Against the Current, No. 2, March/April 1986

A Letter from the Editors

— The Editors

DRAMATIC EVENTS in several countries of the capitalist periphery serve to highlight aspects of the international crisis and the United States' relationship to struggles for democracy. The twenty-year rule of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos collapsed in the face of a mass mobilization and a carefully planned revolt by sections of the military apparatus. Student and community rebellions in Haiti triggered the events which saw President-for-life "Baby Doc" Duvalier plucked into exile on a United States air force jet....

The Deep Roots of U.S. Economic Decline

— Robert Brenner

RONALD REAGAN's landslide electoral victory gave the appearance of completing an already definitive shift to the right in U.S. politics. But this appearance is in important respects deceiving. There are unquestionably strong pressures within U.S. society pushing wide sections of the population, not only the elites but parts of the working class, toward the right. But the political right has by no means consolidated power....

Summit Politics & the Third World

— James Petras

THE LINE OF antagonism between the U.S. and the USSR does not run through Berlin, Warsaw, and Prague but through the countryside of Guatemala, El Salvador, Angola, and Cambodia; and through the cities of South Africa, Brazil, and the Philippines.

The New Cold War did not originate in the failure of European detente but rather in the oil fields and bazaars of Iran and the jungles and towns of Nicaragua:...

COSATU: New Trend Emerges in South Africa Freedom Struggle

— Sandy Boyer & Dianne Feeley

TODAY'S SYSTEM of apartheid-a system fed on the rapid industrial expansion following World War II -- is rooted in three centuries of colonial domination, racial oppression, and a semi-slave existence for the Black majority. No more than 5-10% of the nonwhite population has ever been enfranchised. Fundamental rights -- including the right to an education, to freedom of speech or press, to live where one chooses-do not exist....

COSATU Women's Resolution

This Federation noting:

1. That women workers experience both exploitation as workers and oppression as women and that Black women are further discriminated against on the basis of race;...

Out of Africa: Isak Dinesen's Colonial Pastoral

— Christy Brown

"In some respects, although not in all, the white men fill in the mind of the Natives the place that is, in the mind of the white men, filled by the idea of God." --Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa (1937)....

Random Shots: The Little Sect that Time Forgot

— R.F. Kampfer

GARRISON KEILLOR, host of the "Prairie Home Companion," was brought up as a member of a very strict fundamentalist sect called the Plymouth Brethren. The only other celebrity ever to come out of this obscure cult was the infamous Aleister Crowley, who achieved worldwide notoriety during the 1920s for his indulgence in witchcraft, sexual orgies, recreational drugs and similar diversions. (He once wrote to Trotsky, offering to destroy Christianity, for a price, but Trotsky said he'd rather do it himself.) Maybe there's more going on in Lake Wobegon than we've been told....

Letter re Theories

— Edward Joahn

I WOULD LIKE to add a couple of observations to Johanna Brenner's "Thoughts on Women and the Peace Movement" (ATC 1).

A few months ago my (then) 12-year-old daughter visited a girl friend whose older sister is in the army...

Labor's War at Home

Teachers, Parents Win in Oakland

— Laurie Goldsmith

When Oakland Education Association President Connie Peoples presented the new contract agreement to striking teachers on January 21, she credited various local and state officials for their role in achieving the victorious settlement. Several on her list, such as Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson, received hisses, not cheers, from the audience.

As she concluded her incomplete list of acknowledgements, the gymnasium full of teachers broke into a spontaneous chant of "Parents, parents, parents."...

Columbia University: Birth of a Union

— Lynn Geron

ON OCTOBER 17, 1985, after eight months of bargaining for their first contract, more than 600 Columbia University clerical workers represented by District 65-UAW went on strike. Six days later, they ratified a contract which provided substantial economic gains as well as significant language in the areas of affirmative action, sexual harassment, personal work, job classification and union security....

The Long Battle of Watsonville

— Frank Bardacke

WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA is the frozen food capital of the world. The work force is predominantly Mexican and Chicano, with typically the men working in the fields and the women in the canneries. In a small town like Watsonville, with a population of less than 25,000, the five-month long cannery workers' strike is a com­ munity strike.

The recent negotiated settlement with Richard Shaw Company, one of the two big frozen food plants (usually simply called "the canneries") which were being struck...

Behind the Hormel Strike: Fifty Years of P-9

— Roger Horowitz

TWO SCENES provide a window on the traditions of unionism at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minnesota.

As scabs try to enter the plant on January 20, 1986, a slowly-moving car caravan turns into a militant blockade which forces closure of the plant. After another day of skirmishing, the plant is finally reopened as scabs pass under the watchful eyes and riot batons of the National Guard, dispatched by Democratic &Governor Rudy Perpich....

A Striking Family's Story

A supporter of the P.9 workers receiued the following letter from one of the fomilies on strike in Austin. Minnesota.

MY HUSBAND AND I received $400. today as a "Corporate Campaign Adopt a P-9 Family" Part of the money was because of you. Thanks from the bottom of our hearts....

Austin Rally

— Roger Horowitz

THEY CAME FROM the auto plants of California, the Iron Range of Minnesota, the machine shops of Detroit and the communication industry of New York City on February 15 to support the P-9 strike. Instead of the mass-produced signs which predominate at "official" union rallies, these unionists carried a wealth of hand­lettered placards expressing support for P-9 and opposition to the Hormel Company. Over 2,000 marched to support the Austin Hormel workers,...