Historic Win for Labor and New Direction in University of California System

April 22, 2014 by Source

By Daniel Gutiérrez / San Diego Free Press

Grad student strikers and their allies block a pedestrian walkway at UCSD.

La Jolla, California — On Tuesday, April 15th, UAW Local 2865, representing graduate student-workers across the University of California system, reached a tentative agreement with UC management regarding the procurement of all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations.

UC management succumbed to the necessities demanded by UAW Local 2865, acknowledging that both all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations are a labor right to graduate student-workers. The historic achievement was reached after the union went on strike for two days early this month, in which nearly two dozen students were arrested and many others intimidated.

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Reverse Robin Hood Funding Threatens San Diego

April 22, 2014 by Source
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By Laura Barrett / Huffington Post / April 21, 2014

San Diego’s sunny beaches and beautiful college campuses can be deceptive. The city’s soaring housing costs force university students and low-income families to sleep on couches and to depend on free meals. Many, too, end up living out of cars. The waiting list for Section 8 housing is 10 years long, and as a result, families are being forced to move out of state.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a renter in San Diego’s Metropolitan Statistical Area would need to earn $26.58 an hour to afford a fair market two bedroom apartment, yet, the average renter’s wage is just $17.28. Despite this, the City of San Diego is trying to take away federal money that provides a source of relief.

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Book Review: Cesar Chavez Remembered, Warts and All

April 21, 2014 by Source

chavezbookMiriam Pawel offers the most comprehensive look at Chavez and his movement in her new book, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez.

By Mark R. Day / Labor Notes

“Cesar was not a humble man,” narrator Luis Valdez says at the conclusion of the new documentary “Cesar’s Last Fast,” about the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. “Nor was he a simple man.”

Indeed, Chavez was a controversial and complex figure. That’s the problem with Diego Luna’s feature film “Cesar Chavez,” whose release coincided with the charismatic leader’s March 31 birthday.

Chavez was, of course, a genius and a master organizer. His successes in the vineyards and lettuce fields of California came about as a result of enormous personal sacrifice and his ability to reach out to a wide audience: students, priests, nuns, ministers, labor leaders, and average housewives who made up their minds not to buy grapes.

He broke the back of the open shop in the fields and is credited as a founder of the Chicano movement. Just a decade after he began organizing grape pickers in Delano, California, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

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Who Owns America? Not You

April 21, 2014 by Jim Miller

Oligarchy 1“We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” –Louis Brandeis

By Jim Miller

In the wake of the McCutcheon decision, there was a brief flurry of outrage about the growing power of moneyed interests in our politics, but it predictably ebbed. One might reasonably argue that this is because the American public has become immune to such bad news.

Indeed, a cursory survey of the media over the last couple of weeks alone is enough to give any concerned citizen a depressing snapshot of where we are now with regard to wealth versus commonwealth.

The New York Times reports that “Corporate Profits Grow and Wages Slide” noting that, “Corporate profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years.”

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The Construction Boom in Ocean Beach

April 16, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Every now and then the OB Rag monitors the state of development and construction going on within the Village of OB. Here, we’ve done it again with the following photos.

But we have to say:

There’s a Construction Boom Going on in OB!

There’s a huge development coming in down at the waterfront, there’s the work being done at the corner lot at Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, and there’s the construction of the third large mansion on West Pt Loma. And we’re not talking about all the street repairs, cross-walk installations, one-way streets and detours.

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OB Planning Review Committee to Look at 4626 Cape May Proposal

April 15, 2014 by Staff
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Wednesday night, the 16th of April at 6pm, the Project Review Committee will meet and begin a discussion of a proposal for 4626 Cape May Avenue. The reviewers, a sub-committee of the official OB Planning Board, meet at the OB Rec Center, located at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

For the only action item on the agenda, the owner-applicant is proposing to build a new residence over an existing garage. This is the Brito Residence – and they wish to maintain the front 1298 square foot residence, and construct a new residence with 1220 square feet over the detached garage, which is 704 square feet.

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“Taxifornia” Dreaming: Who Really Pays Taxes in California?

