Our thanks to Roger Baker and one anonymous donor for the first two contributions of the year!


Note from the Editors

Yes, yes, we know. The Massachusetts political earthquake has taken over the Haiti heartbreaking one in the past week. When have you ever watched a "latest" news last more than a week? Actually, by the time you read these notes, the media will have moved from John Edwards's paternity tale to the next dull spectacle. So, we are begging your pardon for not following the trendy circus. Instead, we have chosen to begin with non-news. Worse yet, it's in French -- how insolently daring of us!

We dare because we are deeply honored to bring to the fore one of the most talented French photojournalists the Frenchies have produced in a long, long time -- even Art Shay would agree. We are indeed honored to offer our readers (and viewers) a few exceptional photographs of working-class French in the 1960s-1970s taken by Jean-Claude Seine. Marie Rennard, the idiosyncratic editor-in-chief of our coin français will tell you more in her editorial, assuming you can read la langue de Molière. If you cannot, we still recommend that you go through Seine's pictures. They speak for themselves. Oh, you don't read French? Too bad -- you're going to miss Marie-Laetitia Gambié's take on the deepening travails of unemployed people and the sensitive poetry of Christian Cottard, who in contrast to many poets knows the difference between eros and agape.

But, please, please, do not feel guilty for your linguistic lacuna. After all, even Gilles d'Aymery lost his Grevisse there, there at Duculot, and traded his fare for Strunk and Chicago. Nobody's perfect, right? Which allows us to bring to your attention a few works crafted in the language of Shakespeare. The sense of agape, or perhaps philia, can also be found in From A to X, a Story in Letters, a novel written by John Berger, who according to Peter Byrne is a great aesthete and an unrepentant Marxist, which shows that Louis Proyect is in good company, he who offers his own entertaining take on the memoir of Les Evans, a former top leader of the Socialist Workers Party -- a review you do not want to miss as it will either enrage you, make you smile, or both (we smiled).

Michael Barker carries on with his long-standing critical examination of liberal philanthropy, this time based on resources from the now-defunct progressive magazine Ramparts, and Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine. More worrisome than capitalist philanthropy is people's increasing torpor and passivity as the state keeps tightening its repressive noose around their neck -- behavioral trends that remind Gilles d'Aymery of another historical period, on which the long excerpt of Milton Mayer's 1955 They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45 will provide you with food for thought and may lead to action...a goal that our unrepentant activist Martin Murie calls for as he recommends deeper popular organizing. We end the political part of this issue with the views of Femi Akomolafe on the state of terrorism within the Nigerian sociopolitical scene.

In the cultural corner, the talented American photojournalist Art Shay recalls his favorite nudes, from Simone de Beauvoir to Dorothy Terry; Charles Marowitz comes out of the movie theater with a full-fledged deconstruction of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes; and Guido Monte & Silvia Dello Russo keep searching for the mysterious silence/miracle of everything -- all in all 20 pieces (not counting the Letters), which we hope you'll appreciate. (Again, do not miss Jean-Claude Seine's photo journal; it will remind you that there is strength in unity.)

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Le coin français

Marie Rennard:  Editorial

Si notre coin français a choisi ce premier numéro de Janvier pour vous présenter le travail de Jean-Claude Seine, qui a consacré des milliers de pellicules photo à la classe ouvrière, celle que Marx seul aujourd'hui ose appeler prolétariat, ce n'est pas un hasard.   More...


Jean-Claude Seine:  Le Grand Ordinaire de la classe ouvrière

Un photo journal d'une qualité exceptionelle, présenté avec une introduction de l'auteur et neuf pages successives, chacune contenant une photo de la classe ouvrière française dans les années 1960-1970. C'est avec joie et un grand honneur que nous vous offrons un petit aperçu de l'œuvre inédite de Jean-Claude Seine. (To our readers who cannot understand the French language, please look at the pictures of Jean-Claude Seine. They speak by themselves -- the beauty of the working class in all its splendor and suffering...)   More...


Marie-Laetitia Gambié:  Les chômeurs et les « working poor »

Comment vivent les smicards et les chômeurs en France ? Mal.   More...


Christian Cottard:  Page après page

Poème: S'inventer des demains pour vivre l'aujourd'hui.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  John Berger Unrepentant

An entertaining book review of unrepentant Marxist John Berger's From A to X, a Story in Letters.   More...


Louis Proyect:  Leslie Evans's Outsider's Reveries

Louis Proyect reflects on his history with the Socialist Workers Party, the spate of SWP memoirs including that of Les Evans, and what caused this once formidable group to virtually disappear.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Barker:  The Ford Foundation And The Co-option of Dissent

A critical examination of liberal philanthropy based on resources from the now defunct progressive magazine Ramparts, and Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Beginnings With No Known End

As America's working class continues its decline, it accepts the surveillance state in the name of patriotism and self-preservation. There are lessons to be learned from the behavioral trends of the past in which the people were habituated to their disappearing liberties and the expanding police state, documented in Milton Mayer's They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45.   More...


Book Excerpt

Milton Mayer:  They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45

This excerpt is frighteningly relevant to today's sociopolitical condition in which the people are habituated to their disappearing liberties and the expanding police state.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  Protests And Organizing

Activist Martin Murie considers the subtle but important difference between protesting and organizing.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  War On Terror: Target Nigeria?

While already facing a virtual sick president with no one clued as to his whereabouts, Nigerians are wringing their hands and asking what they have done to deserve the latest bad news of the Nigerian Christmas suicide bomber on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.   More...


Arts & Culture

Art Shay:  Good Nudes From My Naughty World

Art Shay recalls his favorite nudes: the controversial backside of Simone de Beauvoir, and Dorothy Terry bathing in Tanganyika.   More...


Going to the Theater

Charles Marowitz:  The Case Of The Missing Sherlock Holmes

As if Guy Ritchie's movie Sherlock Holmes weren't bad enough on its own, the ending leaves it open to a sequel.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Silvia dello Russo and Guido Monte:  The Last Haiku

Guido Monte and Silvia Dello Russo are always in search for the mysterious silence/miracle of everything, because every little existing thing is a miracle.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On Jan Baughman's hilarious treatise on the future of flying and what might have been if WWII bombers were subjected to the same conditions, and Isidor Saslav's fascinating essay, Shaw in Chicago Again.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
URL: http://www.swans.com/library/past_issues/2010/100125.html
Created: January 25, 2010