14 June 2010
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In his book, Breakfast of Champions
(1973), Kurt Vonnegut Jr. tells the mock-tragic story of miscommunication, when a small alien arrived on Earth carrying a big message: his secret knowledge of how war, suffering, and pestilence can be averted forever. The alien's name was Zog and he came from the planet Margo, where the lower atmosphere is mostly methane gas. Unfortunately, Zog spoke no English and could communicate only in his native dialect. When he arrived from outer space onto a golf course that was frequented by redneck businessmen, he entered the lodge and began to fart and tap-dance on the dinning room table; he was soon dispatched with a nine-iron, thus destroying all chances of saving Earth from self-destruction.
Redneck power has expanded across the planet; it has taken over the management of institutions and the governance of entire states; it controls transnational corporations. Virulent nationalist redneck sentiments are custom made, designed to serve gladly the interests of the rednecks' masters; there is little chance for more rational voices to be heard through the din. Nevertheless, young people like Furkan Dogan
--the 19-year-old American-born activist who was targeted and assassinated by Israeli commandos while standing atop the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara
that was carrying thousands of tons of humanitarian aid to the caged people of Gaza-- continue to act. His life was taken along with the lives of eight other international humanists before dawn on the morning of May 31, when several hundred activists who were held hostage with the rest of us by Israeli nuclear warheads and ideological traps, headed toward Gaza to bring much needed supplies to the colonized Palestinians. Braving the displeasure of the brain-washed, and avoiding the carefully crafted disinformation of professional propagandists out to destroy them, these heroic citizens of the world risked their lives to break The Silence
. This they did because they could do nothing else of more value with their lives at a time when murder and illegal aggression and black propaganda is condoned, again and again, at the highest levels of governments, usually by a conspicuous silence on the part of collaborators and sometimes by their loud laughter and applause.
have suggested that we may soon be witnessing massive social movements of historic proportions --where, for example, 1.4 million Palestinians from Gaza join 1.9 Palestinians from Jordan, plus more than 700,000 from the West Bank, another 1 million from Syria and Lebanon, with 200,000 from Saudi Arabia, tens of thousands from Egypt, along with millions of their supporters-- converging for a rendez-vous in Jerusalem. A pacifist movement to occupy the Oval Office with Obama could, in the opinion of some, accompany this non-violent mobilization in the Middle East with great effect, supported, as it might be, by a worldwide boycott of Israel. A reaction of hysterical violence against such a non-violent movement would predictably cost many lives, but its final outcome is guaranteed, and the responsibility for mobilizing so many people ready and willing to say good-by to their sweet planet Earth and its warm sunshine, lies wholly within the armed camp, who would be instantly defeated by the concerted actions of so many of their victims and their victims' sympathizers, who demonstrated their intent to restore to the human species the status of one race in possession of a diversity of talents and complementary interests which might serve to enhance life on this planet as never before.
But according to western traditions, first penance must be paid for the sins; only then is redemption possible. The assassins and their supporters can be forgiven, but they must first make atonements for their sins. What took decades, and generations, and sometimes centuries to accomplish in the past, might today take only weeks, and months, or a few years.
If you take, for example, the Roman Catholic tradition --the oldest and largest continuously functioning institution in the western world, which in 2009 boasted a total of 630 archdioceses and 2,167 dioceses in the world-- its recent history is instructive of the power of penance and redemption: In June 1933, when Pope Pius XI signed the Reich Concordat
with Adolph Hitler, there was hope that the chaotic political economy might be brought under the control of two authoritarian, centralized powers: the anti-modernist
Papacies of Pius XI and Pius XII, and the Fascist dictatorships in Italy, Germany, and later Spain were seen by many as the necessary remedies for "too much democracy". Germany was out to re-establish its imperial system, just as England, France, and the United States had achieved, and Fascism was their means to this end. The Church was determined to protect itself from the expansion of democracy in Italy and elsewhere, and it found in Fascist expansion the hope to evangelize in Eastern Europe in the wake of German liebensraum
expansion policy and Croatian ethnic cleansing.
