Issue: Summer 2008

New Politics Vol. XII No. 1, Whole Number 45

New Politics Vol. XII No. 1, Whole Number 45

From a Co-Editor, Marvin Mandell
* Horseracing, Desnee Flakes * Reply to Flakes, Martin Oppenheimer * Reply to Oppenheimer, Desnee Flakes (web only) * Alternatives for U.S. Unions, Kim Moody * A Reply to Kim Moody, Manfred . . .

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Family Policies in Post-Communist Nations

THE COUNTRIES THAT CLAIMED TO BE Communist also claimed to meet the needs of their families. What happened to those claims when the countries became capitalist? The fall 2007 issue of Social Politics seeks to answer that question. It analyzes family policies of Russia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia. Some social welfare scholars have created a typology of welfare states in relation to the “family wage” ideology, i.e., male breadwinner and woman homemaker.

Symposium on Gays and the Left (Part I)

Thomas Harrison and Joanne Landy


Albert Shanker: Ruthless Neo-Con

WITH PUBLIC EDUCATION, teacher unions and classroom teachers under one of the most severe attacks in history by corporate funded think tanks, education profiteers, self-proclaimed pundits, and politicians from both parties, along comes a hagiography of Albert Shanker by Richard Kahlenberg, to add to the drumbeat.


Requiem for a Nation

RANDALL ROBINSON HAS WRITTEN a searing, unforgiving expose of the forcible abduction, in February, 2004, of the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and the consequent deepening wretchedness of its citizens. But he does more than that. In just 270 pages of text, he depicts Haiti from the triumph of the slave revolution in 1804 to the installation of Rene Garcia Preval as president in May, 2006, while thousands of the dissident black population shouted their displeasure and could be heard outside the gates of the presidential palace during the inauguration.

Queer Reflections

LET ME USE MY SPACE in part simply as memory, reflections by a homosexual whose sexual orientation, at 78, is academic.

Left-Wing Homosexuality: Emancipation, Sexual Liberation, and Identity Politics

Socialism without fucking is dull and lifeless.

— The heroine, WR: The Mysteries of the Organism,
a 1971 film directed by Dusan Makavejev.

Gay Leftie Seeks Straight Friends

THE PRESENCE ON MANY CAMPUSES of a significant number of liberals ("Of course gay people are entitled to the full rights of citizenship") proved critical in allowing lesbian and gay studies to gain a toehold. But as I kept discovering, unpleasantly, a willingness to grant us basic rights wasn't remotely the equivalent of actually wanting to know about our lives — let alone of believing that our distinctive perspectives might have anything of importance to say to them.

Can the Left Ignore Gay Liberation?

THE JESUITS TRAINED ME WELL. My high school speech and debate coach taught me how to speak in complete paragraphs and to construct what he described as a "seamless" argument. Many years later, a close friend and fellow historian used the same word in reference to my historical writing. He described one of my books as a "seamless" narrative. Well, that skill, if I have it, has eluded me as I've tried to compose my contribution to this discussion. So, instead, I offer a series of disconnected, but I hope relevant, observations.

Keeping the Communist Party Straight, 1940s-1980s

GROWING UP IN A COMMUNIST FAMILY and in Communist circles in New York City in the late 1940s and 1950s sexuality of any kind was never discussed, ever, in any context, for any reason. I am not laying claim to any kind of universal experience in saying this; I am only commenting on the absence of discussion in my own experience.

Socialism and Sex

THE GROWTH OF SOCIALISM in the United States has been hampered by the lack of imagination of the leaders of socialist thought. The appeal of the socialist has always been to the future, with a paradisiacal vision of economic plentitude and true democratic freedom. That is — the level of appeal has been a mixture of economic and social goods and leisure in a milieu of democratic-liberal sentiment. This has been good but not good enough.

On Socialism and Sex: An Introduction

PREFATORY NOTE: While researching a book on African-Americans and the anti-Stalinist left in the archives last summer, I stumbled across a striking and long-forgotten document, "Socialism and Sex," in a 1952 discussion bulletin, The Young Socialist. In one page, its author H. L. Small — almost surely a pseudonym — provided an elegant, concise exposition on behalf of destigmatizing consensual sexuality between same-sex lovers.

We Can Do It! The Case for Single Payer National Health Insurance

[Ed. Note: This is a chapter in a forthcoming book Ten Excellent Reasons for National Health Insurance, eds., Mary O'Brien, M.D. and Martha Livingston, Ph.D. (New Press).]
THE TIME HAS COME for single payer National Health Insurance in the United States. We have excellent hospitals, skilled practitioners, the technological infrastructure — and we're already spending enough money to insure everyone and to improve access to care for many who are covered today by inadequate plans. All we need is the political will.

Neoliberalism, Teachers, and Teaching: Understanding the Assault

TEACHERS IN EVERY PART OF THE WORLD are in the forefront of the struggle to ensure that children receive an education — whether in U.S. cities, the mountains of Chavez's Venezuela, in civil war-torn Nepal, in Europe's towns and countryside, or in the refugee camps of Sudan. In prosperous nations, identified by global justice activists as the global north, teachers' wages, their voice in policy, and the quality of their working conditions have been reduced.

Stealing Our Schools

THE FEDERAL "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" law is in trouble. Critics and supporters alike predict that it will not be reauthorized in this legislative year. A growing chorus of voices from the grassroots and from major national organizations is calling for an overhaul of the law or even scrapping it altogether. Many teachers and parents hope that a newly elected Administration next year will examine the damage being done by the current law and take steps to change it.

The United States in the Middle East The Evolution of Its Israeli Policy

In 2007, the United States has no foreign policy involvement greater and more significant than its military presence in Iraq. And in 2007, the United States has no closer ally and co-actor on the world scene than Israel. The relationship is arguably closer than the vaunted U.S.- British link. Neither an involvement of the United States in the Middle East nor the close links the United States has forged with Israel have always been the prevailing policy. On the contrary, both current realities are the outcome of a long and sinuous trajectory.



[Note: The first two letters below appear in New Politics no. 45. Further correspondence is available on the web only. Additional comments are welcome; please submit to the editors.]