Subject: ON POPULATIONS LOST LIKE TOURISTS IN A JUNGLE OF METAPHYSICS.
6 May 2012
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Any serious study of the social history of science and art is necessarily an encounter with the method of dialectical materialism. Today, we are fortunate to have this complex methodology made more accessible by the writings of NYU Professor Bertell Ollman and the ubiquitous Oxford University scholar David Harvey. [The scholarly works of these two important intellectuals have been cited on numerous occasions in CEIMSA Bulletins. Please see the CEIMSA Archives for specific references.]
My own preliminary study of epistemology began some time ago with the study by V. Gordon Childe in his important book, Society and Knowledge (1956), in which he warns readers of the imbalances of human evolution, where “men’s capacities for action have expanded enoumously” due among other things to the development of new intellectual tools, where as
Unfortunately languages took shape when human technology was in the Stone Stage, and language expresses the categories. The normal symbolic vehicles for ideas, words, were agreed upon to represent the things then made and used, the actions appropriate to their spatial manipulation and arrangement and to resultant tangible configurations, and a grammar imposes the anthropomorphic categories of that remote period. This limitation imposed on their expression has, as we have seen, gravely hindered the production of fresh ideal tools more suitable to the enlarged field of action they should prepare. (p.94)
In the Old Stone Age the only way men could move things was to push and pull them with their own muscular energy. Neolithic men had domesticated oxen, asses and horses and could make them do some of the pushing and pulling. Scarcely two thousand years ago Greek engineers designed water mills for grinding grain, and therewith men began to control and use for the first time an inanimate motive power. In the last thousand years the Greco-Roman water mill has given birth to varied progeny of complicated machines actuated by inanimate motive powers (water wheels, steam engines, etc.) and applying rotary motion to the performance of an immense variety of repetitive operations formerly executed by hand. Familiarity with machines that European societies could construct and operate completed the transformation of the personal or animistic category of cause into a mechanistic one that since Newton has done such signal service in physics. The outline pattern, imagined on the analogy of machines that men do make but far outstripping human ingenuity to realize, is itself just a vast machine whose motion, being cyclical because all the essential parts just revolve, produces only change in the relative positions of the components, but no really novel configuration. The latest transformation of the ‘eternal’ category (cause and effect) in turn is similarly related on the one hand to the invention and construction of electronic machines that are no longer cyclical and on the other to the creation of symbolic vehicles for the intellectual tools, e.g. for expressing, and operating with, mathematical probability.
Besides its liability to personification, causality suffers from a further defect. ‘Events’ as perceived are seldom simple, but can be usually analyzed into a whole train of events. To the lazy motorist it is a push on the starter button that ‘causes’ the engine to ‘go.’ Any mechanic can recognize a battalion of complex processes in delicate mechanisms intervening between the pushed button and the firing cylinders, and a scientist could identify a regiment of subtler reactions behind them! (p.86)
Atomic physicists have abandoned causality in favor of mathematical probability. They have been induced to adopt this drastic expedient not by the criticisms leveled against the old category by logicians, but to accommodate fresh empirical data. Their reason suggests that the category of causality is based on experience rather than its prerequisite. (p.77)
The approaches made by social scientists such as Childe, Hauser, and Bernal are in contradistinction to metaphysical approaches reproduced endlessly in middle-class institutions of higher education, placing private feelings above the skills of observation, experimentation, and interaction with patterns of the external world.
The abstractions practiced in academia can become painfully remote in the hour of need. The departure from material reality and the flight from specific context is a practice now several generations in the making. It serves to alienate and to disempower the ‘knower’ and to promote passive conformity to mental categories which are reproduced daily in an effort to lend stability to patterns of external reality to which they no longer correspond and which remains foreign to social comprehension. The transition from private experience to public knowledge has been effectively blocked by the metaphysical approach to understanding that has no relationship with the real patters of life around us. For this we must pay dearly….
The 12 items below will offer CEIMSA readers the opportunity to test Childe's idea of knowledge by perceiving patterns as they emerge from the contemporary external world and by recognizing appropriate concepts and categories which better correspond to what they are looking at; thereby allowing the patterns "inside their heads" to interpenetrate with the patterns of material reality in the world around us.
Item A., sent to us by Marc Ollivier, is an interview with Noam Chomsky on the long, slow death of the American Empire, taken from AlterNet.
