By Ed Mead
You can't expect to understand the world and its political processes unless you have accurate information on these subjects. The Middle East, for example, is an important area of concern to the people of this nation - we've just fought a war there. But how much do we as citizens really know about events in that region, even well publicized ones, and how good is the analysis of happenings in the area that we see on television and in the newspapers? How ignorant are we? Ask yourself what the basic terms of the Shamir-Peres-Baker peace plan are. You don't know because they have yet to appear in the mainstream media. When you do get news it is so distorted it is useless. The U.S.-Israel refusal to permit Palestinians to choose their own representatives to negotiate the planned capitulation, by way of another example, is regarded by the ruling class media as a forthright and honorable thing. This same lack of information and distorted analysis is taking place not only around events in the Middle East, but all over the world.
How can you fight back? You can counter this misinformation by reading news and analysis written from a different class perspective. So far you've been inculcated with bourgeois worldview in schools, movies, television, etc. But it is possible to read material written from a progressive or working class perspective. The following publications are some of my favorites. They may not be your cup-of-tea, but they are a good source of information for those who have open and adventuresome minds.
World Perspectives is a monthly newsmagazine containing alternative news from short-wave sources around the world. We have reprints from WP in this issue of the PLN : "Amnesty International Condemns Abuse of Women Cons" and "Trafficking In Children Condemned." If you want up-to-date news on the important happenings taking place all over the world, then this is the publication for you. The subscription price for individuals is $19.00 per year from World Perspectives , P.O. Box 3074, Madison, WI 53704.
Dollars & Sense , as its name implies, is a magazine that deals with the subject of economics. Published monthly, D&S prints useful information in areas such as the fall of real wages, how the government undercounts unemployment figures, the silent depression in the U.S., analysis of international trade measures, etc., all written from an easy to understand perspective. If you are interested in basic economic questions, and want material not generally printed in the establishment press, this might be the item you are looking for. A one-year subscription to Dollars & Sense costs $22.95 from the Economic Affairs Bureau, One Summer Street, Somerville, MA 02143.
The Leninist is a monthly newspaper for those who have a hankering for hard-core Marxist-Leninist theory. They have extensive coverage of all aspects of the international communist struggle with a special focus on Great Britain. Their strong suit is in the area of political analysis during a period when much of the rest of the international movement is in a state of general retreat. International subscriptions to The Leninist are $13.00 for six months, and can be obtained from November Publications Ltd., BCM Box 928, London, England WC1N 3XX.
Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism is another one of my favorite publications. It is also written from a Marxist-Leninist perspective, and it too is published in England. While it is important to be knowledgeable of current events taking place around the world, it is equally essential to have access to different viewpoints or analysis of those events. FRFI is a publication that performs the function of political analysis quite well. I highly recommend this monthly newspaper. Six-month subscriptions can be obtained for $10.00 from FRFI, BCM, Box 5909, London WCIN 3XX England.
Workers World is a weekly newspaper published in the U.S. by the Workers World Party. They have a long and progressive history of supporting the struggles of prisoners. WWP Members in the Seattle area help to mail the PLN each month. The newspaper has analysis of world events as well as news of the struggle of workers and oppressed peoples everywhere. This publication is recommended for those who want more than the ruling class version of reality. Subscriptions are $15.00 a year from Workers World, 46 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10010.
MonthIy Review is an independent socialist magazine published in the U.S. Recent issues have contained articles such as "Peru on the Brink" "Privatization and the Soviet Economy," "Failed Banks, Bailouts, and Federal Policy," and "The Counterrevolution in Nicaraguan Education." The reading is at a more difficult level than some readers may prefer, but if it is knowledge you seek then this magazine is an important source. Subscriptions can be obtained by sending $20.00 to Monthly Review Press, 122 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001.
Palestine Focus covers news and events surrounding the struggle of Palestinians to regain a portion of their homeland from the Israeli occupiers. This monthly newspaper contains coverage of prisoners of the Intifada, the truth behind the so-called Peace process, and other areas of interest to those seeking a better understanding of unfolding events in the Middle East. As Noam Chomsky said in the last issue, "No one who is restricted to [the mass] media could hope to have a serious understanding of what is happening in the Middle East." Subscriptions can be obtained from $10.00 a year from Palestine Focus, P.O. Box 372, Peck Slip Station, New York, NY 10272.
Indochina Newsletter contains news and analysis of events in Asia, with in-depth coverage of the struggles taking place in Cambodia. It outlines the positions and movements of the various factions involved in the fighting as well as the CIA's continuing role in the region. This publication is highly recommended for those seeking a better understanding of happenings in that part of the world. Published monthly, the newsletter can be obtained for $12.00 a year from Asia Resource Center, 2161 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140.
There you have it. In my next review, which may be some months from now, I will cover publications dealing with issues of importance to national and other minorities. These will include materials directed toward women, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, gay and lesbian rights, etc., who are struggling for justice. Until then, happy reading.
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