by JOHN WOJCIK
A family evacuates their home in Houston, Sunday, Aug. 27. Rescuers answered hundreds of calls for help as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey rose high enough to begin filling second-story homes, and authorities urged stranded families to seek refuge on their rooftops. Mark Mulligan | Houston Chronicle via AP
The National Weather Service, the Environmental Protection Administration, scientists, elected officials and citizen activists have been warning for years that global warming would eventually translate into an epic disaster for the city of Houston. “It’s only a matter of when, not if,” they have been saying. Tragically, the “when” is now upon the people of Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city.
In what reporters at the Weather Channel said Sunday morning is the worst flood disaster in U.S. history, two feet of rain had fallen on Houston since Hurricane Harvey came on shore along the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday night, with another two feet of rain forecast for Houston by Wednesday. The weather services in Europe, whose models are often more accurate than the ones in the U.S., are indicating as much as a foot more than that.Read More »
by CONN HALLINAN
A protest organized by the National Assembly for Catalonia, to support the call for referendum on independence in Barcelona, June 11. Spain’s government has promised to not allow the scheduled Oct. 1 vote on grounds that it is unconstitutional since it is matter that would affect all Spaniards. | Emilio Morenatti / AP
When the Catalans go to the polls Oct. 1, much more than independence for Spain’s restive province will be at stake. In many ways the vote will be a sounding board for Spain’s future, but it is also a test of whether the European Union—divided between north and south, east and west—can long endure.
In some ways, the referendum on Catalan independence is a very Spanish affair, with grievances that run all the way back to Catalonia’s loss of independence in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). But the Catalans lost more than their political freedom when the combined French and Spanish army took Barcelona; they lost much of their language and culture, particularly during the long and brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco from 1939 to 1975.Read More »
by NICHOLAS JAMES
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, of the right-wing FIDESZ party, delivers his address as pictured through a hole on the national flag during the commemoration of the 1956 Hungarian revolution against Stalinism, Oct. 23, 2016. During the revolution, the symbol of the hardline Rákosi regime had been cut out of the flag to symbolize opposition to his rule. Today, under Orban, nostalgia for the 1956-89 socialist era is growing. | Szilard Koszticsak / MTI via AP
In mid-July, I found myself in a part of Budapest I had never visited, Újpest (“New Pest”), a village on the outskirts of Budapest until the late 1950s. During that time, the government led by János Kádár began erecting massive apartment blocks as a means to eradicate homelessness in the city of Budapest. Those towers, made of pure concrete panels, were never meant to last more than 50 years.
Today, Hungary’s governing right-wing and neoliberal FIDESZ party has no interest in replacing or modernizing those buildings. It is fitting then that Újpest is where most, if not all, the workers of Budapest live and raise their families, and where the Munkáspárt (Hungarian Workers Party) recently moved its headquarters. The party was founded after the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party, which had governed Hungary from 1956, split in 1989 after falling from power.Read More »
In an interview with Richard Seymour in the March 2017 issue of Monthly Review, interviewer Michael Yates, in a question about imperialism, pointed out that noted Marxist scholar David Harvey “claims that wealth in the rich nations is being drained by the countries of the Global South.”1 Specifically, Yates quoted Harvey:
Those of us who think the old categories of imperialism do not work too well in these times do not deny at all the complex flows of value that expand the accumulation of wealth and power in one part of the world at the expense of another. We simply think the flows are more complicated and constantly changing direction. The historical draining of wealth from East to West for more than two centuries, for example, has largely been reversed over the last thirty years.
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On July 21st Paul Le Blanc sat down at his Pittsburgh home with Vaios Triantafyllou for an interview on issues related to a radicalization process that he sees unfolding in the United States today, and possible revolutionary strategies for the future. Le Blanc is uniquely qualified to address these themes, with more than half a century of activist experience in social movements, and as internationally recognized scholar of working class history and revolutionary politics. The wide-ranging conversation was animated by extensive reflections on the nature of capitalism, democracy, socialism, the working class, and human nature. It also touched on current U.S. and global developments, the history of the Russian Revolution, relationships between Marxism and Leninism and Stalinism, and more.Read More »
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Alfred McCoy’s new Dispatch Book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, won’t officially be published until September, but it’s already getting extraordinary attention. That would include Jeremy Scahill’s powerful podcast interview with McCoy at the Intercept, a set of striking prepublication notices (Kirkus Reviews: “Sobering reading for geopolitics mavens and Risk aficionados alike”), and an impressive range of blurbs (Andrew Bacevich: “This is history with profound relevance to events that are unfolding before our eyes”; Ann Jones: “eye-opening… America’s neglected citizens would do well to read this book”; Oliver Stone: “One of our best and most underappreciated historians takes a hard look at the truth of our empire, both its covert activities and the reasons for its impending decline”). Of him, Scahill has said, “Al McCoy has guts… He helped put me on the path to investigative journalism.” In today’s post, adapted by McCoy from the introduction to In the Shadows of the American Century, you’ll get a taste of just what Scahill means. So read it and then pre-order a copy of the latest book from the man who battled the CIA and won.
With today’s post, I’m closing TomDispatch through Labor Day. We’ll be back on September 5th. Tom]Read More »