SUBJECT: ON DEMOCRACY IN
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Our mid-summer night's dream, here in central France, is that Americans will fall in love with Democracy and 300 million of them will seek to introduce the democratic process in every institution they inhabit --families, churches, schools, factories, offices, U.S. military bases, etc., etc.-- thereby putting an end to the tyrannies of authoritarianism, of fear and anxiety, of militarism, of artificial scarcity, etc., etc. . . .
In his book Century of War: Politics, Conflicts, and Society since 1914, historian Gabriel Kolko writes that "it was not the wisdom of Leninist revolutionaries, much less the glacially paced manifestations of Marxist axioms regarding the economy, but rather the folly of the old orders that was the origin of the Left's greatest political and ideological successes in the twentieth century." [p.263] The historical events which radicalized the European populations in the first quarter of the 20th century, according to Kolko's analysis, presented many problems to the "progressive" political elite who were forced to follow the lead of the masses, at the time of the Russian Revolution. This reality of radical democratic power and its danger to the ambitions and interests of ruling classes was the chief reason that Adolf Hitler felt obliged to finance a consumer society at home at the same time that he tried to finance military expansion abroad. The threat of radical democracy also explains why Stalin reached a "gentleman's agreement" with Leon Blum; then later with Churchill, Roosevelt, and De Gaulle guaranteeing that the communist parties of Spain, Greece, Italy, and France would serve to hinder the radical demands for self-determination in those societies during and after the war, in exchange for the territorial security of the Soviet Union, also know as "The Containment Policy".
Throughout the 20th
century the first enemy of the traditional ruling classes of
The folly of the ruling classes? The radicalization of the masses? Ambitious and opportunistic political leaders who tried to accommodate the needs of the ruling classes, rather than mobilize existing radical forces? What do these elements have to do with today's political economy? Kolko's history of the 20th century is an interesting and useful analysis for anyone who believes that there is something to learn about the present by understanding the past.
In this spirit, we
offer our readers the six items below, as new material for analyses of
Item A. is an article critical of NYT journalist Thomas Friedman written by Indian reporter, by Siddharth Varadarajan and forwarded to us by Professor Richard Du Boff.
Item B. is an article from associate press reporter Tom Raum on the "Pressure on Bush to Find an Exit Strategy".
Item C. is a
description of the anti-war movement building in front of George Bush's
vacation home in
Item D. is a series of up-dates (including dissent views) on the U. S. Divestment movement against Israeli policies in Palestine, a movement originating in major U.S. institutions, including The Presbyterian Church USA, The University of California, Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, MIT, and many others.
Item E. is an
up-date from the Council for the National Interest Foundation on
the federal indictment which is being sought against the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group, charged with
having disclosed classified defense information to
Item F. is information on labor movement activities in San Diego, California, sent to us by Professor Fred Lonidier who informs us of Progressive Associations such as The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), The Tijuana Maquiladora Workers' Network, The Workers' Information Center of Tijuana (CITTAC), The Binational Feminist Collective, and The San Diego Maquiladora Workers Solidarity Network are organizing in Southern California this summer in defense of the female workers at the Alaris/Cardinal Health Systems Corporation, located across the border in the maquiladora zone of Tijuana.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Grenoble III
from Richard B.Du Boff
I'm sorry, but the world's still round
by Siddharth Varadarajan
is to globalization, what Dr Pangloss was to Candide's world: a breathless narrator of how good the
going is. For the real picture, you'll have to look elsewhere. Review of Thomas
Friedman's The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Globalized World in the 21st Century (
Ever since I experienced, at first
hand, Nato's bombing runs
In those days, Mr
Friedman -- a widely syndicated New York Times columnist and an advocate of
corporate globalisation and American military
intervention around the world -- used to peddle the silly idea that countries
with McDonalds would never go to war against each other. Well, before he could
say 'take-away', the
In The World is Flat, Mr Friedman ditches McDonalds in favour of another lemon, the Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention: "No two countries that are both part of a major global supply chain, like Dell's, will ever fight a war against each other so long as they are both part of the same global supply chain".
This prediction is typical of the ahistorical approach Mr Friedman adopts in order to argue that corporate globalisation is the panacea for the world's problems. Open up your economy, be less corrupt, create institutions of good governance, let companies hire and fire workers more easily -- this is essentially what those who are not benefiting from globalisation must do.
If Mr Friedman had read a little business history (instead of merely talking to CEOs) he would know that cross investment and extensive trade relations have never prevented countries from going to war against each other.
