Against the Current, No. 219, July/August 2022

The Rightwing's Supreme Court Coup

— The Editors

The struggle for free abortion on demand may match the length of time it took to win suffrage for women. Giselle Gerolami

JUNE 24 — THE OFFICIAL overturn of Roe v. Wade was announced as this issue of ATC goes to press. It didn’t require a white-nationalist riot, invading the Capitol at the instigation of Donald Trump, to tear huge holes in long-established constitutional rights in the United States. Where that frontal assault failed, a flanking maneuver by the right wing has met with success — including a blatant pseudo-constitutional coup by Court.

The overturn of Roe v. Wade not only declares war on women’s bodies and rights. As legal scholars immediately recognized, the leaked Alito Supreme Court majority opinion throws open a challenge to every basic right assumed to flow from the Fourteenth Amendment and the elementary principle of personal privacy — same-sex or interracial marriage, LGBT rights, incredibly even legal contraception...

The Complete Rosa Luxemburg

— William Smaldone interviews Peter Hudis

Rosa Luxemburg button Lisa Lyons

William Smaldone is the E. J. Whipple Professor of History at Willamette University. He is the author of several books in German and socialist history including Rudolf Hilferding: The Tragedy of a German Social Democrat (1998) and, most recently, European Socialism: A Concise History with Documents (2019). He conducted this interview with Peter Hudis in January 2022.

William Smaldone: We’re here today to interview Peter Hudis, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Oakton Community....

From ATC authors and friends

Beyond Choice: Why We Need Reproductive Justice

— Shui-yin Sharon Yam

October 2021 Detroit rally and march for the right to legal abortion. It was one of hundreds of rallies across the country two days before the Supreme Court began its new term, where Roe v. Wade is on the chopping block.

Second wave feminism was never a single-issue movement. It called for free and accessible abortion along with quality child care and equal pay for equal work. It exposed society’s violence as it pulled back the curtain on domestic abuse and date rape. Shui-yin Sharon Yam reminds us that the Roe v. Wade decision, which asserted that medical personnel can aid the pregnant person seeking abortion, will soon be overturned by the Supreme Court. She discusses how we can best defend the bodily autonomy of pregnant people in this new era.—The editors

SINCE THE DRAFT Supreme Court judgment to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, reproductive rights activists have been rallying around legal access to safe abortion.

In mainstream public discourse, the controversy surrounding abortion care is often simplified into binaries:...

Grieving for Others, Not for Ourselves


Northern academic buildings, Kharkiv National University, CC By SA 4.0

AN INTERVIEW WITH a classic of post-Soviet feminism, Irina Zherebkina, from front-line Kharkiv.

WE SPOKE WITH Irina Zherebkina, editor-in-chief of the Gender Studies journal and Professor of Theory of Culture and Philosophy of Science at Kharkiv National University, who decided to stay in Ukraine despite the war. She is now trapped in the area of the Russian offensive. Irina shares her experience of living and teaching....

Commemoration of the Massacre of the Tian'anmen Square Movement

— Anonymous

Hong Kong residents commemorate the 20th anniversary of the June 4th Tian'anmen Square Massacre. Originally posted to Flickr as 香港人一條心

PRECISELY THIRTY-THREE YEARS ago [June 3], a gust of hope drove down mainland China. It had been initiated by young students, fighting for the establishment of a series of democratic rights.

A lot of workers had expressed their solidarity with this movement. Immediately, they had sown the seeds of independent unions, in Beijing as well as in a couple of
dozens of cities. This fact is important: historically, the existence of unions has played a crucial role in gaining and defending democratic rights....

Uvalde Mass Shooting Exposes Violence of Gun Culture & Endemic Racism

— Malik Miah

Memorial for Robb Elementary victims Voice of America

THE HORRIFIC MASS shooting of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, May 24 has brought the issue of guns, particularly weapons of war like the AR-15 rifle, and mass shootings to the world’s attention.

It has also exposed the endemic racism in how the police and state elected officials responded to the violence and pleas for help....

Mass Protest Is Rising – Can It Confront Global Capitalism?

— William I. Robinson

One of the many demonstrations for Earth Day, 2022.

THE WORLD HAS entered an epoch of escalating class struggle and mass popular protest as the global economy teeters on the verge of recession and international tensions reach the boiling point in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Revolt took off around the globe in the aftermath of the 2008 world financial collapse that put an end to two....

Have We Come a Long Way?

— Dianne Feeley

THE MAY 14TH demonstration in Detroit of about 1100 was the third rally and march since the leaked Alito draft revealed the almost certain overthrow of legal abortion in the United States. The Michigan Coalition for Reproductive Liberation is holding weekly actions at the Federal Courthouse. This is the talk Dianne Feeley gave as a representative of MCRL.

LAST WEEK A woman living in a shelter tried to take her life. She was pregnant and wanted an abortion but thought the leaked draft Alito wrote was in effect and abortion was banned.

Fortunately, she was found and rushed....

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,...

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....

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