Stephen D. Shenfield | Author and Translator
- Published on 01 August 2010
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In his famous novel The Grapes of Wrath (Chapter 25), John Steinbeck described how food was destroyed during the Great Depression:
Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground.
The people come for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges… A million people hungry, needing the fruit – and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.
And the smell of rot fills the country.
Burn coffee for fuel in the ships… Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out [with nets]. Slaughter the pigs and bury them…
And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates – died of malnutrition – because the food must be forced to rot.
- Published on 04 August 2016
- Hits: 58
A number of excellent books are available on the subject of circumcision (also known as ‘male genital mutilation’ – MGM). Especially illuminating are the books by Dr. Paul M. Fleiss, MD, Ronald Goldman, and – for a broad historical perspective – Leonard R. Glick’s Marked in the Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America.
- Published on 25 June 2016
- Hits: 303
Thuggee1 was a secret cult of devotees of the Hindu goddess of destruction Kali.2 Its origins are lost in the mists of time, but it is known to have been widespread in India until the British exposed and suppressed it in the mid-nineteenth century.
- Published on 28 May 2016
- Hits: 222
To a socialist Senator Bernie Sanders is far and away the least distasteful of the current contenders for the American presidency. He seems decent and sincere. Although he is running in the Democratic Party primaries, he has a long history as an independent politician, starting with his election in 1981 as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He is not corrupt—that is, beholden to specific capitalist interests in the way that Hillary Clinton (like Obama) is beholden to Wall Street or the Bushes were to Big Oil. And despite efforts of interviewers from the corporate media to get him to comment on the latest petty scandal he talks seriously about serious social issues of vital concern to working people—growing inequality of wealth, poverty, unemployment, healthcare, education, decaying infrastructure, the environment, climate change.
None of this, however, makes Bernie Sanders a socialist. If you read his website and those of his supporters and listen to videos of his speeches you will find that he never talks about a new system that might replace capitalism. When he calls himself a ‘democratic socialist’ he means that he wants to make American capitalism less unjust and more democratic. He wants to run capitalism in the interests of working people.
- Published on 28 October 2014
- Hits: 1196
Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times in Today’s New York, ed. John Freeman; illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Published by OR Books in association with Housing Works.
The “two cities” in the title of this book are both New York. John Freeman in his introduction tells us that he set out to collect stories about life in New York that focus on the human consequences of inequality of wealth, which “is at its most acute in the ‘world cities’ where the rich choose to live (or invest their fortunes in real estate).” What does it “feel like” to live side by side with people who are vastly richer and/or vastly poorer than you are?