The rights and abilities of workers to form unions are shrinking. Standards of living of most of humankind are declining. The ability of most workers everywhere to acquire secure jobs is declining. And, in the case of people fleeing their own countries in desperation, they experience incarceration in brutally inhumane camps.

Fundamentally, the world is witnessing a denigration of the vision articulated after World War II that “never again” would sectors of humanity be victimized by economic injustice, political repression, and state violence.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights must now become the standard by which national policies are judged. Anything short of the principles embedded in the Declaration constitute a crime that must be opposed.

Sunday, July 21, 2019


Harry Targ

On The Law of Hybrid Wars
Andrew Korybko, a Russian scholar/journalist, has written about a new concept, “hybrid wars,” with a long history in practice. The author refers to the Law of Hybrid War as “The grand objective behind every Hybrid War is to disrupt multipolar transnational connective projects through externally provoked identity conflicts (ethnic, religious, regional, political etc.) within a targeted transit state” (Andrew Korybko, “Hybrid Wars 1. The Law of Hybrid Warfare,” Oriental, 4/3.2016). His  concern was United States targeted efforts to undermine efforts by Russia to integrate with Eurasian states and the US desire to disrupt China’s “silk road” projects. It is clear that the concept refers also to efforts by imperial states, particularly the United States, to undermine any efforts by other countries to develop political and economic solidarity that might threaten regional or global hegemony. And Korybko added that ”Hybrid Wars are externally provoked asymmetrical conflicts predicated on sabotaging concrete geo-economic interests.”

The tactics of Hybrid War prioritize identifying strategic weaknesses in target states. These do not necessarily prioritize targeting roads, bridges, or power plants for destruction but rather economic, political, ethnic, or other vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities may include ethnicity, religion, history, administrative boundaries, and socio-economic disparities. Using “soft power” the imperial state supports the introduction of seemingly neutral technologies or processes, such as the internet in the target country. New intrusions are supported by some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as the Soros Foundation or the National Endowment for Democracy. NGOs claim to be motivated to facilitate political and economic development. As David Harvey has suggested NGO projects come with a frame of reference, a goal, and/or a conception of desirable economic or political paths the host country should take. From the Hybrid War perspective these intrusions are used to exacerbate the class, ethnic, and/or geopolitical tensions in the target state.
Most important for our analysis is the argument raised by Korybko that a critical precondition for imposing hybrid war (and a critical tool of it) is the pressure brought by “globally recognized” sanctions. Early in the process of imperial intrusion, victimized states experience increased costs for importing critical commodities, food, energy etc., constraints imposed on exports, and denial of loan requests from international financial institutions. As political instability increases, targeted states are forced to spend more on security, thus sucking resources away from domestic needs. Thus, the Law of Hybrid War involves an imperial state deciding that transnational projects constitute a threat to its rule and assessing historic vulnerabilities of targeted states. Then the imperialists institute policies of intrusion on target states through technology, expansion of an NGO presence, and organizing a global sanctions regime against the targeted state. From a Hybrid War perspective, the imperial power hopes for such an exacerbation of tensions so that regime change will occur without the introduction of foreign troops.

Hybrid Wars in Latin America

A team of researchers affiliated with Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, published an essay online called “Venezuela and Hybrid Wars in Latin America,” June, 2019. The summary conclusion they drew indicates that “The elements of the hybrid war include: economic and financial suffocation economic destabilization, media and diplomatic blockades, the promotion of violence inside the country—including assassinations—the generation of chaos with the attack on essential services (including the electricity grid), the pressure for an institutional fracture or a coup d’etat and, finally, the threat of an external military intervention” (44).

