Against the Current 48

— The Editors
WHAT THE RULING class wants, it gets. That's why the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passed the House of Representatives by a 34-vote majority, to the professed amazement of the pundits and counters who, until the moment the debate opened, tabulated enough committed votes against to ensure NAFTA's defeat This conventional NAFTA-math was all wrong, for one reason: On this issue, to a degree highly unusual in legislative battles, corporate capital knew what it wanted. Not only for...
— Joel Jordan
THE OPPONENTS OF private school vouchers can breathe somewhat easier after California voters overwhelmingly defeated Proposition 174 on November 2. The California vote, however, represents only one battle in the right wing's war against public education—a war of historic importance for the future of education throughout the United States.
If passed, the ballot initiative would have given parents a $2,600 voucher to pay for private or parochial school tuition for their child, including...
— Andy Pollack
THE DAY AFTER David Dinkins, New York's first Black mayor, lost his bid for re-election, a press conference held by prominent Black politicians encouraged New Yorkers to consider formation of a third progressive party. The Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and State Senator David Paterson criticized the Democratic Party for securing the election of white candidates Mark Green and Alan Hevesi to citywide posts while failing to pull out all the stops for Dinkins. While Giuliani beat Dinkins...
— Nabeel Abraham
OUR SUPPORT FOR the Palestinian cause shouldn't blind us to the new realities created by the Oslo Agreement or its implications for the future. Nor should we succumb to the triumphalism of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) leadership or to the blandishments of the news media. Instead, honesty dictates that we take a sober look at the Arafat-Rabin agreement.
No one doubts that the Oslo agreement and the subsequent mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO represent an "historic...
— Alex Chis and Susan Weissman
AS WE GO to press, the early results of the Russian elections show the reactionary, ultra-nationalist party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky getting the highest vote total—approximately 25%, compared to about 15% for Russia's Choice, the party of First Deputy Prime MinisterYegor Geidar, the architect of Russia's "shock therapy" march to capitalism, and 11% for the reconstituted Communist Party.
The results, while certainly a dose of "shock therapy" for Yeltsin and his "reformers," require a fuller...
THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT, signed by Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Daniel Singer, Ernest Mandel, Robert V. Daniels, Manning Marable, Alexander Cockburn, Dave Dellinger, Bogdan Denitch, Miriam Braverman, Jane Slaughter, William Kunstler, Annette T. Rubinstein and many others appeared as a two-page ad in the December 13 issue of the Nation magazine. Funds are urgently needed to carry out educational work and solidarity activities.
We, the undersigned, protest the recent attacks on civil liberties,...
— Branka Magas
THE WAR IN former Yugoslavia began under the sign of a myth—the Kosovo myth. Its historical reference point is the 1389 Battle of Kosovo Field, whena multinational Christian force was defeated by its Ottoman foe, in the course of a sustained military effort by the Porte (Ottoman empire—ed.) that was eventually to expend itself at the gates of Vienna some three centuries later.
What actually happened in the Battle of Kosovo, or how crucial was its outcome for the consolidation of...
— Jack Ceder
p>AN UNEXPECTED POLITICAL upheaval has occurred in Italy. To begin with, over half of the parliament members in the ruling coalition are under indictment for taking bribes. As 'a consequence, an American-style winner-take-all electoral system will shortly replace the former proportional representation system. Moreover, the most powerful leader in the Christian Democrat party (DC) and seven-time premier, Giulio Andreotti, is under indictment for collusion with the Mafia in the murders of...
— Catherine Sameh
The headlong stream is termed violent
But the river bed hemming it in is
Termed violent by no one.
The storm that bends the birch trees
Is held to be violent
But how about the storm
That bends the backs of the roadworkers?
—Bertold Brecht, "On Violence"
LORENA BOBBITF DID not know she would become a national heroine figure when she took a knife to her. husband's penis. That her act would inspire a raging debate about rape, violence, self-defense and the "appropriate" display of anger by...
— R.F. Kampfer
GORBACHEV MUST BE FEELING, these days, like a passenger who got bumped off the Titanic.
If Clinton is so middle-of-the-road, why doesn't somebody just run him over?
What's the difference between Ronald Reagan and orgami? Orgami is fold art
Post-Modernist Cinema: Mini-review
THE PIANO LEAVES so many unanswered questions that each viewer has to provide her/his own interpretation. Does this indicate that director Jane Campion is a genius, or just lazy?...
LAST OCTOBER 25, seventy-five people, mostly people with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), demonstrated in front of the American Public Health Association Convention in San Francisco, protesting its failure to include even one session on CFIDS.
Misnamed the "Yippie flu,' the disease strikes people of all races, ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. Although males and children are attacked by the disease, the overwhelming majority are women. CFIDS is characterized by significant...
