Against the Current 39

— The Editors
THE FIRST AND ESSENTIAL response to the explosion in Los Angeles must be: This rebellion was justified, as was the 1965 uprising in Watts and those in between. There is a limit to the daily humiliation and outrage that can be inflicted on people, individually and collectively, before they strike back. Analysis, perspective, political directions for a movement--these too are critical, but only after we have taken our stand with the people of South Central, against the ruling class looters of the...
— Dolores Trevizo
TO UNDERSTAND THE Los Angeles rebellion we need to focus not only on the intersection of race and class, but on those aspects in which the two are relatively autonomous. While it is very difficult to separate race from class effects, because Blacks and Latinos are over-represented in the super-poor sections of the working class, it is necessary to recognize the specific character of each.
The desperate situation that economic restructuring produced in the last twenty years, especially in the...
— Voices from South Central
Ahmed Nassef: How do you feel about the overwhelming police and military presence in your community?
Baby Nerve (Watergate Crips-blue): Yes, Black people are out there looting, yes Black people burnt down buildings. It might have been Koreans and white people that burnt down their own buildings just to get money from insurance. People need to figure out how the government works, how the system is, before they come and try to pass judgement and call us these different names such as gangsters,...
— an interview with Roy Hong
"Korean Immigrant Workers Association (KIWA) IS THE only organization of its kind in the country that deals with immigrant Korean workers and their rights. We help workers who have suffered wage and hours violations, injuries on the job, etc. We hope to become a liaison with labor unions as well.
"There are approximately half a million Koreans living in southern California, mostly recent immigrants--since 1965 when U.S. immigration law changed. The bulk came from the mid-'70s to the early...
— an interview with Julie Noh
"EVERYONE SEEMS TO be asking both the Black and Korean communities, is a racial conflict? I would say that among my generation, the 1.5 generation Korean Americans (there are some sharp differences among generations), we are feeling confused and trying to sift through the different issues.
"For myself, I don't see it as a sharp racial conflict as the mass media have portrayed it. The reasons for what happened stem a lot from the social and economic conditions in South Central LA, Compton,...
— an interview with Kyung Kyu Lim
"I BELIEVE THAT it wasn't a purely racially motivated conflict. There was an expression of social and economic frustration that had accumulated for many years. And one can see the degree of poverty and oppression in the urban area of Los Angeles--especially South Central--and the Rodney King verdict triggered a great deal of frustration that resulted in an outright expression of anger and violence through Los Angeles.
"I feel saddened that Koreans, Latinos and African Americans have incurred...
— an interview with Kye Young Park
"I AM CRITICAL of the way media repressed all other factors with the `Black-Korean tension' discourse.
"The deteriorating quality of life in South Central LA wasn't caused by the Koreans. But Korean merchants are seen as representing the interests of the establishment. To the people of South Central it's hard to think of the life style of (a wealthy district like) Bel Air, but they can see the merchants, who ring the cash register and seem to be prospering.
"Whether Koreans acknowledge it or...
— Cheryl Christensen
I ATTENDED THE demonstration held Friday, May 8, which began at Dolores Park in the Mission District. We were to march about a mile to Duboce Park.
At the Dolores Park rally we were surrounded by police, lined up all over the place and in the adjoining streets. They kept announcing the parade route in English and Spanish, saying that anybody deviating from it would be arrested.
There was no looting, no business was harmed. About a block from Duboce Park the police blocked the route. Some...
— Mike Davis
p>I WANT TO TALK a bit today about the social forces that have provoked this uprising in Los Angeles. But first I have to deal with what is called in high-falutin' language its "epistemology": How do we know what we think we know about what happened in this city?
Here's a copy of the Kerner Commission report, a real collector's item, repressed in the collective memory of America. One of the interesting things about its study of the inner city insurrections in 1967 was that it totally threw out...
— Don Sherman
City Of Quartz:
Excavating the Future in Los Angeles
By Mike Davis; Photographs by Robert Morrow
New York: Verso, 1990, 440 pages, includes notes, indexed.
WELCOME TO MODERN Los Angeles, where urban planners once envisioned parks and city pavements as a way to effectively mingle classes in order to soften class antagonisms, where now privatization of public space is a city goal.
The most prominent Marxist urban planning theorist in the United States, David Harvey, wrote that any general theory...
— Ron Daniels
GOOD EVENING TO everyone. It's a little hot in the room. I hope it isn't any hotter when I'm finished.
We profoundly appreciate the invitation from the Community Labor Forum to be here this evening. It is indeed a real privilege to share this podium with folks who are building a new political movement in this country.
Terry Bouricius is here from Vermont. I was hosted by representatives from the Vermont Progressive Alliance as we made a quick one and a half-day sweep through the very beautiful...
