Subject : ON BLAMING THE
VICTIM, AND OTHER PARLOR GAMES: FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF
AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS,
12 January 2005
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA ,
The social sciences have taught us to look for signs of non-verbal violence used to colonize the minds of subjugated people, so that their "inferiority" and their abuse are perceived as part of "the nature order of things". Anthony Wilden writes in his critical study, The Imaginary Canadian :
in which they play the role of the "natural" inferiors.
The result is a country of amnesia victims. We cannot
know who we are unless we know what our domestic
and "external" relations actually were at different times
in our history --the record of our social memory-- and how
changed over time.
or another conquered and colonized like ourselves, and some
of them still
are. (1981, p.2)
An example of this psychological "colonization" is found in the contemporary history of Japanese Americans, who, writes Michi Weglyn (author of Years of Infamy, The Untold Story of America's Concentratioin Camps), were made to feel shame for having suffered humiliation at the hands of state authorities during the Second World War, in much the same way that rape victims, according to psychological studies, are made to feel guilty and are reluctant to talk about the abuse they have suffered.
It took the Japanese American victims of abuse a generation before they could find the words to talk about their experiences in the prison camps during WW II, even to their own children. The anti-imperialist movement in the 1960's engaged many students of Japanese ancestry, and it was their involvement in this movement that led them to discover what their parents and grandparents had suffered in the 1940's. Out of this public testimony came the demand for reparations, which was finally won in the 1980s.
This "banality evil" was expanded by the Nixon-Agnew administration into a strategy for claiming the support of "the silent majority" of Americans for the murderous
The silencing of victims and their defenders is a classic tactic of power cut free from any democratic restraints. The specialists & technicians, once they are alienated from society, become convinced that their ends justify any means necessary, and, having crossed this threshold, all political differences are reduced to administrative problems to be solved by obedient underlings, sometimes in exchange for small rewards but more often for nothing more than promises. Naturally, inside this system anyone who demands democratic accountability is stigmatized as "the enemy" by the higher order of political decision makers. He is the "spoiler" in the game of Perfect Tyranny. . . .
The seven items below speak to this dynamic of maintaining hierarchical control through the manipulation of perceptions, by use of censorship, by disinformation, rumors, stereotypes, stigmas, etc., etc.... --always at the high cost of truth, and sometimes at the cost of sanity.
Item A. is a short article forwarded to us by William Blum (author of
Item B. is my December 17, 2005, letter addressed to a member of the Regional Council of Rhone-Alpes, in which I request an explanation for why I was not informed in advance that the money granted to me for the publication of papers presented at the CEIMSA International Conference on The Impact of American Multinational Corporations, which was held at Stendhal University in January 2002, could not be used to pay authors' royalties to the 25 specialists whose papers were published on the CEIMSA web site. The Regional Council demanded that the money be returned after it was spent, and it was this debt that was used to justify : a.) the closure of our research center at the University of Grenoble in 2004, b.) the removal of our web site of more than 5000 pages of documents and publications from the University server, and c.) the refusal to allow my 8 Ph. D. students to enroll at the University of Grenoble, thereby forcing them to enroll at the nearby University of Savoie, in Chambéry. [For complete documentation of this Scandal at
Thus far, I have no explanation from the Conseil Régional, nor from the
Item C. is a sample of the the official test questions, from Greg Palast, for public school children in President Bush's dynamic neo-liberal educational strategy, called "The No Child Left Behind Program."
Item D. is an
Item E. is an article from peace activist, Al Burke, in
Item F. is a communication from U.S. Newswire on the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration : "Citizen's Tribunal Indicts Bush Administration for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity; Indictments to be Delivered to White House, on 1/9/2006 at 12:01:00 PM."
And, finally, item G. is a scholarly essay by Canadian Professor Michael Keefer (at the University of Guelph's School of English and Theatre Studies) on "Canada`s Thinker-activists and Critics of Globalization", which was recently published by CEIMSA-IN-EXILE. [Please visit : CEIMSA Scholarly Publications, Volume II.]
