Karen lee Wald
A Phrasebook Guide
NATO's War on Libya
Abbas's New Gambit
Women of Corn
The CIA Returns to Campus
Native Eskimos Fight for Lost Land
Mexico's Indignados Have Had It
The Jobs Crisis
Revolts in Syria
Omar s. Dahl
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
The Beach Beneath the Streets and Other New Releases
The Beach Beneath the Streets:
By Benjamin Shepard and Greg Smithsimon
Excelsior Editions, 2011, 246 pp.
Review by Camille Goodison
A curious person witnessing the Arab Spring revolts of early 2011 and the riots in Europe this past summer, may have wondered why things are so peaceful here in the States where growing poverty trends, crushing personal debt, and instances of high youth unemployment are as bad as in other parts of the world. With youth unemployment through the roof, a lost generation is likely, as was seen in
Since the crisis began, there have been protests in the mid-west over collective bargaining rights and, in other parts of the country, there have been people willing to express their disgust over the Bush-era tax cuts which have contributed to the crisis. We’ve heard of citizens occupying the state house in
Benjamin Shepard and Greg Smithsimon, City University of New York professors (of Human Services and Sociology, respectively) provide some clues as to how we ended up in this situation in the first place and how outraged citizens have found ways of working against such corporate-backed state repression. One of the things that stand out from reading this book is how necessary it is for activists, or any concerned citizen, to go beyond standard street protest and seek other ways of being heard. In their book, The Beach Beneath the Streets: Contesting New York City’s Public Spaces, the authors take
The authors divide Beach into two parts: repression and resistance. The repression chapters take us through a careful and fascinating history of the 50-year-old neoliberal project. It’s an interesting account of what’s happened since those optimistic years of the 1960s, to the situation today, where youth from targeted communities can expect to be stopped by police several times over the course of their young lifetimes, often without reason.
Then, as now, according to the authors, the business elite always found opportunity in a crisis. As Ben Shepard explains in Beach’s introduction, the post-war era saw profound economic and demographic dislocation thanks to deindustrialization. Minorities and immigrants moved to
By 1975 the financial crisis reached its peak in
Our country’s high rates of incarceration which rose in parallel with the influence of neoliberal policy, has more to do with the profit motive than with public safety or crime rates. Beach doesn’t state this fact so directly but shows it through changes in building design and public space throughout the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. It is a fascinating study—funny, sad, and compelling. The authors show how developers were able to use public money meant to create public space to instead build exclusive suburban-style plazas where forced segregation was practiced discreetly and off premises. We learn about the types of “public” space: privatized, filtered, suburban, policed, and it becomes clear how melting-pot cities like
The second half of Beach focuses on the activist struggles of queer youth of color, gardeners, cyclists, anti-gentrification activists, and other pushed-aside communities found in our big cities. People have been literally displaced by recent government policies which say, big business can plan our use of public resources and space. It’s exhilarating to read how groups like Critical Mass and Bike Lane Liberation Clowns (the cyclists actually dress as clowns) are able to both seriously and playfully reclaim urban streets. Through direct action, they are able to influence public debate on issues like the environment, sustainability, public transportation, and the constitutional right of people to assemble—a right which during the so-called boom 1990s had been under serious attack. Despite the clown suits and staged crashes into cars parked in bike lanes they’ve also managed to initiate discussions on our present wars abroad and our dependency on oil. Beach also tells of how groups like minority gay youth—criminalized and displaced by this privatization of public space—have been able to fight back against their subjugation and reclaim those places which they had first created, but had taken away and turned over to private hands. All things considered, these may seem like small victories, but they add up to something.
One of Beach’s underlying messages seems to be, every citizen needs to join one of these groups, if not create their own. As with the French May 1968 slogan for which the authors named their book, “Sous les pavés, la plage”—beneath the pavement, the beach—it is apparently true that the repressed can reclaim their right to be. Beach presents an optimistic alternative. It brings to mind another slogan, which now doesn’t seem so naïve, “power to the imagination.” Used correctly it remains a potential weapon for harassed citizens.
Camille Goodison is a graduate of the
Ours to Master and to Own:
Workers’ Control From the Commune to the Present
Edited by Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini
Review by Andy Piascik
Much recent discussion and scholarship has gone into dissecting the decline in the strength of the working class in the
Ours to Master and to Own: Workers Control from the Commune to the Present edited by Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini goes a long way in assisting us in that exploration.
Councils, in a nutshell, are self- management organizations established by workers to administer production, usually in periods of great tumult. They may take shape in a single plant, in an entire industry or, in a revolutionary situation, in many plants and industries simultaneously. Through them, workers oversee all aspects of production including those which, under capitalism, are done by owners and bosses. The forms differ greatly but the common thread is that those who do the work should decide how it’s done.
