Against the Current, No. 91, March/April 2001

— The Editors

THE BOMBING OF Iraq in mid-February drew immediate condemnation from the Arab world and from peace and justice and human rights organizations around the world.  The Bush-Cheney-Powell administration, for its part, referred to the bombing and the civilian deaths it caused as "routine." Both, of course, are correct: The bombing was a murderous atrocity, and also a representative symbol of Bush-to-Clinton-to-Bush continuity.

— Barry Sheppard

THE ROOT OF the electrical power “crisis” in California lies in the 1996 deregulation of the industry by the state government, approved unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature and signed by Republican then-governor Pete Wilson.

The rationale at the time was the “free market” swindle being promoted by capitalist governments around the world. In this fairy tale, ending regulation of electricity would introduce “competition” as hundreds of new power generating companies would spring up, to produce lower prices and better service.

— Stuart Ross interviews Tommy McKearney

"Ideas are the most important of weapons." --Fourthwrite, Issue no.1 Spring 2000

Tommy McKearney, a native of Moy, County Tyrone, is a former republican prisoner and one of the founding members of the Irish Republican Writers Group (IRWG.)  He currently works with Expac -- the Ex-prisoners Assistance Committee -- in County Monaghan. Stuart Ross interviewed him last fall for ATC.

Stuart Ross: Can you give me a bit of background on the Irish Republican Writers Group (IRWG)? How did it come about?

ANTHONY MCINTYRE OF the Irish Republican Writers Group (IRWG) was physically attacked and injured on the morning of Wednesday, February 7, 2001 by one of the leading participants in recent Sinn Fein-led pickets on his home.

— Catherine Samary

AT FIRST, THE media described the fall of Milosevic as "a popular uprising against a tyrant." Then, mass mobilization was played down, and the movement to oust Milosevic was reduced to a staged drama with, behind the scenes, the puppet-master forces of the "West."

— Toby Moorsom

ELECTORAL POLITICS PRESENT challenging problems for labor movements all over the world. In the absence of strong working class parties, labor activists are often compelled to support parties that implement anti-worker legislation simply because they represent a lesser evil. While reforms are certainly necessary, the investment of activist energy and resources into the electoral process can often distract union and social justice organizations, preventing them from undertaking the important task of generating solidarity within more impoverished segments of the working class.

— R.F. Kampfer

DAIMLER-CHRYSLER CEO Juergen Schrempp has pledged not to sell off the Chrysler division. Not that anyone was lining up to buy it. All the same to us on the line: If you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

— Malik Miah

“NEVER TRUST A Son of Bush” was one of many signs at George W. Bush's presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. on January 20. Some 25,000 marched in Washington and 15,000 rallied in San Francisco. The D.C. protest was the largest one at a presidential inauguration since 1973 -- at President Nixon's second term.

The marchers included a cross-section of the American population, led by African Americans who gave Bush only eight percent of their votes, the lowest total for a Republican since 1964, and only five percent in Texas.

— Scott Kurashige

FOR A BRIEF but wonderful moment in 2000, the Ralph Nader/Winona LaDuke Presidential campaign drew widespread public attention to its central theme of restoring democracy by challenging corporate power. Speaking to thousands of supporters at “super rallies” and millions of television viewers, Nader hammered home the three general points that corporate power has:

— Jack Breseé

MANY STORIES ARE told about John Ashcroft here in his home town of Springfield, Missouri.  Some of them are no doubt true.

— Catherine Sameh

WITH TWO DAYS under their belts, George W. Bush & Co. wasted no time before attacking women's reproductive freedoms around the world. On January 22, the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Bush issued an executive order reinstating the global “gag rule.”

— Howie Hawkins

BLAMING RALPH NADER for Bush is like blaming the abolitionists for slavery. The Greens ran Nader to end corporate oligarchy, not to support one wing of the oligarchy as a lesser evil against the other wing. Nevertheless, the Democrats, their liberal satellite organizations, and the corporate media are playing the blame game for all it is worth.

