New Politics Vol. XIV No. 1, Whole Number 53

From The Editors


Symposium: Disability Rights

  • Overview, Ravi Malhotra
  • Disability Policy in New Zealand, Chris J. Ford
  • What Was the Question? Race and Disability in Gramsci’s “The Southern Question,” Anne Finger
  • Legacy of Exploitation, Jihan Abbas
  • Expendable Necessities? Cuts to Personal Assistance, Rachel Garaghty

Special Section: Occupy and Labor

  • Introduction, Dan La Botz
  • Occupy Oakland and the Labor Movement, Bill Balderston
  • Occupy-Labor Partnership in Chicago, Susan Dirr
  • Zuccotti at Work, Amy Muldoon

Learning From David Montgomery, Peter Rachleff

Some Lessons of 1989’s East European Revolutions, Joanne Landy

Getting Serious About Class Dynamics, William Tabb

Mobs, Vigilantes, Cops, & Feds: The Repression of SNCC, 1960-1973, Martin Oppenheimer

Why the Tea Party?, Charles Post

Joe Hill Revisited, Jose Colina

Occupy Wall Street: Composers and the Plutocracy, John Halle

Interview with Jefferson Cowie, Craig Hughes and Ben Holtzman

Means-Testing: Shredding the Safety Net, Betty Reid Mandell

The Return of the Russian Revolution, Alexei Gusev

U.S. Economic Imperialism & Resistance From the Global South, Francis Shor

Ireland: Still Up Recession Creek Without a Paddle, Lily Murphy

Infectious Disease, Robert Joe Stout

Book Reviews

  • Charles Post, Rev. of Samuel Farber, Cuba Since the Revolution of 1959
  • Peter Drucker, Rev. of In the Steps of Rosa Luxemburg: Selected Writings of Paul Levi
  • Stephen R. Shalom, Rev. of Lawrence Wittner, Working for Peace and Justice
  • Michael Hirsch, Rev. of Jane Latour, Sisters in the Brotherhood
  • Michael Wreszin, Rev. of Gregory Summers, Unstuck In Time and of Charles Shields, And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life
  • Dan La Botz, Rev. of José CaRlos Mariátegui: An Anthology, Ed. and Trans. by Harry E. Vanden and Marc Becker
  • Michael Löaut;wy, Rev. of S. Sandor John, Bolivia’s Radical Tradition

Words and Pictures

Paul Buhle, Robin Hood, with Illustrations by Chris Hutchinson, Garry Dunn, and Sharon Rudahl

In this issue:

From the Editors

By: ,

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.

Disability Rights Symposium: Introduction


All too often, socialists, like others, have regarded disability as a personal tragedy. Left publications rarely discuss it or debate it and activism by people with disabilities has been ignored by the left, notwithstanding the fact that Americans with disabilities are among the most marginalized of citizens in terms of income level and poverty rates.

Antonio Gramsci's South … or … Some Aspects of the Disability Question


When Antonio Gramsci gave his maiden speech in Parliament in May of 1925, many of the other deputies left their seats and thronged around him in order to hear the faint voice coming from his compressed chest.

A Legacy of Exploitation: Intellectual disability, unpaid labor, & disability services


     While employment issues have always been an important aspect of disability policy, a focus on paid and formal employment has meant that the experience of many working-age adults with intellectual disabilities has been overlooked. Many erroneously believe the historic absence of persons with intellectual disabilities in the workplace is evidence that persons with intellectual disabilities cannot or do not work.

Expendable Necessities?: Cutting Essential Care for People with Disabilities in Minnesota


On October 26, 2011, legislation that would lower the wages of caregivers who provide personal assistance services to their disabled family members was ruled unconstitutional by a Minnesota judge.

Disability politics in a time of capitalist crisis: could history repeat itself?


A recent article in the British Observer by Ian Birrell discussed an ominous development that has historical connotations. “The demonization of the disabled is a sign of the times” outlined how more and more British disabled people are being increasingly subjected to bullying and hate crime.[1]

Occupy and Labor: Introduction


Labor unions have traditionally claimed to speak for the American working class. Occupy claims to speak for the 99%, for the working class and then some. The claim by both the unions and Occupy to speak for working people simultaneously lays the basis for cooperation and sets the stage for conflict. The two forces could not be more different.

Occupy Oakland and the Labor Movement


The relationship between the Occupy movement and segments of organized labor, in their varied institutional and ideological forms, has been a source of much speculation on the left. While there have been strong linkages created in other cities such as New York, many see this interaction as most focused in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley) of California. This article is a personal account of the growing dialogue between the labor movement and the Occupy organizing as seen by someone heavily involved in attempting to build these linkages.

Zuccotti at Work: Daydreams of a Rank and Filer


There isn’t a working person alive today who hasn’t idly fantasized about taking control of their lives at work. For many, this is probably just a fantasy about tossing their boss out a window or poisoning their coffee, but others have a more expansive vision of challenging the system of control that gives you an arrogant, unqualified stooge to squeeze the life out of you in the first place.

Learning From David Montgomery: Worker, Historian, Activist


On December 4, 2011, the labor movement, the left, the academy, and the historical profession lost a leader and friend.

