Archive | January, 2010

  • Oregon Counters Massachusetts

    The stunning win of a Republican novice in the Massachusetts Senate race to replace Ted Kennedy is well known.  It is being interpreted as a sign of Obama’s fading popularity and also as a sign that the US electorate wants more right-of-center policy.  To show the flaw in thinking that right-wing answers to the economic […]

  • The Making of Japan’s New Working Class: “Freeters” and the Progression from Middle School to the Labor Market

      This article is a modified and developed version of a chapter from Social Class in Contemporary Japan: Structures, Socialization and Strategies, edited by Ishida Hiroshi and David H. Slater, Routledge, 2009.  For a brief outline of the book’s arguments, please see <>. Introduction: The “New Working Class” of Urban Japan Tomo was a first-year […]

  • Bonapartism in Everyday Life: Robert B. Parker RIP

    The world of the Black Mask Boys was always slightly supercilious and more than a little self-satisfied.  Their descendants often degenerated into dime-store Freudianism (Ross Macdonald) or facile passages of second-hand Götterdämmerung (Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder novels, for instance.)  The P.I. genre’s decades of longueurs happily led to a counter-reformation best seen in the novels […]

  • From the “Iraq Liberation Act” to an “Iran Liberation Act”?

    As we noted yesterday, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass has attracted considerable attention with an opinion piece in Newsweek entitled “Enough is Enough: Why We Can No Longer Remain on the Sidelines in the Struggle for Regime Change in Iran.”  As we reflected on Richard’s arguments, we recalled another high-profile piece of policy […]

  • Iranian Academics and Activists in Support of Mousavi’s 17th Statement

    Mir Hossein Mousavi’s 17th statement can be considered his most influential in the seven months since the green movement was born.  After its release, prominent political figures, groups, and organizations in Iran reviewed and evaluated its content from their own angles and highlighted various aspects of it. The signatories of this statement — who desire […]

  • From Realism to Regime Change: Questioning Richard Haass

      Richard Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, has attracted considerable notice with an opinion piece out now in Newsweek arguing that “the United States, European governments, and others should shift their Iran policy toward increasing the prospects for political change” in the Islamic Republic — in sum, that the United States […]

  • On the 27th of January, All Out to the Mega-March of the Resistance in Tegucigalpa

    On the 27th of January, all women and men . . . come and break down the wall of oppression! The mega-march of the Resistance of Francisco Morazán, El Paraíso, Valle, Choluteca, Intibucá, Comayagua, and Olancho will march from the National Pedagogical University to the Plaza Francisco Morazán. We need everyone to bring large and […]

  • Oskar Lafontaine and the Troubled German Left

    While German politicians stared at the calendar, wondering nervously what the May 9th elections will bring in the biggest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, with its 18 million people, media attention suddenly switched to a personal drama within the party called Die Linke (The Left).  A few years ago this party or its predecessors were getting laughed […]

  • Revolution within the Revolution in Venezuela

      In 1999, under newly elected President Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan people were given a rare opportunity: to participate in the writing of what would become arguably the world’s most radical constitution.  The result of an extensive constitutional process and an assembly voted on by Venezuelan citizens contrasts with the United States constitution, one created […]

  • Can We Ever Get Equal Care for All?

    Can we ever get equal care for all?  We can’t — at least, not by going down dead-end roads. A year ago hope was alive for equal health care for all.  Bush was defeated, and the Democrats won control of both houses of Congress.  Throughout 2009, though, every week brought a slap across the face […]

  • Hugo Chavez Did Not Accuse the U.S. of Causing the Haitian Earthquake

      On January 19, Spanish newspaper ABC, a newspaper of record in Spain, published a story entitled “Chavez Accuses US of Causing Earthquake in Haiti.” The story was quickly picked up by websites around the globe — most quoting Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as saying the U.S. used a new tectonic weapon to induce the […]

  • Chavez Supporters and Opposition Rally in Venezuela on Anniversary of Overthrow of Dictator

    In politically polarized Venezuela, both supporters and opponents of President Hugo Chavez marched peacefully in the capital, Caracas, on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the civic-military uprising that overthrew US-backed dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez on January 23, 1958. Addressing tens of thousands of red-clad supporters in O’Leary Plaza, in western Caracas, Chavez used the […]

  • Haiti and the “Devil’s Curse”

      Peter Hallward: The role that journalists tend to be comfortable with when it comes to talking about Haiti is the role of victim.  If you ask why the Haitians are so poor . . . it has to do with three factors, all of which are functions really of Haiti’s independence and the strength […]

  • Should Climate Activists Support Limits on Immigration?

    Immigrants to the developed world have frequently been blamed for unemployment, crime, and other social ills.  Attempts to reduce or block immigration have been justified as necessary measures to protect “our way of life” from alien influences. Today, some environmentalists go farther, arguing that sharp cuts in immigration are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions […]

  • Venezuela’s Currency Adjustment: Necessary, But Is It Socialist?

    There is little doubt, even among some opposition leaders (who normally oppose just about anything the government does), that the recent currency adjustment of the bolivar was economically necessary.  It is a matter of basic math to realize that if inflation averaged 22% between 2005 and 2009 and each bolivar thereby lost about 72% of […]

  • Got Oil?

    “The Yankees expect to send 20,000 troops to Haiti.” “Unbelievable.  Could it be that they found oil in Haiti?” Alfredo Martirena Hernández was born in 1965 in Santa Clara, Cuba.  This cartoon was published by Rebelión on 23 January 2010.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at] | | Print

  • Iran: Should the Greens Be Waiting for Economic Collapse?

    One often hears proclamations, or perhaps hopes, that the success of the Green Movement is linked to the decline of the Iranian economy.  The logic is that an economic collapse would bring informal workers, bazaar merchants, wealthy businessmen, once comfortable pensioner widows, perhaps even Afghan migrants, all into the streets along with the current membership […]

  • Securing Disaster in Haiti

    Nine days after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010, it’s now clear that the initial phase of the U.S.-led relief operation has conformed to the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more general course of the island’s recent history.  It has adopted military priorities and strategies.  It has sidelined Haiti’s […]

  • Is a New Chip Fab Plant Fabulous for Workers?

    Good 21st-century jobs will be built on the basis of high-tech computer-based industries — this is a narrative that we have been told many times in the corporate press. The construction of a new computer chip fabrication plant just north of the Capital District of upstate New York by GlobalFoundries is touted by the business […]

  • We Send Doctors, Not Soldiers

    In my Reflection of January 14, two days after the catastrophe in Haiti, which destroyed that neighboring sister nation, I wrote: “In the area of healthcare and others the Haitian people has received the cooperation of Cuba, even though this is a small and blockaded country.  Approximately 400 doctors and healthcare workers are helping the Haitian […]