DEC-Cov

 2014
Volume 27
Number 12

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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Ted Glick: Unity in Diversity

Glick   Over the weekend of May 2-4, 1997, 150 people from over 90 organizations and from 19 states, the District of Columbia, and Mexico attended the National Independent Politics Summit/97 in Decatur, Illinois. This was the third Summit in the last 21 months organized by the Independent Progressive Politics Network (IPPN). From its inception Read more…

Bob Harris: The Scoop

Harris     The Gingrich Bailout In accepting $300,000 from Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich claims he took the high ground. If enough folks examine the deal closely, he may have to head on up to the hills. House rules only allow loans on terms "generally available to the public." That includes me, so I called Read more…

Kathleen Hart: Deregulation and Nuclear Power

  Deregulation of the U.S. electricity industry is moving forward quickly, quietly, and with little public debate about its potential dangers—including the increased risk of a nuclear power plant accident. California regulators voted May 6 to speed up the pace of deregulation in that state by allowing some customers to pick their electricity providers beginning Read more…

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Edward Herman: The Economics of the Rich

S. Herman   Back in 1849, the British economist Nassau Senior chided those defending trade unions and minimum wage regulations for expounding an "economics of the poor." The idea that he and his establishment confreres were putting forth an "economics of the rich" never occurred to him; he thought of himself as a scientist and Read more…

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Z Staff: Editorial: The Personal Is Political?!

political and social setting. They feel personal, and their details are personal, but their broad texture and character, and especially the limits within which these evolve, are largely systemic. In this sense, the contribution of the New Left was to say that we suffer a "totality of oppressions," systemically based, entwined, and all needing to Read more…

Wayne Grytting: NewSpeak

Grytting   Fairness For Logging Companies In the past few years, environmental groups have adopted a tactic of bidding on Federal timber lands to preserve old growth trees from rampaging chainsaws. Clever strategy you say? Completely legal? Wrong, according to an "unauthorized" letter from Agriculture Undersecretary James Lyons denying the acceptability of "non-harvesting bids." The Read more…

Amber Older: Toxic Clean

  Fifty miles southwest of Salt Lake City, in the heart of Tooele (pronounced too-ELL-ah) County, the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF) has started to burn 42 percent of the nation’s chemical stockpile. Situated on 27 acres of rugged desert, the $650 million facility houses about 15,000 tons of the world’s most lethal chemical Read more…

James Petras: El Salvador Elections

Petras   The signing of a peace accord between the guerrilla commanders and the right-wing government in 1992 promised a period of freedom, prosperity, and peace. Overseas donors would contribute funds for reconstruction, reinsertion of combatants, and social reform. The regime would dismantle the repressive apparatuses including the paramilitary death squads and encourage popular participation Read more…

Elayne Rapping: The “Ellen” Event

Rapping   When Gil Scott-Heron famously sang, back in the 1960s, that "the revolution [would] not be televised," we all knew what he was talking about. Yet, of all the now legendary "errors" we of the generation of 1960s activism made in those zanily hopeful and idealistic days, one of the most trenchant may well Read more…

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Lydia Sargent: Dick Off

Sargent   Welcome to Hotel Satire, People…and you Gals. It’s summer and you know what that means. It’s time for my semi-traditional article on summer as a dick thing. By the way, I did not come up with this concept, so men out there, don’t get all worked up, if you catch my drift. It Read more…

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Stephen R. Shalom: New Jersey Jokes

R. Shalom   Nineteen ninety-seven is an off-year for mainstream electoral politics in the United States—there are no House or Senate races and only two states are holding gubernatorial contests—so considerable national attention will be focused on the New Jersey governor’s election. The implications of this election may go well beyond the Garden State. Christine Read more…

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Site Administrator: CrossCurrents: Imagine A Country

Holly Sklar   Imagine a country where one out of four children is born into poverty, and wealth is being redistributed upward. Since the 1970s, the top 1 percent of families have doubled their share of the nation’s wealth—while the percentage of children living in extreme poverty has also doubled. Highlighting growing wage inequality, the Read more…

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Norman Solomon: Media Beat

similar stories many times: A scrappy innovator took on the business establishment and made a fortune. An engineer battled myopic bosses to develop a great new product. A brilliant computer nerd overcame entrenched foes and now heads the firm.   Today’s news reports seem to be more focused on mutiny than conformity in corporate suites. Read more…

David Adelson: Inside Pacifica

David Adelson   As a member of the Local Advisory Board (LAB) of Pacifica’s KPFK (90.7 FM Los Angeles) I am charged with mediating effective communication between the station and the public. Long-standing rules impede discussion of internal policy over the air, now apparently including a prohibition on announcing events organized to discuss such policy. Read more…

George Wright: Mobuto Was Chaos

George Wright   As this article is being written in early May, the 32-year regime of Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko is coming to an end. A guerrilla offensive carried out by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Zaire-Congo (ADFL), led by Laurent Kabila, has control of 75 percent of the country, Read more…

Corey Dolgon: Cleaning up the Hamptons

Corey Dolgon   On April 16, over 100 people gathered to support the Coalition for Justice (CFJ), a group formed by Southampton College (SC) custodians who were recently "contracted out" to a private management company. The coalition is demanding that College administrators cancel the contract and restore custodians as college employees. Over two months ago, Read more…

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Z Staff: Media and Democracy 1997 — Preview

In any event, at the recent LAAMN meeting there was apparently a lively and productive discussion of the upcoming Congress and how it might be most effective. To start, LAAMN proposes panels on the labor movement, environment, racism and multiculturalism, youth, campuses, etc. In each instance these panels would address how alternative media have been Read more…

Wayne Grytting: Newspeak

Wayne Grytting   Advertisers Becoming Literate Major advertisers are "changing the rules of magazine publishing," reports the Wall Street Journal, by breaking down the walls separating ads from editorial content. Now a number of corporations are demanding written summaries of articles before submitting their ads. Recently, Chrysler sent a letter to Esquire, and 100 other Read more…

Bob Harris: Liggett Narcs Joe Camel

Bob Harris   In the first breath of fresh air a tobacco company has ever provided, Liggett has finally admitted that "cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart and vascular disease, and emphysema." Let’s not stop there. Maybe Liggett will also concede that the only reason they confessed was for the money–limiting their own liability via Read more…

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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…

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