Thursday Nov 30


           Record heat waves across parts of the US and Europe, cascading indictments complete with mugshots for the Trump gang, US economy soaring while China’s sinks, Covid rising, and it’s not the end times, just the days of our lives.  This issue is a mix of past and present, future talk and the wayback machine.

            It begins with Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon reporting on the strange path US veterans have traveled from the forever wars to becoming a political issue in the 2024 election campaign.  The putative Republican nominee, former President Trump, typically is trying to work the issue out of both sides of his mouth, claiming he’s their guy, despite cutbacks and privatization, lambasting VA workers and their lifesaving work.  Going both backwards and forwards, Fred Brooks draws on the lessons he took from his youth and from his career as an organizer and canvass director with ACORN to his current duties molding young social workers at Georgia State.

            Similarly, Professor Ahmed White and his book on the Industrial Workers of the World and their experiences one-hundred ago offer organizers and activists lessons in courage and persistence in the face of constant and extralegal repression.  He exhaustively corrects any misconceptions that the attack that upended the organization was World War I by documenting the lawlessness of courts and police from their founding, making our organizing environment seem like a walk in the park.  Chuck Collins, activist, author, and philanthropist takes a turn at fiction, if we dare call it that, writing of the work of an organizer looking back with a different twist than Brooks offers.

            Our book reviews cover the waterfront, starting literally with Peter Olney, long time organizing director with the Longshore Workers, dissecting the new book on fabled ILWU leader Harry Bridges.  Repression and constant deportation trials were part of the fight in his case, but Olney, drawing from the history, also shows the paths that needs to be taken by labor now.  Jay Youngdahl, a labor lawyer for construction and other workers, former publisher, writer, photographer and activist, reviews a book on the role of construction workers, and minces no words about the underestimated value of the work and workers.  Speaking of lawyers, James Mumm in his usual insightful review wrestles with the classic conundrum faced by many organizers in trying to make social change concerning lawyers and the law:  obstacle or advantage?

            Phil Mattera in his column argues we need to emphasize corporate accountability, not the PR spin from corporations on ESG.  Drummond Pike says Biden by the numbers is not getting the credit – and popularity – he deserves.  Gregory Squires critiques the Supreme Court’s affirmative action decision and how universities need to handle race going forward.  John Anderson…. .  I finish in Backstory with a look at …

            With the world in upheaval around us, it’s time to look for some perspective, drawing from the past, where the challenges where as great or greater, to find the strength and insights now to find the opportunities and forge ahead.