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Table of Contents
Summer 1996 Vol. XXI No. 3

About the contributors to this issue

Flatness and Fairness Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried
An examination of the faulty foundations and unjust effects of the flat tax.
Responses to Reviving Unions by Stephen Lerner
By All Means Lynn Williams
Call of the Streets Wade Rathke
From the Bottom Up Staughton Lynd
Deliverance? Richard A. Esptein
Workplace Democracy Elaine Bernard
Necessary Complements Joel Rogers
Where Do We Begin? Madeline Talbott
Unions/Communities Bill Wylie Kellermann
What Labor Movement? Mike Miller
Building Foundations Katherine Sciacchitano
First Things First Richard Locke
New Organizations Peter Cervantes-Gautschi
A Moral Message Bill Fletcher, Jr.
The Right Tools Mark Erlich
Full Service Unionism Thomas A. Kochan
Still Point, Turning World Janice Fine
Lerner Responds
The Guardian Angel of the Private Life (poem) Jorie Graham
Hands Off Clitoridectomy Yael Tamir
What our revulsion reveals about ourselves.
A Conversation with Stanley Plumly Lisa Meyer
Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me (poem) Stanley Plumly
Abortion's Past Maureen Paul
Before Roe, abortion providers operated on the margins of medicine. They still do.
Caps (poem) Kay Ryan
Dennett's Strange Idea H. Allen Orr
Natural Selection: Science of Everything, Universal Acid, Cure for the Common Cold...
A Second Nature Alan A. Stone
Antonia's Line reimagines life, after patriarchy.
Poet's Sampler David Lehman introduces Beth Gylys
The Time of Reading Sven Birkerts
A meditation on the fate of books in an impatient age.
Pierced (poem) April Bernard
Procedurals (poem) April Bernard


Poetry Reviews

Richard Howard The Vixen W. S. Merwin
Donald Revell Crash's Law Karen Volkman
Bin Ramke The Dream of the Unified Field Jorie Graham

Fiction Reviews

James Hynes My Soul to Keep Judith Hawkes
Edwin Frank The Information Martin Amis
Marc Romano Self-Portrait with Woman Andrzej Szczypiorski

MicroReviews

Malcolm Farley Auden Richard Davenport-Hines
Maureen Seaton The Only World Linda Hull
Mary Jo Bang Pieces of Shadow: The Selected Poems of Jaime Sabines Jaime Sabines, translated by W. S. Merwin
Mark Wunderlich The Ghost of Eden Chase Twichell
Eric LeMay The Afterimage Phillis Levin
Timothy Donnelly Wild Kingdom Vijay Seshadri
Timothy Donnelly Elephant Rocks Kay Ryan
Paul Lentz That Kind of Danger Donna Masini
Don Hymans Approximate Darling Lee Upton
Barbara Fischer Worldling Elizabeth Spires
Joseph Shea Last Orders Graham Swift
Erik Rieselbach Blake Peter Ackroyd
Erik Rieselbach Piano Pieces Russell Sherman
Edwin Frank On Grief and Reason Joseph Brodsky
Edwin Frank The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing James Elkins
Rosemary Pepper Whom the Gods Love Kate Ross
Edwin Frank Proper Name and Other Stories Bernadette Mayer
Alice Clapman Live Girls Beth Nugent
Katherine Browning Love's Work Gillian Rose

Editor's Note:
In our April/May issue, Stephen Lerner -- a labor organizer for 20 years -- made an impassioned case for a new union organizing strategy. Designed to arrest the decline of labor and restore unions as a force for social justice, Lerner's proposal had three essential elements: To promote workers' living standards, unions would organize whole regions and industries; to turn back relentless attacks from employers and advance a constructive social vision, unions would adopt a more militant posture, with a central place for civil disobedience and direct action; to take full advantage of recent changes in AFL-CIO leadership, this new militancy would be organizationally linked to the labor movement, and make use of its considerable resources.

In this issue, we publish replies to Lerner's article from union organizers, community activists, and analysts who write about American labor. Though generally supportive of Lerner's proposal as one direction for labor, they ask whether Lerner is strategically and tactically too single-minded, and whether he expects too much from the current structure of the labor movement. Broadly speaking, they urge a more diversified portfolio of strategies, greater attention to community links, and less reliance on the labor movement's official leadership. Lerner, in reply, wonders whether his critics fully appreciate the urgency of labor's situation.

Before the debate on politics, we have Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried on tax policy. Immediately focused on flat tax proposals -- popularized during Steve Forbes' 15 minutes of political fame -- their essay addresses the requirements of fairness in tax policy, rejecting the easy identification of fairness with equal rates for all that drives popular flat-tax arguments.

In their emphasis on distributive ethics, Bankman and Fried share much with Lerner, who urges that a more militant organizing posture be animated by a conception of social justice -- of a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of social cooperation. And this common foundation highlights the great task we now face: to bring political and policy debates together, within a common framework of philosophical convictions about justice.

--Joshua Cohen



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