There are two important themes that emerge as one reads through the cases collected by
Ours to Master and to Own begins with four overview essays and follows with groups of analytical chapters in four categories. Significantly, stories of the global South are well-represented. Though far less industrialized than the North (and perhaps precisely for that reason), countries like
Ours to Master and to Own also includes a number of familiar cases. Perhaps the three best known occurred in revolutionary (or at least what were perceived by some of the participants as revolutionary) situations: the soviets in Russia leading up to and immediately after 1917; the councils in Germany during World War I up to the unsuccessful uprising of 1919; and the anarchist-led movement in Spain in the 1930s. Each of these chapters is highly instructive, with nuanced analyses of the wide array of challenges the different groups faced. For the most part, each of these council movements failed simply because the forces aligned against them were too strong. However, there are valuable lessons within each that the contributing authors do an excellent job of mining.
Equally important are more recent cases such as
Other chapters of note are two from Eastern Europe—one on
Then there’s a fascinating case in
Trade unions, including ones of the left, have also frequently opposed working class autonomy in the form of councils, especially at times of great upheaval. The period when fascism in
Still, the tone of Ours To Master and To Own is decidedly positive. In chapter after chapter, we can practically see workers contending with the most fundamental of revolutionary questions: what should the kind of society we want look like? How do we best get there?
Again and again, as events unfold, great emphasis is placed on process. In fact, in case after case, a successful outcome, however else that is measured, is inseparable from process. Workers went forward as often as not without deeply elaborated theories, but with a highly attuned sense that each was responsible to one another as well as to the future.
There is also much strategic discussion that is of immense value. In a revolutionary situation, for example, do councils pre-figure a working class state? Or does their consolidation mark the beginning of the end of the state? If the former, what should the relationship of the councils be to the state? Although some of the contributors put forward more decisive answers than others, the overall tone of the book is that these are still open questions to be answered with greater experience.
Inclusion of at least a few chapters authored by workers might have added another dimension to the book. Workers are quoted throughout and their insights are meaningful parts of a number of the analyses. Still, hearing summaries and perhaps some tentative conclusions from on-the-ground participants could have provided a larger understanding of the subject at hand.
The specific experiences of women in worker councils are also largely invisible in these accounts, perhaps because industrial work has been the domain of men and the councils largely the domain of the industrial work- force. Still, it would have been beneficial to hear about the role of women in at least a few of the case studies.
Though it is difficult to imagine any popular movement, working class-centered or otherwise, in which women would not play a prominent role, much of the work women do remains below the surface. It is for this reason that councils of the present and the future, at least those that are the most inclusive, may be influenced by cooperative economics with its emphasis on the citizenry at all levels—worker, domestic laborer, and consumer. At the same time, analysis that assumes the special role of women may bring into being more inclusive council formations.
The value of Ours to Master and to Own is that its contributors collectively wrestle with these kinds of big questions. Who should decide and which factors must be weighed in the deciding—are not questions with easy answers, after all.
Andy Piascik is a long-time activist who has written about working class issues for Z, Union Democracy Review, Labor Notes and other publications.
Big Red Sessions
With David Rovics
Produced by David Rovics & Billy Oskay
Review by Michael McGehee
Political music can be very difficult to pull off. The Bob Dylan’s, Billy Bragg’s, Pete Seeger’s, and Rage Against the Machine’s of the world are not a dime a dozen. So, it’s always a warm welcome when rebel music comes out of nowhere and succeeds.
David Rovics’ Big Red Sessions is that album. There are 13 tracks and nearly every one is an historical account of resistance to tyranny and injustice. From the revolution earlier this year in Tunisia to Bradley Manning to Loukanikos, the Riot Dog in Greece, listeners are entertained with not only some good rebel music, but are educated in a (Howard) Zinnian fashion (I just made that word up).
It’s not just popular or modern history that is covered. Some lesser known events like that of Chiune Sugihara are beautifully written and performed. Before I heard this track I knew nothing about Sugihara, a Japanese vice-consul who served in
10, 9, 8
Sometimes that’s just how it goes
3, 2, 1
Get out before it blows
The song about John Brown is really good and the track about the Mavi Marmara gives me goosebumps. It’s a six-minute song that starts with al Nakba and goes straight to the massacre of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters. “Cordova” is another really good song that tells the tale of fishermen resisting Exxon over the Exxon Valdez spill in the late 1980s.
Then there are some fun songs about “Pirate Santa,” anarchist purists (it’s more of a punk song and my two-year-old loves it). My second favorite “Burn it Down”—is a song about Rodney
We don’t like the Wal-Mart so we’re gonna burn it down
Corporate terrorists drive them out of town
We’ll bring a lot of gasoline and pour it on the floor
Light a match, say a prayer and run right out the door
Burn it down (burn it down)
Burn it down (burn it down)
We’re going to burn it down
Burn it down (burn it down)
BURN IT DOWN!
I highly recommend Big Red Sessions, which you can purchase/download at davidrovics.com.
Michael McGehee is an independent writer and working class family man from Kennedale,
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.