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An Interview with Yanis Varoufakis

Source: Dissent Magazine

The last few years have been a bit of a rollercoaster for the European left. Riding up front has been Yanis Varoufakis, the charismatic economist and former Greek finance minister who went to war with the troika—the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund—in 2015 as it sought to inflict brutal austerity as a penalty for his country’s debts and its decision to elect an openly left-wing government headed by Syriza. They lost that fight, but Varoufakis escaped mostly unscathed. Amid Brexit and a wave of Euroskepticism, he went on to found the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), pushing for a more democratic and inclusive continent, free of austerity. The group mounted several candidates under the mantle of a European Spring this May, including Varoufakis himself. They failed to gain a single seat, though his vote total came in a hundredth of a percentage point below the 3 percent threshold needed to gain representation. While the center-right faltered in May, so, too, did the left. read more

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We must ensure US public lands stay public, or risk ‘demolition of society’

Source: The Guardian

A lawyer and longtime energy lobbyist, the new interior secretary, David Bernhardt, has one goal in mind: handing as much land as possible to corporations.

Who are America’s public lands for? The answer to that question might seem self-evident: the public. The newly confirmed interior secretary, David Bernhardt – officially charged with stewarding them – has a different interpretation. A lawyer and longtime energy lobbyist, he has shuffled between posts on K Street and in the federal government with one goal in mind: handing as much of that land as possible over to corporations, particularly his friends and clients in the oil and gas industry eager to snap up new leases for mining and drilling. read more

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A Green New Deal can give us the freedoms to allow humanity to flourish

Source: The Guardian

Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to redefine freedom in the face of war. The Green New Deal imagines goals for a colorful democracy

One of the biggest challenges of climate politics is that the solutions seem scarier than the problem. We worry that to truly decarbonize, we’d need an authoritarian government or endless austerity. But a big and bold enough Green New Deal could finally make us truly free.

The principles that animated the New Deal are often associated with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s proposed (but never fully enacted) Economic Bill of Rights. These included rights to employment, medical care, housing, education, and social security. Those goals are tragically unrealized for many Americans, and any just version of the Green New Deal must start there. They’re familiar goals for the left, ones we’ve been fighting over for decades. But we also need to rework another New Deal-era statement of principles – FDR’s Four Freedoms. read more

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Climate Change, Not Border Security, is the Real National Emergency

Source: The Intercept

The shutdown might be over for now, but President Donald Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency still looms. The continuing resolution passed Friday afternoon does not contain funding for a border wall, and the president has suggested that if Congress doesn’t compromise on a funding plan within three weeks, he may still proclaim a national emergency at the border.

When Trump first threatened to use emergency powers to unlock $5.7 billion for his $20 billion border wall project, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. came out strongly against it — but not for humanitarian reasons or because he is concerned about an unmistakable creep toward authoritarianism. Rather, Rubio worried that normalizing the call for a state of emergency might make it easier for politicians to act on a genuine existential threat: “If today, the national emergency is border security,” said Rubio, “tomorrow, the national emergency might be climate change.” read more