Letter from the editors

Our cover stories deal with aspects of the revival of the immigrant rights movement, which has been on the defensive for some years now, against the new racial profiling law passed in Arizona, SB 1070. Chicago immigrant rights activist Orlando Sepúlveda looks at the history of the movement as it developed from the mass protests and May Day mega-marches of 2006, and discusses the ways in which SB 1070 has galvanized young activists, especially undocumented activists, who are more defiant and ready to openly challenge the anti-immigrant hysteria in the United States.

Sharon Smith looks at Arizona’s racist past, going all the way back to the Confederate sympathies of the territory during the Civil War. Challenging the right-wing mantra that the issue is about “obeying the law,” Smith draws parallels with the immigrant struggle and the civil rights movement, when activists defied and overturned Jim Crow segregation laws. “Laws are not sacrosanct,” she argues, “and neither are national borders—or the laws governing them.”

David Barsamian’s interview with Noam Chomsky covers a number of topics related to U.S. imperialism, including the parallels between Vietnam and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars today, the relative strength of U.S. imperialism in relation to China and other rising states, and the prospects for the growth of the right and the left in the current political climate.

Tikva Honig-Parnass participated in the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel. She later became a socialist and an anti-Zionist. Her interview provides a fascinating window into the nature of labor Zionism and its affinity with right-wing Zionism. She also discusses Matzpen, the anti-Zionist Israeli Socialist Organization she became a member of, and the role of Israeli intellectuals “in articulating the main narrative of Zionism and legitimizing the Zionist colonial project.”

Dave Zirin’s article on women, gender, and sports takes aim at the double standard in the way women and men are treated in sports, as well as the lingering mistreatment of athletes whose behavior or appearance breaks gender stereotypes. “For most women,” he writes, “organized sports was something they were simply denied, which also meant they were denied access to exercise, camaraderie, and the philosophical empowerment sports can provide where young people learn to ‘lead in the real world.’” Zirin manages to maintain a sportswriters’ love of the game with a radical’s keen eye and a comedian’s wit.

Eric Kerl’s piece on contemporary anarchism provides the reader with a comprehensive survey of the different trends in what is a reviving anarchist movement among newly radicalizing youth today. One of his main contentions is that the new anarchism has gravitated away from the “classical” anarchist notion of abolishing the state, and toward the idea of avoiding or ignoring state power to create autonomous free spaces in the “interstices” of capitalism.

Haymarket Books has kindly given us permission to publish three pieces. One is an excerpt from Chris Williams’ forthcoming book, Ecology and Socialism, which discusses the theory and practice of Marxism, up through the early years of the Russian Revolution, on the issue of ecology. Contrary to the anticommunist stereotypes, Williams discovers that prior to the rise of Stalinism in Russia, Lenin and his fellow revolutionaries took the issue of ecological sustainability very seriously.

The others are Francis Fox Piven’s introductions to Irving Bernstein’s The Lean Years and The Turbulent Years, two outstanding and long out-of-print books on the American working class in the 1930s. Piven ends by connecting the past with the present: “There are many lessons to be learned from The Turbulent Years,” she writes, “but perhaps the most potent is that the popular moods and understandings that fuel protest movements can change, and change rapidly. We should hope for this in our own time, and we should do more than hope. We should work to make it true.”

Our feature review takes a look at the autobiography of Peter Camejo, a long-time revolutionary socialist, leading antiwar activist in the 1960s, and later Green Party candidate who died in 2008 after a fight with cancer.

Issue #81

January 2012

Rosa Luxemburg

Life of a revolutionary
Issue contents

Top story

Features

Critical Thinking

Reviews

  • Marx redux

    Brooke Horvath reviews Why Marx Was Right by Terry Eagleton
  • Racism on trial

    Jason Netek reviews People Wasn't Made to Burn: A True Story of Housing, Race, and Murder in Chicago by Joe Allen
  • The life behind the icon

    Charles Peterson reviews The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World by John Carlos and Dave Zirin
  • The politics of climate change activism

    Chris Williams reviews The Rise of the Green Left: A Global Introduction to Ecosocialism by Derek Wall and Toward Climate Justice: Perspectives on the Climate Crisis and Social Change by Brian Tokar
  • Anything went

    Paul D'Amato reviews Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá
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