Subject: REFLECTIONS ON A STRATEGY FOR SURVIVAL.
11 May 2007
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
If we start with an everyday definition of strategy as "knowing what we want", and of tactics as "knowing how to get what we want", we are left with the commonsense understanding that strategy without tactics is imaginary, while tactics without strategy is impossible.
As a young Ph.D. student in the 1970s, I did a considerable amount of research on the pre-war years in France, at the beginning of the 20th century. Intellectually I had been influenced by the events of "68" in Paris and Madison, Wisconsin, and my interest in non-authoritarian modes of social organization reflected general concerns within industrial society at the time. I believe I gained certain insights from this intellectual inquiry into the French anti-war movement at the turn of the century, not by studying the intellectual history of Jean Jaurés and the formal structure of the French Socialist Party but by investigating the social history of grassroots pacifist culture created by French primary school teachers, who were targeted by the almost ubiquitous pro-war forces at the local and national levels in France before 1914. Intimate friendships were a very important part of this French counterculture at the beginning of the past century.
Essentially there are three kinds of friendships, wrote Aristotle (384-322) in his Politics: those which constitute delightful relationships (of feeling "pretty, and witty, and gay," as the popular song celebrates); then there are friendships based on utility (the capacity to do favors and render services); and finally those friendships based on mutual respect and affection (reflecting the admirable moral qualities of both parties, rather than feelings of pure pleasure or usefulness).
Between men and women, Aristotle went on to observe, this third kind of friendship is rarely achieved, at least in the Athens of his day, whereas among males of a certain age such friendships were more easily developed --but only after the flightiness of youth had passed and before the cross temper of old age took over. At this moment, according to Aristotle, in the middling years of an individual's life, relationships of mutual respect could be cultivated, if attended to. This third kind of friendship, described by Aristotle, is exclusive and therefore private.
In my own research into the culture of French anarcho-syndicalist teachers I discovered that this relationship between private and public life played an important role in war-resistance activities at the start of the past century. At that period in time, society was once more caught up in a violent vortex descending inexorably toward war. French teachers in the first decade of the 20th century were expected to accommodate the economic and political demands of war production, by indoctrinating their students with feelings of nationalism, jingoism and xenophobia. But some teachers chose not to collaborate with these imperatives; often they were made to pay a heavy price for their resistance.
Ultimately, the shortcomings of the French resistance movement during the First World War are apparent to all : French pacifists did not prevent World War I, nor did they prevent the slaughter of nearly 10% of the French population between 1914 and 1918, notably at the Battles of the Marne, Verdun, and Somme . But their resistance did lead to the formation of a significant counterculture which for the next one-hundred years became an integral part of French political culture.
My interest and orientation in the study of the French pacifist movement came partly from my own experiences in the anti-war movement of the 1960s, first in Austin, Texas, then later in Madison, Wisconsin. At the time, many of us who opposed the war in Vietnam had formed what we then called "affinity groups" to protect one another from police brutality at demonstrations. These small groups of three or four persons were of course sometimes infiltrated by police informants, but self-defense was not necessarily illegal, and political assassinations of Americans (like the murder of Fred Hampton by Chicago police (on 4 December 1969), or the May 4 Massacre at Kent State University in 1970 when the Ohio national guard opened fire killing 4 European-American student anti-war demonstrators and wounding 9 others, or the Jackson State murders ten days later, when police killed two African-American students in Mississippi during protests against President Nixon's expansion of the war into Cambodia) were relatively rare. By-and-large, "affinity groups" were constructive social formations which tended to generate a positive space where intimate relations facilitated self-expression and where creativity could flourish in the midst of a violent authoritarian atmosphere rife with acrimony, fear, resentment and loathing --the inevitable by-products of careerism during hard times.
Arming themselves psychologically for strategic interventions in the affairs of daily life, "affinity groups" took on a cultural identity which was neither exceptionally painful nor at all euphoric. We simply saw ourselves as dissidents and war resisters, and this collective identity influenced our perceptions of the world around us. The petty tyranny, the rapport de force relationships which were reproduced in daily life became very visible issues. We grew to expect very little from self-aggrandizing leaders whose careers required repeated compromises in a context of worsening conditions. Such leaders were generally perceived to be simply opportunists, collaborating with the same political forces that supported imperialist wars and a colonization process at home and abroad that served their own private careers against public interests.
The six items below reflect new concerns about the increasingly authoritarian environment we have inherited since the Bush/Cheney declaration of "War on Terrorism". There is much that can be learned from these democratic discussions, and for some this information depicting various acts of repression and strategies of self-defense that are recurring in today's arena of late monopoly capitalism may offer hope.
Item A. is video site for an exchange of short documentaries in the political culture of which we are a part, sent to us by Julien Dudgeon.
