SUBJECT: ON LAUGHTER, LOVE AND
DEATH IN THE ERA OF LATE CAPITALISM : FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED
STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS,
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
We begin this bulletin
with a tribute to our deceased colleague, Professor
Pierre Broué --historian, educator and friend of
CEIMSA-- who died unexpectedly in
The following year, at our Third International Conference, we dedicated the CEIMSA translation of Jim Hightower's book, Thieves in High Places, to Pierre Broué, who like Hightower dedicated his life to radical democracy, in his quest against the abuse of power.
The memory of Pierre Broué will be preserved by his own impressive writings and by those who knew him best. In item A. below, economics professor Jean-Pierre Juy, a former student of Broué's, shares with us some cherished memories of his mentor.
We live in an era when an increasing number of institutions are governed by the private individual motives of a few men, many of whom are consumed by ambitions, opportunism, and sheer hucksterism. A contemporary paradigm of international politics can be easily identified at the local level, where a new parochial sense of "loyalty" has replaced the traditional sense of "civic duty." In this institutional environment a consensus can be quickly mobilized, and a conformity that is based on fear, ignorance and careerism invades the institutional decision-making process. The "free exchange of ideas", which traditionally has reinvigorated institutions in democratic societies, is now threatened by another administrative mode : "The Command Economy."
This phenomena has become increasingly palpable at local levels, as well as at the national and international level, where a narrow elitism has led inexorably to authoritarianism, alienation, and ultimately to institutional dysfunctions, where no one takes responsibility for the consequences of bad decisions, .
namely genuine democracy --with free input and ready feedback-- is
non-existent in many institutions today, and, indeed, democracy is widely
perceived as an obstacle to be avoided at all costs. Such is the paradigm which
dominates our thinking in consumer societies. While the results of such
misguided "leadership" are sometimes comic, too often they are
murderous, as the exercise of British-American military authorities in
Below, we have received several items from CEIMSA research associates and friends which speak to this comédie humaine that we call Late Capitalism.
In Item B. Berkeley author Michael Parenti has shared with us his recent article attempting to explain why the corporate rich are (and will always remain) a danger to the environment.
Item C. is an article sent to us by retired CNRS sociologist Marc Ollivier in which reporter David Krieger celebrates grassroots democracy in the U.S., explaining how Cindy Sheehan's resistance this summer in Crawford, Texas follows a long American tradition of pacifists such as Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez, to name only a few. . . .
Item D. is an article sent to
Item E., from
Item F., from Truthout, offers a bit of comic relief from cartoonists who
support Cindy Sheehan's resistance this hot summer of 2005 in central
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble III
from Professor Jean-Pierre Juy
J'ai connu Pierre il y aura 4O ans dans quelques semaines. J'arrivais à Sciences Politiques Grenoble. Ne connaissant personne et devant choisir un maître de conférences, je choisissais de m'inscrire à la sienne parce qu'il donnait en parallèle un cours sur l'histoire de l'URSS au XX° siècle. Déjà étudiant en économie, venant ici pour tenter de comprendre ma propre histoire, ce professeur m'offrait, de mon point de vue, la meilleure introduction à ce que je venais chercher.
Un professeur étonnant. Il n'arrivait pas pour nous lire ce quil avait écrit auparavant. Il prenait place devant nous pour un moment de création imtellectuelle. Pour moi, les cours de Broué c'était la pensée vivante en action. Tout entier dans ce qu'il expliquait, la personne était engagée dans ce qu'il énonçait d'une voix soutenue et grave. Cette voix grave, colorée par moments de l'accent de lArdèche natale, résonnait comme nulle autre. L'instant d'une demi pause, il interrogeait du regard son auditoire et poursuivait. Pour moi, les meilleurs cours étaient ceux sur la Révolution russe. Là, sa puissance évocatrice était proprement captivante : il racontait la prise du Palais d'Hiver comme s'il y avait assisté. Nous avions devant les yeux non seulement Broué mais les images d'Eisenstein et le souffle de Maïakovski ! C'était comme si la révolution agitait l'amphi qui devenait par là-même théâtre de l'histoire!
