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September 2015
Volume 28
Number 9

 

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 in understanding current circumstances and as necessary for developing visions and strategies for progressive change.

 

 

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DONATIONS

We survive through income from paid subscriptions, sales of videos and books, online Sustainers, individual donations. and periodic fundraising. We are non-profit, tax exempt under the Institute for Social and Cultural Communications. We are currently in dire need of funds. To donate by mail, send checks payable to Z Magazine, 215 Atlantic Ave, Hull, MA 02045 (508- 548-9063). To donate online go to: www.zcommunications.org and become a Sustainer.

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Elizabeth Martinez: Weaving A Net That Works

  It was lunchtime in a dusty barrio near Tijuana, Mexico, where the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ) had come to meet in July 1993. The schedule called for us to march to a transfer station for hazardous waste, one of many plants poisoning the area, and picket it. I asked how Read more…

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Sonia Shah: Looking Back, Moving Forward

SOUTH END PRESS: What achievements of the Left have given you the most hope for the future?   ALBERT: Ending feudalism, ending slavery, enacting labor laws, winning universal suffrage, ending Jim Crow laws, overcoming much of the mindset and practice of patriarchy as it was entrenched though the 1950s and 1960s, bringing gay rights and Read more…

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David Bacon: The GM Strike

The GM Strike By David Bacon Ending the strike of two auto parts plants near Detroit—a process which used to take just a few days—has instead lasted weeks. But delay and stubborn conflict is not the most unique factor marking this strike. It’s the fact that General Motors strikers have been forced to confront the Read more…

Sandy Carter: Some Kind Of Country

  Ever since the late 1960s, when the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Bob Dylan started making the lonesome moan of a pedal steel guitar hip for rock audiences, various mutant strains of country music have been sprouting up in West Texas, Southern California, the Midwest—almost anyplace but Nashville. Although these offbeat Country & Read more…

Jim Crotty: Labor Resistance in Korea

  Labor Resistance in Korea By Jim Crotty & Gary Dymski     Since our article in the July-August issue, Asia has fallen into a self-reinforcing regional collapse. It may be at the edge of a meltdown. East and Southeast Asia are highly integrated economically. Falling Asian demand has hurt Japanese exports and staggered its ailing banking Read more…

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Edward Herman: Their Terrorists and Ours

Their Terrorists and Ours By Edward S. Herman   On July 12 and 13, 1998, the New York Times had successive front-page articles on the career of Luis Carriles Posada, a world class terrorist who had been trained by the CIA in the 1950s in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion, and who thereafter Read more…

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Jeremy Brecher: Labor Update: Organizing the New Workforce

Jeremy Brecher   Traditionally, the majority of American union members have been blue-collar white males. Over the past quarter-century, this group became a smaller and smaller minority in the workforce, while other groups—sometimes dubbed “the new workforce”—grew as a percentage of organized and unorganized workers. The proportion of workers who were women started to grow Read more…

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Michael Bronski: Onward, Christian Soldiers?

  Gay Pride, Boston, June 21, 1977: It was a hot Saturday afternoon on Boston Common, and the crowd listening to speeches was restless. At long last, Charley Shively (professor of history at Boston College and a founder of Fag Rag, one of the first gay-liberation publications in the country) began his keynote speech. Sounding Read more…

Sandy Carter: Feminism and Classic Blues

   Because blues is such a heavily male dominated musical genre, it’s often forgotten that the first popular blues recording stars were women. During the 1920s when the emerging recording industry first realized the commercial potential of blues, women so dominated recorded blues that the popular image of a blues singer was a big-voiced black Read more…

Cecilia Zarate-laun: The War On Drugs From The Supply Side

  Last October 25 a paramilitary patrol landed on the small town of El Aro in Colombia’s northern Antioquia province, with the intention of "doing away with the guerrillas." For five days the town was converted into a con­centration camp. First, they killed Andres Mendoza,Wilmar Restrepo, RosaMaria Barrera, and Dora Angela Areiza in front of Read more…

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Site Administrator: NYU’s Chinese Construction Workers

Stinnett   At the New York University (NYU) main building in downtown Manhattan—the building where, in 1911, a sweatshop garment factory fire killed 146 young immigrant workers—a handful of immigrant Chinese construction workers has fought for the last 9 months against the racist hiring polices of construction companies contracted by NYU. On March 26, groups Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Hordes of Vigilantes & Popular elements defeat MAI, for now

