Leftnews.org | News and Views from the Left

by Editors — last modified 2017-07-05T10:43:19-04:00
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox
The best of the political left-wing from around the web.

Could Punching Nazis Have Prevented Hitler From Taking Power? | Counter Punch

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 08, 2017 11:10 PM
"Ever since Charlottesville, I have seen repeated references to how Nazism could have been stopped by street-fighting with almost no attention paid to the concrete socio-political conditions of Germany between 1920 and 1933, when Hitler took power. For many of those who think that physical force was the key to stopping Nazism, the viral video of Richard Spencer getting punched in the face was far more important as a guide to action than understanding the tragic history of the German left. ... In the final analysis, it was a perfect storm of reformism and ultraleft sectarianism that allowed Hitler to come to power, not an absence of street-fighting. Even when Hitler was close to coming to power, the two working class parties failed to unite their militias into a single fighting force. They were the proverbial deer caught in a headlight. ... If the left had prevailed in 1933, the world would have been spared WWII, the holocaust and likely the collapse of the USSR. Stalin would have been undermined because in the absence of a Nazi invasion, he would have had less of an ability to cultivate the reputation of a defender of the Motherland. We also would have been spared the invention of nuclear weapons that only became a reality after Einstein convinced Roosevelt that their development was necessary. ... The most urgent task today, as it was in the 1920s, is to create a left party that can speak in the name of working people and that will eventually be massive enough to take power. Hopefully, this will cost the lives of no more than those that were lost on the day the Bolsheviks took power in one of the most peaceful social revolutions in human history."

In the court of Kim Jong-un: a ruthless, bellicose despot, but not mad | The Guardian

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 08, 2017 12:37 PM
"But an obsession with weapons of mass destruction is only part of the story. Having abandoned his predecessors’ ideological devotion to a state-planned economy, Kim has allowed markets to operate, ushering in a construction boom in Pyongyang. Cross-border trade with China has flourished and rules have been relaxed to allow North Koreans to earn much-needed hard currency overseas. He has pursued a policy known as byungjin – or parallel advance – that calls for the country’s nuclear programme to be developed in tandem with the economy. By developing a nuclear deterrent, the reasoning goes, the regime can spend money saved on expensive conventional weapons to improve living standards. There are signs the approach is working. North Korea’s economy grew 3.9% in 2016, the fastest pace in 17 years, according to South Korea’s central bank."

Election 2016's price tag: $6.8 billion | CBS

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 06, 2017 09:32 PM
"Americans who are running for federal elective offices spent more than ever -- about $6.8 billion -- in that pursuit, including the nastiest presidential election in recent memory, between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. That’s more than what consumers spend on cereal ($6 billion), pet grooming ($5.4 billion) and legal marijuana ($5.4 billion). The nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics estimates spending on the Clinton-Trump contest at more than $2.65 billion, actually down a bit from $2.76 billion in 2012 when Democratic incumbent Barack Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney."

Venezuelan opposition pins hopes on elections as protests falter | Reuters

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 05, 2017 08:54 PM
"Most opposition leaders say October’s elections for governors in all the country’s 23 states now represent the best means to keep pressuring Maduro, providing a chance to win some of the governorships at stake and an opportunity for a protest vote to demonstrate the president’s unpopularity. The opposition, which boycotted the elections for the Constituent Assembly, accused electoral authorities of inflating turn-out figures for the July 30 vote. ... However, some who spent months on the streets with the encouragement of opposition leaders, especially young members of a self-styled “Resistance” movement, feel betrayed. They say turning attention so quickly to the election legitimizes what they view as Maduro’s authoritarianism and insults the memory of slain protesters. They also see a contradiction with the opposition’s decision to boycott July’s vote for the Constituent Assembly."

IS convoy stranded in Syria desert after US bombing | BBC

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Sep 02, 2017 10:20 AM
"The hundreds of fighters recently surrendered an enclave on Syria's border with Lebanon. They agreed with Hezbollah and the Syrian government that they would leave with their families and head eastwards. But the coalition says it and Iraq were not part of the deal and on Wednesday bombed the road ahead of the convoy. ... Lebanese, Syrian and Hezbollah forces agreed ceasefires with IS militants last week days after attacking the jihadists' final foothold in the Lebanon-Syria border area. More than 300 militants and their families were allowed to leave for Albu Kamal, a town in the Syrian province of Deir al-Zour that is 6km (4 miles) from the Iraqi border."
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