— Mark Brenner interviews Amsatou Sow Sidibe

AMSATOU SOW SIDIBE is Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for the Study of Peace and Human Rights at University Cheikh Anta Diop at Dakar, Senegal.  She is also a member of the National Elections Commission in Senegal and President of the West African Working Women's Network (RAFET).

— Mark Brenner

IN JANUARY, 1999 the Senegalese parliament joined several other African nations imposing a ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). At the time of the ban over 700,000 women -- approximately twenty percent of the female population -- were estimated to have undergone some form of FGM in Senegal.

— Soma Marik

IN THE COLONIAL and post-colonial periods in India, both the state and the religious communities identified women as a site of concern.  Yet at the close of the 20th century, the condition of women in India remains deplorable—a condition that should not be belittled on the ground that colonialism used it in order to discredit India's peoples and achievements.

— Delia Aguilar interviews Vicvic Justiniani

I FIRST MET Victoria (Vicvic) Justiniani eight years ago when she had just emerged from the Philippine underground, where she was immersed in the revolutionary struggle for twenty years beginning at age 16.  Vicvic attracted international media attention in 1986 when she represented the women's organization, MAKIBAKA, at the ceasefire talks called by the then newly elected president, Corazon Aquino.  At the collapse of these talks, Vicvic resumed her clandestine work until her arrest and release in 1992.

— an interview with Kathy Kelly

KATHY KELLY, ORGANIZER for Voices in the Wilderness, has been involved in the struggle around ending sanctions against Iraq for the past decade. David Finkel interviewed her for Against the Current in January 2001.

Against the Current: What was it that motivated you to dedicate these past ten years to the struggle against the Iraq sanctions (among the many social justice issues that exist?)

Kathy Kelly: My first trip to the Middle East was in January 1991, shortly before the war began. I joined the Gulf Peace Team, a nonaligned, nonpartisan group of international peace activists encamped on the Iraq-Saudi border between the warring parties.

— Tod Ensign

“The Last Superpower: Exorcising the demon of Vietnam in the burning oil fields of Kuwait.” --Photo caption, Time magazine, Gulf War special, February 1991

THE DEMON IS back: Ten years after the U.S. air war began over Kuwait and Iraq on January 17, 1991, tens of thousands of sick Gulf War vets await treatment and/or compensation for chronic health problems brought on by their military service.

— Tod Ensign

IN THE FIRST weeks of the new year, a new controversy has erupted among NATO allies over possible health effects of the Pentagon's use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons on their troops who served in Bosnia, Kosova and Serbia.

The European Union and several individual states, Italy, Spain and Holland among them, have demanded an investigation into the use of DU weapons by American and NATO warplanes during air assaults on Serbia and Kosova in 1999 and Bosnia in 1995. The weapons are favored because their hardness and density make them highly effective against armored vehicles and tanks.

— Voices in the Wilderness

The following is excerpted from a statement by Voices in the Wilderness following the February 16 bombing of Iraq.

VOICES IN THE Wilderness decries today's bombardment of Iraq which hit sites just south of Baghdad. However, we find it instructive to recall the digest of bombings that occurred in the past week and to note that on December 22, 2000 the Gulf News from Dubai quoted figures of civilians killed and injured as a result of US/UK air raids since December 1998 as 311 killed and 927 wounded.

— Connie Crothers

Swing Shift: "All-Girl" Bands of the 1940s. by Sherrie Tucker (Duke University Press, 2000) 384 pages, $29.95 hardback.

— Karin Baker

Leaving the Life: Lesbians, Ex-Lesbians and the Heterosexual Imperative, Ann E. Menasche (London: Onlywomen Press, Limited, 1999), $17.99 paperback.

— Michael Löwy

DANIEL SINGER, EUROPEAN correspondent for The Nation, died Saturday, December 2, 2000, at the age of 74.  His life story is a remarkable capsule portrait of the Jewish condition in the middle of the 20th century.

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