Against the Current 178

— The Editors
BAILOUT? GREECE IS not being “bailed out.” Greece is being waterboarded. And the reasons are overwhelmingly political, having little or nothing to do with economic realities. It’s about destroying any forces that support alternatives to the crushing dictates of capital.
The Greek “Catastroika” — as Michael Löwy aptly labels it in his article on “Capitalism versus Democracy” in this issue — is far from ending with the “third...
— Malik Miah
“In the two years since its conception, the Black Lives Matter movement has transformed from a powerful, U.S.-based unifier to a globalized movement connecting black and oppressed people all over the world.
“After the acquittal of George Zimmer­man in July 2013 in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, three black women created #BlackLivesMatter to represent black people who were being terrorized by state-sanctioned violence, poverty and mass incarceration.
“It...
— Premilla Nadasen
INCOME INEQUALITY IS at its highest point in a century, as real wages for most Americans have barely budged for decades. Corporate streamlining, downsizing and outsourcing have led to a dramatic decline in manufacturing jobs in the United States. Public sector unions are under attack across the country, most visibly in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile those on the left lament the weakness of the labor movement in American politics. Indeed the mainstream labor union has waned, with a private sector...
— Premilla Nadasen
THE WOMEN’S POLITICAL Council, a civil rights group founded in Montgomery, had been meeting for years and discussing a possible citywide bus boycott. It had a distributional network in place and was ready to launch such a protest at a moment’s notice. Martin Luther King Jr. would become the primary spokesperson of the yearlong boycott, bringing him to national attention. Less prominent in the boycott’s retelling are the working-class and poor black women who were the grassroots...
— a statement by Solidarity
The following statement was discussed at Solidarity’s July 2015 Convention and approved by majority vote, with the additional note that the organization also has many members engaged in the Green Party and that we support their work and the Jill Stein campaign. This resolution is intended to outline an approach to the Sanders campaign and his supporters, not as an evaluation as Sanders himself or his political views. Against the Current welcomes comments and additional viewpoints.
For a...
FIVE YEARS INTO her 35-year military prison sentence, Chelsea Manning was threatened with indefinite solitary confinement — a form of torture as identified by international human rights organizations. However the August 18th closed disciplinary hearing, after convicting her on four counts, did not result in any solidarity cofinement but rather 21 days of restrictions and a conviction record.
“Charges” included “disorderly conduct” and “disrespect” to a...
— Peter Brogan
The following statement was discussed at Solidarity’s July 2015 Convention and approved by majority vote, with the additional note that the organization also has many members engaged in the Green Party and that we support their work and the Jill Stein campaign. This resolution is intended to outline an approach to the Sanders campaign and his supporters, not as an evaluation as Sanders himself or his political views. Against the Current welcomes comments and additional viewpoints.
For a...
— Michael Löwy
LET US BEGIN with a quote from an essay on bourgeois democracy in Russia, written in 1906, after the defeat of the first Russian revolution:
“It is highly ridiculous to believe that there is an elective affinity between grand capitalism today, as it is presently imported into Russia, and well established in the United States (…) and ‘democracy’ or ‘liberty’ (in all the possible meanings of the word); the real question should be: how are these things even...
— Dan Georgakas
AUGUST 31st UPDATE: Some options discussed in my article below have been resolved.
Alexis Tsipras has resigned as head of the government, which will result in a new election on September 20.   Panagiotis Lafanazis  and 53 Syriza MPs have left Syriza to form the Popular Unity Party (Laiki Enotita). For the moment this makes it the third largest party in the Greek Parliament.
Opinion Polls for the coming election show Tsipras with between 25-30% of the vote, not enough to form a...
— Richard Roman and Edur Valasco Arregui
THE BRUTAL VIOLENCE of the Mexican state against its own population, much of it carried out under the cover of the drug war, is inseparably linked to the global capitalist offensive. In Mexico’s case, where the assault is especially rapacious and traditions of collectivity and resistance still very strong, the repression is thereby all the more fierce.
Impunity and state terrorism are not new in Mexico, but their sharp escalation is the other side of the coin of neoliberal restructuring....
— Andrew Hemingway
[The first portion of this essay appeared in our previous issue, ATC 177, and is online at www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/4467.]
