Against the Current No. 230, May/June 2024

Against the Current No. 230, May/June 2024

Chaos Here and There

— The Editors

New York City demonstration calling for ceasefire and an end to the US-Israeli war in Gaza. Photo: Dan La Botz

SUPER TUESDAY, NIKKI Hayley’s presidential campaign, and Colorado’s hail-Mary effort to bar Donald Trump from the ballot all came and went. The United States of America hurtles, or stumbles, toward the November presidential choice that few people (outside the Trump cult) actually want. Either outcome — whether a Biden or Trump victory — is liable to be rejected as illegitimate by wide sectors of the population, opening up a potential deeper crisis. In regard to voting strategy, future issues of ATC will offer a range of perspectives.

We will explore here how dysfunction and looming chaos in U.S. bourgeois politics, and the existing and deepening global disorder,...

After Roe, the Anti-Abortion Duluge

— Dianne Feeley

The day of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the mifepristone case, Chicago for Abortion Rights held a press conference. Front banner, from the Chicago Teachers Union illustrates labor's activism in the fight for reproductive justice. Linda Loew

ANTI-ABORTION FORCES find abortion under any circumstance abhorrent. Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade 1973 decision, however, the pragmatic wing worked to limit its access. This included passage of laws that deny poor women Medicaid coverage, require a waiting period and dissemination of inaccurate information, demand written consent from parents to curtail teenage access, set up unnecessary requirements for medical personnel and clinics, and deny U.S. foreign aid to any health care facility....

Demanding Bodily Autonomy

ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, the day before the Democratic Party convention opens in Chicago, a coalition in defense of reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ rights will hold a march and rally starting at 5PM CDT from the Water Tower Park. Bodies Outside Unjust Laws: Coalition for Reproductive Justice and LGBTQ+ Liberation is demanding national legislation to expand access to abortion, support families, and defend the rights of trans and queer people. The page also includes an endorsers form....

Profits Trump Public Safety

— Malik Miah

The Boeing website compares the 737.9 with the 737.8 but doesn't mention how the parts fail to align as whistleblowers have revealed.

WHAT IS GOING on with the safety of major airlines? United, Alaska, Southwest since the beginning of the year have had major incidents.

No fewer than six investigations are underway: mishaps of lost wheels, engine failure and the infamous door plug blowout in flight. Eight passengers have suffered serious injuries....

Solidarity Stronger Than Repression: The Case of Boris Kagarlitsky

— Suzi Weissman

READERS ARE URGED to sign a petition to free the prominent leftwing sociologist and writer-activist Boris Kagarlitsky and other Russian political prisoners and circulate it widely.

Kagarlitsky has been designated as the Daniel Singer Foundation’s first recipient of its “Prisoner of Conscience” award.

Boris is now in his “permanent” place of detention after having been moved....

The Case of Oleg Orlov

— Dianne Feeley

SIMILAR TO THE case of Boris Kargarlitsky, Oleg Orlov was convicted in 2023. Last October Olov, co-founder of the now-banned human rights group Memorial, was found guilty of violating Russia’s law against “discrediting the armed forces.”...

Then & Now: Reflections on Chile

— Oscar Mendoza

The commemoration was a mixture of solemnity and joy, but the struggle against a rightwing agenda continues.

MY AGITATED STATE in boarding my flight from London to Santiago de Chile last September, due to my connecting flight from Glasgow being two hours late, was perhaps a portent of things to come during my visit — a sort of foretaste of what’s engulfing my homeland these days.

Along with the rest of the world going from one major convulsion to another, Chile is facing its own challenges, some new and some dating decades since the overthrow of the Allende government in 1973.

It was the 50th anniversary commemoration of the military coup on September 11 of that year, the original 9/11,...

Kashmir Today, Part 1

— Hafsa Kanjwal interviewed by Salik Basharat Geelani & Yuliia Kulish

THIS INTERVIEW WITH Kashmir historian Hafsa Kanjwal delves into the complexities of India’s settler-colonial politics in Kashmir. Apart from detailing the evolution of the Kashmir issue, it illuminates the similarities and differences between India’s and Russia’s long projects of occupation of Kashmir and Ukraine, respectively.

This comparison reveals that even culturally, politically, and ideologically disparate entities, like Kashmir and Ukraine, may have remarkably similar histories of resisting imperial powers....

The Long Reach of Hindutva

— M.V. Ramana & Aparna Sundar

In 2023 Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijar was fatally shot in front of the Guru Nanok Sikh Gurdwna temple in Surrey, BC. Leoboudv

SPEAKING IN THE Canadian parliament in September 2023, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed that Canada’s security agencies were looking into “credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen,” Hardeep Singh Nijjar.(1)

Some months later it was the turn of people in the United States to learn about a plot to assassinate another Sikh activist....(2)

"The Day After" Fading to Oblivion?

