Against the Current, No. 96, January/February 2002

Against the Current, No. 96, January/February 2002

Whose Rights Are Sacrificed?

— The Editors

ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN Ashcroft made it official: The Bill of Rights is toilet paper as far as the Bush administration is concerned.  Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ashcroft declared that anyone objecting to indefinite detentions without charges or access to attorneys, anyone demanding to know who is being held and where, anyone questioning the legality of military tribunals for civilian suspects, is by that fact alone abetting and assisting terrorists.

Police Riot, Drama Builds in Mumia Case

— Steve Bloom

DECEMBER 18, 2001—U.S. District Judge William Yohn threw out Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence, but refused his request for a new trial.  The state of Pennsylvania was ordered to conducrt a new sentencing hearing within 180 days. If that does not take place within the time frame outlined, Mumia will, according to Yohn's ruling, be sentenced to life in prison.

The New Politics of Argentina

— Francisco Sobrino

IN A PREVIOUS article (“Elections in the Southern Cone,” ATC 85, March-April 1999) we analyzed the Argentinian elections that took place at the end of 1999. The triumphant Alliance -- a coalition of the center-right Union Civica Radical and Frepaso, an amalgam of dissident Peronistas, social democrats and elements of the center left -- received 50% of the vote, the Justicialista (Peronist) party 34% and the neoliberal Domingo Cavallo, the former Economics minister in the Menem administration, 10% of the vote . . . .

Peru from Fujimori to Toledo

— Al Twiss

SINCE JULY 28th PERU has had a new president, Alejandro Toledo, the first Indian ever to be elected chief of state. Although the second round of the election was very close -- with former president Alan Garcia trailing Toledo by only a few percentage points -- the general feeling is one of optimism.

The major problems facing the new government are reactivating the economy -- particularly agricultural production -- settling accounts with the mafia that ran the country during the Fujimori dictatorship, and prosecuting those responsible for the human rights violations between 1980 and 2000 . . . .

Martin Luther King: Christian Core, Socialist Bedrock

— Paul Le Blanc

THE LIFE AND example of Martin Luther King, Jr. are central to any quest for a better world—in part because he so effectively illuminated, and helped people struggle against, the realities of racism, highlighting the link between issues of racial and economic justice.  I will argue here that his outlook represents a remarkable blending of Christian, democratic, and socialist perspectives.

Random Shots: Pirates, Gladiators and Assassins

— R.F. Kampfer

DUBYA MAY COME to regret his efforts to classify his crusade against terrorism as a war. The legal ramifications of waging war against a non-governmental organization may keep the lawyers busy for generations. One would think that the 18th Century international convention on piracy, which declared pirates to be the general enemies of all mankind rather than any particular state, might be conveniently applied here . . . .

Introducing Arne Swabeck

— Christopher Phelps

CREATED IN 1901, the Socialist Party, USA, turned one hundred years old last year. While its members justly celebrate a century of commitment to socialism and democracy, the occasion invites reflection.

The high water mark of the Socialist Party came in its first two decades, when hundreds of thousands joined it, the legendary presidential campaigner Eugene V. Debs drew millions of votes, hundreds of related newspapers and magazines appeared regularly, and many Socialist candidates won election, even to Congress. By the 1920s, a severe decline set in from which the party never fully recovered in spite of the slight revival of the 1930s . . . .

Why Did the Socialist Party Decline?

— Arne Swabeck

SEVERAL HISTORIANS HAVE conscientiously assembled and published valuable material restoring the record of the Socialist Party. Some historians have been less than conscientious about tracing this record and more concerned with writing their own preconceived notions into the party history . . . .

Afghan Women's Long Struggle

Women for Freedom

— Tahmeena Faryal

ON BEHALF OF RAWA, I am really grateful to the News & Letters Committee, the Chicago Foundation for Women and all the other co-sponsoring groups.  I can't name each and every one of them, but I hope they all accept most heartfelt thanks for all their efforts.

Afghanistan's 25-Year Tragedy

— an interview with Tahmeena Faryal

[ON DECEMBER 3, 2001 MEMBERS of the Boston-based Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia and the Boston College Faculty for Social Justice and a Humane Foreign Policy hosted Tahmeena Faryal.  The following are excerpts from the conversation that took place between members of these organizations, independent individuals and a member of Solidarity.]

Give Us Back Afghanistan!

— Sharifa Sharif

AS I SIT here carrying the shattered images of Afghan women that have dominated the media recently, I think about my childhood, my intellectual and my professional background in Afghanistan.  The country, whose images of ruin and destruction have all of a sudden struck the humane conscious of the West, has a different image in my mind.

Views on the War and the Crisis

U.S.-Israel Sow the Wind

— A Statement by the ATC Editors

THE ISRAELI STATE's most ferocious attempt since 1982 to finally destroy the existing leadership of the Palestinian movement marks an ominous new stage in a degenerating crisis.

Our Enemy Is at Home

— Malik Miah

America has a message for the nations of the world.  If you harbor terrorists, you are terrorists.  If you train or arm a terrorist, you are a terrorist.  If you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you're a terrorist, and you will be held accountable by the United States and our friends."
—President Bush speaking to soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the day before Thanksgiving, November 21

The Rebel Girl: Liberated for Real?

— Catherine Sameh

HAVE THE WOMEN of Afghanistan been liberated? Certainly, George and Laura Bush, and much of the U.S. media would like us to think so. The image of Afghan women tearing off their burqas has captured the imagination of U.S. media consumers and become a symbol of the fall of the oppressive rule of the Taliban . . . .

A War or A Lynching?

— Edward Whitfield

NOVEMBER 8, 2001, Greensboro, North Carolina:

There is something in the mentality of Black folks in the USA that is connected to our history in these lands. It is the memory burned into our collective consciousness of the terror of lynch mobs, race riots, and mob violence. We remember Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921; Rosewood, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia 1906; Chicago, Illinois 1919; Elaine, Arkansas and too many other times and places to list . . . .


Milton Fisk's Toward A Healthy Society

— Jeff Melton

Toward A Healthy Society:
The Morality and Politics of Health Care
Milton Fisk
Kansas University Press, 249 pages, $35 (hardcover).

ONE OF MANY dubious distinctions held by the United States is that it is still the only industrialized nation without universal, public health insurance. (In the wake of September 11 it has even been discovered that public health infrastructures are woefully inadequate to deal with a possible mass epidemic.) . . .

Transforming Teacher Unions

— Joel Jordan

Transforming Teacher Unions:
Fighting for Better Schools and Social Justice
edited by Bob Peterson and Michael Charney,
published by Rethinking Schools, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1999, $12.95 (+$3.50 shipping and handling).

FROM A RADICAL perspective, Transforming Teacher Unions, published by the editors of the progressive newspaper Rethinking Schools, has much to recommend it. It persuasively argues that a pure and simple trade unionism that confines itself to improving teacher salaries, working conditions and contract protections, without addressing the broader issues of the nature and quality of education, is increasingly inadequate to counter the mounting attacks on public education . . . .

Different Rainbows, Third World Queer Liberation

— Gary Kinsman

Different Rainbows, edited by Peter Drucker.  Gay Men's Press: London, 2000.  222 pages, U.S. $19.95 (paperback).

THIS COLLECTION IS the first of its kind on the emergence of "queer" movements in all their diversities in the "third world."