Against the Current 190

— The Editors
WHILE DONALD TRUMP monopolizes media coverage with schoolyard bluster that he’s “locked and loaded” against North Korea, and Venezuela too; while not only Vladimir Putin but Kim Jong-un of all people has Trump’s administration tied up in knots; and while Congressional investigations and the “special counsel” circle the Trump bunker where whatever secrets of his campaign collusion and financial entanglements with Russian agents and criminals may be hiding...
— Michael Principe
THE FIRST IMAGES to emerge from the violent white supremacist “Unite the Right” gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia were of mostly clean-cut, young, white men marching, carrying torches and chanting “We will not be replaced” and “Blood and soil.”
The rally, featuring white nationalist groups such as the Nationalist Front and the League of the South as well as white supremacist “superstars” like Richard Spencer and David Duke projected violence...
— Malik Miah
“Black humanity and dignity requires Black political will and power. Despite constant exploitation and perpetual oppression, Black people have bravely and brilliantly been the driving force pushing the U.S. towards the ideals it articulates but has never achieved. In recent years, we have taken to the streets, launched massive campaigns, and impacted elections, but our elected leaders have failed to address the legitimate demands of our Movement. We can no longer wait.”...
— Dianne Feeley
IN EARLY AUGUST the UAW’s union recognition campaign at the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi ended in a disastrous 63% “no” vote — 10% greater than the loss at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee three and a half years earlier.
From the beginning of the decade-long campaign at Nissan the UAW sought community support, stressing that “Workers’ Rights = Civil Rights.” This was a particularly effective strategy given that 80% of the workers are African...
— Dianne Feeley
p>IN 2014 A rumor circulated in UAW plants even beyond the Detroit area that UAW Vice President General Holiefield had been “on the take.” He suddenly resigned, his administrative assistant was let go and within months Holiefield died from cancer. Then silence.
Late this July, shortly before the vote at Nissan, the FBI issued criminal indictments charging Holiefield’s widow, Monica Morgan, and former Fiat Chrysler executive Al Iacobelli of pilfering more than $2 million...
— Peter Solenberger
IN MAY AND June, hackers took over thousands of computers around the world, encrypted their contents, and demanded ransom to decrypt them. They used tools developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) to exploit vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system.
China suffered most from the May attacks, and Ukraine from the June attacks, but both attacks spread worldwide, including to Russia and the United States.
Some cybersecurity experts thought the May attacks came from North...
— Kevin Cooper
AS I WRITE this to you, I am in a 4 1/2 by 11 foot long cage, with two feet between the side of the bed and the wall for me to walk in. I have been in a cage like this for most of my adult life for murders that I did not commit. I eat prison slop for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the guards look up my butt at least once a day to make sure that I don’t have contraband when I leave this cage.
I, Kevin Cooper, have been on death row in the state on California for 32 years, going on 33. I...
— interview with Heather Ann Thompson
HEATHER ANN THOMPSON’S Pulitzer prize-winning book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Revolt of 1971 and its Legacy was reviewed by Jack Bloom in Against the Current 187 ( ATC interviewed the author by email to get some additional perspective on the still-untold part of the story, and her ongoing work.
Against the Current: Your book talks about the years of work, and lucky breaks, that went into getting the documentary record of what happened...
— Marty Oppenheimer
IT WAS A pleasant spring day in South Braintree, Massachusetts on the afternoon of April 15, 1920. Two men, a paymaster named Frederick Parmenter and his guard Alessandro Berardelli, walked rapidly down the sidewalk of the main street carrying a $16,000 cash payroll to a nearby shoe factory.
A black Buick drew to the curb. Two men leaped out. Several shots rang out. Two strongboxes containing the cash were grabbed by the men who then leaped into the waiting car and were driven off. Berardelli...
— Au Loong-Yu
WE HOLD THE Chinese Communist Party government responsible for Liu Xiaobo’s premature death. No one should be thrown into prison, let alone left to rot there, simply for exercising the right to free speech. The CCP even went so far as to intervene in Liu’s family’s arrangements for his funeral, scattering Liu’s ashes into the sea without the genuine consent of Liu’s wife, Liu Xia.
It is even more outrageous to see the regime continuing to hold Liu Xia under house...
— Saliem Shehadeh
[THE FOLLOWING IS a brief excerpt from an extensive account written by student activist Saliem Shehadeh online at, which we urge our readers to check out in detail, regarding smear tactics by a consortium of Zionist organizations. We also note that San Francisco State University Professor Rabab Abdulhadi is a longtime target of anti-Palestinian campaigns and threats to her job and her physical safety.
In view of the historic...
— Allen Ruff
UNITED STATES ENTRY in World War I a hundred years ago set in motion a series of domestic transformations that continue to reverberate. In its efforts to mobilize society for “total war,” a still nascent corporate liberal state expanded its scope and authority and in doing so laid foundations and set precedents for the expansion of executive power and the rise of the national surveillance state.
That “war at home” was waged on numerous fronts as a federally coordinated...
— The Editors
[The following message was sent to the editors of the recently banned Egyptian website “in-red” ( This repressive act by the al-Sisi regime is yet another backlash against the democratic hopes of the 2011 revolution.]
AS EDITORS OF the U.S. bimonthly publication, Against the Current, we protest the shutting down of the Egyptian website “in-red.” It is an independent website that publishes necessary analyses and dialogue about the Middle Eastern...