— Paul Le Blanc
"VANGUARDISM" AND LENIN's conception of a revolutionary party are not popular on the left today, being identified in the minds of many with Stalinism, sterile sectarianism and manipulative power-tripping. Often "the self-activity of the masses" is offered as the alternative. A careful examination of the actual upsurges of workers and other oppressed groups suggests, however, that the realities are more complex.
Labor's Giant Step in the Turbulent Years
In James R. Green's valuable history The...
— Rafael Bernabe
THE NOVEMBER 14 PLEBISCITE in Puerto Rico was held, allegedly, for the electorate to express its preference regarding Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States—what on the island is normally referred to as the "status question." Although described as a plebiscite or referendum and presented by its promoters as an act of self-determination, the results of this exercise, organized by the Puerto Rican government, were not to be binding on Congress, on any agency of the U.S....
— Working Group on Section 936
SINCE PRESIDENT CLINTON's proposed modifications to Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code in his 1993 State of the Union address, there has been a great deal of controversy around the future of Puerto Rico's economy. Specifically, debate has focused on Section 936, which provides tax-incentives for U.S. corporations operating in Puerto Rico. On one side is the U.S. Treasury, which sees the tax benefits to U.S.-owed corporations as excessive, particularly during a period of fiscal restraint....
— Ruth Arroyp, Rafael Bernabe and Nancy Herzig
THROUGHOUT THE TWENTIETH century a considerable number of colonial administrators—both North American and Puerto Rican—have considered Puerto Rico to be overpopulated. For them, how to control Puerto Rico's "population problem" has been a central concern. In the post-World War II period, one "solution" to this problem was openly promoted by the colonial government: the massive emigration of Puerto Rican workers to the U.S. mainland. Furthermore, at least since the 1930, another...
— Ruben Auger
Al Node
by Dennis Noldín Valdés
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991) paperback, $14.95.
DENNIS NOLDÍN VALDÉS presents his book At Norte as one focused primarily "on the class struggle between capitalist employers and seasonal farmworkers." His account of the history of the experiences of agricultural workers in the Great Lakes region is certainly a powerful presentation of the development of an important sector of the U.S. working class that has been much...
THIS ISSUE includes a focus on some struggles of Puerto Ricans on the island and the U.S. mainland. Special thanks to César Ayala, who served as a member of the editorial board preparing this material, and to the comrades of the Taller de Formación Politica in Puerto Rico for their contributions. Also included here are two reviews on the wider issue of Latinos in the United States and the emerging Latin/Chicana feminist literature.
IN MICHAEL SMITH's review of Gigs in ATC 47, a...
— Samuel Farber
A Biography of The People
By Earl Shorris
New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1992, 520 pages, $25 hardcover.
THERE ARE NOW more people of Latin American background residing in the United States than in most Latin American countries. Major cities like New York and Los Angeles have acquired marked Latino features, while Miami has become a bilingual and bicultural bridge to Latin America and is currently controlled by a partly Cuban economic and political power structure.
Earl Shorris is a...
— Norine Gutekanst
Woman Hollering Creek and other stories
By Sandia Cisneros
New York: Random House, 1991, $10 paperback.
Essays from the Land in the Middle
By Pat Mora
Albuquerque: New Mexico Press, 1993, $18.95 hardcover.
CHICANAS—.U.S.-BORN women of Mexican ancestry—have been all but invisible in U.S. popular culture—TV, film, print media, entertainment and politics. They are, as Pat Morn calls them, "legal aliens---expected to conform to Anglo cultural norms yet subtly (and...
— Justin Schwartz
Socialism from Below
By Hal Draper; edited by E. Haberkern
New York: Humanities Press, 1990, 282pp+xvii. $45 hardback.
AFTER A CENTURY and a half, Marx remains a closed book This is not just due to failure to master his thought—fifty often abstruse volumes in the collected edition. Hal Draper, who mastered it in a way that few could rival, says the problem is that Marx's central message has not been grasped by his critics or most of his followers—and where it has, it has largely been...
— Michael Löwy
E.P.THOMPSON left us in August 1993. He was not only the most gifted historican of his generation, but one of the most powerful, creative socialist authors in the second half of the twentieth century. His style had a passionate, sardonical eloquence that sharply distinguished him from the usual academic stuff.
Perry Anderson described him in Arguments About English Marxism (1980) as "our finest socialist writer today—certainly in England, possibly in Europe." And Eric Hobsbawm, in a...
— Barbara Winslow
EDWARD PALMER IHOMPSON, dissenter, poet, peace campaigner and arguably the most important historian of the second hail of the twentieth century, died peacefully after a long illness, August 28th, 1993.
Much of his life is known to readers of Against the Current. His parents, Anglo-American missionaries, liberals and anti-imperialists instilled in Edward intense radical and democratic impulses. Thompson's radicalism was further influenced by the communism of his older brother Frank, also a poet,...