SUBJECT: ON POLITICAL SURVIVAL AT THE END
OF "PROGRESSIVE CAPITALISM" : FROM THE
CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS,
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
A recent re-reading of the two-volume work by Deleuze and Guattari on capitalism and schizophrenia offered a reminder that "postmodern" culture must be seen as an attempt --albeit an inadequate attempt-- to transcend the yoke of the "fascist-paranoid" mode of thought which has dominated capitalist development for much of the past 500 years. The various genocides, ecocides, and routine tortures and enslavements which have accompanied capitalist development over the centuries can no longer be denied. The traditional fascist-paranoid line of defense is to simply assert that "the ends justified the means", that "molar forces" were at work which had to destroy all obstructions to "progress", including large sectors of humanity itself. Such molar justifications are no longer acceptable, and a "molecular revolution", according to Guattari, is now underway to liberate the body-mind so that barricades, instead of fortresses, can be constructed in multiples across the political landscape.
The failures of postmodern culture, despite its many battles of representation, stem from the fact that human beings are not infinitely divisible: one cannot be a fraction of an employee, or a part-consumer. Most of us must work for food and lodging, and these we must purchase, along with other commodities, at their marked-up value. To this degree our behavior is pre-determined.
Nevertheless, crossing over to "molar individualism", becoming a disciplined and reliable part of the machine, is not inevitable. Those who pay taxes in the U.S. finance imperial conquests, those who support war endorse mass murder, those who remain silent collaborate with war criminals; while those who pursue their "private" interests, ignoring our "collective" interests, are a threat to the human species. Late capitalism has liberated the energies of humankind, and "becomings", according to D&G, are everywhere in capitalist societies around the world. All efforts to consolidate these energies and subordinate them to the sustained service of corporate interests --whether those of private companies or of the state apparatus-- are destined to fail.
Meanwhile, with the debacle of "progressive capitalism" and the abandonment of universal reforms, a right-wing agenda generates social policy from an ideological vantage point located somewhere on the political continuum ranging from conservative, to reactionary, to fascist. The consequences have been devastating. The very foundation of concepts like "citizenship" has been subverted, and with it we witness the dissolution of ideas such as "truth" (where there no longer exists a distinction between "fact" and "opinion"); the notion of "justice" has been displaced by an obsession with "laws" (where the ideal of the "state" as an agent of justice has yielded to the "revolving door" concept of opportunism and greed).
In the face of this political evolution and the emergence of "right-wing capitalism", new modes of dissent have appeared, according to the authors of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. They are expressed in the "molecular-schizo" constructions of barricade-builders. Here, in the middle of resistance, can be found, according to D&G, the liberated desires of love, friendship, community, and well-being, as distinct from the derived needs for authority, hierarchy, defense, sacrifice, and other toxic wastes generated by the "molar-paranoid" production of fortress-builders.
In the past several days,
we have received several interesting communications from the anti-war movement
In item A., Professor John Gerassi, at
Item B. is an essay from Michael Albert, at Boston's Z Magazine collective, in which David Edwards tries to submit the London bombings to a rational political analysis, raising questions which might help us escape the feelings for revenge and paranoia which the western media have refined to an art form.
Item C. from Alexander Cockburn,
editor of CounterPunch magazine, is a
discussion of the disintegration of pro-imperialist forces within the
conservative circles of
And finally, item D., from graphic artist Joanna Learner, is an opinion piece published two weeks ago in the small town newspaper of Battle Creek, Michigan, where one of the tens of thousands of anti-war groups across America has organized resistance to the imperialist war in Iraq.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble III
from Professor John Gerassi
from ZNet | Mainstream Media
by David Edwards
Terrible ironies attend the use of violence for political ends. Despite their ostensible opposition, two warring factions are often united in their fundamental view of the world. Both insist that continued violence is the only realistic option. Both insist the enemy is the incarnation of mindless evil, completely beyond reason. Both reject as treasonous rational analyses indicating their own responsibility for promoting violence and rejecting non-violent alternatives.
In other words, patriotic clichés and rousing rhetoric come at a high price. To the extent that rational thought and compassion for suffering are drowned out, the forces of violence are empowered.
Writing in the immediate aftermath of
the atrocities in
"Just like their predecessors in
the face of those earlier horrors, today's generation of Londoners responded to
this latest unprovoked act of evil... with a combination of calm and
courage." (Leader, 'In the face of danger,' The Guardian,
The article concluded:
"In the end, as Mr Bush and Mr Blair each said, it is the contrast that counts. This is a conflict of values."