Item B. is a response to our recent presentation of the Berrington Moore, Jr. study of Privacy [see Bulletin N 301 & N 302 in the CEIMSA Archives] by pacifist scholar Dr. Michael True, who introduces to us the pacifist writings of Gene Sharp.
Item C. is an article by San Francisco-based labor movement reporter , Dick Meister, who reports on the number of U.S. workers injured and killed on the job each years since the election of President George W. Bush in 2001.
Item D., from investigative reporter Dahr Jamail, is a piece on democratic solidarity in hard times: "MidEast Refugees Learn to Substitute Government".
And finally item E. is a podcast interview sent to us by George Kenney (of electronic politics) in which former CIA agent, Larry Devlin, discusses his clandestine activities in Sub-Saharan Africa, strategies which today are an open book available to anyone who is interested to learn more about where we came from.
And finally item F., from the Council for the National Interest Foundation, is an invitation to join the democratic protest movement at the 40th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION on June 9th and 10th in Washington, DC.
We close this introduction with the recommendation that our readers view the two-part interview available on the Democracy Now! podcast: (1) with U.S. historian Howard Zinn, and (2) with U.S. foreign policy expert, Noam Chomsky, and radical author Michael Albert.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Universit Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Julien Dudgeon :
Subject: sept 11
Date: Mon, 07 May 2007
Hello M Feeley,
Here is another look at Sept 11 that you may have not seen yet.
from Michael True :
7 May 2007
Subject: MASSIVE FORCE AND NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE.
Thank you for the quotation from Barringtom Moore, which is accurate up to a point. However, I fundamentally disagree with his conclusion in this passage, based upon only partial analysis of the nature of conflict.
I must acknowledge considerable frustration with the lack of information in France, generally, regarding peace, conflict, and nonviolence studies, particularly now that there are 400 centers for study and research on this relatively "new" interdiscipline. Last year, I was really quite stunned by the lack of sophistication among people's
naive understanding of nonviolence theory and strategy. They should know better, particularly now that we have Gene Sharp's "Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential." Boston: Porter Sargent, 2005, among other treatises. Nonviolent resistance is a "force," a "power,' deserving serious attention. I'm not saying they have to agree with that position, but until political scientists and others include nonviolent resistance in their discourse as an alternative to the inherited and often prejudicial "international relations" assumptions, I find it hard to take them seriously.
from Dick Meister :
9 May 2007
by Dick Meister
Despite the enormous loss of lives and millions of serious injuries and illness caused by workplace hazards, the Bush administration continues to blatantly disregard its legal obligation to curtail the needless dying and suffering.
Past experience guarantees that unless the administration acts swiftly and decisively, the number of workers dying on the job this year will reach almost 6,000. More than two million will be seriously injured. Another 50,000 or more will die from cancer, lung and heart ailments and other occupational diseases caused by exposure to toxic substances.
Think of it: That's an average of at least 16 workers killed and nearly 5,500 badly hurt on each and every day, plus 135 or more dying daily from job-related illness.
The financial toll will also be high: more than $3 billion in health care expenses and other costs to employers and workers, such as lost wages and production.
Much of that could be avoided. What's needed most -- and badly needed -- is strengthening the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the two related acts that cover mine safety and the agencies that administer the laws. For more than three decades, the agencies have been the only real tools for protecting workers from physical harm. Yet they've been woefully underfunded, woefully understaffed and woefully lax in enforcing the law - especially under President Bush.
The agencies are currently run by political appointees of Bush, many of them former executives from the industries they're supposed to regulate. They have blocked, withdrawn or weakened dozens of safety rules and stopped development of others recommended by safety and health experts. They've discontinued safety education and training programs and worked with Bush and Republican leaders in Congress to cut their own budgets by millions of dollars.
The agencies have largely abandoned on-site inspections in favor of a "voluntary compliance strategy." That means taking the word of employers that they have voluntarily complied with those rules that remain on the books and providing little protection to workers who face employer retaliation for challenging their word. Fines for violations are in any case rarely more than token amounts. Even rarer are criminal charges against employers whose willful violations lead to injury, illness or death.
President Bush's obvious attempts to help his corporate allies avoid the expense of making working life safer for their employees began very soon after he took office. In one of his first acts, he signed GOP-sponsored legislation that repealed regulations -- enacted under President Clinton after a decade of research -- that covered the most numerous of all occupational hazards.
The regulations were designed to protect computer operators, factory and construction workers, meat and poultry processors, hospital and restaurant employees, supermarket clerks and others who risk serious neck and back problems, chronically sore arms and wrists and other "repetitive motion injuries." They account for more than 60 percent of all on-the-job injuries, some of them permanently disabling.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration - OSHA -- has even blocked a proposed rule that would require employers to provide free protective equipment such as goggles, hard hats and gloves that thousands of low-wage workers can't afford.