Les étudiants venaient aussi bien pour l'écouter que pour apprendre. Assis derrière le large meuble qui occupait toute l'estrade, il disposait devant lui quelques feuillets repliés et une montre au bracelet métallique doré. C'étaient-là ses instruments de navigation.. Sur ce format de demi feuille il avait tracé d'une écriture serrée, sa ligne argumentaire, c'était sa feuille de route pour dérouler sa pensée Il y donnait un coup d'oeil de temps en temps, sans doute pour tenir le cap du discours, mais c'était son cerveau qui créait le verbe dans l'instant. Comme certains grands chefs qui dirigent l'orchestre sans lire la partition. Il tenait deux heures, l'amphi plein, suspendu à ses lèvres, sans micro, et à la pause, des groupes d'étudiants venaient s'agglutiner autour de lui.
La « méthode Broué » : les faits, établis, saisis dans leur complexité contradictoire, une chronologie scrupuleuse et exhaustive, la recherche de l'enchaînement causal. Dans ses cours, dans ses livres et dans ses articles cette trilogie est immuable. A la réflexion, on retrouve là, la méthode avec laquelle Léon Trotsky lui-même exprimlait sa pensée. Tout simplement, Broué faisait à travers son cours d'histoire, la démonstration vivante de la puissance d'investigation et de compréhension que donne le matérialisme dialectique. Bien évidemment ce n'est qu'ultérieurement que j'en compris l'importance.
De cette façon, Broué nous proposait une compréhension de ce qui déterminait largement notre propre histoire de jeunes gens nés à partir de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, sans esquiver aucune question. Et au fond celle qui nous agitait le plus, sans être toujours clairement formulée, était la compréhension des liens entre lOctobre russe et et ce repoussoir du socialisme que constituaient tous les régimes staliniens. De façon calme et méthodique, sans galimatias idéologique ni rhétorique, sans « isme », Broué essayait de nous livrer inlassablement les clés pour comprendre Berlin 1953, Budapest et Varsovie 1956, et bientôt Prague 1968. Mais ces clés, cétait aussi celles qui nous donneraient à nous, la nouvelle génération, dans notre propre pays, les moyens daccomplir la transformation de la société à laquelle nous aspirions pour la plupart.
Voilà comment de façon apparemment simple mais inéluctable, le professeur Pierre Broué nous amenait implicitement devant un choix. Ce choix qu'il avait eu à faire lui-même quand il était encore lycéen à Privas, en décidant de rejoindre les Maquis. Pas plus que lui à son époque, nous ne savions que nous allions prendre la relève dans le combat commencé par le chef de l'Armée Rouge au lendemain d'Octobre.
Comme tous les jeunes, nous étions insatiables, nous voulions en savoir davantage. Il constitua alors avec les étudiants les plus avancés politiquement, le Cercle d'Etudes Marxistes de Grenoble. Nous décidions ensemble des questions à débattre, des exposés étaient préparés. Les réunions se tenaient dans une arrière-salle de café, tous les gens intéressés par le sujet du jour étaient invités. Y venaient : des étudiants en majorité, mais aussi des jeunes travailleurs. C'était le mercredi soir, la salle fut très vite comble. La discussion y était totalement libre et fraternelle.
En 1968, fut le moment où un long compagnonnage devait nous lier. Nous n'étions plus professeurs ou étudiants mais tous engagés avec des millions d'hommes, de femmes et de jeunes en grève. Pour la première fois, nous pouvions voir et sentir ce que voulait dire la phrase du Manifeste communiste « L'émancipation des travailleurs sera lSuvre des travailleurs eux-mêmes. »
Nous étions certes au cSur de l'irruption, mais le camarade Broué nous avait déjà donné les clés pour comprendre dès le premier jour de la grève générale, ce qui était en train de se passer. J'étais impressionné par son aisance que ce soit pour s'adresser à une foule de milliers de manifestants ou pour interpeller dans leur bureau un recteur ou un préfet. C'est lui le premier qui m'a fait remarquer que dans ces cas-là, l'assurance qu'on avait ne pouvait véritablement se fonder que sur la conscience d'exprimer par ses propres mots, toute la volonté des milliers dont on était à ces instants que le porte-parole.
