Against the Current, No. 93, July/August 2001

Against the Current, No. 93, July/August 2001

The Fast Track Attack

— The Editors

AFTER QUEBEC CITY, where the Summit of the Americas convened behind a giant wall and a fog of teargas, the World Bank won't even try to hold its next scheduled meeting on "fighting global poverty"—or was it "fighting the global poor"?—in Barcelona, Spain.  The deliberations will be held electronically instead; interested critics of globalization will be invited to submit your constructive and responsible suggestions via email.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's Case for Innocence

— Steve Bloom

IN A DRAMATIC news conference in Philadelphia on Friday, May 4, Marlene Kamish and Eliot Lee Grossman, two attorneys who are part of Mumia Abu-Jamal's new legal team, made public five affidavits they had filed that day with the Federal District Court—where Mumia's case is presently being considered by Justice William Yohn.

Duke Students Stand Against Bigotry

— an interview with Sarah Wigfall and Camika Haynes

SARAH WIGFALL AND Camika Haynes are initiators and organizers of the Duke Student Movement, which sprang up when The Chronicle, the campus paper at Duke University, published the infamous ad by David Horowitz, Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery are a Bad Idea for Black People -- and Racist Too. (For background see “A Response to David Horowitz” by Douglas Taylor in our previous issue, ATC 92.)

David Finkel from the ATC editorial board conducted this interview by email and phone with Sarah Wigfall. She will be a senior at Duke this fall. Many thanks also to Camika Haynes for supplying the photographs....

Cincinnati March for Justice

— statements by the organizers

THREE THOUSAND PEOPLE (according to Cincinnati police estimates) joined the March for Justice through downtown on Saturday, June 2, in response to police brutality and official indifference. The march was preceded by a rally in Fountain Square, addressed by a broad range of speakers from a former governor to youth and religious leaders to Angela Leisure, the mother of Timothy Thomas.

We present here excerpts from the statement distributed by the Committee for the March for Justice, titled “No Justice -- No Peace. Do we want peace, harmony and safety, or a long hot summer?” --The editors of Against the Current

Asian Americans and "Pearl Harbor"

— Malik Miah

CONSIDER THE IRONY of two events occurring a couple days apart in late May. On May 23 the first Chinese American ever to be elected to the U.S. Congress was denied entrance to the Energy Department in Washington, D.C. The member of the House of Representatives, along with his Asian American aide, was stopped by security guards for not being able to prove to their satisfaction that he is a citizen of the United States!...

The U.S. Movement Against Sanctions on Iraq

— Rae Vogeler

MORE THAN 100 activists representing 60 organizations came together February 17-18, 2001 at the Second National Organizing Conference on Iraq. The conference was held in Denver, Colorado, and hosted by the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace.

Out of this very productive and well organized conference was born the National Network to End the War Against Iraq, an ongoing coalition of anti-sanctions activists throughout the country. Up until now, activists have worked locally, or formed ad hoc coalitions for national actions. The time has come for unity.

The Kaloran Incident and Indonesia's Red Scare

— Sylvia Tiwon

ON THE MORNING of March 24, 2001, a nervous cortege of two vehicles carrying seven boxes left the small district of Kaloran in Central Java for nearby Yogyakarta.

Women's Power for East Timor

— Mano Micató

WOMEN MAKE UP more than half of East Timor's population and play crucial roles in community life and national identity.  Women's participation in the reconstruction of East Timor, however, has not yet become a national priority.  Many take for granted or discount women's work as it is generally unpaid and considered "women's natural role."

Russia's Education for the Market

— Boris Kagarlitsky

UNTIL FAIRLY RECENTLY I enjoyed lecturing to students.  However, lately I've discovered that something strange is happening to them.

The Second Intifada: An End and a Beginning

— Naseer Aruri

BY EARLY 2000, almost seven years after the Rabin-Arafat "historic handshake," the pursuit of a negotiated settlement based on two states seemed to have run its course.  That project was dealt a severe blow by a colossal imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians, by a steady and growing Israelization of American Middle East policy, by a vigorous drive of settler colonization, by Arab disarray, and by Palestinian Authority (PA) complicity and failure to respond to the Israeli intent to utilize military might to create Eretz Israel in the whole of Palestine.

Schooling Fear: Bush's Education Reform (Part 2)

— Henry Giroux

SCHOOLS IN BUSH'S proposal function primarily as agents of social and cultural reproduction, spheres of regulation that largely benefit a small group of students who are mostly white and middle class.

