The Nation articles

by Stanley Meisler

The Nation

The following are summaries of articles by Stanley Meisler published in The Nation magazine from 1956 to 1980.

Separatism - The Forgotten Issue
March 22, 1980
Focuses on separatism in Canada. Threat of Quebec separatism; Political strategy of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Taking Quebec Seriously
April 28, 1979
Focuses on general elections scheduled to be held in Canada in May 1979 while discussing chief executive officer of Quebec René Lévesque's promise to his province for a referendum on separation after the elections. Confusion among Canadians regarding Lévesque's promise; Possibility of victory of Lévesque in the elections; Discussion on a sovereignty-association proposed by Lévesque.

A Mime Troupe Tests the Regime
June 17, 1978
Discusses the case of Els Joglars, a Catalan mime troupe convicted of insulting the Spanish Army. Embarrassment to the self-proclaimed Spanish democracy of King Juan Carlos and Premier Adolfo Suarez; Flaws in Spain's attempt at transition from the dictatorship of the late Francisco Franco to a parliamentary government.

Reacting to Big-Stick Diplomacy
February 7, 1976
Examines key aspects of political and economic relations between Mexico and the U.S. Emphasis on Mexican dependence on American support; Ways by which American culture, organization and products set the standards for Mexicans; Factors contributing to conflicts of interest between the two countries; Extent of Mexican dependence to the U.S.; Comparison of the political and economic conditions; Difficulties involved in relations between a powerful country and its weak neighbor.

Still Loyal to the Loyalists
November 15, 1975
Reports on Mexican President Luis Echeverria Alvarez's reaction to Spain's Generalisimo Francisco Franco's execution of five revolutionaries in Spain in September 1975. Echeverria's description of the Spanish dictatorship; Call to the United Nations Security Council to expel Spain from the U.N.; Destruction of Echeverria's campaign to succeed Kurt Waldheim as Secretary General in 1976.

Return to a Disaster
October 12, 1974
Focuses on relations between the U.S. and Haiti as of October 1974. Reasons for the stoppage of foreign aid to Haiti by the U.S. Agency for International Development in 1963; Factors that contributed to industrial establishments by U.S. businessmen in Haiti; State of agricultural production in the country in the 1970s.

The Blacks of Panama
June 22, 1974
Focuses on the conflict between the U.S. and Panama over the issue of control over Panama canal. Assessment of negotiations between them for a treaty to solve the dispute; Overview of the problem of Black population in the canal zone controlled by the U.S.; Information on the construction of the canal; Appraisal of steps taken by the U.S. government to improve relations between the two countries.

Jehovah's Witnesses in Africa
July 16, 1973
Focuses on Jehovah's Witnesses, a social movement against Nazis, as of July 16, 1973. Number of members of Jehovah's Witnesses in Africa; Founder of Jehovah's Witnesses; Factors that led to the establishment of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Ten Years of Fratricide
December 6, 1971
The article discusses the genocide in Sudan. For more than a decade, an obscure civil war has ravaged Sudan. Largely ignored by the rest of the world, it is Africa's longest war, paralyzing the Sudan's three southern provinces intermittently from 1955 and continuously from 1963. The war has led to perhaps a half-million deaths and has forced 200,000 southerners to flee for refuge in neighboring countries. All the terror and turmoil have come from cultural hatred. The Sudan is the largest country in Africa, about a third the size of the United States, with a north of scrublands and sandy, arid hills, and a south of forests and grasslands. Swamps separate the two regions.

Kenya's Asian Outcasts
September 1, 1969
This article discusses about the Asians settled in Nairobi, Kenya. Most of the shops of downtown Nairobi are in the hands of Indians and Pakistanis. Living in a land run by African blacks, are the most visible evidence of the gravest minority problem in East Africa today. There are 350,000 Asians, as the Indians and Pakistanis are called here, among East Africa's 29 million people. About half of them live in Kenya, a quarter in Tanzania, a quarter in Uganda. They are the shopkeepers, clerks, artisans and foreman of East Africa. The Asians fill just those jobs and places that Africans believe they now have enough experience and training to take. Although they are called Asians, many either were born in East Africa or have spent most of their lives there. They consider East Africa as their home.