Item B., from Professor John Gerassi, is an open letter to the rulers of American universities demanding the traditional protection for academic freedom.
Item C., from Là-bas si j’y suis, is an article on “Le cancer de l'industrie. »
Item D. from Jim O’Brien is a message from Historians Against War.
Item E.from Truth Out, is an article by Beverly Bell analyzing“Community Control of Education.”
Item F. from Reader Supported News, is an article by David Schwartz on the State of Arizona’s Ban on Funding for Planned Parenthood.
Item G., from NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, an article on “Fukushima still spewing . . . .”
Item H., sent to us by Truth Out, is an article by Lawrence Wittner on “Occupy Wall Street, an unforgotten US heritage.”
Item I., from Truth Out, is an article by Alex Seitz-Wald on “the corporate control of US lawmakers.”
Item J. is an article first published in the Guardian, by Chris McGreal, writing on the UN demand that the United States return stolen land to the Amerindians.
Item K., from Democracy Now!, is an interview with David Harvey on “Rebel Cities.”
Item L., from Reader Supported News, is an article by Professor Chomsky on “the American way of economic suicide.”
And finally, we offer CEIMSA readers three commentaries, the first sent to us by Garance Upham,
“An amazing interview on how Finance looks at the French elections”
the second, from Professor Edward Herman, on how Americans look at the US political system :
And the third commentary is a video by Zedess, depicting how the “not-so-silent majority” sees French President Nicolas Sarkozy today :
NICOLAS SARKOZY, POURQUOI TON PÈRE A FUIT LA HONGRIE?
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Noam Chomsky :
Date: 23 April 2012
Subject: Occupy, occupy, occupy….
Noam Chomsky on America's Declining Empire, Occupy and the Arab Spring
http://www.alternet.org/story/155116/noam_chomsky_on_america%27s_declining_empire%2C_occupy_and_the_arab_spring by Joshua Holland
Last year, the Occupy Movement rose up spontaneously in cities and towns across the country, radically shifted the discourse and rattled the economic elite with its defiant populism. It was, according to Noam Chomsky, “the first major public response to thirty years of class war.” In his new book, Occupy, Chomsky looks at the central issues, questions and demands that are driving ordinary people to protest. How did we get to this point? How are the wealthiest 1 percent influencing the lives of the other 99 percent? How can we separate money from politics? What would a genuinely democratic election look like?
Chomsky appeared on this week's AlterNet Radio Hour. Below is a transcript that's been lightly edited for clarity. (You can listen to the whole show here.)
Joshua Holland: I want to just ask you first about a few trends shaping our political discourse. I’ve read many of your books, and the one that I probably found influential was Manufacturing Consent. You co-authored that in the late 1980s and since then we’ve seen some big changes. The mainstream media has become far more consolidated, and at the same time we’ve seen a proliferation of other forms of media. We have the alternative media outlets -- online outlets like AlterNet -- various social media. Looking at these trends, I wonder if you think that the range of what’s considered to be acceptable discourse has
widened or narrowed further?
Noam Chomsky: Actually Ed Herman and I had a second edition to that about 10 years ago with a new, long introduction. At that time we didn’t really think much had changed, but if we were to do one now we would certainly want to bring in what you’ve just mentioned. Remember we were talking about the mainstream media. With regard to them I think pretty
much the same analysis holds, although my own feeling is that, say since the 1960s, there has been some broadening and opening through the mainstream -- the effect of the activism of the '60s, which changed perceptions, attitudes, and civilized the country in many ways. Topics that are freely talked about today were invisible, and, if visible, then unmentionable 50 years ago.
Furthermore, a lot of the journalists themselves are people whose formation was in the '60s activism and its aftermath. These are changes that have been going on for a long time. With regards to the alternative media, they certainly provide a wide range of options that weren't there before -- that includes access to foreign media. On the other hand, the Internet is kind of like walking into the Library of Congress in a sense. Everything is there, but you have to know what you’re looking for. If you don’t know what you’re looking for you might as well not have the library. Like you can’t decide you want to become a biologist -- it’s not enough to walk into Harvard's biology library. You have to have a framework of understanding, a conception of what’s important and what isn’t important; what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. Not a rigid one that never gets modified, but at least some kind of framework.
Unfortunately that’s pretty rare. In the absence of activist movements that draw in a very substantial part of the population for interaction. Interchange -- the kinds of things that went on in the Occupy community for example -- in the absence of that most people are kind of at sea when they face the internet. So yes, they can find things of value and significance, but you have to know to look for them and you have to have a framework of analysis and perception that allows you to weed that out from a lot of the junk that surrounds it.
JH: Separating the wheat from the chaff.
NC: Basically. That does require an organized activism. That’s the kind of thing you have to do with other people. You have to be able to try ideas and get reactions. You have to sharpen your perceptions. That really doesn’t take place without substantial organization. Now, there is interchange over the Internet, but it tends to be on the superficial side.
JH: That may be an understatement looking at the comments on our Web site. Let’s turn to your book on the Occupy movement. It’s called Occupy. It’s a quick and really good read. Professor, you do a good job of explaining the class war that’s been waged from above by our economic elites over these past 30-40 years. But privation is relative -- Americans living at the poverty line still have a greater amount of wealth than 80-90 percent of the world’s population. Given that very few people are actually starving in this country, and these economic trends go so far back, what do you think was the tipping point here? What set off this movement now? Was it just the severity of the Great Recession, or do you think something else helped open people’s eyes?
NC: Well, you’re certainly right that we’re better off than most of the world. In fact just before talking to you I happened to be talking to a wonderful woman from India who’s been working for many years living in villages in one of the poorest areas, describing their activities -- their successes and failures. Of course that’s a radically different world. People here, or anywhere, don’t compare themselves with the Stone Age. They compare themselves with what ought to be available for a decent life in the kind of society they live in. This is the richest, most powerful country in world history. It has extraordinary advantages. Comparing what ought to be, given those circumstances, with what is for the large majority of the population -- the 99 percent in the imagery of the Occupy movement -- that’s a huge gap.
For example, we don’t have the kind of healthcare that comparable societies have. We don’t have the kind of infrastructure. The last 30 years there’s been -- even apart from the last recession -- a relative stagnation of the large majority of the population. What’s actually
happened is captured pretty nicely in a small book that came out after the publication of my book. There’s a recent publication by the Economic Policy Institute, which has been the main source of reliable data on the state of working America -- which means almost everyone -- for about 30-35 years. It’s called Failure by Design. It’s an easy read and worth reading. The title is quite accurate. It’s failure in the sense that for the large majority of the population there has been essentially no progress, even though there’s been substantial wealth produced. The economy itself is far less productive than it ought to be. Production for what people need is far less. It’s of course been a spectacular success for a tiny portion of the population, a tenth of 1 percent knocks the distribution off the international scales.
It’s a class-based failure that’s by design. That’s the crucial fact. There have been and still are other options available. Things don’t have to happen like this. I think there’s just been a steady buildup of concern, anger and frustration. You can see it in polls. Hatred of institutions and distrust is all over the country, and it’s been rising for a long time. The Occupy movement managed to capture the mood and crystalize it. That’s the way popular movements take off.
Take the Civil Rights movement. The movement itself went on for decades, but a few things did lead to a substantial growth and development, like Rosa Parks, or black students sitting in the lunch counters in Greensboro, North Carolina. Things happen that draw in others and all of a sudden you get a popular movement. Same thing happened in the anti-war movement, the women’s movement, the environmental movement, or the global justice movement.
Occupy came along at a time which was ripe, and the strategy I thought was brilliant. If I had been asked I wouldn’t have advised it. I never thought it was going to work. Fortunately I was wrong. It worked very well. Two major developments took place I think, and if it can be sustained and expanded it’ll be extremely important. One was just changing the discourse, putting things on the public agenda that were simmering in the background but were never articulated in a focused fashion -- like inequality or financial corruption and the shredding of the democratic system, the collapse of a productive economy. These things just became common coin. That’s very important.
The other thing that happened, which is hard to measure, is the creation of communities. The Occupy communities were extremely valuable. These were communities that just kind of spontaneously developed out of mutual support, public interchange and the kinds of things that are very much lacking in an atomized society like ours’, where people are
kind of alone. The social unit that the business world strives for is a dyad, a pair. You and your television or you and your computer screen. That was broken by the Occupy movement in a very significant way. Just the possibilities of cooperation, solidarity, mutual support, public discussion, democratic participation is a model which should inspire people. A lot of people did participate, at least peripherally.If these two developments could be sustained and expanded there could be a long-term impact. It’s not going to be easy and there are major challenges. Tactics will have to be readjusted as always, but it was a
real breakthrough. If you think about what’s happened in just a few months it’s quite startling.
JH: I want to shift gears a little bit. You’ve had a lot to say and write about the so-called Arab Spring. It seems that this "awakening" has been somewhat uneven, as has the U.S. government’s reaction to it in various countries. We had the specter of the government somewhat hesitantly backing the revolution in Egypt and using force in Libya, while at the same time turning a blind eye as Saudi Arabian and other forces defended the regime in Bahrain -- a move that oddly put the US and Iranian government on the same page. How should we understand these seeming contradictions... or uneven developments?
NC: First of all, I think US policy has been quite consistent. That’s also true of France and England. France is quite influential in the western part of Africa and North Africa, so Tunisia was kind of like a French protectorate. The traditional imperial powers have a very consistent position, namely opposition to democratizing tendencies anywhere in the region. So you say the US hesitantly supported the overthrow of the dictatorship in Egypt, well that’s sort of true. What actually happened was I think a very traditional pattern that happens over and over again. The favorite dictator becomes harder and harder to sustain, and ultimately the army turns against him. In such cases, and there are dozens of them, there’s kind of a game plan that’s followed routinely: Support the dictator and the regime as long as possible. When it becomes impossible, for example if the army turns against him which is what happened in Egypt, then send him out to pasture, issue ringing statements about your love of democracy, and then try to restore as much of the old regime as possible. And that’s pretty much what’s happening.
The major success story so far is Tunisia. The French supported the dictatorship well into the time when the uprising was massive. They continued to support it until they finally kind of backed off. There has been a real popular participation in Tunisia which has changed things. They’ve got plenty of problems, but there’s been considerable progress.
Egypt, which is the most important country and where quite exciting things happened, a lot of it has been just beaten back. A lot of the old regime is back in place. The Islamic groups which were organizing under the dictatorship in urban slums and rural areas -- that large organizational structure has allowed them, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, to gain a dominant influence in whatever formal political space there is.
The US can live with them. The Muslim Brotherhood leadership is neoliberal. It basically accepts the framework of US global policies. The US has no objection to Islamic rule. Saudi Arabia, which is the main ally, is the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist state in the world and one of the oppressive. The US has no problem with that. It can be Islamic or anything else as long as they accept the basic structure of US global power. The Brotherhood would very likely go along with that pretty much.
There’s no time to go through it case by case, but I think if you look you’ll find that every case is essentially the same in that the US and its imperial allies very much fear actual democratic progress, and want to block it. There’s a very simple reason for that. Take a look at the polls. There’s extensive western US polling, and polling done by reputable Arab organizations. It turns out that throughout the region what people see as the major threat that they face is overwhelmingly the United States and Israel.
They don’t like Iran. Iran is quite unpopular. That goes way back to Persian and Arab tension. Sunni and Shia tensions go way back. Iran’s unpopular, but very few regard Iran as a threat. In the latest poll from a couple weeks ago it was 5 percent. Opposition to US policy is so strong that a majority, and in some places a large majority, thinks the region would be better off if Iran had nuclear weapons. They don’t want there to be nuclear weapons, but just to offset US-Israeli power. A recent Gallup poll shows that more than 80 percent of Egyptians want to reject US aid because of opposition to the United States and fear of the threats that it poses.
Those are not the policies that the United States and its allies want to see obviously. To the extent that you have a functioning democracy, public opinion influences policy. Naturally they’re opposed to democracy. You don’t read that in the media and the journals. You talk about our love for democracy and our inconsistency, why here and not there? There’s very little inconsistency as far back as we go. In fact that’s recognized by the more serious scholarship, which recognize kind of ruefully the US support of democracy, insofar as it confirms to strategic and economic objectives. It’s true in Latin America, it’s true in the Middle East, it’s true everywhere. It’s true here at home for that matter. It’s completely understandable. We shouldn’t have any illusions about. That’s not what the people in the United States may want, but here, as in other countries, popular opinion and public policy are often separated by a chasm, a mark of a lack of functioning democracy. In fact one of the reasons -- to bring it back to home -- it’s why there’s such an enormous antagonism toward Congress. Approval of Congress is in single digits. I don’t think it’s ever been that low.
JH: Eleven percent in a recent poll.
NC: It’s practically invisible. The same is true of institutions across the board. Big corporations, banks, science, a lot of things.
JH: Only the military still scores well in terms of people’s trust in institutions. They still trust the military.
NC: Yeah, that’s right. None of this is terribly healthy -- in fact it’s dangerous. It does reflect basically the shredding of functioning democracy, which has been going on for a long time. In the last election and the present election the fact that the elections are essentially bought has become so evident that it’s hard to miss.
JH: Talking about all of these trends internationally, what do you make of the increasingly prevalent view that the US is in fact an empire in decline? On the one hand, it certainly does seem like our so-called "soft power" is waning, but then one has to contrast that with our increasing military dominance in the post-Cold War era and especially in the wake of 9/11. Are we really in decline?
NC: Yeah, we’re in decline. The United States has been in decline since 1945 -- 1945, at the end of the Second World War, the United States was in a position of just phenomenal power. It had half of the world’s wealth. It had total security. It controlled the western hemisphere. It controlled both oceans. It controlled opposite sides of both oceans. It had very ambitious aims to control most of the world and ensure no objections to its rule. These were quite explicit and they were largely implemented. It began to decline very fast. In 1949 an event took place, which is called here the "loss" of China. Somehow we lost China, which really means they became independent. That’s been a huge source of controversy and conflict in the United States ever since -- people asking who is responsible for the loss of China? Shortly after that they became concerned about the loss of Indochina, which in itself spread the concern that there would be a loss of southeast Asia. The concept of "loss" is kind of interesting.
It’s sort of a tacit assumption that it’s basically ours.That’s gone on over the years. By 1970, the US share of world wealth was down to about 25 percent, which is still colossal, but is isn’t 50 percent. The world was already becoming more diverse. In the last decade South America has moved to substantial independence. We just saw that at the Cartagena Conference in Columbia. The United States was isolated in its positions on the major issues, like drugs, Cuba and so on. The US was just isolated. That’s a sign of significant loss of power and influence. Now that’s happening in the Middle East. That’s another reason why the US and its allies are so worried about the threat of democracy and independence. So eager to try to maintain regimes that will conform in some way.
You’re right that military power hasn’t declined. In fact relative to the rest of the world it may have increased. The US has close to half the world’s military expenditures. The only country with hundreds of bases and the ability to project power everywhere. New technology of destruction and murder -- drones, for example. It’s way ahead of the rest of the world. You brought up so-called "soft power." That’s important. The capacity to influence has continued to decline, as has been happening since 1945.
One index is vetoes at the United Nations. Until the mid-'60s the world was so much under US control that the US didn’t veto a single resolution at the Security Council. Since the mid-'60s the United States is far in the lead in vetoing Security Council resolutions. Britain, which is a client state, is second. Nobody else is close. That’s a reflection of the decline in capacity and power, meaning ability to influence and control.
Part of this decline is self-inflicted. What the Economic Policy Institute calls Failure by Design has significantly weakened the United States, and that will continue unless there’s real changes here. Changes that would benefit the population here and the world. There’s kind of a corollary that’s very standard that China is taking over. That we should be cautious about. Chinese growth has been spectacular, but China remains a very poor country. It’s incomparably poor to the United States. It has grown as a huge manufacturing center, but mainly for assembly. It’s mainly an assembly plant for the sophisticated, industrial countries on its periphery and western multinationals like Apple and so on. That will change over time, but it’s a long haul. China faces real problems. Ecological problems, demographic problems, and many others. It’s a significant development, but a lot of the hype of that I think one should be skeptical about.
So yes, these processes are underway undoubtedly. They’re partly by design. There is a sector that’s doing fantastically well, mainly in financial capital. For the general public it’s a different story. That’s why you have uprisings all over.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America. Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.
from: John Gerassi :
Date: 1 May 2012
Subject: Academic Freedom at UCLA.
An Open Letter from Native American and Indigenous Studies Scholars in defense of UCLA Professor David Shorter and other scholars who support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel
April 30, 2012
As Native American and Indigenous Studies scholars who endorse the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), we write in defense of our colleague Professor David Shorter. Shorter has been accused by representatives from the “AMCHA Initiative” of misusing campus resources for “the purpose of promoting the academic and cultural boycott of Israel” to students in his Winter 2012 course, “Tribal Worldviews” at UCLA. In its rhetoric, AMCHA equates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, a spurious equation wielded by those who seek to suppress open discussion of Israel and its state policies.
The course focused on examining indigenous peoples’ struggles around the world and the use of global media and arts to politically mobilize communities. The course site included dozens of links to websites, articles, petitions, and videos, as examples of indigenous and activist campaigns. Shorter included a link to the website of the USACBI (a campaign which Shorter himself has endorsed along with hundreds of other faculty members from universities across the country).[i] Additionally, he included United Nations documents that framed the Palestinian struggle as an indigenous struggle.
In an email message on March 29, 2012, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Leila Beckwith, the co-founders of AMCHA, wrote a complaint to administrators of the University of California that was also copied to select California politicians.[ii] In response to their message, Professor Andrew Leuchter, the chair of UCLA’s Academic Senate, reviewed Shorter’s course materials without ever directly communicating with him or speaking with his students or teaching assistants. Leuchter then conveyed to Shorter, through Shorter’s department chair, that he should not repeat the “mistake” of providing the USACBI weblink, while making no mention of the other dozens of sources on the course site. Shorter expressed to his chair that he understood the larger social context of the accusations – namely the policing of academic viewpoints critical of Israel – and that the matter deserved further discussion before the course would be taught again. No discussion of the issues took place; Leuchter acted as the sole reviewer of the complaint and did not involve the Academic Senate's Committee on Academic Freedom. And yet, he falsely reported to AMCHA, UC and UCLA administrators, as well as CA politicians, that Shorter understood “his serious error in judgment” and “said that he will not make this mistake again.”[iii]
In response to these multiple violations of academic freedom, we join the California Scholars for Academic Freedom in insisting upon an official review of the inappropriate way in which UCLA’s academic leaders handled this matter. We reject the singling out and censoring of criticism of the Israeli state by AMCHA as well as the collusion of university administrators with this position. We strongly support Shorter's academic freedom and support all scholarly efforts that enable critical analysis of every sort, including consideration of the Palestinian people’s resistance to Israeli occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid.
The attack on Shorter is not an isolated incident; faculty and students on campuses across the country have been attacked for supporting the rights of Palestinian people and for providing a critical analysis of Israeli policies. By persistently labeling all scholars, non-Jewish and Jewish alike, who provide information about Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitic purveyors of “hate speech,” the pro-Israel lobby has sought to stifle public debate on campuses and in the media across the country. It is essential to prevent reactionary groups from using tactics of intimidation to silence the vitality and possibility for critical discussions on the policies of Israel.
In this attempt to control what can and cannot be taught within a university classroom AMCHA has demonstrated its adherents’ lack of respect for free academic inquiry, and UCLA’s leaders have demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice that same freedom for the sake of political expediency.
As academics who believe that the right to open academic debate and democratic faculty governance is crucial to the ethical production of scholarship and knowledge, we strongly support Professor David Shorter and call upon all scholars to resist the silencing and censorship of debate in the academy and public sphere.
Hoku Aikau, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa
Joanne Barker, San Francisco State University
Kevin Bruyneel, Babson College
Eric Cheyfitz, Cornell University
Vicente M. Diaz, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Maria Elena Garcia, University of Washington
Alyosha Goldstein, University of New Mexico
Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻopua, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa
Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Wells College
LeAnne Howe, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
J Kēhaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University
José Antonio Lucero, University of Washington
Dawn Peterson, Smith College
Jacki Thompson Rand, University of Iowa
Steven Salaita, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Kathryn Shanley, University of Montana
Noenoe Silva, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa
Circe Sturm, University of Texas at Austin
Kim TallBear, University of California, Berkeley
Robert Warrior, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Note: institutional names are for identification purposes only.
from Là-bas si j’y suis :
Date: 5 April 2012
Subject: Le cancer de l'industrie.
Le cancer de l’industrie syndicalisme et chimiotherapie
from Jim O’Brien :
Date: 4 May 2012
Subject: Suggested readings from Historians Against War.
To members and friends of Historians Against the War,
1. We received a very gratifying response, in the form of donations ranging from $15 to $100, in response to our recent fundraising appeal (at http://blog.historiansagainstwar.org/2012/04/haw-info-appeal-for-funds.html). Heartfelt thanks to the following who gave as of today: Bonnie Anderson, Joe T. Berry, Allison Blakely, Ronald Cohen, Danny Czitrom, Geoff Eley, Bob Entenmann, Rosemary Feurer, Irene Gendzier, Robert Gold, Joan Hoff, Temma Kaplan, Michael Leja, John Marciano, Jerry Markowitz, Jeff Ostler, Jerry Paine, Roger Peace, Elizabeth Sanders, Ellen Schrecker, Robert Shaffer, Susan Strasser, Howard Swerdloff, Barbara Weinstein, Larry Wittner, and Robert Wolff. (Current members of the Steering Committee who made donations are not included in this list.)
2. For those interested, Rusti Eisenberg has provided links to the following White House documents concerning the "Strategic Partnership Agreement" announced by President Obama this week
"Remarks by the President to Troops -- BagramAir Base, Afghanistan”;
“Remarks of President Barack Obama On the War inAfghanistan”;
“Fact Sheet: The U.S.-Afghanistan StrategicPartnership Agreement”;
“Enduring Strategic Partnership AgreementBetween the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,signed by the President”; and
“Background Briefing by Senior AdministrationOfficials on the Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan”
3. At the end of this message, after the links to recent articles of interest, we are including a letter signed by several distinguished historians and sent to the New York Times "public editor" and to the New York Review of Books, protesting the David Horowitz ad in the Times using inflammatory language to denounce by name fourteen academics for having supported sanctions against Israel.
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
"Collapsing Afghanistan & Pakistan Refuse to Cooperate with Obama Photo-Op"
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted May 2
The author teaches history at the University of Michigan
"Israeli Dissent May Create More Space for Iran Nuclear Deal"
By Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, posted May 1
"Civilian Casualties: Tactical Regrets and Strategic Hypocrisy"
By Stephen I. Levine and Michael H. Hunt, History News Network, posted April 30
The authors are, respectively, a research faculty associate in history at the University of Montana and a professor of history emeritus at the University of North Carolina
"The Obama Contradiction: Weakling at Home, Imperial President Abroad"
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted April 29
"Wars of Attrition: Green Zones of the Mind, Guerrillas, and a Technical Knockout in Afghanistan"
By Nick Turse, TomDispatch.com, posted April 24
Features parallels between the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars
"The Shame of Nations: A New Record is Set for Spending on War"
By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted April 23
The author is a professor of history emeritus at SUNY Albany
"Secret British Colonial Archive Finally Released"
By Graham McPhee, CounterPunch, posted April 20
"Collateral Damage in Afghanistan: After Decades of Military Devastation, Afghans Are Traumatized"
By Terry J. Allen, In These Times, posted April 17
Suggestions for these more or less biweekly lists can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Rosalyn Baxandall and Mim Jackson for suggesting articles that are included in the above list.
To the Editors:
Regardless of our particular positions on the state of Israel and its policies toward the Palestinian people, we wish to declare our profound distress at the language and intent of the ad sponsored by the “David Horowitz Freedom Foundation” that appeared on the op-ed page of the NY Times on Tuesday, April 24th. It is a disgrace that this ad attempts to draw a direct connection between support for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel movement and the recent tragic murders of a rabbi and three Jewish students in Toulouse. Furthermore, we are deeply disturbed by the Times’ decision to publish an ad that names and targets specific academics, accuses them of being motivated by “hatred,” and that then calls for them to be “publicly shamed and condemned.” The exact details of the “public shaming” that the Horowitz Foundation has in mind are not divulged, but it would apparently go beyond reasoned criticism or vigorous disagreement.
David Horowitz has a long record of attempting to suppress academic freedom, and of seeking to silence scholars who have expressed what he considers unorthodox views. This latest ad, however, is an especially unsavory effort to incite harassment of scholars whose opinions are not to his liking. Horowitz’s tactics, which rely on innuendo and intimidation, are inimical to an atmosphere of free expression and open debate, and should be condemned accordingly.
Silver Professor of History
New York University New York, NY 10012
Florence Kelley Professor of History
New York University
Professor of History
R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of History
Professor of Law
University of Miami School of Law
Elaine Tyler May
Regents Professor of American Studies
University of Minnesota
Marilyn B. Young
Collegiate Professor of History
New York University
James G. Stahlman Professor of American History
Linda K. Kerber
May Brodbeck Professor of History
University of Iowa
MacArthur Foundation Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara
Professor of History
University of California, Irvine
Professor of History
New York University
Professor of History
University of Minnesota
Research Professor of History
Montana State University
from Truth Out :
Date: 5 May 2012
Subject: Austerity’s Vicious Circle.
Shilpa Jain: “My activism has always been deﬁned by what's doable rather then what are we ﬁghting against. What are the positive things we can create in the world, and how are they being created right now? I'm interested in supporting people where their passion is now, as well as trying to unearth their passions through a process of listening and dialogue. There are a thousand entry points to challenge this system and shape alternative possibilities.”
We Have Everything We Need Already: Community Control of Education
by Beverly Bell
from Reader Supported News :
Date: 5 May 2012
Subject: The Republicans are a sick joke….
Schwartz writes: "Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill banning abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving money through the state, her office said in a statement."
Arizona Bans Funding to Planned Parenthood
David Schwartz Reuters
From Mark Crispin Miller :
Date: 1 May 2012
Subject: Fukushima still spewing.
Fukushima still spewing massive radiation plumes; America in 'huge trouble,' says nuclear expert
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) During a recent Congressional delegation trip to Japan, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden witnessed with his own eyes the horrific aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which we have heard very little about from the media in recent months. The damage situation was apparently so severe, according to his account, that he has now written a letter to Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan, petitioning for more to be done, and offering any additional support and assistance that might help contain and resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
The letter, which many experts see as the ominous writing on the wall for the grave severity of the circumstances, offers a disturbing glimpse into what is really going on across the Pacific Ocean that the mainstream media is apparently ignoring. While referencing the fact that all four of the affected reactors are still "badly damaged," Sen. Wyden seems to hint in his letter that Reactor 4, which has reportedly been on the verge of collapse for many months now, could be nearing catastrophic implosion.
Imminent collapse of Reactor 4 could create a mass extinction event of both humans and animals
According to Christina Consolo, an award-winning biomedical photographer and host of Nuked Radio, Reactor 4 has remained in such bad shape that even a very small earthquake could quickly level the building, sending the fuel from more than 1,500 unused fuel rods into the environment. And with Reactor 4 still filled with the highest levels of radioactive MOX and other fuels, the consequences of this potential collapse could be far worse than anything that has happened thus far as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.
"[S]itting at the top of [Reactor 4], in a pool that is cracked, leaking, and precarious even without an earthquake, are 1,565 fuel rods (give or take a few), some of them 'fresh fuel' that was ready to go into the reactor on the morning of March 11 when the earthquake and tsunami hit," writes Consolo. "If they are MOX fuel, containing six percent plutonium, one fuel rod has the potential to kill 2.89 billion people."
Sen. Wyden is also asking U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory Jaczko to assess how much additional assistance their agencies might be willing to provide to help Japan, and the entire world, avoid a nuclear catastrophe of Biblical proportions.
"The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting," wrote Sen. Wyden in his letter, dated April 16, 2012. "The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance."
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/035731_Fukushima_radiation_America.html#ixzz1tjKFPV3f
For more News From Underground, visit http://markcrispinmiller.com
from Truth Out :
Date: 5 May 2012
Subject: Occupy Wall Street, an unforgotten US heritage.
Popular anger has grown over Wall Street impunity, huge tax breaks for the rich, unlimited spending in election campaigns, corporate destruction of the environment, and the widening gap between the falling wages of workers and the rising income of corporate executives. Therefore, it seems likely that the struggle for economic justice will heighten in coming years, with May Day continuing to serve as a potent symbol of worker discontent.
May Day: From the Haymarket Massacre to the Occupy Movement
by Lawrence S. Wittner
from Truth Out :
Date: 4 May 2012
Subject: Corporate control of US Law Makers.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been under fire lately after the 15 major corporations and organizations pulled their support for the conservative organization, which helps quietly implement corporate-backed legislation in statehouses across the country. Now, the watchdog advocacy group Common Cause has released a complete list of corporations on ALEC's task forces.
by Alex Seitz-Wald
from an Anonymous Teacher :
Date: 5 May 2012
Subject: US told to return stolen Amerindian property.
UN's correspondent on indigenous peoples urges government to act to combat 'racial discrimination' felt by Native Americans.
From Democracy Now! :
Date: 30 April - 1 May 2012
Subject: Rebel Cities.
David Harvey on Rebel Cities, Occupy Wall Street, and the Benefits of Class Struggle
from Reader Supported News :
Date: 2 May 2012
Subject: The American way of economic suicide.