Readers’ Views, January-February 2012 (part 1)

February 18, 2012

Readers’ Views (part 1)

THE STATE OF THE WORLD AS WE BEGIN 2012

I’m deeply enamored of the contents of every issue of N&L. This is because the articulation of the various issues addressing the multitude of socioeconomic crises, brought on by economic contraction affecting capital relations, points to how deep the revolution must go. In [=>]

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Miners’ lives bought at discount rates

February 17, 2012

Detroit—A $209 million settlement, and a record $10.8 million in fines: that’s what newspaper headlines, TV and radio news reports throughout the nation proclaimed on Dec. 7 for the mine safety violations that killed 29 coal miners on April 5, 2010, at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. It was then owned by [=>]

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Free Angye Gaona!

February 12, 2012

World in View
by Gerry Emmett

Free Angye Gaona!

I collect the rootlets of thought.
I carry them on my eroded back
next to the wild oblivion falling from me.
—Angye Gaona

The U.S.-allied Colombian government has falsely charged Surrealist poet and activist Angye Gaona with “drug trafficking” and “rebellion.” She is being held under house [=>]

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Blaming Post Office workers

February 9, 2012

Battle Creek, Mich.–For nearly 200 years the U.S. Post Office Department functioned as a public service agency. The delivery of the mail relied almost exclusively on manual labor, with management in the hands of politically appointed individuals. More recently, however, it looks as though the renamed United States Postal Service may go the way of [=>]

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Workshop Talks: Making teachers redundant

February 8, 2012

Workshop Talks
by Htun Lin

Over a billion dollars has been spent in the last decade to comprehensively computerize the workplace at the nation’s largest HMO, where I work. For the executives, it’s as if the line between the virtual and the real has finally been eliminated. Not so for us rank-and-file workers, trying to provide real [=>]

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Haiti two years after the earthquake

February 6, 2012

Two years after the devastating earthquake, Haiti’s disaster continues:

More than half a million Haitians live in displacement camps, primarily in tents and plastic tarps. Vast numbers, particularly women, live in great insecurity. Only a little over 10,000 new homes have been constructed; barely several thousand old homes restored.

Cholera has infected 500,000, killing close to 7,000. [=>]

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Dockers, Occupy close Western ports

February 4, 2012

Oakland, Calif.–Following a shutdown of the Oakland Port on Nov. 2, whose success took the port and city authorities by surprise, Occupy Oakland called another shutdown for Dec. 12.

This time, Occupy Oakland linked the shutdown to demands for which port workers have been fighting: in support of the Los Angeles non-unionized truck drivers who were [=>]

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Widening labor and peasant revolts threaten Chinese rulers

January 30, 2012

Lead article in the new January-February 2012 issue of News & Letters:

Widening labor and peasant revolts threaten Chinese rulers
by Bob McGuire

Open rebellion in the village of Wukan in December revealed the forced land seizures that have underpinned China’s industrial expansion as it has risen to serve as the world’s workshop. What rulers in [=>]

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January-February 2012 issue of News & Letters now available on the web

January 29, 2012

Lead

Protests began in September in Wukan, a village of 20,000 people in Guangdong province on the South China Sea, against seizure of more than 100 acres of Wukan’s common land to be sold to those with insider ties to the village Communist Party leadership. Village authorities escalated the conflict by identifying protest leaders and hauling [=>]

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Farmworker solidarity

December 15, 2011

Farmworker solidarity

New York City—Three young members of the Com­munity/Farmworker Alliance (NYC), a local coalition organized in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), spoke at Bluestockings Bookstore here on Oct. 14. They discussed the Campaign for Fair Food.

Fair Food activists are urging Trader Joe’s to en­sure their tomatoes are picked by workers who earn [=>]

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Sutter nurses strike

December 14, 2011

Sutter nurses strike; photo and article for News & Letters by David M'Oto

Oakland, Calif.—Sutter Healthcare nurses were joined by sympathizing Kaiser nurses for a rally outside Summit Medical Center on Sept. 22. Sut­ter nurses called the one-day strike because of proposed cuts in patient staffing, sick pay and other benefits. The Summit administration [=>]

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Chicago city workers defy new thug mayor

December 13, 2011

From the November-December 2011 issue of News & Letters:

Chicago—Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made no se­cret of his contempt for City workers and his desire to weaken their unions. His attitude was perfectly cap­tured in early September when he screamed “F—k you, Lewis!” at Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis during a meeting [=>]

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UAW and Big 3 still fear rank and file

