Subscribe to Our Newsletter





Follow LeftTurn:

Special Offer from PM Press

Now more than ever there is a vital need for radical ideas. In the four years since its founding - and on a mere shoestring - PM Press has risen to the formidable challenge of publishing and distributing knowledge and entertainment for the struggles ahead. With over 200 releases to date, they have published an impressive and stimulating array of literature, art, music, politics, and culture.

PM Press is offering readers of Left Turn a 10% discount on every purchase. In addition, they'll donate 10% of each purchase back to Left Turn to support the crucial voices of independent journalism. Simply enter the coupon code: Left Turn when shopping online or mention it when ordering by phone or email.

Click here for their online catalog.

Living by the Clock of the World: Grace Lee Boggs’ Call for Visionary Organizing

By: 
Matthew Birkhold
Date Published: 
April 17, 2012

In response to a question regarding advice for young activists, 96 year old movement veteran Grace Lee Boggs recently told Hyphen Magazine that activists should turn our backs on protest organizing because it “leads you more and more to defensive operations” and “Do visionary organizing” because it “gives you the opportunity to encourage the creative capacity in people and it’s very fulfilling.” This quote made its way around facebook, twitter, and tumblr, as fans of Grace reposted it like it was common sense while others thought the quote bordered on conservatism.

To better understand Grace’s call, we need to understand the historical perspective in which it’s rooted.  We also need to understand how visionary organizing differs from protest organizing, how Grace understands revolution, and that the way history develops means that ideas that were progressive or even revolutionary in one era, can become mental roadblocks to progress in another era.

Dispatch from Alabama: Organizing against HB 56

By: 
Ingrid Chapman
Date Published: 
February 16, 2012

This is a message to friends, family and fellow organizers regarding the struggle in Alabama against the most extreme anti-immigrant law in the country, HB 56. The bill, titled the Hammon-Beason Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, was signed into law in June of 2011. Although it has received a lot less coverage, it is, by all accounts, even more draconian than Arizona’s SB 1070.

I arrived in Alabama 2 days before HB 56 went into effect with the original plan of being here for 2 weeks. That turned into 3 months.  I have just returned for 6 more months to work with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice www.acij.net. I learned about the incredibly egregious law HB 56 and I listened to my heart, which told me to respond to the call for organizing support and to go to Alabama.  Now I am living in Alabama (AL), a place I never imagined myself. Every day is incredibly challenging, full of simultaneous heartbreak and inspiration and yet I am thankful to be here, working side by side with hundreds of incredible people. I believe that from this atrocity, a movement is being born that will impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, possibly millions.  I know many might not know the extent of both the crisis and the subsequent developing movement to confront it, so I want to update you and ask for your feedback and support in building a national movement against this vicious anti-immigration law.

The US, Israel, and the War on Iran: Don’t Let Them Fool Us Again!

By: 
Rami El-Amine
Date Published: 
February 10, 2012

The end of 2011 saw the beginnings of a shift to a more overt and aggressive policy by the US and its allies towards Iran. This shift was not the result of any new threat being posed by Iran but by the need for the US to maintain a sizeable military presence in the oil rich region after withdrawing from Iraq. The Arab revolutions are also a major factor in this shift, particularly for the US’s Gulf Arab allies and Israel. Saber rattling around Iran heightens sectarian tensions in the region and, therefore, weakens the revolutionary wave which threatens the Gulf Arab monarchies. Israel, on the other hand, is leading the push for an attack because it deflects attention away from its continued denial of land and rights to Palestinians at a time when it is coming under increased international criticism.

In the Path of the Mining-Energy Locomotive – Resisting Colombia’s Quimbo Hydroelectric Project (Photo Essay)

By: 
Entre Aguas
Date Published: 
February 7, 2012

While the tone of Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, is much more diplomatic than his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, the state policies of militarizing territories to facilitate resource extraction under the guise of economic development and counter-insurgent security have not changed. The forced displacement of inhabitants that it spurred has also not abated.

Santos, the Minister of Defense under Uribe, assumed the presidency in August 2010. He kicked off his administration by naming four focus areas as the “locomotives” of his government´s economic development, one of these being mining-energy generation.

Hip-Hop Nation: Mixtape Revolution?

By: 
Xan West
Date Published: 
February 6, 2012

A Review of I MIX WHAT I LIKE! A MIXTAPE MANIFESTO
by Jared Ball

AK Press, 2011

“The ability to determine which forms of cultural expression are widely disseminated and which are not is purely ideological and serves a colonizing purpose”- Jared Ball, I Mix What I Like!: A Mixtape Manifesto

I have a confession.  I’ve most likely seen every episode, reunion and thrown down of Love & Hip-Hop.  Critical consciousness intact, I sit guilty and mesmerized by one solid hour of television dedicated to black women man chasing, trash talking and fist fighting.  For months I’ve tried to analyze what it could be about me, my homies, and apparently a large segment of the nation that, though we know it is wrong, can’t seem to look away.  Many of us use a train wreck analogy to justify our attraction to such a rachet show: I can’t look away because I want to see how bad it gets. 

