Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Spring Edtiorial

Most of us have never lived through times like these. Even before this pandemic -- this plague of the body and spirit -- most of us were struggling. Most of our working class were a paycheck or two or an illness away from destitution. Many of us were not far from the poverty line and some of us were well below it, even working multiple jobs.

Since our last issue, we have experienced an economic collapse with mass unemployment which rivals that of the Great Depression. We've lost loved ones -- over a hundred thousand and the numbers keep growing with no end in sight.

All the festering pandemics of bigoted, corrupt, greed-driven, violence and nationalism are combined and on full display. Sparked by racist police violence and fed by class injustice we are seeing a massive uprising of progress, solidarity, and resistance against divisive, destructive corporate fascism.

The poets in this issue get to the nitty-gritty. Alan Catlin, Lyle Estill, Rick Swann, Fred Voss, normal, and others speak of the stress and desperation we feel. Ed Werstein's poem, "Dying for Capitalism" is an indictment of capitalist tyranny ready to force us back to work in cesspools of disease, purposely made more deadly, for the further enrichment of a few. We are the disposable stock upon which this system of life-destroying exploitation is built.

But our working class has a long memory, as Mary Franke's poem "2020-1919" about that "red summer" illuminates. So too, these poems speak from our knowledge of who the 1% are, and of our long history of struggle against them for rights that, until recently, many of us took for granted. History shows us that in a capitalist system nothing won is permanent. Maintaining even basic rights gained is like paddling upstream against constant efforts to push us back. As the present shows and growing voices in the streets demand, we must go further than winning shallow promises and temporary partial victories. Capitalism has outlived its usefulness and has become a deadlier pandemic than corona virus.

Even as we struggle to survive this pandemic, we are facing down fascism unmasked and brutal even as greater existential crisis metastasizes. The climate catastrophe too is driven by myopic greed and profiteering. Like COVID, efforts to address it are crippled by criminal gangsterism and the hijacking of our governments by corporations. Surviving this culmination of disasters requires us to reclaim and remake the Republic, as our closing poem "A Call to Action" makes clear.

Together we have the power. This issue would not exist without the support we have gotten, for which we are more that appreciative. Though our efforts may further inspire class- conscious progress, the struggle is happening now in streets and city halls across this nation and around the world. People have finally had enough. It will require all of us to push hard enough to end this nightmare of brutal capitalist world destruction. For older, ill activists, especially vulnerable, this is a big challenge. Together, old and young, Black and white, we have wisdom, words and a stubborn commitment. We have little left to lose and a world to reclaim and protect from those who are actively, knowingly destroying it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Winter Editorial

As this issue goes to press, we find ourselves in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, a disaster made much worse by inept leadership and a criminally corrupt system. Many of us are in self quarantine, living on rice, beans, tinned fish and noodles. Many of us are suddenly unemployed with rent and bills due. Some remain at work and in danger; from grocery clerks and delivery drivers to police, military and front-line medical workers.

We understand why we as a nation are less able to deal with this crisis than any other modern country on earth. We do not have a public healthcare system. Many of us lack health care coverage. Even if we have it, deductables and copays aside, our corporatized medical approach treats symptoms rather than causes and relies on over-priced, often toxic medicines and expensive procedures. It is a commodified disease maintenance model designed to rake in profits.

As the coronavirus tears across the globe leaving medical systems overwhelmed, even in civilized countries that have them, and mass death in its wake, our country continues its economic terrorism against affected countries including Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, denying them food and medical equipment.

Congress has passed corporate bailouts of the usual suspects; banks, big oil, finance, airlines, ect. along with emergency crumbs in the way of checks to some.

Meanwhile, the only platform and leadership capable of saving the country, and I refer to Bernie Sanders's call for Medicare for All, relief from student debt, and a job-creating Green New Deal, appears to be defeated by corporate media efforts and by voters driven by fear and misinformation.

The poems in this issue speak of the work we love or hate and the jobs we feel trapped in -- that we have felt trapped in. They describe our disgust at the criminality of corporate rule and of the violence that permeates both public policy and mass culture. This includes violent misogyny promoted and rewarded by the entrenched patriarchy and the dangerous gun worship and violence of the extreme right.

Given the reality of this moment, we are either witnessing the economic and social collapse of civilization and the rise of brutal fascism inherent in disaster capitalism or the beginning of a new era of progressive fightback as so many find ourselves with no other realistic choice.

We have been dispossessed, exploited in new and more dangerous ways, deprived by circumstance of goods, shelter, and education. We who need public services are living in a world torn upside down.

