New Politics Vol. XIII No. 2, Whole Number 50

Why We Publish

Letters, Seth Farber, George Fish, Steven Saxonberg, Betty Reid Mandell

Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Statement on Iran

THE ELECTIONS

  • From “Hope” to Hopeless: The Democrats’ Debacle, Lance Selfa
  • Rip It Up and Start Again, Chris Maisano
  • A Socialist Campaign in Ohio, Dan La Botz

After 50 years: Has Landrum-Griffin Been Good or Bad for Unions?, Herman Benson

What Is Union Democracy?, Robert Fitch

“We Want To Be Heard”, Robert Joe Stout

Public Sector Workers and the Crisis, Barry Finger

The Jobs Crisis: How to Solve It and Begin to Fix Our Broken Economy, Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg and Marguerite Rosenthal

Fields of Battle, Fields of Play, Bill Littlefield

Co-opted, Bhaskar Sunkara

1937/38 in the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party, Mike Wood

The Soul of Man Under . . . Anarchism?, Kristian Williams

The Popular Front, a Social and Political Tragedy: The Case of France, Dan La Botz

Savior in the Desert, Interview with Lois Martin, Barbara Schram

BOOK REVIEWS

  • Michael Hirsch, Remembrance of Politics Past, rev. of Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22, a Memoir

  • G. M. Goshgarian, Genocide Denial Light, rev. of Ece Temelkuran, Deep Mountain

  • Paul Buhle, The Health Workers’ Struggle, rev. of Cal Winslow, Labor’s Civil War in California and Paul Krehbiel, Shades of Justice, a Memoir

  • Michael Wreszin, An Intellectual Publisher or a Successful Huckster?, rev. of Alan Brinkley, The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century

  • Steven Colatrella, Is It a Dream or a Lie If It Doesn’t Come True (or is it something worse)? rev. of Jefferson Cowie, Stayin’ Alive

  • Michael Löwy, Marx and the Non-Western World, rev. of Kevin B. Anderson, Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies

  • Betty Reid Mandell, The Crime of Poverty, rev. of Loic Wacquant, Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity

  • Reginald Wilson, Fate of a Champion, rev. of Wil Haygood, Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson

WORDS AND PICTURES

  • Kent Worcester, Portrait of a Misfit, as seen in the art of Daniel Clowes

In this issue:

Why We Publish

By: newpolitics

New Politics is an independent socialist forum for dialogue and debate on the left.

End the War Threats and Sanctions Program Against Iran; Support the Struggle for Democracy Inside Iran

By:

We, the undersigned, oppose the U.S.-led campaign to impose harsher sanctions on Iran, and the ongoing threat of war against that country. Despite Washington’s claims, its policy is clearly not animated by a genuine concern for protecting the world from the threat of nuclear war; otherwise how could Washington support such nuclear-armed states as India, Israel, and Pakistan, or maintain its own huge nuclear arsenal? Nor is U.S. policy driven by the goal of defending democracy.

From "Hope" to Hopeless: The Democrats’ Debacle

By:

For more than a year, it had been obvious that the Democrats would face a debacle at the polls on November 2. And they did. In the largest congressional midterm landslide since 1938, the Republicans captured more than 60 seats, ending the four-year Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

Rip It Up and Start Again

By:

The curious thing about the 2010 midterm elections is that their results were totally unsurprising and highly illuminating at the same time. They were unsurprising because they confirmed what we all expected would happen. The voters who propelled Democrats to power in the two previous elections in 2006 and 2008 stayed home. Voters dissatisfied with the status quo turned out in droves to support the party out of power as the economy plunged into its worst crisis since the Great Depression.

Landrum-Griffin Act at 50: Has It Been Good or Bad for Unions?

By:

As soon as I acquired the hefty 2005 edition of The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, I lugged it onto the coffee table and opened to its comments on two fascinating cases: Marbury v. Madison and the Dred Scott decision.

What Is Union Democracy?

By:

I’d like to begin by asking a question that has probably occurred to you already: How come despite the biggest economic downturn since the 1930s, and not withstanding the Obama victory which was supposed to have created a center-left realignment, American public opinion has veered to the Right; not the Left? Why have middle class and some working class people been attracted to the Tea Party; not towards progressive organizations; or towards organized labor?

"We Want To Be Heard!"

By:

Uniformed agents of Mexico’s Federal Investigative Agency (AFI for its initials in Spanish) yanked three inmates out of their cells in the minimum-security state prison at Ixcotel, Oaxaca in November, 2008 and transported them to San Bartola Coyotepec, another Oaxaca state prison, for "interrogation." One of the three inmates, Victor Hugo Martínez, told activist friends that the federal investigators beat him and threatened to "make your family pay" if he didn’t confess in full to crimes of which he’

Public Sector Workers and the Crisis

By:

Workers are in no way responsible for the economic crisis of capitalism. This would be or at least should seem to be obvious to socialists. Noncontroversial as it may now be, this has not always been the case. There have been socialists — quite outspoken in their time — who had attributed past turndowns to a profit-squeeze triggered by cumulative decades of militant wage demands.

The Jobs Crisis: How to Solve It and Begin to Fix Our Broken Economy

By: ,

The United States has an ongoing jobs crisis that has been crippling our people and our economy for nearly two years. In September 2010, 14.8 million people were officially unemployed, 15.7 million were either forced to work part-time or were jobless and no longer looking for work and another 16.3 million were the working poor. Thus, almost 47 million people were afflicted by unemployment or underemployment (see table 1). Moreover, the numbers multiply when the families of the unemployed are included.

Co-opted?

By:

Venezuela, a moderately prosperous nation with rosy relations with both the United States and global capital, was an unlikely setting for a socialist renaissance. The 1998 election of Hugo Chávez appeared to be nothing more than a parliamentary victory for a bombastic social democrat, surprising but hardly epochal.

