Friday Jul 19


Our summer issue this year is all over the waterfront from the United States to Canada to Greece and beyond, as well as on the waterfront itself when you read the excellent review on Herb Mills’ Presente. 

Diving in, we start with our long-time contributors ben Asher and Bat Sarah, who continue to enlighten and wrestle with the relationship between moral spirituality and saving democracy, while Professor Ed Martin comes at as pointedly as he looks at the way late-stage capitalism creates a huge precarious and informal economy of peril for workers.  Mary Rowles, a seasoned communicator, union official and careful observer, shares her experience for several months teacingh English to immigrants in Greece and in doing so puts us in their place and offers an intimate view of the migrant experience and future.  Ernie Dumas has long been considered the dean of political reporters in Arkansas, while contributing insights and amazing historical memory from that vantage point to sundry US publications, and takes the opportunity of reflecting on former Senator David Pryor’s death to Zelig-like examine much of our shared local and national political history.

Unions are in the news these days, both popular and militant.  Ken Reiman does credit to the notion of labor centrality in our economy and public life with a look at how Teamster reform president Ron Carey almost thirty years ago set American on notice with his detailed exposition of the great 1997 Teamsters’ strike at United Parcel Service.  SEIU, the UAW, and today’s Teamsters are trying to seize the time today, just as Carey did then for a minute. Steve Early, a regular contributor, is back with a review that links labor and climate, where he has both a journalistic and personal interest living in Richmond in the shadow of the giant Chevron refinery.  I enjoyed the sidebar fact that the two editors, were former ACORN organizer, Jeff Ordower, and the director of an ACORN Oral History project, Lindsay Zafir, in the small world in which we all work and live.  My head snapped back at the title:  Power Lines.  I remember fondly and well my friend and comrade Paul Wellstone’s book, Powerlines, from his period as something of a community organizer / academic before his career as Minnesota’s Senator.  As I mentioned, esteemed ILWU scholar and historian Robert Cherny, whose book on Harry Bridges we reviewed recently, shares a review of ILWU activist, steward, and scholar Herb Mills and his historical novel which details one of the ILWU’s strikes and successes on the waterfront. 

Phil Mattera takes a look back at his experience tracking corporate crimes and penalties, finding a trillion dollars has been paid in the last decade by corporate scofflaws, many of them repeat offenders.  Drummond Pike finds hope, even if little expectation, that a new economic theory of “limitarianism” could narrow the wealth divide.  By the way, James Mumm’s review this issue also looks at recent contributions in progressive economics, something we should all salute.  Gregory Squires reminds us that Fathers’ Day is personal, not just another notation on the calendar.  Speaking of personal and professional, John Anderson shares his memories of great ACORN conventions and his excitement at the coming 20th anniversary convention for ACORN Canada, which coincidentally is happening on Fathers’ Day, as my family has frequently reminded me.  In Backstory, I scratch my head looking for what the future augurs from the Starbucks bargaining and the UAW’s assault on Southern auto plants.

There’s plenty in this issue to keep your feet dry when you’re not at the beach this summer and to keep your brain buzzing.