|Progressive Calendar 11.29.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 06:48:26 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.29.06 1. MN budget/women 11.29 9am 2. WelfRight/MN econ 11.29 10:30am 3. Palestine 11.29 12noon 4. Transport plan 11.29 6pm 5. Intl women/plan 11.29 7pm 6. Armenia/genocide 11.29 7:30pm 7. Apocalypto/film 11.29 7:30pm 8. CCHT housing 11.30 7:30am 9. Eagan peace vigil 11.30 4:30pm 10. Northtown vigil 11.30 5pm 11. GreenGreenWater 11.30 7pm 12. Why we fight/flm 11.30 7:30pm 13. William Blum - New Congress, same quagmire 14. M Shahid Alam - Zionism: pitting the West against Islam 15. Gabriel Kolko - "As an economic system, capitalism is going crazy" 16. Mumia Abu-Jamal - Thanksgiving? --------1 of 16-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: MN budget/women 11.29 9am The State Budget and Its Impact on Minnesota Women Wednesday, November 29, 9:00 a.m. to Noon Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul. The primary focus of the 2007 Legislative Session will be the budget development for the next two state fiscal years. Decisions regarding funding for education, health care, family planning, childcare, welfare and transportation will be front and center before our legislators. Learn more about the state budget development process as well as how this budget will impact women and their families. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by: The Minnesota Women's Consortium. WAMM is a member of the Minnesota Women's Consortium. FFI or to RSVP: Call Bharti Wahi 651-228-0338 or email <bharti [at] mnwomen.org>. --------2 of 16-------- From: Welfare Rights Committee - Alt Email <welfarerights [at] qwest.net> Subject: WelfRight/MN econ 11.29 10:30am Join Welfare Rights Committee to Picket at "November - Economic Forecast November 29, 2006" RM G-15 Capitol Building t the MN State Capitol 10:30am till 11:30am on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006 Stand with the Welfare Rights Committee outside RMG-15 starting at 10 am to get our message out to the politicians as they go in. Join the Welfare Rights Committee as we picket the State of Minnesota "November Forecast" presentation at the State Capitol, November 29, 2006. The Forecast is where the Pawlenty administration predicts whether the state will be in a budget surplus or a budget deficit. No matter what the "Forecast" is for the state of Minnesota, we know that the state budget has been seriously 'out of balance' for poor and working people in this state! The cuts to welfare, healthcare and childcare since 2003 are horrible for us - meanwhile the wealthiest in this state have not had to sacrifice a thing! Welfare Rights Committee states that it's time for the politicians to undo the every single cut. We say its time for the buck to stop here! It is time for the Legislature this year to give the stolen money back to the poor and working people of MN. We say NO to balancing the budget on the backs of the poor! Welfare Rights Committee 310 E 38th St #207, Minneapolis, MN 55409 pho: 612-822-8020 Fax: 612-824-3604 welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com www.welfarerightsmn.org --------3 of 16-------- From: Kelly O'Brien <obrie136 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Palestine 11.29 12noon Virginia Tilley, Author of "The One-State Solution" on Palestine, to Speak at U of M "Rethinking the Middle East Conflict: The One-State Solution?" discussion Virginia Tilley, chief research specialist for Human Sciences Research Council (Pretoria, South Africa) Wednesday, November 29, 12:00 p.m. Room 235 Blegen Hall, University of Minnesota west bank campus Free and open to the public Directions/parking: http://www.onestop.umn.edu/Maps/BlegH/ FFI: Institute for Global Studies, www.igs.cla.umn.edu; 612-624-9007 Virginia Tilley, author of "The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough Plan for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Debate" (University of Michigan Press) will speak at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, November 29 at noon. "The One-State Solution" claims that Israeli settlements have already encroached on the occupied territory of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the extent that any Palestinian state in those areas is unviable. It discusses the irreversible impact of Israel's settlement grid by summarizing its physical, demographic, financial, and political dimensions. Tilley contends that this grid will not be withdrawn - or its expansion reversed - by reviewing the role of the key political actors: the Israeli government, the United States, the Arab states, and the European Union. The book also addresses the obstacles to a one-state solution and offers some ideas about how those obstacles might be addressed. Virginia Tilley is a chief research specialist in the Democracy and Governance Research Program of Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa. She holds an M.A. from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the HSRC in January 2006, she was Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg. She is on extended research leave from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she holds a tenured position as associate professor of political science and serves as co-director of the international relations program. --------4 of 16-------- From: tom [at] organicconsumers.org Subject: Transportation plan 11.29 6pm Do you know that there is a 10 year transportation plan for the city of Minneapolis and in this plan is the possibility of bringing