Bulletin N° 746
Subject : La classe dominée; la classe dominante: Which side are you on ?
April 8, 2017
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In the memorable words of Yogi Berra, the legendary American baseball catcher, manager, and coach for the New York Yankees :
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
The US permanent war economy is having devastating effects over the entire planet, far beyond the scope of its helpless targets. For a theoretical grasp of what is going on and of what must be done, some are turning to earlier sketches of political theory produced in the 19th and 20th centuries. Such concepts as “the iron law of oligarchy,” “the iron law of wages,” and "class war" are being revived. Political distinctions between state and government --the former defined as the “permanent executive committee of the ruling class” and the latter as “temporary representatives” elected to introduce policies to accommodate specific needs of society, in light of ruling class interests and society’s essential needs-- are being re-evaluated. Working together, the state and the government, according to early political theories, serve to stabilize the social system of labor exploitation while at the same time securing new investment opportunities for capital. Today, with billionaires and multimillionaires at the helm of the US government, we see, more than ever, members of the ruling class in their full “splendor” --inarticulate but nonetheless impressive, like CEOs presiding over a board meeting, communicating in a mathematical shorthand of profitability, "the bottom line"; with no need to argue, to convince or legitimize their actions by use of verbal skills which might employ nuance and subtle connotations. The capitalist inspiration lies elsewhere . . . !
During the Anti-Vietnam War period of the 1960s, classic political theories from the past were resuscitated and widely discussed on campuses across the United States. Marxist-Leninist concepts were frequently found to be lacking due to the “reductive” nature of their descriptive power :“Yes, it is true; but what else . . . ?” Thus the conclusion was often drawn that the capitalist class is more than just a profit-hunting machine, and students and workers are more than simply atomized “commodities” and “consumers”.
Another element of this former political culture was the active search for structural contradictions; we were encouraged to think through the logic of capitalist development and to identify untenable situations which were likely to occur. Again, the reduction of the complex dynamics of social life to one-dimensional logical types was repulsive to many. In this “marketplace of ideas”, which thrived on some university campuses when the Anti-War movement was at its peak, no self-appointed revolutionary vanguard could assume permanent leadership . There was a general atmosphere of curiosity and tolerance which subverted any inclination towards authoritarian control of the movement.
One early innovation was the organization of “Teach-ins”, which were occasions to break with the cultural hegemony in capitalist society and to exchange new information and actively question fundamental assumptions. There were those with questions and those with answers, but the answers were always questioned; the questions not always answered. It was considered desirable that such a dialogical culture should prevail among an educated proletariat in an advanced industrial society, a population which is always agitated, constantly looking for an explanation for what went wrong, why reality does not measure up to their expectations. This open-mindedness was the terrain for discussing new ideas and questioning convention.
The 25 items below should offer CEIMSA readers an opportunity to think outside the box, to become acquainted with new facts and arguments, which might become talking points in the cultural milieu we wish to generate, wherever we find ourselves together on this shrinking planet that we call home.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
The Trump Administration Goes Neocon-crazy
by The Saker
Oh boy, that did not take long. As I wrote in February, the Neocons
and the US deep state have completely neutered Trump. Just look at these two headlines from RT (and read the articles):
‘It crossed a lot of lines’: Trump on alleged chemical gas attack in Syria.
‘We are compelled to take own action’ if UN fails in Syria – US envoy.
Frankly, I feel like saying “QED – I rest my case” and stop writing here. But I won’t – this is too serious.
Is Trump Going to Commit
the Next Great American Catastrophe in Syria?
by Vijay Prashad
It's WMD All Over Again. Why Don't You See It?
by Peter Hitchens
Actually knowing something, remembering history or having experience of the world is becoming a disadvantage. How much easier it would be to join in with the flow of opinion about Syria, to listen happily to, and read contentedly, media reports on the subject. As it is, I feel something close a physical pain as I do this.
From: "If Americans Knew Team" email@example.com
Subject: Don't let Tom Hurndall's heroism be forgotten.