April 14, 2014 by Jim Miller

California-300x300By Jim Miller

Tomorrow is tax day, and we are likely to hear the usual histrionics from the pity the millionaire crowd about how the draconian taxes on the affluent and businesses in “Taxifornia” are killing growth and jobs and driving folks out of the state.

There is only one problem with this—it’s not true. Indeed, far from the socialist hamlet that the anti-tax zealots like to portray us as, California’s tax system is still more regressive than progressive.

This is documented in the California Budget Project’s (CPB) Annual report “Who Pays Taxes in California?” that shows that, “Contrary to the oft-repeated claim that high-income Californians pay an unfair amount of taxes, it is actually California’s low-income households who pay the largest share of their incomes in state and local taxes.”

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Press Conferences and Vanity Shovels Cannot Hide the Truth About San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure

April 11, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Newly elected Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s been on quite a tear lately, putting forth a smiling face at press conferences in various neighborhoods around the city. Yesterday cameras rolled as the mayor and local politicos including Councilman Todd Gloria posed and preened over a gateway renovation project on 25th Street in Golden Hill.

Hizzoner says he’s making good on campaign promises to direct more monies (50% of revenue growth, as I recollect) toward street and infrastructure repair. He proudly announced yesterday that $22 million of the anticipated $35 million growth in next year’s inflow would be dedicated to that cause.

It played real well on TV. Sadly, the truth of the situation is that revenue growth, which will likely come from an improving economy, can’t even begin to address the $1 billion hole San Diego faces when it comes to the basic the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed locally.

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The Shopping Mall’s Socialist Pre-History

April 11, 2014 by Source

via WikipediaThe inventor of the American suburban shopping mall was a socialist. Could his creation have been saved?

By / Jacobin Magazine

The American landscape is littered with hundreds of dead shopping malls. In places like the vast Buckingham Square Mall in Aurora, Colo., which has stood empty since 2007, the indoor fountains have stopped running, but the prosthetic plants inside remain eerily green. More will join them. It’s said that 15% of American malls will close in the next ten years.

The biggest shopping mall in the world, the New South China Mall in Dongguan, is also a dead mall. Opening in 2005, it boasted seven zones, each based on major international cities and featuring including a replica Arc de Triumph and a Venetian canal complete with gondolas. However, the mall has remained 99% vacant since its opening. Aside from a cluster of fast food restaurants near its entrance, the mall is a network of vast, empty atria and mothballed cinemas and roller coasters.

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Supreme Insanity: How the High Court is Killing Our Democracy

April 7, 2014 by Source

RooseveltBy Jim Miller

Last week was a very bad week for American democracy. With the McCutcheon v. FEC decision, the Supreme Court of the United States dealt a sweeping blow to existing campaign finance laws that seek to limit the influx of money in American politics.

In the wake of the Citizens United case that opened the door for big spending by Super PACS and dark money, this ruling takes another step towards plutocracy by striking down overall limits on campaign contributions. By doing so McCutcheon rudely thrusts us further into a new Gilded Age where our economy and our politics are thoroughly dominated by a small minority of the opulent.

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UCSD Graduate Students Strike After Just Demands Not Met

April 4, 2014 by Source

Strikers disrupt classes and block public thoroughfares in protest against unfair labor practices while upper level administrators continue to receive exorbitant salaries and enjoy a culture of lavish living

By Daniel Gutiérrez

Grad student strikers and their allies block a pedestrian walkway at UCSD.

Graduate students at the University of California, San Diego represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2865 initiated a two-day strike Wednesday, April 2nd, that will end today Friday, April 4th. The strike at UCSD is part of a statewide action occurring at all the campuses of the University of California for these reasons.

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The Blue Dot Refill in OB: First Eco-soap Self-serve Refill Store in San Diego

April 4, 2014 by Source

By Joe Moreno

What happens when a lawyer leaves Corporate America to get in touch with her inner hippie?

