Archive | December, 2005

  • Which Wolf Will You Feed in 2006?

    “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This statement (made by Dubya in September 2001) has been mocked by just about anyone to the left of Genghis Khan, but in 2005, I came to realize how often we all slip into that mentality . . . myself very much included. For […]

  • In Search of Metoro: Women, Youth, and Labor in Japan

    Only last year, Honda’s humanoid robot, Asimo, was learning how to walk. Now, the five-year-old droid is ready to take on simple office work, greet visitors and fetch refreshments. Japan’s third-biggest auto manufacturer introduced Tuesday a second-generation Asimo that can also push a cart weighing up to 22 pounds, and walk straight, sideways or backwards […]

  • Clinton Jencks, Legendary Labor Organizer, Dies

    Clinton Jencks, from Salt of the Earth Legendary labor organizer Clinton Jencks, who led mineworkers in New Mexico in a strike depicted in the classic movie Salt of the Earth, died Dec. 15 in San Diego of natural causes.  He was 87. An international representative of the Amalgamated Bayard District Union of Mine, Mill, and […]

  • Hymn for a Brave New World

      When the polar bears are drowning and the salmon cross the street And late summer’s on the non-existent breeze; When the yellow clouds are frowning and the snow is always sleet And there’s only five of what were Seven Seas; When it’s ninety in December at the Arctic Circle’s edge And the birds are […]

  • What’s Ahead in 2006 on the Political Action Front?

    It won’t be a very happy New Year for working people in 2006 . . . at least until November. For working people, the coming year promises to be loaded with danger on the political action front.  Many political battles remain unfinished from 2005, with President Bush and his Republican Congressional majority determined to continue […]

  • What I Learned from the NYC Transit Strike

    Watching the New York City transit strike from my perch in upstate New York was both exhilarating and frustrating.  I felt a swell of pride as the TWU 100 members struck, refusing to “sell out the unborn.”  Finally a union took a stand against this nefarious tactic that so many unions had resorted to. At […]

  • The Architecture of Dreamworld 3: Going Postal

    Michael Steinberg, “The Architecture of Dreamworld 1: Like a Sex Machine” (31 October 2005); “The Architecture of Dreamworld 2: The Disarming Reflex” (17 November 2005) Hollywood has been declining for all of its history. The experts were writing off the medium in 1918. Audiences were probably grumbling that they no longer made films the way […]

  • Contraindications: A Review of Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz’s Blood on the Border

    To many of us in the United States, the US contra war against the Nicaraguan government in the 1980s seems like very long ago.  Since the CIA-manufactured defeat of the revolutionary government in Managua — a defeat engineered through mercenary war, media manipulations, CIA and Special Forces covert ops, drug-running and arms smuggling by people […]

  • Sleepless Night

    They thought I was asleep That night they took my brother away No dream I could keep With tears flooding my face He said I could be redeemed Showed me how change takes place Gave me a reason to believe That love forgives mistakes And they thought I was asleep When they took him away […]

  • “Damage Control”: The Corporate Media’s Service to the Empire

    In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky posit that the “‘societal purpose’ of the media is to inculcate and defend the economic, social, and political agenda of privileged groups that dominate the domestic society and the state” (p. 298).1  Lately, however, the media has been taking […]

  • Bowling Alley

      Michael D. Yates, “Revelation” (29 October 2005); and “Mobilization” (13 November 2005) It was a mid-Sunday afternoon in late Winter.  We had just finished our match, and I was disappointed with my poor performance.  For some reason I could not prevent my left wrist from turning over when I released my bowling bowl, and […]

  • A Children’s Song for Our Times

    Santa came riding a tank Riding a tank came he With cannon guns and beating drums With soldiers, jeeps and marching feet Santa came riding a tank Riding a tank came he Who brings gifts on a tank? What gifts do tanks bring? Ask the children  of Iraq They know And now so do we […]

  • Note to Health Care Reform Activists: Public Employee Health Benefits to Evaporate

    According to two recent articles, one in the New York Times and one in the Wall Street Journal, the federal Governmental Accounting Standards Board has begun to require municipalities — states, counties, cities — to account for how much it will cost them to provide all the health care promised to present and retired public […]

  • Killing the Dark Bodies: Execution as Market Sustainability & State Redemption

      From: Sam <> Subject: Re: The Soul of Money Date: December 13, 2005 11:40:11 AM CST To: Lisa Arrastía<>Good morning, chica, Mom and Marty hosted a brunch fundraiser for “Death Penalty Focus” on Sunday, which was uplifting. Mike Farrell (Captain B.J. Hunnicut of M.A.S.H. fame) spoke at the fundraiser. He’s a long time death […]

  • The Social Meaning of Pensions

    MANUFACTURING DISCONTENT: The Trap of Individualism in Corporate Society by Michael PerelmanBUY THIS BOOK Pensions offer a wonderful example of the perverse phenomenon of the corporate sector winning support by taking actions that harm individuals.  Between 1979 and 1997, the share of employees with defined benefit plans — i.e., plans that promise a specific level […]

  • Did Jesus Accept Poverty?

    Figuring out new ways to remind ordinary people of the nature and logic of power in this world has — rightly so — become a topic of greatly heightened concern on the left.  Events continue to show us the disastrous results of losing so many of our natural allies to the spreading quicksand of religious […]

  • Mangal Pandey: The Rising: Articulating the Nation?

    Aarti Wani, “A Dream and a Nightmare” (30 August 2005); and “Three Films and a Nation” (22 October 2005) Ketan Mehta‘s Mangal Pandey: The Rising was four years in the making before it was released this August with the hype normal to any mainstream Hindi cinema.  Barring a few exceptions, the film received good reviews […]

  • Seattle Votes for a Right to Health Care

    Measure No. 1, as it appeared on the ballot: Advisory ballot measure No. 1 concerns the right to health care. If approved, the measure would advise the mayor and the city council that every person in the US should have an equal right to quality health care, and that Congress should implement that right.  The […]

  • Beyond Nickels and Dimes: Transit Strike Is Our Strike

    It was just last week, at a party in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, when I railed drunk that the chance of a strike was “zero.”  I ranted about the sell-out union leaderships and their habits of business unionism. I joked about Transit Workers Union Local 100 leader Roger Toussaint and the sorry path that even earnest […]

  • From a US Resistance Primer: A Conversation with Randy Rowland

    Randy Rowland I just got off the phone with Randy Rowland in Seattle.  For those readers who don’t know, Randy was a a GI resister and a member of the Presidio 27 — one of the first acts of GI resistance to the Vietnam War. When I spoke with him, Randy had just returned from […]