Friday, April 03, 2015

Winter Issue Editorial

This is a hard collection coming in hard times. Usually we have more poetry about work conditions, good and bad, but fewer of us are working, especially those of getting us on in years. Corporations are reaping record profits and statistically, hiring is up a few percentage points but the jobs are mostly part-time low-paying service jobs and the wages remain stagnant if not decreasing in relation to actual living costs. Young people are stuck with low-wage service work. This includes college graduates who are yoked with lifetimes of debt while older workers are discarded like yesterday's trash.

Of those still working, half of us are now at the poverty line, in debt, and a shaky paycheck away from destitution. Corporate ownership of our government is degrading our economy to third world conditions, because you and I are being subjected to the same neo-liberal austerity foisted on Greece and Spain. Republicans have made further impoverishing us their platform, pushing "right to work" laws, written by ALEC, in Wisconsin and other states and further criminalizing the poor. Democrats, with few exceptions, are only nominally better.

As our economic security erodes, the disparity between desperate poverty and obscene wealth is reaching levels unseen since the age of robber barons. The police abuse and public robbery reported in Ferguson Missouri are typical of the abuses heaped upon poor and minority citizens throughout this country. Our working class continues to be cynically divided against ourselves with phony partisan politics by the same corporate interests that impoverish us. From continuing attacks on labor, Social Security and civil liberties, to escalating violence against women, fascism is raising its ugly head.

For working people, our only defense is community and the awareness of our strength when united as a class. Spreading that progressive class-conscious awareness is what this journal exists for. As this collection shows, we as a class have a long memory in spite of every attempt to erase it. We remember the struggles against slavery. We remember the fight for the eight hour day, for women's rights, civil rights and the right to organize. We remember our martyrs; the bonus marchers, the Ford workers, the San Francisco dock workers, The Haymarket and Panther martyrs, the Triangle Shirtwaist, Hamlet Chicken Plant, and Rana Plaza factory workers sacrificed for the bosses greed. We remember them because of working class poets and writers.

We too are struggling, holding on to the crumbling edge to get these words -- our words, out. You will find an insert in this issue asking for your help in keeping this collective project going. You can also help support this journal by entering a poem in our annual contest. If you've been published in this journal, you know what we like and you have an advantage. The winner will get $100.00, a one year subscription and online publication.

We are grateful beyond words to those of you who have already contributed to our fund drive as well as to those whose vital words grace our pages. We look forward to continuing to speak truth to power and, more importantly to each other, letting our fellow workers know they are neither alone nor powerless.