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Dircector of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from William Blum :
Common Courage Press
DANCING ON THE
by Per Fagereng
Picture this standard
experiment in psychology: A group of rats is placed on an electric grid
voltage is slowly increased. After a while the rats feel a burning
their feet. The experimenters up the voltage some more, and watch the
dance and bite each other.
The experimenters are seeking knowledge, and the rats’ pain is presumably worth it. The experimenters don’t blame the rats for fighting each other, or punish the more aggressive ones. They know that individuals react to pain in different ways.
Now picture the economic terrain as a different kind of pain grid. Instead of electric shocks, the inhabitants experience job loss, higher prices, less pay, overwork, polluted neighborhoods and so on. Controlling the grid are not psychologists, but CEOs and bankers. Instead of knowledge, they are seeking profit. And so they up the pain, but not because they want to hurt people. They are really trying to up their profits, and the pain is a side effect.
After a while people on the grid do nasty things to each other, everything from domestic violence to immigrant-bashing to crime. Unlike the rats, the people get blamed for their misbehavior. We are told to point our fingers at the victims on the grid, instead of at the economic rulers who keep increasing the pain.
You’d think that the CEOs and bankers would ease up on the pain, but think again. They continue to demand more sacrifice from the poor, knowing full well how they’ll react.
Would you call this a big conspiracy? Or the sum of many small conspiracies? Maybe it doesn’t matter that much. I’m not a mind reader. The point is, the economic rulers pursue their profits and they know the consequences. So to that extent, they are choosing to inflict pain.
Per Fagereng is a writer, artist, commentator and activist. He is a senior editor of the
Letter from Francis Feeley :
To: M. Michael Wilson
Conseil Régional Rhône-Alpes
17 December 2006
Je vous remercie pour m’avoir aider retrouver l’attitude du Conseil régional à propos de leur refus de subventionner la publication des ACTES du colloque bilingue sur "L'impact des entreprises multinationales américaines dans la societé/Reflections on the Social Impact of American Multinational Corporations", organisé par mon centre de recherche, CEIMSA, en janvier 2002 à l’Université Stendhal.
Permettez moi de répondre à votre message dans lequel vous m’avez expliqué que le Conseil régional ne se trouve pas très disposé de m’accorder une subvention de 3000 euros pour une partie des frais d’un colloque en 2006 parce que :
En réalité le Conseil régional a tout simplement refusé de payer les droits d’auteurs demandés pour la publication des ACTES sans m'avertir que la somme que vous citez, qui était de 30 000 francs, et que j’ai reçue plusieurs mois avant le colloque de janvier 2002, n’était pas destinée à subventionner une publication avec tous les frais que cela comporte, mais devait se limiter plutôt à couvrir les achats tels que le papier, la colle, l'encre, etc… , bref, tout sauf le travail intellectuel. Si j’ai bien compris ma communication hier par téléphone avec Mme. Joëlle BACHELIER, mon “ interlocuteur ” à
Je dois cependant souligner que cette “ règle ” était imposée ipso facto. Voici les règles que j’ai lues et que j’ai suivies en 2001 en faisant la demande d'une subvention au Conseil Régional pour le colloque du CEIMSA de janvier 2002 selon la publication : Colloques, Guide d’Organisation, Service Recherche, (Université Stendhal, 2000), page 19.
Comme vous voyez, ni dans ces règles, ni dans la communications envoyées plus tard par le Conseil régional [voir, SVP, pour le dossier de cette histoire de “ malentendu ” au Conseil régional, Document N°69 dans le dossier "Scandale à Stendhal"], est mention d’une politique excluant l’utilisation de cette subvention pour payer les droits d’auteurs relatifs à la publication des ACTES.