After Tom Mboya
August 11, 1969
The aftermath of the murder of Kenyan political leader Tom Mboya has mocked what he stood for. Mboya, who seemed to represent all that was modern in Africa to the rest of the world, always shunned the appeals to tribal allegiance that have crumbled political stability elsewhere in Africa. His constituents were mainly the urban workers groping for a modern way of life. Yet his assassination on the first Saturday in July, 1969 unleashed intense tribal hatreds. Kenya faces a long and dangerous period of instability unless the government can somehow placate his grieving Lao people.

Biafra: War of Images
March 10, 1969
Images play as important a role as guns in the Nigerian civil war. The Biafran secessionists, among Africa's most sophisticated peoples, have known from the beginning that their chances for success depended as much, on evoking world sympathy as on holding back the federal army. Now, after twenty months of war, it is clear that the Biafrans have been far more adept at propaganda than soldiering. If they survive in some sovereign form, they will owe it to their skill with images. Part of the Biafran success in public relations stems from the federal Nigerian Government's failure at it.

Isolated Successes
January 20, 1969
Reviews the book "Agents of Change: A Close Look at the Peace Corps," by David Hapgood and Meridan Bennett.

New Mission to Africa
January 13, 1969
The article discusses various aspects of the U.S. foreign policy in Africa. For years, the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) has pursued its own foreign policy in Latin America and now it is turning to Africa. In January 1968 Vice President H. Humphrey visited Kenya with a large party that included executive director Irving Brown. Despite unpopularity Brown's African American Labor Center was set up in 1965 in Kenya. The Center often gives office equipment and cars to African unions or creates vocational training schools. But the Center also tries to fulfill the traditional AFL-CIO role of helping non-Communist unions fight alleged Communist union.

Breakup in Nigeria
October 9, 1967
 The article presents information on the civil war in Nigeria. Two simple posters explain the civil war in Nigeria. The first, a thin strip, was glued to the walls and windows of most public buildings in Enugu, the capital of Eastern Nigeria, a few weeks before the region seceded to become the Republic of Biafra. The first poster reflects the intense tribal feeling of the Ibos of Eastern Nigeria. They are enraged and bitter over the massacre of thousands of Ibos in Northern Nigeria last year. They believe the other tribes of Nigeria would wipe them out if they could. For this reason, the Ibos feel they are fighting for theft survival. The second poster, a little larger and more colorful, was slapped all over Lagos, the federal capital of Nigeria, a few weeks before federal troops invaded Biafra, the beginning of the civil war.

And a Cold Eye
October 4, 1965
Reviews the book "Africa from Independence to Tomorrow ," by David Hapgood.

Our Stake in Apartheid
August 16, 1965
In 1963, during a Security Council debate on apartheid, politician Adlai Stevenson announced dramatically that the U.S. had banned all sale of arms to the Republic of South Africa. The step had been taken, he said, to show U.S. government's deep concern that South Africa refused to abandon its racist policies. In March 1963, a reactor went critical at a research center near Pretoria, and South Africa joined the nuclear age. The feat was made possible by the firm that designed and built the equipment: Allis-Chalmers of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Lamb in Lionskin
May 10, 1965
Reviews the book "Haile Selassie: The Conquering Lion," by Leonard Mosley.

The Impact of Medicare
May 3, 1965
This article focuses on the Medicare bill that has been proposed in the U.S. Congress. Medicare - as passed by the House-would discourage hospitals from making arrangements that would draw specialists into a comprehensive medical center. Every hospital under Medicare would have to follow the lead of the most progressive hospitals, and appoint a committee to review cases periodically, to see that no doctor was keeping his patient in the hospital too long. Another provision on the bill allows federal pressure on medical practices.

Trial by Gadget
September 28, 1964
The article presents information on lie detectors. The first lie detector, employed centuries ago, was a handful of rice dropped into the mouth of a suspect. If the rice stayed dry while he answered questions, he clearly was a liar- exposed under the questionable theory that a liar's salivary glands would dry up when gripped by fear. The lie detector used most commonly today is far more sophisticated. Developed by the psychologist and criminologist Leonard Keeler almost forty years ago, it comprises a pneumatic tube that fits across a subject's chest to measure breathing, an inflatable rubber cuff that wraps around the arm to measure blood pressure and a pair of electrodes that touch the fingers and by the flow of current, measure-the dampness of the palm.