December 8, 2011

UAW and Big 3 still fear rank and file

Detroit—The new auto industry contract just ap­proved by the autoworkers created a huge well of dis­content among the rank and file that will surely mani­fest itself in many ways during the four-year contract. Indications of this were evident during the ratification process, when it became apparent in [=>]

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Greeks fight austerity

December 3, 2011

From the November-December 2011 issue of News & Letters:

Greeks fight austerity

by Gerry Emmett

As Greek lawmakers passed a new austerity package on Oct. 19, rage boiled over in cities and towns throughout the country. A two-day general strike saw hundreds of thousands demonstrating against measures demanded by the European Union and [=>]

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Class enemies in union clothing

November 27, 2011

Workshop Talks
by Htun Lin

The spreading Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has gripped the attention of the country. Some signs in these tent cities say “Occupy Everything!” The police continue to look for leaders while city leaders try to figure out a way to remove the tent cities.

The California Nurses Association (CNA) declared its support for [=>]

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Readers’ Views, September-October 2011

October 7, 2011

From the September-October 2011 issue of News & Letters:

Readers’ Views

Contents:

  • REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION: ARAB SPRING AS CROSSROADS IN HISTORY
  • KARL MARX AND WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
  • REMEMBERING CHRISTINA SANTIAGO
  • THELONIOUS MONK
  • CANADA AS ‘CONTESTATAIRE’ SOCIETY
  • MAN-MADE DISASTERS: NUCLEAR POWER AND WORLD WAR
  • LABOR STRUGGLES IN 2011
  • WHY WRITE FOR N&L?
  • VOICES FROM BEHIND THE BARS

REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION: ARAB SPRING AS CROSSROADS IN HISTORY

The West supports any revolution where they [=>]

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Permanent army of the unemployed

October 3, 2011

Detroit–The unemployment crisis is reaching far into the future. Whereas many government and private economists have been predicting that the economy will pick up in the next quarter or the next year, new reports conclude that in 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, it will take at least a decade to regain employment lost since the 2008 [=>]

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Car wash workers unionizing

October 2, 2011

Editor’s note: On Aug. 6, 15 young Mexican workers and student activists picketed the Robertson Car Wash for seven hours in support of low-wage immigrant car wash workers. They again picketed on Aug. 14, along with additional students from the AFL-CIO Union Summer program.

Of the very few drivers who came to have their cars washed, [=>]

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Workshop Talks: ER certainties: death and co-pays

September 23, 2011

by Htun Lin

A patient shows up in the emergency room, expecting care, and wanting to be seen by a doctor. But the gulf between the patient’s expectations and the reality of HMO practice is right out of “The Twilight Zone.”

Even before the patient gets to see the doctor, a healthcare worker like me walks in [=>]

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World in View: Malawi crackdown

September 20, 2011

by Gerry Emmett

Protests against deteriorating economic conditions, fuel shortages and government repression were met with brutal force by authorities in Malawi on June 20-21. Police fired on large crowds in a number of cities, attacking with tear gas, and forcing protest leaders into hiding. At least 19 people were killed in two days of clashes [=>]

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From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya: Deep recession, rate of profit and the supreme commodity, labor power

September 12, 2011

From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya

Editor’s note: Written in the midst of the last double-dip recession in the U.S., the piece excerpted here was originally titled, “In the U.S. and globally: deep recession, military buildup and the pulling apart of political alliances.” It was published as the lead article in the April 1982 N&L.

The depth of [=>]

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Political spectacles cannot hide reality of deranged capitalism

September 11, 2011

by Ron Kelch

At the end of a months-long political spectacle in Washington–manufactured over irrelevancies concerning what should have been a routine raising of the national debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline–reality struck with a bombshell: the anemic “jobless” recovery in the U.S. has stalled. The economy is getting worse and there is no solution [=>]

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New September-October 2011 issue of News & Letters now available online

September 10, 2011

News & Letters, Vol. 56, No. 5
September-October 2011

Lead

Political spectacles cannot hide reality of deranged capitalism

At the end of a months-long political spectacle in Washington–manufactured over irrelevancies concerning what should have been a routine raising of the national debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline–reality struck with a bombshell: the anemic “jobless” recovery in the U.S. [=>]

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July -August 2011 Readers’ Views

September 2, 2011

From the July-August 2011 issue of News & Letters:

Readers’ Views

Contents:

  • AS REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKE WORLD STAGE
  • CHINESE ART PROJECT
  • HEALTHCARE IN 2011
  • NEW RIGHT=OLD LEFT?
  • FREEDOM RIDES, 50 YEARS AFTER
  • WOMEN’S LIBERATION SPEAKS IN MANY VOICES
  • BURMA AND NORTH KOREA
  • FIGHTING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
  • VOICES FROM BEHIND THE BARS

AS REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKE WORLD STAGE

Congratulations on a fine May-June issue. Thanks especially for [=>]

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Stand up, Chicago!

