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Social Policy - Spring 2011

  • Image: Image
  • Issue Number: Volume 41 Number 1
  • Published Date: Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly

Unless one is a regular reader of Social Policy magazine, there may be some confusion, despite Wade Rathke's "Publisher’s note." He says the Spring 2011 issue is “in perfect harmony with the heart and spirit needed in these times, despite the challenges of adversity…and challenges of our…heroic strengths and weaknesses.” If Social Policy is “[the] key site for intellectual exchange among progressive academics and activists from across the United States and beyond,” it would be instructive and helpful to say so in the boilerplate masthead or logo. Their Unless one is a regular reader of Social Policy magazine, there may be some confusion, despite Wade Rathke's "Publisher’s note." He says the Spring 2011 issue is “in perfect harmony with the heart and spirit needed in these times, despite the challenges of adversity…and challenges of our…heroic strengths and weaknesses.” If Social Policy is “[the] key site for intellectual exchange among progressive academics and activists from across the United States and beyond,” it would be instructive and helpful to say so in the boilerplate masthead or logo. Their website says, “Social Policy seeks to inform and report on the work of labor and community organizers who build union and constituency-based groups, run campaigns, and build movements for social justice, economic equality, and democratic participation in the U.S. and around the world.” Again, why not say so in the magazine? Its cover does include "Organizing for Social and Economic Justice."

The articles about the United Farm Workers’ Union purges and a forty-year-old transcribed talk by Cesar Chavez are distracting. Perhaps explaining that the first two articles were historical might have helped. The first article about UFW purges, with no dates, contains twelve footnotes, but the cited references are nowhere to be found—which seems to be the publication's modus operandi as they are missing in other articles as well.

On the other hand, the articles "Social Justice Unionism," by Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Fernando Gapasin, and "The Theory of Comparative Advantage, Why It is Wrong," by Ian Fletcher are well-written and enlightening, although sometimes abstruse. Again 32 footnotes are missing cited references in the latter article.

"The Maharashtra Model" in India, by Wade Rathke, meanders about before making its point that it, Canada, and New York State are models for organizing informal workers, e.g. lower-paid workers and others. Again, footnotes are not identified.

Five other articles "Radical: A Portrait of Saul Alinsky" by Nicholas Von Hoffman; "Learning from Poverty in Canada and the U. K." by Amy Leaman; "Public Employees and the Public Interest" by Philip Mattera; "Egypt: First Cut Off the Internet" by Noorin Ladhani; and "Backstory" about the Gamaliel Foundation, a faith-based community organization, by Wade Rathke round out the issue.

Slick, with heavy gloss pages (which are expensive), Social Policy is informative if one has time and perseverance to read and elicit the information. As a quarterly, that may provide enough time. It contains minimal, but relevant, photos and artwork, but credit is missing for the back cover artwork about Wisconsin's union protests. This is not written for mass consumption, but, rather, for organizers and other progressive elitists.
[www.socialpolicy.org]

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Review Posted on June 14, 2011
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