The Code of Canon Law
, published and implemented in 1917, completed the groundwork for establishing a remarkable new "top-down power relationship." It was described by John Cornwell, in his book, Hitler's Pope, The Secret History of Pius XII
, as "arguably the most important event in the history of the Catholic Church in the modern era. . . ."(p.41) It was an achievement in complete continuity, according to Cornwell, with institutional changes that had begun with the First Vatican Council in 1870, when, against the background of the Church's loss of its dominions and principalities in Italy, Pope Pius IX was empowered with a virtual authority of top-down control, as the undisputed supreme spiritual and administrative head of the Church, recognized as "infallible" in matters of faith and morals.(Cromwell, pp.5-6):
- “We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra,
- that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic
- authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine
- assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer
- willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore
- such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.
- So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.”
The Code of Cannon Law
of 1917, like so many other codifications of institutional rules and regulations, was inspired by the Napoleonic Code
of 1804. The 1917 Code of Cannon Law
, according to the distinguished Protestant canon lawyer, Ulrich Stutz, had an enormous ideological significance on the pyramidal model of authority within the Catholic Church: "Now that infallibility in the areas of faith and morals has been attributed to the papacy," he wrote in 1917, the acceptance of this Code "has completed the work in the legal sphere and given the [Catholic] Church a unicus et authenticus fons
[a unique and authentic source] for administration, jurisdiction, and legal instruction --unlike anything the Church has previously possessed in its two-thousand-year existence."(p.42) While it was clear that Rome had declared unilateral independence from all secular influence, it was quickly apparent that a transfer of authority from the local dioceses to Rome was underway. Cannon 1323 blurred the distinction between the ordinary and the solemn teaching authority of the Pope, a confusion that the First Vatican Council of 1870 had strived to avoid. The conflation, on the part of ordinary church members, of ex cathedra
dogma and papal encyclicals
came to be known as "creeping infallibility." At the same time, the concepts of heresy
were fused in Canon 1324:
- It is not enough to avoid heresy, but one must also carefully shun all errors that more or less approach it;
- hence all must observe the constitutions and decrees by which the Holy See has proscribed and forbidden
- opinions of that of that sort.
The edited edition of the 1917 Code, used in Catholic seminars in 1983, was even more explicit:
- Such are all the doctrinal decrees of the Holy See, even though they be not infallibly proposed, and even
- though they come from the Sacred Congregations with approval of the Holy Father, or from the Biblical
- Commission . . . . Such decrees do not receive the assent of faith; they are not de fide catholica. But they
- merit genuine internal and intellectual assent and loyal obedience.(cited by Cornwell, pp. 42-43)
Thus by codifying canon law, Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII) all but uprooted collegiality as an ideal to be achieved within the institution he was to lead. His autocratic, top-down control over Church membership, according to Cornwell, was to have devastating consequences on Europeans during the rise and fall of the Third Reich, between 1933 and 1945. The studied silence of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) following the Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942, where 15 high Nazi officials (including Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, and Adolf Eichmann) met in Berlin to discuss the administrative organization, the techniques, and the economy of murdering 11 million European Jews had the effect, in the judgement of this author, of condoning the Holocaust; it served to sabotage the effective organizing of any resistance.
Particularly poignant are his well-documented descriptions of Church collusion with European Fascism in Chapter 9, entitled "The Concordat in Practice," and Chapter 14, "Friend in Croatia," and Chapter 17, "The Jews of Rome." In the final pages of this book, on "Sources, the 'Silence' Debate, and Sainthood" John Cornwell concludes that Eugenio Pacelli, far from being a saintly exemplar for future generations, represents "a deeply flawed human being from whom Catholics, and our relations with other religions, can best profit by expressing our sincere regret."(p.384)
In 1962, the Second Vatican Council repented and rejected the "triumphalist Catholic Church in antagonistic confrontation with Communism in Italy and beyond the Iron Curtain" (p.7) it "rejected the monolithic, centralized Church model of his predecessors, in preference for a collegial, decentralized, human community on the move." (p.7) Pope John XXIII's famous May 14, 1965 prayer for forgiveness was an apology for centuries of Catholic anti-Judaism:
"Forgive us for the curse we falsely attached to their name as Jews. Forgive us for crucifying Thee a second time in their flesh. For we knew not what we did."(cited on p.378)
At the outset of the third millennium, we might be well advised to observe carefully the constructions of pyramidal power structures, built to encage populations with the use of terror so that the masses seek protection by following the dictates of an elite living in solitude at the summit of the hierarchy.
