Porto Alegre Floods and the Failure of the Minimal State

On April 31, 300 mm of rain fell in the mountains of Northern Rio Grande do Sul, causing dam breaks, landslides and submerging entire towns, leaving over 160 people dead as it headed south towards the Guaíba drainage basin, where all of the streams and rivers of the northern third of the state converge to enter into a river that runs directly past downtown Porto Alegre. Devastated by a huge flood in 1941, the City of Porto Alegre used Dutch technology to construct a huge dike, floodgate and pumping station system in the 1960s to prevent a similar tragedy from every happening again. As the water level in the Guaíba River surpassed the 3-meter mark during the first days of May, the public found out that some of the flood gates were missing rubber seals and bolts, and many had rusted into their tracks. More

Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism Today

Global capitalism has produced multiple intersecting crises that are intensifying conflict between and within states. These crises are a global economic slump; sharpening interimperial rivalry between the United States, China, and Russia; climate change; unprecedented global migration; and pandemics, of which COVID-19 is only the most recent example. These crises have undermined the political establishment, caused political polarization in most countries of the world, opening the door to the Right and the Left, and triggering waves of explosive yet episodic struggles from below. We have not witnessed such a period of crisis, conflict, wars, political instability, and revolts in decades. More

U.S. Christian Money Funds African Homophobia

Few Americans are aware just how significant is the role of “right-wing Christian nationalists” in promoting and sustaining the reactionary sexual politics prevalent within many African countries. It is estimated that more than 20 U.S. Christian groups are actively subsidizing campaigns against LGBT people as well as opposing access to safe abortions, contraceptives and comprehensive sexuality education.  More

Tariffs on China: Trump was Dumb, Biden is Dumber

Both countries also followed a model of state-led industrialization that the United States would probably not have tolerated a generation later during the heyday of stricter trade rules and neoliberal investment regimes. The U.S. need for economically strong non-communist allies in the region, during and after the Korean and Vietnam Wars, also contributed to this tolerance for the “unorthodox” economic strategies of Japan and South Korea. More