back streetcars, among other modes of transportation? Do you know that a feasibility study for bringing back those streetcars has been started? Do you know that Central AVE, as well as numerous other routes, have made the "first cut" to be considered for the first lines? Come THIS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29th to find out about the future of our transportation system in Minneapolis and how it is being implemented. Please do forward this on and do come as informed, conversant citizens are vital for a functioning democracy. Tom Taylor 612-788-4252 What's in store for Northeast MPLS' transit infrastructure? What is being discussed. What is not being discussed? How are decisions being made? Does the future include: freeway extensions? bicycles?streetcars? truck-ways? subways? Segways? skyways? pedestrian paths? personal rapid transit? Heavy rail or light rail? horse and buggies or horseless buggies? [human beings or capitalists? -ed] Come to be informed, get crucial updates and participate in this important citywide conversation regarding transportation policy, planning and priority setting. 6 pm to 8pm, Wednesday November 29th Northeast Library (2200 Central Ave. NE) The Northeast Library is on the number 10 bus line and bike racks are located on the east side of the building. Presenters include:Matt Hollinshead, Midway Corridor Consultant; John Dewitt, founding member of Transit for Livable Communities; John Akre, Northeast Minneapolis representative to "Access Minneapolis" Peter Wagenius, Sr. Policy Aide for the City of Minneapolis. Audubon Neighborhood Association, Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association and Windom Park Citizens in Action will host this initial informational meeting. Please feel free to share this message with your neighbors. If you have any questions, contact Kevin Reich at the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association - 612-781-2299 --------5 of 16-------- From: mary rivard <treebirdrivard [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Intl womens day/plan 11.29 7pm Greetings, KFAI radio celebrates International Women's Day on March 8th along with the rest of the world. I would like to invite you to create a radio program with your students/teachers/friends...the purposal forms are ready for down load at www.kfai.org any questions feel free to e-mail me Mary Rivard at iwdkfai07 [at] yahoo.com. The IWD committee wants to support women and their talents by creating show cases 'live music/spoken word venues and visual art' to be presented through out the month of March at various locations around the Twincities I also want to invite you to this meeting . Wed. Nov 29 at KFAI Radio Station 1808 Riverside Ave at 7pm Studio 5. We will match artists and venue opportunities.Share this with a friend. Mary Rivard --------6 of 16-------- From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Armenia/genocide 11.29 7:30pm Prof Taner Akcam to speak about new book Wednesday November 29 Nolte Center for Continuing Education Lounge, 7:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Parking in Northrop Ramp or 4th Avenue Ramp, off 17th Avenue S Professor Taner Akcam, Visiting Professor of History will speak about his new book and do a book signing. His new work is: "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility." >From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. The story of the Ottoman Empire's slaughter of one million Armenians in 1915, a genocide still officially denied by the 83-year-old modern Turkish state has been dominated by two historiographical traditions. One pictures an embattled empire, increasingly truncated by rapacious Western powers and internal nationalist movements. The other details the attempted eradication of an entire people, amid persecutions of other minorities. Part of historian Akcam's task in this clear, well-researched work is to reconcile these mutually exclusive narratives. He roots his history in an unsparing analysis of Turkish responsibility for one of the most notorious atrocities of a singularly violent century, in internal and international rivalries, and an exclusionary system of religious (Muslim) and ethnic (Turkish) superiority. With novel use of key Ottoman, European and American sources, he reveals that the mass killing of Armenians was no byproduct of WWI, as long claimed in Turkey, but a deliberate, centralized program of state-sponsored extermination. As Turkey now petitions to join the European Union, and ethnic cleansing and collective punishment continues to threaten entire populations around the globe, this groundbreaking and lucid account by a prominent Turkish scholar speaks forcefully to all. Akcam's book received a five page review in a recent issue of THE NEW YORKER and has been the subject of much positive discussion. --------7 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Apocalypto/film 11.29 7:30pm Wednesday, 11/29, 7:30 pm, free sneak preview of Mel Gibsons's film "Apocalypto" about Mayan man's struggle to save his way of life from a violent invading force, Oak St Cinema, 309 Oak St SE, Mpls. www.mnfilmarts.org --------8 of 16-------- From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at] ccht.org> Subject: CCHT housing 11.30 7:30am e-News November 2006 Learn how Central Community Housing Trust is responding to the affordable housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a 1-hour Building Dreams presentation. Minneapolis Sessions: Nov 30 at 7:30a St. Paul Sessions: Dec 6 at 4:30p