Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Nation: The Democrats' School Choice Problem

Remember - Al Shanker's major reason for the charter school idea was to counter vouchers. The Trump Party has moved from charters to vouchers so the Dems are forced to defend real not phony public education since charters are vouchers in another form. The worm is turning.
“If we as community members don’t commit to this public institution that we fought so hard for generations ago, we’re going to lose control of it,” says Brooks. Her message resonated with Philly’s voters, and thrilled the audience of teachers and activists who were on hand in Pittsburgh to hear a long list of presidential hopefuls weigh in on the future of the country’s schools. But just outside of the convention center, on a rain-slicked plaza, the resistance to the Democrats’ leftward swing on education was on vivid display. Over 100 charter school parents, part of the same school choice network that disrupted an Elizabeth Warren campaign event last month, came armed with a message of their own: Black Democrats support charter schools. Welcome to the Democrats’ school choice wars. For the last three decades, charter schools have attracted bipartisan love, amassing an unlikely—and unwieldy—amalgam of supporters along the way: GOP free marketeers, civil rights advocates, ‘third way’ Democrats, and hedge fund billionaires. But in an era of fierce political partisanship, that coalition is now unraveling....
In Philadelphia as in Detroit, New Orleans, Oakland, and elsewhere, the popularity of charter schools has come up against the unpopular consequences of their dramatic expansion: the loss of neighborhood schools and the jobs that go with them, the turmoil of school closures, and the demise of political influence that follows in privatization’s wake.
Jennifer C. Berkshire, https://www.thenation.com/article/education-school-choice-democrats/
Jennifer Berkshire started out as a part-time blogger battling ed deform and has morphed into a full-time journalist and is writing a book with a great title: A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door

The attacks on Dems who reject charters are that they are pandering to the unions - which is sort of funny for those of us who opposed charters from the very beginning and found our teacher unions waffling and even siding with charters at times. Here is a key point in her article:
For the past three decades, the Democratic establishment has embraced more and better education as the sole fix for the country’s economic woes. An emboldened left-wing now loudly rejects that view in favor of much more aggressive redistributionist policies, viewing the embrace of school privatization as just another in a long list of party missteps. The charter school wing, meanwhile, is also home to the centrist Dems and Wall Streeters who are the loudest opponents of the party’s left-wing tilt. 
I maintain it was this waffling that allowed the Dem Party to go full bore on charters - Imagine if the unions had said to Obama flat out - NO WAY!

The Democrats’ School Choice Problem

Charter schools find their most vocal Democratic support among the least progressive members of the party: centrists and Wall Streeters.


The 3,000 Americans Who Fought Fascism Before World War II - Jeremy Scahill

intercepted with Jeremy Scahill
For Whom the Trump Trolls
What the Abraham Lincoln Brigade can teach us about fighting fascism in the 21st century.
I've always been fascinated by the Lincoln Brigade and tried to imagine myself doing anything like it and I came up short. I think I would have hidden under the bed. One of the older teaching guys I knew in my early days of activism once showed us a bullet wound on his foot from the Lincoln Brigade times. I admire people who put their lives on the line for their beliefs even in a lost cause.