C'est de cette façon qu'une nouvelle génération de militants a été éduquée au sens propre du terme.
Dans cet instant de sa disparition, il ne m'est pas possible matériellement de développer cette évocation de Pierre. Mais je voudrais conclure ce présent hommage par le mot d'une femme qui ne se réclame pas du trotskysme mais qui fut son étudiante et qui, pour dire son émotion, a écrit : « Il savait rendre « l'histoire » vivante, il faut maintenant que « l'Histoire » le rende vivant. »
Pour terminer, je voudrais lui laisser la parole, cette parole qui, comme celle de Jean Jaurès, illuminait, grondait et émouvait. C'est la conclusion, écrite au printemps de 1997, de son Histoire de l'Internationale communiste 1919 -1943. La citation est longue mais un moment de méditation ne nous est pas interdit à nous marxistes :
« Les hommes de la fin de ce siècle achèvent dans leur grande respiratin millénaire une expiration qui va laisser la place à 'inspiration. Avec tout ce qui l'accompagne, l'élan, la création, l'imagination, l'ambition collective, la solidarité, l'aspiration à l'indépendance des individus et des peuples, tout cela dans un gigantesque remue-ménage qui signifiera la remise en marche de l'histoire, une histoire qui ne sarrêtera jamais. Dans cette histoire sans fin et probablement avec des Internationales sans numéro, les hommes ne copieront aucun modèle, mais ils continueront à monter sur les épaules des générations qui les ont précédés, pour ouvrir des voies, anciennes ou nouvelles, pour leurs enfants.Ils auront besoin de comprendre cette préhistoire que nous avons tenté de retracer, comme celle que que nous vivons, et qui nous file entre les doigts comme la glaise des morts de Jacques Prévert. Elle sera la base de leur avenir. Pour reprendre une expression bien rebattue, ce livre se veut un hommage à ceux qui voulaient escalader le ciel mais qui sont tombés aux mains des fossoyeurs. Demain sera un autre jour. Il se lèvera un tout petit peu plud tôt et un petit peu plus clair qu'hier. C'est ce qui compte. Comme dit une belle chanson de Robert Charlebois :
« Quand les hommes vivront damour
Il ny aura plus de misère
Les soldats seront troubadours
Mais nous, nous serons morts, mon frère »
« Ce sont les vivants et les morts qui la chanteront, avec d'autres plus belles encore, dans l'infini du temps et la spirale de l'histoire qu'ils ont faite, qu'ils font et qu'ils feront.
« Je sais que mes lecteurs suivent et suivront, en prennant appui sur ce travail, le dernier conseil d'Antoine Thibault mourant à son neveu Jean-Paul, tel que l'a résumé Albert Camus : « Avancer toujours au milieu de tous, sur le même chemin où, dans la nuit de l'espèce, des foules dhommes, depuis des siècles, marchent en chancelant vers un avenir inconcevable. »
Grenoble, le 31 juillet 2005
Tribute to Pierre Broué, professeur, militant, labor mouvement historian.
In only a few weeks it would have
been 40 years ago when I first met Pierre Broué. I
His performance in the classroom was
amazing. He did not come to simply read from prepared notes. He invited us to join
him for a moment of collective intellectual creativity. For me Broués history courses were living moments of thought in
action. He was always totally engaged in what he was explaining, in a
controlled and serious voice. This voice I shall never forget colored at time
by his native Ardèche accent, with an incomparable
resonance. In the instant of a demi-pause, he would
look inquisitively at his listeners, then continue. He
was at his best, in my opinion, when teaching the Russian revolution.
On this subject his considerable evocative powers were nothing less than captivating : he described the taking of the
Students came to his courses to listen to him as much as to learn. Seated behind the large table which filled the front of the auditorium, he placed before him a few folded sheets of notes and a watch with a gold metallic wrist band. These were his instruments of navigation. On this half-sheet format he traced his line of argumentation in a tight small handwriting this was his roadmap for intellectual travel. He glanced at it from time to time, no doubt to emphasis a particular point, but it was his mind which brought forth the words at every moment. Like the great chefs d'orchestre who direct without looking at the sheet music laid out before them. For two hours, without a microphone, he could hold in suspension the entire auditorium, and during the short break groups of students would come to surround him with questions and comments on what he had said.
