Against the Current 82

— The Editors
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people in the United States of America lose their health insurance every month.  It seems unlikely, however, that this number included the president of Columbia/HCA, the industry leader in for-profit health care, who, as reported in the August 5 New England Journal of Medicine, "resigned in the face of federal fraud investigations .  .  .  with a $10 million severance package and $269 million in company stock."
— R.F. Kampfer
— Mike Rubin
ON MARCH 30 Audie Bock became the highest-elected Green Party officeholder in the United States and the first Green candidate elected in a partisan race. By defeating Elihu Harris, the former mayor of Oakland (and former state assembly representative) by more than 300 votes out of about 30,000 votes cast, she became the California State Assembly representative for the 16th District.
— Steve Bloom
THE AUGUST ISSUE of Vanity Fair published an article purporting to show that death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal had “confessed” his guilt in the early 1990s in a conversation with a Pennsylvania Prison Society volunteer, one Philip Bloch. At an August 3 press conference held at the studios of WHAT, a Black radio station in Philadelphia, Mumia's attorneys presented evidence exposing the Vanity Fair report as a fraud.
— Anne Schenk
SPURRED BY AN enormous and unexpected victory in Congress, thousands of protesters will gather later this year at the gates of Fort Benning, GA to demand the closure of the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA), a military facility that provides training for Latin American and Caribbean soldiers and officers.
— Emily Citkowski
THE ELECTIONS ARE over in Indonesia.  The international press, calling them "the first free and fair elections in over 44 years," noted the relative lack of violence during the campaign period leading up to the June 7 vote.
— Emily Citkowski interviews Dita Sari
IN A SURPRISE move by the Indonesian government, jailed labor leader Dita Indah Sari was released from Tengerang prison Monday, July 5th.  Dita was jailed in May of 1997 for leading a strike of 20,000 workers.  She was originally sentenced to six years, reduced on appeal to five.
— Catherine Sameh
REMEMBER THE YEAR of the Woman? Female forays into electoral politics had media coining the phrase so often it left most women feeling we'd received that token lapel pin for a lifetime of hard work. Still, it was an historic year with palpable accomplishments by women. This year is strangely similar, the last one in a decade marked by both advances and setbacks for women in this country.
— Malik Miah
IN THE MID-1970s Boston was a major battle ground for equal education in the public schools. Boston's inner-city schools—as in most urban areas—were less-equipped and in worse condition than those in white neighborhoods.
Backed by city officials, racist whites attacked Black students being bused from their segregated neighborhoods to white schools. The antibusing organization ROAR (Restore Our Alienated Rights) organized racist protesters carrying signs such as “Stop Busing,...
— Joel Jordan
THIS SPRING, THE California state legislature passed a bill sponsored by the newly elected governor, Democrat Gray Davis, making California the first state to mandate peer review in every school district. Until then, the handful of established peer review programs scattered around the country had been the products of local teacher union and district bargaining.
— Ali Zaidi
THE STATE UNIVERSITY of New York turned fifty in 1998, but its mission-to provide New Yorkers with quality education at low cost-is endangered.  Earlier this spring, SUNY faculty finally responded by revolting and issuing an unprecedented demand for the removal of the state-appointed university trustees.
— Harry Brighouse
IN APRIL, FLORIDA became the first state to adopt a statewide school voucher plan. By a vote of 25-15 the State Senate adopted the absurdly named “A+ Plan for Education” which had previously been passed in the House by a vote of 70-48.
The bill establishes a mechanism for “grading” all public schools in the state, based on test scores and other factors such attendance and graduation rates. Schools that earn A's or show improvement over the years will get incentive rewards...
— Marie Sarita Gaytán
THE WEST WIND has blown east. The elimination of affirmative action in Texas, California, and Washington's public university systems seemed like a phenomenon isolated to highly competitive west-coast state universities—until February 1999, when the University of Massachusetts announced that it too would eliminate the use of race-based admissions policies and scholarship programs.
— Eugene Plawiuk
FOR THE PAST six years right-wing provincial governments across Canada have embraced the neoliberal agenda of “educational reform.” Four provinces in particular, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have led the charge in dismantling public education in favor of market-driven alternatives.
— Carolina Bank
AFTER A SIXTEEN-year battle, the University of California was pressured by various methods this spring to recognize the eight academic student employee (ASE) unions. This is a momentous victory not only for ASEs but also for the labor movement: At the onset of the campaign, many people said we would never be able to organize such a transient labor force (a unit of 10,200 employees).
— Harry Brill
THROUGH A CONTINUAL dose of propaganda from the establishment and its allies, the American people have been persuaded that obtaining at least a college education is not only necessary, but also provides working people with excellent opportunities to avoid low-wage work and chronic unemployment.
— Edith Organizer
IN CHICAGO, THE current round of school reform efforts began in the late 1980s.  They were ostensibly sparked by the November 1987 public pronouncement of William Bennett, then-Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, calling Chicago schools "the worst in the nation."
— Barry Carr
“Sweating for a T-Shirt.” A video by Global Exchange. In English or Spanish, 23 minutes. $25 for individuals, $50 community organizations, $100 institutions.
— Samuel Farber
THIS BOOK IS a treat.  Daniel Singer is able to put forward a strongly democratic and radical left socialist analysis in a clear, transparent prose without jargon or obscurantist phraseology, be it postmodernist, academic or sectarian Marxist.
— Connie Crothers
Dance of the Infidels, A Portrait of Bud Powell by Francis Paudras, translated from French by Rubye Monet. First publication 1986, English edition New York: Da Capo Press, 1998. 353 pages. $18.95 paperback.