It is increasingly obvious that we are in undeniable need of Medicare for All, a minimum income and the job-creation and climate sanity of a Green New Deal. The Jonestown rule of corporations and billionaires is being exposed by this pandemic and must be swept away.

Our journal can play an important role in building needed class conscious unity but we are struggling against the odds to get through these times. Donations and poetry submissions are down. We hope, with your help, to continue publishing the vital writing of our awakened working class. Only together can we get through this terrible time and out of it, construct a civilized future.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Fall Editorial

As I write this, Los Angeles is inundated with snow, Australia is on fire, much of the country is flooded, and the weather on the mid-Atlantic coast is unseasonable and erratic.

Over the past few months we have witnessed the continued burning of the Amazon rainforest, another bloody US sponsored coup in Bolivia, and massive uprisings in cities around the world in protest of impoverishing neo-liberal economics, injustice and utter corruption. We are seeing the uprising of the youth-driven movement demanding action, "right here, right now" to address the growing climate catastrophe.

In our own failing empire, misery pools to wealth and divisive, disempowering citizen division is propagated by the elites. The president has been impeached on narrowly limited charges of international extortion for personal gain. Such lethal extortion is and has been basic to our foreign policy for decades with devastating economic sanctions, embargoes and interventions continuing against countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and Bolivia. This is the price paid by countries that dare to claim public ownership of their resources. It serves to ensure control of those resources by US corporations. Trump is guilty of far worse crimes like profiteering off of his position, unthinkable human rights abuses and crimes against public health and life on earth in exacerbating climate destruction.

This season is the lead-up to an election year where a chance for real change exists and is growing. The oligarchy and their media are pulling out all the stops to convince us that a return to corporate centrism is our best and only possibility. The steady advance in the polls by Bernie Sanders and his growing support belie that narrative. Partisan Press is a not-for-profit publisher, thus we make no political endorsements. We understand that there is no other choice for us as working class stiffs than to support Sanders, a person of consistent integrity pushed to the fore by a broad working class coalition around an agenda that is a life and death necessity for many of us and for the future of civilization and for life on earth.

This has been a bleak year for most of us, as the poems in this issue attest. The wealthiest continue to make record gains at our expense. Corporate landlords gobble up property like flies on carrion as rents rise, homeless encampments grow and the homeless, like other refugees, are criminalized. The poems in this issue speak of the mind-deadening monotony of meaningless unproductive jobs and the struggle to survive beyond them. They describe the insane criminality of a destructive economy built on brutality, bubbles and bullshit, the desperate burnout of Trump's relentless dystopic reign, and toll the constant bombardment of bad and outright false news takes on our weary psyches.

Though hope without action is a delusional grasping at straws, there is reason to see the next year as one of desperate struggle with the real possibility of progress in spite of what corporate media shills tell us. Can we roll back the monstrosity of corrupt fascist reaction, even against the odds? We must!

We are the collective voice of an awakened class and of the struggle for a civilization worthy of the name. We are a record of the times and the reality beneath the official narrative. We feel this is important and we hope you do as well. There is no other journal like this. This issue opens our season of asking for the support that sustains this magazine. We hope you will support it so we can continue to publish poetry that matters. We thank you in advance for your words and your support.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Summer Editorial

This summer has brought record heat, more powerful hurricanes and massive fires. We are, as ever, at war. Threats of new aggressions against Iran and Venezuela continue to be made. This is the dire price of insatiable end-stage capitalism and of a country addicted to militarism, racism and endless war as its economic base.

We, your editors, have also had to work against the obstacles of tight money, ill heath and our computer crashing, in order to continue publishing. As sidelined citizens we often feel helpless and afraid for our own futures. We struggle to survive, to hold on to our jobs and to what little security we have from day to day. But that isn't enough. We must continue to struggle together against an ecocidal corporate dictatorship on the cultural front and in the streets.

Our summer issue deals with the inseparable themes of climate destruction and war. These are more timely than ever. Poems in this issue show that the toxic tyranny of the workplace on which we depend cannot be separated from political autocracy, the poisoning of our communities or the destruction of the biosphere.

Workers know that we sacrifice our time, our freedoms and our health to pay for overpriced rents, mortgages, medicines, food and utilities even as our wages lose value and our jobs and retirements become increasingly indequate. We understand the class commonality between our bosses, our landlords and the arrogant bullying crooks who wield political power over our lives. We know, many of us first hand, the pressures of sexual harassment, workplace abuse and the utter arrogance of those who, like Brett Kavanaugh, lord their power over us.

