Against the Current, No. 218, May/June 2022

Out of the Imperial Order: Chaos

— The Editors

Moscow antiwar protests, Pushkin Square. Emin Dzhafarov/Kommersant

THE DESTRUCTION OF cities, civilian deaths and mass refugee flights in Ukraine under the murderous, unjustifiable and rapidly spreading Russian invasion — fueled by Vladimir Putin’s intention to eliminate Ukraine’s independent existence — has not yet touched the full depths of its terrorist barbarism. Bucha’s massacre is only a curtain-raiser. The success of Ukraine’s defensive struggle for self-determination and survival is an urgent necessity today, not only in Europe but in the world....

Feminism(s) in Mexico

— Margara Millán

Zapatista women, Second International Meeting of Women Who Fight, Chiapas. Balkan Hotspot

“Se va a caer porque lo vamos a tirar, no solo al patriarcado sino también al capital.”

MEXICO HAS BEEN part of the multifaceted and heterogeneous resurgence of global feminism in recent years. Indeed Mexican feminism, or shall we say feminisms, have a long and rich history (Espinosa 2009; Jaiven and Espinosa 2019)....

From ATC authors and friends

Kathy Boudin (1943–2022)

— Michael Steven Smith

KATHY BOUDIN, A significant figure in the fight against mass incarceration, died on May 1 in New York City. She would’ve been 79 years old on May 19, a birthdate she proudly shared with Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh.

Kathy was the cofounder with Cheryl Wilkins of the Center for Justice at Columbia University in New York City. She had served 22 years in Bedford Hills prison, a maximum-security prison for women in New York, after pleading guilty to robbery and felony murder in connection with the 1983 Brinks armored truck heist where she was a passenger in the getaway van....

Why Should Ukraine’s Debt Be Canceled?

— Eric Toussaint interviewed by Sushovan Dhar

Sushovan Dhar: How much is the Ukrainian public debt and who are the main creditors?

Eric Toussaint: Ukraine’s external debt, public and private, is about $130 billion, half of this debt is owed by the government, and the other half by the private sector. The government also has an internal debt of over $40 billion. Public external debt in the form of sovereign securities amounted to $20 billion in 2021, all of which (there were 14 issues of securities) are governed by English law and in the event of a dispute, the British courts can be called upon....

Can We Contain Nuclear Crises?

— Ansar Fayyazuddin & Erik Wallenberg interview Kate Brown

Kate Brown is the Thomas M. Siebel Distinguished Professor in the History of Science in the Science and Technology Studies program at MIT. She is an environmental historian and the author of several notable books. Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters is a parallel account of plutonium production plants established for nuclear weapon production....

Ideology in Post-Soviet Russia

— Kit Adam Wainer

Dissidents Among Dissidents:
Ideology, Politics and the Left in Post-Soviet Russia

By Ilya Budraitskis
Verso, 2022

In his important book—a must read for the left—Dissidents Among Dissidents, Ilya Budraitskis, who teaches at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and the Institute of Contemporary Art Moscow, writes,

“This ‘geopoliticization’ of Russia, which serves to obscure social conflicts within the country—and above all, class antagonisms—has unfortunately also influenced parts of the Western left, who have all too often been ready to excuse the actions of the contemporary Russian regime on grounds of its ‘anti-imperialist’ character.”...

Gramsci’s Gift

— Alan Wald

To Live Is to Resist: The Life of Antonio Gramsci
Jean-Yves Frétigné, translated by Laura Marris
University of Chicago Press, $35 (cloth)

Antonio Francesco Gramsci at age 16.

Is the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, among the most noteworthy Communist activists and theorists of the last century, enjoying yet another cultural moment? His writing on social science and the correspondence of culture to power has had a significant impact in both academe and activism, but his work is increasingly spilling out to popular culture; throughout 2021 his name resounded through mainstream media, from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal. “The old is dying and the new cannot be born,” a familiar quotation from Gramsci’s prison writings, turned up with eye-rolling frequency—in New York Magazine, Open Democracy, Los Angeles Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, New Statesman, the Nation,...

Black Workers Sue Tesla Over Systemic Racism

— Malik Miah

CALIFORNIA’S DEPARTMENT OF Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Tesla Inc on February 9, accusing the company of entrenched racism in its Californian factory.

