Against the Current No. 227, November/December 2023

Auto: The Future on the Line

— The Editors

During negotiations UAW President Shawn Fain visited picket lines regularly, and the press followed.

WE BELIEVE WE are on solid ground in calling the not-yet-ratified 2023 agreements the United Auto Workers has hammered out at General Motors, Ford and used-to-be-Chrysler Stellantis a breakthrough for U.S. labor.

The strikes concluded shortly before this issue of Against the Current went to press. While we don’t yet have the full details of all three....

Catastrophe in Palestine and Israel: Apartheid on the Road to Genocide

— David Finkel

On October 25 a Detroit rally organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and allies of Palestine, called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The rally demanded that Michigan's Congressional delegation oppose sending weapons to Israel.

ON THE MORNING of October 7, the nemesis that the Israeli state did much to create smashed over, under and through the border wall separating Gaza’s “open air prison” from southern Israel. The brutal events that followed have opened the gates of hell — even wider than usual — in the Middle East.

Any number of illusions lie shattered, beginning with the biggest — the United States’ government’s view that a brokered “normalization” of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, plus other Arab Gulf monarchies, would make Palestine essentially disappear from view. It’s essential to state up front the fundamental lesson that U.S. policy, enabling Israel’s continual destruction of Palestine and its people’s hopes, have made the 100-year Palestine-Zionist conflict into a permanent crisis with little hope of resolution.

At this writing the odds of,,,,

From ATC authors and friends

Three Palestinian Students Shot in Vermont

— Malik Miah

Palestinian students Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid and Tahseen Ahmed. Awartani family handout via REUTERS

THREE YOUNG PALESTINIAN men have been shot near a university campus in Vermont, after a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy was stabbed to death in Illinois in October, raising alarms against rising Islamophobia in the country.

Critics say the mainstream media coverage and the political discourse have caused anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment to increase amid Israel’s war on Gaza, which has killed nearly 15,000 Palestinians (the massacre resumed December 1)....

Opening the Door Wider to Jim Crow Laws?

— Malik Miah

Detroiters wait to cast ballots in the 2022 midterm election.

A FEDERAL APPEALS court on November 20 issued a decision that could severely curtail enforcement of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). It could affect voters of color nationwide and will probably be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The decision opens the door wider to a return to Jim Crow laws that once ruled the South. Those laws made...

Capitalist Globalisation, Transnational Class Exploitation & the Global Police State

— Federico Fuentes interviews William I. Robinson

Federico Fuentes: Over the past century, we have seen the term imperialism used to define different situations and at other times be replaced by concepts such as globalisation and hegemony. You yourself have written that “the classical image of imperialism as a relation of external domination is outdated.” Why is this the case? Does this mean the concept of imperialism as a whole is outdated too?

William Robinson: Colonialism and imperialism are historic processes....

Apostle of Genocide Rules Israel from the Grave

— Cliff Conner

MEIR KAHANE, a fanatic ultrarightwing American-Israeli zealot, was assassinated more than thirty years ago, and yet his spirit is in full control of Israel’s genocidal onslaught against the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza. When he was alive, his racist and antidemocratic political movement, the Kach party, was banned in Israel and officially designated a terrorist organization, both in Israel and the United States.

Today his disciples and admirers are entrenched in the government of Israel and direct...

Two Gaza Scenarios: Greater Israel vs. Oslo

— Gilbert Achcar

Milwaukee Free Palestine demonstration, October 22, 2023

A ground invasion appears imminent, but what is the political endgame?

ANNOUNCED AS IMMINENT several days ago, after over 1 million inhabitants of the northern half of the Gaza Strip were given only 24 hours to flee south, the Israeli armed forces’ land onslaught on Gaza is yet to start at the time of writing. Despite attempts to convey a contrary impression,...

Solidarity with the Palestinian people -- End the Occupation!

