Against the Current, No. 3, May/June 1986

Against the Current, No. 3, May/June 1986

Letter from the Editors

— The Editors

CAN THE CLOCK be turned back to pre-Vietnam? That is the issue being tested in the American bombing of Libya-the kind of imperial action that was the nuts and bolts of post-war U.S. foreign policy before Vietnam, that became politically unacceptable as a result of the popular opposition to that war, and that is now being rehabilitated in the name of "stopping international terrorism." The struggle is over whether the U.S. population can be brought to accept the high-tech destruction of other nations' cities and territories as a routine American prerogative, or can come to recognize such acts for the criminal terrorist behavior they are....

Abortion Rights: Contested Terrain

— Dianne Feeley

THE OUTPOURING of women, especially young women, at the NOW-organized "March for Women's Lives" in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles earlier this spring indicates the fundamental strength of the pro­choice movement. It also dramatizes the continuing need for women's access to abortion. The two actions were the largest demonstration for women's rights in U.S. history-surpassing the 100,000 strong march for extending the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) deadline in 1978....

Defend Our Gains, Move Forward

— Ann Menasche interviews Helen Grieco & Debbie Greg

THE FOLLOWING INTERVIEW occurred on April 19, 1986, in San Francisco. Participating were Janet Cooke, past president of Palo Alto National Organization for Women (NOW) and Western Regional Coordinator for the March for Women's Lives that took place on March 16 in Los Angeles; Debbie Gregg, staff member, Feminist Women's Health Center and member of the Clinic Defense Committee, a coalition of community activists supporting reproductive rights and defending the clinics; and Helen Grieco, president of the San Francisco chapter of NOW and member of various boards dealing with the issue of reproductive rights. The interview was conducted by Ann Menasche, a longtime activist in the women's movement....

Debate in Labor Growing as P-9 Strikers Continue the Battle

— Roger Horowitz & Kim Moody

ON APRIL 11, 400 strikers and supporters shut down Hormel's Austin, Minnesota plant for half a day. After some confrontation, the Austin police dispersed the crowd with tear gas. Seventeen people were arrested on the spot and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Jim Guyette, president of the striking United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local P-9. The scene of the demonstration moved from the Hormel plant to the Austin city jail, where protesters chanted "Free P-9."

It was not the first time P-9 members and supporters had tried to close the plant or the first time the Austin police made arrests. An earlier attempt to railroad P-9 activists and consultant Ray Rogers had collapsed and Mower County Sheriff Goodnature (not a joke) appears determined to find some way to "restore order" in the home town of the George A. Hormel Company....

Life After Trusteeship

— Roger Horowitz & Kim Moody

The UFCW International took another step toward strike-breaking on May 8 when it announced it was placing Local P-9 in trusteeship. P-9 countered by filing its multi-faceted suit against the UFCW, which included a petition for a restraining order against the trusteeship. Judge Gerhart Gesell dismissed the petition.

The remainder of the suit, which includes a demand for $13 million in damages, will wind its way through the court system for some time, but is not expected to win. The International followed its announcement with a motion for compliance in federal district court in St. Paul with Judge Edward Devitt, a right-winger who ruled against P-9 on secondary boycott charges last year....

Wynn Bombs Austin, Hits Soup

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 1986, Austin, MN-Shortly before dawn this morning, two slightly used Hughes helicopters bearing the marking "UFCW Standard Wages or Death" fired heat-seeking missiles at the headquarters of Local P-9 of the United Food and Commercial Workers in Austin, MN....

In Tribute to "Burger's Daughter"

— Alan Wald

BURGER'S DAUGHTER (1979), the sixth novel by the white South African writer Nadine Gordimer, blends political subtlety with compelling insight into the psychology of radical activists in the contemporary anti-apartheid movement. With acute sensitivity, Gordimer focuses on the dilemma of Rosa Burger, the rebellious daughter of a martyred South African Communist of Afrikaner descent, who initially abandons and then resumes commitment to the anti-racist struggle of her father....

Poems for the Martyrs

— Dennis Brutus

For a Dead African: may be the earliest poem by one of the S0's generation (1956) to recognize that there would have to be a military element and armed action ("the warriors") to achieve the final victory.

For a Dead African

We have no heroes and no wars
only victims of a sickly state
succumbing to the variegated sores
that flower under lashing rains of hate....

The Empire and Ourselves

— Noam Chomsky

LET ME BEGIN by asking a question. Why are we having this meeting about Central America today and not, say, ten years ago? Was it, for example, that ten years ago democracy was flourishing in Central America--and the population was so happy, free, prosperous and well fed? Well, obviously not. Ten years ago they were living under brutal military dictatorships. We were directly responsible for what was happening to them then, exactly as we are now. But order reigned and profits flowed, and therefore there was no interest here....

Austerity & Interventionism: Political Effects of Economic Decline (Part 2)

— Robert Brenner

THE LONG-TERM decline of U.S. industry, compounded by the deepening systemic crisis of the international economy, has profoundly shaped the evolution of U.S. politics since the end of the 1960s and is largely responsible for the current political impasse. In the face of declining U.S. industrial competitiveness, the decreasing attractiveness of U.S. manufacturing as a field for investment, and the growing dynamism of the newly developing capitalisms of Japan and Southeast Asia, successive governments, both Democratic and Republican, have found it increasingly difficult to frame a response which speaks to the worsening problems of capital, let alone to the needs of U.S. working people. Yet, paradoxically, these very same problems of the economy in decline have vastly complicated the task of building a coherent political opposition....

A Comment on the Cold War

— Samuel Farber

IN THE COURSE of his wide-ranging and in some respects valuable critique of E.P. Thompson's theory of exterminism ("Nuclear Imperialism and Extended Deterrence," Against the Current, old series, Winter 1985), Mike Davis presents an analysis of U.S.-Soviet conflict which is seriously flawed, in my view.

Aspects of Davis' approach reappear in James Petras' recent article, "Summit Politics and the Third World" in Against the Current, new series, #2....

Letter & Response on Pornography

I APPRECIATE your commendable articles (ATC #2) on the Madison, Wisconsin feminist anti-censorship struggle opposing the efforts to legally ban pornography. As I am sure you are aware, the pornography issue is very much in debate among feminists, socialists, and gay liberationists and I appreciate your strong entry into the discussion.....

Random Shots: Mary Jane's Magic Dust

— R.F. Kampfer

DURING THE EXCAVATION of Pompeii, archeologists found the body of a young Roman soldier who had been standing guard duty when Vesuvius erupted. He had remained at his post while being covered with molten lava..../p>