Bill Fletcher Jr.

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Is Gone: Now What?

In the early 2000s, I visited Zimbabwe and met with the leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the association that joins together the country’s major labor unions. I was asked to give a speech to the leadership body. I received a cool, though polite response, leaving me a bit puzzled until I received my first question.

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The Identity Politics Red Herring

In the aftermath of the November 2016 elections, the term “identity politics” has been thrown around repeatedly with many progressives suggesting that the Electoral College defeat of Clinton by Trump was the result of some sort of Democratic Party obsession with that concept.

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Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016

On the left and within progressive movements there were two immediate responses to Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections. First shock, frequently accompanied by despair. How could an openly racist, misogynist authoritarian—personally unstable to boot—be elected president? Second, anger with the Democrats for the sort of campaign they waged. At that point, however, a division emerged around a third point: what, we asked, was the source of Trump’s victory? And even more important, what are the strategic implications?

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Black America and the Passing of Fidel Castro

It is impossible to discuss Fidel Castro outside of an examination of the Cuban Revolution. And, while I hear that there are many Cuban Americans dancing with glee upon news of the death of President Castro, I know that the emotions within Black America are and will continue to be quite different.

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Is Clinton 2016 Channeling Dukakis 1988?

There is a growing chorus of concern regarding the strategy of the Clinton campaign, a sense among many commentators that her campaign believes Trump will self-destruct. Therefore, it appears many in the Clinton campaign believe the best course of action is to stay out of harm’s way.

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Changing the Paradigm: Women, National Liberation and Revolution in the 21st Century

I was in the middle of reading Meredith Tax’s exceptional book, A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State (Bellevue Literary Press, 2016), when the Istanbul terrorist bombing took place. As is so typical of the U.S. media, the level of analysis was superficial. We were given the horrific details but beyond that there was little background as to what might have unfolded on that terrible day. Some mention was made of the Kurds and then Daesh (the so-called Islamic State). The most recent report I have seen is that the suicide bombers may have been Chechens.  

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Voter Repression Is a Serious Problem: It Is Time for a New Freedom Summer

I found myself reading about the impact of voter suppression, i.e., the efforts to inhibit voter registration and voter participation that have been orchestrated by Republican-dominated state legislatures since 2009.  Voter suppression actually has a long and ignominious history in the USA, but the 1965 Voting Rights Act cramped such efforts.  The US Supreme Court’s neutering of the Voting Rights Act, Shelby County v Holder , opened up myriad possibilities for Republican shenanigans in the electoral arena.  Republicans have created immense obstacles to registration -  reduced the number of days for early voting,  eliminated same-day registration - all with the clear and unadulterated aim of sinking, if not eliminating the Democratic electorate.  What is striking is that, not very far behind their bogus arguments regarding alleged voter fraud, Republicans are close to admitting, or will outright admit, that their aim is to get potential Democratic voters to remain home.

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Why Progressives Need a National Electoral Strategy - and Fast

Every electoral cycle gives me the sense of “Groundhog Day” within progressive circles. It feels as if the same discussion take places over and again. No matter what has transpired in the intervening years; no matter what mass struggles; no matter what theoretical insights; progressives find themselves debating the relative importance of electoral politics and the pros and cons of specific candidates. These debates frequently become nothing short of slugfests as charges are thrown around of reformism, sell-outs and purism. And then, during the next cycle, we are back at it.

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Why the Supreme Court Should Leave Well Enough Alone and Let Workers Build Unions

Current discussions regarding the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case now before the U.S. Supreme Court are missing the critical implication of this debate. The case revolves around whether a public sector union employer negotiated collective bargaining agreement can include a provision for what is known as “agency fee.” Agency fee refers to a payment that employees who choose not to join a labor union pay the union for purposes of representation. It is not, contrary to some statements in the media, union dues. It is something very different.

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New Whitey Bulger Book Reveals Intricate Web of Decades of Public Corruption in Boston and Inside FBI

When was the last time you read a book that pulls back the curtain to expose the dark ways America’s most notorious criminals, police agencies and political elites share far too many of the same values—and indeed, collaborate—to serve their own agendas while ruining the lives of innocents? Where the Bodies were Buried: Whitey Bulger and the World That Made Him does that. It is one of the scariest and most compelling books I have recently read.

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