She opens San Diego’s first eco-soap self-serve refill store in Ocean Beach to do her part to keep our world plastic-free. Less than a month ago, Deidre Prozinski opened Blue Dot Refill next to Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Co-op on Voltaire Street. Within days of hanging out her shingle – and without any marketing or advertising – she hit her first milestone: $100 in sales in a single day, thanks, in part, to being right next to a co-op with like-minded customers.

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If We Don’t Connect It to Race and Class, Then Green Politics Is Just High-End Consumerism

April 4, 2014 by Source

greenpovertyInstead of advocating “green” lifestyles that are financially and culturally inaccessible to millions of Americans, artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph proposes we ask a single, crucial question that connects race, class and ecology: What sustains life in a community?

By Marc Bamuthi Joseph / Creative Time Reports

As environmentalism goes mainstream, corporations are marketing the word “green” as a panacea for the world’s climate crisis. Today the word describes a set of prescribed, mostly consumerist actions: buy local, organic and fresh; go vegan; eat in season; skip the elevator; take the stairs. “Green” has come to mean shopping at Whole Foods and possessing a Prius. Meanwhile, leading corporate polluters like BP and Exxon Mobil place commercials on CNN advertising their “green” practices.

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Ocean Beach Planners Elect New Officers, Make Appointments and Approve Project on Muir

April 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Ruscitti Elected New Chair

At their monthly meeting last night (Wed., April 2), the Ocean Beach Planning Board appointed two new members and elected their officers for the upcoming year.

Two veterans of the Board, Jane Gawronski and Seth Connolly, were appointed to vacancies on the normal-14-member Board. Jane was appointed to District 5 and Seth to District 4. With the departure of Barbara Schmidtknecht from the Board, and with the additions of Connolly and Gawronski, the Board now stands at 11 members.

Tom Gawronksi announced that Board member Bill Bushe is having major medical problems and he doubted that Bushe would be able to return to his seat.

For those who are seeking future appointments to the Board next month, there are 2 confirmed vacancies in District 1 and 7, and maybe a vacancy in District 4.

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News Round-Up for OB, Beaches and Peninsula

April 3, 2014 by Staff
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District 2 Appointment Decision Moved Up to April 7

Chet Barfield – rep for the currently vacant District 2 Council seat – announced at recent community meetings that the appointment decision on who replaces Kevin Faulconer for the remainder of his term has been moved up. The new date is now April 7 – …

Steer clear of the ocean directly following rainfall

The County’s Department of Environmental Health Wednesday issued a general advisory to beachgoers to stay out of the water for the next 72 hours due to the recent rainfall. …

April Calendar for OB

    San Diego Soliciting Bids for Improvement Mission Beach Lifeguard Station While OB’s Older Lifeguard Station Is Ignored ….

    And much more ….

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A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

April 3, 2014 by Source
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By Byron Morton

Cesar Chavez shows the political evolution and the struggles of the man behind the movement during the 1960s to organize the farm workers in California. Through the United Farm Workers (UFW) Chavez (played by Michael Peña) brings bargaining rights and dignity for the impoverished farm workers. The UFW motto during this time was “Sí, se puede” or yes, it is possible.

It is important to remember at that time in the 1960s the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 did not protect farm workers and others. The Act “is a foundational statute of US labor law which guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including strikes if necessary.”

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Extreme Weather Watch: March 2014

April 3, 2014 by Source

Winter Weather Made a $55 Billion Hit to US Economy

By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

weather5The winter of 2014 broke records and budgets. NBC News reported that the economy took a $55 billion hit because of the extreme winter weather. There was $5.5 billion in damage to homes, businesses, agriculture and infrastructure.

Cities had additional costs for salt for roads and asphalt for potholes. There were more than 30,000 potholes in Toledo, OH alone. The companies that supply salt and asphalt are making a fortune. This winter also saw 79.3 inches of snow falling in Chicago where there were 23 days below zero.

In California drought covers 99.8% of the state. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically holds at least half of all the water that will flow to the state’s farms and cities each year, is at just one-fourth of its normal level.

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So They Are All … All Honorable Men

April 2, 2014 by Source

honorable menBy Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner

San Diegans are no dummies. We know what happens to politically independent, outspoken, public-minded individuals who are brash enough to shake things up. They get maligned, noogied, humiliated, sent packing. Open your mouth too wide in this city and… you’re dead meat.

