Against the Current, No. 97, March/April 2002

Against the Current, No. 97, March/April 2002

On Lessons of Enron and War

— The Editors

IF THE USUAL relationship of economics to politics applied in the United States right now, the Bush administration would be in deep trouble.  Not only has this government presided over the first recession in ten years; not only has it turned budget surpluses into deficits; it has done this by an astonishing program of tax giveaways to the super-affluent and corporate elites, having nothing to do with genuine economic stimulus, but rather driven by a mixture of right-wing ideology and greed so gross that much of the ruling class itself is embarrassed by it.

Accuride: A UAW Local's Lonely Strugge

— Dianne Feeley

WHEN THE 439 members of UAW Local 2036 in Henderson, Kentucky went out on strike in February 1998 they knew it was going to be a difficult battle.

Accuride -- a major supplier of steel wheels -- is owned by Phelps Dodge, the anti-union copper conglomerate. But they were united -- voting to reject the company's proposal by 371 to 9 -- and had the backing of their union. As Ron Gettlefinger, then Regional 3 Director, said “the members have spoken.”

Why Mumia Should Just Go Free Now

— Steve Bloom

JANUARY 14, 2002 -- In a December 18 ruling which made headlines around the country, Federal District Court Judge William Yohn overturned the death sentence of the United Staes' most famous political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

At the same time Yohn left standing Mumia's 1982 first degree murder conviction for the killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner -- despite the many descrepencies in the original trial and the fact that another man, Arnold Beverly, has now confessed in writing to the crime . . . .

Race and Class: Why Black Patriotism?

— Malik Miah

BUSH'S “WAR ON terrorism” is leading to some complex and contradictory reactions among African Americans. Blacks, like an overwhelming majority of Americans, reacted to the heinous crime of September 11 with outrage and demands for revenge against those behind it. They backed President Bush's new war on terrorism and joined in flag-waving and outer outward signs of patriotism that has become common place across the country . . . .

Palestine-Israel: "One Minute to Midnight"

— David Finkel

"WE HAD THREE weeks without shooting in the West Bank. There has been a truce.  Today Sharon has blown it up. I have just gotten used to not hearing gunfire every night in Ramallah.  Now for sure it is going to start again .  .  ."

Pakistani from Pariah State to Partner

— Tariq Amin

WHAT A DIFFERENCE a day makes.  Pakistan before September 11 was treated as a pariah state and General Pervaiz Musharraf was shunned by Western heads of state for seizing power in a military coup. Since that day there has been a sea change in the treatment of Pakistan and its military President by the United States and its European allies.

Argentina's Explosion

— Daniel Ximenez

We present here a first-hand account of the December 19-20 uprising, written last December 21 by Daniel Ximenez, a longtime Argentine labor activist and a member of the staff of the Workshop for Labor Studies (TEL) in Buenos Aires.  The translation of this article is by Dan La Botz. As the social explosion in Argentina continues, we will offer more in-depth analysis in future issues.—The editors

Nicaragua's Elections Under the Eagle's Talons

— Phyllis Ponvert

THIS PAST NOVEMBER, 92% of Nicaraguans voted in national elections. While the U.S. government was making its list of terrorist nations, and checking it twice, State Department officials were conducting their own campaign of intimidation designed to influence the outcome of the Nicaraguan election.

I was an observer in the city of Matagalpa, located in the mountainous coffee growing region, and assigned to a polling site at the Carlos Fonseca Elementary School. On election day, the polls opened at 6 am, and people stood in line for hours, a lucky few shielded from the hot sun by colorful umbrellas . . . .

What's Happening in France?

— Sophie Béroud, Pierre Cours-Salies, Patrick Le Tréhondat and Patrick Silberstein

“Social evolution is desperately slow, isn't it, my dear?” --Jack London, The Iron Heel

SIX YEARS AFTER the massive social protest of the winter of 1995, four years after the electoral victory of the Broad Left [the election of the government headed by Lionel Jospin -- ed.], and some months before the next presidential elections of 2002, we will to try to enlighten the opportunities and obstacles that have arisen for the French left . . . .

Random Shots: Dubya's Many Axes of Evil

— R.F. Kampfer

THE NRA MIGHT want to notice that none of the 9/11 perpetrators were carrying a gun.

The U.S. Army adopted the .45 automatic because a Moro juramentado could absorb six rounds from a .38, and keep coming with his bolo knife. Now the Army is back in the Philippines, armed with the 9 mm. Beretta. We shall see . . . .