Workers at all wage levels are at increasingly greater risk because of OSHA's inaction, but especially vulnerable are the generally lower paid immigrants who have become so important to our economy. They typically are hired for some of the most dangerous jobs, but hesitate to speak out against unsafe conditions for fear of deportation or other retaliation. New studies show that many of their injuries, and many injuries of others, are not even reported.
The number of workplaces and workers has increased substantially since passage of the job safety laws, as has the number and variety of hazards that need regulation. Meeting that need would cost money - money that the Bush administration and its allies are adamantly unwilling to spend.
Larger job safety budgets aren't all that's needed. There must be much greater oversight of particularly dangerous workplaces and new and tougher regulations if necessary. Penalties for violations have to be increased, workers granted strict whistle-blower protections and programs created to allow them to identify hazards and suggest ways to avoid them. Employers should be required to provide safety gear . The laws should be extended to farmworkers, local and state government employees and other groups not currently covered.
Bills to carry out those and other reforms have long languished in Congress. But now that worker-friendly Democrats control both houses, there's a good chance that at least some of the bills will pass. That might not quite carry out the promise of the Occupational Safety and Health Act to guarantee a safe job for every American worker, but it would come light-years closer than George W. Bush has taken us.
Copyright (c) 2007 Dick Meister, a San Francisco-based writer who has covered labor and political issues for more than four decades as a print, broadcast and online reporter, editor and commentator. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com.
from Dahr Jamail :
07 May 2007
Subject: MidEast Refugees Learn to Substitute Government
BEIRUT, May 2 (IPS) - The influx of refugees from Palestinian areas and the inability of the government to do much for them has strengthened a unique NGO providing essential services.
We recommend reading the story online. Click images for caption information.
The Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD), which began working in the early 1980s before registering as an official NGO with the Lebanese government in 1990, has taken it upon itself to provide environmental services, health education, medical services and community development centres for refugees.
"We give services because services are better than money," Ahmad Halimeh, co-founder of PARD told IPS at one of the group's busy clinics in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. "I try to teach people to help themselves."
This policy is not just an ideal but a necessity for Palestinian refugees who now comprise at least 10 percent of the Lebanese population of four million, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
As of December 2003, UNRWA lists 394,532 refugees in the country, about a quarter of a million of them living in registered camps. The group also lists more than 46,000 "hardship cases".
UNRWA is by far the largest UN operation in the Middle East and has a staff of more than 27,000, most of them refugees themselves, but that is still not enough. That is where PARD comes in.
Halimeh, a Palestinian, suffered prolonged hardships in a camp during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990). "I quickly realised there wasn't enough food or basic services for us, so five of us decided to start a committee to teach hygiene in the camps and deliver food and basic aid."
The group has grown rapidly since then. PARD now receives financial support from several international NGO's, including Norwegian People's Aid, Novib from the Netherlands, Oxfam Canada, Solidaridad International in Spain and the Karim Rida Said Foundation in Britain.
The need for support to the refugees has become increasingly well recognised among concerned groups. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not have social or civil rights, and only limited access to public health and educational services. Considered foreigners, Palestinian refugees are prohibited by law from working in at least 70 trades and professions.
This has led to a very high rate of unemployment amongst the refugee population. A Palestinian refugee in Lebanon still needs a work permit, valid for a maximum of two years.
The refugees are now the poorest section of Lebanese society, and are the poorest group of Palestinian refugees in any Arab country. The Israeli government refuses to repatriate them. Some refugees have been in Lebanon since 1948, the year the state of Israel was created in Palestine.
PARD has found itself campaigning for rights, besides providing services. "We do advocacy work for labour and civil rights of people because Palestinians cannot work here," said Halimeh.
But PARD focuses on solutions, rather than the obstacles.
The NGO has developed several clinics in Beirut, as well as two in southern Lebanon. It now owns a mobile clinic. During the war last summer this was among the first of medical services that victims in the south could access.
PARD also runs a transportation service to carry children to schools administered by UNRWA.
But despite its efforts towards education, healthcare and community building, PARD is unable to integrate Palestinian children into Lebanese society, since law prohibits Palestinians from using services meant for Lebanese civilians.
PARD has nevertheless made a great difference to the life of many Palestinians. "I like this administration because it treats us and the patients better than anyone I've seen," said laboratory technician Ata al-Hassan inside the general clinic at the Shatila refugee camp, where the PARD head office is located.
"Earlier I worked in one of Beirut's main hospitals, but I was never allowed to use my full training," Imam Dirbass, a midwife who has been working with PARD for 11 years told IPS. "We do everything for the women here before sending them to a general hospital for their delivery."
PARD clinics also provide ophthalmology services, paediatric care, first aid and education classes.
"UNRWA told me they could not help me and suggested I come here," Suthir Assad at the main clinic told IPS. "My 18-year-old son needs operations, so I'm hoping that these people can assist us somehow."
