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Philips’ Double Betrayal

The United States owns the most patents in the world. It has stolen scientists from every country, developed or developing, who are undertaking research in a myriad of spheres, from the production of weapons of mass destruction to medicines and medical equipment. For that reason, the economic and technological blockade is not something that merely serves as a pretext for blaming the empire for our own difficulties.… | more…

Unions Must Move Left, They Have No Alternative

Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Fernando Gapasin, Solidarity Divided (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 324 pages, $17.95, paper.

Through the 1980s I was a union organizer and activist in our Bay Area labor anti-apartheid committee. As we picketed ships carrying South African cargo, and recruited city workers to support the African National Congress (then called a terrorist organization by both the United States and South Africa), I looked at South African unions with great admiration.… | more…

The Penal State in an Age of Crisis

As a rule, crime and social protest rise in periods of economic crisis in capitalist society. During times of economic and social instability, the well-to-do become increasingly fearful of the general population, more disposed to adopt harsh measures to safeguard their positions at the apex of the social pyramid. The slowdown in the economic growth rate of U.S. capitalism beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s—converging with the emergence of radical social protest around the same period—was accompanied by a rapid rise in public safety spending as a share of civilian government expenditures. So significant was this shift that we can speak of a crowding out of welfare state spending (health, education, social services) by penal state spending (law enforcement, courts, and prisons) in the United States during the last third of a century.… | more…

Don’t Pity the Poor Immigrants, Fight Alongside Them

David Bacon, Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Boston: Beacon Press, 2008), 261 pages, $25.95, hardcover.

In this compelling and useful book, David Bacon lays to rest the anti-immigration arguments of the xenophobes and racists who bombard us every day in the press, on television, and on radio talk shows with the vicious assertion that immigrants, mainly those from Latin America, are the cause of all our economic and social problems.… | more…

News That Shook the World

On April 25, 2009, El Universal from Mexico published that “Francis Plummer, a scientist with the Canadian government microbiology laboratory stated that the influenza virus attacking the Mexicans is new not only to humans but to the world. Just one week ago… he was asked to analyze some specimens from Mexico…”… | more…

Not a Word About the Blockade

The U.S. administration announced through CNN that Obama would be visiting Mexico this week, in the first part of a trip that will take him to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where he will be within four days taking part in the Summit of the Americas. He has announced the relief of some hateful restrictions imposed by Bush on Cubans living in the United States regarding their visits to relatives in Cuba. When questions were raised on whether such prerogatives extended to other American citizens the response was that the latter were not authorized.… | more…

Evo’s inevitable victory

Evo entered today his fourth day of rigorous hunger strike. He spoke yesterday evening and today at noon. His words were calm, persuasive and categorical. He offered a “biometric electoral register” that was still better than the one in force during the electoral processes held in his country, which had already been described by international institutions as reliable and of high quality.… | more…

The Bolivian Revolution and Cuba’s Conduct

Sometimes I have thought that I would not have to write the following day and that I could rather use part of the time to read and study, as I have often done. But, the significant events of the past few weeks related to the world economy and politics, and the developments in Bolivia have prevented me from doing so.… | more…

April 2009 (Volume 60, Number 11)

» Notes from the Editors

It is now universally recognized that the U.S. economy is experiencing a deep downturn unlike anything seen since the 1930s. Hence, the question continually arises: How close is this to a depression? One way of answering is to look at the unemployment rate. The Great Depression hit bottom in 1933 when unemployment peaked at 25 percent. Today the United States is losing jobs at the rate of 600,000 a month. But the official unemployment rate currently stands at 8.1 percent (seasonally adjusted, February 2009). This is the highest rate of official unemployment in a quarter-century, but hardly what is considered a depression-level rate, which is usually thought of as well into the double-digits.… | more…

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