North Korea and US Threaten Nuclear War: an MHI Statement

Last week, North Korea tested missiles in international waters around the US protectorate of Guam, following its several recent successful tests of intercontinental-range missiles. The North Korean government has long publicly declared its intention to develop a nuclear bomb and delivery system capable of striking the US mainland; what is new is that it is now close to having both. The bravado of its dictator, Kim Jong-un, cannot be dismissed, especially when his threat is made to the madman in the White House.

US president Donald Trump responded with the warning that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” He was saying in effect that he will nuke North Korea if it keeps using threatening language or if it takes any military action against Guam or the US allies in the region.

Even Trump’s cabinet and aides were shocked by his seemingly off-the-cuff threat to use nukes. There is in fact an increased chance under Trump of having a nuclear confrontation. His immediate response to being questioned about whether his “fire and fury” remark was going too far, was to insist that it might not have gone far enough.

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Will We Allow Trump to Get Away with Fomenting White Supremacy and Racist Violence?

 
A controversy is raging in the United States, and internationally, in the aftermath of the white supremacist marches, assaults, threats, and near takeover of Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11 and 12. Their “Unite the Right” demonstrations led to the murder of Heather Heyer, a 32-year old white counter-demonstrator, when a neo-Nazi drove a car into the counter-demonstration—a deliberate act of domestic terrorism. Nineteen other people were injured by the car, and another 15 were injured in separate assaults.

President Trump expressed his dismay at the death but blamed “many sides.” It took him until Monday, two days later, to call out the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and KKK (the infamous Ku Klux Klan, who have terrorized African-Americans ever since Emancipation). He read out the words condemning them from his teleprompter, without conviction. Then, on Tuesday, in a rant-filled press conference devoted to clarifying his position, he asserted that the “Unite the Right” demonstrators included “many” “very fine people” and reverted to his initial claim that “both sides” were to blame for the violence. His absurd equation of fascists with those protesting them is now the focus of debate throughout the country and elsewhere. Leaders of Britain and Germany have spoken out against Trump for this.

Heather Heyer, and her final Facebook post

Heather Heyer, and her final Facebook post

Once again, American racism has stolen the headlines away from world events, even from the threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea. With echoes of the 1950s and 1960s, racism has become the central issue for Trump’s America. Tragically, we are moving in the opposite direction from the period of the Civil Rights Movement; white supremacists are attempting to affect a counter-revolution against African-Americans’ gains in justice and equal rights––and the President agrees with them. Today, the question before the U.S. is: Will we let Trump get away with fomenting white supremacy and racist violence?

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Against Left Economic Populism

 

by Brendan Cooney

 

The rise of Trumpism, and the global rise of proto-fascist movements, have triggered calls on the left for a renewed left politics which can offer an alternative to Trumpism and fascism. A common theme is the call for a new left economic populism, of which Bernie Sanders’ “Our Revolution” may be the one of the most prominent examples in the US. This new left economic populism is not all that new. It is a romantic populism that harkens back to the “glory” days of American prosperity in the post-war boom of the mid-20th century, when the US had a relatively robust welfare state, wages rose, policy makers saw a big place for the state in the maintenance of capitalist growth and regulation of class conflict, the state invested in big infrastructure projects, and the US had a strong manufacturing base which employed many people.

The new left economic populism calls for a redistributionist politics which aims to decrease income inequality through progressive taxation, higher minimum wages and generous social welfare programs. It often calls for the state to guarantee universal free health care. It calls for regulation of financial capital. And it calls for the state to jump-start economic growth through massive social spending programs, especially infrastructure spending that favors green design.

This essay critiques some of the assumptions behind this economic form of left populism. Left populism can take on other dimensions outside of this economic form, but this essay’s content is restricted to a discussion of left economic populism. Read More



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