Against the Current 38

— The Editors
CAPITALISM'S CRIMES AGAINST humanity follow each other with numbing daily regularity; but even in this era of routine atrocities, the United States' forced repatriation of the Haitian refugees sets a new standard of sorts. What is distinctive about this particular horror is not so much that it victimizes people whose countries the United States has destroyed, as has already been done to Vietnam, Grenada and Panama among others; nor that it sends them back to face death squads, which was standard...
— Peter Drucker
BILL CLINTON's emergence as the probable Democratic presidential nominee--barring one more too-juicy scandal--shows just how far U.S. politics has moved to the right. The man looks like the designer-made epitome of the New World Order Candidate.
ATC's previous "Letter from the Editors" (ATC 37) summarized Clinton's well-known pro-business, anti-labor record as Arkansas governor, and how his tax proposals mimic George Bush's right down to a capital gains tax cut.
Clinton's "toughness on...
— Yasmin Adib
THERE'S A DILEMMA that the Arab American community is faced with, one that probably confronts Palestinian activists and the peace and justice community in America too. In electoral politics the movement has relied a lot on the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, the wing clearly the most beholden to the Israeli political action committees. It has tended to be the most Zionist in its policies toward the Middle East, and the least receptive even to domestic concerns of the Arab American...
— Ron Daniels
THERE MUST BE reproductive justice for all women.
Women of color--African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American--and poor women always suffer disproportionately when reproductive rights are restricted. In 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade, 64% of all women dying from illegal abortions were Women of Color. In Georgia, 80% of women dying from illegal abortions were African Americans.
Eighty percent of all forced C-sections are performed on African-American women. Eighty percent of...
— Sabrina Virgo
I WAS ASKED to talk about the Ron Daniels campaign this afternoon. But I'm not sure that Ron's campaign is the right starting point for this discussion. I don't think we can talk about whether we support the campaign of Ron Daniels in the same way we talk about whether we support the campaign of Tom Harkin, or whether we prefer the candidacy of Jerry Brown.
We're facing a broader and more fundamental question than that. I think the question we need to address today is how we approach electoral...
— Catherine Sameh
DOW CORNING, the infamous manufacturer of Napalm, aerospace chemicals and silicone breast implants, announced that it would cease production of the latter controversial devices--the ones being surgically inserted in the chests of U.S. women at the rate of 150,000 pair a year.
Running from a deluge of lawsuits, the company is forsaking that one percent of its profits derived from the implants in an effort to avoid further court battles. Furthermore, they see the future market for implants...
— Patrick Bond
IT IS DEFINITELY NOT time to give up on South Africa; neither to put it safely to bed as a nation whose peoples' drive for democracy will soon be satisfied, nor to downplay the prospects for socialist transformation, even as withering compromises with the capitalist state and international capital are reported daily. No, South Africa is alive with radical ideas and prospects.
You know this if you listen, for example, to the political discourse of the enemy. They're worried. Top Johannesburg...
— Val Moghadam, Helsinki, Finland
IN THE MARCH/APRIL 1992 issue of ATC, there was a link between two articles that was not explicitly noted. Colin Gordon's article, aptly titled "The Politics of Health Care Reform: Market Magic, Bad Medicine" states that the AMA's objection to the Canadian health-care system is that it is slow to provide elective or non-emergency surgery. This dovetails rather nicely with Catherine Sameh's article, "Implants, Identities and Death," which notes that fully 20% of breast implants are performed on...
— Dave Linn, Berkeley, CA
I WAS AMUSED by Jesse Lemisch and Naomi Weisstein's defense of commodity fetishism ("Cornucopia Isn't Consumerism ... " ATC 36). While I agree with them that the left must fight for roses as well as bread, I feel that they err in equating political values and cultural aesthetic.
They label those who oppose "the dominant contemporary media aesthetic--glossy, electronic, colorful, fast-moving"--as "puritanical." I think this is untrue, and unfair. One does not need to be a puritan or a socialist...
— Socialist Challenge
AMONG THE FIRST targets of the April 5 anti-constitutional coup of Peruvian president Fujimori and the military were the political parties. Troops and tanks surrounded the headquarters of the parties and trade unions. Party leaders and elected members of the dissolved Peruvian parliament were detained, facing house arrest and worse.
Barrera Bazan, a leftist and vice president of the Chamber of Deputies, is being held on a ship off the coast by the highly anti-communist Peruvian navy. Those not...
— R.F. Kampfer
LEFT AND RIGHT both tend to assume that the collapse of the Soviet Union means that Washington will be able to call the shots for the whole world. The last time the U.S. was in such a powerful position, including a monopoly on the atomic bomb, was in 1945. The next decade brought the ejection of capitalism from Eastern Europe, revolution in China, a military stalemate in Korea and the revolt of the Third World. The best-laid plans ....
Congratulations, Teamsters. As Winston Churchill put it:...
— Hugo Blanco
RECENT HAPPENINGS IN Russia and in Eastern Europe are very important to the things going on in our part of the world. We are very happy for the overthrow of dictatorships in Eastern Europe, but the immediate effects are contradictory.
We can see that the end of the East-West Cold War is a significant moment for the "hot" war between the North and South. And the United States is the country that is attacking the South and particularly Latin America. Because of the threat coming from Japan and...