Mira Wilkins's pioneering works on
international investment before 1914 and between the two world wars, for
example, have shown that trans-oceanic flows of capital were significant even
Nor was inter-war globalisation restricted to goods alone. There was
outsourcing of services too. "Specialized banks, law firms, and trading
companies that focused on opening the German market to
The reason this conflict-prevention theory is so important to Mr Friedman is because "supply chaining" (as exemplified by Dell) is one of 10 "flatteners" central to the book's overall thesis -- recent innovations or developments that have made the world "flat". By flat he really means 'level'. On page 7, the author tells us how he was sitting in the office of Nandan Nilekani in 2000 when the Infosys CEO said the international playing field for corporations and countries was being levelled by the new information technology. Mr Friedman had an epiphany. "My God, he's telling me the world is flat!"
Stripped of the gush, what flatness boils down to is the ability of businesses to use new communications technologies in order to push the frontiers of cost-cutting by speeding up the work process and sourcing labour and inputs from every corner of the globe. Among the 'flatteners' are Windows, the Internet, workflow and open-source software, outsourcing, off-shoring (i.e. foreign direct investment), supply-chaining, insourcing, in-forming (i.e. Google and other search engines) and digital, wireless communication. Flatness, Mr Friedman contends, is making the world less hierarchical, more prosperous and equal (eg. by allowing Indians to work in call centres or process American tax forms), more transparent and democratic (thanks to blogging), and less prone to war.
Flatman gets so carried away with his
discovery that he loses the big picture early in the book. On page 39, he
In this flat world, threats
basically come from those opposing flatness -- from Al-Qaida
and disgruntled elements unable to cope with the changes taking place. Flatman calls them Islamo-Leninists.
At no point does he concede the possibility that the flatteners might be the
ones disturbing the peace. That
Wal-Mart apart, Mr Friedman does best when he examines his own society rather than the rest of the world -- about which he clearly knows far less. There are genuine insights in his discussion about the crisis in U.S. education, for example, or about how the post-9/11 restrictions on entry into the U.S. are undermining American competitiveness in the core sciences, but these get lost in the general clutter of flatness he spins out (besides his other sins, Friedman also loves to mix his metaphors -- http://www.nypress.com/18/16/news&columns/taibbi.cfm ).
The basic flaw in Flatman's analysis is his inability to separate quantitative changes from qualitative ones. New communication technologies have speeded capitalism up but they have not led to -- nor are they capable of leading to -- a fundamental social transformation, a change in the way economic, social and political power is exercised nationally and internationally. When a Harvard professor, Michael J. Sandel, points him in the direction of Karl Marx -- who wrote about capitalist globalisation 150 years ago -- to understand the same phenomenon he thinks he's discovered, Flatman confesses it is "hard to believe" Marx has said it all already.
Another person who
said it all, and better, was the Russian writer Ilya Ehrenburg. "Cars don't have a homeland", he wrote in The
Life of the Automobile, his classic 1929 novel (Pluto Press, 1985, tr.
Joachim Neugroschel) on the political economy of the
automotive supply chain. "Like oil stock or classic love, they can easily
cross borders. Italian Fiats clamber up the cliffs of
How much has the world changed since
then? Thanks to Wal-Mart, the standard gauge of minutes has been upgraded to
headphones. And workers in Indian call centres have
names like Jerry and get to pretend they're from
In Ehrenburg's novella, Sir Henry Deterding dreams of an empire of oil. The automobile needs gasoline, rubber for tires, tar for roads. "He already saw a grand coalition. Only, not a word about oil! Talk about the blood of the people shot down, the desecration of the Church, freedom of speech, talk in verses if you like, talk and talk, eloquently and sincerely!"
Flatman backed the invasion of
(A shorter version of this review
was published in The Hindu on
from Tom Raum
The Associated Press
Pressure on Bush to Find an Exit Strategy
Bush to develop an exit strategy. The
AP-Ipsos poll shows the lowest approval yet for
Bush's handling of
The president's fellow Republicans are growing nervous as they head into an election year.
Yet the administration must
also confront the possibility that a
to begin next spring - could further embolden the insurgents and throw
"We will stay the
course. We will complete the job in
Bush suggested his resolve was only strengthened by a videotaped warning earlier Thursday from
second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri,
threatening more terror attacks in
thousands of US military deaths if the
There has been little outward sign of progress in US-led efforts to defeat the insurgency and to beef
up the Iraqi army and police so they can take over security responsibilities and allow an orderly
withdrawal of American forces.
Particularly lethal bombings over the past few weeks, including a roadside bomb that claimed the
lives of 14 Marines on Wednesday, have made the situation look even bleaker than US military experts
suggest it is.
That translates into a
continued erosion of public support for Bush's
An AP-Ipsos poll taken Monday through Wednesday indicated that just 38 percent of Americans
of Bush's handling of
on the war and terrorism helped him to election victory.
