Geography Archives: Americas

  • Completing Marx’s Project: An Interview with Michael A. Lebowitz

      Michael A. Lebowitz, the author of Beyond Capital: Marx’s Political Economy of the Working Class, argues that Capital, taken alone, is one-sided, given Marx’s intention to also write a book on wage-labor.  The incompleteness of Marx’s work has helped produce a left whose theory is distorted and characterized by economism and programmatic narrowness.  I […]

  • Workers’ Rights ARE Human Rights — Not Just in the USA, but around the World

    Click on the image for a larger view. Chicago, 2005 In the middle of a blizzard in Chicago on December 8, 2005, I stood with about 250-300 union members and supporters at the Haymarket Memorial, chanting, “Workers’ Rights Are Human Rights.”  This was one of a number of rallies around the country that the AFL-CIO […]

  • Remembering Clint Jencks (March 1, 1918 – December 15, 2005)

    I met Clint Jencks in about 1959 when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley.  He was getting his Ph.D. and was the teaching assistant in economics for our section.  I knew of his history and was honored to get to know him.  We spent many hours together talking about labor history and his own life.  […]

  • King’s “Revolution in Values” Revisited

      I. A Brooklyn federal court in March 2005 dismissed a civil suit filed on behalf of millions of Vietnamese against U.S. chemical companies charged with war crimes for having supplied the military with Agent Orange. The dismissal was on technical grounds, not on its merits; the contention that the chemical defoliants used during the […]

  • South Africa: An Odd Model for Bolivia

    It’s odd that Bolivian president elect Evo Morales should have chosen South Africa as his first port of call in drumming up international support ahead of his January 22 presidential inauguration.  In a televised speech during his recent visit to South Africa, Morales said he wanted to “learn from South Africa’s experience of nation-building.”  But […]

  • Through a Capitalist Looking-Glass:Standard and Poor’s Rates Latin America

    Capitalism always stays focused on the bottom line — profit — but occasionally finds more than it is looking for.  Such is the case with Standard and Poor’s recent research report, “Credit FAQ: The Impact of the Rise of the Left on Latin American Sovereign Ratings” (17 January 2006).  While doing research to update the […]

  • Dismantling the Central American Gangs and Recovering a Lost Generation

    Guatemala City, Guatemala Carlos, my driver, was a former federal policeman.  He weighed a good two hundred pounds and was well over six feet.  He was assigned to me by a local businessman whom I knew in Guatemala City after I explained that I wanted to visit some areas where I could see gang activity.  […]

  • Powerful Evasion

    While it isn’t literally true that Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned (the violin wasn’t invented yet), he did build himself a glorious new palace atop the ashes.  And he was one of the prime suspects in the great arson of 64 a.d.  According the Roman historian Suetonius, “under cover of displeasure at the ugliness […]

  • Pom Poko

    In the past few years, Hayao Miyazaki has finally achieved recognition in the United States as a great filmmaker. Thanks to a deal between his Studio Ghibli and Disney, all of his films will be available in new, uncut English language DVDs; the New York premiere of his latest work, Howl’s Moving Castle, was the […]

  • Unity — In Memory of Rosa Luxemburg

    There was a subtle difference in both groups this year — many said they noticed it. As in every year, tens of thousands of Germans visited the Memorial Site of the Socialists in an eastern section of Berlin and placed red carnations at the tall memorial stone honoring Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, or the […]

  • Target: IranHere We Go Again

    Since quoting Marx makes a writer appear both more educated and more serious, I figured I’d start this piece about Iran with a bit of Marxism . . . from Duck Soup. Ambassador Trentino: “I am willing to do anything to prevent this war.” President Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho): “It’s too late.  I’ve already paid […]

  • A Union Is Not a “Movement”(19 November 1977)

      [The Los Angeles Times recently ran a series of investigative articles by Miriam Pawel on the problems of the United Farm Workers:  “Farmworkers Reap Little as Union Strays From Its Roots” (8 January 2006); “Linked Charities Bank on the Chavez Name” (9 January 2006); “Decisions of Long Ago Shape the Union Today” (10 January […]

  • Their Truth Is Marching On

    Martin Luther King, Jr., arrested on 3 September1958, outside the Montgomery courthouse. Photo by Charles Moore. It’s Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthday and, for the first time since 1977, I am remembering the man and his life in a town below the Mason-Dixon line.  At the library I work, Blacks were denied entrance.  Denied the […]

  • Naming The System

      Most of us grew up thinking that the United States was a strong but humble nation, that involved itself in world affairs only reluctantly, that respected the integrity of other nations and other systems, and that engaged in wars only as a last resort. This was a nation with no large standing army, with […]

  • SDS: Why Now (Again)?

    It is fascinating for me to think about SDS. In fact, it’s downright compulsory. I am gathering stories and pictures, trying to weave them into a script for an artist to make into a visual (or comic-book) history, mostly “from the bottom up,” i.e., the chapter standpoint. Sometimes the national leaders were good, sometimes they […]

  • Liberating Truth, Understanding Illusions: An Interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

    Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is no armchair theorist.  She was and is on the front lines of struggles for social justice at home and abroad.  An acclaimed author, Dunbar-Ortiz is also a professor of ethnic studies at California State University, Hayward.  Her substantial body of work includes Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the […]

  • Fifteen Years of War — And Who’s Better Off?

    “I’ve told the American people before that this will not be another Vietnam, and I repeat this here tonight. . . . I’m hopeful that this fighting will not go on for long and that casualties will be held to an absolute minimum. This is an historic moment. We have in this past year made […]

  • Cuba and Venezuela: A Bolivarian Partnership

      José Martí and Simón Bolívar, two of Latin America’s most respected independence fighters, recognized nearly a century ago that their homelands would never be free of imperial domination, until Latin America came together in solidarity as a united force. Martí and Bolívar’s insights remain relevant in the age of neo-liberal globalization.  The colonizers of […]

  • Books about Yesterday’s Activism for Activists of Tomorrow

    Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines, eds. “Takin’ It to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader, Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 533 pages. Max Elbaum. Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che. London: Verso, 2002. 370 pages, including index. Barry Sheppard. The Party, A Political Memoir, The Socialist Workers […]

  • Bolivia’s Trial by Fire

    The Social Movements and the State Among the presidential candidates that ran in the December election, Evo Morales has the broadest ties to the country’s social movements. However, he has played limited roles in the popular uprisings of recent years. During the height of the gas war in 2003, when massive mobilizations were organized to […]