We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at: www.ccht.org/bd or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237 Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 341-3148 www.ccht.org --------9 of 16-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 11.30 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------10 of 16-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 11.30 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------11 of 16-------- From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at] comcast.net> Subject: GreenGreenWater 11.30 7pm I recommend this environmental justice film. Diane J. Peterson White Bear Lake, Minnesota birch7 [at] comcast.net The documentary by St. Paul filmmaker, Dawn Mikkelson, about the Xcel Energy/Manitoba Hydro problem played recently in Toronto and San Francisco; here's our chance to see the completed version. "Green Green Water": Midwest film debut and reception Thursday, Nov. 30 7:00 p.m. Bell Museum (U of M campus) 10 Church St. SE Minneapolis $10 suggested donation Panel discussion after the film consists of: Dawn Mikkelson, Director Jamie E. Lee, Co-director and Editor State Senator Scott Dibble, DFL, Minneapolis Ken Bradley, Fresh Energy This event is sponsored by the Bell Museum of Natural History as part of their Science on Screen film program, U of M EcoWatch, Fresh Energy, and the U of M chapter of Amnesty International. Film Description As an average American consumer, filmmaker Dawn Mikkelson embarks on a journey to investigate where the "green energy" she is purchasing through Xcel Energy comes from. Her trip takes her to northern Manitoba, where hydroelectric dams have left massive environmental devastation in their wake and deep divisions in the communities about further development in the area. Allegations of bribery and government corruption surface. In this captivating and eye-opening documentary, the filmmakers explore the complexity of cultures in collision and the effects of environmental destruction on a way of life. www.greengreenwater.com --------12 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Why we fight/film 11.30 7:30pm Thursday, 11/30, 7:30, Hamline Students for Peace host movie "Why We Fight," about the development of the military-industrial complex, Giddens Learning Center room 100E, Hamline Univ, St Paul. matthewfbyrnes [at] gmail.com --------13 of 16-------- New Congress, Same Quagmire Would Jesus Get Out of Iraq? By WILLIAM BLUM CounterPunch November 25 / 26, 2006 The good news is that the Republicans lost. The bad news is that the Democrats won. The burning issue - US withdrawal from Iraq - remains as far from resolution as before. A clear majority of Americans are opposed to the war and almost all of them would be very happy if the US military began the process of leaving Iraq tomorrow, if not today. The rest of the world would breathe a great sigh of relief and their long-running love affair with the storybook place called "America" could begin to come back to life. A State Department poll conducted in Iraq this past summer dealt with the population's attitude toward the American occupation. Apart from the Kurds - who assisted the US military before, during, and after the invasion and occupation, and don't think of themselves as Iraqis - most people favored an immediate withdrawal, ranging from 56% to 80% depending on the area. The State Department report added that majorities in all regions except Kurdish areas said that the departure of coalition forces would make them feel safer and decrease violence. George W. is on record declaring that if the people of Iraq ask the United States to leave, the US will leave. He also has declared that the Iraqis are "not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either." Yet, despite all this, and much more, the United States remains, with predictions from Pentagon officials that American forces will be in Iraq for years. Large US military bases are being constructed there; they're not designed as temporary structures. Remember that 61 years after the end of World War II the United States still has major bases in Germany. Fifty-three years after the end of the Korean War the US has tens of thousands of troops in South Korea. Washington insists that it can't leave Iraq until it has completed training and arming a police force and army which will keep order. Not only does this inject thousands more armed men - often while in uniform - into the raging daily atrocities, it implies that the United States is concerned about the welfare and happiness of the Iraqi people, a proposition rendered bizarre by almost four years of inflicting upon those same people a thousand and one varieties of hell on earth, literally destroying their ancient and modern civilization. We are being asked to believe that the American military resists leaving because some terrible thing will befall their beloved Iraqi brethren. ("We bomb you because we care about you" ... suitable to be inscribed on the side of a cruise missile.) Even as I write this, on November 14, I read: "An overnight US raid killed six people in mainly-Shia east Baghdad, sparking angry anti-US protests. Thirty died in a US raid on the Sunni stronghold of Ramadi, Iraqi officials said." At the same time, the American occupation fuels hostility by the Sunnis toward Shiite "collaborators" with the occupation, and vice-versa. And each attack of course calls for retaliation. And the bodies pile up. If the Americans left, both sides could negotiate and participate in the reconstruction of Iraq without fear of being branded