Thursday, March 16, 2006

Winter Editorial

It was amusing recently to hear Hillary Clinton compare our country to a plantation. She was criticized heavily in the corporate media as a pandering opportunist. True as that accusation is of her, she was right to make the comparison. This country is a plantation and the entire globe is treated as its fields; Our oil in the Middle East and elsewhere, Our minerals in Africa and Asia, Our cheap labor in sweatshops that ring the globe like a noose. The Our in this equation is our narrow ruling class and most of us are no more than field hands in the operation of Plantation America.

Here in the work shops, streets, and fields, winter is a hardscrabble season as we struggle through the darkness to ward off illness, higher living costs and the chilling insecurity of our lot. Taunted daily with fear of destitution and violence, we are expected to quietly participate in our own destruction and show up to work on time.

Our working class is used to hard times and we take pride in having survived them but there are limits. As our nation tumbles toward a police state, and as the insanity and incompetent criminality of this administration's policies, from the Gulf Coast to Iraq become too much to bear, this has come to be called, "The Winter of our Discontent." People are coming together across our nation to stand up against the premeditated mass-murder and torture being perpetrated in our name. We field hands are tired of the lies and abuse, tired of the killing and scare tactics, tired of being spied on by an increasingly oppressive and secretive government. We are massing at the Big House asking the dangerous questions and demanding real answers.

The poems in this issue are the winter voices of those who tend the fields. These poems speak of our class pride of survival, they speak of the despair of degrading dead end jobs, they are the voices of anger at the criminal insanity of our Moloch driven system and the voices of militant faith in the possibility of a better world.

Hard times are not a new experience for our small press either, and we take pride in having persevered and survived this long. We have much to be proud of. We are proud to have been able to support the work of many fine working class poets over the last nine years, publishing powerful and relevant work that might otherwise have gone unseen. We also work to inspire new poets through exposure to this journal and by conducting workshops. These efforts are not without costs, some of which are financial. To meet the challenge of those costs we rely primarily on your support to cover the rising price of postage, paper, supplies and to keep this press running, as this is a small worker run effort. This is our fundraising season and you will find an insert to that effect in this issue. Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to ensure our ability to continue publishing this kind of work and even to expand our efforts. If you are not a subscriber and you like what you see, consider supporting it. If you are a frequent contributor, consider including a subscription with your next submission. Someday we would like to be able to pay our contributing poets.

We are especially proud to have, since our last issue, published a flat-spined collection of poetry by Mary McAnally called, "Cosmic Rainbow." Mary McAnally is an activist who has been intimately involved on the ground in many struggles from South Africa to Central America. She has been active in the struggle of women for equality and self-determination as well as in the fight against racism and for economic justice. She is also a minister and her poetry is both spiritual and militantly progressive. The last poem in this issue is from that collection.

As spring approaches, so too the deadline for the Working People's Poetry Competition. The prize is $100.00 and a year-long on-line posting. The deadline is May 1st.

As always we are grateful for the continuing support and participation of our readers and contributors and welcome all comments and suggestions in these, our collective efforts.