Subject: ON THE THIRD ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AT CEIMSA, ON THE
UNIVERSITY OF GRENOBLE CAMPUS.
26 April 2004
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The Grenoble Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements has just completed its Third Annual International Conference [see http://www.u-grenoble3.fr/ciesimsa], the topic this year being "The Contemporary State of American Political Culture," featuring Jim Hightower and Susan DeMarco from Austin, Texs, and the pacifist paintings of artist Joanna Learner, from Battle Creek, Michigan.
This two-day conference was organized on the first day as an examination of America's ruling class, and on the Friday, we turned to analyses of working class resistance and social movements today within the United States.
The conference began on Thursday afternoon with an historical perspective of the Progressive Movement which emerged as an authentic democratic expression of self-defense in the social-economic context of monopoly capitalist formations in the United States toward the end of the 19th Century.
This introductory perspective was followed by Susan DeMarco's examination of the role of the media in maintaining ruling class hegemony in the U.S. Then, Jean-Marie Ruiz gave an original and insightful analysis of Michael Moore's relentless humor and his favorite targets within the American ruling class.
Later that same afternoon, Diana Johnstone offered an historical perspective of the evolution of U.S. militarism and its growing influence on American ruling-class ideology. Johnstone's discussion of the role of the U.S. military in recent years was followed by Keith Goshorn's presentation on corporate power and its impact on recent ideological mutations within America institutions.
Later, that first evening, Jim Hightower spoke to an audience of more than 500 people about the George W. Bush administration, many of whom he has known from Austin, Texas for many, many years.
On the second day of this International Conference discussions turned toward the "la classe dominée" and the various contemporary social movements within the United States. At 1:00 o'clock, Philip Golub began the discussion with a well-informed analysis of the new repressive legislation that is designed to silence dissent in America. The "Homeland Security Act", "Patriot Act II" are just two of the tactics being employed to subvert traditional democracy in America.
Next, Keith Dixon gave an original and very useful analysis of the modern origins of neo-liberal ideology in the Anglo-Saxon world, and the various strategies that have been adopted over the past several years to gain hegemony for this ideology during our period of "capitalism in crisis".
Susan DeMarco spoke again on the second day about American social movements of resistance, reminding the European audience of many hundreds that the American nation has different political traditions that those that exist in Europe. The necessary alliance against international capitalism, imperialism, and militarism requires an understanding to these differences. One example which DeMarco discussed was the European obsession with the Christian fundamentalists in America, which according to DeMarco is a political ploy, used to distract and divide the resistance movement. In short, she told the audience, the Christian fundamentalists are of little or no numerical significance in American political culture. They represent a tiny minority of people whose "leaders" are given enormous financial support for propaganda reasons against progressive social movements.
Susan DeMarco was followed by Larry Portis who reported on his recent visit to Palestine, and offered the audience an original analysis of U.S./Israeli imperialism as a class struggle at the international level, requiring solidarity and tactical cooperation throughout the world. As long as there is resistance to this minority domination there is reason for hope, was one conclusion drawn by Portis' analysis.
Finally, the two-day conference was concluded with the second evening
presentation by Jim Hightower : "Think Globally; Act Locally", in
which he cited many successful resistance campaigns, notably against WalMart,
toxic waste dumps, and labor exploitation, and environmental destruction
--successful movements which are seldom publicized in the media and consequently
little known in the United States, much less in Europe.
During this Conference, the art exposition by Joanna Learner was open to the public at the Maison des Langues et des Cultures on the Grenoble campus, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day. At the end of the Conference, Jim Hightower signed copies of his newly translated book, Thieves in High Places (New York : Viking Press, 2003) --in French, Ces Truands Qui Nous Gouvernent (Grenoble : Editions du Croquant, 2004)-- after which we went to a restaurant and passed a delightful evening of conversation, song, and good food and wine.
To purchase a copy of Ces truands qui nous gouvernent
(price, 14 euros, with reduction for large classroom orders), readers should
contact the editor of Editions du Croquants, Alain Oriot, at <email@example.com>.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
The University of Grenoble
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White Whine: Reflections on the Brain-Rotting Properties
By Tim Wise
To truly understand a nation, a culture, or its people, it helps to
what they take for granted.