This brought to mind a 2001 Guardian editorial written in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The editors commented on a speech by Tony Blair:
"The core of the speech -
intellectual as well as moral - came when he contrasted the west's commitment
to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and the terrorists'
proven wish to cause as many civilian casualties as possible... Let them do
their worst, we shall do our best, as Churchill put it. That is still a key
difference." (Leader, 'Blair plays it cooler - A new tone, but few new
answers,' The Guardian,
Answers cannot be found in self-serving rhetoric of this kind. It is not as though outrage at the mass killing of civilians by US-UK governments - regimes absolutely determined to wage war in 2003, with all the risks that entailed for civilians - can be attenuated by patriotic editorials. It is not as if the victims of our violence, and their supporters at home and abroad, are unaware of what is happening.
"The American army's use of its
massive fire-power is so unrestrained that all
The horrors in
In truth there is no contradiction in accepting that our government's actions merit intense moral outrage, and in also rejecting utterly the actions of those who express their outrage as immoral violence. On the contrary, to turn a blind eye to our own crimes while focusing on the crimes of others is to guarantee more of both.
Suicide Bombings In
Other ironies are almost too painful to
contemplate. The July 7 attacks in
That all changed with the catastrophic
Bush-Blair invasion. It is estimated that half of the 135 car bomb attacks in
That figure has risen dramatically in
the last ten days, however. On July 11, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a
line of recruits at an Iraqi army recruitment centre in western
Writing in the New York Times, novelist
Ian McEwan wrote of the
"How could we have forgotten that
this was always going to happen? We have been savagely woken from a pleasant
dream." (McEwan, 'The surprise we expected,' New
But the British public has not been woken from a pleasant dream - instead, long-held fears have finally been realised.
Also at that time, fully 72% of the
British population opposed
One year later, a poll showed that
three-quarters of Britons continued to feel "more vulnerable" to
terrorist attack because of the government's decision to join military action
With his usual mix of deceitful rhetoric and amateur theatricality Blair simply dismissed the largest political demonstration in British history - he knew better.
In October 2003, Osama
bin Laden had warned that
"We must make maximum use of the
proximity to the elections in
As with the
is responsible, as the Government of Jose Maria Aznar
believes, then his People's Party (PP) could fully expect an increased vote
which will guarantee its majority in government for four years." (Sharrock, 'How terrorists can influence poll outcome,' The
With remarkable cynicism, the Spanish
government instantly blamed the Basque separatist group Eta.
"The conclusion of this morning
that pointed to the terrorist organisation [Eta] right now is still the main line of investigation...
[But] I have given the security forces instructions not to rule out
anything." (Giles Tremlett, 'Massacre in
Despite the obvious interest of the Spanish government, the threats issued by al Qaeda, and the fact that a van with seven detonators and Arabic language tapes with Koranic verses had been found in the town of Alcala de Henares outside Madrid, politicians, intelligent services and the media rushed to affirm the fraudulent claims of the Spanish government. The Guardian reported how George Bush had offered his condolences:
"I appreciate so very much the
Spanish government's fight against terror, their resolute stand terrorist organisations like Eta. The
Leslie Crawford wrote in the Financial Times:
"With only three days to go before
a general election, Spanish politicians presented a united front against Eta, the violent Basque separatist group that has been
blamed for yesterday's
Bowing to the official version of
events in their customary manner, the Guardian editors wrote: "the
assumption that Eta, or some faction of it, was
planning an overwhelming strike on the eve of a general election is reasonable
enough". (Leader, 'To die in
As undeniable facts made a nonsense of this lie, the media began to hint at the grim implications of the truth. The Daily Telegraph warned:
has succeeded in spreading its Jihad to
The Observer reported widely held
"This was the fault of Bush and
Blair. It's because of our involvement in
A Guardian editorial commented:
"Many voters expressed anger
against the ruling Popular party: first for making
Curiously, the media did not decry these rational observations as shameful apologetics for terror.
By contrast, since the
"The loss of innocent lives,
whether in this country or
This was pretty much what our own press
had concluded in the aftermath of the
In response, Armed Forces Minister Adam
The Sun wrote:
"VILE George Galloway last night
confirmed he is
Christopher Hitchens wrote in the Mirror:
"How can anyone bear to be so
wicked and stupid? How can anyone bear to act as a megaphone for psychotic
killers?" (Hitchens, '07/07: War on
"That was a pretty crass thing to
say though, wasn't it, when bodies are not even buried or identified?" (Esler, Newsnight,
Esler asked again:
"But don't you think you owe it to relatives of the bereaved to be more sensitive at this time than to tell them that they paid the price of a policy? Because it sounded as if you were playing the politics of the last atrocity."
For a third time, Esler asked:
"Do you not owe it to your constituents to speak more carefully about these subjects?"
And yet, on the same day, Alan Cowell wrote of the attacks in the New York Times:
"Perhaps the crudest lesson to be
drawn was that, in adopting the stance he took after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr.