The Broué method : the established facts, presented in all their contradictory complexity, a thorough chronology scrupulously respected, the search for causal relationships. In his courses, in his books and in his many articles this trilogy is always present. In fact, this is the same method that Leon Trotsky adopted to express his own thoughts. In a word, the history courses of Broué provided a lively demonstration of the method of dialectic materialism and its explanatory powers in specific scientific investigations. Naturally, it was not until much later that I understood the full importance of this method.
In this manner Broué offered us, without evading any questions, an understanding of what largely determined our own history as young Europeans born after the Second World War. And basically what concerned us the most, even if it was not clearly formulated at the time, was the understanding of the link between the October Revolution and rejection socialism which all Stalinist regimes represent. In his characteristic manner calm and methodical, without ideological gibberish empty rhetoric (without isms) Broue tried indefatigably to provide us with the keys necessary to understand Berlin 1953, Budapest and Warsaw 1956, and the soon approaching Prague spring of 1968. But these keys were also the instruments that would provide us, the new generation, with the means necessary to realize the transformation of society that we so much wanted for our own countries.
In this way, in an ostensibly simple
but inescapable manner, Professor Pierre Broue lead us implicitly to confront a Choice. It was a choice he
himself had confronted when he was a high school student at Privas,
when he decided to join the Resistance Movement against the Nazi occupation and
Like youth everywhere we were
insatiable, we wanted to know more. He helped the more politically advanced
students establish The Circle of Marxist Studies at
In 1968 came the moment when our long compaignship would unite us even more closely. We were no longer professors or students, but instead actors engaged with millions of other men and women in a general strike. For the first time we could truly see and feel what Marx meant in the famous quote from the Communist Manifesto: The emancipation of workers will be the work of workers themselves.
We were at the center of the irruption, but comrade Broué had already given us the keys to understand what was happening from the very first day of the general strike. I was impressed by the ease with which he always spoke, whether to a crowd of thousands of demonstrators or to an administrator in his office. He was the first to impress me with the fact that in situations such as May-June 1968 the self-assurance that one possesses can only come from a sincere effort to express in ones own words the will of thousands for whom one was at that moment only the spokesperson..
That was the way in which a new generation of militants was educated, in the proper sense of this term.
At this instant, upon his unexpected
departure, it is not materially possible for me to develop this evocation of
By way of conclusion, I would like
to leave the last word to
People of this century's end are concluding their great millenary breath with an exhale which is going to give space for an inhale. With all that which accompanies it, like momentum, creativity, imagination, collective ambition, solidarity, the desire for individual and collective independence, all that in a gigantic commotion which will signify the return of history, a history which will never end.
In this history without end and probably with countless Internationals, humankind will copy no model, but it will continue to mount on the shoulders of the generations which have preceded it, in order to open paths, both old and new, for their children. Mankind will need to understand this prehistory which we have attempted to reconstruct, as much as it will need to understand the history we are now living, and which runs through our fingers like Jacques Prévert's "clay of dead people". It will be the foundation of their future. To repeat a well-worn expression, this book is dedicated to the honor of those who would like to storm heaven but who have fallen into the hands of the gravediggers. Tomorrow will be another day. It will begin a tiny bit earlier and be a little bit more clear than yesterday.
When mankind will live from love
There will be no more misery
Soldiers will be troubadours
But we, we will be dead, my brother
It is the living and the dead who will sing this, with other songs still more beautiful, in the infinity of time and in the spiral of history that they have made, that they are making and that they will make.
"I know that my readers are now following and will continue to follow, by taking support from this work, the ultimate advice Antoine Thibault gave from his death bed to his nephew, Jean-Paul, as was recounted by Albert Camus : 'Always advance in the midst of everyone, on the same path where, in the obscurity of the species, crowds of men, for centuries, have staggered toward an inconceivable future.'"