After all, sometimes the things that go unspoken are more powerful than
the spoken word, if for no other reason than the tendency of unspoken
assumptions to reinforce core ways of thinking, feeling and acting,
without ever having to be verbalized (and thus subjected to challenge)
What's more, when people take certain things for granted, anything that
goes against the grain of what they perceive as "normal" will tend to
stand out like a sore thumb, and invite a hostility that seems
reasonable, at least to those dispensing it, precisely because their
unspoken assumptions have gone uninterrogated for so long.
Thus, every February I encounter people who are apoplectic at the
thought of Black History Month, and who insist with no sense of irony or
misgiving that there should be no such thing, since, after all, there is
no White History Month--a position to which they can only adhere because
they have taken for granted that "American history" as told to them
previously was comprehensive and accurate, as opposed to being largely
the particular history of the dominant group.
In other words, the normalcy of the white narrative, which has rendered
every month since they popped out of their momma's wombs White History
Month, escapes them, and makes the efforts of multiculturalists seem to
be the unique break with an otherwise neutral color-blindness.
Sorta' like those who e-mail me on a semi-regular basis to insist, as
they have just stumbled upon a truth of unparalleled profundity, that
there should be an Ivory Magazine to balance out Ebony, or that we need
a White Entertainment Television network to balance out BET, or a NAAWP
to balance out the NAACP.
Again, these dear souls ignore what is obvious to virtually all persons
of color but which remains unseen by those whose reality gets to be
viewed as the norm: namely, that there are already two Ivory
Magazines--Vogue and Cosmopolitan; that there are several WETs, which
just so happen to go by the names of CBS, NBC and ABC; and that the
Fortune 500, U.S. Congress and Fraternal Orders of Police are all doing
a pretty good job holding it down for us white folks on the
organizational front. Just because the norm is not racially-named,
doesn't mean it isn't racialized.
Likewise the ongoing backlash against affirmative action, by those who
seem to believe that opportunity would truly be equal in the absence of
these presumably unjust efforts to ensure access to jobs and higher
education for persons of color.
We are to believe that before affirmative action things were fine, and
that were such efforts abolished now, things would return to this utopic
state of affairs: to hell with the persistent evidence that people of
color continue to face discrimination in employment, housing, education
and all other institutional settings in the U.S.
So if the University of Michigan gives applicants of color twenty points
on a 150-point admission scale, so as to promote racial diversity and
balance out the disadvantages to which such students are often subjected
in their K-12 schooling experience, that is seen as unfair racial
But when the same school gives out 16 points to kids from the lily-white
Upper Peninsula, or four points for children of overwhelmingly white
alumni, or ten points for students who went to the state's "top" schools
(who will be disproportionately white), or 8 points for those who took a
full slate of Advanced Placement classes in high schools (which classes
are far less available in schools serving students of color), this is
seen as perfectly fair, and not at all racially preferential.
What's more, the whites who received all those bonus points due to their
racial and class position will not be thought of by anyone as having
received unearned advantages, in spite of the almost entirely ascriptive
nature of the categories into which they fell that qualified them for
such bonuses. No matter their "qualifications," it will be taken for
granted that any white student at a college or University belongs there.
This is why Jennifer Gratz, the lead plaintiff in the successful
"reverse discrimination" suit against Michigan's undergraduate
affirmative action policy, found it a supreme injustice that a few dozen
black, Latino and American Indian students were admitted ahead of her,
despite having lower SATs and grades; but she thought nothing of the
fact that more than 1400 other white students also were admitted ahead
of her and her co-plaintiffs, despite having lower scores and grades.
"Lesser qualified" whites are acceptable, you see, while "lesser
qualified" people of color must be eliminated from their unearned
perches of opportunity. This is the kind of racist logic that people
like Gratz, who now heads up the state?s anti-affirmative action
initiative with the financial backing of Ward Connerly, find acceptable.
This kind of logic also explains the effort of whites at Roger Williams
University to start a "white scholarship fund," on the pretense that
scholarships for students of color are unfair and place whites at a
This, despite the unmentioned fact that about 93 percent of all college
scholarship money goes to whites; despite the fact that students of
color at elite and expensive colleges come from families with about half
the average income of whites; despite the fact that there are
scholarships for pretty much every kind of student under the sun,
including children of Tupperware dealers, kids whose parents raise
horses, kids who are left-handed, kids whose families descend from the
founding fathers: you name it, and there's money available for it.
