NOV-COV 2014
Volume 27
Number 11

ZMAG MISSION

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Z Magazine is an independent monthly magazine founded in 1988. Our mission is to publish in depth articles that critique society's political, economic, social life and institutions. We see the race, class, and gender dimensions of personal life as equally important to understanding current circumstances and as necessary for developing visions and strategies for progressive change.

 

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Recent ZMagazine

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Edward Herman: Word Tricks & Propaganda

Edward S. Herman   The mainstream media carry out their propaganda service on behalf of the corporate and political establishment in many ways: by choice of topics addressed (government rather than corporate abuses, welfare rather than Pentagon waste, Kadaffi rather than Guatemalan state terrorism), by their framing of issues (GDP growth rather than distribution, Fed Read more…

Clara James: Haiti: The Roof Is Leaking

Clara James   On April 6, Haiti held elections to fill one-third of the Senate seats and positions on over 500 communal and town councils. The only problem was, most Haitians did not go to the polls. Only about 5 percent of those eligible to vote even bothered. Almost before local commentators could react, Washington Read more…

Tom Johnson: Human Rights Watch World Report 1997: Events Of 1996

  In January 1997, the international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, released its seventh annual report on the worldwide condition of human rights. The report, overall, finds human rights’ conditions bleak and deteriorating. However, the organization, financed by individuals and foundations throughout the world, also finds reasons for hope. According to the report, "…the Read more…

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Joel Kovel: Cuba & South Africa

Joel Kovel     The linkage between Castro’s Cuba and Mandela’s South Africa runs deep. Cuban slave society was less efficient in demolishing ties to Africa than its North American counterpart, allowing Cuba to retain a strong sense of their parent culture. Accordingly, revolutionary Cuba has held, amidst its many allegiances, to a special affiliation Read more…

Steve Macek: New Party Report: Making Work Pay

Steve Macek   Like most cities around the country, Minneapolis and St. Paul used to hand out millions of dollars in public subsidies to local businesses with virtually no strings attached. Companies were free to take taxpayers’ money without hiring a single central city resident. The jobs they generated using that money often paid well Read more…

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Christian Parenti: Rural Prison as Colonial Master

Christian Parenti   In 1964 a tsunami swept over Crescent City, California completely destroying the downtown. Only nine people died, but the town—nestled just below the Oregon border—never recovered. It was rebuilt as a shabby imitation of Southern California’s worst planning examples; empty parking spaces and box-like buildings dominate the landscape. In 1989 another tsunami Read more…

John potash and laurel Carpenter: An interview with Cheri Honkala at Temple University, April 14, 1997

John Potash and Laurel Carpenter Cheri Honkala is a welfare recipient who is co-chair of the National Welfare Rights Union, as well as the leader of Philadelphia’s Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU), a grassroots organization of welfare recipients who have been leading practice civil disobedience with street protests, abandoned housing take-overs, and forming "tent cities." Read more…

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Lydia Sargent: I Dreamed I Was In A Bra Ad in My Maidenform Bra

Lydia Sargent   Gals, there is a controversy raging here at Hotel Satire. It’s terrible. Mom gals aren’t speaking to daughter gals and vice verse. Gals who have been friends for years now won’t visit or even phone. What, you ask, has caused such dissension? I’m so upset over the whole thing that I’m hesitant Read more…

Jenna e. Ziman: Criminalizing the Charitable

Jenna E. Ziman   In cities throughout the world, a silent "war against the poor" is brewing, and control over food distribution is one of its most effective weapons. Food Not Bombs, a non-violent activist organization, is fighting this war by providing free food to homeless people in over 130 cities around the world, and Read more…

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David Peterson: The Global Media

Edward S. Herman and Robert W. McChesney are two of the most important critics of the global media scene. A Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a contributor to Z Magazine since its founding in 1988, Edward Herman is the author of numerous books, including a number Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: The Passion for Free Markets

  For more than half a century, the United Nations has been the main forum for the United States to try to create a world in its image, maneuvering with its allies to forge global accords about human rights, nuclear tests or the environment that Washington insisted would mirror its own values." So runs postwar Read more…

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Ward Churchill: Suppression of Indigenous Sovereignty in 20th Century United States

Ward Churchill   As the 20th century prepares to take its rightful place in the dustbin of history, the last vestiges of sovereignty among the more than 300 indigenous nations trapped inside the claimed boundaries of the United States are rapidly sliding into a kind of final oblivion. In one of official America’s supreme gestures Read more…

Rico Cleffi: An Anti-capitalist Billionaire?