— Tony Mazzocchi
IT'S A PLEASURE to share the platform with other speakers who represent symbols of a growing expression for independent political action, which is one of the hopeful signs that are emerging toward a political force in this country to represent the interests of working Americans, the overwhelming majority of our people.
Labor Party Advocates is a culmination of an expression, not only of the rank and file from my own union but of other unions. About three years ago, as secretary-treasurer of my...
— Earl Silber and Steven Ashby
"IT'S FAR FROM OVER," declared AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland of the five-month Caterpillar strike as 12,600 United Auto Workers (UAW) members walked into the plants without a contract. Kirkland's rosy optimism is off the mark. The United Auto Workers union at Caterpillar suffered a harsh defeat, one which will reverberate throughout the American labor movement and beyond. Kirkland's statement doesn't reflect militancy from the labor officialdom, but "put on a happy face" PR designed to cover...
THE UAW IS encouraging Cat workers 'to be damn sure they are turning out good parts. No defects. No scrap or accidents. This company is vicious. They'll fire you for any reason. We have to protect our people. Of course we cannot promote a slowdown,' said Terry Omdorff, UAW president, Local 786 (York, PA) (Chicago Sun Times 65/92) On the other hand, the Detroit Free Press reports that "[Owen] Bieber [UAW international president] and other officials promise to snarl production with shop-floor slow...
— Anastasia Posadskaya
PERESTROIKA, WHICH STARTED back in 1985, has brought crucial changes not only to the former USSR but to the whole world. Currently we are living in a different economic, political and cultural environment. But it seems correct to say that the period of Perestroika was finished in December 1991, when its main initiator, Mikhail Gorbachev, resigned as president and its object--the USSR--ceased to exist.
However, the move from a totalitarian political regime to democracy, from a rigid centralized...
— Patrick Bond and Tendai Biti
"We talk about ideologies without doing much about it." --Bernard Chidzero, Zimbabwean Finance Minister
"THERE EXISTS AMONG the membership of the new ZANU(PF) a minority, but very powerful bourgeois group which champions the cause of international finance and national private capital, whose interests thus stand opposed to the development and growth of a socialist and egalitarian society in Zimbabwe."
These were the words of none other than Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, in 1989, a year...
— David Finkel
UNDER BRITISH COLONIAL rule, Zimbabwe was called "Southern Rhodesia" and part of "Federation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland" (now Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi).
In 1965, the whites in Southern Rhodesia issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence for white-ruled state called Rhodesia. It was led by Prime Minister Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front party from 1965-79, in defiance of United Nations declarations and despite (widely busted) international sanctions.
The national...
— Catherine Sameh
IT'S AMAZING HOW the basic elements of sexism--things we learned when we first became feminists--surface again as immense and insurmountable barriers to real liberation for women. Like the objectification of women's bodies, power differentials in relationships with men, and who does the housework.
Sure, the older, more crass displays of sexism have eroded. But newer, subtler ones keep popping up in this period in women's lives that we don't seem to know what to call. I know too many young,...
— R.F. Kampher
ROSS PEROT'S MAIN advantage is the perception that he's too rich to steal.
Because the Japanese work load leaves so little time for family life, the emotionally deprived can now hire surrogates to fill their needs. The Japan Effectiveness Headquarters provides retirees with professional grandchildren, at $1130 plus costs for a three-hour visit. One can also hire recent actors to impersonate servants, business subordinates or lovers. Recently there have been requests for surrogate grandparents to...
— Roger Horowitz
IT HAS BEEN more than five years since United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local P-9 in Austin, Minnesota, lost its struggle against George A. Hormel & Co. Yet, this strike by less than two thousand workers remains controversial.
The union's dramatic resistance to contract concessions attracted support from workers across the country who identified with P-9's struggle against "corporate greed" and the rapid erosion of the middle class standard of living for America's industrial...
— Dianne Feeley
Impatient Armies of the Poor:
The Story of Collective Action by the Unemployed, 1808-1942
By Franklin Folsom
University Press of Colorado, 1990), cloth $35.
FRANKLIN FOLSOM'S BOOK is an historical overview of the U.S. unemployed movement from the nineteenth century until World War II. Roughly half the book describes the lessons and experiences of unemployed people up to the point of the Great Depression; the other half details the national actions, demands and local organizing of the three...
— Patrick M. Quinn
CELIA STODOLA WALD, a founding member of Solidarity, died at the age of 45 on May 7, 1992 in Torrence, California following a twelve-year battle with scleroderma, a debilitating and painful disease.
Born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1946, Celia graduated from high school in Fargo, North Dakota and entered Antioch College in 1964 where she first became active in radical politics. Influenced by her father, who had been incarcerated in a camp for conscientious objectors during World War II, Celia...