Against the Current, No. 98, May/June 2002

Against the Current, No. 98, May/June 2002

The Empire's Endless New War

— The Editors

p>SIX MONTHS AFTER September 11, the United States' "war against terrorism" has morphed from an assault on the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden's fundamentalist international brigade, to an open-ended unilateral war against an ever-expanding nebula cloud of past, present and potential future evildoers.

The Economy After the Boom

— Robert Brenner

THE LONG U.S. economic expansion has ended. Whatever the outcome of the current recession, the odds are against a return to the boom conditions of the second half of 1990s. It may indeed be difficult over the medium run to avoid stagnation/slow growth, or even worse.

The reason, at the most general level, that the U.S. economy, and the world economy as a whole, appear to face relatively bleak prospects is that they failed during the 1990s to definitively transcend the long economic downturn that plagued them from the early 1970s through the early 1990s . . . .

Colombia From Peace to War Again

— Forrest Hylton

AT 9:00 PM on February 20, more than three years of peace negotiations between the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the administration of Conservative Andrés Pastrana ended when Pastrana gave the FARC and resident civilians three hours to leave a 16,000 square-mile demilitarized zone (zona de despeje) ceded to the FARC in southern Colombia to facilitate negotiations.

Argentina: What Kind of Revolution?

— Francisco Sobrino

THE BATTLES OF last December have opened a new, unwritten situation in Argentina. For the first time in its history, the people have brought down a bourgeois democratic government.

This has been the fruit of a process of eighteen years experience, which accelerated over the last year. At the end of 2000 it was still possible to affirm (with a certain lack of perspicacity) . . . .

The World Social Forum

— Michael Lowy

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL, February 2002—The World Social Forum was established in 2001 as an opposition pole to the World Economic Forum of Davos (Switzerland), the well known yearly meeting of the "Masters of the World"—bankers, multinational executives, billionaires and politicians—all united in the Religion of the (Capitalist) Market.

From Beijing to Porto Alegre

— Linda Ray

LINDA RAY, A San Francisco activist and member of Solidarity, attended both the 1995 NGO Conference on Women in Beijing, China and the recent World Social Forum (WSF) as a Global Exchange delegate.  She was interviewed by Against the Current about these two events.

Palestine-Israel After Jenin

— David Finkel

April 11, 2002—THE REPORTS SEEM almost beyond description, beyond belief.  Many hundreds dead, bodies lying in the street, some shot at close range; ambulance drivers, hospitals, journalists targeted; thousands taken away to unknown interrogation and detention camps.  Churches under siege; people by the tens of thousands trapped without food, water, essential medications; humanitarian aid convoys blocked.

Ta'ayush: Partnership for Solidarity

— Shira Robinson, Kawther Mataneh and Neve Gordon

[Among the courageous activists organizing solidarity with besieged Palestinian towns, the organization Ta'ayush (Arabic for “partnership”) is among the most vibrant. It is jointly led by Arab and Jewish citizens of the Israeli state. The following message, dated March 19, 2002, conveys a sense of the group's mission as well as some of the desperation of the situation -- although the latter, of course, has since become immeasurably worse. We urge our readers' attention and support. --David Finkel, for the editors of ATC]....

Iraq, The Empire's Next Target

— Rae Vogeler, Allen Ruff and Mike Wunsch

THE U.S. RULING class has clearly decided to capitalize on the September 11th tragedy as a reason to discipline, punish and where possible, integrate those countries still defiant to the <169>New World Order<170> proclaimed over a decade ago....

Communal War in Gujarat, India

— Kunal Chattopadhyay

AS RIOTS FLARED across Gujarat, people started clutching at straws in the hope of saving something from the crisis. The immediate cause was supposedly the Godhra carnage -- where several train cars carrying Hindu militants were burnt, killing fifty-eight. Not only was the incident condemned, but the real cause -- the Ram temple issue -- began to be addressed very seriously, with a hope to the development of some sort of compromise.

[The “Ram temple,” where Hindu fanatics intend to build a temple on the purported birthplace of the god Ram, is on the site of the Ayodhya mosque which was destroyed by mobs in 1992. See further discussion below --ed.]

