It's been hot; the hottest summer on record bringing raging fires to Russia and our own northwest, ravaging floods to Pakistan, hurricanes and droughts compounded by oil spills from the North Sea to the disaster in the Gulf.
The accumulated damage of centuries of poorly regulated industry and the ravaging of our planet for profit is reaching critical levels threatening not only our future but all life on earth. Despite these realities the lies, obfuscation and undermining of science designed to discredit and cripple all efforts to address the crisis continue to pour forth, mostly from well funded by oil industry billionaires like David H. Koch. Koch also underwrites many right-wing think tanks, media, as well as corporate fronts like "Americans for Prosperity" and "Freedomworks" which also heads the so-called "Tea Party.
This system of greed, exploitation and corruption is unalterably driven to wring out every inch of profit possible even in its death throes no matter the cost and consequences for the rest of us.
Our summer issue focuses on the environment as well as on war. Both are intimately connected not only because of war's destruction but because its root causes serve the needs of industry and the wealthy for armaments profits, raw materials and cheap labor. Unfortunately as we go to press these issues are more timely than ever.
As the economy remains comatose, joblessness haunts us. Too many of us find ourselves out of work with little reason for optimism. Those of us still employed live in terror of layoffs or of being replaced by cheaper more desperate workers -- the old whip saw used to keep us in line. Added to that are undocumented workers, in reality, economic refugees from the disastrous economic policies and internal interference our government has foisted on Mexico and other countries south of our border.
These economic refugees, along with Muslims are being targeted by the right-wing machine with hate-filled incitements in order to foster militant nationalist xenophobia and racism to undermine the unity we need for progress. They defend their deadly system by attempting to move the country in an extreme-right, fascist direction.
The poets in this collection aren't buying it. Like a growing number of Americans, we see through the contemptuous demagoguery knowing its class origin and purpose.
In our summer issue we are proud to announce the winners of our Working People's Poetry Contest. We were fortunate to have many entries this year but that also made choosing a winner more difficult. In the winning poem, "A Clean Wound," Gil Fagiani shows the international class reality of war, even on one side. In his poem, a Salvadoran mother mourns her son, killed in Iraq while fighting for the US; the same young man who would be vilified by the right if he came here looking for work. Gil's poem is in this issue and will be on our website for one year. Our runner up, "Oil Creek, Pennsylvania" by John P. Heckathorne illuminates the destructive wake of industry both on the environment and on workers left behind. While not the winner, he gets a subscription and his poem on our website for one year.
Against all odds we keep going -- both as a class and as a journal supported by worker poets. We are amazed and honored to be publishing going on 14 years. With your continued contributions of words and much needed funds, we look forward to many more.