So we’re polite and genteel. Why look for trouble? Yes, the public gets screwed over and over again but we’ve learned to turn the other cheek. Forgive and forget — that’s our MO.

We swoon over the nice guys, especially the ones with agreeable manners. Like our avuncular ex-mayor Jerry Sanders, our puckish council president Todd Gloria, our sunkissed mayor Kevin Faulconer — honorable men beyond public reproach. Even when they’re plotting to pull the rug out from under us.

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OB Planners: Election of Officers, Board Appointments and Demolition of Near-Century Old House on Muir

April 2, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ocean Beach Planning Board holds its monthly meeting tonight – Wed., April 2nd – at the OB Rec Center, located at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue, at 6 pm sharp.

First on their potentially busy agenda after the normal quorem-agenda-minutes housekeeping is the certification of the Board’s most recent election – held on March 11th. This is usually a pro forma procedure.

Board Appointments

Next is the decision on whether there will be any appointments to the Board itself. At the most recent OB Town Council meeting, the liaison with the planners, Gio Ignolia, announced that there are 5 appointments available – two in the all-important District 4, and one each in Districts 5, 6 and 7. And there are indications that several people have applied for an appointment. If applicant candidates qualify, then the full Board votes them up or down.

(For an intro to OB’s 7 planning districts, go here.)

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OB Planning Board Agenda for April 2, 2014

March 31, 2014 by Staff

Here is the agenda for the Ocean Beach Planning Board April meeting. The Board meets in the meeting room of the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica, at 6pm sharp.

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A Green Balboa Park Centennial Celebration for 2015

March 31, 2014 by Source

By Lori Saldaña / San Diego Free Press

green globeAs George Santayana famously observed: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But in the case of the Pan-American centennial planning, organizers need to learn from the history of the event to help them re-create its grandeur and appeal, and make the 2015 Balboa Park centennial a celebration of innovation, rooted in the first Exhibition’s origins.

Here’s a brief statement of the original events’ main theme: “The purpose of the Panama-California Exposition is to illustrate the progress and possibility of the human race, not for the exposition only, but for a permanent contribution to the world’s progress.”

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CicloDias to Hit Pacific Beach – Sunday, March 30

March 28, 2014 by Source
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OBceans planning on riding from OB

The next CicloSDias is Sunday, March 30, 2014, 10am-3pm. This time it’s about introducing Pacific Beach up to La Jolla to this amazing open streets event. Check out the route above.

Decorate yourself, decorate your bike and join us for the first ever CicloSDias Bike Parade!

When: 11:30am, March 30th.

Where: Cass and Garnet HUB

A friendly panel of judges will determine the winners. Top 3 in store for some great prizes!

See you on the 30th for a Car Free PB!

Folks from OB will be congregating at the Robb Field Skate Board Park.

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The Ocean Beach Campaign Against Starbucks 13 Years Later – Part 2

March 27, 2014 by Source
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By Marc Snelling

The Story of How Ocean Beach Took on Starbucks

Part 2

The building being leased by Starbucks at 4994 Newport, like the Strand also had historical significance. Built in 1927 as a branch office for the Bank of Italy, it incorporated graceful interior features including antique mahogany furniture, chrome iron tellers windows, and marble. Ocean Beach Historical Society president Carol Bowers contacted Starbucks asking them to preserve the unique features of the building.

She was told that a “design team” would contact her to address her concerns. While she was waiting for the call that never came she walked by the site and saw that the arched windows and loft that had housed the former vault had already been walled off. Trees that had been growing int he parking lot had been removed. “So much for Starbucks touted community involvement” she wrote in a May 24th editorial for the Beacon.

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Outgoing CEO Paul Jacobs to Shareholders: Tell Your Congressman to Give Qualcomm a Tax Break!

March 26, 2014 by Source

pauljacobs1By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

In his final message after more than eight years as chief executive officer of Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), Paul Jacobs on March 4 gave employees shareholders what he called a “homework assignment.” “Send your Congress people your opinion that you’d like American companies to be able to bring offshore money back to the United States to either reinvest or return to shareholders”, said Jacobs, now executive chairman of the San Diego based chipmaker, which has $21.6 billion in overseas profits.