— David Finkel

New York City demonstration opposing Washington's complicity in Israel's war on Palestine. Labor is usually present at these actions. Photo: Dan La Botz

“THE DAY AFTER” has been a mantra of U.S. government and media from the beginning of the carnage in Gaza in the six months since October 7. The assumption is that the zombie “peace process” and “normalization” of Israeli-Arab states’ relations would proceed under U.S. auspices, once Israel achieved the defeat and “destruction” of Hamas rule in Gaza.

Instead, the question now is whether there is a “day after” at all. Half a year of civilian slaughter....

Congress Fiddles While Ukraine Burns

— Howie Hawkins

25th Air Assault Brigade of Sicheslayshchyna on September 18, 2022. By early 2024 the Ukrainian military was firing one round for every five or ten of Putin's forces.

[THIS ARTICLE WENT to press in our new issue before the ultimate passage of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, along with $14 billion in new subsidy for Israel and assistance for Taiwan. The aid for the Israeli assault on Gaza's population is an unspeakable obscenity that will be the defining presidential legacy of "Genocide Joe" Biden. How quickly the urgently needed weaponry for Ukraine is delivered, and whether it will help hold back Vladimir Putin's attempt to turn Ukraine into another new Gaza, is an open question....

Review Essay

Frantz Fanon and the Paradox of Anticolonial Violence

— Alan Wald

Writers and Missionaries:
Essays on the Radical Imagination
By Adam Shatz
New York: Verso, 2023, 357 pages,
$29 hardback.

The Rebel’s Clinic:
The Revolutionary Lives of Frantz Fanon
By Adam Shatz
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
2024, 451 pages, $32.00 hardback.

ARE YOU THE kind of socialist activist looking for easy answers to questions about revolutionary violence, or who hungers for uplifting political biographies of icons of radical commitment?...


Innovatively Stretching Marxism

— Dianne Feeley

What Is Anti-racism?And Why It Means Anti-capitalism
By Arun Kundnani
Verso Books, 2023, $24.95 paper.

WHAT IS ANTI-RACISM? And Why It Means Anti-capitalism outlines a radical understanding of racism by discussing the works of several important theorists, writers and educators. The author identifies two dueling stories about racism’s origins and reproduction, but while he considers one unlocking its mysteries, he finds the other a diversion.

Arun Kundnani is former editor of Race and Class, the magazine of the Institute of Race Relations in Great Britain, a think tank focused on racism and imperialism....

Fascism As It Is Now

— Bill V. Mullen

Late Fascism:
Race, Capitalism and the Politics of Crisis
By Alberto Toscano
London: Verso, 2023, 224 pages, $24.95 paperback.

ALBERTO TOSCANO IS a philosopher who is hoping to change the world, or at least save it from fascism.

Toscano is a professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada. He writes as a Marxist on politics, culture and communications. He has written books on fanaticism and co-edited with Brenna Bhandar an important collection of writings by Ruth Wilson Gilmore. He has also written for In These Times about the Far Right.

His new book, Late Fascism: Race, Capitalism and the Politics of Crisis, is a bold, imaginative,...

Was Hamas Contained?

— Samuel Farber

Hamas Contained
The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance
By Tareq Baconi
Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2018, 336 pages, $26 paperback.

THIS WELL-WRITTEN detailed history of Hamas, the Islamic movement ruling Gaza, takes a basically sympathetic but objective and often critical stance. The book’s relevance, paradoxically, is outdated yet dramatically heightened in view of the explosive current events.

Tareq Baconi, a former Senior Analyst for Palestine/Israel at the International Crisis Group based in Ramallah in the West Bank, honestly admits his own ambivalence when he writes in his Preface:...

Glamor, Amnesia and Bisexual Angst

— Peter Drucker

Directed by Bradley Cooper
Starring Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper

BRADLEY COOPER’S MAESTRO is a labor of love. Cooper spent years studying Leonard Bernstein’s life and looks and interviewing his family and friends, to the point of identifying with the character he plays. Once the movie was done, he confessed weeping in an interview, he missed Bernstein.(1)

As someone who as a child saw....

Barbie: Icon, Movie, Industry

— Frann Michel

Director: Greta Gerwig
Warner Brothers & Mattel Films, 2023.

THE BARBIE DOLL appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in magic and mystery. It stands with its toes on the ground and heels in the air.

While Mattel has profited massively from worker exploitation, and feminists have long critiqued the messages the toy sends children about gender, the doll’s ubiquity and exaggerated femininity have also made it a popular choice for cultural repurposing....