Subject: ON HOW THE RULING CLASS RULES US
: FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND
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28 January 2006
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Working as a teachers' union organizer in the
Today's unabashed arriviste behavior, enshrined in the economic theory of Rational Choice and dressed in the costumes of ostentatious rhetoric, speaks to a profound epistemological confusion : One analogy has been "The King Wears No Clothes"; another might be found in the trees of an apple orchard which are dying because someone has closed the irrigation system and the trees are receiving no water. Instead of solving the problem of scarcity by turning on the water and planting more trees, workers are encouraged to pick the remaining apples and the competition among them leads to a violent scramble for the best remaining apples. But the trees are dying, and no one is attempting to rescue them by turning on the water, and no one is even thinking about planting more trees. The Rational Choice is to pick the best apples for your immediate advantage and as quickly as you can, before other workers find them.
When I served as president of a teachers' association in
I rather enjoyed my job, visiting various groups of colleagues and discussing with them their concerns and aspirations. It was an education. Those at the top of the hierarchy sometimes expressed an unbridled greed, convinced that they merited much, much more by way of privilege and money; while those at the bottom of the hierarchy --the great majority of part-time, temporary teachers, who had the same university degrees, the same teaching credentials, and taught the same students, using the same textbooks and the same class rooms as those above them-- earned 60 % and 70% less than their tenured colleagues at the top. Their concerns were closer to survival : sometimes bitter and usually desperate, they wanted the right to a livable wage so they could practice the vocation to which they had dedicated their lives, despite the major financial constraints.
In both cases, I was exposed to a lot of personal opinions; my job was simply to encourage my colleagues to formulate their self-interests. Once they became conscious of their self-interests and became aware of their priorities, they were better prepared to form alliances, despite the vigilantly maintained hierarchy which effectively served to weaken them by isolating each teacher from the other.
What might normally appear as an individual's obnoxious arrogance and inflated self-importance is perceive by an organizer as one more swamp of self-deception to wade through before arriving at the terra ferma, where the struggle against entrenched social class interests necessarily takes place. Only here can the "natural order" of society be successfully challenged by organized resistance and a new social order be democratically created.
From such organizing activities sometimes emerges a collective recognition of "common ground," despite the many cultivated differences --both real and imaginary. At this point a social movement is born.
We should make no mistake about it, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden both represent ruling class interests. Their social class objectives and their methods of mobilizing mass support to achieve these aims are the same. We can go back to our kindergarten careers to recognize this phenomenon :
I want control of the sandbox.... You want control of the sandbox.... My friends will fight your friends, for me.
The control of fossil fuel is
the prize, of course. But control for what purpose? to enslave the industrial world after the collapse of the market economy?
What is the objective of such massive control of energy sources? [See Craig
Unger's book, House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship
Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties .]
The recent mail received by our research center speaks to these questions: How conscious are the ruling classes of their real interests? What are their methods to dissolve any organized resistance by the masses, whose collaboration is essential to the rulers for the expansion of their power?
Item A. is a communication from social activist, Ralph Nader, (born 1934) on the loss of his mother (also a social activist), who died at the age of ninety-nine.
Item B. is an analytical essay sent to us by Professor Richard Du Boff (from Bryn Mawr College) which illustrates how one can be indoctrinated to despise humanity and to love consumerism and the market economy --the necessary reversal of true socialist values-- which is a precondition for reproducing throughout society capitalist relationships that generate the culture of greed and individual competition and the formation of authoritarian hierarchies within institutions.
Item C. is an essay sent to us by Professor Edward Herman (from The Wharton School of Finance) offering readers a long-term analysis of contemporary U.S. foreign policy in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America.
Item D. is an article from Information Clearing House on "The Project for the New American Century", by William Rivers Pitt.