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City Council Makes First Step Towards Raising the Minimum Wage in San Diego

March 26, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The room was packed Monday, March 24th, for a meeting of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee as Councilman Todd Gloria successfully gained approval to draft ballot language on a measure proposed for the November ballot raising the minimum wage and granting paid sick leave for San Diegans.

Gloria will consult with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and bring the measure back for consideration by the committee on April 30th. We can only hope the City Councilman president has the language double-checked by an outside attorney who doesn’t have a vested ideological interest in the measure failing.

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Ten-Unit Apartment Complex on 5000 Cape May Sells for $2.8 Million

March 26, 2014 by Staff
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A ten unit apartment complex in the mid-5000 block of Cape May Avenue in Ocean Beach was just sold for $2.8 million.

Morena Properties Inc. bought the property at 5058-5072 Cape May Ave. (assessor’s parcel 448-102-04) from Kerry Sean McLoughlin. The development was initially constructed in 1951 on a 14,000 square foot lot.

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Point Loma Planners: Election Results, “Monster House”, Pipeline Repair, Drunks and Marshmallows

March 25, 2014 by Source
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By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

Six members of the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) were selected by voters in annual elections held March 20 at the Point Loma/Hervey Library.

Two incumbents – Peter Nystrom and Paul Webb – were returned to office for three-year terms. Voters also elected three newcomers:

  • David Dick, the top vote-getter among all 10 candidates;
  • Don Sevrens;
  • and Jon Linney.

Incumbent Mike Ryan, who serves as the board’s first vice chair, tied for fifth with Linney and agreed to complete the one year remaining on an existing vacant position.

The final vote totals of the six winners were: …

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Marijuana Legalization is Coming to California, But What Path Will it Take?

March 24, 2014 by Source

MJcaliflagA breakdown of the initiatives in the state

By Chris Conrad / The Leaf Online

With four marijuana legalization initiatives vying for the California ballot, one thing is clear: All four sets of reforms are better than the state’s current prohibition. The initials and names are confusing, but the core question is, which one or ones will voters get to vote on?

The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI) has been gathering signatures the longest. TheMarijuana Control, Legalization and Regulation (MCLR) is the longest and took in the greatest amount of direct input from the public. A third version was drafted by a group of long-time reform activists, including remnants of the unsuccessful 2010 Prop 19 campaign. None of these has visible financial backing to make the ballot.

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Really Beachy-Keen News Around OB

March 24, 2014 by Staff
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Annual Wisteria Party: A ‘Who’s Who in OB’

It was a virtual “who’s who” at this weekend’s Annual Wisteria Garden Party held by the OB Historical Society. ….

The Old Dover Is Gone as Construction Nears for Sunset Plaza

Yup, the old Dover building is now gone – near the intersection of Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

Mission Beach Celebrates One Hundred Years

In 1923 neighbors were scarce. So were roads, indoor plumbing and electricity.

Knife Attack on Host by Party Crashers in Mission Beach

A Mission Beach man was stabbed early Sunday …

Car Plunges Into Mission Bay

That Time SeaWorld Tried to Slash Its Rent by 70 Percent

A decade ago, SeaWorld asked for something most renters can only dream of: A roughly 70 percent reduction in its annual

Daily Transcript Continues Mainstream Media History of Not Knowing Where Ocean Beach Is

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Notes from the Class War: Killing “The Year of the Populist” in the Crib?

March 24, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

democratic-party-where-are-youRecently, in “Neoliberalism and Its Discontents: What’s Left Beyond More Impoverished Choices?”, I continued my analysis of the national debate that followed the publication of Adolph Reed’s sharp criticism of what qualifies as the “left” in the contemporary American political landscape.

After that column was posted, Reed wrote yet another piece in American Prospect, this time responding to Harold Meyerson’s dismissal of his call for a left less tethered to a Democratic Party increasingly colonized by Wall Street and other corporate interests.

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