As we begin our eleventh year of publication, this journal continues to be a People's record of our times. This has been a bleak year as the consequences of eight years of criminal misleadership accrue.
As I write this, well over a million Iraqis and close to four thousand of our soldiers have died needlessly. Many times more live the ruined, broken lives of a crime whose toll will be measured in generations.
Here at home, most of us are feeling the pinch of a failing economy as the value of our paychecks fall and prices rise. Religious extremism, nationalism and fear are used to divide us and to bludgeon any attempt at progress or resistance to the insanity of our ruling class -- yet resistance grows.
These are the realities that permeate the poetry in this issue. Though we, as hired hands, are expected to "stay in our place" and believe what management tells us, what these poems reveal is that we see through their lies. Most of us are not fooled by the fearmongering. Most of us are not buying the racism or the justifications for torture and war and, for a growing number, the hypocrisy of manipulated religious fervor is wearing thin.
Some of us are taking it to the streets and even to the gates of the perpetrators. The final poem in this issue is by our coeditor, Mary Franke who took part in a demonstration at the headquarters of Blackwater, Inc.
This is also where the notorious mercenaries are trained. Seven activists were arrested and subsequently found guilty in a closed court
opening the door to further resistance.
As this collection formed, an emphasis on veterans developed -- not the "hero" worship so prevalent in corporate culture where militarism is promoted along with consumerism as sacred, but a theme of anger and sadness at the terrible cost of a needless criminal policy and fear for our still vulnerable youth.
As a new year approaches, there are signs of hope on the horizon. There is a growing awareness an politicization among our working class. There are articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney which, in spite of efforts to kill them, seem to be taking on a life their own. There is the intelligence report undermining the administration's lies about Iran. And though the possibility of a legitimate national election is questionable, there is the hope of saner leadership on the horizon.
We are grateful for the positive response to our last issue and for our ability to continue to publish this journal. As a working class effort, this is always a challenge given the time and expense necessary to do it. With your support we hope to be able to continue to present the most powerful writing of our working class in the coming year.