A Historian Reflects on the Rise of Fascism

Back in 1941, the year of my birth, fascism stood on the brink of conquering the world.  During the preceding decades, movements of the Radical Right―mobilized by demagogues into a cult of virulent nationalism, racial and religious hatred, and militarism―had made great strides in nations around the globe.  By the end of 1941, fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan, having launched massive military invasions of other lands, where they were assisted by local rightwing collaborators, had conquered read more

A Boss is a Boss: Nurses Battle for Their First Union Contract at Albany Medical Center

A nonprofit employer is not necessarily a better boss than a profit-making one.

That sad truth is reinforced by the experience of some 2,200 nurses at Albany Medical Center, who have been fighting for a contract since April 2018, when they voted for union representation.

Even that union recognition struggle proved exceptionally difficult.  The management at Albany Med―a vast, sprawling enterprise with roughly $2 read more

Which Would You Prefer–Nuclear War or Climate Catastrophe?

To:      The people of the world

From:  The Joint Public Relations Department of the Great Powers

The world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, and other heroic rulers of our glorious nations.  Not only are they hard at work making their respective countries great again, but they are providing you, the people of the world, with a choice between two opportunities for mass death and destruction.

Throughout the broad sweep read more

The Widening Gap Between the Super-Rich and Other Americans

Despite the upbeat words from America’s billionaire president about the “economic miracle” he has produced, economic inequality in the United States is on the rise.

In August 2019, the Economic Policy Institute reported that, in 2018, the average pay of CEOs at America’s 350 top firms hit $17.2 million―an increase, when adjusted for inflation, of 1,007.5 percent since 1978.  By contrast, the typical worker’s wage, read more

Why Are Americans So Confused About the Meaning of “Democratic Socialism”?

The meaning of “democratic socialism”―a mixture of political and economic democracy―should be no mystery to Americans.  After all, socialist programs have been adopted in most other democratic nations.  And, in fact, Americans appear happy enough with a wide range of democratic socialist institutions in the United States, including public schools, public parks, minimum wage laws, Social Security, public radio, unemployment insurance, public universities, Medicare, public libraries, read more

The Two Internationalisms

In recent years, internationalism―cooperation among nations for promotion of the common good―has acquired a bad reputation.

Of course, internationalism has long been anathema to the political Right, where a primitive tribalism and its successor, nationalism, have flourished for many years.  Focusing on their nation’s supposed superiority to others, a long line of rightwing demagogues, including Adolf Hitler (“Deutschland read more

Dear Moderators of the Presidential Debates: How About Raising the Issue of How to Avert Nuclear War?

You mass media folks lead busy lives, I’m sure.  But you must have heard something about nuclear weapons―those supremely destructive devices that, along with climate change, threaten the continued existence of the human race.

Yes, thanks to popular protest and carefully-crafted arms control and disarmament agreements, there has been some progress in limiting the number of these weapons and averting a nuclear holocaust.  Even so, that progress has been rapidly unraveling in recent months, read more

Billionaires and American Politics

Is the United States becoming a plutocracy?

With the manifestly unqualified but immensely rich Donald Trump serving as the nation’s first billionaire president, it’s not hard to draw that conclusion.  And there are numerous other signs, as well, that great wealth has become a central factor in American politics.

Although big money has always played an important role in U.S. political campaigns, its influence has been growing over the past decade.  According to the Center read more