Rico Cleffi   Certain segments of the business media have been buzzing lately over a "controversial" article entitled "The Capitalist Threat," written by billionaire investor George Soros. The article, which was the cover story of February’s Atlantic Monthly, attacked the irreconcilability of laissez-faire capitalism and "open societies." Recently National Public Radio’s "Marketplace" (2/23) ran a Read more…

H. kassia Fleisher: Attention Shoppers

  Great news recently from your favorite financial news network: Several U.S. manufacturers have recently announced their intentions to decrease the number of discount coupons they circulate to consumers. Some promised to lower prices as well. Cheaper goods and no more time with scissors. A good deal, right? In her essay "Revaluing Economics," Gloria Steinem Read more…

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Neve Gordon: Jerusalem Update

  Picture a beautiful city which has a small neighborhood with nice little pubs and restaurants only five minutes walking distance from the downtown district. Imagine sitting in a chic bistro in that neighborhood, sipping cool draft beer while soft music plays in the background. You are with friends, talking about work, sports, or politics. Read more…

Bob Harris: Star Wars: A Triumph of the Will

  I just saw "Star Wars" again. It’s big fun. But don’t take the kids just yet. You know by now that George Lucas’s stock for this stew was Joseph Campbell puree, which photon torpedoed into our collective unconscious by drawing on cultural archetypes and recycling every old story we’ve ever loved. However, Lucas also Read more…

Genevieve Howe: Nicaragua: Nearly Gone & Almost Forgotten

Genevieve Howe   Henri Lara Gutierrez was born in Esteli, Nicaragua in October 1979, three months after the July 19, 1979 triumph of the Sandinista revolution. This year, Henri, like the revolution, will turn 18 years old. In 1989, at the age of ten, Henri was a slender, curly-haired boy who went to school daily Read more…

Lucky Jean: The Gestapo of Welfare Reform

  There is a sinister trend emerging in the area of welfare reform that has gone largely unnoticed by non-poor people: the role of CSD (Children’s Services Department). While CSD is supposed to help children by removing them from abusive and/or neglectful parents, what they have ended up doing in many cases is to define Read more…

Tom Johnson: Nuclear Politics All MOXed Out

  On January 14, 1997, representatives from 171 medical, environmental, and activist organizations in the United States and 18 other countries—including every major nuclear power except China and Israel—sent a letter to President Bill Clinton asking him to overrule a decision by former Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary to process plutonium from nuclear warheads and "burn" Read more…

Ann Pettifer: Excommunication?

Ann Pettifer   In the grip of yet another spasm of millenarian distemper, the Vatican decided to celebrate the New Year with an excommunication. Excluded from the community of believers for his heretical views was an elderly Sri Lankan priest, Fr. Tissa Balasuriya. Not well known in the west, Fr. Balasuriya has won plaudits in Read more…

Daniel b. Schirmer: Fidel Ramos…. In the Footsteps of Marcos?

Daniel B. Schirmer   The Philippine post-Marcos constitution prohibits Fidel Ramos from running for re-election in 1998 when the next presidential vote is scheduled. But leaders of his party, the ruling Lakas-NUCD, are campaigning for a constitutional amendment to extend his term of office for several years. These leaders claim to have secured more signatures Read more…

Dickie Wallace: UMass Student Movement

  Something was up—that was the word around campus. Returning from winter break at the end of January, the talk was of some kind of student protest that would wake people up. At least one dean had warned his charges to be prepared for Teaching Assistant work stoppages as the Grad Employees Organization entered it Read more…

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Michael Albert: Natural Capitalism?

Michael Albert I remember debating the potential of the environment as a radical focus back when it was first becoming visible. Most early 1970s radicals felt environmentalism would be the next big spur to activism. Being fried by ozone depletion or gassed by industrial pollutants could certainly yield important activism. But there were skeptical. Elites Read more…

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David Bacon: West Coast Janitors Get Ready to Fight

  On March 17, after seven years of rebuilding their union, Service Employees Local 399, Los Angeles janitors are leaving it. Together with janitors from Silicon Valley, Oakland, and Sacramento, they are joining to create one of the largest building service unions in the country—Local 1877. Rosa Ayala, who’s been through LA’s labor wars as Read more…

Susan Yanow: The Latest Attack on Women’s Lives

  The most recent attack on abortion rights is focused on late term abortions. As people debate over the actual number of abortions performed and the different meanings of "late term abortions," "D & X procedure," "third trimester abortions," and "intact D & E procedures," the real issue, the realities of women’s lives has been Read more…

