Top Ten Great Things About CrossRoads Turning 40 BY TIM PATTERSON If you're a reader of fine print, you may have noticed that you are currently article-surfing through issue No. 40 of CrossRoads. And as the class clown in residence, it falls on me to offer a few thoughts on this auspicious occasion. I have come to take these passages, especially these multiple-of-ten milestones, very seriously. (Without directly revealing my age, let me just say that 40 is not the particular decade marker I have on my horizon, if you get my drift.) In any case, here, from the Home Office, slightly to the left of Red Square, are the Top Ten reasons to feel swell about the fact that Xroads has turned 40: Number 10: Bigger circulation than the Guardian. In an era when the alternative press in general and the left press in particular has gone into ebb city, the fact that a new publication has been able to keep its numbers and its income steadily inching up is good news. Number 9: More accessible than Telos ever was. We may not all remember our Capital too well around here anymore, but the CrossRoads crew does still have a fondness for the eleventh and last of the Theses on Feuerbach: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world differently; the point is to change it." The opinions expressed in these pages may from time to time be goofy -- we are all prisoners, after all, of a culture that sees fit to televise the "Jackson Family Honors" -- but they aren't impossible to understand. Number 8: Broader range of opinion than Workers Vanguard or The New Republic. They said it couldn't be done, but the fact is that the authors of the pieces in these pages are all over the left political map: former Maoists and Stalinists and Trotskyists, unrepentant social democrats, independent activists of every stripe and persuasion. What other progressive publication has Jeff "the Squealer" Gillooly on its Advisory Board? Number 7: Better ties to the new generation of activists than the Social Security Notch Baby News. Realizing that nostalgia has its limits, CrossRoads has made a genuine commitment to cross-generational coverage. Stay tuned, for example, for the upcoming September back-to- school issue, featuring a provocative symposium on "Young Activists Debate Lenin's Legacy: Who Gives a Rat's Ass?" Number 6: Better graphics than the Daily Racing Form. Without an Art Director, with a Managing Editor who once described himself as "a cultural illiterate" -- a position he has since repudiated -- CrossRoads still looks a whole lot better than the grey old rags of yesteryear. Viva white space! Number 5: In almost four years of publication, not one reprint from Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Lenora Fulani or Kim Il-Sung Junior. Number 4: Not afraid to tackle the hard ones. CrossRoads grapples with the thorny social questions issue after issue -- most recently in Shane Stant's hard-hitting series on the criminal justice system in America. Number 3: Prints way more poetry than Car and Driver and Guns and Ammo combined. Number 2: Name still stupid after all these years. I have always thought that the name of this periodical had more than a whiff of the Branch Davidian to it. I am still collecting signatures on a petition to change the name to Beats Me: A Journal of Contemporary Left Analysis. And the Number 1 reason: Has a humor columnist. Yes, I've saved the best till last. I don't know how many times people have stopped me on the street and said, Tim, how do you do it? How do you manage to combine two mortal enemies, humor and the left? When are you going to get one of those MacArthur Genius Grants? Maybe when CrossRoads turns 80... The Buchenwald Touch BY HERBERT APTHEKER In the slavery period Black people were used by medical personnel to test various diseases; in the 1930s, treatment for illness was withheld from scores of Black men in order to observe the progress of venereal diseases. It was disclosed that similar experiments were performed by Nazi physicians on Jews and Poles and political prisoners; this practice formed a central feature in the Nuremburg trials of Nazi leaders after the war. Similar atrocities marked the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war by Japanese Imperial troops. Now it is clear that abominations of this nature have marked practice in the U.S. A summary of recent public disclosures shows the following: Mentally retarded children attending a state school in Massachusetts were used to test experimental blood-pressure drugs as well as the effect of birth control pills during the 1950s and 1960s. Involved -- according to the Boston Globe, January 5, 1994 -- were 188 children, some as young as three years of age. No effort was made to obtain permission for such activity from any persons related to the youngsters. In 1986, Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.) had held hearings which disclosed that the Atomic Energy Commission had conducted experiments to determine the impact of atomic energy radiation