The DFEH’s lawsuit is a powerful indictment of racism at Tesla. Filed on behalf of more than 4000 former and current Black employees, the lawsuit makes 13 legal claims that Black workers experience ongoing racial harassment, including slurs and intimidation, and workplace segregation into the lowest level roles....

Behind Russia’s Ukraine Disaster

— an interview with Boris Karagarlitsky

BORIS KAGARLITSKY IS a sociology professor at the Moscow School for Social and Economic Sciences and the former director of the Institute for Globalization and Social Movements and an editor of Rabkor (Workers’ Correspondence). As a longtime activist, he is the author of many books, including Russia from Yeltsin to Putin, Empire of the Periphery, Russia in the World System and The Revolt of the Middle Class. In 1988 he won the Deutscher Prize for his book, The Thinking...

War and Resistance

— Marko Bojcun

FOUR WEEKS INTO the invasion of Ukraine the advance of Russia’s ground forces has been halted by a determined resistance. Russia’s air force has been unable to take control of the airspace over Ukraine. Ukraine’s air force is still attacking Russian planes and helicopters and its ground troops are targeting them with surface to air missiles.

Russia originally intended to make a swift assault, apply overwhelming force that encountered little resistance and resulted in minimal damage...

Putin’s War in Ukraine: In Saddam Hussein’s footsteps

— Gilbert Achcar

Vladimir Putin, 2018 Wikipedia

THERE IS A striking parallel between Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — as in Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014 — and Saddam Hussein’s actions towards Iran in the wake of its 1979 revolution, and Kuwait in 1990. The two men resorted to force, accompanied by remarkably similar claims, in order to achieve expansionist ambitions.

Saddam Hussein invaded Iran’s territory in the autumn of 1980, claiming he was seeking to rescue the Arabic-speaking residents of the province of Khuzestan after he had encouraged them to rebel against Tehran’s rule and declare an independent republic of “Arabistan.” That invasion was the beginning of an eight-year war, the first effect of....

Russian Students Against War

— Collective

Marina Ovsyannikov, getting out a clear antiwar message during prime time.

ALMOST 4,000 ACADEMICS, STUDENTS and graduates of the prestigious Moscow State University, Russia’s oldest university, have signed a letter saying they “categorically condemn the war that our country unleashed in Ukraine.”....

IPCC Report on Impacts of Warming: Faster, More Severe than Expected

— Daniel Tanuro

THE REPORT OF the IPCC's Working Group II on impacts and adaptation to climate change sends out a strident cry of alarm. The disaster is more serious than projected by the models, its effects manifest themselves more quickly, and all the risks increase.

The poor, Indigenous peoples, women, children and the elderly are increasingly at risk, especially in countries of the Global South. The policies followed to limit the damage are inadequate, run counter to sustainability, and deepen social inequalities. The authors call for an inclusive approach to transform society at all levels....

New History of Revolution Offers Hope for “Our Troubled Present”

— Kate Blackwood

A REVOLUTION IS not just a violent break with an established order, but also a social and political change rising from the people. And revolution does not belong exclusively to the past, says Romance studies scholar Enzo Traverso.

In “Revolution: An Intellectual History,” published in October 2021 by Verso, Traverso, the Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences, reinterprets the history of nineteenth and twentieth century revolutions through a constellation of images: Marx’s ‘locomotives of history’ to Lenin’s mummified body to the Paris Commune’s demolition of the Vendome Column, and more, offering for the troubled present a new intellectual history of the revolutionary past....

Can Colombia’s Left Survive the Persistent Logics of Armed Conflict?

— Ben Gilvar-Parke

Unión Patriótica supporters march in Florencia, Caquetá during the November 21, 2019 Paro Nacional.

ACROSS LATIN AMERICA, voters have rejected the Washington Consensus of Neoliberal economics and military imperialism. From Bolivia and Peru to Chile and Honduras voters have called on left governments to build a more equitable future. Now in Colombia, a country whose successive governments have ranged from hard to center right throughout its modern history, a social democrat and former guerilla militant leads in the presidential polls....

See all the articles by ATC authors and friends not printed in ATC.