Who Will Save Social Security and Medicare?

obama

Shamus Cooke: Obama and the Democrats are aligning with Republicans to strike the first major blows against Social Security and Medicare. The decades-long political agreement to save these programs is dead, and the foundation of American politics is shifting beneath everyone’s feet.

Obama’s Still Shopping for a Grand Bargain

obama boehner saint paddy's

Shamus Cooke: At the end of the day a so-called progressive Democrat is still a Democrat, and the Democratic Party has re-made its image to reflect the interests of its new big donors from Wall Street, who now feel as comfortable buying Democrats as they do purchasing a Republican politician.

Why UN Climate Agreements Fail

qatar conference

Shamus Cooke: It’s become undeniably clear that U.S. government inaction on climate change is directly linked to the “special interests” of corporations that dominate the government. It’s due time that those concerned about our climate draw a similar conclusion.

Why Obama’s Silence on the New Congo War?

east congolese

Shamus Cooke: Instead of Obama denouncing the invasion and the approaching overthrow of a democratically elected government, silence becomes a very powerful action of intentional complicity on the side of the invaders.

The Grand Bargain Betrayal

black friday

Shamus Cooke: Corporations are on a public-sector union mopping up mission, using the city, state, and federal budget deficits as an excuse to target public sector unions.

Will Dems Tax Rich to Avoid Fiscal Cliff?

butting heads

Shamus Cooke: Literally the day after the election a sudden “urgency” gripped the nation: the imminent danger of the so-called “fiscal cliff” — the national automatic tax increases and spending cuts due in January.

Who Gains from Syria’s Destruction

sytrian protests

Shamus Cooke: The steady destruction of Syria will continue until it reaches a Libya-like crescendo: a “no fly zone” will be the goal of the western powers, with the motive of toppling the regime.

All Eyes on Chicago’s Teachers

chicago teachers

Shamus Cooke: If the Chicago teachers’ union — 26,000 members strong — goes on strike, many critical yet ignored political issues will go into the national spotlight, exposing nastiness that many politicians and labor leaders would like ignored until after the presidential elections.

Job Crisis Denial

jobs treading water

Shamus Cooke: Both parties are not talking about the fiscal cliff because they share the exact same solution: austerity -cuts to social programs, government layoffs, and other measures to make working people pay for the nation’s debt instead of the rich and corporations.

Fighting for the Soul of the Carpenters Union

carpenters union

Shamus Cooke: All working people should pay attention to the egregious assault on union democracy happening in the Carpenters Union’s Pacific North West Regional Council, which covers all the Carpenter’s Locals in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, and Montana.

Can Obama Stop Casino Capitalism?

obama biden

Shamus Cooke: The banking oligarchy is so intertwined with the political and economic establishment that real regulatory change cannot happen until the system itself is transformed from below, by a powerful social movement. Pleading to politicians to fix so-called Casino Capitalism is increasingly naive.

West Coast Unions Cave to Democrats

robin doyno

Shamus Cooke: In California, the unions agreed to a rotten compromise, which taxes the rich at a lower rate while including an increase in the state sales tax that disproportionally affects working and poor people.

A Corporate Versus a People’s City Budget

cuts only budget

Shamus Cooke: Portland is simply following a national trend on a city, state, and federal level where Democrats and Republicans have agreed that taxing the wealthy and corporations must not be an option in addressing the social crisis that resulted from the Great Recession, regardless of the vast inequality of wealth that has erupted over the last 30 years.

Will Occupy Spring Forward or Melt Down?

occupy eat local

Shamus Cooke: Most Occupiers have learned that raw enthusiasm alone cannot bring victory to a social movement; ideas matter too. Action divorced from strategy equals wasted energy, divisiveness, diversions and unnecessary mistakes. Not all tactics push the movement forward.

Theory and Practice in Occupy

occupy la

Shamus Cooke: Occupy seems, at times, so fearful of power or creating leaders that many Occupiers would focus on neutering the movement, so as to prevent Occupy from ever having real power, and therefore preventing the movement from ever making real change.

Reform vs. Revolution Within Occupy

Photo: Ted Fisher

Shamus Cooke: For Occupy to grow into a democratic revolutionary movement, the working majority of the population must join in, requiring that Occupy broadcast a message based on concrete working-class demands.

The Battles of Occupy Portland

occupy portland

Shamus Cooke: The Occupy Movement will be crushed if the demands being fought for do not connect with working people. A key characteristic of any powerful social movement is the appearance of successive, large demonstrations that draw in new layers of working people, students, and the elderly.

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