[Marxism] Left Hook Updated

M. Junaid Alam junaidalam at msalam.net
Thu Aug 26 08:47:41 MDT 2004

Left Hook


Last Release: Monday, August 26, 2004

"They're as bad as Walmart": Starbucks Workers get Organized!

| Derek Seidman |

Two days after workers at the 36th and Madison Starbucks in New York
City turned in their union cards to the NLRB for a certification
election, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, sent them a little voice
message. In this dispatch from the corporate tower, Schultz-who
personally brought in 17 million dollars last year-tried to appeal to
the $7.75-per-hour upstarts in words that would impress George Orwell.

The multi-millionaire CEO began his message by referring to his
poverty-wage employees as "partners", and stressed how Starbucks and its
workers "have built great trust in one another." He went on to explain
that he viewed "treating everyone with dignity and respect as our
highest priority", and stressed the "caring and supportive culture" of
the company. He ended with this note of pure authenticity: "I want to
conclude by simply thanking you for everything you do each day, and for
being the real heart and soul of Starbucks."

- (Read full) <http://lefthook.org/Politics/Seidman082604.html>

Campaign for Renters' Rights: Direct Action Saves 238 Alameda Section 8

| Jeremy Prickett |

"The Housing Authority dropped a bomb on us. They told us our housing
was to be 'terminated'. They issued us vouchers for selected areas that
were supposedly absorbing us. We found out that they were not. We were
stuck between a rock and a hard place. It was either fight to stay here,
or be ass out- kicked out, evicted, homeless. The only logical answer
for me was to fight, so that's what I did." Sheila, a single mother, who
works full time in an office by day and as a student by night.

On June 5, 2004 the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda sent
termination notices to 238 Section 8 Housing Assistance Program
recipients. This would mean eviction when July rents came due. The
federal funds for the program had been cut. For the nation's poor, the
escalating cost of "War on Terrorism" would mean the terrorism of
homelessness. Alphonso Jackson, the new H.U.D. Secretary, stated in a
May congressional hearing, "Being poor is a state of mind, not a
condition." Alameda was the first local Housing Authority to enforce
this cut.

- (Read full) <http://lefthook.org/Ground/Prickett082604.html>

A Review of Elizabeth Fones-Wolf's Selling Free Enterprise, plus a few
personal observations

| Chad Faldt |

Noam Chomsky says that this book is the best, indeed only, work to take
a systematic look at the efforts of the business community to attain and
impose an ideological hegemony after World War II. Selling Free
Enterprise is not the most engaging book, Fones-Wolf is reluctant to
state her own opinions explicitly-save for in the 6-page conclusion-so
the book comes off in many ways as a purely academic effort. Perhaps
that is all she wanted it to be. But the subject of her book is an
extremely important one; there is a reason that Chomsky takes special
note of this work, and the historian Norman Ware's work on the same
topic in an earlier period of American history. The subtitle of
Fones-Wolf's book gives a good description of what the book is about,
and is close to being the strongest language the author uses in
providing her own opinion on the subject matter-The Business Assault on
Labor and Liberalism, 1945-60.

- (Read full) <http://lefthook.org/Reviews/Faldt082604.html>

Beyond Populism: Venezuela and the International Left

| Jonah Gindin |

All over the world, the international Left — including the global social
justice movement — is peering sceptically at Venezuela, unsure of what
to make of President Hugo Chávez’ alleged democratic revolution. Is
Chávez the next Allende? Is the ‘Bolivarian revolution’ really
revolutionary? Is it anti-capitalist? Or does he merely represent
another chimera in a long line of populists who rile up the masses with
rousing condemnations of US Imperialism, only to quietly cut deals with
international capital? Hesitation, wariness, doubts — these feelings are
understandable; the Left has been taken in before by Latin America’s
infamous, ephemeral caudillo. But it is wrong to merely lump Chávez in
with that sordid history of pseudo-revolutionaries. Yet placing him in
Allende’s lineage is not entirely accurate either. Chávez is, after all,
not exactly socialist. He hasn’t even nationalized anything (yet). But
the relevance of the Venezuelan experience to the Left is fundamental.
Something is happening in Venezuela that should inspire progressives
everywhere, and it is the responsibility of the Left to learn from this
experience — and more than that — to ensure that it is not extinguished
before it has a chance to catch.

- (Read full) <http://lefthook.org/Politics/Venezuelareprint082604.html>

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