On the up side we begin with David Rolf’s comprehensive piece on the “battle of Seattle” and the breakthrough victory paving a path to $15 per hour for workers there. Alex Knox and Zach Wear report as well on one of the high points of the difficult 2014 election cycle in the United States where progressives managed to go toe-to-toe with Chevron and its corporate money and come away with municipal election victories. Gabrielle Ross-Marquette and Jill O’Reilly quickly remind us how hard the fights are in winning these elections on the local level when voter suppression manages to create obstacles to voter access, especially for the poorer, larger Francophone districts in Ottawa. Our old friend and regular contributor, Professor Daniel Rossides, gives an unsparing analysis of the economic issues underlying our politics at all of these levels as he offers a penetrating look at the failure to heed many of the Keynesian dicta.
Our annual edition from the Organizers’ Forum’s delegation and their International Dialogue hold the middle of this issue with their news from Nicaragua. Two of the delegation remembered visits decades ago from very different perspectives at the same time, one visiting with a group of philanthropists in the wake of the revolution then, and the other coming across the border on foot with the U.S. Army to train the contras as the same time. Dine’ Butler and Toney Orr from Local 100 of the United Labor Unions look at labor in Nicaragua. Drummond Pike with Jill O’Reilly report on coffee and the crises faced in many of the cooperatives with roya or coffee rust. Beth Butler, a community organizer from New Orleans with A Community Voice, formerly Louisiana ACORN, and Suyapa Amador of ACORN Honduras in San Pedro Sula, report on the status of women in Nicaragua currently. Willie Cosme of KABF/Fm and Local 100 in Little Rock and Erlyn Perez of ACORN Honduras in Tegucigalpa look at progress and problems in the community. Chaco Rathke contributes a photo essay of this fascinating country and its many challenges!
We are fortunate to have a number of excellent excerpts from recent books. Stanley Aronowitz, the well-known author and labor activist, offers some thoughts on what is needed to stop the demise of the labor movement from his new book, The Death and Life of American Labor. David Pellow gives us a different perspective on what we can learn about action and tactics from the environmental movement in a piece from his book, Total Liberation: The Power and Promise of Animal Rights and the Radical Earth Movement. Finally, we have a short excerpt from a very different book given to us by Larry “Leif” Evans, the former editor and publisher of the influential rank-and-file publication from the 1980s, The Mill Hunk Herald, from Pittsburgh, which he gave to us shortly before his untimely death.
Speaking of books, we also have a review essay by Mike Miller of Helena Worthen’s Forbidden Lessons of Labor Education, an important but embattled field, and a review from John Atlas of Junius Williams’ Unfinished Agenda looking at decades of organizing and political struggles to gain firm footing and change in Newark, New Jersey. Cap it all off with our regular columns this issue, including Phil Mattera’s column on how corporations feed off of their own special welfare programs, which are also called government contracts, Noorin Ladhani on the “miracles” of 3-D printers, and John Anderson on the crazy politics of Toronto and the recent election to replace Rob “I Was Hammered” Ford as Mayor. I finish with the backstory on the Scottish independence vote and the rising tenants’ movement in the United Kingdom.
We may not be able to figure out the weather these days, but we can still tell which way the wind is blowing