The Soul of Man Under . . .Anarchism?

By:

The title of Oscar Wilde’s essay "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" has long perplexed readers, especially anarchists who rightly feel that the essay belongs in their canon rather than that of the Marxists, the Fabians, or the Labour Party.[1]

The Popular Front, A Social and Political Tragedy: The Case of France

By:

Decades since the spring of 1934 when the Communists first proposed the Popular Front as their strategy for fighting fascism and even longer since the summer of 1939 when it was suddenly terminated by the Hitler-Stalin Pact, the Popular Front—the alliance of the Communists with Socialists, liberals, and even sometimes conservative political parties—remains an issue for the left.

Savior in the Desert: Interview with Lois Martin

By: ,

[This interview was originally published in New Politics no 50, Winter 2011, and posted online at that time. This substantially revised version is being posted Nov. 21, 2011.]

Interview with Lois Martin, Volunteer Worker for immigrant support groups on the Arizona/Mexico border (October, 2010)

review

Remembrance of Politics Past

By:

If the purpose of a memoir is to tell the story of a life or the evolution of an individual’s thinking, this one by Christopher Hitchens, the jowly, balding erstwhile enfant terrible doesn’t ring true. There’s no metamorphosis in thinking here — it’s more a whipsawing of opinion if not a trading up. And despite a heavy lathering of opinions, there’s precious little of his adult life as lived.

review

Genocide Denial Light

By:

In a sober, balanced sketch of the history and historiography of the 1915 Armenian genocide included in a two-part article on Turkey published in the London Review of Books in September 2008, Perry Anderson notes that the perpetrators’ academic defenders have largely abandoned a discredited strategy of blanket denial for one of minimization or relativization, now increasingly discredited in its turn.

review

The Health Workers’ Struggle . . . and the Story of One Rank and Filer

By:

Labor’s Civil War in California
Cal Winslow
Oakland: PM Press, 2010, 115pp, $12
Shades of Justice: A Memoir
Paul Krehbiel
Altadena, CA: Autumn Leaf Press,
2008, 422pp, $19.95

review

An Intellectual Publisher or a Successful Huckster?

By:

"The Eisenhower years have been years of flabbiness and self satisfaction and gross materialism . .. . The loudest sound has been the oink and grunt of private hoggishness. . . . It has been the age of the slob."

William Shannon, New York Times writer quoted by
Richard Rovere in The American Scholar, Spring, 1962

review

Is a Dream a Lie if it Doesn’t Come True (or is it something worse)?

By:

Let me begin with a confession: While the 1980s are a blur to me, I recall the 1970s with a crispness and precision that has led me ever since to replaying the mental tape of those years, trying to understand how things ended up as they did.

review

Marx and the non-Western World

By:

This truly path-breaking book goes against the grain of the conventional wisdom which reduces Marx to an Eurocentric and economistic thinker; as Douglas Kellner comments, Kevin Anderson shows that Marx “is the sophisticated and original theorist of history some might not have ever expected him to be.” Analyzing a variety of Marx’s writings, including his journalistic work written for the New York Daily Tribune as well as unpublished material on non-European societies, it brings to the fore a global theorist whose soci

review

The Crime of Poverty

By:

Loïc Wacquant has expanded the theory of the neoliberal state beyond the usual economic definition. He has linked the criminal justice system with the welfare system as two parts of the same policy of enforcing conformity to an unstable job market of temporary, part-time, low-paid, and flexible employment. Other criminal justice scholars and welfare scholars have analyzed these as separate spheres. While they have seen both as repressive, they have not seen them as interconnected.

review

Fate of a Champion

By:

It used to be said that if you walked down any street in a black neighborhood during a Joe Louis fight you would not miss a word of the broadcast because every radio in every house would be tuned to the same station … and turned up loud. A few years later, the same thing could be said about a Sugar Ray Robinson fight. Sugar Ray and Joe Louis dominated their respective divisions for nearly three decades.

letter

Chomsky on Anarchism

By: newpolitics

George Fish’s review of Chomsky on Anarchism does not serve Chomsky well at all. While Mr. Fish gives a picturesque description of many of the essays in the book there is no indication that he seriously wrestled with Chomsky’s ideas on anarchism, socialism, the Russian revolution, the roots of totalitarianism, the vanguard party — the big ideas that Chomsky addresses.

letter

Chomsky and Anarchism: Reply

By: newpolitics

Seth Farber’s response to my “Chomsky, Anarchism, and Socialism” (Summer 2010 New Politics) places a very heavy burden on what is a book review, not a major study of Chomsky’s political thought. As such, I believe it does exactly what a book review should: give a basic outline of the book being reviewed, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and indicate to the reader why the reviewer recommends or does not recommend reading the book.

letter

Family Policies in Post-Communist Nations

By: newpolitics

I think that Betty Reid Mandell made some interesting points in her discussion (in New Politics, Summer 2008, Vol. XII, No. 1, Whole # 45), but she has some misconceptions.

letter

Family Policies in Post-Communist Nations: Reply

By: newpolitics

In response to Saxonberg:

There is such widespread ignorance about communism and socialism that I think it is important to call those countries Stalinist rather than Communist or state socialist.

A Socialist Campaign in Ohio

By:

The Dan La Botz Socialist for Senate Campaign in Ohio in 2010 was one of the most successful socialist electoral campaigns in more than 60 years. The 25,000 votes cast for La Botz compare favorably with earlier Socialist Party candidacies in Ohio, with other socialist parties, and with reformist parties to the left of the Democrats. The La Botz campaign, in fact, compares favorably with all Socialist, Communist and Socialist Workers Party and other leftist party campaigns since the heyday of socialism. Only Eugene V.

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