Get Your Gun From the Army
June 8, 1964
This article focuses on the possibility that the assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy might harm the U.S. Army's civilian marksmanship program due to public revulsion to the weapon which was used in the murder. The Army oversees civilian marksmanship through its National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, which is headed by Colonel John K. Lee. The board sets up instruction programs, organizes the annual National Rifle and Pistol Matches, and markets used guns to the public. It does all this through the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Army sells rifles at cost to civilians only if they are members of the NRA, and it gives instruction to gun clubs only if they are affiliated with the NRA.

The Dodge City Syndrome
May 4, 1964
A peculiar disease has been isolated by medical scientists in the United States. The disease was first discovered by physician J.V. Brown in the "Western Journal of Surgery." Commerce houses are now marketing products designed to cope with it. Statistics on incidence and morbidity are scanty and the name of the disease is hazy. Some doctors call it "the fast draw syndrome"; others, "the Dodge City syndrome." It is most prevalent, of course, among the numerous special gun clubs that have sprouted across the land in recent years. Members, taking a leaf out of days of yore and some scripts of today, draw guns from their holster, quick as lightning and fire away. Unlike their legendary heroes they don't shoot at one another but aim at balloons. Sometimes though they miss the balloon and hit themselves in the right foot. Brown observed sixteen cases of the syndrome before writing his article "Gunshot Wounds of Lower Extremity: Fast Draw Syndrome." The typical case of the fast draw syndrome according to Browne is a young man in his late teens or early twenties who presents with a small calibre gunshot wound of the lower extremity, accidentally self-inflicted, while practicing a fast 'draw.'

Meddling in Latin America
February 10, 1964
According to the executive council of AFL-CIO, the so-called trade unions of Soviet Union are nothing but agencies of communist dictatorship. This implies that the unions in The U.S. are anything but agencies of government and big business. British Guiana is a good place to begin. The situation in British Guiana is far more complicated than that and its generous aid has involved the AFL-CIO in racial and political strife. In addition, not all the aid given by the AFL-CIO has come from the labor treasury. In British Guiana, as elsewhere in Latin America, the AFL-CIO has operated with money supplied by the United States Government and big business.

The Two Goldwaters
October 26, 1963
The article presents information about U.S. politics. The Republican candidate Barry Goldwater presented his precise views on the problem of civil rights. First, he made it clear that he considered States' rights the cornerstone of the republic. He did not see any conflict between States' rights and civil rights. On any particular issue, either one or the other counted, never both. Voting, for example, was clearly a civil right, and no state had the right to take this away from an individual. Goldwater stayed with these views as late as the University of Mississippi crisis last year.

Blowing Barry's Horn
July 27, 1963
This article reports the National Draft Goldwater Independence Day Rally, staged by the National Draft Goldwater Committee, held on July 4, 1963, in Washington, D.C. This Republican national convention was held for convincing every participants, specially politicians and reporters, to nominate Republican Barry Goldwater. The arranging Committee was headed by Texas Republican Chairman Peter O'Donnell, Jr. The main focus during the convention was on youths. The young people much preferred to think of their so-called hero, Goldwater. The rally was much dominated by youth and Dixie.

Attention to the Africans
February 2, 1963
Reviews two books about Africa. "The Human Factor in Changing Africa," by Melville J. Herskovits; "Copper Town: Changing Africa. The Human Situation on the Rhodesian Copperbelt," by Hortense Powdermaker.

Selling Militarism to America (Part II)
September 9, 1961
This article presents information on the public relations set-up of U.S. armed forces. One of the most significant works involving the public relations group of the U.S. armed forces is to capture mass media's attention to military propaganda's. In this context, the U.S. Dept. of Defense cooperates with various Hollywood producers in their endeavor of producing movies or television shows that shows U.S. armed forces in good light. The audio-visual division of the department scrutinizes scripts thoroughly before extending any sort of cooperation. A fixed set of guidelines is present to this effect which needs to be followed while approving scripts. The cooperation extended by the department helps producers save a lot of money.

The Brass Trumpet
September 2, 1961
This article discusses various issues related to the U.S. military forces. Public relations is among the newest of U.S. military weapons. Although military commanders and the War Department issue battle reports that were printed or elaborated by the press during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, the U.S. military service did not issue its first formal press release until 1904. U.S. spends 59 per cent of its more than $80 billion budget on national security every year. However, the U.S. President says that they should guard against unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex.

