Many years ago, former Wisconsin historian William Appleman Williams observed in his book,
and in the mass media, Williams observered, have produced a virtual industry for careers and commentaries over many years, to the shameless neglect of studies of "real material existence". Raymond William's essays on "culture and society," written in the late 1970s and early 1980s, suggested that
, as a conceptual instrument capable of more precise analytical operations; he likewise contended that social science should abandon the notion that superior ideas are those which are truer
of reality. For a more accurate understanding of the role that ideas play in society, the
, must be jettisoned, he implied, and there must exist instead a deeper appreciation for the fact that ideas serve to
our perceptions of reality, and that this "necessary process of making meanings and values" is actually an intervention which modifies material relationships in objective reality. (Raymond Williams, "Selections from Marxism and Literature," in
, ed. by Nicholas B. Dirks, et al., 1993.)
Returning to social existence and historic transformations of big ideas (what Bertell Ollman has called the
of "organic development" within the larger context of "historic progression"), I suggested recently to a U.S. Foreign Policy class that the present situation in the United States (and in Western Europe) might be understood by using the following method (borrowed from Sartre's discussion in
Imagine, I told the class, historical change as the movement of a screw turning into wood, a rotating movement that returns to the same place again and again, but at an ever deeper level with each turn. Then look at the following stages in the development of contemporary U.S. history: (1) The successful resistance of the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War produced the Anti-War Movement in Europe and America; (2) this Anti-War Movement (against murder, war crimes and crimes against humanity) gave rise the Anti-Imperialist Movement (against militarism and economic conquest of other nations); (3) this Anti-Imperialist Movement evolved into a democratic Anti-Capitalist Movement (in which tens-of-millions of men, women, and children struck out to liberate themselves from capitalist constraints using as vehicles such social movements as the Feminist movement, the Black civil rights movement, the Gay-rights movement, the Youth movement, the Student movement, La Raza, the American Indian Movement, the democratic labor movement, the "Friends of the Earth" movement, etc., etc.... (4) This democratic Anti-Capitalist movement produced alternative views to nationalism, militarism, competition for private profit, and the very meaning of "Success" itself. And this leaderless Anti-Capitalist movement produced (5) the Counter Revolutionary Movement (which began with Thatcher and Reagan in 1979/1980). The systematic application of this sophisticated policy of repression began in the U.S. in 1980; its efficient results assured that it would endure for decades, and it did. Many people who were born into this situation can hardly recognize it for what it is: a carefully thought out, manufactured, and executed counter-revolutionary repression. Like the proverbial goldfish born in a dirty aquarium, the present generation of students can be expected to have no notion of what "clean water" looks like (i.e. a non-repressive society), nor can they easily imagine the existence of such social relationships which developed in the absence of "artificially imposed scarcity."
The historical imperative of capitalist growth requires U.S. imperialist expansion, and the turning of the screw, so to speak, produces a cultural hegemony, once again in support of a policy of protracted wars (as it did during 50 years in the so-called "Cold War"). And once again, the ruling class is producing, albeit at another level, a bonafied
, which could quite possibly spawn many democratic movements, far and wide, aiming at human liberation . . . . (What seems clear from this study of history is that the various genocides, such as the ones that the Europeans inflicted on the people of Africa and the Americas, did
produce a popular Anti-War Movement and that the progression of movements described above has only occurred following moments of successful resistance.) One might conclude from this observation that only sustained resistance can initiate such a dialectical movement, and that, once it is released, this process cannot be easily contained by "culturally hegemonic forces" nor by any self-appointed representatives of "ruling class" interests. If this progression is an historic fact and if we can, indeed, identify certain repetitive patterns occurring at ever deeper levels, then the future of Counter-Revolution is certainly in question, but equally unknown are the future modalities of resistance and of human liberation, which are and have always been subject to the larger changing context, the historical progression that determines our felt needs and the new relationships springing from the technological revolution of which we are all a part.
This question was radically analyzed by London School of Economics sociologist J.H Westergaard, in his classic essay,
Professor Westergaard concluded his lengthy 1964 analysis by suggesting possible alternative developments in "the coming years":
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 31 March 2010
Subject: Daniel Ellsberg accuses President Obama of "deliberately deceiving the American people."
