Papa Q: The Challenge of Creating a 21st Century Left Politics
Tuesday, 04 September 2012 18:27
This is the second section of a three-part piece by Bill Fletcher, Jr, reposted from Philosophers for Change. The last post, available here, addressed the current political context and efforts at socialist renewal. This post addresses: “The Arab democratic uprising and the rise of mass Left radicalism” and “The question of who makes history”
The Arab democratic uprising and the rise of mass Left radicalism
The reshaping of the global Left, and quite possibly global politics, may have been found in the Arab democratic uprising (what some call the “Arab Spring” or Arab Democratic Revolution) that kicked off with the December 2010 rising in Tunisia. Though none of these uprisings can be described as “Left”, at least in traditional terms, and though in some places the Left played a role in the uprisings, e.g., Tunisia, the scale and scope of the uprisings has been so significant so as to send shockwaves around the planet that go beyond the Left. In effect these uprisings were anti-neo-colonial and objectively anti-neo-liberal. They were mass and were not religiously inspired (though drew upon various faiths for inspiration).[iii] And, contrary to many prior risings in the Arab World, they were not coups but rather were mass interventions that in many cases brought normal life to a halt.
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About the Author
Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a longtime labor, racial justice and international activist. He is an Editorial Board member and columnist for BlackCommentator.com and a Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. He is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and a founder of the Black Radical Congress.
Fletcher is the co-author (with Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided, The Crisis in Organized Labor and A New Path Toward Social Justice (University of California Press). He was formerly the Vice President for International Trade Union Development Programs for the George Meany Center of the AFL-CIO. Prior the George Meany Center, Fletcher served as Education Director and later Assistant to the President of the AFL-CIO.
Fletcher got his start in the labor movement as a rank and file member of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America. Combining labor and community work, he was also involved in ongoing efforts to desegregate the Boston building trades. He later served in leadership and staff positions in District 65-United Auto Workers, National Postal Mail Handlers Union and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Fletcher is a graduate of Harvard University and has authored numerous articles and speaks widely on domestic and international topics, racial justice and labor issues.
Recent Bill Fletcher Posts
- Bill: My frustration with the Left when it comes to electoral politics Written on Friday, 06 April 2012 22:30
- BILL FLETCHER: What We Need to Do Written on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 23:01