Grenoble, le 31 juillet 2005
from Michael Parenti
Here is a brief article by me that appeared recently as a ZNet Commentary.
Best wishes to you all
Why the Corporate Rich Oppose Environmentalism
by Michael Parenti
In 1876, Marx's collaborator, Frederich Engels, offered a prophetic caveat: "Let us not . . . flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human conquest over nature. For each such conquest takes its revenge on us. . . . At every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside of nature--but that we, with flesh, blood, and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst. . . ."
With its never-ending emphasis on production and profit, and its indifference to environment, transnational corporate capitalism appears determined to stand outside nature. The driving goal of the giant investment firms is to convert natural materials into commodities and commodities into profits, transforming living nature into vast accumulations of dead capital.
This capital accumulation process treats the planet's life-sustaining resources (arable land, groundwater, wetlands, forests, fisheries, ocean beds, rivers, air quality) as dispensable ingredients of limitless supply, to be consumed or toxified at will. Consequently, the support systems of the entire ecosphere--the Earth's thin skin of fresh air, water, and top soil--are at risk, threatened by global warming, massive erosion, and ozone depletion. An ever-expanding capitalism and a fragile finite ecology are on a calamitous collision course.
It is not true that the ruling politico-economic interests are in a state of denial about this. Far worse than denial, they have shown utter antagonism toward those who think the planet is more important than corporate profits. So they defame environmentalists as "eco-terrorists," "EPA gestapo," "Earth Day alarmists," "tree huggers," and purveyors of "Green hysteria" and "liberal claptrap."
The plutocracys position was summed up by that dangerous fool, erstwhile Senator Steve Symms (R-Idaho), who once said that if he had to choose between capitalism and ecology, he would choose capitalism. Symms seemed not to grasp that, absent a viable ecology, there will be no capitalism or any other ism.
In July 2005, President Bush finally muttered a grudging acknowledgment: I recognize that the surface of the Earth is warmer and that an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem. But this belated admission of a problemhardly makes up for Bushs many attacks against the environment.
In recent years, Bushite reactionaries within the White House and Congress, fueled by corporate lobbyists, have supported measures to
(1) allow unregulated toxic fill into lakes and harbors,
(2) eliminate most of the wetland acreage that was to be set aside for a reserve,
(3) completely deregulate the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that deplete the ozone layer,
(4) eviscerate clean water and clean air standards,
(5) open the
unspoiled Arctic wildlife refuge in
(6) defund efforts to keep raw sewage out of rivers and away from beaches,
(7) privatize and open national parks to commercial development,
(8) give the remaining ancient forests over to unrestrained logging,
(9) repeal the Endangered Species Act,
(10) and allow mountain-top removal in mining that has transformed thousands of miles of streams and vast amounts of natural acreage into toxic wastelands.
Why do rich and powerful interests take this seemingly suicidal anti-environmental route? We can understand why they might want to destroy public housing, public education, Social Security, and Medicaid. They and their children will not thereby be deprived of a thing, having more than sufficient private means to procure whatever services they need for themselves.
But the environment is a different story. Do not wealthy reactionaries and their corporate lobbyists inhabit the same polluted planet as everyone else, eat the same chemicalized food, and breathe the same toxified air?
In fact, they do not live exactly as everyone else. They experience a different class reality, often residing in places where the air is somewhat better than in low and middle income areas. They have access to food that is organically raised and specially prepared. The nation's toxic dumps and freeways usually are not situated in or near their swanky neighborhoods. The pesticide sprays are not poured over their trees and gardens. Clearcutting does not desolate their ranches, estates, and vacation spots.
Even when they or their children succumb to a dread disease like cancer, they do not link the tragedy to environmental factors---though scientists now believe that present-day cancer epidemics stem largely from human-made causes. The plutocrats deny there is a serious problem because they themselves have created that problem and owe so much of their wealth to it.
But how can they deny the threat of an ecological apocalypse brought on by ozone depletion, global warming, disappearing top soil, and dying oceans? Do the corporate plutocrats want to see life on Earth---including their own lives---destroyed?
