THE STORY ITSELF IS WELL KNOWN: Originally trained as a physician, Ernesto "Che" Guevara was an Argentine revolutionary who played a significant part in the Cuban Revolution. Later, Che tried to help incite revolution in the modern day Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Bolivia, where he was eventually killed in 1967. In the more than four decades since his death, Che has been transformed from one among many icons of the revolutionary 1960s into the most recognizable political icon of the period.
SUSAN BUCK-MORSS'S RECENT OFFERING, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History, takes critical aim at two targets: what she identifies as Eurocentric models of universal history, on the one hand, and, on the other, the rejection of any notion of universality whatsoever in favor of the postmodernist "plurality of alternative models" (ix). What she proposes instead is "a universal history worthy of the name" (x), by which she means one that does not give the European Enlightenment and its direct heirs a monopoly on the historical project of freedom. It is refreshing to see the false choice of Eurocentrism vs. postmodernist pluralism identified as such, but if Buck-Morss opposes such a false choice, she fails to register and critique it as a contemporary historical symptom itself. She thus ends up with a theory that is universal in name, but which remains essentially postmodernist in content.
On April 23, 2009, a panel discussion titled Left Behind: The Working Class In The Crisis was held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The panelists were Abraham Mwaura of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, who has worked as an organizer at the Republic Windows and Doors Factory; Aaron Hughes, representative at the International Labor Conference, Arbil, Iraq, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War; James Thindwa, Executive Director of Chicago Jobs with Justice; and Chuck Hendricks, an organizer for the labor union UNITE HERE. The following transcript represents only a portion of a more extensive and wide-ranging discussion.
THE GRUESOME FINALE of Sri Lanka's 26-year-long civil war drew international attention and considerable concern for the plight of civilians trapped in the war zone. Many people for the first time became aware of a conflict which had already claimed more than 70,000 fatalities. But the publicity tended to obscure rather than clarify the causes of the war, measures that could have been taken earlier to prevent the bloodbath at its climax, and what can be done now to advance democratization in the future. It is especially important to critique the role of socialists, because some of them have contributed to the rise and entrenchment of ethnic nationalism instead of constituting alternatives to it.