 What we learn from the concept of Hybrid War (which is not new) is that instead of launching gun boat diplomacy as a first tactic (as in the case of over 30 US military interventions in Latin America from 1898 until the 1930s), the United States, in order to overcome developing regional solidarity against hegemony, identifies vulnerabilities in the most significant states (Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua) and launches a multi-dimensional campaign of destabilization, with traditional military intervention as just a last resort. High on the list are economic sanctions, commercial blockades, networking with dissidents from the wealthy, promoting a dissident local media, generating a whole media narrative for consumption in the United States and Europe that challenges the legitimacy of the existing governments, and generates a discourse among intellectuals, “experts,” that justify Hybrid War strategies. The latter particularly are inserted into left and progressive conversations about US policy. A significant facilitator of these destabilizing strategies iinclude so-called Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) which often provide aid, promote education, advocate for specific economic development models, and promote religious agendas. At the level of culture the imagery of high mass consumption and how it is intimately connected to a neoliberal economic model undergirds the Hybrid War project. And again, if all else fails, militarism remains an option (and throughout the period of Hybrid War, war remains a threat).
Meanings of the Hybrid War Concept for the Peace Movement

We can deduce a variety of conclusions from the Law of Hybrid Wars.

First, twenty-first century imperialism is not solely or primarily about fighting wars.
Second, hegemonic powers, such as the United States, see coalitions of states as a threat to global dominance. This is true in Eurasia, the countries along the Silk Road, and in Latin America where a crippled Bolivarian Revolution survives.

Third, strategists do not primarily act impulsively. They see a threat, which includes transnational cooperation and resistance. Strategists then identify weak links in threatened coalitions. They formulate multi-dimensional, stage-by-stage responses. And these responses involve economics, culture, sowing seeds of division, promoting demonic narratives about target states, and at the same time they leave “all options on the table,” which means traditional military action.
Fourth, the Law of Hybrid War suggests that the peace movement must treat economic blockades, efforts to isolate target states in the international system, blatant lies about target nations as acts of war.

Fifth, the peace movement needs to be wary of false narratives and NGOs that are presented as philanthropic.
Finally, it behooves the peace movement to be cognizant of twenty-first century methods of imperialism; fashioning strategies that clearly and compellingly identify and combat economic sanctions, false narratives, and institutions that seem to be philanthropic as acts of war.

This analysis resonates currently with daily news accounts involving Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Iran and, while more complicated, Russia and China.


Friday, July 12, 2019

"All they will call you will be deportees."

THE CENTRAL AMERICAN REFUGEES ARE 21ST CENTURY DESCENDANTS OF IMPERIALISM (reposted from The Rag Blog July 19, 2014 and again on March 30, 2017)

Harry Targ

Woody Guthrie wrote his famous song “Deportees” in 1948 decrying that “All they will call you will be ‘deportees.’” And “they chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.”  He wrote at a time when the US political economy depended upon temporary immigrant labor.

Since the 1940s particularly, the globalization of the economy, increased violence and repression within countries (largely involving United States interference),  growing income and wealth inequality and poverty, and the rise of repressive regimes everywhere,  emigration has increased. Some estimates indicate that 37 million people left their home countries (some 45 countries) between 2010 and 2015 for humanitarian reasons.

One of the ironies of world history is that capital in the form of investments, trade, the purchase of natural resources, the globalization of production, and military interventions have been common and necessary features of capitalism since its emergence in the sixteenth century. But, paradoxically, and except for the global slave trade, the movement of people has been illegal. The idea of national sovereignty is mostly used to justify branding some human migrants as “illegal.” If capital is and has been legal, the movement of people should be legal as well. It makes no sense, nor is it humane, to brand any human beings as “deportees.”

And to see how the system of imperialism has worked in Latin America to create “deportees” we can revisit recent United States/Central American history.

A Military Coup in Honduras

Sunday, June 28, 2009 the Honduran military carried out a Coup ousting duly elected President Manuel Zelaya from power. Almost immediately leaders of Western Hemisphere nations condemned the actions taken in Tegucigalpa, the capital city. For example, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) asserted that the days of military coups as a mechanism of the transfer of power were over in Latin America.

President Obama said on the following day that "it would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections…. The region has made enormous progress over the last 20 years in establishing democratic traditions in Central America and Latin America. We don't want to go back to a dark past."

