Against the Current 191

— Manuel Rodríguez Banchs and Rafael Bernabe
By now you have surely heard about the catastrophic impact of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, as well as the slow and still inadequate response by U.S. federal agencies, such as FEMA.
A month after María, dozens of communities are still inaccessible by car or truck. Close to 90 percent of all homes lack electricity. Half lack running water. Many of Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million residents have difficulties obtaining drinking water. The death toll continues to rise...
— The Editors
AS THE CATASTROPHES pile up — natural and unnatural — each new one tends to knock the previous out of the news cycle. In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s near-destruction of Puerto Rico, how much endless “breaking news” coverage is left for Florida and Houston after Irma and Harvey? By the time this issue of Against the Current reaches our readers, Puerto Rico and the devastated Caribbean islands may be mostly relegated to the archives by California wildfires and new...
— Malik Miah
“According to Edison Research, Trump won whites making less than $50,000 by 20 points, whites making $50,000 to $99,999 by 28 points, and whites making $100,000 or more by 14 points. This shows that Trump assembled a broad white coalition that ran the gamut from Joe the Dishwasher to Joe the Plumber to Joe the Banker. So, when white pundits cast the elevation of Trump as the handiwork of an inscrutable white working class, they are being too modest, declining to claim credit for their own...
— William J. Maxwell
THE DECISION OF Missouri Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. Wilson in the case of Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer charged with the first-degree murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24-year-old African American, was issued early on a Friday morning — a time calculated to avoid economically disruptive, start-of-the-work-week looting (it never came). But little about the case, decided on September 15, 2017, was prompt, or marked by successful foresight, or even rooted in the...
— Rafael Bernabe
BEFORE HURRICNE MARIA smashed into Puerto Rico with devastating force, the previous Hurricane Irma caused relatively manageable damage compared to its horrific impact in much of the Caribbean. Even so, the island’s electrical grid — before Maria utterly destroyed it — had already suffered outages leaving up to 300,000 people without power. Staffing cuts of 50% had left the system without badly needed maintenance and repair capacity, as discussed by journalist Juan Gonzalez on...
— Victoria Cervantes
ON NOVEMBER 26, 2017 national and local elections are scheduled in Honduras. This will be the third election since the U.S.-supported coup of June 28, 2009. Although more than eight years have passed, both resistance and repression continue. In fact the current coup regime led by President Juan Orlando Hernandez has hardened and tried to institutionalize dictatorship.
As this is being written, news arrives of arrests and serious charges filed against 14 community members of a poor area of...
— Alex de Jong
THE PHILIPPINES ARE going through a double, mutually reinforcing crisis. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is responsible for a so-called “war on drugs” that is costing thousands of lives and is increasingly concentrating power in his own hands.
Meanwhile, in the south of the country Islamic fundamentalist violence has taken on a qualitative new dimension. The attack on Marawi City provided Duterte with the opportunity to declare martial law, while the violence of the government army...
— Alex de Jong
PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT DUTERTE presents himself as a nationalist who is especially opposed to the continuing strong influence of the former colonial power, the United States. After Barack Obama voiced pro-forma concern over human rights violations in the Philippines, Duterte called him a “son of a whore.”
Duterte referred to U.S. atrocities committed during its colonization of the Philippines, and said U.S. troops should leave the country. While campaigning he promised an...
— Elaine Emmerich
THE VARIOUS THREATS posed by the Trump administration — diminishing access to healthcare, the normalization of racism and xenophobia, environmental degradation, mass deportations, voter disenfranchisement, military conflict, and so many more — range from unnerving to paralyzing.
We are told to “resist,” but the sheer volume of items on the What-to-Resist List is daunting, and constantly growing. It is disempowering and discouraging to feel pitted against a seemingly...
— Jeffrey B. Perry
THEODORE W. “TED” Allen (1919-2005) was an anti-white supremacist, working-class intellectual and activist, whose work on the centrality of struggle against white supremacy is growing in importance and influene 98 years after his birth.
With its focus on racial oppression and social control, Allen’s two-volume The Invention of the White Race (1994, 1997: Verso Books, new expanded edition 2012) is one of the 20th-century’s major contributions to historical understanding....
— Jeffrey B. Perry
THEODORE W. ALLEN WAS an independent, anti-white supremacist, working-class scholar when he pioneered his “white skin privilege” analysis in the mid-1960s and when he wrote The Invention of the White Race in the 1990s. He was also a self-avowed Marxist and historical materialist who believed that class struggle was the driving force of history.
Starting in the 1960s he began an important 40-years-long study and reflection on white supremacy, racial oppression and the class struggle...
