Against the Current, No. 1, January/February 1986

Against the Current, No. 1, January/February 1986

A Letter from the Editors

— The editors

WITH THIS ISSUE Against the Current inaugurates a new magazine of socialist theory and strategy. Three American socialist journals have fused to contribute their resources to creating a publication which is broader and livelier than any of them alone could have hoped to be. The new Against the Current editorial board includes Johanna Brenner and Robert Brenner from Against the Current, Leslie Evans and Dianne Feeley from Socialist Unity, and David Finkel and Linda Manning Myatt from Changes. With future issues, new editors will be joining the editorial board, from a variety of movement and political perspectives.....

Israel Today: The Other Apartheid

— Israel Shahak

THE STRUGGLE for Palestinian rights, whether basic and individual rights or national rights did not begin yesterday. Whatever date we assume for its beginning, it is clear that it has continued now for decades.

Therefore, it seems to me that the first step we should all take today is self-criticism. It is not only the power and the cleverness of the oppressors which caused the neglect, here in the U.S.A., of the most basic human rights of the Palestinians, but also the mistakes and especially the relative lack of self-criticism displayed for a long time by many who have tried to defend the rights of Palestinians....

The Murder of Mahmoud al-Mughrabi

IN PAIN AND sorrow, we learn at this late date that our friend Mahmoud al-Mughrabi was killed by the Israeli Air Force during its October 1 bombing raid on Tunisia. Mahmoud was born in Jerusalem in 1960. By the age of 16 he had already been under detention 12 times, and he was one of the first who dared to speak in public about the methods of interrogation of Palestinian detainees used by the General Security Services in Israel. He then gave his consent to being publicly identified as an informant for the memorable expose' of torture in Israel which appeared in the London Sunday Times of June 19, 1977. In 1984 he managed to escape to Jordan after years of increasingly marginal existence under steadily deteriorating conditions of the military occupation....

Thoughts on Women & the Peace Movement

— Johanna Brenner

THROUGH INSPIRING and creative actions, the women's peace movement has captured worldwide attention and forged international ties between activists in Europe and the United States. Greenham Common in Britain, Seneca Peace Camp in New York State, La Ragnatela Camp in Sicily, the Women's Pentagon Action, local demonstrations all over Europe and the United States mobilized thousands of women -many new to political activity-and brought them to challenge the law and its enforcers, as when Greenham women first blocked and then invaded the missile base.

Women-organized and women-led, these campaigns affirmed women's capacity for militant political action; they created and strengthened networks among women's communities and organizations. Though not explicitly feminist in its aims, the women's peace movement has nonetheless contributed to building the base for an autonomous women's liberation movement....

Random Shots: The Pope's Middle East Program

— R.F. Kampfer


I am sweating away on the assembly line when the foreman comes along and says: "There's a cigarette butt on your floor," Should I reply?

A. No shit, Sherlock.

B. There's plenty of room to walk around it....

Contours of the Crisis

Mexico: The Crisis & the Left

— interview with Ricardo Pascoe

RICARDO PASCOE is a member of the Mexican Parliament, representing the Revolutionary Workers Party (PRT) of which he is a leading member. The PRT, the Mexican section of the Fourth International, was formed in the mid-1970s as a regroupment of several small revolutionary Marxist groups. It has developed into an important force in sectors of the Mexican working class and peasant movements....

Miners' Strike Still Echoes in Britain

— Robin Blackburn

NEARLY A YEAR after their return to work, it is clear that the British miners' strike of 1984/5 has been a watershed for the standing of the Thatcher government, for the trade unions, for the Labor Party, for the Communist Party and for the whole of the Left.

It has re-shaped the agenda of politics almost as drastically as the Falklands war did in the last Parliament, though in a quite different way....

U.S. Labor: Is the Tide of Concessions Finally Turing?

— Kim Moody

1985 WAS THE SIXTH consecutive year in which U.S. unions faced aggressive take-back demands from employers. Whether broke or profitable, awash in overseas competition or guaranteed a market by the Pentagon, U.S. corporations continued to demand that their workers accept a lower standard of living. In each of the years since Chrysler won major concessions from the United Auto Workers in 1979 as part of the federally backed Chrysler bail-out plan, there have always been those workers who resisted this shift of wealth from labor to capital. For the most part, however, they were the exceptions to a trend of surrender by the International union leaders and confusion in the ranks....

Feminists' Campaign Poses Alternatives

Porn Censors Lose in Madison

— Lynn Hannen & Daniel Grossberg

MADISON -- A "civil rights" anti­pornography ordinance proposed for Dane County was defeated without ever being formally drafted, circulated, or introduced.

Supporters of the would-be ordinance have since mounted a campaign to have University of Wisconsin administrators censor films on campus; they have mounted a campaign in the community for "porn free zones-safe for women and children" at area business; and they continue their other activities based on the exact language and theory underlying the ordinance....

Feminists Propose Alternatives to Pornography Free Zone (page 1 of 2)

— Mary Lauby, Leslie J. Regan & Daniel Grossberg

Feminists Propose Alternatives to Pornography Free Zone (page 2 of 2)

— Mary Lauby, Leslie J. Regan & Daniel Grossberg

Women's History raises doubt about value of porn law

— Kathleen Brown, Daniel Grossberg & Leslie Reagan


Notes on Gay Sexuality & Human Natures

— Scott Tucker

{The following comments on Peter Drucker's "Power and Sexuality" (Against the Current, Fall 1984) are excerpted from a personal letter to him. These excerpts in no way represent developed or final views.J

YOUR ARTICLE on Foucault is excellent, and I'd like to make copies to pass out at the lesbian and gay left group which meets monthly in NYC. I remain unclear about Jeffrey Weeks and other gay Marxists who seem to assimilate Foucault without much sign of critical indigestion. Piaget wrote a nice short book on Structuralism in which he says Foucault constructs "a structuralism without structure."...


South Africa's Dawning Revolution

— David Finkel

Black Workers, Their Unions and the Struggle for Freedom in South Africa
By Denis MacShane, Martin Plaut and David Ward
South End Press, 1984. $8.
A Ride on the Whirlwind
By Sipho Sepamla
Readers International, London and New York, 1984.

The Story of a Dispossessed People
By Motsoko Pheko
Marram Books, London, 1984, distributed in the U.S. by Zed Press and Biblio Distribution Center, Totowa, New Jersey. $10.95.

The Revolution Under Fire
By Joseph Hanlon
Zed Press, 1984, distributed in the U.S. by Biblio Distribution Center, Totowa, New Jersey. $10.75.

THE SIMPLE BUT effective technique of banning television cameras and reporters has enabled the South African regime to drastically cut the coverage presented to American and European audiences of the ongoing confrontation....


Remembering Steve Zeluck

— Barbara Zeluck

MANY THANKS for the In Memoriam section in the last issue (Changes)devoted to (my husband) Steve Zeluck. I was, however, disappointed that you did not include the sections of an unsolicited letter from Mar&tin Brock, a 1967-68 student in Steve's 8th grade honors science class (at Albert Leonard Junior High School in New Rochelle), that were read at the meeting in New York. I'd like to ask that you print them, since they present a side of Steve that comrades had no opportunity to see. "It was with great sadness that I read of the death of Steve Zeluck last week in our local paper. He was one of the greatest teachers I have ever had. He had a profound effect on my development and to this day I have not been able to fully assess its magnitude ....