On June 30, the United Nations General Assembly passed by acclamation a non-binding resolution condemning the military action and demanding that Zelaya be returned to office. Political opposites from former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, to Barack Obama took the same position on the events in Honduras, although Chavez articulated the view that the United States had a role in the Coup.

The New York Times reported on the Coup and the mass mobilizations in Honduras protesting it. The story did editorialize by pointing out that Zelaya, who was elected in 2006, was closely allied with Hugo Chavez and had linked Honduras to the Chavez led “leftist alliance, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas.” The Times further reported that there were large scale protests in the capital of Honduras in support of the Coup. And they claimed that Zelaya would have had no world significance if it were not for the Coup which made him famous.

Subsequent to the worldwide condemnations, including from the Obama administration, two elections were held ignoring the Coup, one later in 2009 and another in 2013. In other words, former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted was never allowed to return to office.

Journalist John Perry wrote three years after the Coup that Honduras had distinguished itself by its escalating violence. “…the murder rate is four times that of Mexico and it has become the world’s most dangerous country for journalists with 23 having been assassinated over the last three years.” Perry pointed out that in the Northeast of the country big landowners struggled against small farmers who sought to keep control of their land and the area has become a transit point for drug smuggling (John Perry, “Honduras--Three Years After the Coup,” June 27, 2012.) 

The Relevance of Central American History for Today

The horrific migrations of the young and their families from the Central American war zones in 2014 (and earlier) are explained by media and politicians as caused by the quest of migrants for an improved standard of living to be found in the United States, or flight from homegrown drug gangs, or loose talk from President Obama about asylum for refugees, or failures of the Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform legislation. These common narratives ignore the history of United States imperialism in the Western Hemisphere and particularly the grotesque U.S. inspired violence against the Central American peoples launched by the Reagan administration in the 1980s. Also, they do not address the economic devastation in the region caused by neo-liberal economic policies imposed by the debt and trade systems. Any serious discussion of the current refugee crisis of thousands of young people fleeing poverty and violence should include the following:

First, the Western Hemisphere has experienced hundreds of years of shifting external interference, mass murder and economic exploitation of natural resources, agricultural lands, cheap labor, and sweat shop workers. The Spanish, the British, and the United States figured most prominently in this unhappy story, referred to by Eduardo Galeano as “five centuries of the pillage of a continent.”

Second, twentieth century Central America was dramatically shaped by over thirty U.S. military incursions and occupations in Central America and the Caribbean between 1898 and the 1930s. For example, U.S. troops were sent to Honduras in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, and 1924-25.

Third, economic ruling classes in the Hemisphere and their foreign partners increasingly were forced to rely on strong military forces to crush domestic opposition to elite rule and devastating poverty and exploitation. Particularly in Central America, the military as an institution became a material force, sometimes independent of the economic ruling class. From the early 1930s until the end of World War II military dictatorships ruled each of the five Central American countries. Later, in the height of the Cold War in the 1970s, 2/3 of the land mass and population of Latin America was ruled by brutal military dictatorship: Argentina, Brazil, and Chile being the most prominent.

Fourth, in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan brought the struggle against “international communism” to Central America. He launched and supported brutal wars against the Salvadoran and Nicaraguan people and looked the other way as the Guatemalan generals engaged in genocide against the majority indigenous population of that country. An estimated 400,000 Central America peoples died in these U.S. supported wars.

Honduras, before 1980, was a country with less violent military rule and only received modest amounts of U.S. military aid. However, as a result of Reagan’s wars in Central America, Honduras became the military base for U.S. operations in the region; training the contra rebels fighting against the Nicaraguan government and providing training and military support operations for Salvadoran troops fighting against FMLN rebels. Honduras received more military aid from the United States in the mid-1980s, than it did during the prior thirty years. Thousands of U.S. troops, numerous air strips, and field exercises for summer National Guard troops made Honduras a U.S. armed camp.

Fifth, parallel to the war on communism in the Western Hemisphere, the Reagan administration forced on the countries of the region the neo-liberal economic policies of downsizing government, deregulation, privatization, free trade, and shifts to export-oriented production. In the 1980s, the economic consequences of these policies were referred to by Latin American scholars as “the lost decade.”

