Against the Current, No. 221, November/December 2022

A Letter from the Editors: Clarity on Ukraine

— The Editors

Solidarity with Ukraine in Poland. Razem is a progressive left party.

AS RUSSIA’S INVASION and its global impacts spread with ruinous impact, it’s high time for factual, political and moral clarity on what this war is about. That requires sorting out a great deal of ideological mythology on all sides.

It shouldn’t be surprising, we suppose, that this war has cut through usual political dividing lines....

Chile: Analysis of a Defeat

— Oscar Mendoza

“Constitutional assembly now!! #Resign Piñera,” reads a sign during protests in Chile in October 2019. José Miguel Cordero Carvacho / Wikimedia

ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2022 Chileans voted decisively and by a large margin to reject the proposed new progressive constitution. The document had been drafted by a constitutional convention that worked over 12 months to deliver its proposals. The draft would have replaced the current one, which had been written by a small group of extreme right-wing “experts” and imposed by the Pinochet dictatorship via a fraudulent plebiscite in 1980....

Human Suffering, Mutual Aid, Public Health, and Future Struggles in Ukraine

— Sam Friedman

FOLLOWING RUSSIA’S INVASION of Ukraine last February, the political left in the United Stares country and much of the world has been divided about whether to support the Ukrainians in defending their right to self-determination, the Russian invaders in their efforts to “defeat Ukrainian fascism” or “restore the Russian homeland,” or whether to seek an abstract “peace.”

I have taken part in many such discussions as a supporter of the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny, and thus as a supporter of the defeat of the Russian invasion....

From ATC authors and friends

International Food Crisis & Proposals to Overcome It

— Eric Toussaint & Omar Aziki

Sengalese woman in her field

CONTRARY TO A notion that spread in 2022, the global food crisis started before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the rise in the cereal prices due to speculation. On a global scale, from 2014 to 2021, the number of people affected by serious food insecurity increased by over 350 million, from 565 to 924 million. The rate of increase was particularly sharp from 2019 to 2021, and affected more than 200 million people. In 2021, some 2.3 billion peoples (29.3% of the world population) experienced moderate or serious food insecurity.(1)....

Our Hero from Capitalism’s Hells

— Bryan Palmer

“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
--Bette Davis, All About Eve (1950)

Michael (Mike) Ryan Davis, 1946-2022 Photo courtesy of Verso

SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK, October 2000 was my introduction to the brutalizing racist blood sport of “beaner-hopping.” I spent one early morning being chauffeured around small Long Island towns by Mike Davis. He took me to corners where dozens of Latino men gathered, shoulders hunched in the chilly, autumn morning air, waiting for vans to pull to the curb, size up the muscle available, and direct a chosen few labourers to cram themselves into what space was left inside the vehicle. They would then be taken to various job sites, paid off the books a minimalist wage....

The Progressive Letter on Ukraine: Some Questions & Answers

— Stephen R. Shalom

Refugees from Ukraine in Kraków, Poland CC 4.0

THE CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE Caucus sent a letter on Ukraine to President Biden signed by 30 of its members on October 24. Within 24 hours the letter had been formally retracted. What are we to make of all this?

1. Did the Progressive Caucus mess up?...

On the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

— Au Loong-yu

Hu Jintao's unhappy exit.

Xi Jinping officially got his third term, which further consolidates his absolute power over the party and the nation. The list of the newly “elected” members of the central committee shows that his supporters dominate the body.

What was dramatic was that halfway through of the last day of the congress Hu Jintao, the former president of the country, was seen unwillingly led away to the exit....

"Women! Life! Freedom!"

— Laya Hooshyari

"Women! Life! Freedom! I will kill those who killed my sister! Death to the Dictator! (Islamic Republic) Emancipation is our right! Our power is our collectively! Bread! Work! Freedom!"

Mahsa (Jina) Amini, commemorated by artist Sahar Ghorishi (www.instagram.com/sahar_ghorishi.x/)

IN THE YEARS that the people of Iran have lived under the flag of tyranny of the Islamic Republic, they have faced all kinds of repressions and violence. With the inauguration of Ibrahim Raeesi as president in 2021, the executioner of the 1990s who led the murder of thousands of militant activists, including socialists and feminists, the level of repression has become even more than before.

Women, especially women of ethnic groups, religious minorities, the working class and urban poor, are among the groups that have experienced the greatest....

Towards the Brown International of the European and global far right?

