Against the Current No. 227, November/December 2023

Against the Current No. 227, November/December 2023

Auto: The Future on the Line

— The Editors

During negotiations UAW President Shawn Fain visited picket lines regularly, and the press followed.

WE BELIEVE WE are on solid ground in calling the not-yet-ratified 2023 agreements the United Auto Workers has hammered out at General Motors, Ford and used-to-be-Chrysler Stellantis a breakthrough for U.S. labor.

The strikes concluded shortly before this issue of Against the Current went to press. While we don’t yet have the full details of all three....

Catastrophe in Palestine and Israel: Apartheid on the Road to Genocide

— David Finkel

On October 25 a Detroit rally organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and allies of Palestine, called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The rally demanded that Michigan's Congressional delegation oppose sending weapons to Israel.

ON THE MORNING of October 7, the nemesis that the Israeli state did much to create smashed over, under and through the border wall separating Gaza’s “open air prison” from southern Israel. The brutal events that followed have opened the gates of hell — even wider than usual — in the Middle East.

Any number of illusions lie shattered, beginning with the biggest — the United States’ government’s view that a brokered “normalization” of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, plus other Arab Gulf monarchies, would make Palestine essentially disappear from view. It’s essential to state up front the fundamental lesson that U.S. policy, enabling Israel’s continual destruction of Palestine and its people’s hopes, have made the 100-year Palestine-Zionist conflict into a permanent crisis with little hope of resolution.

At this writing the odds of,,,,

Stand with Palestinian Workers

“WE NEED YOU to take immediate action—wherever you are in the world—to prevent the arming of the Israeli state and the companies involved in the infrastructure of the blockade.” An Urgent Call from Palestinian Trade Unions: End all Complicity, Stop Arming Israel (October 16, 2023)

The undersigned U.S. workers, trade unionists, and anti-apartheid activists join labor around the world in condemning the Israeli siege on Gaza that has killed or maimed thousands of Palestinians—many of them children—and stand with Palestinians’ “right to exist, resist, return, and self-determination.”...

Parallel Fights Against Privatization

— Steve Early & Suzanne Gordon

New York City retirees give thumbs down to Meicare Disadvantage. CROC

WHEN POWERFUL PRIVATE interests obtain new profit-making opportunities feeding off of public programs, it becomes very hard to reverse the process. The parallel struggles over corporate profiteering that has undermined federally funded healthcare for 62 million seniors and nine million military veterans....

Guatemala: Coup Instead of an Inauguration?

September 25, 2023 demonstration. Prenza Comunitaria

AFTER GUATEMALA’s June 25 election, marred by the disqualification of several leading candidates, a runoff was held on August 20. Anti-corruption candidate Bernardo Arévalo captured 58% of the vote in a landslide. Former diplomat and son of a previous president, Juan José Arévalo, finds his mildly progressive program fiercely opposed by a corrupt and....

New Labor

Strategies for Union Victories

— Dianne Feeley

Detroit rally on September 15, the first day of the UAW strike against the Detroit Three.

OVER THE PAST year several unions have adopted innovative and militant strategies as they go into bargaining with their employers. Key has been organizing campaigns to build membership participation. One key element has been to publicize corporate profitability. Providing this information includes tracing where the profit was invested — or more likely, misspent. This has reinforced worker confidence in the need to take action....

Writers Guild of America Wins

— Barry Eidlin interviews Alex O'Keefe & Howard A. Rodman

Barry Eidlin: Welcome to Jacobin Radio [broadcast on October 4, 2023]. I’m your guest host Barry Eidlin, filling in today for your regular host, Suzi Weissman. Today, we’re digging into one of the most high profile labor struggles of this recent hot labor summer, the strike of more than 11,500 film and television screenwriters, members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA). On September 24th, after 148 days,...

The Struggle for Self-Determination

Consistent Anti-Imperialism

— Solidarity

Consistent rather than selective anti-imperialism is required.

SOCIALISTS, AND REVOLUTIONARY Marxists especially, support oppressed peoples’ and nations’ struggles for liberation and self-determination. It’s important from the outset to clarify that our support is based on the fundamental democratic legitimacy of these struggles in their own right, and on the broader liberating possibilities that they may open up. Our support is not dependent on which imperialist power or “camp” is the specific oppressor....