traitors. The Iraqi government would lose its quisling stigma. And Iraq's security forces would no longer have the handicap of being seen to be working on behalf of foreign infidels against fellow Iraqis. So why don't the Yanquis just go home? Is all this not rather odd? Three thousand of their own dead, tens of thousands critically maimed. And still they stay. Why, they absolutely refuse to even offer a timetable for withdrawal. No exit plan. No nothing. No, it's not odd. It's oil. Oil was not the only motivation for the American invasion and occupation, but the other goals have already been achieved - eliminating Saddam Hussein for Israel's sake, canceling the Iraqi use of the euro in place of the dollar for oil transactions, expansion of the empire in the middle east with new bases. American oil companies have been busy under the occupation, and even before the US invasion, preparing for a major exploitation of Iraq's huge oil reserves. Chevron, ExxonMobil and others are all set to go. Four years of preparation are coming to a head now. Iraq's new national petroleum law - written in a place called Washington, DC - is about to be implemented. It will establish agreements with foreign oil companies, privatizing much of Iraq's oil reserves under exceedingly lucrative terms. Security will be the only problem, protecting the oil companies' investments in a lawless country. For that they need the American military close by. William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir. He can be reached at: BBlum6 [at] aol.com --------14 of 16-------- Zionism: Pitting the West Against Islam by M. Shahid Alam www.dissidentvoice.org November 24, 2006 It is tempting to celebrate the creation of Israel as a great triumph, perhaps the greatest in Jewish history. Indeed, the history of Israel has often been read as the heroic saga of a people marked for extinction, who emerged from Nazi death camps - from Auschwitz, Belzec and Treblinka - to establish their own state in 1948, a Jewish haven and a democracy that has prospered even as it has defended itself valiantly against unceasing Arab threats and aggression. Without taking away anything from the sufferings of European Jews, I will insist that this way of thinking about Israel - apart from its mythologizing - has merit only as a partisan narrative. It seeks to insulate Israel against the charge of a devastating colonization by falsifying history, by camouflaging the imperialist dynamics that brought it into existence, and denying the perilous future with which it now confronts the Jews, the West and the Islamic world. When we examine the consequences that have flowed from the creation of Israel, when we contemplate the greater horrors that may yet flow from the logic of Zionism, Israel's triumphs appear in a different light. We are forced to examine these triumphs with growing dread and incredulity. Israel's early triumphs, though real from a narrow Zionist standpoint, have slowly mutated by a fateful process into ever-widening circles of conflict that now threaten to escalate into major wars between the West and Islam. Although this conflict has its source in colonial ambitions, the dialectics of this conflict have slowly endowed it with the force and rhetoric of a civilizational war: and perhaps worse, a religious war. This is the tragedy of Israel. It is not a fortuitous tragedy. Driven by history, chance and cunning, the Zionists wedged themselves between two historical adversaries, the West and Islam, and by harnessing the strength of the first against the second, it has produced the conditions of a conflict that has grown deeper over time. Zionist historiography describes the emergence of Israel as a triumph over Europe's centuries-old anti-Semitism, in particular over its twentieth-century manifestation, the demonic, industrial plan of the Nazis to stamp out the existence of the Jewish people. But this is a tendentious reading of Zionist history: it obscures the historic offer Zionism made to the West - the offer to rid the West of its Jews, to lead them out of Christendom into Islamic Palestine. In offering to 'cleanse' the West of the 'hated Jews,' the Zionists were working with the anti-Semites, not against them. Theodore Herzl, the founding father of Zionism, had a clear understanding of this complementarity between Zionism and anti-Semitism; and he was convinced that Zionism would prevail only if anti-Semitic Europe could be persuaded to work for its success. It is true that Jews and anti-Semites have been historical adversaries, that Jews have been the victims of Europe's religious vendetta since Rome first embraced Christianity. However, Zionism would enter into a new relationship with anti-Semitism that would work to the advantage of Jews. The insertion of the Zionist idea in the Western discourse would work a profound change in the relationship between Western Jews and Gentiles. In order to succeed, the Zionists would have to create a new adversary, common to the West and the Jews. In choosing to locate their colonial-settler state in Palestine - and not in Uganda or Argentina - the Zionists had also chosen an adversary that would deepen their partnership with the West. The Islamic world was a great deal more likely to energize the West's imperialist ambitions and evangelical zeal than Africa or Latin America. Israel was the product of a partnership that seems unlikely at first blush, between Western Jews and the Western world. It is the powerful alchemy of the Zionist idea that created this partnership. The Zionist project to create a