August 16, 2011

Chicago–Thousands of people rallied on June 14 under the banner, “Give It Back!” Three separate marches downtown, each led by a 12-foot-tall “corporate welfare king” puppet, met up outside a Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce summit. Then 24 people sat down in the street and were arrested. There were contingents of teachers, healthcare workers, janitors, anti-eviction [=>]

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What UAW workers must take back

August 12, 2011

Detroit–Many challenges face the rank-and-file auto workers as the stage is being set for auto contract negotiations in July. Their future is not promising, despite the rhetoric of United Auto Workers union President Bob King that emphasizes the restoration of benefits lost through contract concessions and the General Motors (GM) and Chrysler bankruptcies.

The losses began [=>]

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Haymarket martyrs

August 11, 2011

Forest Park, Ill.–Over 1,000 people gathered on May Day in Waldheim (Forest Home) Cemetery at the Haymarket Martyrs Monument to witness its rededication on the 125th anniversary of Haymarket. It memorializes eight radicals that capitalist sham justice convicted for the bomb at Haymarket Square in Chicago on May 4, 1886, during a workers’ protest over [=>]

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Workshop Talks: Life-and-death questions

July 27, 2011

by Htun Lin

When the popular game show Jeopardy featured IBM’s “Watson,” a computer, Watson won against the best human players. For capitalists this was not just entertainment, but serious business–a way to replace masses of workers.

As Christopher Caldwell of the Financial Times put it: “If you get paid to answer questions in a structured context, it is [=>]

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Lift campus wages!

June 13, 2011

Memphis, Tenn.–On April 8, over 75 students, faculty, and staff members of the University of Memphis came out in support of a living wage for campus workers. Some workers have been employed at the university for more than 15 years, and they have not seen a raise in over four years.

The custodial staff only makes [=>]

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Making teachers mad

June 10, 2011

Los Angeles–In the school district where I work, they have cut two hours per day from the non-teaching staff. It affects insurance for employees with a family. A security worker told me, “I lose $700 per month.” Teachers are losing six furlough days per year, and step increases are frozen. That is in an economy [=>]

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World in View: China clamps down

May 26, 2011

State security forces in China have widened their crackdown on public dissent begun Feb. 17 after online calls for a “jasmine revolution” in China on the model of Tunisia and Egypt. Because calls for anti-government demonstrations each Sunday had originated outside China, in the U.S., the authorities used that as a pretext for ferreting out [=>]

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Remember Ssangyong

May 22, 2011

It has been two years since the management of Ssangyong Motor Company in Pyongtaek, South Korea, announced layoffs of 1,000 workers. Shortly thereafter, those workers occupied their plant and held it for 77 days, from May to August 2009, when they finally succumbed to a massive police and army assault.

In the aftermath, many militants were [=>]

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Workshop Talks: Air safety pinned on isolated controllers

May 17, 2011

by Htun Lin

Threatening to fire every air traffic controller who has been “sleeping on the job,” Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said, “We will not sleep” until this problem is solved. It’s easy to vilify ordinary workers. The truth is, those who control the conditions of work, like LaHood, are really the ones who have [=>]

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Militant labor and corporate attacks

May 15, 2011

Detroit–A new militant spirit in labor is now coming into play, sparked by the militant struggle against the onslaught of Wisconsin unionized public workers. This opposition is re-energizing the union movement and producing new leaders who are expressing their opposition to their own union leaders and their concessionary mentality. There is positive promise in these [=>]

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The wars at home

May 8, 2011

From the new issue of NEWS & LETTERS, May-June 2011

Part II of

Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2012
Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage

Contents:

  • I. The Arab Spring
  • II. The wars at home
  • III. Japan: earthquake, tsunami and meltdown
  • IV. Revolution, organization and philosophy
  • V. Marxist-Humanist Tasks

(Part I was posted yesterday.  Parts III through V to come in the next few days)

II. The [=>]

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The Arab Spring

May 7, 2011

From the new issue of NEWS & LETTERS, May-June 2011

Part I of

Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2012
Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage

This special issue carries our Draft Perspectives Thesis, part of our preparation for the national gathering of News and Letters Committees. We publish it because our age is in such total crisis, facing a choice between [=>]

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May-June 2011 issue of News & Letters is available online

May 6, 2011

News & Letters, Vol. 56, No. 3
May-June 2011

Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2011

Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage

Revolution and counter-revolution have forced their way to the center stage of history. In Tunisia and Egypt, revolutions have opened tremendous possibilities and spread the fire of their passion all across the Arab world and from China to the [=>]