En conclusion, je ne comprends pas comment on peut m’accuser d’avoir « fait perdre de l’argent à l’université Stendhal ». Et je ne sais pas comment démontrer ma bonne foi et à qui m’adresser pour faire reconnaître que le but fondamental de cette subvention régionale a été atteint bien au-delà des conditions habituelles en me permettant de publier sur Internet, avec la participation de tous les intervenants, l’intégralité des résultats du colloque.
Veuillez accepter, Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.
Professeur d’Etudes américanes
From: Greg Palast :
10 January 2006
Subject: No Child's Behind Left: The Test
NO CHILD'S BEHIND
LEFT: THE TEST
By Greg Palast
Try it yourself. This is from the state's actual practice test. Ready, class?
"The year 1999 was a big one for the Williams sisters. In February, Serena won her first pro singles championship. In March, the sisters met for the first time in a tournament final. Venus won. And at doubles tennis, the Williams girls could not seem to lose that year."
And here's one of the four questions:
"The story says that in 1999, the sisters could not seem to lose at doubles tennis. This probably means when they played
"A two matches in one day
"B against each other
"C with two balls at once
"D as partners"
OK, class, do you know the answer? (By the way, I didn't cheat: there's nothing else about "doubles" in the text.)
My kids go to a
There are no tennis courts in the elementary schools of Bed-Stuy or
Now, you tell me, class, which kids are best prepared to answer the question about "doubles tennis"? The 8-year-olds in
Is this test a measure of "reading comprehension" -- or a measure of wealth accumulation?
If you have any doubts about what the test is measuring, look at the next question, based on another part of the text, which reads (and I could not make this up):
"Most young tennis stars learn the game from coaches at private clubs. In this sentence, a club is probably a
"F baseball bat
"G tennis racquet
"H tennis court
"J country club"
Helpfully, for the kids in our 'hood, it explains that a "country club" is a, "place where people meet." Yes, but WHICH people?
President Bush told us, "By passing the No Child Left Behind Act, we are regularly testing every child and making sure they have better options when schools are not performing."
But there are no "better options." In the delicious double-speak of class war, when the tests have winnowed out the chaff and kids stamped failed, No Child Left results in that child being left behind in the same grade to repeat the failure another year.
I can't say that Mr. Bush doesn't offer better options to the kids stamped failed. Under No Child Left, if enough kids flunk the tests, their school is marked a failure and its students win the right, under the law, to transfer to any successful school in their district. You can't provide more opportunity than that. But they don't provide it, the law promises it, without a single penny to make it happen. In
Hint: When de-coding politicians' babble, to get to the real agenda, don't read their lips, read their budgets. And in his last budget, our President couldn't spare one thin dime for education, not ten cents. Mr. Big Spender provided for a derisory 8.4 cents on the dollar of the cost of primary and secondary schools. Congress appropriated a half penny of the nation's income -- just one-half of one-percent of
President Bush actually requested less. While Congress succeeded in prying out an itty-bitty increase in voted funding, that doesn't mean the extra cash actually gets to the students. Fifteen states have sued the federal government on the grounds that the cost of new testing imposed on schools, $3.9 billion, eats up the entire new funding budgeted for No Child Left.
There are no "better options" for failing children, but there are better uses for them. The President ordered testing and more testing to hunt down, identify and target millions of children too expensive, too heavy a burden, to educate.
No Child Left offers no options for those with the test-score mark of Cain -- no opportunities, no hope, no plan, no funding. Rather, it is the new social Darwinism, educational eugenics: identify the nation's loser-class early on. Trap them then train them cheap.
Someone has to care for the privileged. No society can have winners without lots and lots of losers. And so we have No Child Left Behind -- to produce the new worker drones that will clean the toilets at the Yale Alumni Club, punch the cash registers color-coded for illiterates, and pamper the winner-class on the higher floors of the new economic order.
Class war dismissed.