Elizabeth a. Hodges: Igniting the Fuse: Opening Up Third Party Politics

Elizabeth A. Hodges   On December 4, 1996 Harvard lawyer Laurence Tribe argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that anti-fusion laws are unconstitutional. The ruling is expected late this spring. If he wins, which many expect him to, it will re-landscape third party politics in the United States. Fusion means nominating the same candidate for Read more…

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Christian Parenti: Criminal Injustice: Confronting the prison crisis

pages South End Press, 1996; $18.00 Reviewed by Christian Parenti   Incarceration is becoming one of the defining institutions of American society. Even the half-way politically literate are familiar with the harrowing statistics: more black men in net of prison/jail/probation than in four year colleges; 80 percent of all new federal convictions are for non-violent Read more…

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David Peterson: A Great Chicago Land Grab

David Peterson   Since the Department of Housing and Urban development engineered a federal takeover of the Chicago Housing Authority in late May 1995, CHA tenants have expressed a great many fears about what HUD’s role in "reinventing" public housing in Chicago will turn out to be. "The national system of public housing is on Read more…

James Petras: The Political Economy of Early Debt Payment

  On January 15 President Clinton announced that Mexico had repaid all of the $12.5 billion it borrowed from Washington to stave off financial collapse and bail out Wall Street speculators. The New York Times (January 16, 1997) reported that "The repayment of the loan—three years ahead of schedule—was marked by a celebration at the Read more…

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Lydia Sargent: Hotel Satire:

  I was chatting with a feminist in the street the other day. How did I know she was a feminist, you ask? Because she was talking to me without the aid of a male, which was obnoxious, totalitarian, a turn off, and therefore lesbian behavior. Whenever one encounters these man-less gals, the first question Read more…

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Brian Tokar: Questioning Official Environmentalism

Seven years ago in these pages, we launched an in-depth investigation of the mainstream environmental movement. The occasion was the widely publicized 20th anniversary of the original Earth Day, an event which in many ways helped institutionalize the widespread corporate co-optation of environmental themes. The year 1990 was an auspicious one for environmental activists in Read more…

A. s. Zaidi: Rochester, Radiation, and Repression

A. S. Zaidi   I feel a sense of closure," said Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary as she announced a recent settlement awarding $4.8 million to the families of 12 patients injected with radioactive substances in experiments sponsored by the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The legal agreement absolves the federal government of blame. In Read more…

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Elizabeth Martinez: The Movie That Makes Magic With Pennies

Falling in love with a movie can happen now and then, but how often does a dazzling film like Follow Me Home come along? A film whose politics make the revolution seem possible after all, whose aesthetics are brilliantly unpredictable and whose acting is superb? A film that not only confronts the nightmare of today’s Read more…

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David Bacon: Korean Workers Shut Down the Chaebols

David Bacon   Since January 14, pitched battles have raged in the streets of Seoul. Outside the Myongdong Cathedral, union leaders have been directing the general strike paralyzing South Korea, and phalanxes of police have tried to disperse thousands of demonstrators. The strike has become, not just a movement of workers, but a pro-democracy movement Read more…

John Buell: The Politics of Family Leave

  During a state visit to Canada several years ago, President Clinton was asked about the long overtime hours many U.S. and Canadian auto workers are frequently forced to work. He responded fliply: “Where I come from, they call that a high class problem” and went on to suggest that workers should be grateful for Read more…

Christopher d. Cook: The Downsizing of Labor Rights

  Workers were a hot item in 1996. Born-again populists of both parties jostled for votes from the anxious and the downsized. Labor was Big again, elevating workers’ issues—at least ones that contrasted Democrats from Republicans—back onto the electoral stage. But the AFL-CIO’s $35 million pro-Democrat gambit did nothing to illuminate a massive legal crisis Read more…

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Michael Ei: The Fate of Social Security

Donohue     It was a slow news day, just before a major holiday—a good time to release politically sensitive or potentially embarrassing news. Buried in the innards of the December 30 national edition of the New York Times (p. A-9), was a report by Leslie Wayne entitled "Interest Groups Prepare for Huge Fight on Read more…

Deirdre Guthrie: Environmental Racism on Montana Reservation

Deirdre Guthrie   In 1994, when I first arrived in Montana to work for Red Thunder Incorporated (RTI), now known as Spirit Mountain Cultural Clan, on the Fort Belknap Native American reservation, environmental racism was a fairly new term. Organ cancer rates among Navajo teenagers living near uranium spills were reported to be 17 times Read more…

