Against the Current, No. 62, May/June 1996
Ten Years of Against the Current
— The Editors
How Labor Loses When it "Wins"
— Peter Downs
Yale Workers Fight the Power
— Gordon Lafer
Brazil's Workers Party Redefining Itself
— Michael Shellenberger
Modern "Gunboat" Diplomacy in the Caribbean
— an interview with Cecilia Green
"Burn the Haystack!"
— News From Within
The Clinton-Helms-Burton Travesty
— The ATC Editors
The IMF Restructures Sri Lanka
— D.A. Jawardana
Chandrika's "Great Victory"
— Vickramabahu Karunarathne
Getting It Right About Now
— Claudette Begin and Caryn Brooks
Fight the Right
— Claudette Begin
Ruth Hubbard's Feminist Critique of Science
— Rene L. Arakawa
Reclaiming Utopia: The Legacy of Ernst Bloch
— Tim Dayton
Policing Morality: Underground Rap in Puerto Rico
— Raquel Z. Rivera
Answering Camille Paglia
— Nora Ruth Roberts
On Being Ten
— Greetings from Our Friends
Letters to the Editors
— Peter Drucker; Linda Gordon
- The Great Flint Sitdown: An ATC 10th Anniversary Feature
Introduction: The Flint Sitdown for Beginners
— Charlie Post
The Rebel Girl: The Real Threat to Life
— Catherine Sameh
Random Shots: Politics, Religion and Mad Cows
— R.F. Kampfer
Flint and the Rewriting of History
— Sol Dollinger
Politics and Memory in the Flint Sitdown Strikes
— Nelson Lichtenstein
— Lillian S. Robinson
Ken Saro-Wiwa's Antiwar Masterpiece
— Dianne Feeley
Statement to the Court
— Ken Saro-Wiwa
- In Memoriam
Marxist Art Historian: Meyer Schapiro, 1904-1996
— Alan Wallach
WE ALL STAND before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas. Appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by their political marginalization and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilization, I have devoted my intellectual and material resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total believe and from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimated. I have no doubt at all about the ultimate success of my cause, no matter the trials and tribulations which I and those who believe with me may encounter on our journey. Nor imprisonment or death can stop our ultimate victory.
I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and it is as well that it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief. The Company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come and the lessons learnt here may prove useful to it for there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war that the Company has waged in the Delta will be called to question sooner than later and the crimes of that war be duly punished. The crime of the Company’s dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished.
On trial also is the Nigerian nation, its present rulers and those who assist them. Any nation which can do to the weak and disadvantaged what the Nigerian nation has done to the Ogoni, loses a claim to independence and to freedom from outside influence. I am not one of those who shy away from protesting injustice and oppression, arguing that they are expected in a military regime. The military do not act alone. They are supported by a gaggle of politicians, lawyers, judges, academics and businessmen, all of them hiding under the claim that they are only doing their duty, men and women too afraid to wash their pants of urine.
We all stand on trial, my lord, for by our actions we have denigrated our country and jeopardized the future of our children. As we subscribe to the subnormal and accept double standards, as we lie and cheat openly, as we protect injustice and oppression, we empty our classrooms, denigrate our hospitals, fill our stomachs with hunger and elect to make ourselves the slaves of those who ascribe to higher standards, pursue the truth, and honor justice, freedom and hard work. I predict that the scene here will be played and replayed by generations yet unborn. Some have already case themselves in the role of villains, some are tragic victims, some still have a chance to redeem themselves. The choice is for each individual.
I predict that the denouement of the riddle of the Niger delta will soon come. The agenda is being set at this trial. Whether the peaceful ways I have favored will prevail depends on what the oppressor decides, what signals it sends out to the waiting public.
In my innocence of the false charges I face here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41: “All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor.” Come the day.
ATC 62, May-June 1996