Against the Current, No. 112, September/October 2004

Against the Current, No. 112, September/October 2004

The War and the Vote

— The Editors

THE IRAQ WAR and occupation is the largest single issue in the minds of the majority of the people of the United States—to say nothing of the rest of the world.  Roughly speaking, about half the U.S. electorate think either that George W. Bush was right to invade Iraq, or that having done so he's the best available leader to complete the job.

The U.S. Military Under Stress

— Todd Ensign

JOHN KERRY'S CAMPAIGN tome should dispel any illusion that he has any significant differences with George Bush on the aggressive use of the U.S. military to defend the empire.

Untying the Knots

— Jill Shenker

WHILE RIGHT-WINGERS ARE coordinated in their assault on queers, people of color, women, low-income people and immigrants, many of us under attack are divided, in part because we have learned and internalized the prejudice, mistrust and hatred that the right wing preaches.

A Selective History of Marriage in the United States

— Jill Shenker

THIS TIMELINE OFFERS some context for the current historical moment, looking at the development of marriage with specific attention to race, class, gender, immigration and sexuality. This timeline was compiled for COLAGE.

The Pension Crisis

— Malik Miah

FIRST, WAGES. THEN health care. Now pension benefits. What made organized U.S. labor — the trade unions — the symbol for social progress was its success in winning the best wages, health care and pension benefits. That’s now all crumbling as the employers, backed by the federal government, chop away at these holy grails of labor.

Free the Cuban Five!

— Michael Steven Smith

POLITICAL TIMES HAVE emblematic cases. The ongoing Mumia case, Lynne Stewart’s current prosecution, and the two cases involving the U.S. and Cuban governments illuminate the reality of today’s politics in America, just as the Sacco/ Vanzetti case in the 1920s with respect to immigrants and anarchists or the McCarthite anti-communist Rosenberg case in the 1950s defined their eras.

Why Cuba Is Different?

— David Finkel

FIRST, WE HAVE to address the United States’ stance toward Cuba for what it is since 1960: four and a half decades of state terrorism against a country and its people. Anyone who supports the right of self-determination is obliged to oppose and fight all forms of U.S. government intervention against Cuba, as if there were no issue of political repression inside Cuba.

Nicaragua Twenty-five Years Later

— Dianne Feeley

“The truth is that we always thought of the masses, seeing them, however, as a prop for the guerrilla campaign that would enable it to deal some blows at the National Guard. Reality was quite different: Guerrilla activity served as a prop for the masses, which crushed the enemy by means of insurrection.”—FSLN Comandante Humberto Ortega [interview with Martha Harnecker, cited in Nicaragua, The Sandinist Revolution, by Henri Weber (London: Verso, 1981) 49-50]

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, on July 17th — under the impact of an insurrectional general strike — President Anastasio Somoza Debayle fled Nicaragua, leaving the government in the hands of his Vice President Francisco Urcuyo. Urcuyo’s task was to negotiate a “provisional government” and, with Washington’s agreement, implement a cease-fire that would freeze the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) army and National Guard positions.

The Caribbean Left's Legacy

— Sara Abraham interviews Eusi Kwayana

The dominant two parties are the PNC, which has an Afro Guyanese base, and the PPP which has an Indo Guyanese base. Activists from the WPA as well as affiliate women's groups, human rights groups and other progressive organizations continue to struggle to create the conditions for a multi racial working people's agenda to come to the political forefront.  Towards this, the WPA has fielded Amerindian and women candidates who have represented the party in parliament.  WPA members worked closely with the New Jewel Movement in Grenada amongst other regional left movements.

German Social Democracy in Crisis

— Bill Smaldone

The Crisis in German Social THE GERMAN SOCIAL Democratic Party (SPD) is now in a historic crisis, one that threatens its very existence as a part of the international progressive movement. Under the leadership of its chairman, Gerhard Schröder, who also heads the national coalition government with the Greens, the party has undertaken a series of neoliberal reforms that represent a sharp blow to its core constituency: Germany’s workers and the poor.

Review Essay: Reutherism Redux

— Steve Early

Despite stepped-up union recruitment, farm workers and poultry processors still haven't taken over the AFL-CIO.  But the old guard's fear of being swamped by low-wage workers—expressed by this AFT delegate seven years ago—has materialized in other ways (even while organizing among "strawberry pickers and chicken pluckers" generally flopped).

More Dialogue on the Elections

A Mystery in the 2004 Elections

— Peter Camejo

HERE IS A mystery to the 2004 presidential election. As we enter the second half of 2004, there is massive popular opposition to the war in Iraq and to the USA Patriot Act — possibly a majority of Americans. Yet these same people are about to vote in overwhelming numbers for John Kerry for president.

Green Party Convention: A Party Divided

— Ann Menasche

IN AN ELECTION year when so many antiwar activists, progressives and even socialists are embracing the “anybody but Bush” (“ABB”) rationale for giving backhanded support to pro-war, pro-corporate John Kerry, the Green Party of the United States emerged from its June convention deeply divided.

Democracy Is the Key

— Ann Menasche interviews Peter Camejo

Against the Current: What is the importance of Nader-Camejo campaign in 2004?

Peter Camejo: This campaign represents a very large point of view in America — against the invasion and occupation of Iraq and in opposition to the Patriot Act. But since it’s a winner take all system, the elections don’t allow people the freedom to vote for who they want. They are in a two-party trap.

Elections & the Democrats

— Joel Jordan & Robert Brenner

REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST POLITICAL strategy is based on the fundamental idea of working class self-emancipation.  This means that working people and the oppressed can generate the power they need to change the world only through collective self-mobilization and class self-organization.


Understanding Genocide

— Alan Wald

IN 1944, A gifted young Jewish-American Marxist playwright, scenarist and fiction writer, Albert Maltz (1908-1985), published the novel that would become the most esteemed work of his professional life. The Cross and the Arrow, praised in the New York Times for “the scope of its vision of humanity” (September 22, 1944), adopted the form a fast-paced political mystery to reveal the events underlying an act of sabotage in Nazi Germany.

Black and White on the Inside

— Christopher Phelps

Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
Staughton Lynd
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004. 235 pages. $16.95.

IN APRIL 1993, Lucasville, Ohio, was the site of the longest prison siege in U.S. history during which lives were lost — longer even than the far more infamous 1971 Attica rebellion.

In Memoriam

Remembering Dave Dellinger

— David McReynolds

DAVE DELLINGER’S DEATH on May 25th of this year, at the age of 88, marked the end of a remarkable life. Most readers know him from the event that, more than any other, made him a public figure — the infamous trial of the Chicago Eight, following the riots that marked the Democratic Party’s 1968 convention.

Farouk Abdel-Muhti, 1947-2004

— John Leslie

ON JULY 21, at a forum on “Detentions and Torture: Building Resistance,” organized by the Philadelphia Anti-War Forum, Farouk Abdel-Muhti was the last of three speakers. He gave an impassioned speech about his two-year struggle for freedom, concluding with an appeal for all progressives to unite and build a movement for the rights of immigrants and against detentions.