In the 6 items below CEIMSA readers may discover the real elements that sin, penance and redemption are made of. Discussions of various interpretations of these specific materials may enhance our understanding of "what is to be done" in our own age of rampant gangsterism.
Item A. is a series of images Israel didn't want seen, taken from the Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010.
Item B. is a communication from Dr. Brian Peterson, of Historians Against War, providing Internet links to articles of interest and against the mind-numbing effects of black propaganda.
Item C. is a message form Ange Crequie, at the College de France, sending us the video link to Noam Chomsky's talk at conference organized by Professor Jacques Bouveresse on "Rationalité, vérité et démocratie : Bertrand Russel, Georges Orwell, Noam Chomsky," followed by a general discussion in which Francis Feeley participated in Paris, on the evening of Friday, 28 May.
Item D. is a research proposal on racism in the US sent to us by Grenoble graduate student, Randa Abdessalem, specializing in American civilization.
Item E. is a series of articles from the inimitable Jim Hightower on the tattered image of democracy in the USA.
Item F. is a copy of the June Newsletter from BASTA! , the environmental and social activist organization building a social movement for meaningful change in Europe.
And finally, we invite CEIMSA readers to read William Blum's . . .
and Paul Jay's
. . .
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Democracy Now :
Date: 10 June 2010
Subject: Images Israel didn't want seen.
On the night of Sunday, May 30, Israeli naval forces surrounded and boarded ships sailing to bring humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. On the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli commandos opened fire on civilian passengers, killing at least 9 passengers and wounding dozens more. Others are still missing. The final death toll is yet to be determined. Cultures of Resistance director Iara Lee was aboard the besieged ship and has since returned home safely.
In the wake of the commando raid that left nine dead, the Israeli government confiscated every recording and communication device it could find–thus allowing the state to control what the world learned about the assault.
Despite the Israeli government’s thorough efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Iara Lee was able to retain some of her video recordings. Below is 15 minutes of raw footage from the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos’ assault on the Mavi Marmara.
from Jim O'Brien :
Date: 11 June 2010
Subject: [haw-info] Links to recent articles of interest.
Iran's Green Movement: One Year Later: How Israel's Gaza Blockade and Washington's Sanctions Policy Helped Keep the Hardliners in Power"
By Juan Cole, TomDispatch.com, posted June 10
The author teaches Middle East history at the University of Michigan
What's Next for the Nuclear Disarmament Movement?
By Lawrence S. Wittner, Foreign Policy In Focus, posted June 9
The author teaches history at SUNY Albany
A Warning from Noam Chomsky on the Threat of Elites
By Fred Branfman, Truthdig.com, posted June 7
Pakistan: The Myth of Civilizing War
By Adaner Usmani, New Politics, Summer 2010 issue
Kill a Turk and Rest
By Uri Avnery, Z-Net, posted June 6
On the Gaza flotilla attack, with historical analysis
A Head for an Eye : Gaza, Israel, and the Limits of Escalation Dominance
By Geoffrey Wawro, Huffington Post, posted June 5
The author teaches military history at the University of North Texas
Doubling Down in Afghanistan: Why We Refuse to Fold a Losing Hand
By William Astore, TomDispatch.com, posted June 3
The author teaches history at the Pennsylvania College of Technology
Israel s Permanent Insanity: The Madmen of Our Times
By Vijay Prashad, CounterPunch.org, posted June 1
The author teaches South Asian history at Trinity College
The Common Culture of Turkey, the United States, and Iran
By David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org (formerly AfterDowningStreet), posted May 30
With much historical background based on Steven Kinzer s new book Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America s Future
Vietnam and Afghanistan: Still Waist Deep in the Big Muddy
By Harry Targ, the Rag Blog, posted May 27
from Ange Crequie :
Date: 7 June 2010
Subject: Chomsky at College de France.