Women's World of Struggle

Gender and Identity in Pakistan

— Shahnaz Rouse

IN RECENT MONTHS media coverage has been filled with images of victorious U.S. forces, humiliated Taliban fighters, figures of Afghan women, somber Pakistani generals.  With the exception of these images—which juxtapose military might (of the United States) and defeat (for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces) against images of Afghan women before the U.S. intervention (read "oppressed" and "veiled") and after their "liberation" by U.S. forces (ostensibly unveiled and therefore "free")—little else appears in mainstream media offerings.

Feminism in the New Gender Order

— Johanna Brenner

A RECENT OPINION poll, showing that the percent of U.S. women willing to label themselves feminist has declined since the early 1990s, sparked another round of pronouncements about the death of feminism.  Yet in that same poll, women with a "favorable" opinion about "the women's movement" ranged from a vast majority among women 18-29 (84%) to a solid majority among women 45-64 (63%).

Review: Women in a Sweatshop World

— Mary McGinn

Disposable Domestics: Immigrant Workers in the Global Economy by Grace Chang (South End Press, 2000), $40 hardback, $18 paperback.

Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory by Miriam Chiang Yoon Louie (South End Press, 1990), 152 pages, $40 hardback, $18 paperback.

I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED reading in tandem Disposable Domestics by Grace Chang and Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory by Miriam Chiang Yoon Louie . . . .

The Rebel Girl: Celebrate Women and Global Justice!

— Catherine Sameh

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, a holiday born from working-class women's struggles around the world for dignified working and living conditions, comes and goes each year with day-long celebrations in cities across the country.

While these events are wonderful testaments to the richness of feminist culture, perhaps this year we might go further and engage in the broader movement for global justice . . . .


Fred Halliday and Pax Americana

— Phil Hearse

Two Hours Which Shook the World
by Fred Halliday
(London: Saqi Books, 2002).

SUBTITLED SEPTEMBER 11, Causes and Consequences, Fred Halliday's book says little about the “two hours which shook the world,” but is in fact an assessment of the international political factors which gave rise to the attack, notably the questions of Islamic fundamentalism, globalization and United States capitalism.


A Response to Critics on Capitalist Origins

— Ellen Meiksins Wood

LET ME START at the end. Christopher McAuley concludes his response to my piece on “Eurocentric Anti-Eurocentrism” with the accusation that “the Brenner-Wood thesis does not lend itself to . . . an inclusive vision of the future,” in which “non-European peoples have been and will continue to be instrumental in capitalism's demise.”

He bases this contention on the fact that Robert Brenner and I don't, in his view, attribute a big enough role to imperialism and non-European peoples in the genesis of capitalism. Surely it's obvious that this is a non-sequitur . . . .

A Critical Look at Social Decay and Transformation

— Cynthia Young

“Cultural Work Ain't All Arts and Leisure”(1)

SAMUEL FARBER'S SOCIAL Decay and Transformation sets itself an important task, namely to assess the impact of rising school violence, murder, drug use and other social ills on working-class political mobilization. Instead of taking such problems as central to their political theory and praxis, leftists, Farber contends, have too often ceded an analysis of social problems to the right who are only too happy to celebrate the workings of a free market that precipitates social decay, while blaming that decay on the left's penchant for moral relativism.

Letters to Against the Current

Letter to the Editor on Genoa

— Peter Drucker

CLAYTON SZCZECH AND Shira Zucker did a good job (“Reflections from the Trenches,” ATC 95) of explaining how terrible the repression was in Genoa during the G8 summit last July and what a big success the actions there were. Sadly, they did less well in explaining the political and social landscape in Italy that made the movement's success possible.

How were 300,000 people mobilized for Genoa -- several times more than in Seattle or Washington? The answer has everything to do with Italy's political parties, trade unions and other established social movements . . . .

Letter to the Editor on Fate of the Russian Revolution Review

— Paul Hampton

PETER DRUCKER'S REVIEW of The Fate of the Russian Revolution (>ATC 93, July/August 2001) is a welcome contribution to the discussion generated by its publication, particularly given his own important research on Max Shachtman.

However, I fear that Drucker like some other reviewers has missed the point of the book. It is not primarily a selection of Shachtman's writings on Stalinism, or a collection which attempts to represent theories of “bureaucratic collectivism.” . . . .

In Memoriam

Remembering Marty Glaberman (1918-2001)

— Seymour Faber and Linda Manning Myatt

MARTIN GLABERMAN DIED on December 17, 2001 at the age of 83.  Marty grew up in New York, joined the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL) at the age of thirteen and remained active in revolutionary politics for the rest of his life.