— Executive Bureau, Fourth International

On October 10 Arab Americans and supporters packed Dearborn, MI auditorium to stand in solidarity with Palestine as Israel dropped bombs and prepared to invade Gaza in retaliation for the Hamas military strike that killed hundreds of Israeli civilians. Photo: Jim West

The root cause of the violence is the occupation of Palestine by the Israeli state. Palestinians have borne the brunt of the death and destruction of the last 75 years. The situation in the Gaza strip is particularly inhuman. Here, the population has been subjected to ongoing humiliation, collective punishments and violence from the Israeli state. Appeals for “de-escalation” are pointless, one-sided condemnations of violence by Hamas are hypocritical, as long as this root cause is not addressed....

Degrowth: A Remarkable Renaissance

— Alan Thornett

There has been an upsurge of interest in degrowth –a long-discussed strategic alternative to climate chaos and not just from the radical left. It is experiencing a renaissance at the moment, driven by the relentless rise in global temperatures and the resulting climate chaos.

It was the theme of a three-day....

Death, Abuse and Super-exploitation of Children on Rise

— Malik Miah

Newly hired child labor, 1908. Are we going back?

Teen dies in sawmill accident as US states aim to roll back child labor laws (Headline of Wisconsin Public Radio, July 6, 2023)

THE POLICE RECEIVED an early-morning call regarding an unresponsive teenager at Florence Hardwoods, a sawmill in northern Wisconsin, reported the county sheriff’s office. Deputies and paramedics transported....

Demand the Release of Boris Kagarlitsky

— Russian Socialist Movement

A FEW HOURS ago it became known that the FSB [Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation–editor] had opened a criminal case against well-known left-wing political scientist and sociologist, editor of the Rabkor online magazine Boris Kagarlitsky. The formal reason for initiating the case was the alleged "justification of terrorism," but we are absolutely sure that the persecution of Kagarlitsky is a political reprisal for his views.

Recently, Boris has been actively commenting on the current political situation, openly criticizing both the domestic and foreign policies of the Russian authorities....

Bosses, Union Officials, Rank-&-Filers Debate Work from Home

— Steve Early

WORK FROM HOME arrangements proliferated during the pandemic and became very popular among white-collar workers. They are now the subject of a tug of war between labor and management because high-profile bosses—like Mark Zuckerberg at Meta, Elon Musk at Twitter, Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan Chase, and Andy Jassy at Amazon -- have decreed that it’s time to get back in the office....

Update: End of Line 5?

Bad River Band logo

AT A MAY 18th hearing on an emergency motion filed by the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, U.S. Western District Court Judge William Conley stated that it was only a matter of time before the Enbridge Line 5 crude oil pipeline, running across the Bad River Band’s territory, would be shut down. Conley has ordered a shutdown and decommissioning of the pipeline within three years. He has also ordered Enbridge pay the Band a $5.1 million penalty for trespassing, when it ignored the fact that the easement was not renewed in 2013....

Revolutionary, Peasant Leader: Hugo Blanco (1934-2023)

— Maria Sundvall

HUGO BLANCO, THE Peruvian revolutionary, peasant leader, former member of parliament, fighter for the rights of indigenous people and for the environment, has died after a short period of acute illness.] He was born on November 15, 1934 in Cusco, Peru, in the Indigenous heartland, and he constantly returned there....

Martial Terror in the Neocolony: Plight of Philippine Women Political Prisoners

— E. San Juan, Jr.

IN HIS CLASSIC "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte," Karl Marx amends Hegel's quip on history repeating itself, first as tragedy and then as farce (1986 97). With the former Philippine dictator Marcos's son in office, will farcical acts be the spectacle for the next six years? Imagine the sons of Somoza, Trujillo or Batista returning to their banana republics -- that would indeed be "the tradition of all the dead generations" acting as toxic "nightmare on the brain of the living."

The oldest U.S. neocolony, the Philippines, was then plundered....

Michigan Appellate Courts Curb Death in Prison Sentences for Minors

— Efrén Paredes, Jr.

Michigan State Capitol, Lansing, Michigan.

A DECADE AFTER the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory life without parole (LWOP) sentences for justice-involved children under age 18 ("juvenile lifers"), Michigan appellate courts are course-correcting years of arbitrary sentencing outcomes which have been an affront to the rule of law.

LWOP sentences are often referred to as a "death in prison" or "death by incarceration" sentences because a person who receives the extreme punishment is condemned to die in prison unless her/his sentence is commuted by the Governor, which is unlikely to occur in most cases.

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