Thursday, September 29, 2016

Summer Editoral

This issue comes out at the end of a hot summer in the hottest year since records have been kept. This collection emerges at a time of escalating war and tensions promoted to feed the military industrial economy at the expense of citizen needs. This issue emerges on the precipice of an election without winners in a sordid race between anger-driven nationalism tainted with bigoted xenophobia and an unpopular hawkish neo-liberal status-quo. Both candidates represent variants of fascism. While we hope Trump's variety of empty racist thugery is defeated, lack of support for Clinton is understandable.

The real government -- the CIA, military-industrialists and corporate oligarchy, will continue to rain death and disaster around the world no matter the outcome. Beyond the phony Punch and Judy show of elections, our struggle for ecological sanity, racial and economic justice emerges from this electoral season strengthened with new tools, organizations and creative tactics.

The support we've seen in this election for real alternatives and for the progressive movement, tapped by the Sanders campaign and even the misguided support for Trump in our economically gutted and robbed rust-belt, speak to the deep anger within the working class at the failure of capitalism. As this collection shows, we share that outrage. As progressives who know our class history of struggle, we must share that knowledge and vision with our brothers and sisters. As cultural workers, that is our responsibility.

Much of the poetry in this issue voices love of work and of our fellow workers as well as anger with those who exploit us. Poetry in this collection also focuses on the destruction of our biosphere and the growing climate disaster. This is the most important issue of our time. Our survival hangs in the balance and the odds are not good. Destruction of the environment cannot be disconnected from capitalism nor can it be adequately addressed in a system of corporate, greed-driven power. As we go to press, a major struggle is happening in North Dakota between the Standing Rock Sioux and corporate efforts to build a dangerous oil pipeline which threatens their lands and water. They are not alone. Around the country people are struggling against toxic assaults on our communities by fracking, mining and industrial pollution. Consciousness is growing of the corruption of government by corporate power and the subservience of our elected leaders to big business. That fightback is the essence of our struggle and our only hope to save ourselves.

Our summer issue announces the winner of our Working People's Poetry Contest. This was a particularly tough decision with many good entries. The winning poem, "Italian Laborer # 65533" by Frank Falcone speaks to the dehumanization and perceived disposability of working people and especially of immigrants by those who profit from our labor. It speaks as well to the dangers of work and the fragility of life. As winner, Frank Falcone receives the $100.00 prize as well as a year's subscription to our journal. Hopefully we'll see more of his work. Other poems entered appear in these pages as well. We are thankful for every entry and hope to see more in the coming year. Given the rising rejection and anger at the corrupt crushing system of greed we are witnessing -- the solidarity, hope and vision presented in this and other issues of our journal give power to the struggle. Consider sharing this issue with co-workers and friends or buying copies to pass around. In this way we can expand the reach of these vital voices enriching the influence and direction of our struggle.