While the economies of Central American countries have improved since the 1980s, they remain poor and dependent. Honduras is the poorest of the five countries in the region. In 2003 its per capita Gross Domestic Product was $803 (the regional figure was $1,405). A little over 9 percent of its earnings came from overseas remittances. Honduran debt constituted 66 percent of total GDP. And life expectancy was 66 years.

This brief review of some of the Latin American experience was part of the story of the 2009 coup, the escalation of domestic violence that ensued in the country since then, and the refugee crisis today. The histories of Guatemala and El Salvador have been similar. Even though elections in El Salvador brought former guerrilla members to power, U.S. and domestic elite opposition to radical reforms in that country have stifled the fundamental changes needed to transform the lives of the people there.

The Refugees as Victims of Imperialism

In general, we first should remember that whenever the interests of foreign investors (particularly from the United States), domestic ruling classes and/or military elites were threatened by international political forces and/or domestic mobilization of workers and peasants, the military moved in to reverse the forces of history.

Second, the United States has played a direct role in such interventions and has provided military assistance and training for military officers of all Latin American militaries ever since the end of World War II. (The training facility used to be called The School of the Americas and now is officially The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation).

Third, military interventionism and covert operations have been paralleled by economic intervention through the debt system, foreign investment, trade agreements, and quotas and embargoes of goods from Latin American countries.

Fourth, the winds of change that were initiated in the 1960s in the region were first stifled and isolated, then spread in the 1980s and beyond. Most recently, countries as varied as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Venezuela have begun to step in a new direction; away from the neo-liberal economic model, away from deference to traditional great powers, and in resistance to the United States. (Honduras had begun to move in this direction as well before the Coup).

Most importantly, these countries, and other countries from the Global South in Asia and Africa, have been constructing new economic and political institutions that might transform an international economic and political system based on 500 years of North Atlantic rule. The fact that 192 countries in the United Nations condemned the Honduran Coup in 2009 suggested that this battle has gone beyond the simplistic New York Times frame that the Honduran battle was merely about competing special interests.

President Obama evidenced a sense of the history of U.S. imperialism in the Western Hemisphere and the role that regional domestic economic and military elites played in Central American countries when he criticized the 2009 coup in Honduras. However, his subsequent support of those who carried out the Coup and who refused to allow the ousted President to return, signaled that he would be returning to the traditional U.S. approach to the region. And the traditional United States policy supporting the consolidation of foreign investments and domestic wealth in Central America and  profit derived from the drug wars is connected to the  pain and suffering of Central American peoples.

Of course, a serious effort to address the refugee problem today would have to include a U.S. shift to support popular forces in the region, rejection of draconian neo-liberal policies, regional  allocation of economic assistance to stimulate grassroots economic institutions with people producing for domestic consumption, and radical disarmament of Central American militaries, police, and drug gangs. It would be a tall order but a worthy one for solidarity activists in the United States and the rest of the Hemisphere to support.

Finally, in the short-term, progressives should demand that the children entering the United States be treated as refugees and provided safety and security. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

"If There is No Struggle There is No Progress"

This essay was written in 2014. The portrait of rising “neo-fascism” and growing resistance are still relevant in 2019. On this July 4th the forces of reaction have become even more clear, state violence at home and abroad continue, centrist politicians resist change more than they support it, and the crises of poverty, war, racism and the climate continue. But as the commentary noted five years ago the seeds of growing resistance were being planted. They seem to be growing.

Harry Targ
On Contradictions

Political philosophers influenced by the writings of Marx and Engels emphasize the connections among all social processes, the opposing characteristics embedded in them, and how social dynamics are intrinsically conflictive leading to new and different futures. For most activists this means that politics and history are complicated. Before drawing premature conclusions about what is going on and what to do about it, thoughtful reflection on the multiple dimensions of causes and effects and effects and causes are needed. No more is this so than in coming to grips with the political “time of day” in which we live.

