This week’s good, bad, and very ugly

The Good: The coalition of students, graduate students, faculty, and football players that forced University of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe to step down. Wolfe had become an obstacle to addressing issues of racial justice and other student concerns in a timely and robust way.

The Bad: The Republican Party presidential debate. Instead of attacking each other as happened in earlier debates, each of the candidates offered solutions to today’s problems and crises that ranged from the outlandish to the ridiculous. Wage cutting was a universally popular prescription among this motley, but very wealthy bunch.

The Very Ugly: The vicious killing of innocent people in Paris. So far 160 are reported dead, according to the Washington Post. Time to “give peace a chance.” Don’t see any other solution to the cycle of violence and counter violence that is gripping and crushing our interconnected and increasingly fragile world.

Don’t forget Ferguson

I said in an earlier post that the entrance of the football players was the tipping point in the struggle on the University of Missouri campus over racial justice, but also mentioned that was part of a wider process of struggle. And surely the police murder of Michael Brown and the ensuing and protracted struggle that followed in Ferguson last year had to loom large in the thinking of many, including the political class in that state, and factored into the outcome.

University of Missouri football players step up, university president steps down

Just finished listening to a remarkable press conference with Mack Rhoades, Athletic Director, and Gary Kinkel, football coach, at the University of Missouri on ESPN. Both supported the refusal of the university’s football team to play in this weekend’s game with BYU as an expression of solidarity with the student hunger striker Jonathan Butler. Butler, along with other students and faculty, who had been protesting racial injustice and other incidents on campus, had called earlier to no avail for university president, Timothy M. Wolfe, who had become a cause of and obstacle to resolving racial and other tensions on campus, to step down. But it appears that entrance of the football players in this struggle that had gained broad support across the campus and was a continuation of wider process of struggle going back to Fergurson, turned into a tipping point (and not only because of the money lost – 1 millions bucks – if this weekend’s game was forfeited) forcing Wolfe to do today what up to now he had resisted: resign as president.

This week’s good, bad, and ugly

The Good: Announcement by President Obama to nix Keystone XL pipeline. Another victory for climate change movement.

The Bad: We poured roughly 32 millions tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere this past year compared to 29 billion tons in 2009 at the time of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. According to experts, CO 2 emissions need to drop to about 20 million tons within 20 years. For more read article by Robert Pollin in the Nation.’t-stabilize-the-climate-while-fostering-growth-think-again/

The Ugly: Retreat on withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the introduction of military advisors in the Syrian conflict t by the Obama administration. Mission creep!

My Angle of Entry

Much of what I write is exploratory. It is a work in progress; an ongoing conversation with myself as well as readers of this blog.

And there’s an explanation for this: I came to radicalism and the Communist Party in the early 1970s, but I grew up politically in the last two decades of the 20th century and the first decade of this one. During that relatively short stretch of “historical” time, two signal events took place that disrupted my safe political space. One was the rise of right wing extremism, neoliberalism, and capitalist globalization at the beginning of the 1980s; the other was the implosion of Soviet socialism a decade later.

The resulting sea change in the direction of world politics and the accompanying severe contraction of class and democratic possibilities caught me – and many others – by surprise. After all, I was radicalized at at time when the world seemed nearly infinitely malleable and relentlessly marching to a better future. “Socialism in our time” didn’t seem like wishful thinking. So when the forward march of history was abruptly halted and Soviet socialism went belly up with barely a whimper, I felt compelled to reexamine many of the assumptions and core ideas that had framed my thinking and activity.