“Our President Is Deceiving the American Public”:
by Daniel Ellsberg
[Pentagon Papers Whistleblower on President Obama and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq]
We are joined by a man who played a major role in efforts to end the Vietnam War in the 1970s. In 1971, the then-RAND Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked to the media what became known as the Pentagon Papers, a 7,000-page classified history outlining the true extent of US involvement in Vietnam. After avoiding a life sentence on espionage charges, Daniel Ellsberg has continued to speak out against US militarism until the present day
from Alternatives Economiques <firstname.lastname@example.org> :
Date: 2 April 2010
Subject: Crise grecque, spéculation, retraites, bouclier fiscal, réforme de l'école, taxe carbone...
Si l'e-mail s'affiche mal, cliquez ici pour visualiser une version en ligne.
Lettre d'information du 2 avril 2010
La zone euro après la crise grecque
L'analyse de Philippe Frémeaux, directeur de la rédaction d'Alternatives Economiques, après l'accord du 25 mars dernier pour tenter de régler la crise grecque. Voir la vidéo.
Hausse du chômage : les territoires les plus touchés
Variation du nombre de demandeurs d'emploi inscrits à Pôle emploi entre janvier 2008 et janvier 2010 en catégories ABC. Lire la suite.
il faut innover !
Par Stéphanie Laguérodie
On pourrait associer départ en retraite des papy boomers et réinsertion des chômeurs de longue durée. Lire la suite.
Comment rendre l'Etat inefficace: le cas de l'école
Par Arnaud Parienty
Les réformes en cours désorganisent l'Etat, en particulier dans l'Education nationale. Lire la suite.
RÉFORME DES RETRAITES
On manque de données !
Alternatives Economiques interpelle l'Insee sur l'insuffisance des données concernant les revenus par tranches d’âge et leur évolution de long terme. Elles sont indispensables pour le débat sur la réforme des retraites. Lire la suite.
Comment les spéculateurs profitent de la crise
En pariant sur le fait que l'Etat grec n'arrivera pas à rembourser ses dettes, les spéculateurs réalisent de juteuses opérations. L'analyse de Christian Chavagneux, rédacteur en chef adjoint d'Alternatives Economiques. Voir la vidéo
Les "testaments bancaires" ont le vent en poupe
Laisser les banques faire faillite tout en en préservant les parties jugées indispensables pour la stabilité du système financier : l'idée fait son chemin dans les milieux politiques en Allemagne et aux Etats-Unis. Lire la suite.
Il n'y a pas que le bouclier fiscal
Le bouclier fiscal, renforcé en 2007 par la loi en faveur du Travail, de l'emploi et du pouvoir d'achat (TEPA), est contesté au sein même de l'UMP. Mais ce n'est que la partie émergée de l'iceberg. Lire la suite.
L e flot des saisies n'est pas endigué
Barack Obama a présenté, fin mars, un plan de 14 milliards de dollars pour enrayer les saisies de logements. Les mesures prises depuis deux ans ont, en effet, largement échoué. Lire la suite.
Climato-sceptiques contre climatologues: où est l’imposture?
Mrs Europe ou Frau Germania?
Ces économistes qui avaient prévu la crise
Le Luxembourg taclé par l’OCDE
Pour la Lettre de l'Insertion:
Une nouvelle fois les Caisses d’Epargne à contre courant
Pour Alternatives Internationales:
Michael C. Behrent
Obama et le capitalisme
Afrique du Sud: le travail de sape au grand jour de Julius Malema
Ouganda: “Un acte sans nom”
LE GRAPHIQUE DE LA SEMAINE
LE CHIFFRE DE LA SEMAINE
32 milliards d'euros
C'est le montant de l'argent envoyé en 2008 par les immigrés de l'Union européenne vers leur pays d'origine. Lire la suite.
SIGNÉ GÉRARD MATHIEU
Exit la taxe carbone
"Nous n'imposerons pas à nos industriels des contraintes si, dans le même temps, on autorise les importations venant de pays qui ne respectent aucune des règles environnementales à inonder nos marchés": en une phrase, le président de la République avait renvoyé aux calendes grecques l'une des mesures phares issues du Grenelle de l'environnement. Lire la suite
LE MOT DE LA SEMAINE
Cessation d'activité accompagnée du versement d'une pension financée par les cotisations prélevées durant la vie active. Lire la suite.
VOIR LE DICTIONNAIRE
LE TEXTO DE LA SEMAINE
Le commerce des armes ne connaît pas la crise. Le Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) pointe du doigt une hausse des ventes d'armes de 22% entre les périodes 2000-2004 et 2005-2009. Et en 2010, c'est le prix Nobel de la paix Barack Obama lui-même qui montrera l'exemple, avec un budget militaire record de 755 milliards de dollars aux Etats-Unis.