UAW Abandons Accuride Local

— Dianne Feeley

AFTER A FOUR-YEAR lockout, workers represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) found the rug pulled out from under them. In a letter dated March 28 Regional Director Terry Thurman informed Accuride's attorney and chief labor contract negotiator, Nate Niemuth, that the UAW International and "its Local 2036 hereby disclaim interest in representing hourly employees at the Accuride's Henderson, Kentucky facility." (See "Anatomy of A Struggle," ATC 97, March-April 2002, 3-5 for the background on the struggle.)

The Rebel Girl: Choice and the RICO Dilemma

— Catherine Sameh

THE U.S. SUPREME Court said, in late April, it will take up an appeal from anti-abortion activists to review two cases involving the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, known as RICO.

Congress passed this act to protect legitimate businesses from organized mob crimes, but the law has been widely used outside of mob cases. Because RICO incorporates other laws, repeated violations can be grounds for a RICO suit.

Random Shots: The Kings of the World

— R.F. Kampfer

CARRYING ON A tradition dating back to the Crimean war, they've come out with a set of trading cards for the Dubya Crusade. The cards used to come with cigarettes, then bubble gum. Now all you get is paper . . . .

Speaking Out Against War and Repression

Race and Class: Terrorism, Racism, Patriotism

— Malik Miah

UNDER BUSH's NEW world of “morality,” people, groups and states are either “good” or “evil.” Countries are with the United States or against it. The “evil” terminology permeates newspapers, tele<->vision and every medium.

Yet there is and has never been a world that is simply black and white, good versus evil. Take these three words: terrorism, patriotism and racism.

Would Gore's War Look Any Different?

— Paul Felton

A FEW DAYS after September 11th (before George Bush declared Osama bin Laden to be the culprit), Congress passed a resolution. It said, “Mr. President, you can bomb any country you like, you can invade any country you like, just tell us it has something to do with fighting terrorism, you don't even need to give us evidence, just go bomb, go invade, you have our blessings . . . .”


Paul Allen Anderson's Deep River

— Rachel Rubin

Deep River: Music and Memory in Harlem Renaissance Thought
by Paul Allen Anderson (Durham, NC: Duke University Press,
2001) $19.95 paperback.

“ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR OWN history,” the hip hop act The Jungle Brothers implored African American listeners in 1989....

Speaking Out Against War and Repression

Cracking A Closed Society

— Hunter Gray

INCREASINGLY AND FINALLY, concerns are being vigorously raised, from many global points and -- however slowly -- from within the United States itself, about the treatment of the obvious prisoners of war held by the United States at Guantanamo.

Further, those concerns are also enveloping the many hundreds of persons illegally held by the U.S. government within the United States itself . . . .


Dan La Botz's Made in Indonesia

— Kurt Biddle

Made in Indonesia Indonesian Workers Since Suharto
by Dan La Botz (South End Press, 2001)
395 pages, $18 paper.

MADE IN INDONESIA is a good overview of the current players in Indonesia's new labor movement, and those who have participated in anti-sweatshop campaigns or anti-corporate globalization efforts will find the book useful....

E. San Juan's After Postcolonialism

— Anne E. Lacsamana

After Postcolonialism: Remapping Philippines-United States Confrontations, E. San Juan, Jr. (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2000), $24.95 paperback.

ON 21 DECEMBER, 1898 U.S. President William McKinley issued his “Benevolent Assimilation” Proclamation declaring that Americans were coming to the Philippines “not as invaders or conquerors, but as friends.&rdquo...


The Relevance of the Enlightenment

— Samuel Farber

CYNTHIA YOUNG'S COMMENT on my book Social Decay and Transformation: A View from the Left (ATC 97) presents legitimate disagreements and criticisms. It also includes some distortions of my views, however, particularly when it amalgamates my point of view with those of authors with whom I sharply disagree.

In Memoriam

Sol Dollinger, 1920-2001

— Dianne Feeley

TIME RAN OUT on Sol Dollinger, who died September 12, 2001. Battling prostate cancer, he knew he had only a limited amount of time left and he wanted to complete his history of the United Auto Workers. By early 2000 Not Automatic: Women and the Left in the Forging of the Auto Workers' Union was published by Monthly Review Press.....

Dave Van Ronk, 1936-2002

— Brad Duncan

DAVE VAN RONK was a peer and a men<->tor to four generations of American folk musicians. Although a principal leader of the 1960s folk music revival, and a teacher of Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton and dozens more, he never sought or experienced fame, or much popular acclaim outside the folk music community.