While there are plenty of whites unable to afford college, the fault
this unhappy reality lies not with minority scholarships, but rather
with the decisions of almost exclusively white University elites to
raise the price of higher education into the stratosphere, to the
detriment of most everyone.
But to place blame where it really belongs, on rich white people, would
be illogical. After all, we take it for granted that one day we too
might be wealthy, and we wouldn’t want others to question our decisions
and prerogatives come that day either.
Better to blame the dark-skinned for our hardship, since we can take
for granted that they're powerless to do anything about it.
Whites, as it turns out, take most everything for granted in this
country; which makes perfect sense, because dominant groups usually have
We take for granted that we won't be racially profiled even when members
of our group engage in criminality at a disproportionate rate, whether
the crime is corporate fraud, serial killing, child molestation,
abortion clinic bombings or drunk driving. And indeed we won't be.
We take it for granted that our terrorism won't result in whites as
group being viewed with generalized suspicion. So Tim McVeigh represents
only Tim McVeigh, while Mohammed Atta gets to serve as a proxy for every
other person who either has his name or follows a prophet of that name.
We take it for granted that our dishonesty will be viewed in purely
individualistic terms, while the dishonesty of others will result in
aspersions being cast upon the entire group from which they come.
Thus, Jayson Blair's deceptions at the New York Times provoke howls
indignation at any effort to provide opportunity to journalists of
color--because after all, diversity and quality are proven by this one
man's exploits to be incompatible--but Jack Kelley's equally egregious
fabrications and fraud at USA Today fails to prompt calls for an end to
hiring white guys as reporters, or for scrutinizing them more carefully,
or for closing down whatever avenues of opportunity have helped keep the
profession so white for so long.
We take it for granted that we will never be viewed as one of those
dreaded "special interest" groups, precisely because whatever serves our
interests is presumed universal.
So, for example, while politicians who pursue the support of black,
Latino, gay or other "minority" voters are said to be pandering to
special interests, those who bend over backwards to secure the backing
of NASCAR dads and soccer moms, whose racial composition is as
self-evident as it is unmentioned, are said to be politically savvy and
merely trying to connect with "normal folks."
We take it for granted that "classical music" is a perfectly legitimate
term for what really amounts to one particular classical form (mostly
European orchestral and piano concerto music), ignoring that there are,
indeed, classical forms of all musical styles, as well as their more
We take it for granted that the only controversy regarding Jesus is
whether or not he was killed by Jews or Romans; or whether the depiction
of his execution by Mel Gibson is too violent for children, all the
while ignoring a much larger issue, which is why does Gibson (and for
that matter every other white filmmaker or artist in the history of the
faith) feel the need to make Jesus white: something he surely could not
have been and was not, with all due apology to Michelangelo,
Constantine, Pat Robertson, and the producers of "Jesus Christ
That the only physical descriptions of Jesus in the Bible indicate that
he had feet the color of burnt brass, and hair like wool, poses a slight
problem for Gibson and other followers of the white Jesus hanging in
their churches, adorning their crucifixes (if Catholic), and gracing the
Christmas cards they send each December.
It is the same problem posed by the anthropological evidence concerning
the physical appearance of first century Jews from that part of Northern
Africa we prefer to call the "Middle East" (and why is that I wonder?).
Namely, Jesus did not look like a long-haired version of my Ashkenazi
Jewish, Eastern European great-grandfather in his prime.
But to even bring this up is to send most white Christians (and sadly,
even many of color) into fits, replete with assurances that "it doesn't
matter what Jesus looked like, it only matters what he did."
Which is all fine and good, until you realize that indeed it must matter
to them what Jesus looked like; otherwise, they wouldn't be so averse to
presenting him as the man of color he most assuredly was: a man dark
enough to guarantee that were he to come back tomorrow, and find himself
on the wrong side of New York City at the wrong time of night, reaching
for his keys or his wallet in the presence of the Street Crimes Unit,
he'd be dispatched far more expeditiously than was done at Golgotha 2000
But never fear: we needn?t grapple with that because we can merely take
it for granted that Jesus had to look like us, as did Adam and Eve, and
as does God himself. And indeed, most whites believe this to be true, as
proven by every single picture Bible for kids made by a white person,
all of which present these figures in such a way.