Bonjour MR FEELEY
J'espère que vous etes bien rentré!
Pour infos sur le colloque de CHOMSKY, il sera sur le site du CDF ce soir ou demain, avec les questions!!
Rationalité, vérité et démocratie: Bertrand Russel, George Orwell, Noam Chomsky - Discussion générale
9H JJ ROSAT CDF
10H PASCAL ENGEL UNIVERSITE GENEVE
11H15 T DISCEPOLO EDITIONS AGONE
14H J BOUVERRESSE CDF
15H J NEWSINGER BATH SPA UNIVERSITY
16H PAUSE A CONFIRMER
16H15 CHOMSKY MIT
17H15 DISCUSSION [Feeley's participation is recorded toward the middle of the above link above]
from Randa Abdessalem :
Date: 7 June 2010
Subject: Sujet de memoire: "White racism in the USA."
Dear Mr. Feeley,
Last week I watched a two-part doc broadcasted by the French program EnvoyÃ© SpÃ©ciale and I found them very interesting to the point I am willing to choose that topic for my paper. It's about white racism in the US. Here bellow the links of the videos; can you please have a look at them and i will come tomorrow to your office to discuss it.
Attached, you will also find a three pages long explanation of the topic plus the fundamental questions, brainstorming. Hope you will like it too and find it a good subject to talk about.
Links of the videos:
Have a nice day and see you tomorrow.
from Jim Hightower :
Date: 9 June 2010
Subject: Hightower's Populist News: Government Impotence, Plutonomy, Beyond BB, & more!
Government Impotence and Corporate Rule
Many news reports about the Gulf oil catastrophe refer to it as a "spill." Wrong. A spill is a minor "oops" one accidentally sppills milks, for example, and from childhood, we're taught the old aphorism: "Don't cry over spilt milk." What's in the Gulf isn't milk and it wasn't spilt. The explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon well was the inevitable result of deliberate decisions made by avaricious corporate executives, laissez faire politicians and obsequious regulators.
Read the rest of this column on Creators.com
Thursday, June 3, 2010 | Posted by Jim Hightower
Good news, people! The economy is roaring like a tiger again, so we shoppers are now willing and able to spend more.
I know this is true, because it says... [read more]
Friday, June 4, 2010 | Posted by Jim Hightower
For the super-rich hoity toities of our land, the democratic populism arising among the hoi polloi is unpleasant, messy, and... well, so common. Instead of that, they sniff,... [read more]
Monday, June 7, 2010 | Posted by Jim Hightower
"Tony Two-step" is too much, isn't he? Tony Hayward, I mean, the slick CEO of BP who keeps trying to dance his way around the public's fury over the oily mess he and other top... [read more]
Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | Posted by Jim Hightower
Gosh, how quickly things turn - one day you're a strutting peacock, the next day you're just another gasping, oil-covered bird.
In early April, BP was strutting about in full corporate... [read more]
Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | Posted by Jim Hightower
There's one direct, grassroots way that workaday folks can create more fairness in our country's plutocratic, corporate-controlled economy: unite in unions. Indeed, some 60 million workers say they'd join a union today if they could.
... [read more]
Date: 9 June 2010
Subject: Newsletter Basta ! - juin 2010.
AGENCE D'INFORMATIONS SUR LES LUTTES ENVIRONNEMENTALES ET SOCIALES NEWSLETTER - JUIN 2010
par Ivan du Roy
Trois administrateurs de sites Internet alternatifs passent en procès le 11 juin à Paris. Ils ont été mis en examen sur plainte du groupe Bouygues et de ses filiales pour avoir relayé, il y a cinq ans, un texte dénonçant la construction de centres de rétention par le géant du bâtiment.
