Archive | Commentary

  • The Left: Big Winner in the German Elections

    The elections in Germany ended in almost total confusion, and forming a ruling coalition will be almost as tough as squaring the circle, but some things are clear.  The antisocial policies of the main government party, the Social Democratic Party of Gerhard Schroeder, were punished severely by angry voters. But so was the major opposition […]

  • The Flood This Time

    [PU – Washington, DC] In what some are calling an exceptionally “natural” natural disaster, the White House and the Capitol Building were hit by a massive, Category 5 hurricane last week, and washed completely away. While the rest of the nation’s capital remains relatively intact, thousands of U.S. Senators, Representatives, and government officials have been […]

  • New Bargaining Strategies? USWA and the New Economy

      The new economy has placed a variety of pressures on collective bargaining in Canada. These pressures should, in the first instance, be understood in the context of long-term Canadian economic under-performance. Lower growth and productivity performance than the US, combined with higher unemployment, has placed extensive labor market pressures on wages in Canada since […]

  • Lords of War: Arming the World

    “I hope they kill each other . . . too bad they both can’t lose.” — Nobel laureate Henry Kissinger (on the U.S. arming both sides of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s) “Do not support dictators. Do not sell them weapons.” — Nobel laureate Jose Ramos Horta, East Timorese peace negotiator It’s not every […]

  • John Roberts, Stare Decisis, and the Return of Lochner: An Impetus to Jump-Start the Labor Movement

      There are some things we take for granted, some things that seem so natural we forget that they were the result of long, hard struggle: the forty-hour work week, weekends off, the abolition of child labor, worker safety laws, and the right to collective bargaining — to name a few. But as John Roberts […]

  • Saving the Future

    Though in my university days I was no more of a party person than I am now, I had friends with other tastes. Visiting one on a morning many years ago, I found him blearily looking for traces of furniture amid the mess he and some others had generated through a long night. “I feel […]

  • The “Urban Renewal” Scam for New Orleans

    The old “urban renewal” scam is being born again in New Orleans. A hurricane, a flood, and a botched government response have combined to make the miracle possible. One of New Orleans’ wealthy elite told Christopher Cooper of the Wall Street Journal (“Old-Line Families Escape Worst of Flood and Plot the Future,” 8 September 2005): […]

  • “Peace” in Palestine

    The Western version of “peace” is overrated. The West would have us believe that Israel made the ultimate sacrifice by “disengaging” from the Gaza Strip, putting “the ball in the Palestinian court.” But let’s look at the facts. Yes, Israel removed 8,500 settlers and is dismantling their military posts in Gaza. Israel, however, still controls […]

  • South Korea: The State of Political Struggle

    The post-crisis trajectory of the South Korean economy has been a disaster for working people there, and South Korean labor and left movements are engaged in a very difficult struggle to roll back the ongoing neoliberal restructuring.  In this essay I discuss some of the challenges these movements face.  I do so because workers and […]

  • Waiting to Be Paid

      [What follows is an essay written in response to Michael D. Yates’ call for essays on work. — Ed.] I have a number of jobs. I homeschool a special needs child, I work part-time in a cat shelter, and I work part-time in our family business, a solo CPA practice. My husband works about […]

  • US Labor Leaders:

    As one considers developments in and around the main currents of the US labor movement — the recent split in the AFL-CIO, and the reaction of both sides of the split to the ongoing strike by AMFA against Northwest Airlines, most particularly — it is difficult not to get discouraged by lack of leadership. Let […]

  • The Marketing Front:

    In the year 2004, U.S. corporations made $1.2 trillion in profits. If all U.S. corporations were to donate their profits for one single month, their donation would cover the entire $100 billion cost of rebuilding New Orleans. Of course, no such pledge is forthcoming. Corporate donations to hurricane relief stand at a paltry $409 million. […]

  • New Orleans:

      The world watched as people of New Orleans were herded into the Superdome, only to find themselves in a wretched and unsanitary place with no food, water, or proper medical care. Those in areas of high flooding fled to their rooftops, begging rescue helicopters to airlift them to safety. Many died trapped in their […]

  • Counting the after-math

    People penned to die in our instant concentration camps, just add water, bodies pushed to the side. Thirst hurts worse than hunger. It swells your brain against your skull. it sandpapers your gut from within. But hunger too makes people mad. Shoot the looters who are grabbing from flooded stores survival for hours more. Baby […]

  • Padilla v Hanft: A Very Dangerous Decision

    Today’s decision in Padilla v Hanft is bad news, though exactly how bad it is will depend on what the Supreme Court does with it — and who’s on that court. The long and the short of it is that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of the government to hold even […]

  • “We Went into the Mall and Began ‘Looting'”: A Letter on Race, Class, and Surviving the Hurricane

      [Peter Berkowitz is a long-time Monthly Review subscriber. He was in New Orleans bringing his son Ernesto to begin his freshman year at Loyola when they were caught in the hurricane. Peter and Ernesto spent five days on the street by the Convention Center. Below is a letter Peter sent to his mother upon […]

  • Neoliberalism, the New Social Darwinism, and New Orleans

    Numerous critics have noted the current administration’s lack of effective response to the New Orleans catastrophe and explained it merely in terms of incompetence and callousness. Something more fundamental, deeper than Katrina’s storm surge, is at play here, however. The administration’s “response,” especially regarding the poor (predominantly people of color) who lacked the wherewithal to […]

  • John Wayne and the New Orleans Indians

    “The cavalry is coming!” announced a reporter on the Fox News Channel when National Guardsmen finally trooped into downtown New Orleans on the fourth day of apocalypse. I said to myself, “There they go again, racist Fox News.” I switched channels and found reporters and government officials repeating the same phrase: “The cavalry has arrived.” […]

  • Paul Buhle Seeks SDS Graphics and Memoirs

    Paul Buhle, a distinguished historian, is scripting a graphic history (in comic art form) of Students for a Democratic Society. He welcomes visual contributions to it and also memoirs of SDS experiences. Potential contributors should contact Buhle at . He may be also reached at Department of American Civilization, Box 1892, Brown University, 82 Waterman […]

  • New Orleans Black Community Leaders Charge Racism in Government Neglect of Hurricane Survivors

    A national alliance of black community leaders will announce the formation of a New Orleans People’s Committee to demand a decision-making role in the short-term care of hurricane survivors and long-term rebuilding of New Orleans. Community Labor United (CLU), a New Orleans coalition of labor and community activists, has put out a call to activists […]