However we justify it to ourselves, most of us rely on personal responsibility and question ourselves: why do I have this sick obsession?  But, I began to notice Love & Hip-Hop and the weave-pulling drama that goes with it, is always on the air—morning, after school, nighttime, and that’s not even the marathons. If one is to turn on VH1, Love& Hip-Hop is what’s on.  The other music channels are not much better.

Jared Ball’s I Mix What I Like!: A Mixtape Manifesto properly places Black America as a colonized people within a nation, and therefore recognizes a colonized hip-hop nation within this colony.  

Dangerous Uncertainty in Pakistan

By: 
Junaid S. Ahmad
Date Published: 
January 28, 2012

With relations between Pakistan’s civilian government and military incredibly tense, speculation is ripe in the local and international media that the threat of a military takeover looms large. The military is allegedly buoyed by the support of the Supreme Court and the country’s business and political elite. It seems that the days of Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led coalition government are numbered.

The tensions reached their tipping point on January 11th when Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani alleged that the Pakistan Army and its intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), were unlawfully interfering in a controversial court case involving the government. This essentially amounted to accusing the heads of the army of defying the constitution and the democratically elected government. The military was quick to retort that there would be “very serious ramifications” and “grievous consequences” if the government continued its confrontational posturing.

Khaleeji Capital, Not Just about the Oil

By: 
Konstantin Kilibarda
Date Published: 
January 11, 2012

A Review of CAPITALISM AND CLASS IN THE GULF ARAB STATES
by Adam Hanieh

Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

Adam Hanieh’s Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (2011) is an indispensable text for anyone interested in the Middle East. This groundbreaking study traces the historical trajectory of capital, class and state formation in the Gulf and its role in shaping global capitalism since WWII. According to Hanieh, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – established in 1981 by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – effectively institutionalizes the preference of Gulf elites for neoliberal strategies of internationalization and financialization. He coins the term “Khaleeji Capital”, which is derived from khaleej, meaning gulf, "but goes beyond a geographic meaning to convey a common pan-Gulf Arab identity that sets the people of the region apart from the rest of the Middle East.”
 

The End of a War for Who?

By: 
Sarah Lazare
Date Published: 
January 2, 2012

Eric Ruin (justseeds.org)Eric Ruin (justseeds.org)On the day I heard that President Obama had officially declared the Iraq war over, I was at the Danville Veterans’ Administration hospital (VA) with my partner S, an Iraq War veteran. S is six months into a disability application, a request for benefits and compensation for disabilities sustained during military service, which will likely take another year to process.

We found ourselves navigating through a maze of yellowed walkways and drab interiors, shuttled from admissions offices to mental health clinics. While we were not the only ones moving through that system, we were perhaps moving faster than the others. Many veterans of previous wars—the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, World War II—lined the route, being pushed in wheelchairs, walking on canes, some perhaps visiting for the day with their families, some completely alone. S was one of the only young people I saw in this wing of the VA, and based on the way people looked at us, they clearly knew that he was a “hero” of the war that President Obama had just declared “completed.”

From the Arab Revolutions to the Occupy Uprisings, the Winter of Our Discontent

By: 
Hena Ashraf
Date Published: 
December 21, 2011

A few weeks ago on the train my mind drifted to Mohammed Bouazizi and a great sorrow descended over me. I thought of how his tremendous sacrifice on the 17th of December 2010 was the literal spark that set the fire for uprisings around the world. I thought of how an ordinary Tunisian street vendor profoundly affected the lives of millions of people everywhere with his tragic protest.

His self-immolation captured the immense anger and frustration that millions experience on a daily basis. By setting himself on fire in front of the local governor's office, Bouazizi showed the world that he could no longer endure the harassment and humiliation he suffered at the hands of corrupt local authorities. His example shows how revolutions start from the ground up, from ordinary people who are fed up of being pushed around. His actions set off revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and throughout the Arab world, as well as in Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Occupy Opportunities for Collective Liberation - Catalyst Project’s Anti-Racist Organizing Strategy

By: 
Chris Crass
Date Published: 
December 14, 2011

Melanie Cervantes - http://dignidadrebelde.comMelanie Cervantes - http://dignidadrebelde.comCatalyst Project, a center for political education and movement building, has compiled a list of resources for anti-racist/collective liberation work to build up the Occupy movement.  The following is an essay from the resource list, sharing key insights from Catalyst's anti-racist organizing strategy and how it relates to the Occupy movement.  The resource list will be sent out widely soon.

The Occupy movement is one of the most profound organizing opportunities in decades, because of its mass invitation for the 99% to step forward and challenge systemic economic inequality. For white anti-racists, this is a moment when we can engage with, support, and organize hundreds of thousands of white people to deeply connect economic justice to racial and gender justice.