The Promises and Limitations of Radical Local Politics

Workers at Whirlpool

An Interview with Steve Early and Mike Parker

by and

MR Online | May 03, 2017

Steve Early (hereinafter SE) has worked as a labor journalist, lawyer, organizer, or union representative since 1972. For 27 years, Early was a Boston-based national staff member of the Communications Workers of America. He has published many books and articles about labor-related issues. His work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Progressive, and many other newspapers and magazines. His most recent book, Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of An American City (Beacon Press), describes the building of a what is very likely the most successful progressive political organization, The Richmond Progressive Alliance, in the United States, in Richmond, California, a blue collar city long dominated by Chevron Corp.

Mike Parker (hereinafter MP) is a leader of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. He was its candidate for Mayor in 2014, dropping out for another candidate as part of a coalition to defeat Chevron’s multi-million dollar attempt to take the city council. He then became the campaign coordinator for the successful Team Richmond campaign. Before moving to Richmond, Mike worked in the auto industry in Detroit as an electrician and trainer in new technology. He is on the Labor Notes Policy Committee and has coauthored (with Martha Gruelle) Democracy is Power, and (with Jane Slaughter) Working Smart: A Union Guide to Participation Programs and Reengineering, both published by Labor Notes.

This interview was conducted by Michael D. Yates (hereinafter MY) by email.

MY: Steve, after a long and admirable career in the labor movement, you moved from the east coast to Richmond, California. Why Richmond?

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Collapse of the Soviet block and the revival of Socialism: lessons for the strengthening of Socialism

by Bankie Forster Bankie

Pambazuka News | 02 March, 2017

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Promise on the Belgian Left

by Peter Mertens

Supporters of the Workers’ Party of Belgium marching in 2015. Prima News

The Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB) has seen surprising gains in recent months. Long marginalized electorally as a fringe Marxist organization, the PTB is now the third-largest political force in the French-speaking region of Wallonia, with polls giving the party 18 percent of voter support in the region, plus 10 percent in Brussels, Belgium’s capital.
With the 2019 federal elections approaching, the PTB aims to turn these results into a durable presence in Belgian politics.

Founded in 1979, the PTB entered the federal parliament for the first time in 2014 with two MPs, and has been working from the opposition to the current right-wing coalition in power in Belgium.

Peter Mertens, president of the party, sat down with Mario Cuenda García, a blogger and PPE student at the University of Warwick, and Tommaso Segantini, an independent freelance journalist who’s written for the New Arab, openDemocracy, and Telesur to discuss, among other topics, the prospects of the PTB in Belgium, its position on Europe, and the CETA affair of recent months.

Mertens stresses the need to create a counter-hegemonic bloc to the far right through a constant “presence of the ground” and a “strong anti-establishment discourse,” along with the creation of a transnational alliance of radical left-wing forces in Europe to provide an alternative to both the current policies of the European Union and rising nationalist forces.Read More »

Bernie Sanders raises $26 million, closes gap with Hillary Clinton

Courtesy: RT | 01 October, 2015

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders © Brian C. Frank
                               U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders © Brian C. Frank / Reuters