Against the Current, No. 57, July/August 1995

Against the Current, No. 57, July/August 1995

What Is the Main Danger?

— The Editors

APRIL 19 IN Oklahoma City was far from the first murderous act of right-wing terror in this country -- quite the contrary -- but it is the first time that randomly selected people were killed in massive numbers in an indiscriminate attack. African American families were terrorized for decades by night riders in the Deep South; civil rights workers were assassinated; lesbians and gay men are perpetual targets; immigrants are harassed and assaulted; and abortion clinics and service providers have been subject to firebombing and shotgun murder....

The Explosive Rise of an Armed Far Right

— Christopher Phelps

AFTER RESCUE WORKERS had finished sifting the ruins of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building for evidence, 167 deaths were recorded, among them the crushed, twisted bodies of infants dropped off for morning day care just before the bomb detonated.

If the plot unfolded as it now seems, then the explosion was the work of Timothy J. McVeigh, 27, and Terry Nichols, 40. Nichols' brother James, 41, may have aided in the crime, though a federal judge ordered him released from custody in May. McVeigh reportedly acknowledges that he carried out the Oklahoma City bombing, but he does not think himself guilty of any crime. His clothing carried traces of explosives....

Fighting the Far Right

— interview with Jonathan Mozzochi

JONATHAN MOZZOCHI IS an organizer for the Coalition for Human Dignity, which monitors the far right and organizes against bigotry (P.O. Box 40344, Portland, OR 97240; 503-281-5823). Christopher Phelps talked to Mozzochi about how the left can respond to the far right's recent growth.

ATC: What are the kinds of things that people have done around the country to counteract the militia movement? What, in your experience, has been most effective?...

Why Is the Far Right Growing?

— Christopher Phelps

IN THE NEXT issue of Against The Current, a follow-up article will explore the contradictory but complementary relationship between the far right and Republican conservatism and evangelical Christianity, a critical source of its dynamism. Here, I offer five additional factors underneath the far right's recent

1. Economic Dislocation

The social base of the militia movement is white, rural and male....

Closing the Courthouse Doors

— Michael Steven Smith

AS PART OF their contract on America, the Republicans in the House of Representatives -- with some Democratic help -- passed three bills which would radically change our judicial system. These measures would deny victims of negligence their right to a jury trial in cases involving product liability, medical malpractice and security fraud.

Then, after some public debate, the Senate took up the measures passed by the House and only approved one of them, albeit a significant one, which would cap punitive damages on product liability cases involving gross malfeasance on the part of reckless corporations. The bills now await a House/Senate conference, another vote in each chamber, and the action of President Clinton....

Robert Wilcox and the Revolution of 1895: Hawaiian Revolutionary Honored

— David Starr

THIS YEAR IN Hawai'i marks the 100th anniversary of the attempted revolution co-led by Robert Wilcox in 1895. This action was prompted by the January 17, 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, which has now been recognized as a crime against the Native Hawaiian people by legal standards internationally and through U.S. Public Law 103-150 (or the "Apology Bill." This bill, however, contains a disclaimer stating that no reparations will be made to Hawaiians to redress the crime)....

Gender & Post-Communist Economic Restructuring: How Women Pay the Price

— Val Moghadam

ECONOMIC INTERNATIONALIZATION HAS drawn more and more women into production and public life. But various forms of economic restructuring are working to the disadvantage of women.

Economic restructuring is a global phenomenon that entails a shift from internally-oriented to externally-oriented growth and trade, from import-substitution industrialization to export-led manufacturing, and from large public sectors and nationalized industries to privatization of state-owned enterprises and a contraction of the public-sector wage bill....

Race, Class and Sandino's Politics

— Katherine Hoyt

"The simple folk with whom we talked were all agog over Sandino. He had become ubiquitous. He had been seen here; he had been seen there. At night he had gone stalking along a ridge, god of the universe. Later I found the same mythology was believed everywhere in Nicaragua. At many a low doorstop I sat and talked over a jicara of chicha corn beer, or a glass of yellowish palm wine, and there was no place Sandino had not been seen. He had fired the imagination of the humble people of Nicaragua. In every town, Sandino had his Homer. He was of the constellation of Abd-el-Krim, Robin Hood, Villa, the untamed out-laws who knew only daring and great deeds, imbued ever with the tireless persistence to overcome insurmountable odds and confront successfully overwhelming power. His epos will grow-in Nicaragua, in Latin America, the wide world over. For heroes grow ever more heroic with time." --Carlton Beals, Banana Gold, (1932)

FROM 1927 TO 1933, a small man with a rag-tag army kept the U.S. Marines at bay in the northern jungle-covered mountains of Nicaragua....

Finance & Industrial Capital in the Current Crisis

— Mary Malloy

ROBERT BRENNER, IN "Why Clinton Failed Parts I and II" (ATC 46 and 56), makes a valuable contribution to the left's discussion of the Clinton administration's failure to deliver on its promise to "bring the state back in."

