The Elections Issue

Hello Toward Freedom Subscribers.

It is with excitement and a good measure of humility that I take up the position of Guest Editor for Toward Freedom at this very time. Excitement because the people of Bolivia have just shocked the world by electing the MAS party back into office after a right wing coup forced President Evo Morales from office less then a year ago. Excitement also because this feisty magazine, now in its 68th year, is unique for its coverage of (often uncovered) news from the standpoint of oppressed peoples fighting for freedom and dignity against dictators, neo-liberal plutocrats, and all those interventionist actors who engage in both hard- and- soft-side counter-insurgency (US AID comes to mind) to undermine legitimately-elected governments around the world. Taking a tour of TF’s website reveals just how intense these struggles are right now.

A feeling of humility because, let’s face it, we are living through a very pivotal time in world history, and  to faithfully render (let alone keep up with) the most important events is a challenge.(I’m reminded of the famous segment of I love Lucy, “Lucy in the chocolate factory.”) Every day comes a new example of President Trump’s increasing desperation to stay in power, while insisting that Covid-19 is “turning a corner.” In fact, it is entering a dangerous new stage as colder weather sets in, sweeping the world while inflicting the most damage on the most powerful nation on earth. We recently learned that five members of Vice President Pence’s staff tested positive for Coronavirus, followed by an admission by. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows,  “We won’t control the Covid 19 pandemic.”

The term, “we are all in this together,” is true up to the point. As President Trump’s almost miraculous recovery shows, some people get the most advanced medical care conceivable, along with billions in stimulus money, while the “rest of us” have to make do with substandard testing, overwhelmed medical facilities, no known cure or vaccine…and deepening unemployment.

Then there’s the Republican-rammed- through-the-Senate vote confirming the nominee for the US Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, an ultra-conservative evangelical who is the very opposite of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I recently learned that Amy Coney Barrett teamed up with John Roberts and Brent Kavanaugh when all were in private practice to provide legal advice to George W. Bush in 2000 on how to handle the recount debacle in Florida. What does that portend for the 2020 elections?

For all these reasons, this week’s issue of Toward Freedom is focusing on history-making elections occurring at this time, starting with a high note:  the elections in Bolivia, which give us some hope that a massive turnout can turn the table on authoritarian regimes.

A Historic Victory in Bolivia by Olivia Arigho-Stiles

Only days after the elections in Bolivia, we learned that the people of Chile overwhelming voted to overturn the Pinochet-era constitution and write a new one. The Guardian calls this” Chile's latest steps towards true democracy are a beacon for the world.”


Both these elections, coming at this time, will be noted in weeks to come in Toward Freedom as Americans are now hoping for a landslide victory against Trump on November 3rd.


The thought of another four years of Trump is almost too ghastly to contemplate. Yet Greg Palast, investigative journalist and determined vote protector, is warning us that Trump could still win and explains how and why. He was the first to expose the rampant vote theft in the 2000 elections for BBC and Rolling Stone magazine. Here’s my post, based on several interviews with Palast:

Final Election Warning: Don’t Get Scrubbed from the Voter Rolls

It must be somewhat amusing for non-American readers to learn how the US is getting a taste of its own medicine, namely, interference with the election process. When Jerry Colby and I were traveling in Brazil in 2000 to promote the Portuguese edition of our book, Thy Will be Done, the election had yet to be decided due to “hanging chads” and other irregularities related to the 2000 election. Brazilians loved to remind us of CIA interventions in their elections (not to mention the coups that removed President Vargas from office in 1945 and President Goulart in 1964 – the latter ushering in the conquest of the Amazon. )

Harvey Wasserman, another election protector, gives us more sobering news on how Florida could once again with the election for the Republican.

With Rigged Scanners, Trump Can Steal Florida—-and the Nation

But If Biden wins the election, whiter US foreign policy?

This is a thoughtful analysis originally published in Foreign Policy in Focus, a newsletter published by the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank. What would Joe Biden’s foreign policy look like? More of the same neoliberalism, or something different?

Overhauling U.S. Foreign Policy: The Bitter Fights Ahead by William Minter and Imani Countess.

Who could possibly disagree with the authors, that We need fundamental change rather than a return to the status quo ante.”  But is that wishful thinking? Will the exigencies of empire still prevail? Even though our readers may be suffering from election fatigue, it’s worth pondering over all the issues that will be decided on the November 3 ballot, like Climate change, public health, police violence, and the systemic racism manifest in all policy areas  -- including anti-black racism around the world, not just in the US. The authors provide a number of ways that progressives can get involved after the election to keep the heat on foreign-policy makers and turn today’s multifaceted crises into a new era of beneficial change.