Here is an interview on Intercepted by Jeremy Scahill:
In 1936, young Americans began heading over to Spain to confront the rise of fascism in Europe. They became known as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. In all, an estimated nearly 3,000 Americans fought in the Spanish Civil War. Spain was viewed as an early front line in the battle against fascism in Europe and these young Americans joined volunteers from across the globe who came to Spain to fight against fascist forces led by General Francisco Franco. Franco was a murderous thug and an ally of Mussolini and Hitler. And eventually, he became a great ally of the United States government.
While the story of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade is not often told or recalled in the modern era, it should be. It is a story of young Americans, many of them immigrants, laborers, and workers, who saw the dangers of fascism years before the U.S. government got militarily involved in the war against Hitler and his allies and the point where the mythical history of the fight against fascism in Europe taught in many U.S. schools begins. The Lincoln Brigade deployed to fight fascism before it spread while powerful American businesses and government officials supported Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco or feigned neutrality that actually amounted to aiding fascism.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump held a joint press conference with the Spanish prime minister. The timing was interesting, given that the Spanish government is at this moment forcefully seeking to stop a referendum on independence in Catalonia. Donald Trump seemed confused about the difference between Spain’s prime minister and its president, but he nonetheless made clear where he stands on this issue. “I speak as the president of the United States, as somebody that has great respect for your president, and also has really great respect for your country,” Trump said, standing next to the Spanish prime minister. “I really think the people of Catalonia would stay with Spain.  I think it would be foolish not to.  Because you’re talking about staying with a truly great, beautiful, and very historic country.”
It’s interesting that while Trump uses his generic filler for countries he doesn’t know much about — great, historic, beautiful — the U.S. relationship with Spain for many decades was one of normalizing the brutal dictatorship of Gen. Franco. It is unlikely Trump knows much, if anything, about Franco, but he would have loved the dictator who ruled until his death in 1975. Franco’s whole agenda was framed around Making Spain Great Again: shield it from foreign influence; preserve its conservative brand of Catholicism; fascism masquerading as proud nationalism.
There is a lot of debate and discussion today over the tactics of the groups and people generally referred to as Antifa. And it has become a regular talking point of Democrats and some liberal pundits to equate Antifa with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists being more and more empowered by this administration. This both-sides-are-wrong mentality has been used throughout history to forgive the crimes of right-wing fascist movements.
The veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were celebrated as heroes and visionaries who saw the threat early and tried to stop it. But as U.S. interests shifted, they soon became targets of anti-communist witch hunts. And today, they are seldom mentioned, even though they fought and died to defeat fascism before the U.S. ever entered World War II. This story is vital for all of us to study, particularly in this moment in history.
On the Intercepted podcast this week, we dug deep into this history with NYU professor James Fernandez. He is on the board of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive. What follows is the entire transcript of that interview, an excerpt of which was broadcast on Intercepted.
Full interview below:


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

NYT David Leonhardt: How ‘Centrist Bias’ Hurts Sanders and Warren -

Political and economic journalism too often assumes otherwise and treats the center as inherently sensible. This year’s Democratic presidential campaign has been a good case study. The skeptical questions posed to the more moderate Democrats are frequently about style or tactics: Are you too old? Too young? Too rich? Too far behind in the polls?

The skeptical questions for the more progressive candidates, Sanders and Warren, often challenge the substance of their ideas: Are you too radical? Are you being realistic? And, by golly, how would you pay for it all?
I recently took a detailed look through the coverage of the wealth tax, favored by both Sanders and Warren, and centrist bias seeps through much of it. The coverage has slanted negative, filled with the worries that centrists have — that the tax wouldn’t work in practice or would slow economic growth. ... David Leonhardt
Wow! After so many articles pointing to the NY Times bias, here is an interesting piece from Sunday's Times. Is Leonhardt turning left?

]No so fast about the NYT. See Diane Ravitch today:

Robert Kuttner: NY Times Brands Sanders and Warren “Far Left”

by dianeravitch
Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect takes the New York Times to task for its coverage of progressive candidates.]

Yaffed's press conference responding to the revelation of foot-dragging by the city and state in taking action to ensure Yeshivas provide an adequate education to their students

Leonie's account of the Yaffed presser this AM responding to foot-dragging of the Mayor and the state, along with the full statements made by Naftuli Moster & Beatrice Weber , a mom suing her son's Yeshiva & DOE  for educational neglect:

Yaffed's press conference responding to the revelation of foot-dragging by the city and state in taking action to ensure Yeshivas provide an adequate education to their students

One day after a Department of Investigation inquiry revealed that in 2017, the Mayor had delayed the release of an interim report into the quality of the education received by Ultra-Orthodox Yeshivas students in exchange for the Legislature extending his control over the public schools, the NYC Department of Education finally released its letter to the State Education Department, summarizing the results of its long-awaited investigation into ultra-orthodox Yeshivas.