Many on the left believed that Clinton's election would inaugurate a new era of capitalist state intervention in the economy ("industrial policy") that could restore U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, end nearly three decades of economic stagnation, and raise the living standards of the working-class majority of the population....

Open Letter to an Israeli Settler: I Will Not be Your Guard!

— Sergio Yahni

[Two members of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem, Nathan Krystall and Sergio Yahni, have served prison terms this year for refusing military service. Krystall refused on political rounds to enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), stating that the character of Israel as a "Jewish state" inherently entails the violent suppression of Palestinian rights.

[Sergio Yahni refused to serve his reserve duty in the Gaza Strip. It is the third time he has served time in military prison for refusing military service in the Occupied Territories. This time, ordered to guard the settlement of Neve Dekalim in Gaza, he explained in the following Open Letter why it was out of the question for him to obey....

Letters to Against the Current

On Bosnia and the Left

— Attila Hoare

IN ENGLAND THERE exists a shadowy political sect known as the Revolutionary Communist Party, which produces a magazine entitled Living Marxism. This magazine serves as a propaganda sheet for Serbian nationalism. In the spring of 1993 it hosted an exhibition in London, paid for by the Serbian government, that attempted to equate the Bosnians and Croatians of today with the fascist Ustashe of World War II.

The January 1995 issue of Living Marxism contained an article on the Bosnian war by a certain...

Radical Rhythms: In Honor of Two Musical Titans

— Kim Hunter

THE FIRST TIME I heard alto saxophonist Julius Hemphill was in the mid-seventies. He had released two of his best works: "Dogon AD" and "Coon Bidness." Both contained long (over 20 minute) compositions that were the centerpieces of the albums. Both records fused African and African American root musics with jazz.

"The Hard Blues" from the Coon Bidness album is the most potent of these. Its slow funky swing groove is punctuated at just the right moments by the dissonant blues melody of the horns. It is the kind of self-conscious work that is completely modern, but so rooted in the blues that it sounds like it could have been written at the turn of the century....

Rebel Girl: Sports Equality, Where Money Talks

— Catherine Sameh

MY LOCAL PAPER'S sports section has lately served as a barometer for measuring the daily gains and setbacks for women in the world of sports -- be it women coaches fighting for equitable salaries or athletes fending off homophobic comments from male sports announcers.

Take the case of Jody Runge, University of Oregon women's basketball coach. Runge sought a pay raise last summer after taking her team to the NCAA tournament and being named Pacific 10 Conference coach of the year in her first season....

Random Shots: PROgress and CONgress

— R.F. Kampfer

HAVING FAILED TO pass the balanced budget and term limits as constitutional amendments, Newt Gingrich will try to have them made the Eleventh and Twelfth Commandments.

What's the message from Congress this year? "Stop us before we spend more....


Power, Money, Marxist Theory

— Charlie Post

Power and Money:
A Marxist Theory of Bureaucracy
by Ernest Mandel
New York and London: Verso Books, 1992, 252 pages,
$18.95 paperback.

OVER THE PAST forty years, Ernest Mandel has been a central participant in almost every major discussion and debate among Marxist scholars and activists....

Shachtman and His Legacy

— David Finkel

Max Shachtman and His Left:
A Socialist's Odyssey Through the "American Century"
by Peter Drucker
New Jersey: Humanities Press International, 1994,
346 pages, paperback, $18.95.

LIKE ALMOST ANY work of serious Marxist scholarship, Peter Drucker's Max Shachtman and His Left cannot be separated from issues of present-day politics and commitment. We should be grateful that it found a ready publisher in the Humanities Press "Revolutionary Studies" series edited by Paul Le Blanc....

Dialogue on American Trotskyism

American Trotskyism: A Response

— Frank Lovell

ALAN WALD'S "THE End of `American Trotskyism'?" (Part 3, ATC 55) begins with the seemingly unassailable assertion: <169>There are methodological aspects of Trotskyism that the twenty-five years since the height of `The Sixties' have shown to be still necessary and valid."

It may seem little more than a quibble to those who agree with the main point, but it is wrong to leave the impression that "the height" of American Trotskyism was achieved in the 1960s, presumably as a decisive influence in the antiwar movement of that time....

The Lessons of Working-Class History

— Archie Lieberman

I REMEMBER, AS a young teenager in the early 1930s during the worst Depression in U.S. history, listening to some smart asses who said the American working class was hopelessly backward and too dumb to join unions.

Within a few years the CIO revolution swept over the country. Tragically, only the Communist Party took advantage of this upsurge and established itself on a mass basis. Its defense of the Stalinist ruling class finished that movement, and struck a serious blow to socialism....

In Memoriam

John Evans

— David Finkel

JOHN EVANS, A long-time socialist and activist in Detroit, died May 8 at age 78. John was a remarkable individual, whose working life included jobs as a factory worker, trucker and librarian and whose decades of political work ranged from civil liberties, anti-nuclear and anti-draft organizing to woodworker organizing and activism in the Sojourner Truth Organization....