In the spirit of solidarity

My name is Frank Couget. I’m a socialist, letter carrier, and union activist in New York City. I just read Derek Wright’s account of the murder of his uncle by Chrysler in the International Socialist Review (“Chrysler murdered my uncle” ISR 61). Derek has my complete empathy. I am going to contribute to the fund by check through the mail next payday.

I understand that the dedications in the book series are intended for those who are killed in a “a workplace disaster” like J.K. Wright. However, I’d like to advocate for the inclusion of my dad, Francis Couget, who was a sanitation mechanic for the city of New York for over 30 years before being killed by a rare form of bone cancer shortly after retiring. In the last debilitating year of his life it caused him additional anguish to receive news of the severe illness and deaths of several of his coworkers who had also just retired. He sometimes remarked it must be due to the carcinogens, asbestos, and largely unregulated waste city sanitation mechanics had been continuously bathed in for most of their working lives. I think he was right. Having asked around, I found that city sanitation garages, especially in the 1960s and 70s were, as a matter of course, “workplace disasters” akin to dungeons. Garbage workers were treated like garbage themselves.

My dad took me with him to work, and to his union meetings. He also told me how he and the other mechanics held classes for the San-men on how to “disable” the trucks without making too much work for the mechanics during the strike in 1977. My dad’s story is an ordinary one. It’s too common for there to be an investigation or successful lawsuit. So I would appreciate very much if you could honor him in the spirit of your uncle in your invaluable work producing some tools our class needs to destroy the bosses who are the benefactors of such common devastation.

Frank J. Couget
Astoria, N.Y.

Issue #62

November 2008

Crisis of Capitalism

Issue contents

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Critical Thinking


  • What to read about Afghanistan

    Charles Peterson reviews Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007 by Antonio Giustozzi; Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid; The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan edited by Robert D. Crews and Amin Tarzi; Organizations at War in Afghanistan and Beyond by Abdulkader H. Sinno; and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence by Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls
  • Medication nation

    Helen Redmond reviews Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs by Melody Petersen
  • Deadly lines on the map

    Avery Wear reviews Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid by Joseph Nevins
  • Raising the alert levels on bathtubs

    Shaun Joseph reviews Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them by John Mueller
  • Energy Imperialism

    Lance Selfa reviews Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy by Michael Klare and The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Lance Selfa