Against the Current, No. 107, November/December 2003

Against the Current, No. 107, November/December 2003

Your Rights AND Your Life!

— The Editors

THE PURSUIT OF empire, in the view of some of its critics, is what gives the people of the United States cheap gas for our Brontomobiles; low-paid immigrant labor for the jobs an affluent citizenry refuses to perform; and a standard of living that generally depends on exploiting an obscenely disproportionate share of the planet's resources.

The Defeat of Prop 54

— Malik Miah

IN A STUNNING outcome on October 7, California's voters rejected by a five-to- three margin (63 to 37 percent) the so-called “Racial Privacy Initiative.”

“We are delighted,” said Eva Patterson, executive director of the Equal Justice Society. “The people of California rejected being blinded to race. They recognized there were health implications. It is a great day for civil rights.”

What the California Recall Showed

— Barry Sheppard

SAN FRANCISCO -- THE recall of Governor Gray Davis by a margin of 55 to 45%, and the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him, was a massive repudiation of Davis' policies and those of his Democratic Party.

Voter turnout was far higher than in any California election in decades, reflecting deep anger at the status quo.

Economic Turmoil from USA to Brazil

— an interview with Bob Brenner

[Robert Brenner is an editor of Against the Current and author of the recent book The Boom and the Bubble (Verso). This interview appeared in Folha de Sao Paolo> (Brazil), 31 August 2003.]

Folha de Sao Paolo: To what extent has the stimulus program of the Federal Reserve and the Bush administration brought economic revival?

Robert Brenner: Since the start of the cyclical downturn at the end of 2000, U.S. authorities have unleashed an unprecedented economic stimulus.

Tim Hector's Legacy, for Antigua and Us

— Paul Buhle

JULY IS THE month of the calypso tents in the drug- and AIDS-inflicted small Caribbean island of Antigua, with its predictably inadequate rainfall, a notoriously corrupt government, a U.S. Navy base -- and a radical opposition movement mentioned even in some of the travel books.

This July, the talk of the annual competition was the ballad by Invader, Senior, “Don't Cry for Me, Antigua,” about the leader of the radicals since 1966, Tim Hector. Until his death, he had been for nearly a quarter of a century the editor of a weekly tabloid, Outlet, read widely because of its faithfulness to the vision of regional unity and socialism from the bottom up.

Vieques: Long March to People's Victory

— Marc Becker

CARLOS HAS LIVED his entire life on the small Caribbean island of Vieques, but has never visited some of the gorgeous white-sand beaches that he has heard line the coast. For more than sixty years, most of the island was off limits to its ten thousand residents as the U.S. Navy occupied it for use as a practice bombing range.

After decades of non-violent protests, on May 1, 2003 the navy turned the land over to the Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service to form the Caribbean's largest wildlife refuge. This represents a partial but important victory for the island's inhabitants, as well as thousands of other protesters who joined the struggle.

Two Cuban Musical Giants

— Kim D. Hunter interviews Ozzie Rivera and Alberto Nacif

WITHIN DAYS, THE world lost two great and highly influential Cuban musicians. One was 95-year-old Don Francisco Repilado, better known as Compay Segundo, who had a great early career on the island and then was “rediscovered” along with many other Cubans in the context of the Buena Vista Social Club Project.

The other, the 77-year-old Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz left the island and a great career shortly after the revolution, but managed to establish an even bigger career.

Random Shots: Now It Can Be Told

— R.F. Kampfer

NOT ONLY ARE there no Weapons of Mass Destruction, there is no Saddam Hussein. He died of a stroke in 1993. The Baath Party concealed his death in order to preserve their power. His public appearances were staged, first by surgically altered doubles, then by computer-generated images created by the folks who gave us Yoda and Gollum. The doubles were killed, just before the fall of Baghdad, to maintain the secret. No wonder Dubya can't find him.

Three Reflections on the War

Resistance, A Feminist Critique

— Shahrzad Mojab

AS THE TWO warlords, the United States and Britain, and their allies look to create another client state for themselves, aid agencies and other international human rights groups are warning of a serious humanitarian crisis for the Iraqi people (see the Amnesty International Report, 2003).