Item E. is Dahr Jamail's interview with retired lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, from the U.S. Air Force on
Item F. is an article from Common Dreams News Center on the conviction of Peace Activist, Peter DeMott, by Federal Court Judge Thomas J. McAvoy, in
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université de Grenoble-3
from Ralph Nader :
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006
Subject: Ralph Nader on the Passing of His Beloved Mother, Rose Bouziane Nader
Our mother -- our teacher who inspired us, who raised our horizons for justice in our world, who showed by example -- passed away peacefully at her home on January 20th,
Peace with Justice,
Rose Bouziane Nader – Teacher, Homemaker, Civic Advocate and Author
Rose Bouziane Nader,
who raised a family of civic activists by her teaching, writings and personal
example, died on January
Rose Nader with her great-grandson
She is survived by a sister, Angele Bouziane Mokhiber, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, two daughters, Dr. Claire Nader of Washington D.C. and Winsted, Connecticut, and Anthropology Professor Laura Nader of Berkeley, California, a son, Ralph Nader of Washington, D.C.; three grandchildren and three great-grand children. She was predeceased by her first son, Shafeek Nader, the principal founder of the
In the nineteen fifties, after the destructive hurricane and flood of Winsted in 1955 – the third disastrous flood there in thirty years- she famously pressed then Senator Prescott Bush in a public gathering to pledge to push for a dry dam by not letting go of his handshake until he had promised to do so. And it was built. No more floods since. After the flood damaged the local movie theater she also arranged for a community room at the local YMCA to be devoted to the recreational needs of local youngsters who otherwise might be loitering on the streets. She also initiated and led the Women’s Club International Relations Committee, bringing distinguished speakers to the Town to inform the citizenry about world affairs.
Mrs. Nader was active in adult education in
During the seventies, Mrs. Nader was criticized in an editorial by the Wall Street Journal for having insisted that her children munch chick peas on their walk to school instead of presumably something sweeter. They charged that she was puritanical. This so amused her. Later, when hummus became a popular dish, she remarked, “I suppose I was a little ahead of the times for the Wall Street Journal.”
In 1991, after years of orally responding to questions from people curious about what formula she used to raise her children, she authored the book It Happened in the Kitchen, which contained her philosophy of child-rearing, the intimate connection between good food and diverse kitchen table/family conversations and some 100 recipes to nourish this food and thought combination. The last segment includes many perceptive observations by her husband, Mr. Nader, during discussions with their children. She was featured that year on the Phil Donahue Show with her book, which received wide circulation. One of the recipes presented on the show was hummus!
Dr. Donna Andrea Rosenberg, a specialist in child rearing, wrote that the first section of the book “is the best I have ever read on child development. It is a masterpiece of utility and brevity. I constantly recommend it.”
Mrs. Nader was a contributor of articles to several publications, including one in the New York Times on the irony of those common assurances of credibility (“in all honesty,” “to be perfectly frank,”), which have the unintended effect of undermining the speaker’s previous statements. In the U.S. Postal Service’s magazine she wrote praising so-called “junk mail” from citizen organizations that do inform you about what is going on in their world and give you a choice to help expand their efforts.
Rose Nader was a joyous person with an engaging vibrant manner, a love of singing songs and spreading proverbs and an irreverent sense of humor. “She was not a person of many words,” said her daughter Claire, who is active with many citizen groups, “but her content contained much memorable wisdom.” For example, her daughter Laura noted, “on child-rearing formulas, Mom observed that, ‘there is no recipe.’ On supporting each other, it was ‘operation cooperation.’”
To her young children, Rose Nader would explain health care just when they were most receptive--lying in bed with childhood ailments. To her growing children, she would teach about priceless things by asking them the price of sunshine, or songbirds or cool breezes. She declined to read to her little ones, preferring to draw on her wide historical and literary memory and speak directly to their eyes so as to discern their reactions and expressions.
Rose Nader consistently conveyed to her children their duty to improve the country to which she had emigrated. “One day, when I was about nine years old,” recalled her son Ralph, “she asked me if I loved my country,” I replied that I did, whereupon she said “Well I hope when you grow up, you’ll work hard to make your country more lovable.”
When her children came home from school for lunch, she would relate installments of an historical saga. While at the evening meal, she listened to the children talk about what the school day was like.
A practicing advocate of the uses of proverbs to raise children and enrich adult conversations as well, she was collecting Arabic proverbs used liberally in her own family upbringing and community in Lebanon with a view of compiling them in a book.
A memorial service will be held at a date to be determined.
For further comments about the life of Rose Nader, you may wish to contact :
Rose Bouziane Nader, Activists' Mother, Is Dead at 99
Associated Press, New York Times - January 25, 2006
Rose Nader, 99, dies in Winsted
Karsten Strauss, Register Citizen Staff - January 24, 2006
The above was written by the Nader family on January 23, 2006.
The following was written by
David Halberstam on January 23,
I thought she was a remarkable person who lived a remarkable life, going literally from one century to another.
She was strong, loving, hard-working and modest. All of the virtues were hers. I used to ponder how much she and her husband had seen in their lives for it was a great American story. They had come here in the Twenties with little more than their hopes and their capacity for hard work, and in just one generation they had seen their own children prosperenriching what was around them and being enriched at the same time.
What I will remember is her kindness to our family over the years, her sense of obligation to others, and a belief that citizenship demanded a daily commitment.