— Yorgos Mitralias

Brothers of Italy electoral campaign, 22 September, 2022 al mercato di Cascina Photo: Alexmar983 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

THIS ARTICE WAS written shortly before the official election victory of Giorgia Meloni's "Brothers of Italy" party. For readers not familiar with rugby terminology, the phrase "convert the try" is roughly equivalent to "kick the extra point" in North American football. --The Editors

Not since the end of the last world war has the threat of a reinvigorated, aggressive and almost universally rising far right been felt as much as today. Why is this so? Because, contrary to what happened during the last six or seven decades, this threat no longer comes from a few small groups or even small parties of nostalgic people from the interwar period, but from a new, unabashed right-wing that governs or is about to govern even countries that arecatalogued among the greatest powers in the world!

Modi’s India, Putin’s Russia, Bolsonaro’s Brazil, Orban’s Hungary, and soon Giorgia Meloni’s Italy and maybe Trump II’s United States, the picture is far from being exhaustive but it still gives an idea of the seriousness....

Support Ukrainian Resistance and Disempower Fossil Capital

— Ilya Budraitskis, Oksana Dutchak, Harald Etzbach, Bernd Gehrke, Eva Gelinsky, Renate Hürtgen, Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski, Natalia Lomonosova, Hanna Perekhoda, Denys Pilash, Zakhar Popovych, Philipp Schmid, Christoph Wälz, Przemyslaw Wielgosz and Christian Zeller

Ukraine solidarity march (ukrainesolidasritycampaign.org UK).

THIS STATEMENT, "SUPPORT Ukrainian Resistance and Disempower Fossil Capital," was first written in German by Ukrainian and other European leftists. We are republishing the English translation here for several reasons....

Book Banning, Gag Orders, and the Organized Right Wing

— Al Kagan

Book burning, Mount Juliet, Tennessee hosted by Greg Locke in February 2022 Photo: Tyler Salinas https://www.instagram.com/p/CZlYECKMxV7/

Book bannings are very much in the news these days. They are happening mostly in more rural school districts and in the South, but not only in these places. The American Library Association (ALA) issued a statement in November of last year decrying widespread efforts to censor books in public schools and libraries. The statement notes that these attacks on the freedom to read are overwhelmingly focused on books addressing “LGBTQIA+ issues....

“The Canary in the Coal Mine”: Sri Lanka’s Crisis is a Chronicle Foretold

— Éric Toussaint interviews Balasingham Skanthakumar

SRI LANKA’s ACUTE ECONOMIC crisis and sovereign debt default, along with its people’s uprising in 2022, has drawn attention across the world. It is described as the “canary in the coal mine,” that is, a harbinger of the likely future for other global south countries. Eric Toussaint, spokesperson for the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (CADTM) interviewed via email Colombo-based Balasingham Skanthakumar of the Social Scientists’ Association of Sri Lanka and the CADTM’s South Asia network. The responses in draft were improved by Amali Wedagedera’s review and finalized on 5th August.--CADTM editors....

The Roma Struggle from Protests to Political Liberation

— Sebijan Fejzula

Man holds a Roma flag in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France. May 25, 2019. Photo: matteo fabbri / Shutterstock.com

THIS ARTICLE WAS originally published in Roar on July 27, 2021. Anti-Roma racism remains pervasive across Europe. This article outlines a common political agenda for the unification and collective liberation of the Roma. It is of interest to anti-racists everywhere.--The ATC editors

The recent death of Stanislav Tomáš, a Roma man from Teplice, Czech Republic, has sparked demonstrations across many European countries. On June 19, a police officer kneeled on Tomáš’ neck while detaining him, leading to his death soon after....

The United States & Eurasia: Some Geopolitical Reflections at a Time of Global Crisis

— Pierre Rousset

Eurasia, the epicenter of confrontation. CC BY-SA 3.0

FROM UKRAINE TO Taiwan, Eurasia has once again become the epicenter of a major confrontation between great powers (the United States, China and Russia). To analyze this, we must free ourselves from the mental software inherited from the Cold War, think anew, and take full account of the planetary context -- that of a global, multidimensional crisis. This contribution does not claim to be exhaustive, but rather an invitation to discussion....

Interview with Ukrainian Feminist: "Our goal Is to win this war"

— Dick Nichols interviews Viktoriia Pihul

THE RUSSIAN INVASION of Ukraine is having an appalling impact on women and girls, especially among marginalized populations like the Roma. In bare summary:

Military strikes have targeted maternity hospitals and other healthcare facilities, killing and wounding women and children, including pregnant women and new-born babies.

* Rape is used as a weapon of war.

* Access to essential health services is practically non-existent in those parts of Ukraine that are under severe attack, as well as being badly...

Mass Protest Is Rising – Can It Confront Global Capitalism?

— William I. Robinson

One of the many demonstrations for Earth Day, 2022. www.jimwestphoto.com

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....

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.”...


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