The Advance of Reaction
On the one hand, recent events underscore the rise of what can reasonably be called “neo-fascism,” advances in the construction of a police state, a desperate and renewed commitment to U.S. imperialism, escalated assaults--economic, political, police--on African Americans, Latinos, women, workers, and immigrants, and gluttonous increases in corporate and banking profits while gaps in wealth, income, and political power widen.

The November, 2014 election brought Republican control of the U.S. Senate (53-44 so far) and the House of Representatives (243-178), and both houses of 29 state legislatures compared to 11 Democratic-dominated state legislatures. In total Republicans hold majorities in 68 of 98 state legislative bodies.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will be holding a planning meeting in Washington the first week of December to map out an agenda for the newly victorious Republicans at all levels of government. High on their agenda will be legislation blocking increases in minimum wages, expanding so-called right-to-work laws, limiting access to Medicaid, restricting global taxes on tobacco, creating more free trade agreements, and increasing the privatization of schools. Of course the Republican wave brings with it more climate change deniers, war hawks, and anti-choice activists, tinged with biblical visions of public policy.

The crisis over the police murder of young Mike Brown has highlighted the racial and class character of the criminal justice system in the United States. Various data sources have uncovered the egregious racism in the criminal justice system from arrests, access to legal counsel, trials, convictions, sentencing, and incarceration. For example, white policemen were 21 times more likely to shoot a Black man than a white man between 2007 and 2012. At least two black men were killed by white policemen each week during these years, killing at least 500. (This was double the number of lynchings occurring during a five year period before anti-lynching laws were introduced in Congress in the 1920s). Michelle Alexander estimates that there are more African Americans in jail in 2010 than were enslaved in 1850). Furthermore, while African Americans constitute 13 percent of drug users they constitute 46 percent of drug convictions (Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “Organizing Fergusons,” Jacobin, November 26, 2014,
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was fired on November 24 in the midst of United States foreign policy “crises” from the struggle against ISIS to the Syrian civil war, negotiations with Iran over nuclear development, escalation of U.S. troop activity in Afghanistan, and continuing public campaigns from the neo-conservative wing of the foreign policy establishment to send troops and in other ways expand military operations around the globe.

Pundits offered competing interpretations of the meaning of the firing from incompetence to policy disputes with Obama or his national security staff. Probably Hagel had some disputes with National Security Advisor Susan Rice who usually sides with the interventionist wing of the foreign policy elite. Irrespective of the reasons for the firing, the long-term impacts of securing a new Secretary of Defense nomination and Senate approval, and in the context of the Republican Congressional victories, will be a renewed debate about escalating U.S. military interventionism in the Middle East, South Asia, and even the Western Hemisphere. Obama’s sometimes “realist” foreign policy will be further challenged.   
President Obama in a prime time address on November 20, 2014 announced that he was using his executive authority to grant temporary amnesty to approximately five million undocumented immigrants, mostly parents of children who are United States citizens by birth. Despite the fact that the Obama administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other president, his announced executive order brought outcries from Republican leaders, threatening lawsuits, impeachment, and various legislative actions when the new Congress assumes power in January. Ironically, although the president’s action does not constitute comprehensive immigration reform the groundswell of support, particularly from the Latino community, was enormous suggesting that if the announcement was made before the fall election several losing Democratic Senatorial candidates might have been victorious.

Finally, and as always below the radar screen, the economy has been doing well for the one percent. For example, Thomas L. Hungerford (“Is Corporate America Going to the Poorhouse?” The Economic Policy Institute Blog, October 8, 2014, pointed out that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $30 million supporting mostly Republicans. Even so, Hungerford presents data indicating that while corporate profits have fluctuated between 1946 and 2013, they reached a peak in 2013. “In 2013, the before-tax profit share was 21 percent, which is the highest level since the mid-1960s. Interestingly, the 2013 after-tax profit share is at a post-World War II high of 15 percent! It would appear that corporate America has been doing rather well under President Obama and the current corporate tax system.”
Growing Resistance

