Against the Current 187

— The Editors
TO DONALD TRUMP’S credit, he instantly produced the most immense tsunami of popular revulsion to greet any incoming occupant of the White House. From the snarling menace of his “America First” inaugural address, to his cabinet of multi-millionaire and billionaire reactionaries, to the pending removal of millions of people from health insurance, to assaulting women’s reproductive rights and attempting to bar Muslim travelers, to attacking Black youth and every vulnerable...
— Malik Miah
“TRUMP’S AMERICA,” WROTE a leading African-American journalist, Charles Blow, “is not America: not today’s or tomorrow’s, but yesterday’s. Trump’s America is brutal, perverse, regressive, insular and afraid. There is no hope in it; there is no light in it. It is a vast expanse of darkness and desolation.” (The New York Times, January 30, 2017)
There is a lot of disgust toward Trump and his white nationalist strategist Steve Bannon, former...
— Kim Moody
Kim Moody’s article “Who Put Trump in the White House?” appeared in our previous issue, ATC 186 (online at We are publishing here a segment on the vote in four Ohio counties. It bears out the analysis that working-class votes in 2016 declined more than they swung to Trump — which space didn’t permit us to include in that issue. The author’s conclusion there bears repeating: the Democratic Party’s neoliberalism...
— Jules Greenstein
THE FOUR ARTICLES featured in the January/February issue (ATC 186) under the heading “The Election and Beyond” were informative, particularly Kim Moody’s piece “Who Put Trump In The White House?” Strangely, however, only Chris Maisano’s article “Hope In Dark Times” gives the Bernie Sanders campaign more than passing mention. This convinces me that the socialist left does not really understand that campaign’s significance and the lessons to be...
— Christopher Vials
IN THE EARLY post-World War II years, antifascism’s most intricate, intersectional analysis of the political right came from a highly influential work within the academic social sciences: The Authoritarian Personality (1950, reissued 1982), by Theodor Adorno and University of California-Berkeley psychologists Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel Levinson and Nevitt Sanford. [For background on Adorno’s life and work, see the essay in “The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,”...
— Kevin Young
COLOMBIA’S PEACE ACCORD serves capitalist interests, but may also open new space for the grassroots left. In November 2016 the Colombian Congress approved a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, potentially ending a 50-year armed conflict that has killed at least 220,000 people — 82% civilians — and displaced almost seven million.
The accord includes mechanisms for disarmament and reintegration of guerrilla fighters,...
— Peter Brogan interviews Kristen Buras
KRISTEN BURAS IS the author of Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance (2015). She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta and a fellow of the National Education Policy Center. Peter Brogan interviewed Buras and holds a doctorate in geography from York University in Toronto. For his dissertation he studied the ways in which school privatization and activism among teachers and...
— Nancy Holmstrom
I CAME BACK from the Women’s March in D.C. exhausted but thrilled, convinced that we are seeing the birth of a new women’s movement. Hearing about all the other Women’s Marches around the world only confirmed that impression. The size, the inclusiveness, the defiant but good-humored spirit and the progressive politics make me very optimistic. Although there will be challenges, as I will discuss, this is one ground for optimism in our current very discouraging political climate...
— Natalia Santos-Orozco
Becoming Julia de Burgos
The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon
By Vanessa Pérez Rosario
University of Illinois Press 2014, 224 pages, $25 paperback.
¿Cómo habré de llamarme cuando sólo me quede
recordarme, en la roca de una isla desierta?
Un clavel interpuesto entre el viento y mi sombra,
hijo mío y de la muerte, me llamarán poeta.
—Julia de Burgos,
“Poema para mi muerte”(1)
FOR THOSE LIKE me who have grown up in the north coastal...
— Angela Hubler
Florynce “Flo” Kennedy:
The Life of a Black Feminist Radical
By Sherie M. Randolph
The University of North Carolina Press, 2015, 328 pages, $30 hardcover.
FLORYNCE KENNEDY (1916-2000) is probably most commonly remembered for her distinctive appearance — sporting one of her many cowboy hats and more than one political button — and her profane, humorous, and witty manner of speaking. About reproductive justice, for example, Flo coined the memorable line, “If men could...