— Allen Ruff
FOLLOWING THE APRIL 1917 U.S. entry into World War I, a massive months-long strike wave occurred as workers in those industries, booming with wartime orders demanded improved conditions and better wages that were rapidly being outstripped by war-bred price increases. In that climate of whipped-up nationalist fervor, xenophobia and racism, such worker militancy along with all antiwar  activity was successfully cast by the state, the corporations and a compliant mainstream press as a...
— Rabab Abdulhadi
ON NOVEMBER 2, 1917, the British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour writes to Lord Walter Rothschild, who was a major figure in the Zionist movement:
Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the...
— David Finkel
On Anti-Semitism
Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice
Essays curated by Jewish Voice for Peace
Foreword by Judith Butler
Haymarket Books, 2017, 224 pages plus notes, $19.95 paperback.
THE RAPID GROWTH of Jewish Voice for Peace has seen its emergence as a major force in the U.S. Palestine solidarity movement. JVP is certainly the leading Jewish organization embracing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, initiated by Palestinian civil society organizations, against the Israeli...
— David Finkel & Don Greenspon, co-chairs Jewish Voice for Peace, Detroit
[THE FOLLOWING LETTER was submitted to Detroit Jewish News following its publication of a piece from the Anti-Defamation League attacking Jewish Voice for Peace, which appears on the ADL website ( This response has not been published.]
THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE statement published in Detroit Jewish News (July 24, 2017, “Jewish Voice for Peace Increases Anti-Israel Radicalism”) contains numerous...
— Håkan Blomqvist
IT SEEMS UNEXPECTED — but the effects of the February 1917 revolution in Russia were first felt in neutral Sweden. Together with the other Nordic countries Sweden was spared from the First World War but suffered food shortages and other hardships due to the surrounding conflicts.
The conservative Swedish government in 1914 didn’t organize the country’s food supply until it was too late. Meat, fat, livestock, potatoes and other crops together with leather, clothes, shoes and...
— Yassamine Mather
THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION had a profound influence on the revolutionary movement in the countries neighboring the new Soviet Republic, and Iran was no exception.
Towards the end of the Qajar dynasty in Iran (1785 to 1925) a number of international treaties had established Iran’s position as the subordinate partner, or the semicolony, of great powers. As far as Iran-Russia relations were concerned the Turkmanchai Treaty (signed 21 February 1828) marked peace between tsarist Russia and the...
— David Cohen
The Story of the Russian Revolution
By China Miéville
Verso Books, 2017, 384 pages, $26.95 hardcover.
“The first purpose of the book is to tell the story for readers who don’t necessarily know anything about the Russian Revolution, who want to know what happened when, the stakes, the rhythms, the events. This is not a history of the Russian Revolution for leftists, but for everyone; it is, though, a history of the Russian Revolution for everyone by a leftist.”...
— Dick J. Reavis
The Dilemmas of Lenin:
Terrorism, War, Empire, Love, Revolution
By Tariq Ali
Verso, New York, London, 373 pages, $27, cloth.
The Russian Revolution:
When Workers Took Power
By Paul Vernadsky
Phoenix Press, London, 374 pages. $14 paperback.
The Russian Revolution:
A New History
By Sean McMeekin
Basic Books, New York, 445 pages, $30 cloth....
— Michael Principe
The Capitalist University:
The Transformations of Higher Education in the United States since 1945
By Henry Heller
Pluto Press, 2016, 252 pages. $35 cloth.
THE CAPITALIST UNIVERSITY is an ambitious work. In it, Henry Heller announces a twofold task: to investigate the connection of higher education with “the evolving political economy of the United States after 1945,” and to “acknowledge and celebrate” its accomplishments. (viii)
Writing from an openly Marxist...
— Mel Rothenberg
Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century
Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis
By John Smith
Monthly Review Press, 2016, 382 pages, $24 paper.
THE FIRST 25 years of the 20th century saw an extremely rich output of analysis by Marxist thinkers on imperialism. With the rise of an imperialism based on capitalism, the resulting conflict among the leading capitalist states, which resulted in the carnage of World War I and its profound impact on the workers movement,...
— Geoffrey Jacques
BY THE TIME Geri Allen, the pianist, composer and Detroit native who died June 27 at the age of 60, arrived in New York City in 1984, she had finished one of the most rigorous formal educations then available for an aspiring jazz musician, and it showed.
That year she made three recordings, one as a leader and two as a side musician.(1) The musicians who played on these records included Don Cherry, Oliver Lake, Andrew Cyrille, Frank Lowe, Kevin Eubanks, Grachan Moncur III, Fred Hopkins, Charles...