Even though the data is not in and resistance and revolt may or may not have lasting effects, the contradictions generated by capitalism, the police state, and imperialism are stark. In the electoral arena voters who went to the polls elected rightwing extremists and voted on various referenda to raise wages and to legalize marijuana. Most sitting Congresspersons were reelected, including members of the Progressive and Black Caucuses. A few candidates, such as Senator Al Franken campaigned as populists. And in selected communities, get out the vote campaigns led to turnouts exceeding the 2010 figures. Rev. Barber made it clear that the Moral Mondays: Moving Forward Together movement is not primarily about an election or elections in general, but used the elections to articulate a moral agenda that is as relevant in the streets as the ballot box.
John Nichols pointed out (“An Inconvenient Political Truth: That St. Louis Prosecutor is a Democrat,” The Nation, November 26, 2014, that the St. Louis County Prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, who rigged the Grand Jury to absolve policeman Darren Wilson of his killing of unarmed Michael Brown is a Democrat. “Across America, counties elect top law-enforcement officials as state’s attorneys, district attorneys and prosecuting attorneys. Hundreds of them are Democrats.” Nichols says that many of these are progressive, others are not. Less visible elected office holders need to be properly vetted, not taking party label as sufficient indicator of candidate commitments to justice.

Robin D. G. Kelley appropriately describes the longstanding tradition of police brutality as akin to a “low-intensity war between the state and Black people.” He describes in painful detail the long history of police violence and white vigilantism against African Americans and the ideological justifications for their actions. Kelley reports that revolt against this war has begun first in Ferguson where young organizers have created “Hands Up United, Lost Voices, Organization for Black Struggle, Don’t Shoot Coalition, Millennial Activists United” and other groups. Mobilizations have spread to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Indianapolis, and other cities and towns across America. Paralleled by traditional and older civil rights organizations, this potential mass movement is stimulated by energetic, angry young people, Black and white.
In the midst of the election season, police violence, calls for expanded U.S military adventures overseas, mobilizations of historic magnitudes have occurred. The People’s Climate March in New York City drew 400,000 participants among them activists concentrating on the environment, peace, anti-racism, and worker rights. Increasingly movement activists see the inextricable connection between their issues and saving the natural environment.

Also fast food workers have been protesting low wages and long hours. Others have been organizing economic boycotts such as against Black Friday, demanding better working conditions. Health care workers are mobilizing about wages and the right to organize and teachers are actively opposing charter schools, school vouchers, and the selling off of higher education to corporate interests.
The Moral Mondays movement has begun the reconceptualization of the politics of resistance by appropriating the idea of fusion politics which first appeared during Reconstruction after the civil war. Then, former slaves and poor whites built coalitions to gain power in state legislatures and to write truly democratic state constitutions. Rev. William Barber and the movement that was initiated in North Carolina in 2006 emphasizes the interconnectedness of all the problems that impede social and economic justice much as was done by Blacks and whites in the 1860s. Today, he says the only antidote to huge corporate power, whether the extremist wing reflected in the Koch Brothers and ALEC or the Clinton Wall Streeters, is the coming together of masses of people--Black, white, workers, straight, gay, faith-based or no faith-- and their organizations to fight the right and propose a moral agenda based upon constitutional and ethical principles. Moral Mondays is expanding throughout the South, the Midwest, and the Southwest.

Finally, pockets of youth militancy drawn to visions of 21st century socialism have sprouted up in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Jackson, Mississippi, and elsewhere. Young people are making long-term commitments to study, organization building, and the construction of political power as reflected in modest electoral victories at local, state, and national levels.  

All these mobilizations are grounded in local circumstances, U.S. history, and global mobilizations rising up against neoliberal globalization. Cross-national networks of activists are increasingly sharing their insights and sense of solidarity that just might lead to a global resistance consciousness in the future.
It remains unclear what the outcome of the contradiction between reaction and resistance will bring in the months and years ahead. But Frederick Douglass was correct when he said:

“If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will (“If there is No Struggle, there is No Progress,” August 3, 1857, at