Against the Current 49

— The Editors
SOME EVENTS DEMAND of us: which side are you on? Such is the rebellion in Chiapas.
On January 1, 1994, several thousand Mexicans, overwhelmingly Mayan people of the southernmost Mexican state of Chiapas, rose up in armed rebellion against their government, demanding land and protesting against electoral fraud and the repression suffered at the hands of the big landlords and government agents. Organized as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), they also protested the North American...
— David Hyland
"LUGGING 150 POUND packages is deemed cause to defy a judge." This is how New York Times reporter Peter Applebombe chose to describe the recent strike by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IWE) against United Parcel Service (UPS)—at one blow trivializing and dismissing an issue that could literally break the backs of thousands of UPS workers.
The issue is far from trivial to the 170,000 workers at UPS. Teamsters at UPS already work under some of the highest productivity standards...
— Catherine Sameh
HAVING CONSCIOUSLY defined myself as a feminist for nearly half my life now, I can identity different stages of my feminist evolution. Feminism at sixteen meant discovering women writers, sex and standing up to harassment by men, while at twenty it meant studying women's history and rejecting makeup. In my last two years of college, socialism, anti-racism and lesbian studies began to shape my feminist politics, challenging me to examine difference among women according to class, race and...
— Claire Cohen
ON SATURDAY NIGHT of November 20, 1993, Pittsburgh police fatally shot Maneia Bey, a young African American, fourteen times in the back.
These are the undisputed facts of the case: Bey was standing on a corner in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh with some other young men when the police drove up, saying they had "an anonymous tip of possible drug dealing."
Bey broke off into a run. The police pursued and called for reinforcements. Eventually eighteen officers were involved in the chase....
— Barbara Zeluck
LAST JUNE BRENDA, a woman in Ohio, wrote to the White Lung Asbestos Information Center in New York:
"I'm inquiring about asbestos and their victims. I've done construction work for 16 years, and I also worked in asbestos removal in the last few years.
"Well last week I found out I have lung & brain cancer. I was trying to find out whether it was asbestos or not but my doctor can't give me a answer.
"Who do I see or talk with about this sort of thing? I would appreciate it if I could get some...
— Dan Fitz
AS FAR AS the eye could see, rows of Spanish workers were marching toward la Puerto del Sot in the center of Madrid. Behind the speakers platform special police guarded El Corte Ingles, the department store targeted during every Spanish general strike because of its practice of firing pro-union workers.
While large mobilizations in Washington, D.C. bring in busloads of people, this demonstration of a quarter million was drawn almost entirely from within Madrid. Other Spanish cities had their own...
— R.F. Kampfer
SEEMS LIKE ONLY yesterday, after the Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, that people were bragging (on the right), or worrying (on the left) that the United States would exercise "unrestricted world hegemony." Needless to say, that was before Somalia, Yugoslavia and Haiti.
Personal problems have no meaning these days: Next to Sarajevo, everything else must become trivial.
There is an unreasonable display of anxiety about the prospect of North Korea building a couple of nuclear bombs....
— an interview
During the last week in January, two members of the ATC editorial board, Dianne Feeley and David Finkel, conducted a telephone with a Detroiter, active for many years participate, in Latin America solidarity work and currently living as a researcher in the vicinity of San Cristobal in Chiapas, who described for us some of the conditions in the immediate aftermath of the Zapatista uprising.
Against the Current: What did you see during the insurrection itself?
A: I was on the way back from Oaxaca...
— Coordinated Body of the Non-Governmental Organizations for Peace of San Cristobal de las Casas
AS A SAMPLE of the documentation of the Mexican Army's war against the people of Chiapas, we offer these excerpts from Communique 8 issued January 17 by the Coordinating Body of the Non-Governmental Organizations for Peace of San Cristobal de las Casas, translated by our correspondent.
The current situation in Altamirano:
The population is receiving food rations. In order to receive food the Army demands that both heads of family (husband and wife) be present, in order to ensure that the man is...
— an interview with Luis, a Zapatista
ATC interviewed Luis, a Zapatista who came to the United States to publicize the current situation in Chiapas.
LET ME EXPLAIN that I am a Zapatista soldier. I am not a commanding officer. I came here to explain to the American people, to unionists and others, as an indigenous man so that you could hear the voice of the indigenous. The media, even the bigger sources, have only obtained their information from the government. They never speak of, or to, the indigenous. I came to let the American...