And of course her modesty, in the mid-sixties, back when Life Magazine was still powerful, the editors put Ralph on the cover. My mother, thrilled by this, immediately called Rose to tell her.
“Yes,” said Mrs. Nader, “that’s nice. I must get out and get a copy.” We all loved that, the “a copy” reference.
January 23, 2006
from Professor Richard Du Boff
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006
Subject: UCLA Witch Hunt
Below is a message from UCLA Professor Saree Makdisi, Department of English, UCLA.
"As you may have already heard, Rob Watson, Rafael Perez-Torres and I are currently listed on the website of UCLAprofs.com, a venture of the Bruin Alumni Association, on whose board serve, among others, CA State Senator Bill Morrow (who introduced SB5, the so-called student bill of rights, into the CA Senate) and our erstwhile colleague Leila Beckwith. Rob and Rafael will have to check for themselves, of course, but my "dossier" at this organization includes utterly false, misleading, distorted as well as libelous claims (e.g., that I am a "vicious anti-Semite."). The organization actively encourages UCLA students to spy on the currently blacklisted faculty, as well as on a separate list of "targeted faculty" which includes Arthur Little, Stephen Yenser and Jonathan Post. They offer, for example, cash for recordings of class lectures, lecture notes, etc. See below. I'm writing to see if there's anything that can be done to protect what remains of academic freedom at our university." -- Saree Makdisi
Check out their website, with a list of 30 targeted faculty: http://www.uclaprofs.com/
The blurb below, copied from the site, denies "conducting a witch-hunt." Instead, "Occasional political remarks, jokes, or the like are generally harmless behavior. We are concerned with a class which in full any reasonable observer would agree was taught in an unacceptable or unprofessional manner."
However, in the "expose" of Makdisi, they have no accusations about his classes: they simply attack him for the political and intellectual positions that he has taken in op eds, published in the
HERE IS THE APPEAL TO SPY ON PROFESSORS: http://www.uclaprofs.com/studentshelp.html
Excerpts: "Do you have a professor who just can't stop talking about President Bush, about Howard Dean, about the war in Iraq, about MoveOn.org, about the Republican Party, about the Democratic Party, or any other ideological issue that has nothing to do with the class subject matter? It doesn't matter whether this is a past class, or your ongoing class this winter quarter . . . If you can help UCLAProfs.com collect information about abusive, one-sided, or off-topic classroom behavior, we'll pay you for your work . . . To see if we need information on the professors you've already taken, or will be taking this winter quarter, call 310-210-6735, or email bruinalumni (AT) bruinalumni.com today, and you could be paid tomorrow . . . . The following are materials we need for past or ongoing classes, along with rates of compensation. Full, detailed lecture notes, all professor-distributed materials, and full tape recordings of every class session, for one class: $100.
"(Note: lecture notes must make particular note of audience reactions, comments, and other details that will properly contextualize the professor's non-pertinent ideological comments. If the class in question is ongoing or upcoming, UCLAProfs.com will provide (if needed) all necessary taping equipment and materials.) . . . Full, detailed lecture notes and all professor-distributed materials, for one class: $50 . . . "
The Guardian Saturday January 21, 2006 Dan Glaister in
It is the sort of invitation any poverty-stricken student would find hard to resist. "Do you have a professor who just can't stop talking about President Bush, about the war in
For full notes, a tape recording and a copy of all teaching materials, students at the
Lecture notes without a tape recording net $50, and even non-attendance at the class while providing copies of the teaching materials is worth $10.
But the initiative has prompted concerns that the group, the brainchild of a former leader of the college's Republicans, is a witch-hunt. Several targeted professors have complained, figures associated with the group have distanced themselves from the project and the college is studying whether the sale of notes infringes copyright and contravenes regulations.
The Bruin Alumni Association's single registered member is Andrew Jones, a 24-year-old former student who gained some notoriety while at the university for staging an "affirmative action bake sale" at which ethnic minority students were offered discounts on pastries.
His latest project has academics worrying about moves by rightwing groups to counter what they perceive to be a leftist bias at many colleges.
The group's website, uclaprofs.com, lists 31 professors whose classes it considers worthy of scrutiny. The professors teach classes in history, African-American studies, politics, and Chicano studies. Their supposed radicalism is indicated on the site by a rating system of black fists. The organisation denies on the website that it is conducting a vendetta against those with differing political views. "We are concerned solely with indoctrination, one-sided presentation of ideological controversies and unprofessional classroom behaviour, no matter where it falls on the ideological spectrum."