Jewish state in Palestine possessed the unique power to convert two historical antagonists, Jews and Gentiles, into allies united in a common imperialist enterprise against the Islamic world. The Zionists harnessed the negative energies of the Western world - its imperialism, its anti-Semitism, its Crusading nostalgia, its anti-Islamic bigotry, and its deep racism - and focused them on a new imperialist project, the creation of a Western surrogate state in the Islamic heartland. To the West's imperialist ambitions, this new colonial project offered a variety of strategic advantages. Israel would be located in the heart of the Islamic world; it would sit astride the junction of Asia, Africa and Europe; it would guard Europe's gateway to the Indian Ocean; and it could monitor developments in the Persian Gulf with its vast reserves of oil. For the West as well as Europe's Jews, this was a creative moment: indeed, it was a historical opportunity. For European Jews, it was a stroke of brilliance. Zionism was going to leverage Western power in their cause. As the Zionist plan would unfold, inflicting pain on the Islamic world, evoking Islamic anger against the West and Jews, the complementarities between the two would deepen. In time, new complementarities would be discovered - or created - between the two antagonist strains of Western history. In the United States, the Zionist movement would give encouragement to evangelical Protestants - who looked upon the birth of Israel as the fulfillment of end-time prophecies - and convert them into fanatic partisans of Zionism. In addition, Western civilization, which had hitherto traced its central ideas and institutions to Rome and Athens, would be repackaged as a Judeo-Christian civilization. This reframing not only underscores the Jewish roots of the Western world, it also makes a point of emphasizing that Islam is the outsider, the adversary. Zionism owes its success solely to this unlikely partnership. On their own, the Zionists could not have gone anywhere. They could not have created Israel by bribing or coercing the Ottomans into granting them a charter to colonize Palestine. Despite his offers of loans, investments, technology and diplomatic expertise, Theodore Herzl was repeatedly rebuffed by the Ottoman Sultan. It is even less likely that the Zionists could at any time have mobilized a Jewish army in Europe to invade and occupy Palestine, against Ottoman and Arab opposition to the creation of a Jewish state on Islamic lands. The Zionist partnership with the West was indispensable for the creation of a Jewish state. This partnership was also fateful. It produced a powerful new dialectic, which has encouraged Israel, both as the political center of the Jewish Diaspora and the chief outpost of the West in the heart of the Islamic world, to become more daring in its designs against the Islamic world and beyond. In turn, a wounded and humiliated Islamic world, more resentful and determined after every defeat, has been driven to embrace increasingly radical ideas and methods to recover its dignity and power - and to attain this recovery on the strength of Islamic ideas. This destabilizing dialectic has now brought the West itself into a direct confrontation against the Islamic world. We are now staring into the precipice. Yet do we possess the will to pull back from it? M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at a university in Boston, and author of Challenging the New Orientalism: Dissenting Essays on America's "War Against Islam" (IPI Publications: 2006). He may be reached at: alqalam02760 [at] yahoo.com. Copyright 2006 M. Shahid Alam --------15 of 16-------- "As an Economic System, Capitalism is Going Crazy" Factors in Our Colossal Mess By GABRIEL KOLKO CounterPunch November 25 / 26, 2006 These are dismal days for those who attempt to run the affairs of the world. But how should we understand it? It would be a basic error to look at our present situation as if it were rationally comprehensible. The limits of rational explanations are that they assume rational men and women make decisions and that they will respect the limits of their power and behave realistically. This has rarely been true anywhere historically over the past century, and politics and illusions based on ideology or wishful thinking have often been decisive. This is especially the case with the present bunch in Washington. We are right to fear anything, particularly a war with Iran that would immediately reel out of control and have catastrophic consequences not only to the region but globally. We are also correct to see limits to the power of irrational people, for the United States is strategically weak. It loses the big wars, as in Korea, Vietnam, and now Afghanistan and Iraq - even though its tactical victories often prove to be very successful - but also ultimately destabilizing and ephemeral. Had the U.S. not overthrown the Mossadegh regime in Iran in 1954 it is very likely the mullahs would never have come to power and we would not now be considering a dangerous war there. Although the whole is far more important than the parts, the details of each part deserve attention. Many of these aspects are known, even predictable, there are - to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld - the "known unknowns and the unknown unknowns" - the "x-factor" that intercedes to surprise everyone. All of these problems are interrelated, interacting and potentially aggravate or inhibit each other, perhaps decisively, making our world both very difficult to understand - or to