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NYC pro-union rallies

April 12, 2011

New York–There have been union rallies here and throughout the state every day to protest the unionbusting legislation in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio as well as the anti-union budget proposals put forth by New York City Mayor Bloomberg and New York Governor Cuomo. These budget proposals would lead to renegotiating pensions, gutting seniority rights and layoffs of [=>]

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Teachers’ real value

April 11, 2011

New York–Politicians are clamoring to get rid of the tenure system for K12 public school teachers. They claim tenure makes it impossible to fire teachers, even those known to have abused students. The real motivation is financial: tenured teachers earning maximum salaries and benefits “cost” districts more than recent hires.

Many people assume that senior teachers [=>]

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Michigan support rally

April 7, 2011

Lansing, Mich.–It was a dreary, overcast, cold day at the Capitol building here on Feb. 26 when over 2,000 came from all over the state to show solidarity with workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Driving in from Detroit, one could pick out those heading for the rally by the bumper stickers on their cars.

The sound [=>]

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Readers’ Views (March-April 2011)

April 2, 2011

THE MIDDLE EAST EXPLODES: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER?

The Middle East events are bringing lots of people to talk about 1979 as well as the 2009 movements in Iran. I appreciated Raha’s essay in the Jan.-Feb. issue, Philosophy and Iran’s revolution: Where to now? because it raises the question of what could go wrong right now in [=>]

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Nurses demand safety

April 1, 2011

Editor’s note: On Jan. 19, after months of inaction regarding the murder of Donna Gross at Napa State Hospital, the workers held a rally. Below we print excerpts from the talks.

Napa, Calif.–As graduating medical students we took an Oath of Hippocrates, with a special obligation not to do harm. Now I am asking the state [=>]

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Solidarity with Mexican miners

March 31, 2011

Chicago–Black, Latino and Anglo workers here showed solidarity with workers in Mexico on Feb. 19, the fifth anniversary of the Pasta de Conchos mine disaster in Mexico. Over 100 people came out, mostly steelworkers, joined by Jobs with Justice, Arise Chicago Worker Center, and News and Letters.

In recent years the National Union of Mine, Metal, [=>]

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Workshop Talks: Rank-and-file workers will have their say

March 27, 2011

by Htun Lin

All eyes are on the massive worker protests in Madison, Wisconsin, against Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to totally bust public sector unions by stripping them of collective bargaining rights. Many pundits say this is a power grab to hurt Democrats, but the demonstrations have brought out something much deeper that speaks to all [=>]

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Triangle fire centennial

March 26, 2011

March 25, 2011, marks the centennial of the Triangle Waist Company factory fire where 149 workers, most of them young Jewish immigrant women, jumped to their death from a ten-story building. The fire doors were locked to keep the women from stealing a bit of cloth or thread; the building had no fire escapes, and [=>]

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In-person report: Wisconsin at front line of class war

March 23, 2011

Madison, Wisc.–Day after day, tens of thousands of people–and over 100,000 on Feb. 26–have taken to the streets around the Wisconsin State Capitol building. They filled the Capitol rotunda with protest signs and rallies for over a week. As you walk towards the Capitol you can hear loud chanting and drum playing spilling out of [=>]

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Corporate assaults on workers and women

March 20, 2011

Editorial:

As the national assault against the working class in the U.S. increases, most openly evidenced by the orchestrated attacks aimed at destroying public employees’ unions, workers and their unions are challenging these vicious attacks. The most blatant attack, by Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin–who introduced legislation to eliminate the right of public worker unions [=>]

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Revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya shake world order

March 18, 2011

Across the Maghreb and Middle East there have been demonstrations and uprisings, from Bahrain to Algeria to Morocco, Sudan to Yemen to Iran. The revolts have included some of the lowest and deepest layers of the oppressed people and have seen the ruling classes of the world tremble.

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‘Waiting for Superman’ review

March 3, 2011

New York City–The controversial film “Waiting For Superman” started with the premise that U.S. public schools are broken. It blamed the teachers’ unions and tenure, and demonized the President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten. The film ignored the facts. It held up Finland as a model but failed to mention that  Finland’s public schools are much [=>]

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Mexico: Betrayal in electrical workers union

February 27, 2011

Mexico City–In October 2009, Mexican President Felipe Calderón ordered the destruction of the publicly owned City Light and Power Company, and with it the destruction of the union. The union members, men and women, were informed only by watching television, where we heard that troops would stealthily be occupying our workplaces.

I had been working with [=>]

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