Our Summer issue also announces the winner of our annual Working Peoples' Poetry Contest. Choosing a winner was especially difficult this year due to the number of strong poems entered. After much deliberation, the winning poem is "From My Hands" by Leslie Irene Johnson. This poem speaks with agonizing truth to the reality of the cultural as well as biological threats we face from the poisoning of our world; of the scale of what is being lost. We also have two runners up; "Loading Dock Moored at Kellogg Marine" by Timothy Shilke and "Roses at the Coal Drifts" by Andrena Zawinski. Each of these stunning poems is a great example of the power and truth essential to working class writing at its best and could just as well have been the winner. Though they do not win the $100.00 prize, the runners up do win a year's subscription. Like the winner, their poems are posted on our website for one year.

Many other contest entries fill the pages of this collection. They speak to the present moment and to our ongoing struggle for survival and ultimately to our struggle for worker democracy. We are thankful to all who entered our annual contest as well as to those who continue to send powerful, honed words that, we believe, make a powerful difference in the consciousness and lives of those who read them.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Computer Crash

Our computer has crashed and though we though most of the important stuff was saved securely on an external hard drive, some was not. This includes our most recent mailing list. If you are a subscriber to the Blue Collar Review please resend your mailing address to us at red-ink@earthlink.net. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we rebuild.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Spring 2019 Editorial

Our working class bears the brunt of public policy written by and for connected industries and militarists. We've seen our jobs exported, the value of our wages reduced, our communities and workplaces poisoned and our loved ones sacrificed to greed and war. Many of us are not only made ill by our jobs but cannot afford needed medical care or medications.

This spring finds us at the precipice of global chaos with our government's sabotage of the Russian power grid, the exposure of our electoral interference in Brazil, and the growing threat of a war with Iran based on lies. Around the world, and in our own country, we see a rising demand for climate sanity and economic justice. Cultivated division and the rise of neo-fascist nationalism are intentional obstacles set in the path of our progress.

Nationalism is a response, orchestrated by corporate media, to the anger and disaffection resulting from the impoverishing ruse of trickle-down economics. It is a desperate defense against the rising tide of eco-social democratic alternatives as well as a struggle to bolster an obsolete model of competitive nation-states in an increasingly interdependent world. The results are war, poverty, crushing oppression, refugees and climate devastation. At root, this conflict is between corruption, unfettered profiteering and authoritarian rule versus democracy and the public good.

The poets in this collection understand this and write from personal experience. We are each others' witness. We know that we must have each others' backs, that unity is our only security. The bosses know it too and do everything they can to undermine our unity and to further exploit and discard us.

The poem "Billy Ray" by Len Shindel speaks of crooked labor leaders and racism. Corrupt labor leadership is something union members must confront to take back and strengthen our unions. The reality of union struggles is fleshed out in Stewart Acuff's poem, "Considering My Own Lynching." His experience shines a light on the direct connection between extreme-right hate groups and business interests which keep us poor and divided as well as the real benefits and power that come from our unity.

This issue comes out on the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. We are proud to publish a poem by Chris Butters, written in 2011 to commemorate the passing of the Marriage Equality Bill in New York. Oppression against any of us hurts us all. Also in this issue, "Henry Winston's Laugh" by Rafael Pizarro commemorates the centennial of the founding of the Communist Party. The strength of that organization in the Great Depression of the 1930s and the pressure it exerted was largely responsible for reforms like Social Security, Worker's Comp., minimum wages, the strengthening of labor laws and progress on civil rights. Such advances did not come from the benevolence of the ruling class but from the organized demands of people in the streets. Until we dis-empower wealth, we will continue to have to defend those gains against constant attempts to roll them back.

Poems in this issue from Australia and China demonstrate that the struggle for justice and the common good -- the workers' movement -- is and must be global. We all face the same obstacles of multi-national corporate power and we can only succeed by confronting them together.

The journal in your hands is an example of our unity because it would not exist without your support, for which we are very grateful. We are proud to continue publishing working class culture and to be connecting workers through our shared experiences beyond our national borders.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Winter 2018-19 Editorial

Since our last issue, our borders have become increasingly militarized with refugee and child prisons spreading. Climate disasters continue and our economy trembles, yet we stubbornly struggle on. As economic insecurity grows, along with the wealth of the richest, and chaotic confusion grips our corporate media, we continue to hear the usual demonizations and justifications for war. Yet truthful words reverberate. They come from the streets. They come from the shop floor. They come from newly-elected progressive congressional representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. They come from class-conscious progressives and poets who see beyond media narratives, partisan rhetoric, and justifications for aggression.

