Against the Current, No. 223, March/
Women's Rights, Human Rights
— The Editors
Lives Yes, Pipelines No!
— Rebecca Kemble
- Salvadoran Water Defenders
Killings by Police Rose in 2022
— Malik Miah
View from the Ukrainian Left
— Denys Bondar and Zakhar Popovych
Witness, Resilience, Accountability
— interview with Rabab Abdulhadi
- Palestine Solidarity Activism Under Fire
- The Horror in Occupied Palestine
Nicaraguan Political Prisoners Freed, Deported
— Dianne Feeley and David Finkel
Stuck in the Mud, Sinking to the Right: 2022 Midterm Elections
— Kim Moody
Heading for the Ditch?
— David Finkel
Paths to Rediscovering Universities
— Harvey J. Graff
- International Women's Day, 2023
Demanding Abortion Rights in Russia
— Feminist Anti-War Resistance/ FAS (Russia)
Before & After Roe: Scary Times, Then & Now
— Dianne Feeley
Abolition. Feminism. Now.
— Alice Ragland
#Adoption Is Trauma AND Violence
— Liz Hee
Radical Memory and Mike Davis' Final Work
— Alexander Billet
A Revolutionary's Story
— Folko Mueller
James P. Cannon, Life and Legacy
— Paul Le Blanc
The World of Professional Boxing
— John Woodford
A Powerful Legacy of Struggle
— Jake Ehrlich
War and an Irish Town
— Joan McKiernan
- In Memoriam
Mike Rubin 1944-2022
— Jack Gerson
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY clown car in Congress lurches from one outrage to the next, partially mitigated by its absurdity and incompetence — but potentially risking a collision course with the ruin of the U.S. economy and financial calamity.
Following the midterm election results, it becomes more clear by the week that the Democrats are the “responsible” political party — responsible, that is, to capital and the U.S. ruling class. While the Biden administration handles affairs of state from the Ukraine war to inflation to whatever was in the Chinese balloon, the Republican House majority passes resolutions to abolish the IRS and open any number of meaningless “investigations” into third-rate questions.
In the real-world United States, more than 30 million people in 32 states will face cuts, beginning in March, in SNAP (food stamp) benefits that were enhanced during the COVID emergency. At a time when food costs are 10 percent higher than a year ago, a family of four would lose around $328 a month, and vulnerable elderly recipients could have monthly benefits reduced from $281 to as little as $23.
While hunger looms for millions, COVID continues to claim between 450 and 500 lives every day, of whom only 16% were fully vaccinated.
As the Republicans give thanks every day for the gift of Hunter Biden’s laptop, Democrats are reciprocally grateful for the existence of George Santos — the twin distractions who keeps on distracting.
Where matters get less funny comes in late spring or early summer, when the Treasury runs out of maneuvers to avoid default after exceeding the current $31 trillion cumulative “debt ceiling.” (If you don’t know, the peculiar institution of the debt ceiling dates from the 1917 Second Liberty Bonds Act, when the wartime Congress said government borrowing could not exceed a legislatively set limit, and took its more or less present form in the 1940s.)
Failing to raise the debt ceiling (to allow government borrowing to pay for already approved expenses) would collide with an Article IV constitutional provision guaranteeing “the full faith and credit” of the United States government. There are ideological fanatics who consider the debt ceiling an opportunity to impose a requirement for a balanced budget, something the United States has had for exactly two years of its history, from 1835 to 1837.
A U.S. government default, even the threat of it, represents an unthinkable catastrophe on multiple levels. The “responsible” rightwing Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell says it cannot happen. House speaker Kevin McCarthy, who owes his tenuous position to the far right lunatic faction of his caucus, insists that raising the debt ceiling must be “negotiated” with savage social spending cuts — and more tax cuts for the rich.
At some point, the clown car will collide with the real needs of capital. Stay tuned and hold onto your wallet.
March-April 2023, ATC 223