run. Putting them together is a formidable challenge to thinking people outside systems of power. It has always been this way; fascism was in large part the result of economic crisis, and World War Two was the outcome. How factors combine is a great mystery and cannot be predicted - not by US or by those ambitious souls who have the great task of making sure there is no chaos. We wish to comprehend it but it is not decisive if we don't; for those who have responsibility to manage it, this myopia will produce the end of their world - and their privileges. What is important to watch? We can rule out the Left, that artifact of past history. Socialism ceased being a real option long ago, perhaps as early as 1914. Since I have just published an entire book, After Socialism, and detailed its innumerable myopias and faults, I need not say more than that it is no longer is a threat to anybody. The fakirs who lead the parties who still use "socialism" as a justification for their existence have only abolished defeats at the hands of the people from the price capitalism pays for its growing follies. That confidence - freedom from challenge by the unruly masses - is very important but it is less and less sufficient to solve the countless remaining dilemmas. The system has become increasingly vulnerable, social stability notwithstanding, since about 1990 and the formal demise of "communism". Assume Anarchy The failure of socialist theory is much more than matched by the failure of capitalism because the latter has the entire responsibility for keeping the status quo functioning - and it has no intellectual basis for doing so. The crisis that exists is that capitalism has reached a most dangerous stage in destructiveness - and no opposition to it exists. This malaise involves foreign affairs and domestic affairs - vast greed at home and adventure overseas. If the foreign policy aspects are largely American-originated, the rest of the world tolerates or sometimes collaborates with it. Its downfall is inevitable, perhaps imminent. The chaos that exists will exist in a void. No powerful force exists to challenge, much less replace it, and therefore it will continue to exist - but at immense and growing human cost. Alternative visions are, for the moment at least, mostly cranky. Ingenious and precarious schemes in the world economy today have great legitimacy and flourish in the sense that the postulates of classical economics postulated are fast becoming irrelevant. It is the era of the fast talker and buccaneer-snake-oil salesmen in suits. Nothing old-fashioned has credibility. Joseph Schumpeter and other economists worried about pirates, but they are more important today than ever before - including than during the late 19th century when they were immortalized in Charles Francis Adams Jr's Chapters of Erie. The leitmotif is "innovation," and many respectables are extremely worried. I argued here in Counterpunch recently (June 15 and July 26) that gloom prevails among experts responsible for overseeing national and global financial affairs, especially the Bank for International Settlements, but I grossly underestimated the extent of anxieties among those who know the most about these matters. More importantly, over the past months officials at much higher levels have also become much more articulate and concerned about the dominant trends in global finance and the fact that risks are quickly growing and are now enormous. Generally, people who think of themselves as leftists know precious little of those questions, questions that are vital to the very health of the status quo. But those most au courant with global financial trends have been sounding the alarm louder and louder. The problem is that capitalism has become more aberrant, improvisatory, and self-destructive than ever. We are in the age of the predator and gamblers, people who want to get very rich very quickly and are wholly oblivious to the larger consequences. Power exists but the theory to describe the economy which was inherited from the 19th century bears no relationship whatsoever to the way it operates in practice, a fact more and more recognized by those who favor a system of privilege and inequality. Even some senior IMF executives now acknowledge that the theory that powerful organization cherish is based on outmoded 19th century illusions. "Reconstructing economic theory virtually from scratch" and purging economics of "neoclassical idiocies," or that its "demonstrably false conceptual core is sustained by inertia alone," is now the subject of very acute articles in none other than the Financial Times, the most influential and widely-read daily in the capitalist world. As an economic system capitalism is going crazy. In late November there were $75 billion in global mergers and acquisitions in a 24-hour period - a record. Global capitalism is awash with liquidity - virtually free money - and anyone who borrows can become very rich, assuming they win. The beauty of the hedge fund is that individual risks become far smaller and one can join with others to bet big - and much more precariously. Hence, spectacular chances are now being taken: on the value of the U.S. dollar, the price of oil, real estate - and countless others gambles. In the case of Amaranth Advisors, this outfit lost about $6.5 billion at the end of September on an erroneous weather prediction and went under. At least 2,600 hedge funds were founded from the beginning of 2005 to October 2006, but 1,100 went out of business. The new financial instruments - derivatives, hedge