[Lire la suite]
Par Olivier Vilain (27 mai 2010)
Le sociologue Robert Castel défend cette « propriété sociale » que constitue le droit à la retraite, et qui évite – pour combien de temps ? - aux salariés vieillissants de devenir pauvres. L'ancien disciple de Pierre Bourdieu et Michel Foucault rappelle que « la percée la plus décisive en matière de droits sociaux », dont la retraite, a été réalisée dans une France qui allait bien plus mal qu'aujourd'hui : un pays dévasté par la Seconde guerre mondiale, avec une productivité qui s'était effondrée, mais où la volonté politique de redistribuer les richesses produites était bien présente. Entretien.
[Lire la suite]
Ça se passe en Europe
Par Eric Simon (4 juin 2010)
En Bulgarie, la justice a condamné un jeune « d'origine étrangère » pour le meurtre d'un étudiant bien sous tout rapport. Fait divers médiatique : 20 ans de prison pour le jeune en question, l'Australien Jock Palfreeman. Mais derrière la version officielle, une autre vérité se profile, moins favorable à la justice bulgare. Où l'on apprend qu'il ne vaut mieux pas venir en aide à des Roms victimes d'une agression raciste au sein de l'Union européenne.
[Lire la suite]
Par Loudo S. (8 juin 2010)
Une centaine de travailleurs sans papiers ont installé leur piquet de grève devant l'Opéra Bastille à Paris. Depuis maintenant neuf mois, ils revendiquent encore et toujours ce qui devrait être évident : leur régularisation. Le ballet des négociations avec le gouvernement a repris, pendant que la préfecture préfère jouer de la matraque en envoyant ses valkyries. Rencontre avec ces travailleurs sortis de l'ombre.
[Lire la suite]
Grève des crèches
Par Nolwenn Weiler (30 mai 2010)
Non content de s'attaquer au droit à la retraite, le gouvernement s'en prend à la petite enfance. Parents et professionnels des crèches ou des écoles maternelles sont plus décidés que jamais à faire plier le gouvernement sur le retrait d'un décret durcissant les conditions d'accueil et de travail dans le secteur de la petite enfance. Ils ont défilé ce samedi dans toute la France. En vain ?
[Lire la suite]
Par Olivier Marcolin, Ivan du Roy (4 juin 2010)
Depuis neuf ans, la Commission nationale de déontologie de la sécurité (CNDS) enquête sur les dérives des forces de l'ordre qui lui sont signalées. Ses rapports annuels recensent de plus en plus de cas d'humiliations, de brutalités voire de bavures meurtrières. Plus pour longtemps. C'en est fini de ce fragile rempart contre la quasi impunité des policiers. Une loi est en passe de supprimer la CNDS.
[Lire la suite]
Par Julien Salingue (4 juin 2010)
L'État d'Israël était-il dans son bon droit en prenant d'assaut la « flottille de la liberté » ? Celle-ci était-elle liée au Hamas ? Julien Salingue, enseignant à l'université de Saint-Denis et membre du NPA, répond aux arguments répétés depuis le 31 mai par les représentants israéliens.
[Lire la suite]
découvrez le projet Basta !
Le projet de média alternatif Basta ! est porté depuis 2005 par une équipe de journalistes, renforcée par des photographes, des vidéastes et des contributeurs issus des mouvements sociaux. Prévu initialement pour devenir un magazine sur support papier, Basta ! s'est transformé en agence d'informations en ligne sur les enjeux sociaux et environnementaux.
[Lire la suite]
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De Sarajevo à Gaza : histoire de « provocations » humanitaires Par Ivan du Roy
La « flottille de la liberté » est considérée par certains comme une « provocation ». Et si la solidarité internationale avait été jugée en d'autres temps comme telle, justifiant une riposte militaire « proportionnée ». Que se serait-il passé ?
[Lire la suite]