Ukrainian Letter of Solidarity with Palestine

— Commons -- Ukraine

WE, UKRAINIAN RESEARCHERS, artists, political and labour activists, members of civil society stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine who for 75 years have been subjected and resisted Israeli military occupation, separation, settler colonial violence, ethnic cleansing, land dispossession and apartheid.

We write this letter as people to people. The dominant discourse on the governmental level and even among solidarity groups that support the struggles of Ukrainians and Palestinians often creates separation. With this letter we reject....

On Imperialism Today

— Howie Hawkins

Cancellation of Ukraine's foreign debt is as important to its survival as defeating the Russian invasion.

MUCH COMMENTARY ON the Left these days praises as “anti-imperialist” the transition from the unipolar hegemony of the U.S.-led West to a multipolar world with several centers of power. We hear the new multipolarity touted by leaders of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).

Within the Left, partisans of states challenging Western dominance....

In Solidarity with People's Struggles

— Fourth International

STATEMENT BY the International Committee of the Fourth International, October 25, 2023,

1. The contradictions of the global capitalism continue to bring forth brutal wars and occupation. Threatened by economic and political crisis, capitalist governments, bearers of racist, patriarchal and imperial ideologies, construct external and internal enemies, provoking wars and continuing oppression. Such conflicts are part of the global logic of neoliberal capitalism, the logic of intense economic...

Paths for Socialist Internationalism

— Promise Li

Rivals, but partners too.

THE BLOODY WAR in Ukraine and growing tensions around Taiwan show inter-imperial rivalries unevenly emerging amidst a general crisis of profitability among the ruling classes. While the age of unshakable U.S. imperial hegemony continues to slip away, no sides of these tensions promote better conditions for revolutionary change....


The Testing of America: Birmingham 1963

— Malik Miah

You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live:
Ten Weeks in Birmingham
That Changed America
By Paul Kix
McMillan Publishers: Celadon Books, May 2023. 400 pages. $30 hardcover.

THE TITLE OF this important book reflects a turning point in the civil rights revolution of the 20th Century. It is based on a comment by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, the most dynamic and committed of Birmingham’s civil rights leaders.

Little had changed for Black people in the nearly 10 years since Brown v. Board of Education overturned....

Echoes of Revolution

— Marc Becker

The Latin American Revolutionary Movement:
Proceedings of the First Latin American Communist Conference
Translated and edited by Marc Becker
Brill, 2023, Haymarket, 2024.

WE ASKED TRANSLATOR and editor Marc Beckere to explain the significance of the proceedings to the first and only Latin American-wide communist conference.

WHY DOES A Communist Party conference held nearly a century ago in South America still hold significance for us today?

Surprisingly, the discussions and...

The Making of Capitalism

— Mike McCallister

The War Against the Commons:
Dispossession and Resistance in the Making of Capitalism
By Ian Angus
Monthly Review, 2023, 246 pages, $26 paper.

IN THE WAR Against the Commons, Ian Angus reviews 400 years of English history to uncover the origin story of English capitalism. He suggests that if more working people learn about how capitalism was born, perhaps there are lessons to learn about taking its power away.

Angus is the editor of the online ecosocialist journal Climate and Capitalism (where much of the research....

Toward a "Transsexualized Marxism"

— M. Colleen McDaniel

Transgender Marxism
Edited by Jules Joanne Gleeson and Elle O’Rourke.
Foreword by Jordy Rosenberg
London: Pluto Press, $22.95 paperback.

THE COLLECTION OF 14 essays that comprise Transgender Marxism offers a theory for Marxists to begin our ascent into a fuller understanding of gender inequity and its dance with class antagonism. The book brings together theoretical arguments from trans people placing transness within the context of a Marxist framework.

According to editors...

A Primer on Abolition

— Kristian Williams

Abolition for the People:
The Movement for a Future without Police & Prisons
edited by Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick Publishing, 243 pages + endmatter, $27 paper.

ABOLITION IS AUDACIOUS. How could it not be?

In that spirit, on its very first page, the new collection Abolition for the People makes some striking promises:

Abolition for the People draws on historical analysis, empirical data, and the firsthand accounts of survivors [of state and interpersonal violence] . . . to make a straightforward argument: Neither prisons nor police keep people safe, nor do they create the conditions necessary for communities to thrive. Abolition for the People further argues that efforts to reform police....