Consider the classic and widely distributed Robert Maxwell Bible Series
for children, popularly known as the "blue books," which are found in
virtually every pediatrician and OBGYN's office in the U.S. In Volume I,
readers learn (at least visually speaking) that the Garden of Eden was
in Oslo: a little-known fact that will stun Biblical scholars to be
It would all be quite funny were it not so incontestably insane, so
pathological in terms of the scope of our nuttiness. What else, after
all, can explain the fact that when a New Jersey theatre company put on
a passion play a few years ago with a black actor in the lead role, they
received hundreds of hateful phone calls and even death threats for
daring to portray Jesus as anyone darker than, say, Shaun Cassidy?
What else but a tenuous (at best) grip on reality can explain the
quickness with which many white Americans ran around after 9/11 saying
truly stupid shit like "now we know what it means to be attacked for who
Now we know? Hell, some folks always knew what that was like, though
their pain and suffering never counted for much in the eyes of the
What else but delusion on a scale necessitating medication could lead
one to say--as two whites did on CNN in the wake of the first O.J.
Simpson verdict--that they now realized everything they had been told
about the American justice system being fair was a lie? Now they
realized it! See the theme here?
That's what privilege is, for all those who constantly ask me what I
mean when I speak of white privilege. It's the ability to presume that
your reality is the reality; that your experiences, if white, are
universal, and not particular to your racial identity.
It's the ability to assume that you belong and that others will presume
that too; the ability to define reality for others, and expect that
definition to stick (because you have the power to ensure that it
becomes the dominant narrative).
And it's the ability to ignore all evidence to the contrary, claim that
you yourself are the victim, and get everyone from the President to the
Supreme Court to the average white guy on the street to believe it.
It is Times New Roman font, one inch margins, left hand justified. In
other words, it is the default position on the computer of American
life. And it has rendered vast numbers of its recipients utterly
incapable of critical thought.
Only by rebelling against it, and insisting on our own freedom from
mental straightjacket into which we have been placed as whites by this
system, can we hope to regain our full humanity, and be of any use as
allies to people of color in their struggle against racism
Tim Wise is an antiracist activist, essayist and father. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Death threats, while neither appreciated
nor desired, will be graded for form, content and originality.
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Resistance Shakes Iraq : U.S. Troops Confronted, U.S.
(Revolutionary Worker #1237, April 25, 2004, posted at <http://rwor.org>)
"This is a whole other world. The hostility is no longer hard stares
or dirty looks. It's gunfire."
Cpl. Tom Conroy outside Fallujah
"Hey Mom and Dad, as you know I am back in this [expletive deleted]
hole. Sounds like there will be some shootouts with the bad guys. I just
hope that we are the good guys."
Sgt. Syverson as his unit headed to Najaf Christian Science Monitor , April 6
"Bush was asked in his prime-time news conference if he had made any mistakes. `I'm sure something will pop into my head here,' he said Tuesday. It didn't."
Associated Press, April 14
Iraq has blown up in the faces of the U.S. occupiers. A year after their invasion, their armies are camped outside of major cities -- unleashing waves of attack on the people, but also completely unable to claim control.
What a difference a year makes!
Before the invasion, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked if the U.S. would be seen as occupiers. He said "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators."
Now even the liar-in-chief George Bush has to admit (April 14): "They're not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either."
The myth of "greeted with open arms" meets the reality of "targeted with small arms."
The Lies of a Conquest
In the middle of a huge wave of Iraqi resistance, the lies and justifications of this occupation stand widely exposed. The U.S. claimed this was a war to seize "weapons of mass destruction" that threatened the world --but none have been found. And even among their soldiers, it has become clearer that this war was never about "defending the homeland" -- but controlling a strategic part of the world.
The U.S. claimed this war was for the "liberation" of the people of Iraq--but the U.S. occupation forces have targeted the people themselves for punishment--including in horrific days of attack in Fallujah this month, where U.S. forces have killed at least 600 people, over half of them women and children. This is not "liberation" but conquest--and it is hated by the masses of Iraqi people.