(c)2007 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the http://DahrJamailIraq.com website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media http://jeffpflueger.com . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.
from George Kenney :
Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 & Sat, 05 May 2007
Subject: PART I AND PART II of podcast Interview with Larry Devlin (former CIA)
(May 4, 2007)
In the 1960s Larry Devlin served twice as the CIA's Chief of Station in the Congo. His defining moment, it seems to me, was when he approved -- without instructions or consultation with Washington -- Mobutu's first coup in 1960. That pretty much set the course of the Congo for the next thirty years.
Reading between the lines (and, in fact, from what Larry tells me outside this interview), his initial posting to the Congo was not thought to be a plum -- indeed, he'd annoyed some senior Agency person, had been passed over for promotion a couple times, and the Congo was thought to be sort of an out-of-the-way backwater. "Get your tennis game up and make sure you have a change of formal dinner attire" was the advice he got before going.
But as it turned out the Congo became one of the premiere front-lines in the Cold War, and Larry made his reputation there. I've heard stories about his exploits since I was a kid in the Congo (our time there partly overlapped), and to me he's always been a legendary, larger than life figure. From the Congo Larry went on to be the CIA's Chief of Station in Laos, at a time when it was the largest station in the world. He retired quite some time ago, back in 1974.
For those who may question Larry's bona fides, I simply refer to the blurb by Seymour Hersh on the cover of Larry's new memoir. Hersh writes "...his very inside, very honest, and very unapologetic account of clandestine operations, cynical bargaining, and an idealistic desire to stop the Commies -- the basic stuff of CIA activity in the Congo during the early 1960s -- is as good as it gets."
Some who know a bit more about Larry's life may notice that I don't cover a few areas in my questions, particularly concerning Larry's activities after his retirement from the Agency. But I figure it's not my place to give him a rough time, nor would I want to. To be honest, I like the guy and I believe he tells his own story very fairly.
As we talked this conversation turned into a long one, so to make it easier on listeners I split it into two parts. Part I, at an hour and thirty two minutes, is linked below. I'll post Part II tomorrow. It's shorter, at forty six or so minutes (I haven't written up exit comments yet so that may add a couple minutes), and consists more, but not entirely, of light banter and story-telling.
I hope you enjoy this one. I certainly did!
(5 May 2007)
This link is for Part II (of two) of my conversation with Larry Devlin, legendary CIA operative. It's shorter, at forty eight minutes, and more swapping stories than an "interview-ish" conversation, though in the early part we have a couple thoughtful exchanges.
If you enjoyed Larry's story in Part I about how he was ordered by "Joe from Paris" to kill Lumumba (and given a kit including poison toothpaste to do it), but then didn't, you'll probably enjoy just as much his story here about how his daughter Maureen, then fourteen years old, saved the lives of the entire family during a middle of the night encounter with armed, known killers in the home. And then saved Larry a second time, a couple weeks later, from assassins with rifles in the garden. Quite a girl!
I would've told a story about bullets pinging off trees in my apartment building's back yard in the days before I got evacuated from Kinshasa in 1991, but it's just not as exciting :)
As always, if you think these two shows are interesting, please feel free to distribute the links as you deem appropriate.
from Council for the National Interest Foundation :
Subject: Protest 40 Years of the Israeli Occupation
9 May 2007
JOIN US IN PROTESTING THE 40th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION
[Tens of thousands to mobilize for protest rally and lobbying day on June 9th and 10th
in Washington, DC ]
The Council for the National Interest Foundation invites its supporters to Washington, DC, to attend "The World Says NO to Israeli Occupation," a two-day mass mobilization that includes a protest rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building on Sunday, June 10th and a lobbying day on Capitol Hill the following day, Monday, June 11th. The weekend events will mark the 40th anniversary of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Golan Heights, which began with the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war and continues today under worsening conditions for Palestinians. The organizers include the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition of more than two hundred national and grassroots organizations that includes the CNI Foundation, and United for Peace and Justice, the largest American anti-war coalition.
You can learn more about getting to and from Washington and how to volunteer or make a donation supporting the June 10th and 11th events by visiting the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation website or by contacting them by telephone at 202-332-0994.
In a separate event at the United States Navy Memorial at 4 pm on Friday, June 8th, the CNI Foundation will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty. Please join us in honoring the crew of the Liberty on the anniversary of Israel's two-hour attack in which 34 Americans were killed and 173 crewmembers were wounded. For more information, please contact the CNI Foundation Committee to Honor the Liberty Crew, telephone 860-535-2487.
A flyer is also available: Flyer for Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the USS Liberty Attack (PDF) 25.03 Kb
Council for the National Interest Foundation
1250 4th Street SW, Suite WG-1 · Washington, DC 20024
800.296.6958 · 202.863.2951 · Fax: 202.863.2952