But in another posting, it is clear just where on the spectrum the group thinks the bias might fall. "One aspect of this radicalisation, outlined here, is an unholy alliance between anti-war professors, radical Muslim students and a pliant administration. Working together, they have made UCLA a major organising centre for opposition to the war on terror."
from Eward S. Herman :
24 January 2006
Here is a good analysis of why the new “democracy promotion” thrust is basically antidemocratic, by Jonah Gindin, (Venezuelanalysis.com, June 13, 2005).
from Information Clearing House :
25 January 2006
"We have stricken the shackles from 4,000,000 human beings and brought all labourers to a common level, but not so much by the elevation of former slaves as by reducing the whole working population, white and black, to a condition of serfdom. While boasting of our noble deeds, we are careful to conceal the ugly fact that by our iniquitous money system we have manipulated a system of oppression which, though more refined, is no less cruel than the old system of chattel slavery."
Greeley (1811-1872) Editor of the New York Tribune,
ran against Ulysses Grant for presidency
"Big money and big
business, corporations and commerce, are again the undisputed overlords of
politics and government. The White House, the Congress and, increasingly, the
judiciary, reflect their interests. We appear to have a government run by
remote control from the
-Bill Moyers - PBS Commentator
from Dahr Jamail :
27 January 2006
Subject: Interview with Karen Kwiatkowski
Interview with Karen Kwiatkowski
In July, 2003, Karen
Kwiatkowski retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force, having
served since 1978. From May, 2002, to February, 2003, Karen Kwiatkowski served
in the Pentagon’s Near East and
Interviewed by Omar Khan for www.dahrjamailiraq.com, read the interview of Dr. Kwiatkowski's blistering and revealing comments about the neo-conservatives, Bolsheviks, fascism and the Bush Administration agenda in
OK: Could you say something about your reasons for joining the Air Force some 20 years ago?
KK: Basically, they gave me a full ROTC scholarship, and I needed money to go to college. That was the deal. I was happy to do it actually. I had applied for navy and army, and the one that I got was Air Force.
My dad had served in the navy for 4 years in, I guess, the late 50s. And he used to always talk about how great the military was. So we were pretty disposed to the military, but I joined the Air Force because they’re the ones that coughed up the money for college.
OK: So military service has been a tradition in your family for at least two generations.
KK: It’s definitely looked highly upon in my family. Actually, I have two brothers, bothone was for his career in the navy, just retired. The other was in the marines for about seven or eight years.
OK: What do you mean when you’ve elsewhere referred to the military as an apolitical institution?
KK: When I refer to the military as apolitical, that’s because, as an institution, it’s supposed to be. But it’s kind of political in the
sense that if you’re what’s called a conservativeusually you’re in good company when you’re in the military. You’re around a lot of people that care about some of those basic things. So there’s that aspect. But technically apolitical.
We swear an oath to the constitutionto defend it against enemies, both foreign and domestic. They’re words, but every time you get promoted you have to retake the oath. So it does make you think about the constitution. You’re reminded of it in a way that other people in other jobs are not reminded of it. So we have this constant ideait’s kind of reinforced to us throughout our careers: what we’re supposed to be doing, what we’re all about.
OK: How did you see whistleblowing in terms of these values?
KK: You’re oath is not to a political party, it’s not to an institution, but to an idea: to a constitutional republic. So we have a president who serves for 4-8 years.
And he hasaccording to the constitutionlimited duties that he takes care of. We have a legislature; and a judiciary. So if you care about those things, and you’re out to preserve that balanceto respect that balance rather than personsyou don’t think of it as whistleblowing, you think of it as, you know, my loyalty is to what is right, to how these things are supposed to work. I was working pretty closely with those who lied to the American people into buying an unnecessary war, an illegal war, I think. But my loyalty is not to those peoplewhether those people are the president, Republican or Democrat, whether those people political appointees, whether those people are civil servants. The loyalty is to the system, and the system is set up in such a way to prevent stupid things from happening in foreign policy.
OK: What do you mean when you characterize neoconservatism as a dead philosophy of anticommunism?
KK: In 2002, before I was actually working with people doing Near East policy and seeing and meeting these neoconservativesI didn’t even know what a neoconservative was. I began to look at who these individuals were, what they were doing before in our government, and what they cared about politically. These are the same guys that are responsible for Iran-Contra. They don’t care about the law. They are liberals at homevery much not a traditional conservative political perspective domestically, but closer to the more Social Democratic approach, somewhat like our Democratic party used to be, domestically; but, in terms of foreign policy, very hawkish, extremely hawkish, extremely aggressiveblack and white, murder, death, kill basically. I hate to say that, but that’s what it is: they have to die so we can live. Intervention oriented foreign policy, which is not conservative either. This is kind of the political home of neoconservatives.