Even as the DOE letter reported that only two of 38 Yeshivas they visited provided anywhere near a substantially equivalent education compliant with state law, as found via pre-announced visits that ended last spring, they also soft-pedaled the results, with the Chancellor writing that, "The DOE recognizes and applauds the significant progress made as a result of the proactive steps many schools have taken. The DOE is committed to working collaboratively with the schools to assist them as they continue on the path of providing improved instruction."  More on the letter from the Forward, Gothamist and Politico.

In response, Yaffed held a well-attended press conference this morning.  Here is a story about today's presser from the Daily News.
 More at the blog:

Lots of news clips re de Blasio administration trading delay of release of Yeshiva report for the extension of mayoral controlin 2017.

Gothamist  gives the larger context with the fight over who would control the SCI office and de Blasio’s firing former DOI head Mark Peters over this issue

In a letter to the City Council last year, former DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said he encountered interference and "visible anger" from the de Blasio administration when it came to investigating the yeshivas. Peters was fired by de Blasio after a report showed he had misled the City Council and overstepped his authority by allegedly trying to take over the SCI, which helped produce today's investigation. Peters argued that his ousting came at a convenient time for the mayor. De Blasio appointed Margaret Garnett to replace Peters, and the City Council confirmed her appointment.

Daily News has a debatable quote from DOI head Garnett:

Margaret Garnett, the commissioner of the city Department of Investigations, said investigators concluded that since City Hall delayed the report in pursuit of a policy goal — to retain Mayor de Blasio’s control over city schools — rather than personal gain, the maneuver didn’t violate rules about obstruction of an investigation.

And yet see this from the NY1 story:

The mayor's office dismissed the DOI's findings, saying, “There’s no ‘there’ there, as evidenced by the finding of no wrongdoing."
"Those are not the words I would use," Garnett said of the mayor’s office’s response.
My updated blog post here: https://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2019/12/investigation-into-delay-in-does.html

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Leonie Haimson: What lessons should the Council learn from two failed Task forces

Rather than halting the creation of all future Task Forces, the Speaker and Council Members should make sure that in future, the legislation should include the following provisions:
  • Any Task Force created by the Council should include sufficient representation from stakeholder groups as well as the City Council itself, and be chaired or co-chaired by a Council Member or staffer. 
  • From the outset, all there should be a vigorous public outreach and participation built into the law – so that as many good ideas as possible are gathered, and most importantly,  so that the Taskforce can help expand the constituency for change.
  • Finally, if the Mayor’s office denies critical information to a Task Force necessary for it to do its work, the Council  should consider using their subpoena power.  

Don't give all control to Mayor involve the public!


Saturday, December 14, 2019

Charter Astro-Turf Protest at AFT Forum in Pittsburgh While Booker Chickens Out

Arthur is reporting from the big education forum with some Dem candidates in Pittsburgh. First a message from our leader, Randi:
I’m in Pittsburgh right now, getting ready for “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Opportunity for All,” with Democratic presidential candidates Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren.
We’ll be kicking things off shortly—tune in now to the livestream on our website. The forum will also be streamed through MSNBC and NBC News.
This is the only major election-related event dedicated to public education. It will give voters and our members the chance to ask candidates how they plan to fund our future and give students and educators the tools and resources they need to succeed.
The forum is also the final step in the first phase of our AFT Votes endorsement process. The AFT’s 2020 presidential endorsement process was designed to engage members in a number of ways, including through town halls with many of the candidates. Candidates have been hearing from AFT members and answering their questions, and today will be no exception.
We are proud to co-host this important event with our partners at the Alliance for Educational Justice, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Center for Popular Democracy Action, the Journey for Justice Alliance, the NAACP, the National Education Association, the Network for Public Education Action, the Schott Foundation for Public Education—Opportunity to Learn Action Fund, the Service Employees International Union, and Voto Latino.
This is our chance to learn more about what the candidates plan to do for students, educators and working families. Click here to watch the town hall now!
In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President
P.S. For more information on the AFT Votes process and how you can get involved, visit www.aftvotes.org.
She doesn't mention Booker who was supposed to be there. I expect Charters to be a big topic. I don't trust MSNBC - Bill Gates was one of the original founders and they were so favorable to ed deform Rahema Ellis is back again to do her "magic" - she was one of the worst.