On Wars for High Principle

— Milton Fisk

A SURPRISING NUMBER of American doves became hawks under the barrage of propaganda leading to the second U.S. war against Iraq. Signs of their change began to appear four years earlier during the bombing of Serbia. The dovishness of the post-Vietnam War epoch proved to be skin deep, wearing away when wars were described as being necessary for democracy or for human rights.

The Neocon-Zionist Alliance for War

— Ismael Hossein-Zadeh

UNDER THE INFLUENCE of a cabal of the so-called neoconservatives, the Bush Administration openly embarked on an ambitious project to recast the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East -- and perhaps beyond. Not only has this created insecurity and turbulence in the Middle East, it has also thrown most of the post-World War II international alliances, treaties, and institutions into disarray and confusion.


David Schweickart's "After Capitalism"

— Mel Bienenfeld

After Capitalism by David Schweickart (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 2002) 256 pages, $70 hardcover, $23.95 paperback.

ARE TODAY'S MOVEMENTS against capitalist globalization and its consequences moving towards a common vision of a new social system?

Among many now discussing this question are the participants in the 1990s debate over whether central planning or a market-based system of socialism represented the best hope for a human future.

E. San Juan's "Racism and Cultural Studies"

— Rachel Peterson

Racism and Cultural Studies: Critiques of Multiculturalist Ideology and the Politics of Difference by E. San Juan Jr. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), $24.95 paperback.

E. SAN JUAN JR.'s latest book, “Racism and Cultural Studies: Critiques of Multiculturalist Ideology and the Politics of Difference,” deftly explores current trends in academic thought and political theory to show the complicity of postmodernism with global capitalism.

Peter McLaren's Critical Pedagogy

— Ramin Farahmandpur

PETER McLAREN HAS long been recognized for his cutting-edge educational scholarship and political activism, and as one of North America's leading exponents of the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire.

In the United States, he is perhaps best known for his classic work, “Life in Schools,” based on a diary  McLaren kept as a classroom teacher in an inner-city school that served the residents of Canada's largest public housing project, in the Jane-Finch Corridor area of Toronto.

Letters to Against the Current

On Michael Kidron

— Phil Hearse

ATC 105, Samuel Farber wrote informative and moving tributes to Julius Jacobson and Michael Kidron. Can I just add a couple of points about Kidron?

Remembering Edward Said

A Language for Our Struggles

— Nadine Nader

MY HEART CONNECTS with my Arab sisters and brothers during this time as we mourn the loss of a person who produced a language through which we could speak about our struggles. In addition to the exceptional role he has played in shaping the field of post-colonial studies, Edward Said has provided linguistic and theoretical frameworks for exposing the colonialist nature of the Israeli state and the asymmetry in power between Israelis/Palestinians.

Crossing Lines for Justice

— Nabeel Abraham

THE DREADED KNOCK on the door came at mid-day when a colleague brought the news -- Edward Said died last night. For those who knew him, we lived with his illness for a dozen years the way a family lives with a doomed relative. The day would arrive when Edward's inimitable and redoubtable voice would be heard no more. It was a shock all the same.

In Memoriam

Neal Wood, 1922-2003

— Christopher Phelps and Robert Brenner

WE LAMENT THE death of Neal Wood at age 81 of cancer on September 17 in England. A scholar of left-wing conviction whose work in the history of political thought was stunning for its acuity and historical scope, Neal was the husband of Ellen Meiksins Wood, with whom he wrote “Class Ideology and Ancient Political Theory” (1978) and “A Trumpet of Sedition” (1997).

Arthur Kinoy

— David Finkel

ARTHUR KINOY, WHO died September 19, one day before his 83rd birthday, was a leading activist for civil rights and independent politics as well as a powerful labor attorney. His legal career extended from the defense of Communists in the late 1940s and the Rosenbergs' case through his work, alongside Bill Kunstler, in major civil rights cases. He worked not only with Martin Luther King, Jr. but also with Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Kinoy's longtime friend Stanley Aronowitz called him “the theoretician of a substantial left within the civil rights movement.”