Fourteen years ago this month, Tom Hurndall, 22, was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper as he tried to rescue small girls from Israeli gunfire.
Tom was a student and photographer who traveled to Gaza in 2003. On April 11, he watched as children playing nearby suddenly came under Israeli rifle fire.
Most of the children fled, but three of them, aged four to seven, froze with fear. Tom rushed one to safety. When he returned for two little girls, an Israeli sniper shot him in the head.
Despite the urgency, Israeli officials delayed his transport to specialized medical care for over two and a half hours. Tom remained in a vegetative state until his death 9 months later.
How you can help
Please commemorate Tom and inform your community about his story by ordering Tom Hurndall cards to distribute.
We cannot let his courage and compassion be forgotten – or the facts he was working to expose through his photography. The text on the back of our card educates readers about the current situation in Israel-Palestine.
We also encourage you to view and share this powerful documentary filmed in Gaza that covers the shooting of Tom Hurndall, the killing of filmmaker James Miller, and the events that took place after Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer.
Thank you for helping us inform Americans about this tragic violence.
The If Americans Knew Team
Order or downloadTom Hurndall cards on our site.
Israel-Palestine Timeline: A list of all Palestinians and Israelis killed since 2000, with photos and information.
If Americans Knew Blog: A compendium of news and analysis about Palestine, Israel, and related topics.
ABOUT US If Americans Knew is a nonpartisan educational organization. We are happy to provide information on Israel-Palestine to individuals and groups of all religious, ethnic, racial, and political backgrounds. We support justice, truth, equal rights and respect for all human beings, and we oppose racism, supremacism, and discrimination of all forms. Mission Statement
CONTACT US To invite Alison Weir to give a presentation on Israel-Palestine, or to learn more about putting up a billboard in your city, write here. For general comments or questions, write here. Order educational materials to distribute from our website. Mailing address: If Americans Knew, 5694 Mission Center Rd, Suite 602-710, San Diego, CA 92108. Phone: 202-631-4060
The Laura Flanders Show: Cheat, Lie, and Steal
Laura speaks with Michael Hudson about the manipulation of economic terminology and how this process serves economic elites. Countering the narrative that privatization is better, Hudson asks: "Better for whom?"
Politics and the English Language
by George Orwell
Sent: Wednesday, 5 April, 2017
Subject: May 1 leaflet from SD Labor Council for General Strike.
Fellow Workers, Friends,
Representing more than 100 local unions in our region, the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council http://www.unionyes.org/ has endorsed the calls for a General Strike on May 1st, 2017. This is truly an historic moment! The same migrant and immigrant constituency that struck eleven years ago on May 1, 2006 will mobilize this year, joined by the Black Lives Matter movement, native sovereignty rights groups, and organizations Voces de La Frontera and Movimiento Cosecha.
Some links to articles giving background on the strike call are below. Attached is the Labor Council’s leaflet (please distribute) and a recruitment sheet (please use it).
Shut It Down! No work, no school, don’t buy anything!
IWW San Diego branch
“TEN MythS ABOUT Israel”
by Ilan Pappe, with Max Blumenthal
by Ilan Pappe, with Max Blumenthal
ISIS is Obama's Legacy: Strip Him of His Nobel
by Scott Stockdale
It's time for Barack Obama, the American President, January 20, 2009 - January 20, 2017, to return the Nobel Peace Prize
Is Attacking Syrian Cities with US Weapons — but You Wouldn't Know That from
by Ben Norton
Rebranded Syrian al-Qaeda, Tahrir al-Sham, has been leading offensives in Hama and Damascus while mainstream media whitewash it
This Fishy Smell of Sarin, or Was It Chlorine?
by Anatoly Karlin
Pentagon and Daesh – Target Iran
by Pepe Escobar
CENTCOM commander Army Gen. Joseph Votel channeled his full Dr. Strangelove in front of the US House Armed Services Committee this past Wednesday. "We need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt [Iran] through military means or other means." As Orwellian as our times may be, this still ranks as a declaration of war. With the inbuilt consequence of smashing to bits the UN nuclear deal struck with Iran in the summer of 2015.