— Bernadette Devlin McAliskey
The following is excerpted from a speech by Bernadette Devlin McAliskey in Detroit on November 5, 1993. She became a prominent figure in the Civil Rights movement in Ireland in the 1960s and has worked for Irish freedom ever since. ATC has transcribed and abridged the talk. Many thanks to Nkenge Zola of WDET-FM for providing us with a good quality tape!
IT'S NOT VERY easy to be heard on Ireland. After twenty-five years of unbroken struggle we still find ourselves trying to break into the human...
Stuart Ross, a member of Solidarity and an activist in Irish solidarity work, interviewed Bernadette Devlin McAliskey for ATC in Detroit on November 5, 1993. It should be noted that this discussion predated several important political events, which therefore aren't covered here: the December 15 "Downing Street Declaration" by the Prime Minister of Britain and the Irish Republic; the lifting of the Irish Republic's ban on the broadcast of statements by Sinn Fein leaders (Britain's ban remains in...
— J. David Edelstein
WHILE SOCIALISTS FAVOR democracy in working-class organizations, there has understandably been widespread pessimism regarding the prospects for democracy in national unions under capitalism. The bleak American scene certainly provides little encouragement. My purpose here is to provide two important examples of large, fairly democratic unions, both in Britain, and to show the organizational basis for their democracy.
There are also implications here for democracy under socialism. Neither union...
— The Editors
TODAY THE PROCESS of capitalist restructuring and the urgency of international solidarity unites women as workers in even more fundamental a way than when Clara Zetkin first proposed an annual International Working Women's Day nearly eighty-five years ago. It's clear that in Year One of NAFTA and GAIT, the continual incorporation of women's work into the world marketplace results in both their increasmg proletarianization and pauperization. This will reinforce women's poverty not just in the...
— Varda Burstyn
WHEN THE COMMITTEE for Reproductive Freedom invited me to speak to you this evening, they felt that I might bring an interesting perspective to the specific matter of a relatively new "technology"—RU486 [the so-called French abortion pill—ed]. I explained that I was not an expert on RU486—and that, at present, in the Canadian context, I am abstaining from taking a position pro or con. This is because I am caught in a conflict between two central values: on the one hand, the...
— Tikva Honig-Parnass
EVERY WESTERN NATION-state, Israel included, is a capitalist patriarchy that oppresses and exploits its female citizens and uses male domination and female subordination for the fulfillment of its objectives and the carrying out of its policies. But Israelis not just another capitalist nation-state whose male-dominated society is the root cause of women's oppression and domination. The State of Israel also embodies the objectives of Zionism, which were incorporated into the ideology of the...
— Susanna Trnka
IN THE BACK room of a bar, twenty-five or thirty women sit around a large table, filling up the room with I smoke. Marcela, the President of L-Klub Lambda—the only official lesbian organization in Prague—stands at the head of the table, encouraging them to become active in an upcoming AIDS demonstration.
"AIDS can affect you toot you know," she chides. A few women huddle and whisper around a stack of newsletters freshly xeroxed by one of the member's mothers who works at a newspaper:...
— Deborah L. Billings
Unfinished Conquest
The Guatemalan Tragedy
By Victor Perera, with photographs by Daniel Chauche
Berkeley: University of California, 1993, 382 pages, hard cover, $27.
Bridge of Courage:
Life Stories of the Guatemalan Companeros and Companeras
By Jennifer Harbury with an introduction by Noam Chomsky.
Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 263 pages, paperback. $14.95.
UNIMAGINABLE BEAUTY AND devastating violence—these are two images most often evoked by writers reflecting on the multiple and...
— David Roediger
Juice Is Stranger Than Friction:
Selected Writings of T-Bone Slim
Franklin Rosemont, editor. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company, 1992
159 pages. Cloth: $24.95, paper: $8.95.
T-BONE SLIM wrote countless jokes, aphorisms, newspaper columns, poems and short stories, as well as two pamphlets and a 607-word novel He coined scores of words, from holidaysical toPerhapsbyterian. His songs include such labor classics as "The Popular Wobbly" ("They Go Wild, Simply Wild, Over Me"), "The...