The U.S. government claimed they were bringing U.S.-style "freedom and democracy." But the U.S. authorities hypocritically rejected plans for elections, suppressed the free press, and jailed respected figures for speaking their minds. The recent Shiite uprising was triggered when U.S. authorities shut down an Islamist newspaper in Baghdad on March 29, because they did not like its reporting. The U.S. tries to identify-and-then-impose any Iraqi political forces who will loyally serve U.S. plans. This is a process opposed to what the people of Iraq want or need.
The U.S. government claims they are about to grant "sovereignty" to an unspecified Iraqi government on June 30. But the U.S. administrator Paul Bremer has announced (ahead of time) that this new Iraqi government will automatically endorse continued U.S. occupation and that, in any case, U.S. armed forces will establish permanent bases and act any way they want for years. In other words, that the coming "Iraqi government" will be anything-but-sovereign.
The U.S. authorities have claimed that they are fighting just "tiny
factions of thugs and foreign terrorists." But it is clear the U.S. soldiers
are actually fighting powerful and growing currents of resistance with
deep roots among the people.
The Pentagon and White House arrogantly claim that the U.S. is a military power that no one on earth can defy or resist. But the Iraqi resistance is showing that this superpower has real limits.
The Pentagon war-planners claimed the invasion of Iraq would be quick
and easy. They estimated that U.S. forces would be below 30,000 by late
summer 2003. Instead their forces are now over 135,000 with tens of thousands
more on the way. In the first two weeks of April 2004, the U.S. forces
lost at least 87 soldiers killed and 560 wounded - -the highest casualty
rate yet in this whole year of war and occupation. The New York Times writes
that Bush might "even bolster the desperately straitened military with
The U.S. authorities said they were "making progress" in developing Iraqi armed forces that could "take over" the dirty work of controlling Iraq. But these new Iraqi forces simply evaporated when faced with real fighting.
In city after city, the pro-U.S. police simply fled when faced with
crowds of people. After months of being targeted by the resistance, these
police resigned in groups and (in some cases) went over to oppositional
forces, bringing their arms with them.
The 2nd Battalion of the new Iraqi National Army (one of the few units they considered ready for battle) was ordered to enter Fallujah to "pacify" the city. Once on the road, the 620 soldiers of this unit simply mutinied and returned to their base--defying their orders from the U.S. high command. The top military commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, said this incident showed "some significant challenges in some of the Iraqi security force structures." Well, no shit!
Various U.S. forces (including both the White House and the Democratic
Party) have talked plans for getting more allied troops to help prop up
the occupation. On April 9, Ukrainian and Kazak troops stationed in the
city of Kut simply fled when confronted with armed resistance -- leaving
arms and equipment behind. Bulgarian troops withdrew from Karbala--some
demanded to be taken home. In a joint statement, the Polish and Ukrainian
governments then announced that their troops in Iraq would not be taking
part in any future "offensive operations." Singapore pulled out its troops.
Norway announced they might do the same. Spain's government may pull out
its contingent. Strategists in Washington now point out that no one in
the world is likely to "pull the chestnuts out of the fire" for the U.S.
One year ago the U.S. army invaded Iraq to impose a more stable U.S. domination over this whole region. Now the ground is shaking under their feet. The U.S. has not "lost control of Iraq"--the fighting of the last weeks shows they never really had it. And the response of the U.S. government is to swear to "do whatever it takes" to finally conquer Iraq.
It is no secret what that means: it means pointing their weapons at the people of Iraq. The Pentagon stopped tens of thousands of troops from being "rotated" out of Iraq--causing tremendous morale problems and protests from their state-side families. And Bush openly said in a national press conference that he was considering sending tens of thousands more troops--in a major escalation.
Many cities of Iraq are being directly threatened with invasion and bombardment --and the city of Fallujah has been brutalized, over and over, to serve as an example.
The Punishment of Fallujah
"I want heads to roll."
George Bush, demanding a military attack on Fallujah, Jerusalem Post
"This is our test -- our Guadalcanal, our Chosin Reservoir, our Hue
Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis to his marines outside Fallujah
A woman of Fallujah to a reporter: "Shit on Bush because he made this crisis. What does he want? Why have these people come all the way from America to do this to us? Why is he doing it? Did we knock on his door. Bush comes and barges into our house and we're not to fight?...Once they blocked the roads, they began throwing bombs anywhere in the city. They came through the towns surrounding Fallujah, which they had taken one after another, killing all of the towns."
