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International Socialist Review, Summer 1957


Ahead of the Dodgers


From International Socialist Review, Vol.18 No.3, Summer 1957, pp.74, 103.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


SINCE our last issue, we have moved our editorial office and place of publication to Los Angeles. The shift to the West Coast opens an opportunity for further improvements in the International Socialist Review, including, we hope, its expansion fairly soon. The new typographical outfit you see us dressed in is intended to help in this.

The fact is that the developments in the regroupment of socialist forces and the subsiding of the witch-hunt have given us promising new openings. These, plus articles on our editorial calendar crying for publication, demand an increase in the size of the Review or its frequency of publication.

What we need to ease the bottleneck is simply a little more of the ordinary lubricant known as money. Will all those who can do something about this please get in touch with our Business Office? The address remains 116 University Place, New York 3, N.Y. You can also help in Operation Finance by simply widening our circle of readers. Got any friends who ought to know more about the socialist alternative to capitalism?

* * *

AS THE baseball fans among our readers have no doubt already observed, we beat the Brooklyn Dodgers out to the land of hot-rods, smog and sunglasses.

We did not try to beat the Dodgers to Los Angeles. It was pure coincidence, including the fact that we are now located near Chavez Ravine, the park-like area in the heart of the city which the generous-hearted mayor of Los Angeles is trying to ready for the profit-conscious manager of the Brooklyn stable. However, we considered the mayor’s game with the Dodgers a fitting introduction to the politics of Los Angeles.

Before the recent mayoralty election, in the hard-sell style that Madison Avenue uses to blackjack the public into buying without investigating, the newspapers campaigned for city bond issues running into the tens of millions. The fund needed by the city officials was, naturally, for a worthy cause – to bring the public library system up to date, improve the parks and build a zoo in Chavez Ravine second to none, not even San Diego’s famed animal collection.

Everyone felt good about civic improvements like that, especially a zoo. It was a case of voting for normalcy in the very teeth of the atom-bomb tests a few hundred miles away in Nevada. And so the bonds were approved by a big majority.

The day after the election the architects’ drawings of the zoo, the features on exotic animals, the maps of recreation areas and the like all vanished from the press like a mirage in Death Valley and the voters were hailed and congratulated for having made it possible to bring the Dodgers to Chavez Ravine. Thus a new chapter was added to the history of this undeveloped area.

Only a few years ago Chavez Ravine was occupied by Mexican-Americans. They were dispossessed from their homes by the city officials under excuse of utilizing the picturesque hills and gullies for a magnificent public housing project. Federal funds were earmarked for this purpose and the Mexican-Americans were given written promises of first choice of apartments as the bulldozers levelled the flower gardens, vegetable patches, and foundations of their destroyed homes.

The next spectacular move in the civic interest was made by the newly elected Mayor Poulson. This favorite of the oil barons and real-estate sharks took a special trip to Washington – not to seek more Federal funds for public housing, but to get cancellation of what had already been allocated. His efforts, despite some difficulties, were crowned with success. The public housing project was killed and Los Angeles saved from “socialism.”

Today all that stands in the way of the proposed money-making ballpark concession is a legal proviso that Chavez Ravine must not be used for anything but “public purposes.” However, with capitalist know-how, a zoo-minded mayor and the benign concern of some very big dough, including the TV monopolists whose slogan is a slot machine on every TV set that views baseball, this obstacle should not prove insuperable.

* * *

OUT OF our mail, we select one comment on the winter issue from J.G.B. of Alberta, Canada:

“The articles in the ISR are very good. The one by A.S. Boom or Bust? is very timely. But does A.S. have to use the language of the monetary reformers? What in hell does he mean by ‘goods and services’? What services? This is the first time I have come across that term in Marxian literature.”

For those interested in how Marx used the term “services” we suggest A History of Economic Theories by Karl Marx, Vol.1 (The Langland Press, New York), pp.194-218 and 312-329. The same material in a different translation can be found in Theories of Surplus Value by Karl Marx (Lawrence & Wishart, London), pp.148-197.

* * *

HARVEY O’CONNOR’S discussion in our spring issue of the low status of the socialist movement in America and the editorial reply suggesting that we must begin from where we are, attracted lively interest among our readers. The typical response was that publication in this way of clearly indicated differences facilitates the regroupment of socialist forces. Besides helping to clarify thinking on questions of program, it demonstrates that it is possible to keep things on a friendly basis even though the differences on some points are considerable.

* * *

ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY by Evelyn Reed likewise met with a warm response. One of our fans, who happens to be watching the progress of the socialist regroupment with intense concern, said that at first he wondered about the value of an article on a topic so far removed from the divisive issues in the radical movement. He changed his mind, however, “after thinking it over and asking around among the younger people. It seems that this sort of thing on general science interests them more.”

To anyone who would like to read more by Evelyn Reed on the same general topic, we suggest Sex and Labor in Primitive Society in the summer 1954 issue of Fourth International. You can yet a copy by sending 35c to our Business Office at 116 University Place, New York 3.

* * *.

WE HAVE been reading two new British publications with a good deal of pleasure.

* * *

WE WILL sign off by asking you to please let us know how you like this issue of the International Socialist Review.

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Last updated on: 22 April 2009