— Jordan Camp
THE FOLLOWING ACCOUNT of the Detroit uprising of 1967 is occasioned by the 50th anniversary of the events. It describes the suppression of the revolt as being symptomatic of a broader counterinsurgency against radical social movements in the United States. In turn, it considers how the repression accelerated punitive and authoritarian carceral policies. Through an examination of the cultural products of these social movements, it also suggests that alternative outcomes have been and continue to...
— Dan Georgakas
Black Detroit:
A People’s History of Self-Determination
By Herb Boyd
NY: Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publications, 2017, 418 pages, illustrated, $27.99 hardcover.
HERB BOYD HAS written a masterful account of the experience of African Americans in the city of Detroit. He begins in 1701 with the slaves who arrived when Cadillac founded the city as a French colony, and ends with the shakers and movers of a distressed contemporary Detroit.
A columnist for Harlem’s Amsterdam...
— Michele Gibbs
Michael’s hands convinced me,
Those great well-articulated
fingers spread wide
to welcome/not divide.
Workers’ hands
equal to the demands
of Mississippi cotton field quotas
and the wheel of Detroit steel,
embodiment and inheritors
of generations of black struggle
opening to greet me, gathering me up
in the Movement building here....
— Dianne Feeley
BORN IN A sharecropper’s shack in central Mississippi, Mike Hamlin became a key organizer in the struggle for Black empowerment during the 1960s and ’70s in Detroit. A Korean War veteran whose experience taught him the brutality of the U.S. Empire, he linked that history of war and intervention to the history of the country’s slavery and the sharecropping system he knew as a boy, before the family moved to Detroit.
Returning to Detroit, he worked as a jumper on the Detroit News...
Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001 edited by Melba Joyce Boyd & M.L. Liebler Wayne State Univesity Press (2001).
Algiers Motel Incident by John Hersey, Alfred A. Knopf (1968).
Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination by Herb Boyd, Amistad (2017).
Detroit 1967 edited by Joel Stone, Wayne State University Press (2017).
Detroit: City of Race and Class Violence by B.J. Widick, Wayne State University Press (1972).
Detroit: I Do Mind Dying, A Study in Urban...
— Paul Prescod
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Haymarket Books, 2016, 270 pages, $17.95 paperback.
IT HAS BEEN almost three years since Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in the small suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. The protests that erupted in Ferguson and across the nation afterwards reached such depth and intensity that they spawned a more generalized movement against police brutality.
Black Lives Matter emerged as the name to capture this moment....
— Dianne Feeley
Refinery Town
Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City
By Steve Early
Foreword by Bernie Sanders
Boston: Beacon Press, 2017, 222 pages, $27.95 hardback.
REFINERY TOWN TELLS the story of how a small, formerly industrial city — with a population just over 100,000 — attempts to fight its way out of the hell that segregation, joblessness, pollution and violence have imposed.
Richmond, California’s one remaining major industry, Chevron’s sprawling refinery, can...
— Emily Pope-Obeda
Immigration and the Decline of Internationalism in the American Working Class, 1864-1919
By Charles R. Leinenweber
Center for Socialist History, CreateSpace Publishing, 2016, 274 pages, $15 paperback.
THE ASCENDANCY OF Donald Trump has highlighted a number of deep fissures within the labor movement, providing a sharp view of the ideological distance between various segments of the American working class. One of the clearest sources of this division has been the idea of internationalism....
— Ansar Fayyazuddin
How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World
By Amir Alexander
Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
Paperback edition, 2015, 368 pages, $16.
MATHEMATICS CONCEIVED AS a closed logical system, based on a set of axioms, may suggest that its history would be an account of the inevitable logical development of these axioms. The pace of this history would then be a function of the abilities of the actors engaged in carrying out these logical steps.
— Michael Löwy
Left-Wing Melancholia:
Marxism, History, and Memory
By Enzo Traverso
New York: Columbia University Press, 2017, 312 pages, $35 hardback.
THIS BRILLANT BOOK seeks to recover a hidden, discreet tradition: that of “left-wing melancholia.” This melancholia is a state of mind that does not belong to the left’s canonical narrative, which is more inclined to highlight glorious triumphs than tragic defeats. Yet the memory of these defeats — June 1848, May 1871, January 1919,...
— Ingo Schmidt
A People’s History of Modern Europe
By William A. Pelz
Pluto Press, 2016, distributed by University of Chicago Press. 256 pages, $28 paperback.
MORE THAN HALF a century ago, E. P. Thompson pioneered a new approach to labor history in The Making of the English Working Class. Thompson was dismayed with the bourgeois idea that history is made by great men, and the occasional princess or queen, but also frustrated with socialist histories that replace statesmen and business moguls with wise,...
— Mike Gonzalez
What Went Wrong
The Nicaraguan Revolution: a Marxist analysis
By Dan La Botz
Brill, Leiden/Boston, 2016. (Haymarket paperback edition forthcoming, Fall 2017)
THE MID-1970S WERE a difficult time for socialists. The euphoria of the sixties, and its promise of revolution, came to a sudden and dramatic stop on September 11, 1973.
The military coup that overthrew the government of Salvador Allende in Chile ended the promise of a non-violent “Chilean road to socialism.” The Chilean...