— Ann Ferguson
Marxism and Feminism
edited by Shahrzad Mojab
Zed Books, 2015, 400 pages, $30.95 paperback.
THIS NEW ANTHOLOGY edited by Shahrzad Mojab, an Iranian-born scholar and activist at the University of Toronto, is an important addition to the body of radical analysis that left feminists can use to educate ourselves about old and new theoretical, political and methodological debates on the left. It also is a signal that such debates are receiving new energy in the 21st century by new generations of left...
— Linda Martin Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Angela Davis, Nancy Fraser, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, Barbara Ransby & Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
THE MASSIVE WOMEN’s marches of January 21st may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle. But what exactly will be its focus? In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies; we also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights.
While Trump’s blatant misogyny was the immediate trigger for the massive response on January 21st, the attack on women (and...
— Robert Caldwell
“All the Real Indians Died Off”
And 20 Other Myths about Native Americans
By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker
Boston: Beacon Press, 2016, 208 pages, $15 paper.
CHALENGING PERSISTENT MYTHS, “All the Real Indians Died Off” and 20 Other Myths about Native Americans offers a much-needed and excellent introduction to American Indian history and contemporary life for a broad audience. Veteran writer Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz teamed up with Indian Country Today journalist...
— Jack M. Bloom
Blood in the Water:
The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
By Heather Ann Thompson
Pantheon Books, 724 pages, $35 hardcover.
BY NOMINATING BARRY Goldwater as its presidential candidate in 1964, the Republican Party signified the takeover of the party by its right wing, an effort that was bitterly opposed by the party’s “moderates.”
The leader of the “liberal Republicans” and the main alternative to Goldwater was John D. Rockefeller’s grandson,...
— Atef Said
Morbid Symptoms:
Relapse in the Arab Uprising
By Gilbert Achcar
Stanford University Press, 2016, 240 pages, $21.95 paperback.
Workers and Thieves:
Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt
By Joel Beinin
Stanford University Press, 2015, 176 pages, $12.99 paperback.
IN 2011, MILLIONS in the Middle East and around the world rejoiced over the Arab Spring uprisings. By 2013, however, most were disappointed at the apparent major defeat of these uprisings....
— Michael Friedman
War Against the People:
Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification
By Jeff Halper
London: Pluto Press, 2015, distributed by University of Chicago Press, 280 pages plus notes & index, $25 paperback.
IN ITS LAST days the Obama administration offered a futile, last-minute gesture of rebuke to Israel’s undiminished drive to build more settlements in the Occupied Territories (particularly East Jerusalem). It abstained on a UN Security Council vote condemning Israel’s illegal,...
— Peter Drucker
The Politics of Everybody:
Feminism, Queer Theory and Marxism at the Intersection
By Holly Lewis
Zed Books 2016, 340 pages, $29.95 paperback [Amazon price — Zed price only in GBP]
AT A TIME when Marxist politics is struggling more than ever against the current, queer Marxist scholarship is enjoying a slight, startling, heartening resurgence.(1) Holly Lewis’ The Politics of Everybody is a major contribution to the trend.
While uncompromisingly committed to the politics of class, Lewis...
— Charles Williams
ERWIN BAUR, RADICAL trade unionist and founding member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), died on November 30 in Alameda, California at the age of 101. Unlike many veteran unionists of the 1930s generation, Baur made a youthful contract with revolutionary socialism that he never broke.
In the 1940s, he was part of a crucial layer of dissident local leaders in the UAW who for a time sustained the combative traditions of the union in the face of hostile UAW officials and the larger political...
— Dianne Feeley
ACTIVIST, REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST and writer Lillian Pollak died in New York City at the age of 101. Her autobiographical novel, The Sweetest Dream, began with the Russian Revolution and ended with the death of Leon Trotsky in Mexico.
Self-published in 1998, when she was 93, the book chronicled the lives of two friends who grew up in New York City, flourished during the radicalization of the 1930s but chose different political trajectories. Her friend remained in the Communist Party, while...