In the long run they indeed will be sealing their own doom, along with everyone elses. However, like us all, they live not in the long run but in the here and now. What is at stake for them is something more immediate and than global ecology. It is global capital accumulation. The fate of the biosphere seems a far-off abstraction compared to the fate of ones immediate investments.
Furthermore, pollution pays, while ecology costs. Every dollar a company spends on environmental protections is one less dollar in earnings. It is more profitable to treat the environment like a septic tank, to externalize corporate diseconomies by dumping raw industrial effluent into the atmosphere, rivers, and bays, turning waterways into open sewers.
Moving away from fossil fuels and toward solar, wind, and tidal energy could help avert ecological disaster, but six of the world's ten top industrial corporations are involved primarily in the production of oil, gasoline, and motor vehicles. Fossil fuel pollution means billions in profits. Ecologically sustainable forms of production directly threaten those profits.
Immense and imminent gain for oneself is a far more compelling consideration than a diffuse loss shared by the general public. The social cost of turning a forest into a wasteland weighs little against the personal profit that comes from harvesting the timber.
This conflict between immediate personal gain on the one hand and seemingly remote public benefit on the other operates even at the individual consumer level. Thus, it is in one's long term interest not to operate an automobile that contributes more to environmental devastation than any other single consumer item (even if its a hybrid). But again, we dont live in the long run, we live in the here and now, and we have an immediate everyday need for transportation, so most of us have no choice except to own and use automobiles.
Mind you, we did not choose this car
culture.Ecologically efficient and less costly mass
transit systems and rail systems were deliberately bought out, privatized and
torn up, beginning in the 1930s in campaigns waged across the country by the
automotive, oil, and tire industries. These industries put "
Sober business heads refuse to get caught up in doomsayer "hysteria" about ecology. Besides, there can always be found a few stray experts who will obligingly argue that the jury is still out, that there is no conclusive proof to support the alarmists. Conclusive proof in this case would come only when the eco-apocalypse is upon us.
Ecology is profoundly subversive of capitalism. It needs planned, environmentally sustainable production rather than the rapacious unregulated free-market kind. It requires economical consumption rather than an artificially stimulated, ever-expanding, wasteful consumerism. It calls for natural, relatively clean and low cost energy systems rather than high cost, high profit, polluting ones. Ecology's implications for capitalism are too challenging for the capitalist to contemplate.
The plutocrats are more wedded to their wealth than to the Earth upon which they live, more concerned with the fate of their fortunes than with the fate of humanity.
The struggle over environmentalism is part of the class struggle itself, a fact that seems to have escaped many environmentalists. The present ecological crisis has been created by the few at the expense of the many. This time the plutocratic drive to "accumulate, accumulate, accumulate" may take all of us down, once and forever.
Michael Parenti's recent books include Superpatriotism (City Lights) and The Assassination of Julius Caesar (New Press), both available in paperback. For more information, visit his website: www.michaelparenti.org .
from Marc Ollivier
Subject: Fw: [INESnet] Amazing Grace and Cindy
I think you should be interested in the following message.
AMAZING GRACE AND CINDY
by David Krieger
There is a wonderful movie, Amazing Grace and Chuck, which
came out in 1987. It tells the story of
a star Little League pitcher, Chuck, who, along with other youngsters on a
field trip visits a missile silo in his home state of
A lot of people in Chucks community become upset with him because his protest jeopardizes his teams chances in the Little League championships. There is considerable pressure on Chuck to conform, get back to his pitching, and just get over it. Chuck is committed, though, and doesnt capitulate to the pressure. He thinks that nuclear weapons are a real problem, not only because Americans are threatened but also because by their existence tens of million, perhaps hundreds of millions, of innocent people could be annihilated with our nuclear weapons.
a small article about Chuck and his protest appears in the national media, a
professional basketball star, Amazing Grace, reads about it, and is sympathetic
to Chuck and his courageous position. So
Amazing Grace decides to join Chuck in
so many big-time athletes gathered in support of Chuck, the media has little
choice but to pay attention to Chucks demands. Before long, Chucks
simple wisdom has captured the imagination of people across
Chucks fictional story, one that every American should know about, has a
lot in common with the story of Cindy Sheehan.