Blair had finally reaped the bitter harvest of the war on terrorism - so often
forecast but never quite seeming real until the explosions boomed across
A week later, the New York Times reported:
"Sanjay Dutt and his friends grappled Friday with why their friend Kakey, better known to the world as Shehzad Tanweer, had decided to become a suicide bomber.
"'He was sick of it all, all the injustice and the way the world is going about it,' Mr. Dutt, 22, said. 'Why, for example, don't they ever take a moment of silence for all the Iraqi kids who die?'
"'It's a double standard, that's
why,' answered a friend, who called himself Shahroukh,
also 22, wearing a baseball cap and basketball jersey, sitting nearby. 'I don't
approve of what he did, but I understand it. You get driven to something like
this, it doesn't just happen.'" (Hassan M.
Fattah, 'Anger Burns on the Fringe of
The influential think tank Chatham
House, formerly known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs,
concludes there is "no doubt" the invasion of Iraq has "given a
boost to the al-Qaida network" in
"propaganda, recruitment and fundraising", while providing an ideal
targeting and training area for terrorists. "Riding pillion with a
powerful ally has proved costly in terms of British and
It is a remarkable state of affairs
when 'liberal' media outrage is contradicted even by government dossiers. A
2004 joint Home Office and Foreign Office dossier prepared for Tony Blair -
'Young Muslims and Extremism' - identified the
"It seems that a particularly
strong cause of disillusionment among Muslims, including young Muslims, is a
perceived 'double standard' in the foreign policy of western governments, in
"The perception is that passive
'oppression', as demonstrated in British foreign policy, eg
non-action on Kashmir and Chechnya, has given way to 'active oppression'. The
war on terror, and in
The analysis identified
Earlier, an assessment prepared by the
Joint Intelligence Committee five weeks before the invasion of
"The JIC assessed that al-Qa'eda and associated groups continued to represent by far
the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be
heightened by military action against
Robert Fisk has provided a rare example of honesty:
"And it's no use Mr Blair telling us yesterday that 'they will never succeed
in destroying what we hold dear'. 'They' are not
trying to destroy 'what we hold dear'. They are trying to get public opinion to
force Blair to withdraw from
Understanding that the costs of wilful blindness are high, the Financial Times
"The uncomfortable truth is that
the ambitions and capabilities of the jihadis cannot
be divorced entirely from the bloodshed in
"Whatever one thinks of the
original decision to remove Mr Hussein, the hubris
that preceded the invasion and the negligence that has followed it have given
strength and succour to the Islamists. Culpability
here lies largely with the Pentagon but Mr Blair
carries guilt by association." (Leader, 'The urgent need to end
The FT, needless to say, has not been described as "wicked", "crass" or "twisted".
In a display of cynicism that easily
rivals Aznar's performance, Blair instantly dismissed
the idea that the
"September 11 happened before
This was a classic Blair deception.
September 11 +did+ happen before the 2003 Iraq war, but it did +not+ happen
before the 1991 Iraq war, which devastated the country with the equivalent
power of seven Hiroshima-sized bombs. Eric Hoskins, a Canadian doctor and
coordinator of a Harvard study team, reported in January 1992 that the allied
bombardment "effectively terminated everything vital to human survival in
And September 11 did +not+ happen before a decade of US-UK sanctions had killed Iraqi civilians in their hundreds of thousands. As Blair must know, Osama bin Laden has been clear about his motives for the September 11 attacks. In a September 19, 2001 appearance on the David Letterman show, ABC journalist John Miller described how bin Laden had told him in an interview that his top three issues were "the US military presence in Saudi Arabia; US support for Israel; and US policy toward Iraq".
Behind the impassioned, Churchillian rhetoric, one overwhelming fact is clear - the protection of ordinary people is not, and never has been, the highest priority for elites directing US-UK foreign policy.
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from Alexander Cockburn
The Epiphany of Walter B. Jones
Can Congressional Republicans End Bush's Wars?
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
If President Bush has competent advisors, he must know that his Iraqi war has become a liability for him and for the Republican Party and might easily become a catastrophe.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that 45% of Americans doubt President Bush's veracity compared to 41% who regard him as honest.
The poll also finds that a majority
of Americans regard
This is not good news for a
president whose war is going badly. On June 27, General George Casey,
Instead of firing Gen. Casey, as he would have done in the past, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld backed him up. Rumsfeld also told TV audiences that "coalition forces are not going to repress the insurgency," which might "go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years."
That was not what Americans promised a 3-week war wanted to hear. Even inattentive Americans could discern that if the Bush administration could be so far wrong on the duration of the war, it could also be very wrong on the reasons for the war.
The poll showing the sharp drop in belief in Bush's credibility was conducted during July 8-11 and released on July 13. The poll reflects the public's new awareness of the interminable conflict. With about 15,000 American casualties (dead and wounded), the cost of the war is starting to come home.