The Cold War was perfect for this crowd; and this crowd made their political bones during that time. These guys were the hardcore
anticommunists even within the Reagan administration. Richard Perle actually left the administration in 1986 based on Reagan’s overtures and receptivity to Gorbachev. Perle, Wolfowitz, Armitage, Rumsfeld, Cheneyall these guys, though not always in the exact same way, had a place in the Reagan administration as hardline hawks, even though many of them were not Republicans. In fact Richard Perle to this day is a registered Democrat.
OK: What is your view of the legacy to which the neocons are heirs?
KK: The intellectual fathers of neoconservatismwhat shapes their approach internationallyare the Bolsheviks. International revolution, international changeradical change, global revolution. And these same terms, these same ideasof international change, revolution, transformationthese are the words of Michael Ledeen and some of the other articulators of neoconservatism. And the actual people, and they’re not ashamed to really say this, but guys like Irving Crystal and other intellectuals of the 30s had actually been Bolsheviks.
One of the characterizations of neocons today is that they are neo-Jacobinsphilosophically, this idea that people are the same, all
want the same thing, and should have the same thing. That ‘same thing’ in a modern neoconservative view is this idea of democracy.’ But is it really democracy that they want, or is democracy simply a trojan horse. Certainly for
Certainly we don’t want them to have democracy, because then they’ll make us leave. So it’s unclear that democracy is a goal, but that’s what they talk about: the God of Democracy. So it’s not like Trotskyism in the sense that they’re not advocating global communism but they are advocating universal, radicaland in effect, catastrophicchange. And this is kind of a clear thread for many years.
So the neoconservatives are not new; during the Reagan era, the ‘Cold War’ was their vehicle for credibilitythis evil enemy that we must face, or else the end of the world is coming. They cannot work without this global enemy, almost a kind of class warfare. You can’t just have a mere enemy; it has to be a monstrous enemy, something that can destroy us. They’ve found that in, or rather cultivated it, in what is called ‘Islamic Fascism.’ Unfortunately this doesn’t exist. No one advocates it. No one articulates it. In the 1930s, Hitler had fascism and he talked about it. Islamic Fascism is a made up thing. . But it doesn’t matter: what matters is that it’s useful in generating fear, and serves that same larger purposeproviding a platform from which to operate.
Now you can follow the money too. The neocon philosophy provides a construct within which we can‘we,’ being the establishment,
corporatismcan move. So you have this construct that talks of ‘fear’ ‘protection,’ ‘security.’ Which are used to advocate interventionintervention for security, what
OK: Please say a little bit about your experience in the Pentagon.
KK: I worked four and a half years for the Pentagon. Between May of 2002 and March of 2003, I worked in Near East South Asia (NESA) bureau in the Pentagon, which worked alongside The Office of Special Plans (OSP)a group of twenty-five people or so in August 2002under Bill Luti. It was dissolved in August 2003about four months after the invasion and the mission accomplished declaration by the president.
Its job had been done.
The whole idea with
One of the amenities with which we were provided as staff officers were talking pointsSaddam Hussein, WMD, and terrorism. If there is anything that you’d need to research on
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) had a staff of 6 or 7 people dedicated intelligence people who had no other job than to support our boss, Bill Luti (Deputy under NESA and OSP). Their only job was to answer Bill Luti’s questions and provide Bill Luti with the intelligence that the intelligence community had, particularly DIA intelligence. So the means by which a policy receives its information was perverted. It may have been perverted before then, but I know that it was perverted in the time that I was there, from May 2002 to March 2003. The DIA people were told: ‘no this is not what I want to hear, go back and do a better job’
This is what I saw as an observer. Not as a person inside DIA. But I can tell you, I talked to these guyswho’d come over to brief the lower level people on a routine basis : They were always under pressure. OSP saying, ‘I don’t need that, give me what I need,’ and DIA saying, ‘I can’t give you something that doesn’t exist.’
I actually explained this to the Senate staffers during the Phase I investigation of intelligence. They were like: oh, whatever. Basically unwilling to entertain the possibility. But there was clearly a huge contempt for information; what they did, instead was to ask for exactly what they wanted to hear, probably about 95% of which was entirely false.
Anyone who talked of sanctions and continual bombing of
OK: How does this fit into what you’ve called ‘grand plans’ that today ‘walk the corridors of the Pentagon’?
KK: This global enemy‘Islamic fascism,’ ‘Islamic terrorism,’ or whatever it isenables war in the
and from there we will be able to deal with our enemiesprimarily, Syrians and Iranians. But this has nothing to do with
Common Dreams New Center