L'ÉTUDE DE LA SEMAINE
Les entreprises françaises et le marché mondial de l'environnement
La France est mal positionnée sur les nouvelles technologies de l'environnement (énergies renouvelables, stockage de l'énergie, batteries pour véhicules propres…) et risque de ne pas pouvoir tirer partie de la croissance "verte". Lire la suite.
from George Kenney :
Date: 19 March 2010
Subject: Podcast interview with John Kay, columnist with the Financial Times, re the global economy and local miseries.
In a sure sign that establishment intellectual elites have realized that things have gone too far, here's John Kay, a columnist with the Financial Times
, arguing that Iceland should not pay back its quote-unquote "obligations" from failed Icelandic banks to the governments of the UK and the Netherlands. And John has many other common-sense observations. Like him, I believe we need to rethink the language we use in economics, make the discipline more realistic, and show genuine concern for things other than pure profit.
Maybe all this doesn't sound too radical but I think that coming from the top of the British economic establishment it actually is...
I really enjoyed this interview and I hope you find it interesting and useful.
As always, please feel free to redistribute the link.
from The Council for the National Interest Foundation :
Date: 1 April 2010
Sbject: Call in your questions today, 1-877-474-3302! New PAC for Middle East Peace on CNI radio, April 1st.
Call in with your questions today, 1-877-474-3302! New PAC for Middle East peace on CNI radio, from Noon to 1pm ET
Sama Adnan, Ph.D., the founder and executive director of New Policy PAC
and the affiliated NewPolicy.org
will be our guest on "CNI: Jerusalem Calling" on Today from 12 noon to 1 pm ET. He will be joined by host and CNI board member Alison Weir. Dr. Adnan and Weir will discuss the aims of the newly founded organization New Policy.org and how New Policy PAC plans to support members of congress whose foreign policy align with America's national interest.
NewPolicy.org is an organization of American citizens committed to enhancing American security through establishing a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its sister organization, New Policy PAC, is a political action committee capable of funding congressional campaigns of politicians who understand that ending the Arab-Israeli conflict is in America's national interest. New Policy PAC is one of the few PACs working for Middle East peace in the United States.
Dr. Adnan has called for a national lobby that unites all Americans interested in peace in the Middle East to fund campaigns of Congressional candidates who work in the cause of peace. He strongly believes that peace in the Middle East is in America's national interest.
The show will air live online from Noon to 1 pm ET (5 pm to 6pm GMT). To listen, go to the show's homepage
and click on the "Listen Live" button for Studio A, at the top left. To call in with your questions and comments during the second half of the show, call toll-free: 877-474-3302. International users can ask questions by Skype, by calling Skypename: WSRADIOSTUDIO.
Also, check out archived editions of our show by going to the "CNI: Jerusalem Calling" archives
. Past shows archived there include conversations with Mustafa Barghouti, Akiva Eldar, UNRWA's Andrew Whitley, Stephen Walt…and many more.
"CNI: Jerusalem Calling" is a project of the Council for the National Interest Foundation. You can help support the radio show educate Americans on how current policies harm the American national interest by making a tax-deductible contribution to CNI Foundation by clicking here
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
from : The Huffington Post :
Date: 31 March 2010
Subject: Is America Becoming a Third World Country?
When It Comes to Innovation,
Is America Becoming a Third World Country?
by Arianna Huffington
s America turning into a third world country? That was the provocative topic of a panel I took part in last week at a conference sponsored by The Economist
entitled "Innovation: Fresh Thinking For The Ideas Economy."
Once upon a time, the United States was the world's dominant innovator -- partly because we didn't have much competition. As a result of the destruction wreaked by WWII, the massive migration of brainpower to the U.S. caused by the war, and huge amounts of government spending, America had the innovation playing field largely to itself. None of these factors exist as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.
America now has plenty of countries it's competing with -- many of which are much more serious about innovation than we are. Just look at the numbers:
A report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation looked at the progress made over the last decade in the area of innovation. Out of the 40 countries and regions it examined, the U.S. ranked
A study on innovation by the Boston Consulting Group concluded
that America is "disadvantaged in several key areas, including work force quality and economic, immigration, and infrastructure policies."
In 2009, patents issued to American applicants dropped by 2.3 percent. Those granted to foreign-based applicants increased
by over 6 percent.
Why are we falling behind like this? For one thing, we've lost our educational edge. America once led the world in high school graduation rates. We are now ranked
18th out of 24 industrialized countries.