Bush has lost support most dramatically among younger women, especially those who live in the
suburbs, and among men with a high school education or less.
Despite the horrific headlines, many military analysts say that attacks on US troops have actually
remained constant in recent weeks while attacks on Iraqi civilians have increased.
"As tragic as they
are, they don't establish a pattern that says
worse," said Anthony H. Cordesman, an
official. He attributed recent deaths of Marines to the fact that "these are more aggressive military
patrols going into hostile areas."
Even so, Bush faces a real dilemma, said Cordesman, now with the Center for Strategic and
"The president's legacy, if he fails in
President Bush and the Bush administration can scarcely ignore that problem."
"If you pull out
troops too quickly now, and you see the situation in
elections, the impact is going to be far more serious than if you keep the troops in at reasonable
levels," Cordesman said.
Regardless of whether attacks against US troops are increasing overall or remaining constant, the
over the past few days of Marines in western
Jeff Mers, commander of a VFW post that has raised money and sent care packages to the
Columbus-based Marine company that suffered the heaviest losses, said that even before this week's
attacks, he and other veterans were dazed from attending funerals.
"I think I've been to
nine of these just in central
Bush called the fallen
Marines a "grim reminder" that
The war will be a major factor in the 2006 midterm congressional races and could be one in the 2008
race, said Stephen Cimbala, a
studied the impact of wars on American politics.
"If you look at it from a Republican point of view, by the 2006 congressional elections, you're going
to want to have a timetable in place for withdrawal of US forces and their replacement by Iraqis. And by
the fall of 2008, you will want to have most US forces out of there," Cimbala said.
MOVEMENT GOES TO BUSH'S VACATION HOME IN
1) from Deb Riechmann
The Associated Press
Fallen Soldier's Mom Leads March on Crawford
Saturday, demanding an accounting from Bush of how he has conducted the war in
Supported by more than 50 demonstrators who chanted, "W. killed her son!" Cindy Sheehan told
reporters: "I want to ask the president, 'Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?'" Sheehan,
48, didn't get to see Bush, but did talk about 45 minutes with national security adviser Steve Hadley
and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin, who went out to hear her concerns.
Appreciative of their attention, yet undaunted, Sheehan said she planned to continue her roadside
vigil, except for a few breaks, until she gets to talk to Bush. Her son, Casey, 24, was killed in Sadr
"They (the advisers) said we are in
mass destruction, that the world's a better place with Saddam gone and that we're making the world a
safer place with what we're doing over there," Sheehan said in a telephone interview after the meeting.
"They were very
respectful. They were nice men. I told them
States and that now people are dead for nothing. I told them I wouldn't leave until I talked to George
She said Hagin told her, "I want to assure you that he (Bush) really does care."
"And I said if he does care, why doesn't he come out and talk to me."
Sheehan arrived in Crawford aboard a bus painted red, white and blue and emblazoned with the
"Impeachment Tour." Sheehan, from
The bus, trailed by about 20 cars of protesters and reporters, drove at about 15 mph toward Bush's
ranch. After several miles, they parked the vehicles and began to march, in stifling heat, farther down
the narrow country road.
Flanked by miles of pasture, Sheehan spoke with reporters while clutching two photographs, one of
her son in uniform, and the other, a baby picture, when he was seven months old.
She said she decided to
come to Crawford a few days ago after Bush said that fallen
had died for a noble cause and that the mission must be completed.
"I want to ask the president, `Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?" she said, her
voice cracking with emotion. "Last week, you said my son died for a noble cause' and I want to ask
him what that noble cause is?"
White House spokesman Trent Duffy said response that Bush also wants the troops to return home
"Many of the hundreds of families the president has met with know their loved one died for a noble
cause and that the best way to honor their sacrifice is to complete the mission," Duffy said.
"It is a message the president has heard time and again from those he has met with and comforted.
Like all Americans, he wants the troops home as soon as possible."
The group marched about a half-mile before local law enforcement officials stopped them at a bend
in the road, still four to five miles from the ranch's entrance. Capt. Kenneth Vanek of the McLennan
walk in the ditch beside the road, not on the road.
"If they won't cooperate, we won't," Vanek said.
2) from Willima Rivers Pitt
Star and military families from across country on their way to
(MFSO) are traveling to
Starting today, Gold Star
loved ones have
died as a result of the war in
protest. Ms. Sheehan, whose son Army Specialist Casey Sheehan was killed in
These families will be joined
by military families with loved ones currently serving in
or redeploy to
the personal costs of the war in
said "We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission... The families of the
fallen can be assured that they died for a noble cause." Gold Star and military families coming to
Crawford know that the cause was not noble; that their loved ones died, or are currently in harm's way,
serving in a war based on lies.