upon human beings. Congressman Markey recently disclosed that early in January, 1994, he had met with unnamed "senior White House officials" and discovered that ill people (number and identity not disclosed) were "injected with highly radioactive plutonium to see how radiation works its way into the body" (A.P. dispatch, January 3). The same source disclosed that radiation pills were fed "to hundreds of pregnant women" to determine effects upon fetal development. Exactly when all this occurred is not clear, but it certainly took place after the Second World War. Moreover, "newborn infants were given radioactive iodine" allegedly to determine their effect upon thyroid disease. Given by whom, with whose permission, with what results? No reports are available. Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary reported that in late 1993 her office had received "tens of thousands of calls" -- as many "as ten thousand calls a day" -- from people possessing or seeking information about such testing. The Associated Press report (January 4, 1994) that her office had "promised to open all the test files [on such activity] for public scrutiny." Why has it taken years for such a decision to be reached? When will that promise -- now several weeks old -- be implemented? Five days later, Melissa Healy published an account in the Los Angeles Times of the subjection of Eskimos in Alaska to tests "from the radioactive debris scattered across the tundra by scientists." Again, just when was this done, who ordered these tests and who were the scientists overseeing them? "UNNAMED RESEARCHER" The same source revealed that cancer patients in Cincinnati were subjected to "radiation experiments" by an "unnamed researcher." The report added the victims were "mostly poor, mostly Black" -- which will surprise no one. What happened to the "eminent researcher"? This activity continued, we are told, "until the mid-1970s." Has it ceased? Ms. Healy stated that a Dr. Joseph Hamilton "oversaw patient injections at the San Francisco campus of the University of California." This Dr. Hamilton is here quoted a thinking this "has a little of the Buchenwald touch." Yes, and what happened to the "eminent researcher" in Cincinnati and to Dr. Hamilton in San Francisco? Late in 1993, Secretary O'Leary appointed Dr. Ruth Faden of Johns Hopkins University to investigate these "Buchenwald touches." The Associated Press reported on January 8, 1994 that Dr. Faden offered the opinion that available data showed "a significant pattern of abuse of vulnerable and dispossessed people" -- imaginative adjectives for African American folk. Press reports continue to disclose horrors; thus the New York Times (January 22) reported a "drug-testing program" at the Medical University in Charleston, South Carolina. Those tested were pregnant African American women. No consent obtained, rather "some of the women" -- accused of crime -- were handcuffed and put in leg irons. The Nation editorially noted (January 11) that Dr. Frederick Goodwin, head of the National Institute of Mental Health, had offered the opinion that manifestations of unrest in ghettos were caused by inhabitants, of what he called "jungles," and that they manifested the behavior of "hyperaggressive" and "hypersexual" monkeys. Will Secretary O'Leary investigate this doctor who is in charge of something dealing with mental health. Professor Harvey Weinstein of Stanford University, in a recent column in the San Francisco Chronicle (January 21, 1994), suggested that the experimentation and behavior summarized above reflected "misguided patriotism." He bravely suggested that we must "acknowledge our vulnerabilities." Alas, Goering et al did not have Professor Weinstein defending them at Nuremburg. President Clinton and his appointee Secretary O'Leary should face a flood of outraged public opinion demanding the exposure, trial and punishment of the characters responsible for these "experiments." Such action would help assure that Nazi-like atrocities no longer besmirch the United States. Herbert Aptheker's most recent book, Anti-Racism in the U.S. -- the First 200 Years, is now available in paperback from Praeger/Greenwood, Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881. * * * * CROSSROADS PRICE RISE We're determined to keep CrossRoads' price as low as possible, but faced with rising costs we're forced to implement a small price rise beginning June 1. The price of a regular one-year subscription will go up from $24 to $26; two-year subs will go from $42 to $48; our special $19 student rate will become a $20 student and senior citizen rate; and three-month trial subs will go from $7.95 to $9. The magazine's cover price will stay at $3. Between now and June 1 you can still get your sub at the lower rates, so why not renew with a regular or two-year sub today? Better yet, help keep CrossRoads price accessible to activists by signing on as a monthly sustainer? Send you pledge of $10 or more each month to CrossRoads, P.O. Box 2809, Oakland, CA 94609.