Her son, an armed fighter, says: "I have seen their snipers kill women
The woman adds: "The hospital is full of their bodies, all shot in the heart or the head. The hospital isn't even a hospital, it is mosque where we treat the hurt and tend the dead."
United Press International, April 12
"Iraqi women and children are being shot by American snipers. Over 600 Iraqis have now been killed by American aggression, and the residents have turned two football fields into graveyards. Ambulances are being shot by the Americans. And now they are preparing to launch a full-scale invasion of the city."
Reporter Dahr Jamail, New Standard , April 13, 2004
"The fact that there are 600 [dead] goes back to the fact that the Marines are very good at what they do."
Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, claiming his troops are "precise" in who they kill, April 10
"Change the channel."
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt's advice to those who don't like TV images of his troops killing civilians, New York Times , April 12
"When the Americans arrived, there were only about 50 guerrillas. By the end of the week, there were a few thousand.
Fallujah woman, BBC, April 12
U.S. attempts to dominate the city of Fallujah quickly escalated to warfare and high-tech massacre. In the end of March, a new Marine division was moved outside Fallujah--and it started a wave of attacks on the city. Marines surrounded neighborhoods, kicked in doors, and dragged away men for interrogation and imprisonment. The resistance forces inside Fallujah responded on March 31 by attacking a convoy of armed mercenaries (deceptively called "civilian contractors" in the mainstream media), and the world saw videotapes of people celebrating that successful ambush.
On April 5, the U.S. forces attacked the city's suburbs and neighborhoods with tanks, artillery, missiles, bombs, and columns of troops. The attacks were directed by constant flights of unmanned military drones. The U.S. assault was merciless. Whole neighborhoods were strafed by Apache helicopters. Food and electricity were cut off.
So many people died that the inhabitants of Fallujah had to create
mass graves to bury them.
Dr. Rafa Hayd al-Issawim, director of Fallujah's hospital, told the world's media: "I can say more than 600 have been killed, but the number may not be correct as many families have already buried their dead in their gardens." Thousands of people were injured by the U.S. attack.
U.S. troops tried to advance through the city's surrounding suburbs against fierce, house-to-house resistance. One officer called it "scaling a live volcano."
The U.S. never succeeded in taking Fallujah, a city of over 300,000,
and lost at least 40 U.S. troops in their attempt.
Many in the population courageously supported the resistance--those who could, took up arms, including women and many youth in their early teens. Many of the fighters wore combat flak jackets--taken from U.S.-supplied troops or police. Reports from the scene said that the broad support among the people was obvious--both inside and outside the city.
Meanwhile, on April 4, the U.S. forces opened fire by helicopter on massive demonstrations in Baghdad. Such brutality helped trigger a second wave of resistance in the capital and across southern Iraq. Conservative Shiite militia forces rose up on April 7, and took over several cities including Najaf, Karbala, and Kut. They brushed aside various occupation troops and pro-U.S. police forces--even though Spanish troops opened fired into the crowds in Najaf, killing 20.
The U.S. military was forced to rush their troops to these areas--especially to the outskirts of the religious center of Najaf, where the cleric
Muqtada al-Sadr has his headquarters.
Shocked, the U.S. high command stopped their offensive into Fallujah. They told the world that they were "declaring a ceasefire and negotiating"--but really they issued a Nazi-like threat to the people: give up their arms, turn over resistance fighters, or the all-out attack would resume. Eyewitnesses described how during this "ceasefire" U.S. snipers took over lookouts high in the mosques and randomly shot anyone who moved.
Once the U.S. advance into Fallujah stopped, thousands of families emerged
to bury their dead and look for a way out of the city. Hundreds of cars
immediately ran into U.S. roadblocks--and were told they could not take
men out of the city with them. Tearfully, many families separated, as tens
of thousands left the city. Many others returned to face the occupiers
Those who escaped the city told the world's press of brutal atrocities by the U.S. -- including cutting off the hands and taking out the eyeballs of dead resistance fighters as trophies.
Unity in Resistance.
"There may also be an ominous synergy developing between Sunni and Shiite insurgents. On Monday, insurgents fought a gun battle against United States troops in a Sunni neighborhood near Khadamiya in which three soldiers were killed. Witnesses said the attackers included a mix of Shiites and Sunnis. `There were Shiites from Sadr City and mujahedeen from Fallujah,' a hotbed of Sunni resistance, said Ayad Karim, a shopkeeper. `Now the resistance is united.'