Noam Chomsky   This is a follow-up to my article on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) in the May issue. That went to press a few weeks before the April 27 target date for signing of the MAI by the OECD countries. At the time, it was fairly clear that agreement would not be Read more…

James Crotty: The Korean Struggle

& Gary Dymski Just a few months after getting a clean bill of economic health from the OECD in mid 1997, South Korea’s economy plunged into a foreign exchange crisis. By December the Korean government had signed a loan agreement with the IMF. The severity of its terms were unprecedented. Koreans quickly spread the bitter Read more…

Kate Duncan: Microbroadcasting

  The movement for low-power community radio was relatively low-key until Stephen Dunifer founded Free Radio Berkeley with the intent not just to operate a small radio station, but to go to court in its defense. While the case lingered in the 9th Federal District Court, Dunifer used the protection of microbroadcasting’s legal limbo to Read more…

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Z Staff: A Progressive Online Distribution Center?

  Suppose this Fall three different companies release new “electronic book” products. These are book size “consoles” weighing a pound or two, with a very readable screen meant to replace books (and/or magazines) as we know them. The written material is a digital computer file. To get it into the book you might buy a Read more…

Catherine Cevoli: The Freeze: A Look Back

  It was the summer of 1992, and I was watching the second presidential debate. George Bush was explaining how Reagan’s military build-up ended the Cold War. “The Russians couldn’t keep up and it destroyed them,” he said. “If we’d listened to all those nuclear freezers, we’d still have the Cold War today.” I put Read more…

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Henry A. Giroux: none

  The assault by corporate America on public education has taken an ominous turn in the last decade. Funded by an array of conservative institutions such as the Heritage Foundation, Hudson Institute, and the Olin Foundation, the corporate drive to undermine public education has enlisted an army of conservative pundits many of whom served in Read more…

Sharon Beder: Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism

Chelsea Green, 288 pp. Review by David Edwards This book deals with the real environmental crisis—the crisis that lies in the fact that the modern mass media system is a corporate system deeply embedded in, and dependent on, the wider corporate status quo; and in the related capacity of corporate power to boost facts, ideas, Read more…

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Edward Herman: The U.S. Jobs Miracle

  In both Europe and the United States, the substantial growth in U.S. jobs over the past several decades has been repeatedly cited in support of the view that a “flexible” labor market is the solution to the problem of unemployment that has beset the West once again. “Flexible” is a euphemism for “unorganized and Read more…

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John M. Laforge: Nuclear Disarmament

The clamor for nuclear disarmament is being raised by millions the world over not only by established peace and anti-nuclear organizations, but by NGOs, scientific panels, retired generals, eminent military and civilian officials, nuclear weapons designers, and international judges. With the influential weight of these new voices, the United States has an opportunity to reconsider Read more…

Michael Steinberg: Nuclear Contamination In Connecticut

Steinberg   The end of 1997 brought a flurry of media reports in Connecticut about radioactive contamination from the state’s notorious nuclear power plants. The Connecticut Yankee nuclear plant, located about 20 miles up the Connecticut River from Long Island Sound, has been the focus of much of the attention. But the Millstone nuclear plants, Read more…

Ross Gelbspan: The Heat is On

Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading, Massachusetts, 1997; 278 pp. Review by Genevieve Howe   If you ever lie awake at night wondering how fast we’re destroying the planet, you have plenty to worry about. As long as you’re up, don’t miss the chance to read The Heat is On. It will tell you in no uncertain Read more…

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David Bacon: High-Tech Transportation Workers

  Sabrina Giles went to work seven years ago, keeping track of huge shipping containers moving in and out of the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) yard in Point Richmond, California. Over the years, she trained one worker after another in the difficult art of tracking the million-dollar cargoes shipped by giant corporations–C&H Sugar, United Read more…

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Michael Bronski: Fear of a Queer Planet

  One of the most tiresome avenues of gay and lesbian film criticism has been the cataloguing and dismissing of "negative images of gay people" as either bad politics or bad art. Thus defined, the question of "is it good for gay people" feels overly restrictive and unfruitful. Life—and art—is far more complicated than simply Read more…

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Leslie Cagan: It Should Be Possible, It Has To Be Possible

