Against the Current, No 6, January/
Letter from the Editors
— The Editors
Meatpacker Unionism Gutted
— Roger Horowitz
Social Struggles & the NDP
— interview with Judy Rebick
Women in Eastern Europe: Liberation or Patriarchy?
— Jacqueline Heinen
- Stop Soviet Repression of the Chukaev Family!
Social Democracy Today
— Perry Anderson
Inside the New Automation
— Art Myatt
Computer Innards for Beginners
— Art Myatt
A Perspective for Socialists
— Alex Callinicos
In Defense of Critical Leninism
— Alan Wald
Random Shots: Onassis's Road to Riches
— R.F. Kampfer
- Letters to the Editors
Cosmetics and Revolution
— Nora R. Wainer
The Politics of AIDS
— Peter Drucker
Ornette Confronts "Technology"
— Tony Smith
Two Movies on Lesbian Love
— Ann Menasche
- In Memoriam
Joseph S. Giganti, 1905-1986
— The Editors
THE “SECRET” IS OUT. CIA employees fly contra re-supply missions into Nicaragua. The U.S. Air Force base at Ilopango, El Salvador, is the central staging area. Contra officers are to be trained in the U.S. by Green Berets. Policymakers speak of the need for “impressive results” in the contra war over the next six months so that Reagan can return to Congress for an “expanded program” next year. Somewhere down the road lies the declaration of a “Provisional Government” and perhaps a U.S. naval blockade of Nicaraguan ports.
The U.S. government has a v1s1on of the future Nicaragua. A glimpse of it can be revealed by looking at what South Africa has done to the African nation of Mozambique-as Washington hopes to do to Nicaragua. The South African government may or may not have murdered Mozambique’s president Samora Machel. We may never know. We do know, by way of Canadian and European journalists, that a quarter of Mozambique’s 14 million people face starvation; that cash crops and food harvests lie rotting in storage because the transport system is destroyed; that six billion dollars in economic damage has been caused by South African-equipped contras known as the MNR, amounting to eighty times Mozambique’s annual hard-currency exports; and that what remains of the economy will be destroyed by the expulsion of Mozambican miners from South Africa.
All this has occurred after Machel and Botha signed the 1984 Nkomati Accords, under which Mozambique and South Africa were supposed to be at peace. Mozambique kept its part of the deal, while South Africa ignored it-for it is well-known that peace treaties are binding only on the weak, not the powerful. South Africa’s war against Mozambique is genocide. Its impact may be actually worse, in destruction and death toll, than if regular South African troops invaded the country and massacred villages wholesale.
Exactly the same result is envisaged by Reagan and Company for Nicaragua. The greatest single difference is that the contras have been strategically defeated by the Nicaraguan army, and can be resuscitated only by a qualitative expansion of U.S. support and intervention. The $100 million contra aid package passed by Congress is barely a down payment.
The Nicaraguans will make sure that, at the very least, a high price must be paid for the destruction of their revolution and their country. By themselves, however, they cannot forever hold back the North American colossus. The rest is up to us-the people of this country, the anti-intervention and solidarity movements. It was nearly twenty years ago, as outrage mushroomed at home against the war in Vietnam, that the U.S. media stopped restricting itself to printing handouts from the State Department and the U.S. embassy in Saigon, and began leaking a part of the truth. The same thing can happen to the U.S. war in Central America, if the opposition is energetically and massively mobilized./p>
The next issue of Against the Current (#7) will include several articles analyzing the economics and politics of the Nicaraguan revolutionary process. The authors of two of the contributions have been living and working in Nicaragua for a number of years.
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The current issue continues several of our ongoing themes and opens up a couple of new ones. Regular readers know that our previous issue focused on the theme of “Socialism East and West.” Perry Anderson’s dissection of the political evolution of Western European Social Democracy, Jacqueline Heinen’s account of the all-too-familiar oppression and double exploitation of women in Eastern Europe, and Judy Rebick’s observations on the Canadian New Democratic Party in relation to social movements, supplement the material published in ATC #4-5.
Alex Callinicos of the British Socialist Workers Party contributes an essay on revolutionary socialist perspectives and organization, presenting an attitude of friendly skepticism toward the broad regroupment strategy promoted by Against the Current. We hope that this article opens up an extended discussion among currents and individuals committed to a revolutionary and democratic socialist politics.
Art Myatt, a long-time socialist and research-and-development worker, presents an overview of the new wave of automation and its implications for workplace automation and struggle. Myatt suggests that the new, or “information,” automation creates a new balance of class forces qualitatively beyond the impact of the old, “workpiece” automation. Roger Horowitz examines another aspect of industrial transformation: the change in the meatpacking industry which helped bring about not only amalgamation, but a thoroughgoing bureaucratic restructuring of packinghouse unionism. That restructuring gave the leadership of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) the stranglehold it needed to defeat the strike of Local P-9 in Austin, Minnesota.
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Against the Current has completed the first year of publication of the new series. We have been encouraged by readers’ response, and our plans for the second year are ambitious. This marks an appropriate occasion to reiterate some of our basic editorial policies. ATC is published in order to promote dialogue among the activists and serious scholars of the left. We promote the vision of socialism from below, of a revolutionary, anti-Stalinist and feminist socialist movement.
THE “SECRET” IS OUT. CIA employees fly contra re-supply missions into Nicaragua. The U.S. Air Force base at Ilopango, El Salvador, is the central staging area. Contra officers are to be trained in the U.S. by Green Berets. Policymakers speak of the need for “impressive results” in the contra war over the next six months so that Reagan can return to Congress for an “expanded program” next year. Somewhere down the road lies the declaration of a “Provisional Government” and perhaps a U.S. naval blockade of Nicaraguan ports. ATC is sponsored by a newly formed socialist organization, Solidarity, together with a group of advisory editors, who believe that this magazine can lower some of the barriers to an effective U.S. socialist left.
Readers who support this project are encouraged to take advantage of our special gift subscription offer. See the back cover of this issue for details. Readers interested in taking a bundle of ATC for distribution can contact us for details.
January-February 1987, ATC 6