Against the Current No. 231, July/August 2024

Against the Current No. 231, July/August 2024

Solidarity with Gaza, continued!

— The ATC Editors

Student encampments sprung up on campuses across the country in opposition to genocide in Gaza.

WHILE THE GENOCIDAL Israeli-United States war on Gaza and Palestine continues — amidst all kinds of diplomatic posturing and UN resolution-splicing — the one really hopeful development is the outpouring of activism in many U.S. communities, most visibly the magnificent movement on college campuses organized in encampments demanding an immediate permanent ceasefire, and divestment from corporations tied to Israel’s machinery of massacre and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people....

Behind the Baltimore Bridge Collapse

— Malik Miah

The wreckage on March 28, 2024, two days after the Dali cargo container hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Photo: National Transportation Safety Board

THE COLLAPSE OF the Francis Scott Key Bridge, after it was hit by the Dali cargo container ship in the Baltimore metropolitan area, was headline news. The background is less well publicized.

The 947-foot ship with four generators, lost all power, not once but twice, just before the crash that brought down the bridge. In mid-May, preliminary results....

Two Directions for the Campus Divestment Movement

— Ivan Drury Zarin

May 28, 2024 encampment set up by students at the Wayne State University in solidarity with the victims of Israeli bombing in Gaza. The university responded by canceling classes "until further notice." Ali Hassan, president of the WSU Muslim Coalition, speaks to journalists at the camp. Photo: Jim West

SIX MONTHS INTO Israel’s escalated and open genocide in Palestine, there were signs that the global antiwar movement was beginning to flag. Rallies and marches had filled streets in hundreds of cities in the United States and Canada every week since October, and solidarity activists in many places were carrying out an impressive and diverse array of actions just as consistently.

Direct actions blocked rail lines, highways, ports, bridges, and all sorts of roads. An early morning action even blockaded the delivery....

Municipal Landside in Turkey

— Daniel Johnson

Turkey's election results have set back Erdoğan's party and its authoritarian rule.

TURKEY’s RULING JUSTICE and Development Party (AKP) received a major defeat in municipal elections in March of 2024. In addition to losing the country’s three largest cities — Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir — the party lost control of 195 municipalities, most of them to the People’s Republican Party (CHP), a centrist social democratic party....

Multi-polarity: A New Alignment?

— Jerry Harris

2023 BRICS Summit — alternative to imperialism or an expression of the southern transactional capitalist class?

THE CRISIS OF globalization has created growing national tensions. No longer do we hear about the wonders of global free markets and world integration. Instead, talk has turned to “decoupling” from China, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and multi-polarity breaking up imperial Western leadership.

As multi-polarity grows, there are some who see this as a new stage....

Dual Crises of Capitalism & Global Labor:
On Imperialism, Lenin & Today

— Marcel van der Linden

“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not discover it; for it is hard to track down and difficult to approach.” — Heraclitus, c. 500 BCE

WORLD WAR I was a turning point in many ways. One important change became visible in the economic analyses of the revolutionary left. Very clear was this with Lenin: building on the work of Bukharin, Hilferding and Hobson, he saw an extensive and probably irreversible decline of world capitalism.

The rapidly increasing power of the monopolies...

The Menace of Hindutva

— Abhish K. Bose interviews Achin Vanaik

Abhish K. Bose

RENOWNED POLITICAL SCIENTIST, academic and writer, Achin Vanaik (b.1947) is a well-known scholar and commentator on global politics and international relations. He graduated in economics and statistics from the University of Bristol, England in 1970. Subsequently, he became actively involved (1971-1974) with the Free University of Black Studies for promoting political awareness of non-white immigrant communities in Britain....

Kashmir Today, Part 2

— Hafsa Kanjwai interviewed by Yulia Kulish & Salik Basharat

Hafsa Kanjwai

THIS INTERVIEW WITH Kashmiri Historian, Hafsa Kanjwal is reprinted from the valuable Ukrainian online journal COMMONS. To support their important work, visit their website.

The first part of the interview, which appeared in our previous issue (Against the Current 230, May-June 2024), focuses on the general history....

Boris Kagarlitsky's Appeal Denied

“UNJUST BUT NOT UNEXPECTED” — this is how Suzi Weissman, spokesperson for the Boris Kagarlitsky International Solidarity Campaign, described the June 5 decision of a Russian court to reject Boris Kagarlitsky’s appeal against a five-year jail term for supposedly....

Essay on Lenin

Lenin's Perspective: What Exactly Does It Mean to Vote -- Part 1

— August H. Nimtz

“Universal suffrage

“. . . universal suffrage . . . indicates with the most perfect accuracy the day when a call to armed revolution has to be made.” —Engels, 1891

“Voting for socialism is not socialism any more than a menu is a meal.” —Eugene V. Debs, 1911

“. . . those who imagine that extremely important political matters can be solved , , , merely by voting.” —Lenin, 1919

IN LAUNCHING HIS reelection bid President Joseph...


Time Traveling in Palestine

— Merry Maisel

ONCE UPON A time, I was a graduate student in Science Studies, a program at the University of California, San Diego, that is shared among the departments of Sociology, History, and Philosophy.

I was 48 years old when I entered the program as a part-time student, and I was told that I must choose one of the three departments as my home department and then pass their qualifying exams.

Since I knew nothing of Sociology except that (a) it was contentious and (b) as a Marxist I was guaranteed much contention, Sociology did not seem a good choice....

The "Long Attica Revolt"

— Robert J. Boyle

Tip of the Spear
Black Radicalism, Prison Repression and the Long Attica Revolt
By Orisanmi Burton
University of California Press, 2023, 328 pages, $29.95 paperback.

PRISONS, ACCORDING TO Dr. Orisanmi Burton, “are war. They are state strategies of race war, class war, colonization and counterinsurgency.”

In his meticulously researched and fascinating Tip of the Spear, Dr. Burton sets himself apart from the great majority of books and films on U.S. prisons that primarily focus on prison conditions, guard brutality and efforts at reform.

Rather, the author emphasizes the political nature of prison rebellions. Prisons are....

Revolution and Counterrevolution

— Joel Beinin

Revolution Squared:
Tahrir, Political Possibilities, and Counterrevolution in Egypt
By Atef Shahat Said
Durham: Duke University Press, 2024, 360 pages, $29.95 paperback.

THE INSIGHTS THAT Atef Shahat Said gained into Egypt’s politics of protest and mobilization — through his work and political activities before he embarked on an academic career — deeply enrich Revolution Squared, a participant-observer account of what is widely called Egypt’s January 25, 2011 revolution.

From 1995 to 2004 Said was a human rights attorney, a researcher directing projects at human rights organizations, and the author of two books (in Arabic) about the ubiquitous practice of torture by the police....

Reading Muriel Rukeyser Now

— Sarah Ehlers

Unfinished Spirit:
Muriel Rukeyser’s Twentieth Century
By Rowena Kennedy-Epstein
Cornell University Press, 2022, 228 pages, $32.95 hardcover, $15.99 E-book.

IN 1971 THE literary scholar Hugh Kenner published a tome titled The Pound Era that instituted the poet Ezra Pound as a figure for the category of “modernism,” and set in motion a narrative that proved remarkably persistent about how modernism should be studied and taught. The version of modern U.S. poetry invented in The Pound Era, based in Pound’s dictum to “make it new,” was part of a narrative of modernist poetic experimentation that equated revolutions in form with revolutionary content....