funds, incomprehensible financial inventions of every sort - are growing at a phenomenal rate, but their common characteristic, as one Financial Times writer, John Plender, summed it up on November 20, is that "everyone [has] become less risk adverse." Therein lies the danger. Hedge funds will bet on anything, natural disasters and, soon, longevity of pension fund members being only the latest examples of their addiction to taking chances. London is fast replacing New York as the center of this activity, and the capital market in general, because the regulatory regime of the government the British Labour Party established is much more favorable to this sort of activity than that Bush's Republican minions allow - though this may change because Wall Street does not like losing business. On September 12, 2006, the International Monetary Fund released its report on "Global Financial Stability," and it was unprecedented in its concern that "new and complex financial instruments, such as structured credit products," might wreak untold havoc. "Liberalization," which the "Washington consensus" and IMF had preached and helped realize, now threatens the US dollar and much else. "The rapid growth of hedge funds and credit derivative mechanisms in recent years adds to uncertainty," and might aggravate the "market turbulence and systemic impact" of once-benign events. Hedge funds, it warned, have already "suffered noticeable losses." At the end of October, again the Financial Times, Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank, deplored these new financial products, which have been increasing and growing into the trillions. He wrote that he could not comprehend them; that there is scant oversight over them; that many are pure hype; that nothing prevents them from creating immense domino effects on the entire financial system were they to collapse, thereby also dragging the well-regulated parts of the system down. Then, at the beginning of November the quasi-official UK Financial Services Authority issued a report that detailed the existing risks to the entire world financial structure. Despite its tone, it is dynamite. The FSA report documents the many risks to the private equity sector: excessive leverage, unclear ownership of risk, market abuses and insider trading. There are conflicts of interest of every sort; the system is opaque; hedge funds made inherent dangers even riskier. "Given current leverage levels and recent developments in the economic/credit cycle, the default of a large private equity backed company or a cluster of smaller private equity backed companies seems inevitable." Given this growing consensus of risks, on November 13 Sir John Gieve, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, concluded, in the Financial Times, that each national state regulating full-blown financial crises was no longer feasible: the financial system is international in scope today and no national mechanism can handle it. There have been at least 13 borderline or full-blown financial crises since the late 1970s and some of the methods for dealing with them would be "less easy to deploy" under present conditions - which is a polite way of saying they were irrelevant. His conclusion: Regulators "should practise coping with global crisis," "work together" on practical examples to develop machinery, especially to avoid the "moral hazards" of bailing out firms in trouble, including "closing down a large firm in an orderly way." The chances of developing a common trans-national approach or rules are close to zero, if only because nations of the world are rivals in the bid to attract financial companies and regulation, or lack of it, is a major factor on where to headquarter. When the next financial crisis occurs, and the likelihood of that happening has grown by leaps and bounds, it is more likely than ever to drag the entire global economy with it. At least the "experts" think so. They did not before now. So economics may foul up politics. Perhaps not, but it could become a very important factor in the overall situation. Power in Washington President Bush made the election a referendum on the war and was badly repudiated; his party suffered a disaster. Disorientation, depression, and defeat have left the president and his neoconservatives adrift. They have power, two more years of it, and we are at the mercy of people who are irresponsible and dangerous. Their rhetoric proved a recipe for disaster in Afghanistan and Iraq - a surrealistic nightmare. The American public is largely antiwar (55 percent of those who voted disapproved of the war, most of them strongly); they voted against the war and only tangentially for Democrats, most of who vaguely implied they would do something about the Iraq war but immediately after the election shamelessly reaffirmed their support for its essence. But people, and voters in particular, are such a nuisance everywhere. More quickly than in the past, they respond to reality, which means that traditional politicians must betray them very speedily. They create certain decisive parameters that ambitious politicians flout at greater risk than ever because the people have shown themselves ready to vote the rascals - whether Democrats in 1952 and 1968 or Republicans last November - out of office. The American public is more antiwar than ever, and no one can predict what the future holds, including some Republicans outflanking the Democrats from a sort of antiwar left so that they can remain, or gain, office. That the people are subsequently cynically ignored - as they have been immediately