Socialism and Muhammad's Economic Blueprint

Socialism and Muhammad's Economic Blueprint

 The following is an interview of me (MDY) conducted by Cedric Muhammad (CM), who is an aide to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. An abbreviated version of the interview appears in The Final Call, the Nation of Islam’s newspaper. It is available […]

Public School Teachers: New Unions, New Alliances, New Politics

Public School Teachers: New Unions, New Alliances, New Politics

 The U.S. working class was slow to respond to the hard times it faced during and after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Finally, however, in February, 2011, workers in Wisconsin began the famous uprising that electrified the country, revolting in large numbers against Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to destroy the state’s public employee labor unions.  […]

Karen's Cancer

Karen’s Cancer

Karen was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, in March 2008. She had surgery, then radiation and chemotherapy. There followed many visits to doctors, first every three months, then every six months. Finally, three weeks ago, Karen’s doctor said that, barring some sudden change in health, she now has to return just once a year. […]

One Nation, One World

One Nation, One World

 Counterpunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair’s essay, “The Silent Death of the American Left,” succinctly discusses the absence of a left-wing presence and activism in the face of myriad social and ecological disasters.* Somewhat surprisingly, this straightforward account elicited sharp criticism—St. Clair’s pessimism was unwarranted and a sign of an intellectual pathology of defeatism, especially in […]

Gas "Frackers" Come to a School District's Rescue?

Gas "Frackers" Come to a School District's Rescue?

Two schools, one a vocational technical high school and the other an elementary school, sit on tracts of land a few blocks from the house in which I grew up, in Ford City (Armstrong County), Pennsylvania.* The communities served by them are, for the most part, not particularly prosperous. Household incomes, wages, home prices, rents, […]

Who Will Lead the U.S. Working Class

  This essay* is based upon an interrogation of two books: Gregg Shotwell, Autoworkers Under the Gun: A Shop-Floor View of the End of the American Dream (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2012), 200 pages, $17.00, paperback, and Jane McAlevey with Bob Ostertag, Raising Expectations (And Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting For the Labor Movement (New York: […]

Cades Cove: History Is So Much Fun!

Cades Cove: History Is So Much Fun!

While visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we spent a day at Cades Cove. Twenty-seven miles west of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and once a thriving farming community, it is now the park’s major tourist attraction, receiving more than two million visitors each year. We enjoyed the trip between the town and the Cove, on a narrow […]

Mike Yates and Bruce Williams in 1972

Bruce and Mike

Bruce Williams was my best friend for nearly all the years I was a teacher. Although he wasn’t happy when I told him I was retiring, I knew that we would keep in close contact from wherever I traveled.  Then, suddenly and sadly, he died, twelve years ago, on March 27, 2001. For awhile afterward, […]

OWS and the Importance of Political Slogans

OWS and the Importance of Political Slogans

 Radical political movements always employ slogans that encapsulate in a few powerful words the aspirations of those fighting for a new world. The French revolutionaries fought under the banner, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” words that still resonate with radicals. The first words of the U.S. Constitution—“We the People”—have quickened the hearts of generations of populist activists. […]