Something is Not Adding Up In Idlib
Chemical Weapons Attack
by Paul Antonopoulos
Media Goes Quiet as Russia Exposes US Lies at Security Council
by Richard Brandt
Russia just called out the West for using the UN to promote regime change — but no one reported it
At Least 9 Killed At St. Petersburg Metro
Live Video Report by RT
A spokesman for St Petersburg's governor said at least 10 people had been killed and 50 injured. But minutes later, Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee said the death toll was nine, with 20 hurt.
US to Balkanize Syria Under Kurdish Pretext
by Marwa Osman
As early as 2013, Western powers have been rooting for the balkanization of Syria as the best possible outcome of the war tearing apart the country since 2011.
by Jonathan Cook
Putin Derangement Syndrome Arrives
by Matt Taibbi
Whatever the truth about Trump and Russia, the speculation surrounding it has become a dangerous case of mass hysteria.
Chomsky: Outrage Over Russian Hacking Claims is Laughable
Video and Transcript by Democracy Now!
How Israel Lobby Manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism Crisis
by Asa Winstanley
Last year, socialist stalwart Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership of the UK’s Labour Party by a landslide. Since then, there has been a steady flow of claims by Israel’s supporters that Corbyn has not done enough to combat anti-Semitism. This has only accelerated in the lead-up to a major test for Corbyn, the UK local elections on 5 May.Even as this story was in preparation, two more victims were claimed in the war against his leadership. Lawmaker Naz Shah and the former mayor of London, long-time Palestine campaigner Ken Livingstone, were also suspended from the party – within hours of being
accused of anti-Semitism.
But an investigation by The Electronic Intifada has found that some of the most prominent stories about anti-Semitism in the party are falsified. The Electronic Intifada can reveal that a key player in Labour’s “anti-Semitism crisis” covered up his involvement in the Israel lobby. Most Labour members so accused are in reality being attacked for expressing opinions in favor of Palestinian human rights and particularly for supporting the boycott of Israel. Labour activists, many of them Jews, have told The Electronic Intifada that false accusations of anti-Semitism are being used as a weapon against Corbyn by the party’s right-wing.
By Jingo, an
"Act of War!"
by Philip Giraldi
More chickenhawks on parade for war with Russia
Just Wait Until I Get Tenure
A Facebook friend, Steven Salaita, recently wrote a post about academe arguing that tenure-track professors are kidding themselves if they say they will become more radical once they get tenure. Given Steven’s vicious treatment by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, whatever he writes about higher education is worth reading. I agreed with his post, and I made a long reply. Here, I incorporate what I said into a more coherent commentary.
Steve Bannon on the Crisis of Capitalism
and the Divine Right of Billionaires
Mathew Fox and Paul Jay discuss Bannon's alliance with the far-right Catholic Opus Dei, and his vision of the Judeo-Christian West
From: "Jim O'Brien" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, 6 April, 2017
Subject: [haw-info] HAW Notes 4/6/17: Links to recent articles of interest
By Phyllis Bennis, CommonDreams.org, posted April 6, 2017
The author directs the New Internationalism Project of the Institute for Policy Studies.
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Los Angeles Times, posted April 6
The author is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University.
By Michael Kazin, New York Times, posted April 6, 2017
The author teaches history at Georgetown University.
By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, posted April 7
By David R. Contosta, History News Network, posted April 2
On the Philippines, Vietnam, and Iraq, with implications for policy toward North Korea. The author teaches history at Chestnut Hill College.
By Robert E. Hannigan, History News Network, posted April 2
The author teaches history at Suffolk University and is author of the just-published book The Great War and American Foreign Policy 1914-24 (University of Pennsylvania Press).
By Alfred W. McCoy, TomDispatch.com, posted April 2, 2017
The author teaches history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
By William J. Astore, Bracing Views blog, posted March 31
The author, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools.
By Medea Benjamin, The Guardian, posted March 30
The author is a cofounder of both Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
Thanks to Carolyn Eisenberg, Fran Shor, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.