Issue number: 43

Whole Number: 43

New Politics Vol. XI No. 3, Whole Number 43

From the Editors, Marvin Mandell and Betty Reid Mandell
Iraq: Democrats to the Fore, Barry Finger
* Hidden Slaves, Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
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Marx's Mixed Legacy: Anti-Semitism and Socialism

HOW HAVE MARXIST THEORISTS and activists, Socialist parties and Communist States understood Anti-Semitism? How did they confront the rise of fascism in Germany? Spanning the period between The Communist Manifesto and the fall of the Berlin Wall, German historian Mario Kessler’s On Anti-Semitism and Socialism examines the relationship to Jews, and to anti-Semitism, of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Leon Trotsky, other individual Marxists, and various political parties in Germany and the Soviet Union.

Revolutionary Unionism: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

THERE IS A CONSENSUS among democratic socialists today that the struggle for deep social change has to somehow reflect the kind of society we want to build, but this remains inseparable from the questions of power, political strength and effectiveness because prefiguration goes beyond the "pure" ethical sphere to include wider issues of ideological/cultural, political and socio-economic hegemony. The revolutionary syndicalist answer to the problem of integral prefiguration represents a specific and important historical (and contemporary) synthesis.

The Return of Limits

"Nature has a habit of returning with a pitchfork" — Francis Bacon

NEAR THE BEGINNING of Voltaire's satirical classic Candide, the protagonist is told by his learned mentor Dr. Pangloss that he lives in the best of all possible worlds. No sooner has Candide absorbed this nugget of life-defining wisdom than he is booted out of the manor in which he has been living, conscripted into an army, and exposed to the clarifying rigors of a gore-filled modern battlefield.

Visiting Raúl Castro's Cuba

ON JULY 31, 2006, THE CUBAN government announced that due to a serious illness, the nature of which was declared a state secret, Fidel Castro was stepping aside as the head of state. His younger brother Raúl, officially designated as his successor since the early days of the 1959 Revolution, was "temporarily" replacing the commander-in-chief. Raúl is reputed to be more pragmatic and a better organizer and administrator than his older brother.

Finland Is Soft on Crime

AS PRESSURE GROWS in Canada to adopt the American justice model of harsh prisons and long sentences, Finland has saved millions and prevented centuries of human misery doing the opposite. HAMEENLINNA, Finland — In a classroom thick with wigs, sinks and barber chairs, a man sprays water through a woman's sudsy hair and works his fingers carefully to rinse the shampoo. Standing in front of a large mirror, another man brushes and sprays a woman's hair. Two others discuss styling techniques. It could be a scene from any community college, but for the bars on the windows.

Homeless Shelters: A Feeble Response to Homelessness

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE SOMEONE to say to you, "Come with me into the bathroom? I want to watch you pee into this paper cup to see if you have been taking drugs." That is what is happening in some shelters for homeless families in Massachusetts. Steve Valero, a lawyer at Greater Boston Legal Services, is indignant about this and has been telling shelters that it is an illegal practice. Some shelter directors claim they had no idea it was illegal. They thought it would be better to have all residents tested for drugs rather than singling out one person.

The Immigrant Rights Movement: Between Political Realism and Social Idealism

MILLIONS OF IMMIGRANTS took to the streets between March and May of 2006 in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and dozens of other U.S. cities in the largest social and political demonstrations in American history. As the immigrants left work or school to join the marches, in some areas the protests, dominated by Latino workers, had the effect of a general strike, shutting down local businesses and blocking traffic in the centers of major cities.

Iraq: The Democrats to the Fore

IN HIS BRILLIANT SATIRE of the plight of the Palestinians as a captured nation, Emile Habiby introduced Saeed, the ill fated pessoptimist. His beleaguered hero explained his inability to differentiate between optimism and pessimism in this way: "When I awake each morning I thank the Lord he did not take my soul at night. If harm befalls me during the day, I thank Him that it was no worse. So which am I, a pessimist or an optimist?" In an analogous way, the Democratic Party, choking in the grip of power politics, has in short order revealed itself the ill fated pranti-war party.