Winter is hard, especially for those of us struggling just to keep warm. Wages remain stagnant as prices continue to rise, from the cost of electricity to food, rents, insurance and medical care. Again, the truth becomes evident. The rule of money at its cruelest and least regulated takes its wrath out on working people, the old and the most vulnerable. As we write this, Trump continues to stack the courts with fascist ideologues and corporate puppets. He continues to place crooks and polluters in cabinet positions to destroy public protections. As poet Gil Scott-Heron once intoned, it's winter in America.

The poets in this collection know it. They understand that beyond scape-goating and divisive rhetoric, the rule of money in its own interest and at our expense, is the root that connects all the other issues that affect us. Described in poems like "The Song of the Boiler Maker" by Phillip Baldwin, "Toiling Away at the Mill" by Joseph S. Pete and poems by Sharon Mitchell and Fred Voss are the pride we take in our labor and the necessity of the work we do, as well as the hellish reality of the workplace and the toll it takes on our bodies.

Poems by Darell Petska, Mary Franke, E.F. Schraeder, Warsan Shire and Sara M. Lewis speak from experience of the struggle to survive these terrible times as immigrant refugees and of refugees of capitalism.

The poem, "Plowing On" speaks to our own commitment to continue publishing this journal against the odds. We had to replace the old, dependable printer we have been cajoling along for 15 years because supplies were getting too difficult to find. We could only afford buy a new laser printer because of donations made by you, our readers. The new printer set us back a few hundred dollars and we still have expenses to meet. This issue comes during our fund-drive period. Know that every cent donated goes to keep these powerful and artfully composed truths flowing out to where others can read and identify with them. Tax-deductible donations can be made on our website or to Partisan Press. P.O. Box 11417 Norfolk, VA 23517. On a related note, the deadline for our annual Working People's Poetry Competition is drawing near. Send us your experiences, your truths. The winning poet will win $100.00, a 1 year subscription, and have their poem posted on our website for a year.

As the circus of another election year arrives and the struggle against the arrogant, ecocidal rule of money intensifies, there has never been a more important time for truth and the consciousness raising culture of solidarity. We are more than grateful for your ongoing support of this effort. Together we can move forward.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Lyle Daggett -- Presenté

Lyle Daggett, a strong proletarian poet published in our journal and elsewhere died last December. Not only did Lyle write strong, lyrical political poetry, he left a compendium, a veritable library and education on Marxist political poetry via his blog,A Burning Patience. The following is an obit by fellow poet and long time comrade Robert Edwards,

It was in 1978 that I first met Lyle Daggett, and that came about through the poet, Jim Dochniak, when I first moved to Minneapolis from Fargo, North Dakota. Jim had a magazine called Sez which only lasted two issues but had wonderful political poetry in it, and that's when I first read Lyle. There was never any question to me, even then, that Lyle was a singular talent, unlike anybody else in the Upper Midwest, an area full of singular and unique talents. In my opinion, Lyle was one of the most important political poets this country has had in recent times. Although there are an infinite variety of political poems, it should be noted that Lyle often wrote revolutionary poems as opposed to bourgeois protest poems. There are many reasons to read him and, of course, Lyle wrote many other kinds of poems than political ones. Having said that, political concerns were always at the forefront for him, and I think in many ways those were the poems he was most proud of. In a magazine I was later to found, Pemmican, which was highly influenced by Sez, I would publish Lyle for almost twenty years, including his 9 page poem, "communism is a round sun shining." He was a lifelong Union man, and defiant about it. In the early 1980s, Lyle and I were in a Cultural Club, with the publisher, John Crawford of West End. The Cultural Club was an experiment by the Minneapolis Communist Party, of which Lyle and I were both members in those days. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was working with a couple of coffeehouse/cafes in Minneapolis/St. Paul to host poetry readings and, since I often got to influence the line up, I always offered a spot to Lyle. As is often the case with dedicated and meticulous poets, Lyle wasn't a performer or even the strongest reader, but his work towered above nearly anything else on any given night. These were the kinds of poems you would pull your chair closer to hear. I think in Lyle's work you hear a voice that is fully formed by the idea that political poetry needs to be, first and foremost, good poetry and not simply a ham-handed, tone deaf vehicle for political concepts. In later years, Lyle found a home for his work with Minnesota publisher, Red Dragonfly Press, and I encourage anyone who wants to read Lyle's books to start there. Red Dragonfly will also be publishing in the near future Lyle's last submitted manuscript, Road Song and Annunciation. His sudden and shocking death on Christmas Day, 2018, has left a gnawing absence. I will remember him not only as a greatly talented poet but also as a fierce Lefty whose passion for broad social change never lessened over the decades. I hope there will be many, many more poets who have that same passion because clearly America needs them. But there will never be another like Lyle Daggett.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Fall Issue Editorial

