Archive | December, 2005

  • My Vote Goes to the NYC Transit Workers!

    The MTA and the Governor Forced This Strike: Call and Tell Them That You Support Workers! Why is the strike on? The MTA and Governor Pataki came in at the last minute with a take-it-or-leave-it 10 year 4% pay cut for all future hires. They risked your livelihood and the whole NYC economy over a […]

  • CNN’s Mounting Slanders against Latin American Democracy

    As Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explain in Manufacturing Consent, which stories do and do not receive coverage in the commercially-dominated U.S. news media can be very accurately predicted based on whether or not they can pass through five institutional “filters.”  To make it onto the air, a story has to have these five qualities: […]

  • Two Decades at Ryerson Freaking Steel

      A young man by the name of Erik Hartmann graduated from Evergreen Park Community High School in Evergreen Park, Illinois in June of 1976 without having a clue of what to do beyond that. He had played sports in all four of his high school years and was quite the physical specimen. He was […]

  • US Pensions: Capitalist Disaster

    The US pension systems for workers are now widespread disasters.  Many corporations and many cities and states lack the money to pay all the benefits they have promised and legally owe to present and future retirees.  Estimates of the shortfall range around $450 billion in the private sector plus at least another $300 billion in […]

  • Understanding Hugo Chávez

    Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution: Hugo Chávez Talks to Marta Harnecker, trans. Chesa Boudin (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2005) 203 pages, $15.95 paperback. UNDERSTANDING THE VENEZUELAN REVOLUTION: Hugo Chávez Talks to Marta Harnecker (Trans. Chesa Boudin)BUY THIS BOOK Who is this guy who refuses to be intimidated by Bush and his legions of mercenaries and […]

  • At My Job

      We do not have coffee break at my work. No one yells, “Break time!” to remind you to stop for a minute. We do not sit together on flipped, five-gallon paint buckets. And no one shares homemade cookies, made by someone back home who makes working worth something. We do not have lunch break, […]

  • Have Yourself a Merry I.F. Stone Day: A New December 24 Holiday

    “Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.” — I.F. Stone Photo by Keith Jenkins/Burnt Pixel December 24 is I.F. Stone‘s birthday (he would have been 98).  His journalistic example is about as good a reason as any to celebrate. Born Isador Feinstein, the incomparable I.F. Stone served as an […]

  • True Belligerence or Belligerent Bluster? Tel Aviv and Tehran Go at It Again

    In recent weeks, the battle of words between Tel Aviv and Tehran has reached ever more heated levels.  On December 8, 2005, the populist and fundamentalist president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, questioned the truth of the Nazi holocaust and suggested that Israel be moved to Europe.  These comments were made in the wake of previous […]

  • Rising Tensions on the Rails

    The threatened New York City Transit strike is just the latest sign of a growing labor-management confrontation across the US railroad system. While the workers of Transit Workers Union 100 battle off attacks on their pensions and health care, Bush Administration hirelings on the Amtrak Board prepare to launch an assault on the national passenger […]

  • Unsustainable Dialogues

    Teaching a “race and cultural minorities” class this semester, I discovered that the not-so-new idea of “dialogue”1 as the main means to resolve racial and ethnic conflicts that exist on and off American campuses is as alive as ever.  A sign of this is the excited enthusiasm that an idea called “Sustained Dialogues” has generated […]

  • Blind Man with a Pistol: The Evolution of the Modern Police State as Seen by Prison Authors

    “What started it?” “A blind man with a pistol.” “That don’t make sense.” “Sure don’t.” — Chester Himes Minorities and most poor people in the inner cities have always lived with the knowledge that (for them at least) the forces of unlawful suppression and misuse of power far too often masqueraded as the forces of […]

  • What Drugs Were THEY Taking?!

    They can call it a free market, but it’s clearly not free. As for a market, who needs 200 brands of cereal — or 47 prescription drug plans?  As my mother-in-law Ruth and I discovered, when it comes to the new drug benefit, more choice is a lot less than it’s cracked up to be.  […]

  • Reports from the Front: Three Reporters and the Iraqi Resistance

    I just finished reading a US news account of the third day of former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein’s trial in Baghdad.  Like almost every bit of news coming out of Iraq, this account showed the prejudices of the reporters and editors of the periodical that it appeared in.  In this instance, that meant that Saddam […]

  • The German Left: Another Step towards Unity

    There was virtually untroubled joy in September, when the new “Left,” consisting of two cooperating parties, received 4.2 million votes, 8.7 percent of the total, enabling it to send the unprecedented number of 54 representatives to the Bundestag. But the road to unity of the two had many bumps to overcome, and the weekend congress […]

  • Why I Wrote Another Check for MRZine — and Why You Should, Too

    Unless you did it already, it’s time for you to send a check to support MRZine — just like I am doing for the second time this month.  I’m not sending a gigantic amount, because that check would bounce and you shouldn’t do that sort of thing to people you like.  So I sent $25 […]

  • Labor Rights: If Unions Won’t Fight for Them, Then What Good Are Unions?

    On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney pointed out that “[f]or all practical purposes, Americans have lost the freedom to form unions.”  Accordingly, the AFL-CIO and its allies engaged in a series of protests and rallies in over 100 cities across the country (as well as in eight countries around the […]

  • An Interview with Lila Rajiva

    THE LANGUAGE OF EMPIRE: Abu Ghraib and the American Media by Lila RajivaREAD EXCERPTBUY THIS BOOK Baltimore resident Lila Rajiva is the author of The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the American Media (Monthly Review Press, 2005).  She has taught at the University of Maryland and is a prolific freelance journalist, whose work can […]

  • Murrow, McCarthy, and Me

    The Edward R. Murrow movie Good Night, and Good Luck reminded me of one of my most unpleasant — but gutsy, I guess — moments in life. As a newly elected Selectman of Weston, Connecticut, I worried about the growing influence of Mr. McCarthy, his Communist witch-hunt, and kept wishing I had some clout to […]

  • Economic Inequality and US Politics

    Over the last twenty-five years, economic inequality in the US grew. As the gap between haves and have-nots worsened, social injustices and tensions increased. As usual, politicians in power have devised projects and campaigns designed to distract attention from these realities. Opposition politicians wonder whether they dare attack growing inequality and champion programs for less […]

  • Never Again: Ending the Death Penalty, with Tookie in the Lead

    Stan Tookie Williams is dead.  Long live Stan Tookie Williams. It is a common saying on the Left that, after a devastating defeat like the one we suffered in the wee hours of this morning, we should organize, not mourn. I never had the honor of meeting Tookie Williams.  As I fought to save his […]