Reads of the Week - 02.05.2016

Compiled By Doctor Comrade (follow @HCELindsay)

Socialism in America -- book review, Dissent Magazine (follow @DissentMag)

Harold Meyerson reviews Jack Ross's book The Socialist Party of America: A Complete History, which Meyerson observes has been published right when "socialism" in America may take a new turn with a self-proclaimed democratic socialist leading a populist insurgence into the Democratic Party's primaries. Meyerson summarizes the book: "Ross’s is not a social history, not a study of the socialist Jewish women in the garment industry, the cooperative enthusiasts clustered around Job Harriman, the future civil rights leaders schooled by A.J. Muste or the social democrats in the United Automobile Workers union. It’s not a history of American democratic socialist experience. It’s a history, just as the title says, of the party."

No, Socialism Isn’t Just More Government -- Jacobin (follow @JacobinMag)

Chris Maisano attempts to clear up some of the confusion about the term "socialism," which in common parlance--no thanks to Bernie Sanders and the mainstream media--has often been misinterpreted as a more interventionist government: social policy, economic policy, and welfare programs are not inherently socialist, and as Maisano argues, "conflating all government action with socialism forces us to defend many of the most objectionable forms of state activity, including those that we would want to abolish in a free and just society."

They’re all bought and sold: American democracy belongs to the billionaires now -- Salon (follow @Salon)

Despite a truly terrible headline, this post by Nomi Prins is a sickening list of the top backers for each presidential candidate. Whereas Sanders and Trump have disavowed Super PAC links, the other candidates have welcomed millions of dollars from America's billionaire class. Sanders and Trump--both populists of different stripes--have instead relied upon individual donations (though Trump's sizable personal wealth is certainly evidence of the billionaire class' involvement in electioneering). Prins concludes, "What do the American people and our former democratic republic stand to lose (or gain) from this spectacle? All this and more (and more and more money) will be revealed later this year."

White Feminism Downplayed California’s Coerced Sterilization of Latinas in the ’70s -- Slate's XX Factor (follow @Slate)

Christina Cauterucci's article demonstrates one of feminism's most troubling aspects: that white, upper-class feminists often opposed or ignored the calls of feminists of color. As the US federal government was forcibly sterilizing poor Latina women, white feminists opposed Latina feminists' "proposed measures that would help protect vulnerable women from reproductive exploitation—like instating a mandatory waiting period between when a woman consented to a tubal ligation and when the procedure took place—many primarily white feminist groups fought them on it, contending that Roe [v. Wade] gave them the unalienable right to contraception procedures on demand."

Flint’s Poison Water Now With Even More Poison! (Rick Snyder Not Yet In Jail) -- Wonkette (follow @Wonkette)

In typical Wonkette fashion, Doktor Zoom takes on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan: "How bad is the new bad news? Face-smackingly bad." With the stated goal of saving money, Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, appointed an emergency manager, whose decision to cut costs by switching to the corrosive Flint River is the reason why Flint's aging infrastructure began poisoning residents. Some people have called the Flint crisis a genocide. "Thank god the party of Fiscal Responsibility is still in charge of fixing Flint, huh?"

In History

The Problem of Dictatorship -- The Russian Revolution by Rosa Luxemburg. January 15, 2016 was the 97th anniversary of revolutionary theorist Rosa Luxemburg's death. She has recently become the subject of renewed scholarship, including a graphic biography titled Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg. In "The Problem of Dictatorship," Luxemburg presciently criticized the Bolshevik Party's plans for dictatorship, calling for a free and open public life that would establish the power of true workers' democracy. "Freedom," she argues, "is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently."

Handsy Comprehensive Exam Weekend Roundup

Rap and Misogyny: The "Bad Bitch" Phenomenon -- Comrade Sloth argues "American women have been subjected to social and psychological conditioning that they should be subservient, docile, domestic creatures. Now we are starting to see the emergence of an entirely new persona: the phenomenon of the so-called 'bad bitch,' a woman who is independent, self-made, and rebellious toward conventional gender norms."

Screaming into the White Abyss: What I Learned from White Supremacist Twitter -- in HCE's all-time most read post, I argue that Trump’s followers are scary because they have fallen victim to the fascist impulse: the appealing idea of “making America great again,” as in taking back power from the Democrats, the immigrants, the blacks, the women, the UN, and the Chinese.