Super-Graft on Superhighways
April 1, 1961
This article discusses about the plans of the U.S. government regarding the biggest public works project. The federal government has decided to spend billions of dollars for 41, 000 miles of superhighways criss-crossing the nation. Taxpayers are supporting the program because it promises to satisfy their hunger for cars and roads. A driver will be able to travel from coast to coast at sixty to seventy miles an hour without encountering a single stop sign, traffic light or railroad crossing. In the main, these highways with entry only at selected places, will have four lanes, swelling to six and eight lanes near metropolitan areas.

The Governor and the Bishops
December 3, 1960
Luis Muñoz Marín, Puerto Rico's first elected Governor, remains in La Fortaleza, Puerto Rico. Despite his victory, a threat lingers, perhaps not to his power, but to the political stability of Puerto Rico. And, while the threat evolves primarily from clericalism, part of the threat also stems from Muñoz Marín himself. During the campaign, the flare-up over the tactics of the bishops, who issued two pastoral letters forbidding Catholics to vote for Muñoz Marín obscured some of the political problems of Puerto Rico. The Governor's rout of the new Christian Action Party, a creature of the bishops, tended to fill his supporters, particularly abroad, with a heady optimism, blinding them to the dangers still enveloping democracy on the island.

Twilight for Trujillo
November 12, 1960
This article focuses on possibilities of the future political scenario after the fall of the regime of Generalissimo Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina in Dominican Republic which is tottering. The chaos and anger that will follow the fall, there will be no embrace. The sudden anti-Trujillo policy of the U.S. and the dramatic condemnation of the Dominican Republic by the Organization of American States (OAS) at San Jose have come too late to avert what State Department planners fear most an anti-American, Fidel Castro-leaning successor to Trujillo. There are degrees of bitterness and contempt, and the exact character of tile post-Trujillo regime will depend on the forces used to overthrow the Generalissimo.

The Politics of Sugar
July 23, 1960
The article focuses on 1960 Sugar Act, a bill that proposes cutting Cuba's sugar quota. Just a month earlier, it had not seemed likely U.S. Congress would surrender this power. On June 1, the House Agriculture Committee, on a strict party vote of 23 to 12, reported a bill that would have merely extended the sugar program for one more year without giving the President any authority to change import quotas. The vote reflected the influence of the committee chairman, Harold D. Cooley, who opposed cutting Cuba's sugar quota.

Charade of Civil Defense
June 11, 1960
This article discusses efforts of the U.S. Civil Defense to prevent citizens during a war. In the first place, the goals of the U.S. Civil Defense planners are hidden by confusion. The average American is not quite sure whether he is expected to hide in his basement or run from his house, and neither is the U.S. Office of Civil Defense and Mobilization. The Civil Defense officials have found themselves with an acclaimed shelter theory, but no shelters, and a discredited evacuation theory, but lots of evacuation facilities. But, even assuming that shelters will perform a limited function, the plain fact remains that almost no one is building them.

Letter from Washington
May 21, 1960
On April 17, twenty-eight writers and artists from eleven countries assembled for an annual congress sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Washington. The roster included Italian Nobel-Prize poet Salvatore Quasimodo, poets from the U.S. Richard Eberhart, Stanley Kunitz and Allen Tate, and England's critic-poet Sir Herbert Read. Eberhart seemed to speak for everyone when he suggested that artist in the U.S. may be using up too much energy searching for status. And Tate clinched the argument by noting that the status of the artist cannot be too bad if foundations and the State Department continually spend money shipping them about the world to talk to one another.

Small-Arms Race
April 16, 1960
On March 4, , the 4,309-ton French freighter La Coubre, carting seventy-six tons of Belgian grenades and ammunition to the army of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, exploded in Havana harbor, killing more than seventy-five seamen, dock workers and firefighters. The series of deadly blasts triggered a series of sensational questions that hit headlines in both the United States and Cuba. Had an American agent or anti-Castro Cuban slipped aboard and left a time bomb in the hold! Had a careless dock worker dropped a match into the munitions! Other questions, tinged with less excitement, were also evoked. La Coubre and its grenades represent an often unnoticed phenomenon of the cold war. While the great nations of the world terrorize each other in a nuclear-arms race, the weaker, underdeveloped nations are running madly through their own series of small-arms sprints.

