In 1936 at a public confrontation with the philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, the Fascist commander of the Spanish Legion, José Millán-Astray reportedly responded: "¡Muera la inteligencia! ¡Viva la Muerte! ("Death to intelligence! Long live death!") provoking applause from the Falangists.
Surely these words took on an ominous relevance when we heard howling at the Republican primary debates — people howling their approval of Texas’s high number of executions and of the notion that the uninsured should be left to die. Dark, ugly times.
In face of all this fear and hatred, our authors — and we think our readers — continue, like Sisyphus, to struggle, to push the enormous rock uphill. Writing his Myth of Sisyphus during France’s darkest hour, when it had collapsed in 1940, Camus believed Sisyphus was cheerful. "Being aware of one’s life, one’s revolt, one’s freedom, and to the maximum, is living, and to the maximum" (tr. Justin O’Brien, Vintage, 1955). For Helen Keller, to struggle against injustice was "to escape a misery worse than any physical deprivation."
Sisyphus was doomed. But recent events — the Arab spring, the Wisconsin uprising, and the Occupy movement, to name three — suggest that our struggle, unlike Sisyphus’, is not hopeless. If our authors in this issue have one common theme it is that of struggle. From New Zealand to Russia to Ireland to Mexico and to the United States, they have articulated this struggle with clarity and power. We are deeply indebted to Ravi Malhotra and Dan La Botz for organizing our two special sections, the former on Disability Rights, the latter on Occupy and Labor.
Marvin and Betty
N.B. We have just learned that the New England War Tax Resistance has again awarded us a grant. We are honored to be recognized by these courageous men and women.
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New Politics welcomes three new
members to the editorial board