And the percentage of 15-year-olds performing at the highest levels of math is among the lowest. South Korea, Belgium and the Czech Republic, among others, have
at least five times the number the U.S. does.
Plus, we are no longer investing in innovation. Until 1979, around 50 percent of all research and development funds were provided
by the federal government. That number has fallen to 27 percent. And, during the 1990s, the bottom fell out of U.S. funding for applied science, dropping
by 40 percent.
The economic crisis is also taking a toll
on innovation. Venture capital investment in the U.S. for the first three quarters of 2009 was $12 billion. Over the first three quarters of 2008, it was $22 billion.
These numbers may not place us in the third world ... yet. But the trend is not a good one.
Adding to the problem is the sense that America's best days may be behind us. Many economists and historians are warning that our current economic downturn has created a new normal. That the country will never be the same. Things are, of course, going to be different. But that doesn't have to mean that they are going to be worse. However, if we don't get serious about innovation, they will be. When it comes to our approach to innovation, we desperately need some innovation.
For starters, we need to kick our high-speed Internet plans into high gear. A robust, broadband-charged, countrywide information superhighway is going to be key to staying ahead of the innovation curve.
As FCC Chair Julius Genachowski explains
, broadband isn't just important for faster email and video games -- it's the central nervous system for democracies and economies of the future:
- Broadband is indispensable infrastructure for the 21st century. It is already becoming the foundation for our economy and democracy in the 21st century... [and] will be our central platform for innovation in the 21st century.
How indispensable is it? In a study
of 120 countries, researchers found that every 10 percent increase in broadband adoption increased a country's GDP by 1.3 percent.
Unfortunately, when it comes to broadband, America is also falling behind.
In 2001, the United States ranked 4th among industrialized countries in broadband access. By last year, we had dropped
to 15th. As for average broadband download speed, we rank
Nearly 93 million Americans still don't have
broadband in their homes. And while 82 percent of those who attend college in the U.S. have access to broadband, only 46 percent
of high school graduates do.
To help close the widening gap between us and the rest of the digitally connected world, the Obama administration has proposed
a National Broadband Plan, with the goal of increasing broadband access from around 65 percent currently to 90 percent by 2020.
The proposed plan would make high speed broadband available to 100 million Americans by 2020, and ensure that every high school graduate is digitally literate.
This sounds great. But 2020? Given that we're already behind, how about initiating a broadband version of the Manhattan Project? If it's truly a priority, and, as seems obvious, important to national security and the relative position of the United States in the world, why put it off for a decade?
Another focus of innovation is the green economy. One proposal that would jumpstart green innovation is the creation of a Green Bank, which, according to John Podesta and Karen Kornbluh
, would "open credit markets and motivate businesses to invest again," and "enable clean-energy technologies -- in such areas as wind, solar, geothermal, advanced biomass, and energy efficiency -- to be deployed on a large scale and become commercially viable at current electricity costs."
Such a bank would also help loosen the available credit for small businesses, and establish the reliable source of funding entrepreneurs need to know will be there if they devote themselves to green technologies and start ups.
Fortunately, such a proposal is already making its way through Congress. Reed Hundt, the former FCC chair under President Clinton, is now the head of a group called the Coalition for Green Capital, whose goal
is "to establish a government-owned, wholesale, non-profit bank that would fill the void that exists in clean-energy legislation in America today." Hundt is currently joining Congressman Ed Markey in trying to make the Green Bank proposal part of the next jobs bill. Which makes sense, since, according to Hundt's group, a Green Bank would create about four million jobs by 2012.
Another area ripe for innovation is our immigration policy -- particularly when it comes to granting visas to foreign-born entrepreneurs.
Great ideas come from all over the world, and if we don't welcome the people with those great ideas and make it easy for them to come here, they will go elsewhere. Indeed, they already are going elsewhere. Right now the U.S. has
an immigration limit for skilled workers of 65,000, and an additional 20,000 slots for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. This kind of rigid cap doesn't make sense in today's world. The "visa process has been plagued with backlogs resulting from this quota," says Jonathan Ortmans, a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation. "As a result, high-skilled immigrants are looking for opportunities elsewhere in an increasingly competitive global labor market, taking their innovative ideas with them."
Enter the people behind startupvisa.com
, a group with an innovative proposal for increasing America's share in the global idea marketplace. They want to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to come to America and start job-creating business.