In the first 8 days of
August, 36 service members died in
men are dying each day. All of the families traveling to Crawford will carry the message to the
vacationing President: Honor our fallen and honor our loved ones' service by ending the occupation,
bringing the troops home now and taking care of them when they get here.
President Bush has
consistently tried to hide, and to hide from, the cost of the war in
August, these costs are being brought right to his doorstep.
Members of Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out who are traveling to
Crawford will be available for interview beginning on Tuesday afternoon August 9th.
For More Information:
Military Families Speak Out: http://www.mfso.org.
Gold Star Families for Peace: http://www.gsfp.org.
from Francis Feeley
DIVESTMENT MOVEMENT IN THE
1) The Divest from
3) Campaign to Divest From
4) Campaign for UC Divestment from
5) Divest from
discussion-subscribe@Israel-divest.org or click here. ...
7) Welcome to HarvardMITdivest.org.
(after a similar petition by the
8) Mainline churches move to stop
9) Divestment Watch - Leading the
battle against the illegal divest. Divestment Watch leads the battle
against the illegal divest from
From: Council for the National Interest Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org
FEDERAL INDICTMENT URGED FOR AIPAC, NOT JUST ROSEN AND WEISSMAN
Todays federal indictment of two former
employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel
lobbying group, charged with having disclosed classified defense information to
The organization itself should have been indicted, as well as the two officers who were directly involved,said Bird. Let us hope that AIPAC has learned its lesson and will stop intimidating congressmen, administration officials, and the public media, supposedly on behalf of Israel, but in fact destructive to an honest and open relationship between Israel and the United States.
Bird spoke as court documents were
unsealed today and announced in Alexandria, Virginia by U.S. Attorney Paul
McNulty, accusing AIPACs former policy director
Steven Rosen and a former AIPAC Middle East analyst Keith Weissman
with illegally receiving classified information about Iran from a Defense
department analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, and with illegally helping Franklin
to pass them to Naor Gilon,
a political counselor at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. The federal
grand jury also added new charges against
The five-count, 26-page indictment of Rosen and Weissman discloses a much broader set of charges against the two men, that they have been passing classified information to Israel as far back as 1999, on topics ranging from Saudi Arabia to Al-Qaeda to Iran. AIPAC fired the two key staff members after first standing by them, later claiming that the group had been misled.
But Bird argued that AIPAC had been
disingenuous, saying that it is too bad that an organization that has professed
to be supporting
The indictment spells out the
The Council for the National
Interest was founded in 1989 by Paul Findley and Paul PeteMcCloskey,
both longtime Republican Members of Congress, gravely concerned by the effects
of long-term interests of the
Contact: Terry Walz
Council for the National Interest
Council for the National Interest Foundation
Fax: 202-863-2952 =1
From: Fred Lonidier
DSA [Democratic Socialists of America] here tried to set up a demo in Colombus OH to take place around the time of the one next Friday at here below. But no one could get away from work or were out of town.
It would really send a message to
Cardinal if even a few people showed up at their national (actually
international) headquarters with picket signs (and called the media). Any chance you have members in
SUPPORT ALARIS/CARDINAL HEALTH WORKERS' STRUGGLE
¡Alto a la explotación en las maquiladoras!
APOYA LA LUCHA DE LAS TRABAJADORAS DE ALARIS / CARDINAL HEALTH
Join us in our struggle for Fair Pay and Justice across Borders!
The Tijuana Maquiladora
CITTAC: Workers' Information Center of Tijuana, The Binational
Feminist Collective and the San Diego Maquiladora Workers Solidarity Network ask for your support for the struggle for justice of the
female workers of the Alaris/Cardinal Health Systems in
Please join us as we protest in front of the
Cardinal Health offices at
There will be a carpool leaving from
This struggle comes at a time when many of us are focusing on racist vigilante violence against migrant workers along the border. This is a bi-national struggle to obtain justice for workers. When workers are exploited in one country, it hurts all of us: workers, Mexicans, Americans, people of color, everyone. We must demand that multi-national corporations treat workers fairly wherever they operate. We must demonstrate solidarity with these workers. Globalize justice!
This protest has the potential to really help the
workers. A group of workers have filed suit against Alaris Medical Systems of Tijuana through the
labor courts of
Workers will demand severance pay and overdue overtime pay. We will demand that Alaris/Cardinal Health abide by the Mexican Federal Labor Laws. We will demand justice! Please join us and pass this on to others.
Cittac, Centro de Información para Trabajadoras y Trabajadores, Tijuana
More information: (619) 216-0095
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Université Stendhal-Grenoble III
Director of Research at CEIMSA-IN-EXILE