Our fall issue comes out at a dangerous moment with an incompetent, megalomaniacal president feeling cornered by mounting possibilities of prosecution and dwindling support. As we go to publication, the government is in a state of shutdown with threats of the declaration of a national "state of emergency" which could, thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act expanded by two presidents, have dire consequences.

This Fall saw the mid-term election of a significant number of progressive social democrats to Congress. The resistance they face from old-guard corporate Democrats is as much an obstacle as that of still powerful Republicans, but the future and the will of the majority is on their side.

Poems in this issue speak with anger at the blatant misogyny of this administration. The poems, "Deconstruction" and "Simple Addition" rail against the nomination and seating of an arrogant frat-boy rapist on the Supreme Court, and to the ugly anti-woman attitudes represented by Trump, Pence and Republicans. The diversity of those elected in the mid-terms to state governments and to Congress, and the rise of outspoken women herald an important change. This may well be a turning point for the rise of women to power. As important as that is, it needs to be part of a progressive wave against the rule of money which exploits, impoverishes and oppresses us all.

Many of the poems in this collection come out of increasingly hard times. Especially hard-hit are the elderly poor, minorities, women and immigrants. Also addressed in the poems, "On the Radio," "Still Preying" and "Mudflaps & Backward Ballcaps" is the poisoning of minds by the right-wing disinformation machine. In many places, too many of our co-workers have been turned against their own interests by the destructive tribalization of politics, the hate-filled scape-goating and the anti-labor nonsense pushed by talk radio, FOX and allied evangelic preachers.

Also in this issue, among poems trying to make sense of what has become of our country, are poems focused on labor struggles and on our commitment to go beyond resistance in fighting for a more just and livable world. That is what this journal is about. What has made the corporate disinformation machine so powerful goes back in essential ways to its primary founder -- Roger Ailes. He understood the power of culture in shaping our identity, our perceptions and our loyalties. He misused his talents and we are living with the tragedy of his success. We too understand the power of culture, but unlike Ailes, we are not promoters of the corporate agenda and do not have the backing of the billionaire ruling class. All we have is each other.

This issue marks our annual fund raising season. We don't like to add to the burden of begging, but without the financial support of our readers, we cannot continue. Good writing and reader support are what has kept us in print for much of the last two decades. You will find a slip of paper asking for donations in this issue and the next. You can also donate via our website. We hope you will continue to support this project.

Beyond donations, we also need to expand our outreach. Consider buying a prescription for co-workers you think could benefit. This can be done anonymously. You can pass around back issues or leave them where others can find them. I like to leave them in laundromats where a captive audience of working folk will see them. As blowback to the insanity of the Trump debacle and the growing climate disaster fertilize progressive anger, this could be our time.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Gift that Keeps Giving

Black Friday, Manic Monday, Giving Tuesday, Digital Wednesday, broke and remorseful Friday . . . I know most of us are overwhelmed with the materialist frenzy of shopping spending and struggling. We at Partisan Press do not want to play that game, which is why our Fund Drive usually starts in January.

That said, we are scraping by with difficulty. One way you can help while spreading much needed class consciousness is to consider the gift that keeps giving year 'round -- a gift subscription to the Blue Collar Review. I think we all know someone who could benefit from a prescription to our journal of strong progressive, class conscious literature! You can do this online or by check. If you let us know it is gift, we will insert a small certificate indicating so and from whom -- or not -- the choice is yours.

Another alternative is to choose a gift from among the many strong collections of poetry we publish. These are the gifts that inspire, that can change lives and that move our culture forward against the current of anti-worker corporate, fascist culture.