Our current law allows foreign investors to get a visa if they start a business in the United States with $1 million in capital that creates at least 10 jobs here. The venture capitalists behind Start Up Visa want to shift the emphasis from foreign investors to foreign entrepreneurs who can get funding from American investors. The idea is to reward good ideas. And by requiring those with good ideas to first get foreign funding, you make it more likely they will just decide to create their companies someplace else too.
This proposal is also in the legislative pipeline. The Start Up Visa Act is co-sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Richard Lugar. Their bill would create a two-year visa for immigrant entrepreneurs who are able to raise a minimum of $250,000, with $100,000 coming from a qualified U.S. angel or venture investor. After two years, if the immigrant entrepreneur is able to create five or more jobs (not including their children or spouse), attract an additional $1 million in investment, or produce $1 million in revenues, he or she would become a legal resident.
Kerry and Lugar made their case
in a recent op-ed:
- At a time when many are wondering whether Democrats and Republicans can come together on anything, there is at least one area where we're in strong agreement: We believe that America is the best country in the world to do business. And now is the time to reach out to immigrant entrepreneurs -- men and women who have come from overseas to study in our universities, and countless others coming up with great ideas abroad -- to help drive innovation and job creation here at home.
The senators, who hope to pass the measure this month, are positioning it as a jobs initiative, not an immigration reform initiative, and hope to include it as part of a larger bill aimed at helping small businesses add jobs. "This bill is a small down payment on a cure to global competitiveness," Kerry told
These, of course, are just three ways of promoting innovation. But they are prime examples of what we need if we are to shake off our complacency and avoid the slow slide to third world status.
America is rich with resources -- both natural and human -- but we can no longer afford to utilize them so inefficiently. We can't afford to be the only nation in the industrialized world in which half the country doesn't have access to broadband. We can't afford to allow other nations to take the lead in creating a green economy. And we can't afford to keep making it so hard for people with job-creating ideas to start their businesses here.
from Ralph Nader :
Date: 3 April 2010
Subject: A society not alert to signs of its own decay . . . .
A society not alert to signs of its own decay, because its ideology is a continuing myth of progress, separates itself from reality and envelops illusion.
from Reader Supported News :
Date: 3 April 2010
Subject: Robert Reich | No Jobs Recovery.
Yesterday's job numbers looked good, but of all the damn lies out there none is easier to spin than employment statistics.
from Jim O'Brien :
Date: 26 March 2010
Subject: [haw-info] Links to recent articles of interest.
[Suggestions for inclusion in these more-or-less biweekly lists can be sent to jimobrien48@ gmail.com. Working group members are Carolyn (Rusti) Eisenberg, Maia Ramnath, Matt Bokovoy, Tom Murphy, and Jim O'Brien. Thanks also to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and John J. Fitzgerald for suggesting articles included in this week's list.]
"Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem Does Not Belong to Jewish-Israelis"
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted March 23
On the history of Jerusalem from ancient times; the author teaches Middle East history at the University of Michigan
"Texas School Board Whitewashes History"
By Daniel Czitrom, History News Network, posted March 22
The author teaches history at Mt. Holyoke College
"Counterfactual: A Curious History of the C.I.A.'s Secret Interrogation Program"
By Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, March 29 issue
Dismantles Marc Theissen's best-selling book Courting Disaster
"From the Philippines Conquest to Afghanistan, the U.S. Trains Local Police in Brutality"
By Jeremy Kuzmarov, History News Network, posted March 22 (first published in Asia-Pacific Journal)
"Twisting History in Texas"
By Eric Foner, The Nation, April 5 issue, posted March 18
The author teaches history at Columbia University
"The Pentagon Church Militant: The Top Five Questions We Should Ask the Penatagon"
By William J. Astore, TomDispatch.Com, posted March 18
The author, a retired Air Force lieutenant Colonel, teaches history as the Pennsylvania College of Technology
"Justifying Torture: Yoo Besmirches the Legacy of Jefferson"
By Ray McGovern, CounterPunch.org, posted March 16
"Torture and the Imperial Presidency"
By Cary Fraser, Truthout.org, posted March 15
The author teaches history at Pennsylvania State University
"The Travails of a Client State: An Okinawan Angle on the 50th Anniversary of the US-Japan Security Treaty"
By Gavan McCormack, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted March 12
"An Open Letter to President Obama: U.S. Foreign Policy and Post-Election Iran"
By Cyrus Bina, Counterpunch.org, posted March 12
Traces the history of recent decades of US-Iran relations