a better world
is probable
  1. Einstein: “Why socialism?”

    April 19, 2014

    Einstein talks with students

    This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society. – Albert Einstein, “Why Socialism?” (1949)

    I’ve read this a few times now. I probably go back over it every few years. I’m always astonished by Einstein’s sharp grasp on social issues, in addition to being one of the most influential physicists in the history of the subject.

    This time around, however, I was struck by some of the topics to which Einstein paid particular attention. His focus on the individual, for instance, and the individual’s attitude toward humanity (e.g., Einstein’s anecdote about the man who asked him why he was opposed to the disappearance of the human race) and their kind of selfish attitude, I think is often posed as a particularity of contemporary, neoliberal capitalism. Capitalism, however, has always attempted to pit the individual against the whole of society, such that, even in the midst of the post-war boom and the height of New Deal reforms, Einstein still felt compelled to confront the claim that the individual and society were mutually exclusive entities.

    You can read the entire essay here.

  2. Audio from Socialism 2013 presentation: Be the Change You Want to See?

    July 11, 2013

    The audio from my talk at the 2013 Socialism Conference is up. You can check it out in the widget below, or at We Are Many.

  3. Petroleum coke on the Detroit River: An eco-catastrophe waiting to happen

    July 10, 2013

    1001061_495785647167782_974856080_nMy latest for Socialist Worker, an article on the storage of petroleum coke (tar sands waste) on the Detroit River, went up yesterday.  I’ve posted a brief excerpt below.  If you want to find out more about petroleum coke, what’s being done to fight it, and what socialists have to say about the fight against the capitalist war on the environment, come check out the International Socialist Organization and Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands meeting on July 17th at the Anchor Bar at 450 W. Fort in Detroit.

    IF YOU visited the Detroit riverfront just east of the Ambassador Bridge before, you wouldn’t see much more than Windsor, Ontario, and a handful of people killing time with some beers and a fishing rod. Since last March, however, something has suddenly interrupted the relatively serene atmosphere: three-story-tall mountains of toxic black dust.

    Petroleum coke (or petcoke)–sometimes called “the dirtiest of dirty fuels”–is a waste byproduct of tar-sands oil often used as an inexpensive substitute for coal. It is being stored by the tons on the Detroit riverfront. Left uncovered, virtually any wind stronger than a breeze can carry the fine powder into the homes of nearby residents.

    You can read the rest here.