I'm heading for the beach so I will rely on Arthur's reporting.

Diane warned us about a charter slug protest:

Charter Industry Announces Its Plans to Disrupt Pittsburgh Forum on Public Education on Saturday


And have no doubt - it is an industry with lots of money to be made.
And Arthur follows up from the scene:

As for those poor charter supporters can stand out there feeling sorry for themselves, but even at our forum, we have Cory Booker, who champions standardized testing, supports not only charters but also vouchers, and who was an early supporter of DFER, an organization that constitutes the reformiest of the reformies. He appeared before one of Betsy DeVos's from groups and called them his earliest supporters. He takes money from Gates, Broad and the Walmart family. They aren't paying him to support public education. Mayor Pete may have little to say about charters, but he's taking a crapload of money from them. I don't personally believe they're supporting him simply for his charming smile.
Arthur just posted that Booker got "sick" and begged off.

Steven Singer is also reporting from Pittsburgh as Diane Ravitch comments:

Steven Singer: Charter Schools Exploit Children of Color

by dianeravitch
The New York Times recently wrote an article claiming that many black and Hispanic families were disappointed that Democratic presidential candidates were abandoning the charter school crusade beloved by the leaders of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, and currently by Betsy DeVos.

Diane gives us loads of examples of charter school perfidy. Here is another:

There are many ways in which nonprofit charters make a profit. Most involve complex real estate transactions and such things as “triple net leases” which are hard for the public to understand. Such deals often involve a charter operator owning or leasing the real estate and renting it to the charter school at exorbitant rates, with the public footing the bill.

Michael Kohlhass: How “Nonprofit” Charter Schools Make a Profit

by dianeravitch

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Peter Greene: What To Watch For At The Democratic Education Town Hall In Pittsburgh

They are largely pro-public education; at least one pro-charter ed reform group (the Center for Education Reform) has put out an e-mail call to mount a protest at the event.... Peter Greene, Forbes 
Let's see the astroturfers from the slimeballs at the CER protest this event and I bet the press will give them as much space as all the other groups who oppose charters combined.

I was offered a ticket for this event but am not able to go. Arthur will be there but so will a thousand others. Charters are the big issue and we want to see them hammered into oblivion.

Here Peter Greene gives us a scorecard on the candidates. There will be live streaming and Peter will be tweeting: Peter Greene @palan57.
What To Watch For At The Democratic Education Town Hall In Pittsburgh 


The Clash of Capitalisms The Real Fight for the Global Economy’s Future - Foreign Affairs

Capitalism has no rival, but its two variants offer significantly different ways of structuring political and economic power.... politicians come from various social classes and backgrounds, and many of them share sociologically very little, if anything, with the rich. ...
Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in the United States and Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major in the United Kingdom all came from modest backgrounds but quite effectively supported the interests of the one percent.
Foreign Affairs 
A very interesting article.
Chinese political capitalism vs American liberal capitalism? Can our current capitalism be reformed?

Some interesting thoughts to mull over. Ownership of the means of production is a key issue as to what is socialism and what is capitalism. He claims in China 95% are privately owned. I have to consult with Marxists for a better read on this article. One thing I've noticed about revolutionary socialists -  reforms make them sad because they delay the decay and revolution. So they cheer strikes and wage raises but view these "wins" as a means of raising the consciousness of the working class - though I would seek a better vision of a working class that sits at a computer all day.

The author touches on the contradictions within capitalism as predicted by Marx with this comment:
Often in human history, the triumph of one system or religion is soon followed by a schism between different variants of the same credo.
So Marx thinks one side will not win but capitalism will come crashing down and lead to socialism of some type. Even the Scandinavian models. Oh well, I'm not moving yet. Marx says eventually the contradictions get to a point where a revolution takes place. And it can happen so fast over somethings that seem small at the time.

I am in the process of listening to Mike Duncan's fabulous series of podcasts on revolutions. Ultimately I want to compare and contrast the two great revolutions - French and Russian.