Federal Narcotics Czar
February 20, 1960
The article presents information on U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics H.J. Anslinger. According to the commissioner, the drug addict is an "immoral, vicious, social leper, who cannot escape responsibility for his actions. Throughout his tenure, Anslinger has proclaimed that "strong laws, good enforcement, stiff sentences and a proper hospitalization program" are the weapons needed to destroy narcotics addiction. This program seemed intelligent and compassionate, it implied that sick men must be treated and that evil men, who prey on the sick by selling them drugs, must be punished.

Letter from Mexico
December 19, 1959
The article author describes his experiences on visiting Mexico City. Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts assigns one of its salons to modern art and another to Mexican art, but both, like all the others, exhibit the same kind of paintings. In tiers of galleries, this huge museum offers little but work by twentieth-century Mexicans. A first look is far from a dull experience. The author the concert at which Carlos Chavez returned as guest conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional. After an absence of several years. He had founded the orchestra in 1928 and directed it for twenty years, bringing Mexico a balance of international and native music.

Hidden Censors
October 10, 1959
It is fashionable in literary circles to snicker at Arthur K. Summerfield, the former Chevrolet dealer who may have produced one of the most publicized cases of poor judgment in the history of criticism. But the Postmaster General merely carried the logic of traditional Post Office procedures to their proper conclusion. Vested with these traditional powers of censorship, Summerfield, a man who admits to reading little fiction, decided that D.H. Lawrence's "Lady Chatterley's Lover" taken as a whole, is an obscene and filthy work", literary critics and at least one federal judge decided otherwise. The Post Office got into the business of checking non-first class mail for obscenity in 1873, when Congress passed the Comstock Law, which still is the chief weapon in the postal war on pornography.

Theatre in Mexico
September 19, 1959
The article presents information on the Mexican Theatre. It focuses on two plays- Las cosas simples and Los signos del zodiac. The first one is a play by a twenty-seven-year-old Mexican, Hector Mendoza. Its translated version in English is "The Simple Things." Furthermore, the latter one resembles Elmer Rice's Street Scene, uncovers the interrelated lives of several neighbors living in one of Mexico City's patio tenement houses. But the atmosphere is all Tennessee Wilhams: a caidron of love, youth, poverty, vulgarity, violence and symbolism.

Letter from Washington
August 29, 1959
The article presents anecdotes from America. A potful of hot water gurgled down on us as we waited, caught in a giggling, shoving crowd, outside Washington's Coffee 'n Confusion Club, a beatnik haven marking its first Saturday night of business in the nation's capital. An irate neighbor in an upstairs apartment had tossed out the hot but not boiling water. The sprinkles from above alighting on the sprinkle of beards in the crowd symbolized one of the oddest clashes in the history of this clash-ridden federal town. For several months now, the prudery of Washington has been at war with the rebellion of its youth.

The Lost Dreams of Howard Fast
May 30, 1959
The article presents information on the American writer, Howard Fast. His books kept the insight into the intellect of an American Communist. Fast's novels had tremendous circulation in the Communist world after World War II and, in face, enjoyed much popularity in U.S. until the press advertised his link with the Communist Party in the late 1940s. His Soviet popularity ended when he left the party in 1957. Although his resignation helped reopen doors to American publishers and movie producers, most of the fiction of his Communist period has remained unread in United States. His books include "Citizen Tom Paine" , "Freedom Road" and "The American."

Letter from New Orleans
April 12, 1958
The first Inter-American Music Festival opens April 18, 1958 in Washington. The festival originally had been scheduled for April of 1957, and New Orleans, Louisiana, which aspires to be the modern hub of the U.S., was the site chosen. The selection aimed to blend the old musical tradition of the city with the more recent Latin American hue that has covered the port commercially. But several months before the scheduled opening, with almost all commissioned music completed, officials mysteriously called everything off.

September 1, 1956
No one seems to care if entertainer Ewing Poteet dulls or excites taste for theatre. No one cares if he is foolish or brilliant, if he upholds theatre or sneers at it, if he knows how to write. The forty-four-year-old Poteet, in his seventh year as Item critic, is more than just his newspaper's theatre man. Most non-New York critics are the drama-music-movie-radio-television-nightclub-book-phonograph-art editors of their outfits. Fifty percent courts, 25 percent music, 25 percent theatre make up the 100 percent Poteet.

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