— Nancy Holmstrom interviews Haunani-Kay Trask
LIKE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE the world over, Hawaiians have come together in a struggle to reclaim their language, their culture and their land which were forcibly taken from them. In 1893, US. marines overthrew the Native Hawaiian government. By then, the Hawaiian population was only 5% what it had been in 1778 when Captain Cook came to the islands, bringing syphilis, gonorrhea and tuberculosis with him. Five years later Hawai'i was annexed to the United States against the wishes of the Native...
— Deborah J. Yashar
Since the much touted 1985 elections which ostensibly signalled Guatemala's transition to democracy, popular sectors have actively organized, seeking to regain the political space that this moment of political liberalization offered. Women were in the forefront of this movement. Indigenous and ladino women organized and participated in class-based associations as they had in earlier periods of popular mobilization. In contrast to the prior periods of popular organizing, women's groups--including...
— Jennifer Viereck
WHILE MANY VIEW the issue of Columbus' invasion as 500 years in the past, there are about 1.4 million original North Americans today, facing a wide range of life and death struggles to which newer Americans are often blind. In a year which will hopefully bring many of these issues to our attention, we all have a chance, especially those of us of European origin, to take steps toward ending 500 years of genocide of indigenous people.
Several ongoing struggles (among hundreds of conflicts) from...
— Michael Lowy
THIS IS A strange end-of-century. At the moment when capitalism seems able, at last, to impose its rule on a world scale; when the economy has been internationalized to an unprecedented degree; when the multinational enterprises reign over the world market; when a transnational committee of bankers (the IMF) dictates its social and economic policies to two-thirds of humanity; when Europe moves rapidly towards supranational unity<197>at this same moment nationalism makes a spectacular...
— The Editors
WHAT IS THE future of Marxism--of revolutionary working-class politics--after the end of the Cold War system and the collapse of the USSR?
We present here three contributions to a critical ongoing discussion, offering varying perspectives on Marxism in relation to nationalism and other questions. Michael Lowy, a theorist and activist with deep roots in both the European and Brazilian struggles, was asked by the editors of ATC to discuss the problems of national liberation and nationalist thought...
— Milton Fisk
BOTH THE SOVIET hammer and sickle and the Russian tricolor were fluttering over the Kremlin as I left Moscow in mid-December. When the Union was formally dissolved shortly thereafter, the new Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) came into being, more as a memento of the Union than as a unified political force.
When the center yields, conflicting poles of attraction become rampant. This happens in economics as well as politics. The collapse of the centralized Soviet state went along with a...
— Suzi Weissman interviews Mansoor Hekmat
Suzi Weissman: What does the end of the Cold War mean in the struggle for social justice in the other parts of the world?
Mansoor Hekmat: In the short term it has a basically negative impact on the socialist movement. I am among those socialists and communists who never believed that the Soviet bloc represented communism or developed a socialist economy and society. Nevertheless, the present offensive of the West turns primarily against every ideology that advocates social justice and human...
— Iraj Azarin, Mansoor Hekmat, Kooroosh Modarresi, Reza Moqaddam
The Worker-Communist Party of Iran is a Marxist party, committed to organizing the social revolution of the working class to abolish the capitalist system and to establish a new society based on the economic and social quality of all, their political freedom and the realization of material and intellectual creative potentials for all persons.
The Worker-Communist Party of Iran (WPI) is an internationalist party. It struggles for the international solidarity of the working class and for the...
— Hillel H. Ticktin
THE OVERALL THESIS of this paper is that Stalinism was an unmitigated disaster for socialists, for its millions of unfortunate victims, for those who were so deluded as to believe in it, and for the world. It has set back history for many decades and possibly, in the view of some, centuries. It has served, therefore, to prolong capitalism beyond its natural life. It has done so both materially and ideologically.
Unfortunately, many socialists fell directly or indirectly under its spell. Its...
— The Editors
THESE TWO VIEWPOINTS continue a symposium which we began in ATC 35 on the topic of Samuel Farber's book Before Stalinism (Verso, 1990), a critical exploration of the politics and policies of the Bolshevik party regime in the early years of the Russian Revolution. The initial responses in that issue were by Susan Weissman, Boris Kagarlitsky and Tim Wohlforth, followed in ATC 36 by David Mandel and a comment by Ernie Haberkern in response to Tim Wohlforth on the "dictatorship of the proletariat."...
— Tim Wohlforth
IT IS AMAZING how conservative a revolutionary can be. Today we witness the collapse of a social system, state socialism, which just a few years ago dominated one-third of the earth's surface and attracted significant support throughout much of the rest of the world. Yet many who claim to be revolutionary thinkers have discovered nothing in these momentous events which requires them to modify their previously held ideas.
Ernest Haberkern can claim credit to be among the most conservative of...
— Bernard Rosen
TIM WOHLFORTH's "In The Grip of Leninism" (ATC 35) is actually in the grip of distortions and exaggerations on two accounts: what happened during the first six months or so of Bolshevik rule, and the identification of such happenings with the Leninist concept of a vanguard party and Lenin's (alleged) dictatorial nature with its proclivity "to carry out brutal repressive actions without feeling any moral qualms."
1. The Soviets (says Wohlforth) "had become rubber stamps for Bolshevik decisions."...
— Aaron Brenner
Racism and Justice:
The Case for Affirmative Action
By Gertrude Ezorsky
(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 140 pages, paperback $6.95.
AS THE ASSAULT on affirmative action reaches a fever pitch, it is heartening to read Gertrude Ezorsky's Racism and Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action. The book provides a powerful defense, in social, moral, and practical terms, for race-conscious employment programs, and demonstrates their historic effectiveness.
Ezorky's book is especially timely...