The Clash of Capitalisms

The Real Fight for the Global Economy’s Future

Capitalism rules the world. With only the most minor exceptions, the entire globe now organizes economic production the same way: labor is voluntary, capital is mostly in private hands, and production is coordinated in a decentralized way and motivated by profit.

There is no historical precedent for this triumph. In the past, capitalism—whether in Mesopotamia in the sixth century BC, the Roman Empire, Italian city-states in the Middle Ages, or the Low Countries in the early modern era—had to coexist with other ways of organizing production. These alternatives included hunting and gathering, small-scale farming by free peasants, serfdom, and slavery. Even as recently as 100 years ago, when the first form of globalized capitalism appeared with the advent of large-scale industrial production and global trade, many of these other modes of production still existed. Then, following the Russian Revolution in 1917, capitalism shared the world with communism, which reigned in countries that together contained about one-third of the human population. Now, however, capitalism is the sole remaining mode of production.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Buttigieg and the Charter School Lobby - Not a Pretty Picture

While his education plan was enthusiastically endorsed by American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, who has praised all the leading candidates' education platforms, Buttigieg's financial ties with the charter school community raise questions about what policy positions he might adopt if ultimately elected president.... Vice
Doesn't this say it all about our union leader's typical response to ed deform? I want to hear Randi hammer Pete for being backed by vicious anti-union - especially teacher unions people like Netflix' Reed Hastings.

Inside the Financial Relationship Between Pete Buttigieg and Charter School Backers

The money from pro-charter donors raises questions about the surging candidate's recently-released education plan.


Dec. 10: On Saturday, surging Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released his plan for K-12 education, a wide-ranging 20-page document that offers just one paragraph on charter schools.

Up to this point, Buttigieg's comments on charters, the publicly-funded, privately-managed schools that educate about 7 percent of public school students, have been minimal. He didn't respond to the Washington Post's candidate questionnaire on the topic, and he missed an NEA-sponsored public education forum that ten candidates participated in in July. In April, at a Northeastern University event in Boston, he reportedly dodged a charter school question, but then responded to a follow-up by saying they "have a place" as "a laboratory for techniques that can be replicated." In May, he said on the trail that he supported Sen. Bernie Sanders' call to ban for-profit charters.

The problem is that charter schools have become something of a flashpoint in the 2020 primary, as many candidates have criticized them for things like taking resources away from traditional public schools and privatizing education. In doing so, these candidates have been largely distancing themselves from the pro-charter school policies embraced by the Obama administration. The media has not pressed Buttigieg much on charters, or even on public education, perhaps because he was polling relatively low for much of the race.

But Buttigieg, who is now leading in some Iowa caucus surveys, has been holding private fundraisers with a number of prominent charter school supporters, according to invitations reviewed by VICE. While his education plan was enthusiastically endorsed by American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, who has praised all the leading candidates' education platforms, Buttigieg's financial ties with the charter school community raise questions about what policy positions he might adopt if ultimately elected president.

A Threat to the Democratic Party: Alliance of Working Family Party and Democratic Socialists

“W.F.P. had the strategy and the know-how and we combined that with what D.S.A. does best, which is boots-on-the-ground organizing,” Ms. Cabán said.
The new leader of the Working Families Party in New York hopes to remake the progressive group to attract the energized left.
“Damaging the W.F.P. is small potatoes when you consider the much broader movement being built,” said Jonathan Westin, director of New York Communities for Change, a grass-roots organizing group. “There is a growing anger on the left about where we need to be going and that the Democratic Party has not gone there.”
There are signs that the Democratic Party is heading for a crisis and possibly a split or the emergence of a new party to the left. The key is the ability to have deep grassroots (the Dem Party has an organized machine at the neighborhood levels). Imagine the scenario where the progressive wing feels denied in the 2020 election process. There is such hatred of Trump that people will bite their tongues - other than the far left which doesn't want any entanglement in electoral politics -- but that is the fringe, so ignore them for now. But it can't be top down and must have roots at the community level.