THE FORM OF visual art illustrated in New Masses and exhibited at the John Reed Club’s art exhibitions that corresponded most closely to Mike Gold’s literary practice, and that of the worker writers, was represented by artists such as Philip Reisman and Raphael Soyer. Not coincidentally, both were like Gold the children of Jewish immigrants, though unlike...
— The Editors
AT UCLA THE Center for Social Theory & Comparative History, the Bunche Center for African American Studies and the Gary Nash Chair in US History co-sponsored a forum on Black Lives Matter on May 4, 2015. Panelists were asked to address why the movement arose at this moment, what issues drive it and what forms it is taking. We are printing here the edited versions of talks by Cheryl Harris, UCLA School of Law, and Michael Brown, Black Lives Matter Long Beach. In the July/August ATC, we ran...
— Cheryl Harris
LAST FALL, AT a panel at the Law School entitled “From Gaza to Ferguson,” I started my remarks as follows:
“Days after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson on August 11, a 25-year-old mentally ill Black man by the name of Ezell Ford was killed by the Los Angeles Police Department in South Los Angeles as he walked near his house. The police claimed that as they stopped their car and attempted to speak to him, he kept walking and “made suspicious movements,”...
— Michael Brown
I REMEMBER AS a student several years ago at Cal State coming to symposiums like this, which really helped with my development. I didn’t necessarily jump out there in activism quickly. I was going to Cal State Fullerton when Kelly Thomas was killed — the homeless white man in Fullerton. That ended up being my first time getting into activism. It was me and a bunch of white folks. I just kept going from there.
I like the theme of this program — it’s called “Crisis,...
— Martin Oppenheimer
AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE been murdered by white mobs, vigilantes, and “law enforcement” from the time of slavery to, quite possibly, this morning.
The fundamental reason for the killing of African-Americans by whites has been fear by many whites of all classes that the existing rules of racial hierarchy, that is, white supremacy, are endangered — whether by slave uprisings, Blacks threatening white job monopolies, taking political power from whites, moving into white...
— Steve Downs
Enough Blame to Go Around
The Labor Pains of New York City’s Public Employee Unions
By Richard Steier
SUNY Press, 2014, 301 pages, $24.95 paperback.
IMAGINE A NEWSPAPER that reported from a pro-union, pro-public sector, point of view. New Yorkers don’t have to imagine it; we have it.
The Chief-Leader is a weekly paper that covers the public sector, public employees and their unions. It carries information on filing for Civil Service tests, ads from Workers’ Comp lawyers, and...
— Paul Prescod
The Counter-Revolution of 1776
Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America
By Gerald Horne
NYU Press, 2014, 363 pages, $39 cloth.
THE BASIC CONTRADICTIONS of the American Revolution of 1776 are by now fairly openly acknowledged and discussed. A rapidly growing set of colonies fights for its independence from Great Britain under the slogans of “liberty” and “all men are created equal.” Meanwhile, the same people who lead this movement enforce a massive...
— Michael Principe
The Next New Left:
A History of the Future
By Alan Sears
Halifax and Winnipeg, Canada: Fernwood Publishing, 2014, 134 pages, $19.95 paperback from Amazon.
BOOKS TAKING A hard look at the current state of “the left” are rarely upbeat, let alone inspiring. Alan Sears’ The Next New Left successfully achieves this without dreaminess or utopian speculation.
Sears (professor of sociology, Ryerson University and a member of Canada’s New Socialist Group) brings many years of...
— Jane Slaughter
Inside China’s Automobile Factories:
The Politics of Labor and Worker Resistance
By Lu Zhang
Cambridge University Press, 2015, $95 cloth, paperback forthcoming in 2016.
Insurgency Trap:
Labor Politics in Postsocialist China
By Eli Friedman
Institute for Labor Research: Cornell University Press, 2014, 232 pages, $24.95 paperback.
WHEN I READ a book about rebellious factory workers in China, what I want to know is: Where are all the wildcat strikes heading? Will workers be able to build real...
— Alan Wald
Leon Trotsky
By Paul Le Blanc
London: Reaktion Books, 2015, 224 pages, 35 halftones. Paper: $16.95. A Volume in the “Critical Lives” series, distributed in the United States by the University of Chicago Press.
PAUL LE BLANC has achieved the implausible — he has written a concise and compelling book about a sprawling, gargantuan subject. Leon Trotsky (born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, 1879-1940) was a titan of 20th century politics, a revolutionary Marxist genius who theorized a...