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Book tour highlights Marxist analysis of low-wage capitalism

Published May 3, 2009 8:22 PM

Students, labor and community activists gathered to hear Fred Goldstein, author of “Low-Wage Capitalism: Colossus with Feet of Clay,” when he spoke on a recent three-city tour in California.

In San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles Goldstein put the theses of his recently published book in the context of the current global economic crisis, the prospects for working-class fightback and the need to challenge capitalism.

On April 14, Goldstein was joined by well-known Marxist author and activist Michael Parenti, whose newest book is “Contrary Notions.” They spoke to a standing-room-only audience at the Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. When Parenti introduced Goldstein, he explained that while some people think that Marxists are spouting theories, “The truth is that a Marxist analysis reflects reality.” After his presentation and discussion, Goldstein signed a number of books purchased by audience members.

The historically prominent Malcolm X Library in San Diego was the site of the second meeting and book-signing event, which was held on April 18. Gloria Verdieu, a leading organizer of the San Diego chapter of the International Action Center, chaired the event. Bob McCubbin, author of “The Roots of Lesbian and Gay Oppression: A Marxist View” and a copyeditor for Workers World newspaper, introduced Goldstein. Goldstein’s talk was followed by a lively and timely discussion on the capitalist crisis. Among the questions discussed were how to strategize on labor’s fightback and the need to overcome the negative images of socialism engendered by the mass media and school system.

On April 23, Rosie Martinez, executive board member of the Service Employees International Union Local 721, opened up the meeting and book-signing event in Los Angeles, which was held at her local’s hall. She stressed that it was critically necessary for workers that the Employee Free Choice Act be passed by Congress.

John Parker, West Coast coordinator of the International Action Center, chaired the event and stressed the importance of building the Labor and Community Coalition housed at the SEIU Local 721 hall. He also urged those present to participate in the important upcoming May Day events in Los Angeles.

Berta Joubert-Ceci, a leading organizer of the Philadelphia chapter of the International Action Center, and Goldstein spoke there to a multinational grouping of labor activists and students. Joubert-Ceci addressed in particular the struggles in Latin America and the need for worldwide solidarity with workers, especially immigrants here in the U.S.

Goldstein wound up his California trip by attending the Los Angeles Book Fair, where he met activists, signed books and got a number of requests to return to speak at future events on the West Coast.

Naomi Cohen, Judy Greenspan, Joan Marquardt, Bob McCubbin, and John Parker contributed to this article.