The on the ground work of DSA and other groups in challenging Democrats that are not viewed as left enough has created a lot of tension in the party -- why the AOC victory of Crowley who was/is a typical Dem boss, was so  huge. There's more to come, with a lot more challenges to long-time Dem politicians coming. The question is can the left actually take control of the party - and at this point I can't see that happening - which can only lead to some kind of formation of a new party - but it can't be a fringe but a coalition of sorts of the left wing of the current Dem Party which is clearly growing.

Remember the Green Party? They run for president and NY Governor and have a splattering of candidates in local races. But they have been far outstripped by the DSA in many places. I believe the current political crisis will force various segments of the left to come together - even if they have to grin and bear it.

That is why the article I cite here is so interesting: A working relationship between the Working Families Party, which was just screwed over royally by the Cuomo vendetta against them which will probably cost them their place on the ballot -and also the abandonment of union support - with the UFT as prime deserter -- and the DSA is intriguing and a first step in the consolidation. But one thing has to be clear. DSA is anti-capitalist and as I pointed out in yesterday's post (How the Cool Kids of the Left Turned on Elizabeth Warren - POLITICO), there is much synergy between DSA and Jacobin, groups clearly out to end capitalism and establish some version of socialism - and there's the rub there as that wing has engaged in ideological warfare for the past 150 years.

The article points out the mine field in the potential for cooperation:
The W.F.P. and the D.S.A. may not agree on everything. The W.F.P., for example, has endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic presidential primary; the Democratic Socialists have endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders.
What the reported is missing is the level of vituperation directed at the WFP by the Jacobin crowd for endorsing Warren as that Politico article I cited. This alliance won't be an easy one. But if it worked it could have an impact on the Dem party here in the city.

I've written in the past about the potential of the Democratic Socialists (DSA) which has grown tenfold since 2016, in challenging the Dem Party machine at the neighborhood level in gentrified areas. There are eight NYC branches geographically located throughout the city with a 9th citywide Labor Branch rooted in union members from around the city  - a group where the current MORE leadership has rooted itself. (But more on that angle in the future.) I've attended a few south Brooklyn DSA branch meetings and was impressed with the level of activity in so many areas (housing, health to name a few - though ironically not much on education) on a grass roots level. If the other branches are doing the same, these are deep roots that in certain neighborhoods can compete with the Democratic Party machine. The real problem for DSA is that it is rooted in the gentrified areas and dominated by fairly young whites, a majority male but increasingly female.

The work of DSA is so antithetical to the usual Dem Party machine politics and DSA has aligned with other left wing groups to challenge the machine in areas where it can build alliances. As pointed out in the article that I almost missed in Saturday's NYT, the Tiffany Caban challenge for the Queens DA race was an example. The left points out how she lost by only 50 votes to the machine candidate, Melinda Katz (who was forced to lean left by the campaign). But I also point out that there were 7 candidates running who were not really left and if it were Caban/Katz head to head it wouldn't have been close. And that is the essential weakness of the DSA/left - their strength is in the white progressive gentrified areas - like northwest Queens. Most of the rest of Queens - and I include the black areas in southeastern Queens - is nowhere close to where DSA stands. One of the reasons I have begun to distribute the leftist monthly, The Independent, in Rockaway libraries is to expand that point of view.
Nnaemeka’s background as a black woman who is the daughter of immigrants was a signal that groups like the W.F.P. and D.S.A. were listening to the criticism. “The progressive left is a multiracial coalition,” Ms. Nnaemeka said. “Blacks are progressive. I’m a black person who considers herself part of a strong progressive left who wants to expand possibilities for working-class people.”
The weakness of DSA has been in its inability to attract people of color - nothing new - just look at a group like MORE in the UFT. At almost every meeting for 6 years we heard complaints about how white the group is- and still is - and white male dominated. But The Squad is a sign of change. And locally, there is hope that an alliance between DSA and WFP can remedy that.