The outcome of the invasion is far
removed from the Bush administration's promise of a cakewalk strewn with
flowers. The war has also proven to be extremely expensive at a time when
Americans are hearing that Social Security and Medicare are running out of
money. Americans want to know why Bush is investing $300 billion in a training
ground for al Qaeda when
On top of this comes the Karl Rove
problem. Famous as Bush's principal advisor, Rove has apparently been fingered
as the administration official who committed the felony of leaking the identity
of an undercover CIA agent in retaliation for her husband exposing the
neoconservative lie that
For Bush, the Rove problem brings back the issue of how we got ourselves at war in the first place.
A retired general, Barry R. McCaffrey, recently told the House Armed Services Committee that "the Army and Marine Corps are at risk of experiencing a disaster during the coming three years. There is little reserve or surge capability to respond to new challenges."
McCaffrey, in effect, told the Armed Services Committee that the civilians in the Pentagon were out to lunch. The civilians' war-fighting strategy downplays the need for troops and relies on firepower and high-tech weapons.
General McCaffrey, currently a
The reason, of course, is that most
Americans don't any longer see the point of the war. We were all for war when
we heard our vice president Cheney and national security advisor Condi Rice,
now secretary of state, tell us that Iraq had a mushroom cloud in store for
American cities. But when we found out that this was all drivel, we started
wondering why John Jones's son, an all-state quarterback, got his arms and legs
blown off in
The American people noticed when the
CIA said that the
Hope for Bush and for
The Congressional Research Service has taken a close look at the Resolution and has advised that the Resolution is "advisory in nature rather than mandatory. It appears to leave a great deal of discretion with the President for setting a timetable for the withdrawal of troops."
Walter B. Jones is a six-term member of the House Armed Services Committee. He is the member of Congress who required congressional dining rooms to rename French fries "freedom fries." When patriots such as Jones realize that we have made a mistake, it is time for us all to realize it.
Many Americans are so incensed at
Bush for fabricating the reasons for invading
I understand their anger at being
deceived over life and death matters. However, the longer this war continues,
the more Americans there will be without arms, legs, eyes, and lives; the more
terrorists will spring from Iraqi deaths; the more threatened
In my opinion Bush deserves to be
impeached. However, the goal is to stop the carnage that is turning the
Who wants another American soldier killed or maimed for nothing other than a neoconservative agenda based on lies, ignorance and hubris?
Walter B. Jones is an American hero.
He has provided cover for President Bush to comply with the will of Congress
and withdraw from
The Homeward Bound Resolution and
its supporters will be
Paul Craig Roberts has held a number
of academic appointments and has contributed to numerous scholarly
publications. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. His graduate economics education was at the
from Joanna Learner
I am forwarding you the article that was published in last week's paper. I had to cut it down a lot to fit into the newspaper's required space but you can get the gist of the subject ....
Depleted Uranium is the weapon of choice for the US as it penetrates heavy steel tanks etc.
The bunker buster bombs we used at the start of the war each contained 5000 lbs. of depleted uranium and we used hundreds of these bombs . It is also used in shells for guns etc.
The radiation lasts for over 2 billion years.
We are shooting ourselves in the
foot along with destroying
Some of us do see what destruction lies ahead for the world if we continue to believe in brute force. Sorry if I seem grim but we have children and grandchildren who will be around long after we are gone and I don't wish this radioactive future on them.
Begin forwarded message:
The United States Government is exposing the Iraqi people and our
military personal to deadly radiation
from depleted uranium weapons in
the Gulf War,
Depleted uranium weapons are pyroforic metal - the bullets and shells ignite when fired and 70% becomes a metal vapor - a radioactive gas which contaminates the the atmosphere and the terrain. The radioactive particles,100 times smaller than white blood cells, are blown about in atmospheric dust and are breathed and ingested by all who come in contact with them.
Solar winds transported the radioactive dust around the world where they come down to earth in rain, snow, fog and pollution-
contaminating any surface they come in contact with. It takes just four days for the DU radioactive pollution to
The Iraqi population has been totally exposed to heavy doses of DU radiation; many have died, the rest will have an unimaginable future in their contaminated country. Iraqi children are being born with terrible birth defects - missing or deformed arms, legs, organs, brains, partial faces, no eyes, horrible blood diseases
and mental retardation. Life magazine has a photo essay on line of these children.
American soldiers are returning with equally tragic
contamination - there is a rise in severe birth defects in children born to
those exposed to DU weapons. The VA
reported that there
are 518,739 vets on disability from the
Experts believe that anyone who has
been in the
To further educate yourself on the subject look up: Depleted Uranium Weapons on the internet. Write to your congressman to object to DU weapons.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research at CEIMSA-IN-EXILE