New York Times , April 7
"This is the last food in my home. I give it for my brothers in Fallujah and everywhere in Iraq... Our blood is boiling for our brothers!
Lemiya Wan, an old Shiite woman in Kadhimiya, handing over rice, sugar and cooking oil, Washington Post, April 9
"We start work after 11 p.m. Our group is small, just friends, and we
don't even have a name.
Ahmed, 29, whose crew fights the occupiers, New York Times , April 11
The U.S. political apologists have lectured us all about the "ethnic, tribal and religious" divisions among Iraqi people--they often suggest that Iraq "needs" some outside imperialist power to "prevent a civil war." Now it is clear that the U.S. occupation has helped forge new grass-roots unity among Iraqi people-- though not the kind the U.S. wanted.
Throughout Iraq, the Sunni city of Fallujah has became a symbol of resistance. Massive support demonstrations took place across the country. People in many cities collected blood and food for Fallujah. Resistance forces outside Fallujah stepped up their own attacks on U.S. forces and supply lines. Youth from other parts of Iraq, including Shiite regions, have reportedly made their way through U.S. lines--to stand and fight with the people of Fallujah.
"It's their Super Bowl," said Marine spokesman Maj. T. V. Johnson. "Fallujah
is the place to go if you want to kill Americans."
When convoys of relief reached the U.S. checkpoints outside Fallujah, the soldiers refused to allow them through. Thousands of Iraqis gathered to confront the troops and showered them with stones. The troops finally allowed food through, but refused to allow blood or medical supplies to reach the city.
Meanwhile, U.S. forces are playing an ugly game of "good cop, bad cop"--U.S. generals are insisting they are going to invade the cities and kill their opponents, and administrator Paul Bremer III says Iraqis better negotiate with him quick, since he can barely restrain these attacks.
But all of this is a posture of power to cover over a profound dilemma the imperialists face. On one hand, they feel they cannot allow public armed defiance to go on, on the other hand it is hard for them to calculate what their atrocities are unleashing-- including if they send their missiles through the famous golden dome over the shrine of Imam Ali, which is in Sadr's Najaf base area.
During the conquest of Iraq, one year ago, the U.S. generals and media talked constantly about their fears of an "urban war" for Iraq's cities. It has become clear that the U.S. never really controlled most cities in Iraq. Over the last year they left the neighborhoods and city cores to growing militias and political parties.
The U.S. tried in March to "clamp down" on several of those militias and parties (in preparation for their "puppet installation process" after June 30). And almost overnight, the U.S.-backed police stations, mayor's offices, and "development" centers were swept away in neighborhood after neighborhood.
Now the U.S. stands outside the gates of these cities--launching vicious attacks in Fallujah, threatening such attacks in cities like Najaf. They now face that house-to-house "urban war" they dreaded--and their opponents, this time, are not the retreating soldiers of the previous Iraqi regime, but a growing resistance--including among political parties and militias that have been establishing themselves as the defacto governments within Iraq's cities.
Meanings of an Empire's Resolve.
"We cannot yield at this point in time. we must remain steadfast and strong. It's the intentions of the enemy to shake our will. That's what they want to do--they want us to leave. And we're not going to leave. We're going to do the job.
President George Bush, pretending to be confident, April 14
"The extremists attacking our forces should know they will not succeed in dividing America, or in sapping American resolve, or in forcing the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops.No matter who is elected president in November, we will persevere in that mission.
Senator John Kerry, pretending to be in opposition, April 13
The rulers of the U.S. insist they will not withdraw from Iraq. These constant statements of "resolve"--including from John Kerry--shows that there is a high-level consensus within the U.S. ruling class that this conquest of Iraq must now be pursued to victory.
And this shows how different class forces see things completely differently:
To the rulers of the U.S., these empire builders and capitalists, it seems like a horrible thing for them to be forced out. This is the logic of empire and modern imperialism: once "committed" to the conquest of a small, weak third world country, they feel they "can't" back out. They all say it is a "national security" issue (which only shows what they mean by the words "national security"). They see that any retreat in Iraq would show this superpower is not unbeatable and it would encourage many, many others in the world to resist them.
