Against the Current, No. 125, November/December 2006

The End of the Regime?

— The Editors

THE PERMANENT DETENTION and Torture Enabling Act of 2006 was the final obscene gesture of a dying Congressional session. (Actually, make that next-to-last: They topped it off with the billion-dollar appropriation to double-fence the Mexican border, even though this means humiliating Bush’s own pals in Mexico, the right-wing politicians whom he helped steal the Mexican election. That’s another crisis we cover elsewhere in this issue.)

Israel, Lebanon and Torture

— an interview with Marty Rosenbluth

MARTY ROSENBLUTH IS Amnesty International’s country specialist for Israel, the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian Authority. He previously lived for seven years as a human rights activist based in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He participated in AI’s fact-finding mission to northern Israel and southern Lebanon during the war. He was interviewed on October 1 by David Finkel from the ATC editorial board.

The Profits of War: Planning to Bomb Iran

— Ismael Hossein-zadeh

IT IS NO longer a secret that the Bush administration has been methodically paving the way toward a bombing strike against Iran. The administration’s plans of an aerial military attack against that country have recently been exposed by a number of reliable sources.(1)

Racist Undercurrents in the "War on Terror"

— Malik Miah

ALTHOUGH IT IS rarely mentioned in  the so-called war on terrorism, racism is an undercurrent in every action and decision taken by the Bush-Cheney government. It is a dangerous element that has long-term implications.

War and the Culture of Violence

— Dianne Feeley

LAST YEAR I had the opportunity to see “Winter Soldier,” a rarely shown 1971 documentary based on the testimony of over 100 soldiers recently back from Vietnam. It was filmed during a three-day hearing on war crimes that Vietnam Vets against the War organized in Detroit. Young soldiers spoke about atrocities they had committed in the name of freedom and democracy: throwing suspects out of planes, torching villages, raping women, killing civilians. Of course the Nixon administration attempted to discredit the soldiers and their stories.

Creating A Giant Ghetto in Gaza

— Uri Avnery

IS IT POSSIBLE to force a whole people to submit to foreign occupation by starving it? That is, certainly, an interesting question. So interesting, indeed, that the governments of Israel and the United States, in close cooperation with Europe, are now engaged in a rigorous scientific experiment in order to obtain a definitive answer.

George Bush's Unending War and Israel

— Michael Warschawski

THE PRESENT U.S. strategy, defined by the neo-cons at the end of the 1980s, is no longer a strategy of stabilizing world order and building a “new Middle East” through multilateral negotiations, but imposing the “American age,” i.e. U.S. total hegemony, by a global non-ending preemptive war. The Israeli war against the Palestinian people and against Lebanon is part of this global war; indeed, it is the United States’ most advanced and important front.

The Post MFA Era and the Rise of China, Part 1

— Au Loong-Yu

THE AGREEMENT ON Textiles and Clothing expired in 2005, ending 30 years of a quota system under the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA). Ending the Agreement signalled the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) promotion of free trade in this sector; but phasing in free trade here has proved to be far from frictionless.

Dual Power or Populist Theater? Mexico's Two Governments

— Dan La Botz

THE MEXICAN ELECTORAL Tribunal recognized Felipe Calderón as president-elect, while a massive National Democratic Convention has proclaimed Andrés Manuel López Obrador to be the “legitimate president of Mexico.”He is now creating an alternative government, and says he will call a constituent assembly that will write a new constitution. What is happening here? Is this a radical fight for reforms? A potentially revolutionary movement? Or a spectacular piece of populist theater?

New Challenges to Tenant Organizing in New York City

— Chloe Tribich

ON JUNE 16, 2006, 305 West 150th Street, a rundown 84-unit apartment building in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, sold for $6.95 million. The City of New York has documented 274 housing maintenance code violations on this property, reflecting the presence of leaks, broken front door locks and exposed lead paint. The tenants are mostly poor and working class Latinos from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic; many depend on subsidies, such as Section 8, to pay rent.

The Case of Northwest Airlines: Workers' Rights & Wrongs

— Peter Rachleff

FOUR YEARS AGO, WHEN asked by an academic journal to write about whether the strike was still a viable weapon in labor’s “arsenal,” my title was blunt: “Is the Strike Dead?” As is my style, I introduced some historical material and offered an analysis of the anti-labor bias of the past 25 years, during which the number of “large” strikes (involving 1,000 or more workers) had declined from more than 400 per year to less than 30.


James Green's Death in the Haymarket

— Patrick M. Quinn

JAMES GREEN’S DEATH in the Haymarket tells the story of the anarcosyndicalist militants accused of perpetrating the throwing of a bomb that killed police at a workers’ rally at the Haymarket in Chicago on May 4, 1886. They were subsequently framed, convicted, and four martyrs hanged by the judicial system of Cook County on “Black Friday,” November 11, 1887.

Eliizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe

— John McGough

FLOODS IN NORMALLY drought-stricken eastern India have killed hundreds and left 1.5 million homeless this summer. Closer to home, a record-setting heat wave this June killed 225 in the United States, breaking thousands of local temperature records and sending the mercury above 104 degrees as far north as North Dakota.

David Roediger's Working Toward Whiteness

— RenĂ© Francisco Poitevin

A DISTURBING AFTERMATH of the pro-immigrant demonstrations recently held in dozens of cities across the United States, besides the obvious anti-immigrant backlash, has been the increase in Black/Brown tensions. Particularly alarming has been the way in which Latinos are being accused, not only by conservatives but by Progressives as well, of being the latest permutation of a long history of immigrant groups arriving to this country and making it, to quote Toni Morrison, “on the backs of Blacks.”

Paul Buhle's Tim Hector

— Sara Abraham

PAUL BUHLE’S ACCOUNT of Tim Hector, Caribbean radical of Antiguan origin who passed away in 2002, is provocative and welcome. Its span is broad and appropriate for a general rather than specialist readership.

Latin America to Iraq: Greg Grandin's Empire's Workshop

— Samuel Farber

THE DECADE OF the ’70s was not good for U.S. imperialism. The American defeat in Southeast Asia led to the development of the “Vietnam syndrome” and with it the reluctance to use U.S. troops in wars abroad.

In Memoriam

Caroline Lund-Sheppard, Sept. 24, 1944-Oct. 14, 2006: A Life Fully Lived

— Jennifer Biddle

Caroline Lund, a long time socialist and union activist, died on October 14, 2006 from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She was 62 years old. Jennifer Biddle met Caroline in 1995 when they did solidarity work together in San Francisco for striking Staley workers. They remained good friends and comrades since.

Remembering Dorothy Healey: An Activist with Vision

— Robbie Lieberman

DOROTHY HEALEY HAD a grand vision of a world in which there was no poverty, racism, or war, a world of genuine democracy. To me she represented what was most appealing about the Old Left — commitment, dedication, selflessness.