Monday, December 30, 2013

Autumn Issue Editorial

The darkening days of Autumn are a time for reflection. This year it seems we can look back on a darkening of times as the economy remains stagnant abandoning many of us to destitution. Attacks on working people continue from the right with the help of "centrist" Democrats willing to cut unemployment compensation to 1.3 million workers left jobless. If that isn't bad enough, federal court judge Steven Rhodes recently ruled that the pensions of retired public servants can be cut in this economy hard hit by corporate plunder. The contracts protecting those hard-earned pensions are apparently not as sacred as the contracts allowing AIG execs to get six-figure bonuses after being bailed out with public money.

This season also saw the utter hypocrisy of the climate summit in Warsaw derailed by the fossil fuel industry as disasters caused by oil spills, fracking, coal burning, and the subsequent climate change wrought horrific destruction in the US and globally.

As the capitalist feeding frenzy desperately pillages what is left of our natural resources, squeezing the life out of us and sacrificing our future, awareness of the reality of our situation is growing along with resistance. From admissions in the corporate media of the growing chasm between the wealth of a shrinking oligarchy and the rest of us, to the devastating effects of the climate crisis, we are seeing a change in consciousness in the US and globally.

Around the country, service workers at Walmart and the fast food chains are striking for living wages, breathing new life into the class struggle.

The poems in this collection speak to these times. "You've got Mail" and "Tech on the Train," voice resentment of technology thatalienates, replacing our real human activity and interaction with a shallow virtual version, thus dehumanizing work and social interaction.

In this issue we have poems of motherhood and of growing up poor with scant hope. Poems here describe the difficulty and frustration of being an underpaid and under appreciated teacher in our schools and speak to the real social devastation of a system poisoned by the political corruption of self-serving greed.

The loss of hope revealed in the poems "Sky Pie" and "Utopia" paves the way for long overdue protest and organizing. There is a strong sense throughout this issue of our determination to survive in spite of the worst efforts of the corporatist ruling class to abandon us to starvation and homelessness. That determination is a consistent aspect of our historic working class reality.

If we are to survive this century, much less create a more just society, it is necessary to reclaim our class values of community and mutual responsibility. We must coalesce into a movement that takes our world back from the forces that are destroying it -- from the brutal rule of wealth. As an old song by the Doors reminds us, "They've got the guns but we've got the numbers."

The awareness, anger, and determination that fill these pages must become the rule, not the exception. We are glad to be able to give voice to the progressive values and consciousness that are the last best hope for a civilized future thanks to your collective generosity and contributions, both monetary and literary. The world and the future belong to us. Let us unite and take it.