ARE THERE WORDS to describe the racism, the stupidity, the sheer overwhelming cynicism of the Bush gang's "response" to the Gulf Coast holocaust? We can't think of any, and we won't even try to find them. Suffice it to say that four years after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and, in particular, the destruction of the major American city of New Orleans has brought our society face to face with the reality of its condition.
LIKE EVERYONE WHO "got out" before Katrina hit, my exit was a private one. My partner and I took heed of the voluntary evacuation because we had the means to do so. We packed three changes of clothes and our passports, got in our trusty 1998 Ford Escort station wagon with some friends, and left our green-shuttered 100-year-old Victorian shotgun house in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
Suzi Weissman interviewed author Mike Davis for her "Beneath the Surface" program on KPFK, Pacifica radio in Los Angeles.
Suzi Weissman: On tonight's program we continue looking at Katrina's catastrophe—on the ground and in the larger implications for the 'state of the state.' The disaster exposed extreme cynicism, incompetence and sheer racism previously hidden or ignored.
Today's New York Times runs a headline that says, "Amid difficulties, leaders of labor see opportunity."
But where are these so-called leaders of labor? Where is John Sweeny, the president of the AFL-CIO who is quoted as saying, "A record 53% of nonunion workers say they'd join a union tomorrow if given the chance-that's the highest percentage in 25 years. It is our job to reach them."
THE AIRCRAFT MECHANICS Fraternal Association (AMFA) strike at Northwest Airlines offers a window into class relations and the state of the labor movement in the United States. What we can see through that window is very grim.
MANY SAVVY LABOR movement activists and observers are understandably puzzled by Teamster President James Hoffa’s sudden and enthusiastic endorsement of the Change to Win Coalition. Within the Teamsters, it’s been the reform movement and Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) who have championed the need for structural reform to free up resources to organize the union's core industries-usually in the face of boos and catcalls from the Hoffa crowd.
CONSIDER THESE WISE words from a leading African National Congress politician:
"As we speak, the neoliberal orthodoxy sits as a tyrant on the throne of political-economic policymaking. The dominant social and economic forces are doing their utmost to hegemonize the discourse — both materially and in respect of how developmental processes are to be institutionalized and theorized. Among other things, they use such transnational governmental organizations as the International Monetary Fund...
A FEW WEEKS ago my friend Ilan PappÃ© published an article under the title "There is no peace camp in Israel." These words were originally spoken in a lecture delivered by the intellectual activist—or the activist intellectual—at a conference that took place in Fribourg, in the framework of the Swiss Social Forum.
LAST JUNE 13 indigenous communities in Sipacapa, in the western highlands of Guatemala, voted overwhelmingly to reject gold mining on their lands. Oxfam’s press release announced the results: 2,486 people cast their vote against the mine, 35 voted in favor, 32 abstained and one cast a blank vote.
The Canadian/U.S. mining company, Glamis Gold is constructing a World Bank funded open-pit mine in near-by San Miguel. With construction nearly complete, the company is eager to begin drilling....
ON A FRIDAY night in August in the town of Juangriego on Isla Margarita, the northernmost point of Venezuela, an island jutting out into the southern Caribbean not far from CuraÃ§ao, tourists are having fish dinners in seaside restaurants. Suddenly they hear the blast of salsa music and boom of political slogans.
THE 1905 REVOLUTION consisted of a series of mass strikes which pushed the Tsarist regime into at least the promise of major constitutional change. The focus here, however, is not on the “results” of the 1905 revolution, but on its “prospects”;1 on what its process promised and still can promise, even in so much less revolutionary times. 1905 was a crucial year not only for its revolutionary content but for its expression of the dynamic, and form, of working-class...
The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights
by David S. Reynolds
Alfred A. Knopf (New York), 2005
578 pages, $35 cloth.
Why do some people take literally the admonitions of our faiths, both religious and secular? We are all advised to “do unto others.” We all hear, from early childhood, that “all men are created equal.” Yet, not all of us abide by these “faiths of our fathers.”
Bush in Babylon:
The Recolonisation of Iraq.
by Tariq Ali
Verso, 2003. 214 pp , $12 paperback.
THE STATED OBJECTIVE of the neoconservatives in control of United States foreign policy today is to carry out a war on terror by spreading freedom and democracy throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world, if necessary by American power alone, and if necessary by guided missiles, Humvees, and fighter jets.
Whose Trade Organization?
A Comprehensive Guide to the WTO
by Lori Wallach and Patrick Woodall
New York: The New Press, 2004,
Another World is Possible:
Popular Alternatives to Globalization at the World Social Forum
edited by William Fisher & Thomas Ponniah
New York, Zed Books, 2003, $22.50 paper.
Dispatches from a Global Movement
edited by Eddie Yuen, Daniel Burton-Rose & George Katsiaficas
New York: Soft Skull Press, 2004,
IN MEMORY OF
CLARENCE “GATEMOUTH” BROWN
ONE OF THE classic of the electric blues says it all about the time of late summer, 2005, when two of the most distinguished practitioners of contemporary blues, both with five-decade-long musical careers, passed away.