Against the Current, No. 8, March/April 1987

Against the Current, No. 8, March/April 1987

Letter from the Editors

— The Editors

A REMARKABLE CHARADE is being acted out in the national media. Even though Ronald Reagan, for all practical, functional purposes, is no longer the President, and even though the Congress and the media know perfectly well that he is no longer the President, they nonetheless pretend to believe that he is still the President. It is a wonderfully contrived performance to reinforce the legitimacy of the formalities of the system's political institutions, no matter how far removed these formalities become from the political realities....

"Hell on Wheels": A Rank-and-File Chronicle

— Steve Downs

A DISTINCT LAYER of militant activists is emerging within the labor movement. It is partly composed of individuals whose political roots are from the '60s and partly of those who have become active more recently, as a result of fights to defend their contracts and jobs or against the U.S. role in Central America and South Africa.

The ideas and activity of radical activists in the labor movement....

Los Angeles: Stop the Deportations!

ON JANUARY 26, nine Los Angeles residents -- eight Palestinians and a Kenyan woman married to one of them -- were seized in a dawn raid by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Los Angeles Police Department. Two of the nine were released on bond within a week, but the remaining seven stayed in detention until February 17, when Judge Roy Daniels ordered their release despite Justice Department objections that they are "national security risks."...

Israel & the Palestinians: Empire at Close Range

— Witold Jedlicki

THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA under the present jurisdiction of the Israeli authorities is usually conceived of as a dichotomy. The first part consists of Israel "proper" or "within the green line." The second, depending on one's ideological inclinations, is variously referred to as "Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district," "occupied territories," "benevolent occupation" or-sometimes but rarely-in terms less gentle than these....

Information Center Closed as Repression Escalates in Israel

— David Finkel

Information for this article has been collected from the Israeli press and from discussions between activists in Israel and concerned people in several U.S. cities.

FOR THREE YEARS, the Alternative Information Centre in West Jerusalem has provided information and analyses on Israeli government abuses of civil rights. The Centre published a biweekly newsletter in English, News From Within, issued bulletins and organized press conferences to publicize repressive measures and violence against Arabs....

A Petition for Mordecai Vanunu

About 150 signatures have been collected under the Hebrew version of the following petition, on behalf of Vanunu, the jailed Israeli nuclear technician. Some observers see the police raid on the Alternative Information Center as in part a reprisal for its role in the circulation of this petition.

We, the undersigned, wish to disassociate ourselves from the lynch campaign which has accompanied the arrest of Mordecai Vanunu....

Random Shots: Ollie North, Amerika's Hero?

— R.F. Kampfer

REAGAN'S BIGGEST PROBLEM isn't the things he forgets, but the things he remembers that never happened.

The White House is just like everyplace else. If you want to know what's really happening, don't ask the boss, ask the secretary....


The Fall of the House of Reagan

— Bill Resnick

CONTRAGATE’S GOT everything a soap opera should have. Collapse of the Reagan dynasty. Scandal, disgrace, amnesia. Shady foreigners with terrific names -- Manucher Ghorbanifar and the Sultan of Brunei. Comic relief-bringing cakes and an autographed Bible to the Ayatollah. Mystery -- Where did all the money go? And finally of course, star crossed lovers -- Ollie North's secretary, one Fawn Hall, also a terrific name, involved as they say, with Arturo Cruz, Jr., son of Arturo the big contra....

Speculators, Lumpen-Intellectuals, & the End of U.S. Hegemony

— James Petras

THE BASIC FACTS about the Iranian arms sale are not at all out of the ordinary, whichever version of the account one accepts-whether it was the negotiation to ex­ change arms for hostages or to develop ties with pro-Western groups. The reason that these rather banal transactions developed into momentous issues had more to do with the overall strategic policy which had been elaborated by the Reagan Administration and which had bipartisan approval....

Marxism and Utopian Vision

— Michael Löwy

THE "CRISIS OF MARXISM" is more a journalistic catch-phrase than a theoretical concept. In certain advanced capitalist countries, much of the left intelligentsia with origins in Stalinism and/or Maoism (with a few isolated exceptions, like Castoriadis) has been deeply affected by the simultaneous unfolding of dissidence in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (particularly the revelations in Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago) and the crisis of Maoism in China....

Chicana Literary Motifs

— Alvina E. Quintana

MANY FEMINIST SCHOLARS argue that the problem with feminist theory today is that it focuses primarily on the differences between men and women, rather than on the differences among women. As the feminist preoccupation with male/female differences develops and expands, the gap between Anglo feminists and feminists of color widens. Although much of feminist thought claims to encompass diverse perspectives and to speak of universals, many women of color believe that feminist discourse is, in fact, only white in perspective, with little concern for issues of race, culture, and class....

Feminist Poets Speak Out

Philadelphia, Spring 1985

— Sonia Sanchez; graphic by Allison Burkee

Osage Avenue, Philadelphia, May 13, 1985

— Aneb Kgositsile; graphic by Allison Burkee

Remaining Options

— Margaret Randall

My temperature goes up
and "who can measure the heat and violence of the poet's heart....


Response to Alex Callinicos: Preparing for the Upturn

— David Finkel

ALEX CALLINICOS' essay on socialist organization in the 1980s (Against the Current #6) represents a helpful contribution to an ongoing discussion of revolutionary perspectives, politics and organization. Alex's direct and clear style of argument adds to the usefulness of his piece as a starting point for debate....

The Need for Post-Leninism

— Tim Wohlforth

I AM VERY happy that my article "The Two Souls of Leninism" (Against The Current #4-5) has stirred up interest and controversy among ATC readers. That events which occurred over sixty years ago are still subject to discussion and conflicting interpretations, indicates both the importance of the Russian Revolution to modern history, and a tendency for these events, codified as ideology, to be used to justify current political practice....

Comment on Leninism

— Wayne Price

AGAINST THE CURRENT has begun an important discussion on the nature of Leninism. Writing for the Revolutionary Socialist League, I agree that there are 'Two Souls of Socialism" (the title of a 1966 pamphlet by Hal Draper), an authoritarian socialism-from-above and a democratic/libertarian socialism-from-below. Draper believed that Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky were on the side of socialism­ from-below. So does Alan Wald, adding "the Trotskyists" and the Sandinistas....

Another Comment on Leninism

— C.J. Arthur

CONGRATULATIONS TO ATC on the interesting debate on Leninism. While I appreciate that the problem is not so much one of quote-throwing as of historical facts and explanations, I would like to alert readers to one piece of demagoguery by Lenin....


The Production of Desire

— David N. Smith

WIDESPREAD DESIRE for revolutionary change is a vital precondition for the success of a socialist revolution. This axiom is effectively argued in Richard Lichtman's excellent recent analysis of desire and class conflict, The Production of Desire (hereafter PoD).

The Origins of Women's Oppression

— Karen Brodkin Sacks

Women's Work, Men's Property:
The Origins of Gender and Class
Edited by Stephanie Coontz and Peta Henderson
London: Verso, 1986. Paper, $9.95

IF WE KNEW what created male dominance, maybe we would know better how to get rid of it. That is the question behind this book....


On Perspectives

— Samuel Farber

ALAN WALD'S "Some Perspectives on the FSLN" (ATC #7) cites an FSLN member in Juigalpa, Nicaragua, as saying "that her fears about a lack of political democracy in Cuba were assuaged after a Cuban Jehovah's Witness stayed at her house and assured her that there was no political repression in that country." (8)...