But all this is one reason why it would be a good thing for the people of the world if the U.S. was forced out--because it would encourage more struggle against the U.S. attempts to impose its domination and exploitation on everyone.
Their constant statements of resolve mean two things:
First, we can expect them to use massive military force to try to "stabilize" the situation in Iraq. They are sending more troops to the scene. And they will use their armies, mercenaries, interrogators, and puppet allies in brutal, unjust, intolerable, shameful ways. And, at the same time, despite all their talk of "no negotiations" with the opposition, they will also try to find forces within Iraq's opposition that they can work with -- labeling them "moderates" and seeking to create a future U.S. puppet regime that is not totally isolated and exposed. Bush has recently announced that he supports UN efforts to help forge some new Iraqi government.
Second, their talk of resolve means something else: that it will take
serious, massive struggle both in the U.S. and around the world to shake
them from their course. They have invested much in this strategic attack
on Iraq. It is (as they say) a "centerpiece" in a whole global array of
moves for world domination. There are criticisms within the ruling class
over how the Iraqi conquest has been conducted so far (and these criticisms
may grow as the quagmire deepens)--but there remains broad support within
the U.S. ruling class for fighting through to "victory"--no matter what
it takes. The U.S. imperialists will not just "get tired and leave" after
taking casualties. This is, as they say, "not Somalia"--where the U.S.
had "few strategic interests." The U.S. imperialists do not intend to allow
themselves to be "voted out of Iraq" (and they do not intend to allow elections
in either the U.S. or Iraq become referendums on the U.S. occupation).
The U.S. occupation is in deep trouble -- it is very isolated from the people of Iraq and from almost everyone in the world. Their casualties are mounting. The resistance of Iraq's people has become more bold, determined and widespread.
The many lies and justification of this occupation are increasingly being exposed by events -- including to millions of people (and even soldiers) who once rather blindly believed what they were told.
These are extremely favorable conditions for stepping up massive, highly
visible, clear-sighted opposition--here within the U.S. -- to the occupation,
to the much larger global offensive it is part of, and to the imperialist/capitalist
system that gives rise to such ruthless crusades.
from StoptheNRA.com :
We've stopped smiling after our victory defeating the NRA's insane
bill that would have given legal immunity to the gun industry.
We've stopped smiling because there are only 55 legislative days left
for Congress to renew the ban on assault weapons. When the ban
expires, illegal AK-47s, Uzis and other illegal assault weapons will
be legalized and back on our streets. Ten years of progress will be
wiped out. President Bush is running around the country telling
everyone that we must renew the Patriot Act. But he is silent on the
renewal of the assault weapons ban. He is supporting the NRA over our
children -- it's that simple. It's special-interest politics at its
In Illinois just the other day, police arrested a man who had an AK-47
assault rifle, more than 1,300 rounds of ammunition, pipe bomb making
components, and a book called Guns, Freedom and Terrorism by National
Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. Apparently the man had plans for
a killing spree of government officials and politicians. Do we have to
wait for another Columbine to come to our senses?
We must send Bush/Cheney a message. Sign the petition at :
Do you care? If you do, it's time to help now.
Momentum is building. Next week Police Chiefs all over the country
will be holding press conferences demanding the ban be renewed. The
Reverend Jesse Jackson has taken up the cause and is traveling around
the country speaking out. The New York Times has editorialized for the
renewal, along with many other newspapers around the country. We are
being successful -- but we need your help.
1. Forward this e-mail to everyone you know and ask them to sign the
petition. We need one million signatures. We now have over 225,000 but
we need one million to send it to Bush. Click here.
2. Help us advertise. We have begun our print ads but we need $1
million to spread the word. Click here.
3. Come to ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 >Washington, D.C. on Mothers'
Day, May 9th, and vote with your presence to stop the NRA and renew
the assault weapons ban. Click here.
An Al Qaeda training manual that was found in Afghanistan said the
"In countries like the United States it's perfectly legal for members
of the public to own certain types of firearms. If you live in such a
country attain an assault rifle legally, preferably an AK-47 or
Show Bush/Cheney they don't have a choice. Sign our petition. Forward
to a friend.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Research Center Director <http://www.u-grenoble3.fr/ciesimsa>
and Professor of North American Studies