Bob Harris: Panic on Wall Street

footage of excited bald guys in Brooks Brothers suits messing up each others comb-overs. You’re supposed to think happiness on Wall Street is good news for the rest of us. Ain’t necessarily. Last week was a good example: There’s this thing called "momentum investing." Simply put, it’s buying into whatever stock is going up really Read more…

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Howie Hawkins: Green Party: Still Seeking Unity

  Greens ran more than 60 candidates in the 1996 election and the results are encouraging for Greens and for anyone who wants to see an independent progressive political movement in this country. Among the Greens’ strongest showings were: Arcata, California: A Green Party three out of five majority on the city council of Arcata, Read more…

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Edward Herman: The Inky and Me

  The Philadelphia Inquirer (Inky) is widely regarded as a very good newspaper. This reputation derives in part from its great superiority over its predecessor, Walter Annenberg’s Inquirer, notorious as a partisan Republican rag and instrument of Annenberg’s personal vendettas (most famously, his refusal to allow mention of the name of the liberal Democratic Governor Read more…

Piet van Lier: No Justice, But Peace (For Now)

Piet van Lier   Give me a U. Give me an R. Give me an N. Give me a G. What’s it spell? U-R-N-G! I can’t hear you. U-R-N-G! U-R-N-G! U-R-N-G!" It sounded like a high school basketball game, but several hundred representatives of Guatemala’s popular movement were doing something they never had the chance Read more…

Jennie marie Luna: U.C. Berkeley Students Protest Vote to End Affirmative Action

  Students at the University of California, Berkeley waged an arduous campaign against Proposition 209–walking precincts, phone-banking, and rallying–for months prior to the November 1996 election. When Prop 209–to end affirmative action in the state—passed, on top of the passage of Prop 187 against immigrant rights, it felt like yet another defeat. This time around, Read more…

Susana Mccollom: Reincarnating Freud: Rules, Planets, and Hysteria in the 1990s

  Freud is not likely to be a name found on a woman’s list of heroes. While he is recognized as the pioneer of psychotherapy, Freud cemented historical labels of women as "hysterical" and "neurotic," and recommended years of psychoanalysis to cure these ailments. And it was Freud who asked "what does a woman want?" Read more…

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Elizabeth Martinez: It’s a Terrorist War on Immigrants

  In the spring of 1997, a Latino immigrant who had worked legally in the United States for 40 years committed suicide after receiving a letter saying that under the new welfare law his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) might end. Not long afterward a wheelchair-bound Russian immigrant threw himself off his balcony from the same Read more…

Tom Gallagher: The California Future?

Tom Gallagher The ancient Greeks searched for glimpses of their future in the innards of butchered pigs and oxen; modern Americans tend to look west to California and its famous and numerous ballot initiatives. California did not disappoint this year. The state’s approval of both the Medical Marijuana Initiative and the California Civil Rights Initiative Read more…

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Michael Albert: Pacifica

and struggle. Pacifica was founded just after World War II to create an independent, noncommercial radio network in the service of peace, social and racial justice, and the arts. In their own words: "Pacifica’s KPFK in Los Angeles has the strongest FM signal anywhere in the United States. KPFA is the strongest FM signal in Read more…

Kevin Heldman: On the town with the U.S. military in Korea

Kevin Heldman   A mile or so outside of Yongsan U.S. Army Garrison in central Seoul, past the tourist shops and street vendors selling Bulls, Raiders, et al., apparel, past the Burger King and the newly-opened Orange Julius and down a series of narrow roadways packed with American soldiers who are falling in and out Read more…

Sandy Carter: Slippin’ & Slidin’

Sandy Carter The following "best list" covers my choices for the most pleasureful and important pop of 1996. This issue is limited to rock, pop, and R&B releases aimed at a wide popular audience. Next month will collect "bests" in less popular genres such as jazz, blues, country, world, and folk. Rock/Pop/R & B Gone Read more…

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Ward Churchill: Assaults on Truth and Memory, Part II

Ward Churchill The costs of these systematic assaults on truth and memory by those who argue the uniqueness of Jewish victimization have often been high for those whose suffering is correspondingly downgraded or shunted into historical oblivion. This concerns not only the victims of the many genocides occurring outside the framework of nazism, but non-Jews Read more…

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