See a clip of the actual practice test at www.GregPalast.com
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
from Mike Arreste :
9 January 2006
Hi Mr Feeley,
I hope this message finds well. Hows things coming along for the CEIMSA? Anyways I guess we gotta keep fighting for our rights such as the right to speak out against the injustices that are inflicted upon us or the right to refuse immoral orders when it comes to destroy thousands of Iraki families for money's sake.
Here's a link about US soldiers who deserted the
I was forwarded this other video ( see the attached link) about the multinatinals pillages of Chili's resources. Its worth watching.
from Al Burke :
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006
Subject: Medea & Co.
Women Launch Global
Bid to Stop
January 8, 2006
WASHINGTON-- Women peace activists launched Thursday a global campaign to end warfare and bloodshed in
Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran who had backed the war, said this week in an ABC News interview that were he eligible to join the U.S. military now, he would not and nor would he expect others to join.
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took the unusual step of wading into an ongoing political controversy Thursday, when he told a Pentagon news conference that Murtha's comments were damaging to troop morale and recruitment efforts.
Murtha, the House of Representatives' top Democrat on military spending, replied in a statement that ''the military had no problem recruiting directly after 9/11 because everyone understood that we had been attacked. But now the military's ability to attract recruits is being hampered by the prospect of prolonged, extended and repeated deployments; inadequate equipment; shortened home stays; the lack of any connection between Iraq and the brutal attacks of 9/11; and--most importantly--the administration's constantly changing, undefined, open-ended military mission in Iraq.''
Murtha had voted in favor of going to war against
Likewise, the Women Say No to War campaign is to call for the withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from
''Iraqi women are devastated now, and it will take us decades of struggle to regain a peaceful and civilized life,'' Yanar Mohammed, a campaign endorser and president of the Organization of Women's Freedom in
Initiated by the group CODEPINK: Women for Peace, the effort sets out to be the highest-profile of a very small number of campaigns that have sought to bring women together across borders to demand an end to the bloodshed in
More than 3,000 women signed on before the campaign launched, according to Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and the San Francisco-based human rights group Global Exchange. By Sunday, the number of endorsers on the campaign's Web site had grown to nearly 10,000.
Signatories include Gold Star Families for Peace founder Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed serving in the
Other endorsers include Gold Star mother Rose Gentle of Scotland; entertainers Susan Sarandon, Eve Ensler, and Margaret Cho; authors Alice Walker, Anne Lamott, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Barbara Ehrenreich; and legislators Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney, and Lynn Woolsey of the U.S., Libby Davies of Canada, and Caroline Lucas of the U.K. In addition to Mohammed, Iraqi endorsers include Hana Ibrahim of Iraqi Women's Will.
In the campaign document, the women declare that ''we have had enough of the senseless war in
CODEPINK, in a statement, said the
''As the three-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, the country is still wracked by violence, Iraqi civilians are suffering from a lack of basic services including electricity and clean water, and women's rights are under attack.''
The attempt to unite and mobilize women peace activists worldwide also marks a new effort to diversify the
Diversity has brought dilemmas, however. While a broad spectrum of organizations came together to protest the rising death toll in
Many activists eager to shield
CODEPINK seems to think it has found a way to resolve some of those differences. It said the Women Say No to War document urges ''a shift in strategy in
from Connie Julian :
10 January 2006
Indicts Bush Administration for War
Crimes Against Humanity
Indictments to be Delivered to White House on 9 January 2006, at 12:01:00 PM
from Michael Keefer :
9 January 2006
Subject: Re: Article from Global Research
Dear Francis Feeley,
I've been following your struggles at
I wonder whether the following article might be of interest to you
(given that Canada, a major energy exporter to the US, is in the throes
of a federal election, and that he Conservative party, whose leaders
are in the pockets of the Bush Republicans, currently enjoy a narrow
lead in opinion polls).
Best wishes for the New Year,
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université de Grenoble-3