A Political Party Aligns Itself With Ocasio-Cortez


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

How to go from voting Communist to Right Wing - NYT

The country's [Italy's] new politics are often attributed to anger over migrants. But the story begins decades ago, when China first targeted small textile.... It is a story with parallels to the American industrial Midwest. As China rapidly ascended as an export power, joblessness and despair grew in the manufacturing heartland of the United States. Anger over decades of trade liberalization played a key role in putting Donald J. Trump in the White House.... NY Times, The Chinese Roots of Italy's Far-Right Rage - The New York Times...
So how to so many former voters for the communist party in Italy go far right populist. Some people can't understand former Obama voters voting for Trump. All too Trump haters put the sole blame on race issues. Here is a fascinating article in last Sunday's NYT business section that digs deep. The problem is globalism as capitalism run amuck and I will be doing follow-up articles addressing the World Trade Organization role in this mess and how Trump meets Bernie on this issue - Bernie opposed WTO 20 years ago and Trump tariffs have undermined it.

The opening pretty much says it all if you don't have time to dive in:
PRATO, Italy —During her childhood, her father brought her to boisterous Communist Party rallies full of music, dancing and fiery speeches championing workers. When she turned 18, she took a job at a textile mill and voted for the party herself.
But that was before everything changed — before China emerged as a textile powerhouse, undercutting local businesses; before she and her co-workers lost their jobs; before she found herself, a mother of two grown boys, living off her retired parents; before Chinese immigrants arrived in Prato, leasing shuttered textile mills and stitching up clothing during all hours of the night.
In last year’s national elections, Ms. Travaglini, 61, cast her vote for the League, an extreme right-wing party whose bombastic leader, Matteo Salvini, offered a rudimentary solution to Italy’s travails: Close the gates.
Read it all below the break:

Sunday, December 8, 2019

How the Cool Kids of the Left Turned on Elizabeth Warren - POLITICO

The socialists of Jacobin magazine used to treat her like a promising alternative to Bernie Sanders. Now they write as if she’s almost as bad as Joe Biden. What gives?... Politico
Jacobin current issue
Even though I am a Bernie supporter I still find myself being annoyed at the levels of vehemence I've seen directed at Warren, who would still be the most leftist president in history. So as the article says - what gives.

I subscribe to Jacobin and am a member of DSA, I found this a fascinating article. The reporter asks if the former is merely a mouth piece for the latter, both of which have had 10 times growth in recent years.

Here is a simple answer - Warren is not a socialist and Bernie, even if he claims he is a modest socialist ala New Deal FDR, Bernie really comes from the historical left and Warren doesn't have those traditional left politics, which means she is way more subject to being driven off her agenda than Bernie is.

I posted a piece from NYT rightward columnist Ross Douthat the other day -- Shocking: Ross Douthat makes The Case for Bernie - NYT
And this week he is back it again, actually making a case for Bernie or Biden as a revolt against the Obama/Clinton technocrats -- I don't agree - it's neo-liberalism. But worth reading:
How Bernie and Biden both channel the current distrust of technocrats.

The Politico piece below. Thanks to Harry for sharing:

Friday, December 6, 2019

Almost Two Thirds of Americans back Elizabeth Warren's proposed tax on wealthy including over 57% of Republicans

57% of Republicans support the Warren wealth tax? Holy crap. Note in the chart below that her tax favorability rose 2% with Republicans from July to November while falling 4% with Dems in that time frame from 81 to 77%, due to the attacks from center Dems and billionaires. Even independents favor the wealth tax. Who doesn't favor it? Republican men with college degrees. I spotted the story below in Monday's NYT in the business section. It should have made the front page. ....https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/29/business/economy/economy-politics-survey.html

So the idea that the left is pulling the Dem Party away from victory is interesting. Even on medicare for all there is wide-spread favorability.

And here's a link to another article:

While many of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s aggressive plans have come under fire from prominent billionaires, Republicans and fellow Democrats vying for the presidential nomination, her proposal to tax the ultra-rich resonates with most Americans regardless of age, gender or party.

A few of the charts from the NYT piece:
Share saying they approve of a 2 percent tax on households with a net worth over $50 million

Share saying they approve of a wealth tax
Men without a degree
Men with a degree
Women without a degree
Women with a degree
Men without a degree
Men with a degree
Women without a degree
Women with a degree
Men without a degree
Men with a degree
Women without a degree
Women with a degree

Note: Partisan categories include people who say they lean toward either party. | Source: SurveyMonkey
Read full NYT piece below: