Bulletin N° 604






18 March 2014
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

A former colleague of mine, wishing to remain anonymous, has been exchanging emails with me about developments in Ukrainian as they unfold. In her most recent mail, she wrote: “I am surprised no one seems to have heard of Babi yar among the French persons I have met. You have heard of Babi Yar, haven't you?”


Upon receiving this mail, I immediately googledBabi yar’ and found devastating Nazi films documenting ‘the banality of evil’ acted out in graphic detail  before your eyes in the countryside surrounding Kiev; the mass murder of Jewish families at the end of September 1941. Below is the first link to a long series such documents :

Babi Yar 1




This ‘intrusion’ from my former colleague came while I was engaged in an extended study of political power. A careful reading of John Kenneth Galbraith’s book, The Anatomy of Power, (1983) [for more information on this book, see CEIMSA Bulletins 601 & 602] had led me to the important anthology of essays by  Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, The Indispensable Chomsky (which include discussions at the Rowe, Massachusetts Teach-In of April 15-16, 1989,  edited by Peter R. Mitchell and John Schoeffel and published by The New Press in 2002). A couple of days prior to receiving the ‘Babi Yar’ reference, I had read an arresting section in the second chapter of this book, entitled “The Real Anti-Semitism”. In these pages, Chomsky briefly lays out the history of this political football, which “anti-Semitism” represents, as it is gamed by corporate and political organizations. In this section, Chomsky was responding to a question about “the connections between the Republican Party and the neo-Nazis’ which had been revealed a few months earlier [in fall, 1989].


That was sort of an interesting phenomenon; it’s hard to know exactly how seriously to take it, but it’s certainly very real. I don’t know how many of you followed

what happened with the Nazis in the Bush campaign around last August –do you know about that stuff?


There’s this part of the Bush campaign called the ‘Ethnic Outreach Committee,’ which tries to organize ethnic  minorities; obviously that doesn’t mean blacks or

Hispanics, it means Ukrainians, Poles, that sort of business. And it turned out that it was being run by a bunch of East European Nazis, Ukrainian Nazis, hysterical

anti-Semites, Romanians who came out of the Iron Guard, and so on. Well, finally this got exposed; some of the people were reshuffled, some were put into other

positions in the Republican Party –but it all just passed over very quietly. The Democrats never even raised the issue during the election campaign.


You might ask, why? How come the Democrats never even raised the issue? Well, I think there was a very good reason for that: I think the Jewish organizations

like the Anti-Defamation League basically called them off. The point is, these organizations don’t ultimately care about anti-Semitism, what they care about is

opposition to the policies of Israel –in fact, opposition to their own hawkish version of the policies of Israel. They’re Israeli government lobbies, essentially, and

they understood that these Nazis in the Bush campaign were quite pro-Israel, so what do they care? The New Republic, which is sort of an organ for these groups,

had a very interesting editorial on it. It was about anti-Semitism, and it referred to the fact that this committee was being run by anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers,

Nazis, and so on, and then it said: yes, that’s true, but this is just ‘antique and anemic’ anti-Semitism. Nazism is just ‘antique and anemic’ anti-Semitism, not terribly

important, we shouldn’t get too upset about it. And then it said: the real anti-Semitism that we ought not be worried about is in the Democratic Party, which is filled

with ‘Jew-haters’ –that was the phrase they used. And part of the proof is, the Democrats were actually willing to debate a resolution calling for Palestinian self-

determination at their National Convention, so therefore they’re ‘Jew-haters’ and that’s the ‘real’ anti-Semitism in America. (That was in fact the title of a book

by the Director of the A.D.L., Nathan Perlmutter.) Well, the Democrats got the message that they weren’t going to win any points with this, so they never raised a

peep about it.


Incidentally, this is only one of the things that happened at the time—there’s another story which got even less publicity, and is even more revealing. The Department

of Education has a program of grants that it dispenses to fund projects initiated by local school systems, and for the last four or  five years the school board of Brookline, Massachusetts, has been trying to get funding for a project on the Holocaust which always gets very favorably reviewed, but is always turned down. Again in 1988

–also right before the election—the federal reviewing committee had to deal with their proposal. As usual it got very favorable reviews, but instead of just turning it

down, this time the government simply eliminated the entire program category under which it was being submitted. Well, at that point some information began to

surface as to why the project kept getting turned down –and it turned out that it was being refused every year because of letters the Department was getting from

people like Phyllis Schlafly [a far right-wing activist] attacking it for being unfair because it didn’t give adequate space to Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members. Besides,

they said, it’s kind of brain-washing  children, and turning them against things like the Holocaust, it’s just more of the neo-liberal tampering with people’s thoughts.

Parts of these letters actually got published in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.


Well, you’d have thought there’d be an uproar. A program on the Holocaust gets turned down by the government, by the Reagan administration, because it doesn’t

give enough space to Nazis and Klan members? Not a peep, not a peep. And the point is, Phyllis Schlafly and that whole gang are adequately pro-Israel –and therefore

it doesn’t matter what they think. They can be in favor of the Klan, they can be in favor of the Nazis, they can say you shouldn’t be allowed to teach the Holocaust, it

doesn’t matter, as long as they remain sufficiently supportive of hawkish Israeli policies. As long as they meet that qualification, it’s fine, they can say whatever they

want. (pp.52-53)



As the ideological authority of the United States and Israel dissolves, nothing necessarily must replace it; it is entirely possible that instead of another powerful organization taking control of this particular combination of the instruments of power, we will witness the rise of a multiplicity of organizations representing new sources of power, exercising the instruments of power, as they can, in various and new combinations, some more refined than others . . . . Condign punishment, as an instrument of power, which traditionally has stemmed from state institutions --like the police, the military and the judicial system-- may be appropriated by local groups in a crisis period; but always behind the scenes we can anticipate the presence of massive compensations from the centers of capitalist accumulation –financial, industrial and mercantile capital—which will attempt to achieve popular submission to the will of organized property interests to benefit the owners; and finally, less visibly perhaps, the third instrument of power, social conditioning, has already appeared in schools, churches, businesses, and other organizations which increasingly depend on indoctrination by imposing regimes of authoritarian discipline and obedience training on its members, in place of encouraging self-discovery and personal fulfillment. The dialectic is, of course, that all these new authoritarian developments within crisis capitalism will give rise to more conscious debates and eventually create stronger social commitments to organized resistance.


The era of political monopolies is coming to an end, as we free ourselves from the hypocrisies of our would-be leaders and the dogmas of institutions, and continue to develop our critical faculties that are adverse to coercion and manipulation of any kind. The classic conundrum of means/ends has conflated into a general concern for collective well-being; the ends include the means, as more and more people seek radical changes in their social relationships, an aim which will always remain plastic and open to public debate. Today on the 143rd Anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune, it is abundantly clear that measures must be taken to insure that this political debate remains inclusive and does not become the exclusive domain of a select group of managers and coordinators at the behest of the owners of capital, as it did in France in 1871, after the Paris Commune (March 18 – May 28, 1871), when Jules Ferry in a letter from Versailles, where Adolphe Thiers had gathered a monopoly of military force to liquidate the power of the Commune, confided to his brother Charles that he preferred to live in a society of criminals than in a society of crazies; that was the advent of the Third Republic, a blood bath where its capitalist-driven institutions gained monopoly control over the organization of condign punishment, compensations, and social conditioning (the first fruits of which were harvested in the Great War of 1914-18).

28th May 1871  Defeat of the Paris Commune





In his book, Ces Truands qui nous gouvernent, Jim Hightower fast forwards to the contemporary scene in the US and describes how criminals govern us today. How have they gotten away with it, you might ask, and here again is Noam Chomsky describing how power is being managed for the benefit of the few :


   [T]he whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on –because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions. I mean, it would be highly dysfunctional to have people in the media who could ask [radical] questions . . . .


   [O]ne of the serious illusions we live under in the United States, which is a major part of the whole system of indoctrination, is the ideas that the government is the power –and the government’s NOT the power, the government is one segment of power. Real power is in the hands of the people who own the society; the state-managers are usually just servants. And Watergate is actually a perfect illustration of the point –because right at the time of Watergate, history actually ran a controlled experiment for us. The Watergate exposures, it turns out, came at exactly the same time as the COINTELPRO exposures –I don’t know if you know what I mean. . . . [T]he COINTELPRO exposures were a thousand times more significant than Watergate. [This, Chomsky goes on to say, is why you know nothing about it!]


Another State crime that occurred at the time of the “the Watergate Scandal” and which was also skillfully concealed from much of the public was the B52 carpet bombing of Cambodia, in densely populated rural areas.


The bombing of Cambodia did not even appear in Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment. It was raised in the Senate hearings, but only in one interesting respect –the question that was raised was, why hadn’t Nixon informed Congress? It wasn’t, why did you carry out one of the most intense bombings in history in densely populated areas of a peasant country, killing maybe 150,000 people? That never came up. The only question was, why didn’t you tell Congress.  … [W]hat it means is that infringing on the rights of powerful people is unacceptable. [To maintain the public illusion that government is the source of power, the lawmakers were saying publically:] We’re powerful, so you’ve got to tell us –then we’ll tell you, ‘Fine, go bomb Cambodia.’


But what is the trick? How can people avoid being so easily manipulated to abandon their own interests and submit to the interests of the few? To answer this question, Chomsky draws a lesson from George Orwell’s book, 1984 :


It’s intellectual freedom when a journalist can understand that 2 + 2 = 4; that’s what Orwell was writing about in 1984. Everybody here applauds that book, but nobody is willing to think about what it means. What Winston Smith … was saying is, if we can still understand that 2 + 2 = 4, they haven’t taken everything away. Okay? Well, in the United States, people can’t even understand that 2 + 2 = 4.


The trick is not to be isolated –if you’re isolated, like Winston Smith in 1984, then sooner or later you’re going to break, as he finally broke. That was the point of Orwell’s story. In fact, the whole tradition of popular control has been exactly that: to keep people isolated, because if you can keep them isolated enough, you can get them to believe anything. But when people get together, all sorts of things are possible. . . . (from pages 111 – 121)



As we slowly free ourselves from our illusions, through continual social interaction, we find ourselves reflected, as in a prism, in the hearts and minds of others. This human-scale community, free of cynicism, is our source of power; and this power, if it inspires critical thinking and creative work, will give rise to new ideas and new projects, requiring new knowledge and the development of new skills. It is only with the total dissolution of the old system, and not by simply replacing its broken parts, that a new political economy can be achieved, more egalitarian, more enjoyable, and more just; where all submissions to the will of organizations are conscious, and voluntary, and provisional.



The 10 items below raise questions about the illusion of power and how the population at large is often deluded so that it will agree to submit to the will of the few whose interests are not our own, and they suggest what is necessary to put an end to the reproduction of these power relationships, to be replaced by what . . . ?


Item A., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Julie Hyland on the quality of the western-capitalist-sponsored revolution in Ukraine.


Item B., from Information Clearing House, is an article by John Pilger discussing Chile, Ukraine and what is soon coming to your local theater and why.


Item C., from NYU Professor Bertell Ollman, is an article by Noam Chomsky on “Academic Labor: How Higher Education Ought to Be.”


Item D., from ZNet, is the video tape of a conversation with Noam Chomsky in a café in downtown Tokyo on Community Organizing, its means and ends.


Item E., from NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, founder of News From Underground, is an article by Diane Ravitch, first published in Common Dreams, on the well-organized campaign against public education the United States and its social consequences.


Item F., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Paul Craig Roberts on the historical patterns in the causes of war: “It’s WWI all over again.”

Item G., from the Bertell Ollman, is an article with photos of Wall Street & Friends at play.

Item H., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Paul Craig Roberts on Ukraine and the path to World War III.


Item I., from ZNet, is an appeal by the indefatigable Michael Albert, to join the international ZNet community and to support Venezuela against North American predators.


Item J., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Patrick Cockburn on NATO and its causes and effects.


And finally we invite CEIMSA readers to view a Real News Network March 7 interview with Moscow University Professor Aleksandr Buzgalin, the historical relations between the Crimea region of Ukraine and Russia in the two-part series:

A Struggle Amongst Oligarchs in Ukraine






Francis Feeley

Professor of American Studies

University of Grenoble-3

Director of Research

University of Paris-Nanterre

Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements

The University of California-San Diego







From Information Clearing House :

Dates: 16 March 2014

Subject: A Path to World War III.



Ukraine’s newly-installed government of former bankers, fascists and oligarchs is preparing draconian austerity measures.

What the Western-backed Regime is Planning for Ukrainian Workers
by Julie Hyland




From Information Clearing House :

Dates: 16 March 2014

Subject: Coming Soon to Your Local Theater?



The story of this forgotten coup is a salutary lesson for those governments that believe a "Ukraine" or a "Chile" could never happen to them.

The Forgotten Coup
How the Godfather Rules from Canberra to Kiev

by John Pilger




From Bertell Ollman :

Dates: 16 March 2014

Subject: Academic Labor.


The following is an edited transcript of remarks given by Noam Chomsky via Skype on 4 February 2014 to a gathering of members and allies of the Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh, PA. Prof. Chomsky’s remarks were elicited by questions from Robin Clarke, Adam Davis, David Hoinski, Maria Somma, Robin J. Sowards, Matthew Ussia, and Joshua Zelesnick. The transcript was prepared by Robin J. Sowards and edited by Prof. Chomsky.


ON ACADEMIC LABOR: How Higher Education Ought To Be


by Noam Chomsky




From ZNet :

Dates: 17 March 2014

Subject: Chomsky in Tokyo discusses Community Organizing.



Leaders and members of Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union (“Tozen Union”) met Saturday afternoon (March 8, 2014) with Professor Noam Chomsky at Cafe Lavaderia in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Chatting with Chomsky





From Mark Crispin Miller :

Dates: 17 March 2014

Subject: [MCM] The propaganda drive against our public schools.




Understanding the Propaganda Campaign Against Public Education

by Diane Ravitch


A few years ago, when I was blogging at Education Week with Deborah Meier, a reader introduced the term FUD. I had never heard of it. It is a marketing technique used in business and politics to harm your competition. The term and its history can be found on Wikipedia. FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The reader said that those who were trying to create a market-based system to replace public education were using FUD to undermine public confidence in public education. They were selling the false narrative that our public schools are obsolete and failing.


This insight inspired me to write Reign of Error to show that the "reform" narrative is a fraud. Test scores on NAEP are at their highest point in history for white students, black students, Hispanic students, and Asian students. Graduation rates are the highest in history for these groups. The dropout rate is at an historic low point.


Why the FUD campaign against one of our nation's most treasured democratic institutions? It helps the competition. It makes people so desperate that they will seek out unproven alternatives. It makes the public gullible when they hear phony claims about miracle schools, where everyone graduates and everyone gets high test scores, and everyone goes to a four-year college. No such school exists. The "miracle school" usually has a high suspension rate, a high expulsion rate, a high attrition rate, and such schools usually do not replace the kids they somehow got rid of. Some "miracle schools" have never graduated anyone because they have only elementary schools, but that doesn't stop the claims and boasting.


It turns out that there is actually a scholar studying the phenomenon of the "the cultural production of ignorance."


He hasn't looked at the attack on public schools, but his work shows how propaganda may be skillfully deployed to confuse and mislead the public. Michael Hiltzik of theLos Angeles Times writes about the work of Robert Proctor of Stanford University:



Robert Proctor doesn't think ignorance is bliss. He thinks that what you don't know can hurt you. And that there's more ignorance around than there used to be, and that its purveyors have gotten much better at filling our heads with nonsense.


Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford, is one of the world's leading experts in agnotology , a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance. It's a rich field, especially today when whole industries devote themselves to sowing public misinformation and doubt about their products and activities.


The tobacco industry was a pioneer at this. Its goal was to erode public acceptance of the scientifically proven links between smoking and disease: In the words of an internal 1969 memo legal opponents extracted from Brown & Williamson's files, "Doubt is our product." Big Tobacco's method should not be to debunk the evidence, the memo's author wrote, but to establish a "controversy."


When this sort of manipulation of information is done for profit, or to confound the development of beneficial public policy, it becomes a threat to health and to democratic society. Big Tobacco's program has been carefully studied by the sugar industry, which has become a major target of public health advocates.


FUD was pioneered decades ago. Now public education is the target, and privatizing it is the goal. I hope Professor Proctor turns his attention to this issue, where a well-funded propaganda campaign seeks to spread enough doubt to destroy an essential Democratic institution.


There is no evidence from any other nation that replacing a public system with a privatized choice system produces anything but social, economic, and racial segregation.



Diane Ravitch is a historian of education at New York University. Her most recent book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools . Her previous books and articles about American education include: The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education , Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform , (Simon & Schuster, 2000); The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (Knopf, 2003); The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know (Oxford, 2006), which she edited with her son Michael Ravitch. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.





From Information Clearing House :

Dates: 15 March 2014

Subject: Historical Patterns in the Causes of War.


Whatever Washington says is truth. Whatever Washington does is legal, in accordance with both domestic and international law.


World War 1 All Over Again
The Same Fools Play the Same Game

by Paul Craig Roberts




From Bertell Ollman :

Dates: 13 March 2014

Subject: Oh Sweet Jesus !



Francis -

      This one's a beaut. It offers an almost unique view into the secret lives and pleasures of our ruling class. Very important for getting some insight into what they are really like and how they think. Part of what should be a continuing series on "Know Your Enemy".  It's also a pleasure to read. Enjoy.



Marty Lipton's crowd at play

[This "fraternity" includes several leading members of NYU's Board of Trustees, including the current Chair.]








From Information Clearing House :

Dates: 16 March 2014

Subject: A Path to World War III.



Do you need any more proof that the Ukrainian crisis is made up out of thin air by schemers in Washington who created the entire crisis for one purpose–to weaken Russia militarily?

Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War
by Paul Craig Roberts




From ZNet :

Dates: 18 March 2014

Subject: Community Organizing with Support for Venezuela.


Z News and Critical Support for Venezuela


by Michael Albert





From Information Clearing House :

Dates: 16 March 2014

Subject: NATO and it’s causes and effects . . . .



The Nato powers that overthrew Gaddafi did not do so because he was a tyrannical ruler, but because he pursued a nationalist policy which was at odds with western policies in the Middle East.

Three Years After Gaddafi, Libya is Imploding into Chaos and Violence
by Patrick Cockburn