Chuck responded to the dangers of US nuclear policies after becoming
aware of them. Cindy responded to the
tragedy of her sons death as a
Cindy has put the eyes of the world on Mr. Bush and his Iraq War policies. Mr. Bush has said that US troops are dying
for a noble causein
Cindy Sheehan's stand in Crawford is sending a powerful message to the
American people, just as Chucks fictional protest did. Cindys protest is
forcing Americans to probe deeper and to not accept the facile responses of the
administration in the increasingly deteriorating situation in
Bush owes Cindy an honest answer to her question, and the rest of
Cindy Sheehan's courage should help restore our faith in the power of individuals to speak truth to power and make a difference. Her protest is in the best traditions of this country, those of Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez. She has showered us all with her Amazing Grace.
David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org ), and the author of a recent book of peace poetry, Today Is Not a Good Day for War.
from Edward Herman
Subject: Watching the Gazan Fiasco
Watching the Gazan Fiasco, The Shame of It All
by JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN
A great charade is taking place in
front of the world media in the Gaza Strip. It is the staged evacuation of 8000
Jewish settlers from their illegal settlement homes, and it has been carefully
designed to create imagery to support
There was never the slightest reason
The settlers will relocate to other
But these details are rarely
mentioned in the tempest of reporting on the "great confrontation"
and "historical moment" brought to us by
On ABC's Nightline Monday night, a
reporter interviewed a young, sympathetic Israeli woman from the largest
She talked about the tree she planted in front of her home with her brother when she was three; about growing up in the house they were now leaving, the memories, and knowing she could never return; that even if she did, everything she knew would be gone from the scene.
The camera then panned to her elderly parents sitting somberly amid boxed-up goods, surveying the scene, looking forlorn and resigned. Her mother was a kindergarten teacher, we are told. She knew just about all of the children who grew up here near the sea.
In the 5 years of Israel's brutal suppression of the Palestinian uprising against the occupation, I never once saw or heard a segment as long and with as much sentimental, human detail as I did here; never once remember a reporter allowing a sympathetic young Palestinian woman, whose home was just bulldozed and who lost everything she owned, tell of her pain and sorrow, of her memories and her family's memories; never got to listen to her reflect on where she would go now and how she would live.
And yet in
The vast majority of the destroyed homes were located too close to an IDF military outpost or illegal settlement to be allowed to continue standing. The victims received no compensation for their losses and had no place waiting for them to relocate.
Most ended up in temporary UNRWA tent-cities until they could find shelter elsewhere in the densely overcrowded Strip, a quarter of whose best land was inhabited by the 1% of the population that was Jewish and occupying the land at their expense.
Where were the cameramen in May 2004 in Rafah when refugees twice over lost their homes again in a single night's raid, able to retrieve nothing of what they owned?
Where were they when bulldozers and tanks tore up paved streets with steel blades, wrecked the sewage and water pipes, cut electricity lines, and demolished a park and a zoo; when snipers shot two children, a brother and sister, feeding their pigeons on the roof of their home? When the occupying army fired a tank shell into a group of peaceful demonstrators killing 14 of them including two children?
Where have they been for the past five years when the summer heat of Rafah makes life so unbearable it is all one can do to sit quietly in the shade of one's corrugated tin roof -- because s/he is forbidden to go to the sea, ten minutes' walking distance from the city center? Or because if they ventured to the more open spaces they became walking human targets? And when their citizens resisted, where were the accolades and the admiring media to comment on the "pluck," the "will" and "audacity" of these "young people"?
On Tuesday, 16 August, the Israeli
daily Haaretz reported that more than 900 journalists
Were there ever that many journalists in one place during the past 5 years to cover the Palestinian Intifada?
Where were the 900 international journalists in April 2002 after the Jenin refugee camp was laid to waste in the matter of a week in a show of pure Israeli hubris and sadism?