We appreciate your support and wish all a happy and healthy holiday season with as little forced overtime as possible

Friday, November 02, 2018

Correction

Editing and publishing a poetry journal is a complex and difficult task rife with pitfalls. We try hard to do our best but sometimes things fall through the cracks -- especially loose sheets of paper. In the recent issue, the poem "Leaders" on page 53 of the journal, a couple of ending stanzas disappeared. Likely, a second sheet of paper was detached and lost. I usually staple multi-page poems together to prevent this unfortunate occurrence. Below is the poem in its entirety:

Leaders
I asked a Burmese why women, after centuries of following their men, now walk ahead. He said there were many unexploded land mines since the war.
            – Robert Mueller

Often when Kelly and I are walking somewhere
I wind up many steps ahead of her and she complains,
asks me to slow down, which, given we are in America,

is not a foolish request, as it could be in Myanmar,
where I might be prone to slow down on my own,
though I’d hate to think I’d make her walk ahead.

She brings up native Americans sometimes,
telling a story about how when she’d fall behind
her twin brother as they were walking, he’d ask her

if she was a squaw. If men usually walk ahead
of women in native cultures, I’d suspect it’s
to protect the women, to be the first to face

danger, though with mountain lions that attack
from behind, that would put women at greater risk.
Given what Mueller is doing these days, I’m

drawn to wondering what the male in the White House
would do if he were out walking in dangerous
territory with a woman—besides grope her, that is.

Somehow I can’t imagine him wanting to be the first
to confront danger, although I’ve no doubt he would
dispute this, brag about how brave he is, prefacing it

with “Believe me,” as in, “Believe me, I’d be tremendous
in a situation like that. Brave? You talk about brave. I’d
be amazing, huge. I’d be tough, smart. You talk about smart.

Believe me. I’d be smart.” I suspect his wife and ex-wives
all know how he’d be, which is why they’ve never
gone to Myanmar with him. Of course, heel spurs

might be given as a reason why he’d fall behind
on a walk there. But enough about the male
in the White House who doesn’t have to worry

about land mines on the golf course. It’s what Mueller
is doing that should be of greater concern, anyway.
I wonder how many steps ahead he is by now.

         -- Matthew J. Spireng

Monday, October 01, 2018

Summer Issue Editorial

On our warming Earth, summer is the Terrible Season, the sweltering inferno of it culminating in the devastation of torrential storms and hurricanes. This summer has witnessed firestorms in the west and catastrophic deluges and flooding on the Gulf and East Coasts as well as in the Midwest. Even as the climate disaster unfolds, our corporate leadership, under the misguidance of a deranged denialist who cannot see beyond money, continues to erase even inadequate fossil-fuel regulations like the burning off of methane released via fracking. A death warrant for life on earth signed in our blood.

The decline of our biosphere is matched with a decline in civic life, paralized by cultivated partisan division. The rise of fascism here and elsewhere is a desperate and predictable response to the growth of resistance to the corrupt and destructive rule of money. The poems in this collection speak from this reality, and not just in this country. We also have working class poems of resistance from China, where our journal has struck a nerve. Capital is global and our working class must connect globally to overcome it, emancipating ourselves from its ecocidal tyranny.

Our Summer issue always focuses on the inseparable issues of war and climate. The U.S. economy is based on the production and sale of weapons and on perpetual warfare. The casualties continue to mount from the many slaughtered in Syria, Yemen, Israel, Myanmar and African nations to our own school children, minorities and the refugees our policies have created. Poems in this issue speak to the ghastly cost of war and a militarized culture.

This issue proudly presents the winner of our annual Working People's Poetry Contest. This year's winning poem, "The Transients" by Gregg Shotwell fleshes out the personal cost of war and of the connected economic realities of poverty and of people discarded. As the contest winner, Gregg Shotwell won the $100.00 prize, and one year subscription. His poem will remain on our website for one year. "The Transients" is a great example of progressive working class poetry and consciousness. We hope it inspires and we hope to see more entries to our contest over the coming year.

Though this collection has a bleak outlook reflective of the times, it should also be seen as hopeful. As the climate crisis grows exponentially, so too does public awareness and alarm. This is true of the disaster of Trump as well. In his corrupt, gangster arrogance, he continues to be an inadvertent beacon exposing the ugly truth not only of himself but of the filthy corrupt system of corporate influence that produced him. People are finally waking up. "Trump Derangement Syndrome" has been cynically mentioned in the media, including the New York Times, but in truth, it only applies when the focus of resistance stops with him. A growing movement of social democrats goes further in addressing the root problem -- the rule of money. Unless we separate money from power, little but the faces will change.

Real change must be rooted in the growth of social consciousness. This requires class awareness and a strong working class culture. Promoting that is our mission. We are thankful to all who contribute poetry, stories, reviews and/or financial support. You can help by passing this issue and back issues around so our work is seen by more of us and our progressive working class perspective can take root and grow..