Some Lessons of 1989’s East European Revolutions: Reflections of a U.S. Peace Activist


In the 1980s, the U.S.-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy/East and West was deeply involved in the struggle for "détente from below." CPD/EW collaborated with the European Nuclear Disarmament network to build solidarity and mutual support between, on the one hand, peace groups and progressive trade unionists in the West and, on the other hand, the democratic movements in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Getting Serious About Class Dynamics: Culture, Politics and Class


Labor historians have detailed how the structure of the workplace, the cultural aspects of community, and spatial patterning all impact class consciousness. From coal mining that paradigmatically has the workers living in the hollow and the bosses on the hill to the ethnic enclaves of steel town where different nationality/ethnic groups each occupied their own distinct neighborhoods with taverns, union halls and churches, socialization matters.

Mobs, Vigilantes, Cops, and Feds: The Repression of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee


The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, or "Snick") came out of the sit-in movement that began on Feb. 1, 1960 in Greensboro, N.C. Its founding convention was at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. April 15-17 that year. 200-plus-delegates representing student civil rights organizations at 52 colleges and high schools attended.

Why the Tea Party?


     The anti-capitalist left in the United States and around the world faces a paradox. A mere five years ago, the world capitalist economy entered a new long period of falling profits, stagnant accumulation, and growing long-term un (and under-) employment. The 2007-8 financial crisis threatened a wave of bankruptcies across the capitalist world that seemed to herald a collapse of major sectors of industry and finance.

Joe Hill Revisited


Dance among the standing cars,
Each suit will blow his horn…
Let’s make them doubt the system
To which they were lately born.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road for the Indefinite Future: An Interview with Jefferson Cowie

By: ,

Jefferson Cowie is Associate Professor of History at Cornell University and a leading scholar of labor and class in the United States.

Means-testing: Shredding the Safety Net


Means-testing benefits that everyone is entitled to receive has become popular with conservatives these days. Conservatives have called for means-testing unemployment benefits, Medicare, and Social Security.

The Return of the Russian Revolution: Nature of and Perspectives on the Wave of Social Protest in Russia


"Every generation needs a new revolution"
Thomas Jefferson

"The most dangerous thing is to create a system of permanent revolution."
Vladimir Putin

U.S. Economic Imperialism and Resistance from the Global South: A Prelude to OWS


It is generally agreed that Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was a response to decades of economic inequality in the United States. However, to focus only on the national dynamics of U.S. capitalism is to neglect the global role of U.S. economic imperialism since the 1970s and the resistance that developed in the global South to specific instances of that economic imperialism. This paper will consider how imperialist policies promoted by U.S. sponsored agencies and activities engaged in by U.S. corporations’ elicited acts of resistance.

Ireland: Still Up Recession Creek Without a Paddle


On December 6th 1921 the Anglo-Irish treaty was signed. It was an agreement between Britain and Ireland to end the Irish war of independence and create peace on the war ravaged island of Ireland, but the main clause of the treaty was that six counties of the north of Ireland would remain under British rule while the remaining twenty-six counties could enjoy limited freedom as a self governing dominion of the British empire.

Infectious Disease


"According to information supplied by members of the military high command in 1994, President Salinas already had given orders for a massive military move into Chiapas to root out and destroy the insurgents, but was dissuaded by the United States Embassy and some of his own governmental advisors because Subcomandante Marcos had become a charismatic figure worldwide and Mexico could not afford the negative publicity that crushing the movement would create.


Is Cuba Different?


Since the 1930s, most of the international left has defined their "socialism" not as the uncompromising defense of working class self-organization and self-activity, but as the uncritical support of one or another regime that claimed to be "socialist." Whether they idealized the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Albania, or North Korea, most socialists have placed the defense of their particular "socialist fatherland" above the needs of working people at home and abroad.


Paul Levi: A Luxemburgist Alternative?


The economic crisis and the rise of Occupy have given fresh urgency to the question: is there an alternative to capitalism? And if so, what? For almost a century now the failure of the Russian Revolution has provided capitalism’s defenders with a boogeyman, an argument that any attempt to get rid of the existing system will lead to something even worse.


An Intellectual Activist


Various realist political pundits have suggested — only half-jokingly — that the Nobel Peace Prize should be given to the atomic bomb, since in their view it was nuclear deterrence that prevented the Cold War from turning into a world war.[1] But historian Lawrence S.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Tradeswomen Tell Their Survival Stories


A sociologist tired of—if not ill-suited for—academic life and one of that generation of proper New Leftists committed to organizing or reorganizing the industrial proletariat as a necessary prelude to the much anticipated Red revolution, I hired in at a Midwestern steel mill in late summer of 1977.


The Lives of Billy Pilgrim, Kilgore Trout, and Eliot Rosewater by Way of Kurt Vonnegut


Charles J. Shield’s biography offers a detailed life of the writer, his strengths and weaknesses, both as an author and a person. The major thrust of the Shields biography is to present Kurt Vonnegut as two different people, the writer and the private person. A nephew told the biographer:


Latin American Marxist: José Carlos Mariátegui


While most English speakers don’t know him, the Peruvian José Carlos Mariátegui ranks as one of the great Marxists of the twentieth century. It was Mariátegui who originally asked the question which seems so relevant today: How does one make socialism in Latin America with Indians? He answered by turning the question around in the other direction: Indians in Latin America will be at the center of the fight for socialism in Latin America.


Seventy Years of Bolivian Radicalism


This remarkable piece of militant history, based on interviews, as well as leaflets, letters, manifestos, dug out of public archives and private collections, from the heights of La Paz to the outskirts of Paris, deals with the Bolivian labor movement, the most persistent and combative in the Western Hemisphere. Bolivia is one of the very poorest countries of the Americas, and also the most Indian: 2/3 of the population describes itself as indigenous.

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