  For over 30 years, Leslie Cagan has been a tireless organizer: from the Vietnam War to racism at home, from nuclear disarmament to lesbian/gay liberation, from fighting sexism to working against U.S. intervention. Her coalition and organizing skills have put hundreds of thousands of people in the streets in many of the country’s largest Read more…

Sandy Carter: Conjunto Cxe9spedes

  Although the Bay Area-based Conjunto Cspedes is now being recognized as one of the most exciting Afro-Cuban ensembles in the country, Guillermo Cspedes, the group’s musical director, recalls that until very recently there was no context for appreciating their distinctive sound. "Today, with the great influx of Cuban bands, we belong somewhere," he explains. Read more…

Randall Robinson: none

Dutton Books; 304 pp. Review by Camille Goodison   Bitter. Black. Beautiful: These, to paraphrase Jimmy Baldwin—vocal in his disdain for American myth-making and its delusions of "innocence,"—would be three very appropriate words in describing Defending the Spirit. Randall Robinson, founder and president of TransAfrica, the Washington-based pressure group that advocates for more friendly U.S. Read more…

Patrick Grugan: Poor People’s Organizing

  On the weekend of April 3 to 5, 62 people representing more than 20 different poor people’s organizations from across the country met in Philadelphia. This meeting, sponsored by the National Welfare Rights Union and hosted by the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, was an orientation to the Economic Human Rights Campaign and specifically to Read more…

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Edward Herman: Pol Pot’s Death In The Propaganda System

  The death of Pol Pot on April 15, 1998 unleashed a media barrage of indignation and sanitized history that illustrates well their role as agents in a system of propaganda. While Pol Pot was undoubtedly a mass killer and evil force, and deserves angry condemnation, the U.S. media’s indignation ebbs and flows in accord Read more…

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David Barsamian: Let’s Fight the Bastards: Believing in the common good

Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street." HIGHTOWER: Bingo. And now it’s not just Wall Street, but the Japanese and the European conglomerates as well, the new global economy.   Are we looking here, then, at an El Niño kind of climate change? We’re looking at the same old greed that has been repackaged. Read more…

Ingrid Rivera: Organizing in Lawrence

  It all began with the Gay and Lesbian Community Advocates of Lawrence petitioning the City Council for a parade permit. But things quickly escalated with the entrance of a strong Christian Right, and the rather foolish decision by a city council sub-committee to reject the parade application. What was left after the smoke cleared Read more…

Emanuel Sferios: Population, Immigration, & the Environment

  During March and April the national Sierra Club membership voted by a 20 percent margin against a ballot initiative which would have adopted a Club policy calling for a reduction in U.S. immigration. Out of the 78,069 members who mailed in ballots, a 60.1 percent majority voted to preserve the Club’s long-standing position of Read more…

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Norman Solomon: Media Beat

  After Pulitzer, Graham’s Book Still Lacks Scrutiny In the days since Katharine Graham won a Pulitzer Prize for her autobiography Personal History, media coverage has added new luster to the book’s reputation. United Press International referred to Graham’s book as a "classic." On the CNN Financial Network, a correspondent lionized the author: "By unanimous Read more…

Helen Vosters: The Celling of America

and Paul Wright Common Courage Press; 249 pp. Review by Helene Vosters   Incarceration is a growth industry—crime pays. Now, from behind the cell doors of America’s modern day dungeons, prisoners speak out exposing private interests that fuel, and profit from, our nations prison proliferation. In The Celling of America, editors Daniel Burton-Rose, Dan Pens, Read more…

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Jeremy Brecher: Resisting Concessions

  While the number of strikes and strikers plummeted during the 1980s and 1990s, most of the major labor struggles that did take place were in resistance to management demands for concessions. Three of the most important—and most revealing—occurred at the Austin, Minnesota plant of the Hormel meatpacking company, the Watsonville Canning company in southern Read more…

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Michael Bronski: Queering the Scouts

  This was a right-wing nightmare that rivaled the image of Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan announcing that they are lovers on National Coming Out Day, or Kenneth Starr excusing himself as Special Prosecutor because he had walked that mile in Monica’s kneepads. This may have been even worse. This was about those iconographic models Read more…

Sandy Carter: Short Cuts

  In the last decade the music industry has gradually discovered the music of American Indians. As a result, at least a small portion of the music buying public has started to hear sounds that have nothing to do with the Hollywood western soundtracks that have defined “Indian Music” as methodical drum beats, shaking rattles, Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Domestic Constituencies