Where were the 900
international journalists last fall when the Jabalya
refugee camp in
Which one of them reported that every
crime of the Israeli occupation from home demolitions, targeted
assassinations and total closures to the murder of civilians and the wanton
destruction of commercial and public property- increased significantly in
Where are the hundreds of journalists who should be covering the many non-violent protests by Palestinians and Israelis against the Apartheid Wall?
Non-violent protesters met with
violence and humiliation by Israeli armed forces? Where are the hundreds of
journalists who should be reporting on the economic and geographic encirclement
of Palestinian East
Why aren't we being barraged by outraged reports about the Jewish-only bypass roads? About the hundreds of pointless internal checkpoints? About the countless untried executions and maimings? About the torture and abuse of Palestinians in Israeli prisons?
Where were these hundreds of journalists when each of the 680 Palestinian children shot to death by Israeli soldiers over the last 5 years was laid to rest by grief-stricken family members? The shame of it all defies words.
Now instead report after report
announces the "end to the 38 year old occupation" of the Gaza Strip,
a "turning point for peace" and the news that "it is now illegal
for Israelis to live in
Yes, it is "illegal for Israelis to live in the Gaza Strip" as colonizers from another land. It has been illegal for 38 years. (If they wish to move there and live as equals with the Palestinians and not as Israeli citizens they may do so.)
The Israelis are not relinquishing control over the Strip.
They are retaining control of all
land, air and sea borders including the Philadelphi
corridor along the Gaza/Egypt border where the Egyptians may be allowed to
The IDF is merely redeploying outside
the Gaza Strip, which is surrounded by electrical and concrete fences, barbed
wire, watchtowers, armed guards and motion censors, and it will retain the
authority to invade
Another 3,200 Palestinians who worked in the settlements for a sub-minimum-wage have been summarily dismissed without recourse to severance pay or other forms of compensation.
Still others will lose their
livelihoods when the Israelis move the Gaza Industrial Zone from Erez to somewhere in the
The World Bank reported in December 2004 that both poverty and unemployment will rise following the "Disengagement" even under the best of circumstances because Israel will retain full control over the movement of goods in and out of Gaza, will maintain an enforced separation of the West Bank and Gaza preventing the residents of each from visiting one another, and will draw up separate customs agreements with each zone severing their already shattered economies-- and yet we are forced to listen day in and day out to news about this historic peace initiative, this great turning point in the career of Ariel Sharon, this story of national trauma for the brothers and sisters who have had to carry out the painful orders of their wise and besieged leader.
What will it take to get the truth across to people? To the young woman of Neve Dekalim who can speak her words without batting an eyelash of embarrassment or shame?
As the cameras zoom in on angry
settlers poignantly clashing with their "brothers and sisters" in the
Israeli army, who will be concerned about their other brothers and sisters in
When will the Palestinian history of 1948 and 1967, and of each passing day under the violence of dispossession and dehumanization, get a headline in our papers?
I am reminded of an interview I had
this summer in
I remember his tightly shut eyes and his clenched fists as he asked how long Arabs and Muslims were supposed to accept the accusations that they are the victimizers and the terrorists. "It hurts," he said in a whispered ardor. "It hurts so much to watch this injustice every day." And he went on to explain to me why the Americans and the Israelis with their monstrous military arsenals will never be victorious.
will be a viisiting Fellow at the Refugee Studies
from Bertell Ollman
Date: Wed, 17 Aug
Radicals also need to laugh, so this might be worth ... [circulating]. I don't know who did it.
You might want to add that there is a lot of radical political humor on my web site <www.dialecticalmarxism.com> especially - if you think this useful - under the books, BALLBUSTER? and HOW TO TAKE AN EXAM, the CLASS STRUGGLE game, Letters, and under Articles in Education and Various.
The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official
language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the
negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement
and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants
jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be
replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik
akseptanse of the new spelling
more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to
akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is
disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze
yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem
of a united urop vil finali kum tru. Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey
vunted in ze forst plas.
If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.
From: "t r u t h o u t" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: FOCUS | Cartoonists Back Cindy, Slam Bush
FOCUS | Cartoonists Back Cindy, Slam Bush
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Université Stendhal-Grenoble III
Director of Research at CEIMSA-IN-EXILE