Struggle, vol. 14, #1, Fall-Winter 1998:


Slick Willy Falls on Face; or
War Threats and Anti-War Writing

by Tim Hall


. Well, Slick Willy's latest war threat against the Iraqi people (we all know it wouldn't topple Saddam) ran up against a surprising anti-war movement and tactical disagreement with other imperialist vultures and then fizzled out in a temporary compromise, so this anti-war issue of Struggle is appearing during a lull between saber-rattling, rather than in the midst of a new Gulf War, as it seemed might be the case a few months ago. But the anti-war, anti-imperialist content in the above poems, stories and cartoons is still relevant. After all, the U.S. government is the Cop of the World and the superprofits of the parasitic corporate CEO's will no doubt soon need defending somewhere in the world, if not in Iraq again, not to mention the need to burn off over-produced war equipment and munitions to clear the way for profitable, tax-on-the-worker-financed, production of more. Semper fidelis to the Bottom Line: Let's you and him fight while I laugh all the way to the bank -- goes the Corporate Chorus. Which ran into trouble with the anti-war protesters in Columbus.

. This issue of Struggle assembles an array of materials which illustrate and display with feeling the bankruptcy of imperialism's war goals and methods. (It is humorous how bourgeois commentators can describe the world dominance of the U.S. and other big powers as "empires" but then will turn around and label anyone who brands this as "imperialism" as "a crackpot -- a dogmatist" and, what is worst in their eyes -- "a communist!" But it is in fact the genuine communist tradition that does not hesitate to call the empire what it really is.) Imperialism is the present, monopoly stage of capitalism, in which a few big powers use their economic supremacy to construct a political system of world domination. These imperialist powers, led by the U.S. today, lord it over other nations in order -- jointly with their capitalist allies everywhere -- to maximize profits through the exploitation of the world's workers. Sometimes squabbles arise among exploiters (U.S. vs. Iraq) and a war breaks out to settle the issue in the best mafia style. Sometimes an oppressed people (Vietnam) or an oppressed class (the Russian workers in 1917) rise up against the exploiters and the imperialists go to war to crush them (unsuccessfully, in these cases). The exploiting classes maintain their power by force and by deception. (Deception succeeded in derailing the revolutions in Vietnam and Russia where force failed, but that's another story, which is being studied by the anti-revisionist Communist Voice Organization, with which I am affiliated.) It is the aim of this issue of Struggle to contribute to the unmasking of imperialist deception about its war aims and methods. We leave it to you, the readers, to judge how well we do so.

On Alex Shishin's Story "TheWake"

. Alex Shishin, an American resident in Japan, is well known to our readers as the author of the socialist utopian novel Real Time, from which Struggle reprinted several chapters in recent issues. He comments that the story "The Wake," which recounts cannibalism of enlisted soldiers by officers of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, could get him killed if he published it in Japan. Acts such as those described in this story really happened. In fact, some years ago the son of one of the enlisted soldiers cannibalized took revenge on the top officer and diner of his father's unit. But just as U.S. imperialism covers up its crimes against the peoples of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua and Iraq (to mention only a few), Japanese imperialism actively covers up these bestial acts.

. When I first read this story I told Alex that I feared that it might be misunderstood in the U.S. as a racist reflection against all Japanese. He offered to write an introduction to the story explaining that it wouldn't be seen that way in Japan because such acts are looked on as characteristic of right-wing scum devoted to serving the Japanese imperialist ruling class, not of the Japanese people as a whole. I decided only to make a brief mention of the issue and to comment that while the Japanese military machine committed atrocities of these (and many other) kinds, U.S. imperialism is not above napalming civilians, poisoning the environment, engaging in wide-scale torture, rape and the chopping-off of ears, injuring its own soldiers with chemical and biological contaminants and, of course, the genocidal nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An imperialist is an imperialist is an imperialist: you pays your money and you takes your choice.


. We have no lively, controversial letters to comment on so I will close this brief editorial by reprinting two very positive reviews Struggle has received by publications in the world of zines (independent, small magazines). Over the past couple of years a number of such reviews have appeared, and we do appreciate them.

. The first review is from Funhouse, edited by Brian Johnson:

. Hey, a lit/poetry zine with a layout/design that doesn't suck! Socialist, anti-establishment writings with a strong "Smash the state!" theme. Although I personally have had just about a belly full of "homeless sympathizers," there's some good pieces here for the "working poor" to digest. Unless you're one of the financially secure, you'll appreciate this aptly named title, full of works that reflect the struggle to survive in today's oppressive society.

. The second review is from Bleeding Velvet Octopus, edited by Michael Halchin:

. Poems, artwork, fiction and essays for and by the working class. Victor Roman talks about the anonymity and helplessness of being on the streets, Alan Catlin remembers his schizophrenic mother, in P.J. Jason's "Glasses" a little girl finally sees her world the way it really is when she gets her glasses, gilligan fumes and pukes over the rich bastards who don't appreciate what they have, Dan Craig Owens' piece on unemployment seems like a parody but I can't be sure, Tamar Diana Wilson de Garcia examines the sale of human life around the world, Ken Pell's "It's Just a Game" lets us in to the world of strippers behind the scenes, Alex Shishin imagines an alternate reality where time doesn't exist and a decentralized govt. does, D.A. Sheldon lashes out against the horrible prison conditions, and a metric ton more of great material. There's a letters to the editor section as well. If more small press magazines (especially "literary") had even half the soul of Struggle we'd be getting somewhere. Then again, Struggle's editorial policy reads more like a manifesto so you know they have a specific focus and they stick to it. This is a damn good read that has apparently been around for quite a while, and I hope will continue for years down the road.

. Our thanks goes out to these folks and to all our readers and supporters. We are flooded with good written material, to the point that we are taxing the patience of authors whose works we have accepted. But we need more subscriptions if Struggle is to survive and "continue for years down the road," as Mike puts it....

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Last modified: October 15, 2001.