  Let’s begin with some simple points, assuming conditions that now prevail–not, of course, the terminus of the unending struggle for freedom and justice. There is a "public arena" in which, in principle, individuals can participate in decisions that involve the general society: how public revenues are obtained and used, what foreign policy will be, Read more…

Bob Feldman: Years After The 1968 Columbia Revolt

solidarity with justice and freedom for others (in Vietnam and Harlem)—and by risking their own privileged futures, they forged meanings and discovered their own humanity. When several hundred students disrupted the status quo and defied their own upbringing by seizing university buildings, they uncovered a flood of creativity: daily wall newspapers, art posters, real learning Read more…

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Gabriel Kolko: none

Routledge; 190 pp. Review by Asad Ismi   What should a communist party do when it leads a nation to victory over the most powerful empire the world has ever known at the cost of three million lives? Build an equitable society for the survivors, of course. The Communist Party of Vietnam has not done Read more…

James Petras: The Post-Communist Generation

  The Soviet Union has transited from a repressive and authoritarian communist regime in which social welfare, full employment, and a secure old age predominated to a savage capitalism in which a small minority of Mafia business thugs, ex-communist bureaucrats, and new rich speculators have pillaged the economy leaving 60 percent of the population in Read more…

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Z Staff: Economics?

  Robert Barro of Harvard recently was offered a $300,000 salary to jump to Columbia. In reaction, MIT’s Paul Krugman wrote in Microsoft’s online magazine, Slate: "the ability to do innovative economic research is at least as rare as the ability to sink a basketball through a hoop—and a lot rarer than many other abilities that Read more…

: Whither Asia’s Economies?

  Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s big business made the mistake of letting the U.S. government assume the major responsibility for bending Southeast Asia to capitalism’s will. Because of the incredible heroism and determination of the Vietnamese people, supported by the moral indignation expressed by an ever-increasing number of Americans, the effort was Read more…

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Lydia Sargent: Are You Femme Enough?

  Welcome to Hotel Satire—where traditional values inhabit our tastefully decorated rooms, where the enterprise is free for those with the right background and breeding, where dad is in command, the kids are at his feet, mom is in the kitchen, lesbos are in jail, commies have all joined the Russian Mafia, and everyone is Read more…

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Norman Solomon: Media Beat

Sex-Scandal Coverage Evades Contradictions In the days since Kathleen Willey’s interview on "60 Minutes," media outlets have flooded us with renewed debates over President Clinton’s sexual conduct. But news coverage still fails to consider the Clinton scandals in the context of what he has long been preaching about welfare recipients and other low-income Americans. So Read more…

Paul von Blum: Sculptures of Charles Dickson

  Sculpture has played a powerful role in the artistic heritage of Africa. Too often regarded as "primitive," and routinely consigned to museum "curiosity rooms" and natural history exhibitions, these works have nevertheless been sources of inspiration to many Western modern artists. Viewers familiar with Pablo Picasso, Amadeo Modligiani, Constantin Brancusi, Chaim Soutine, and others, Read more…

Sue Wall: Towards “2000 in 2000”

  One candidate grew up working in Hong Kong sweatshops and led the fight as a school board member against accepting funds from Nike. Another is the chief steward of her union, a single working mother putting her daughter through college. A third is a food service worker who helped organize her restaurant. The three—Joseph Read more…

Sandy Carter: Celebrating Pete Seeger

  Our songs are like you and me, the product of a long human chain… —Pete Seeger Ever since the radical tradition of American folk music incubated in the 1930s, a loosely defined, loosely tied "folk music community" has inspired strains of popular music linked to radical politics and struggles for social justice. In musical Read more…

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Noam Chomsky: Rogue States

  The concept of "rogue state" plays a pre-eminent role today in policy planning and analysis. The current Iraq crisis is only the latest example. Washington and London declared Iraq a "rogue state," a threat to its neighbors and to the entire world, an "outlaw nation" led by a reincarnation of Hitler who must be Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: The American Doll

  Zoe, my six-year-old, was practically vibrating with delight when she opened the big rectangular box and pulled out her first American Girl doll. It was her birthday. She had asked for Felicity—the "colonial era" doll, but there had been a mix-up. She got Kirsten instead. This "pioneer" girl is from Sweden. Blond hair. Blue Read more…

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