For instance, Bush has allocated $25 million to the education budget to develop programs that would instill character in students, that is, teaching students right from wrong. Such “character education,” however, is not aimed at schools for the rich and privileged, who would hardly tolerate the strictures of obedience training and the modes of authoritarianism that accompany them. Educating the managerial and cultural elite cannot be grounded in the imperatives of character education that promotes passivity rather than engaged leadership....

The Photographic Art of Charles "Teenie" Harris

— Kathleen Newman

I FIRST ENCOUNTERED the photographic work of Charles “Teenie” Harris as a weekend visitor to the wholesale food market known as the Strip District in downtown Pittsburgh, where for more than a decade a man named Dennis Morgan sold reprints of Harris' work for $15.

During my weekend visits to the Strip, I remember being particularly struck by a series of photographs Harris had taken of Cassius Clay. In one photo Clay held his mother in his arms while standing in a kitchen; in another, Clay's smooth young profile was captured in a close-up while he was talking on the telephone....

The Rebel Girl: Women Rule the Waves

— Catherine Sameh

WHILE THE GHOULISH ritual of the Timothy McVeigh execution dominated the news on Monday, June 11, a revolutionary Dutch ship set sail with a most unusual charge: to provide contraception, sex and reproductive education, and abortions for women who live in countries where these services are illegal....

Camera Lucida

— Arlene Keizer

The way of the Samurai is found in death.  Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily.  Every day, when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease, committing seppuku at the death of one's master.  And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai.

Random Shots: The Prices of Progress

— R.F. Kampfer

BACK IN 1965 you could fill your gas tank for $3. Of course, that was two hours pay back then.

On the other hand, looking at the price of crayfish these days, it's hard to remember when they used to be food for the poorest of the poor.

Rising gas prices are a great excuse for the middle-aged male to buy a motorcycle....

The Global Justice Struggle

One no, Many Grassroots Yeses

— Mike Prokosch

THE MOVEMENT FOR global economic justice has shown that it's here to stay. Establishing massive protest as a frame for media coverage of the global economy, with its sister movements around the world it has kept the International Monetary Fund and World Bank on the run and helped block a new round of talks in the World Trade Organization.

Less visible, but equally vital, are the movement's local gains. Across the country, activists are connecting global battles to local ones. The “globalization” movement is becoming a movement to take democracy back from giant corporations -- not just in the streets of Philly and LA, but in fights for family farms and living wages....

From Populism Toward Anti-Capitalism

— Gerard Greenfield

THE RECENT ATTEMPT to ban ski masks and scarves in Quebec City during the Summit of the Americas provides a useful insight into the way antiglobalization movements are perceived by the powers-that-be.


Labor's Change of the Century

— Stephanie Luce

U.S. Labor in the Twentieth Century:
Studies in Working Class Struggles and Insurgency
edited by John Hinshaw and Paul Le Blanc
Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2000, $25 paperback.

WITH A REVITALIZED labor movement comes a revitalized interest in labor studies. The past few years have seen a number of interesting volumes on labor, but missing in much of this discussion is politics....

Karl Marx Backward and Forward

— Joe Auciello

Karl Marx:
A Life
Francis Wheen
(New York: W.W. Norton, 2000), 431 pages, $27.95 hardback.

Marx in Soho
Howard Zinn
(Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999), 55 pages, $12 paperback.

THE COLLAPSE OF the Soviet Union and the Eastern European regimes all signaled an imperative to reexamine not only the history of these specific countries but also the general validity of Marxist theory....

Ernest Mandel's Legacy

— Kit Adam Wainer

The Legacy of Ernest Mandel
edited by Gilbert Achcar
(London: Verso 1999) 270 pages. $30 hardcover.

ERNEST MANDEL WAS perhaps the best known revolutionary Marxist of the second half of the twentieth century. As an activist and leader of the Fourth International for most of his adult life, Mandel became the living vessel of post-war Trotskyism. Noted for his intellectual versatility, Mandel ventured into the fields of economics, political theory, history, even literary criticism....

In Memoriam

Ibrahim Abu Lughod 1929-2001

— Salim Tamari

A LEADING PALESTINIAN-American scholar and political activist passed away May 23 in the city of Ramallah. He was buried in the city of his birth, Jaffa (now an Israeli city), which denied him residency while he was alive. Ibrahim Abu Lughod's biography reads like a record of contemporary Palestinian history of war, expulsion, and (attempted) return....