after the last American election - is a fact also, but their role can neither be overestimated nor gainsaid. Experience shows that politicians, whatever they call themselves or in any nation we can think of, can never be trusted. Ever. But the facts on the ground - reality - are today very bad for those who advocate wars. Israel: the Dream Comes Apart Hawks in Israel, ascendant since the founding of the Jewish state, are still debating their thirty-three day war in Lebanon and the decisive limits to their once awesome, ultra-sophisticated modern military power exposed by their Lebanon adventure. The Israeli press is full of accounts of ministers' sexual offenses and corruption. Ehud Olmert's government is badly divided, backbiting, and may fall soon. The army is openly split and Olmert would like to dump its chief of staff, Dan Halutz, and the minister of defense. The Zionist project is in an unprecedented state of disrepair, with profound demoralization taking hold. Olmert himself is a complete mediocrity, a minor Likud politician who parlayed himself into the number two spot and was lucky. His comment when he visited the U.S. in the middle of November that America's Iraq war had brought stability to the region either infuriated or embarrassed everyone. He is basically a shrewd politician but very stupid man. The most devastating analyses of Israel's war in Lebanon have appeared in Israel itself, and "the fact the Israeli army is at a low point," according to a writer in Haaretz, has goaded rather than deterred Iran. "Almost every weapon lost its significance and effectiveness as soon as it was used," Ofer Shelah wrote in the Jaffee Center's Strategic Assessment. The Israeli military relied on massive, overwhelming firepower delivered by the most modern means possible and it failed to stop incoming rockets and enemy mobility, much less win the war. Hizbollah not only showed Syria how to defeat the Israeli army but made Iran much more confident they can carry on what it is doing. The entire government and army leadership was incompetent. >From its very inception there was a warrior ethic in the Zionist ideology, one it shared with diverse reactionaries in Europe. Both its left-wing as well as the Right have nourished it, and Joseph Trumpeldor, the hero of this militant mentality, was one of the founders of Zionist socialism - a leader of the Hashomer Hatzair, the far left of this tendency. But the cult of heroism in Israel has made way for military technocrats who read digital print-outs (as described in Defense Tech, Nov. 20, 2006.) Morale in Israel, and especially the once elitist military, has plummeted. The arms industry there is very large, and like its American equivalents need subsidies - computer-based war is very expensive and greatly helps employment. But Lebanon only showed Israel what the Americans learned elsewhere - it loses. There are many dangers, from fascistic politicians like Avigdor Lieberman becoming even more powerful, to yet greater emigration abroad of those Jews with high skills. The latter is happening. Israel's ability to flout European opinion with impunity or to have Washington embark on military adventures from which Israel gains is increasingly limited. France has warned Israel that should it initiate a war with Iran it would create "a total disaster" for the entire world". Oil prices would rise, the entire Arab world would unite behind the Iranians, and Israel would be targeted but so would other nations. Even more important, Israeli strategists admit that Iranian nuclear weapons would only create a stable deterrent relationship between the two nations, and are not an "existential threat." Repentance or Rapture? Above all, in Iraq the American government is facing the failure of its entire Middle East project, an illusion in which the Israelis have a profound interest. Bush and gang are in a state of denial, but the U.S. is going the way of its defeat in Korea and Vietnam, and its military is increasingly overstretched and demoralized. It has based its foreign policies on fantasies and non-existent dangers, neo-con dreams and desires, only partially to meet equally illusory Israeli objectives to transform the entire Middle East so that it accepts Israel in whatever form the fickle Israeli electorate presents it. American foreign policy has been fraught with dangers since 1945, and I have documented them extensively, but this is the worst set of incompetents ever to hold power in Washington. It "shocked and awed," to use the departed Secretary of Defense's phrase, itself. Things are going disastrously for conservative warriors. But it is very difficult to anticipate what this administration will come up with, though disasters over the past six years have made a number of alternatives far less probable. In a way, that is a good thing, although the cost in lives lost and wealth squandered has been immense. The Baker/Hamilton bipartisan commission is deeply split and if - with emphasis on "if" - if it happens to come up with a clear alternative the president is free to ignore it. The Pentagon has formulated alternatives, summed up as "go big," "go long" - both of which would require 5 to 10 years to "Iraqize" the war - or "go home", but it is divided also. One thing certain, however, is that it has neither manpower, materiel, nor political freedom to make the same mistakes as in Vietnam - as the first two alternatives would have it do. There are no options in Iraq because the US has traumatized the entire nation and created immense problems for which it has no solutions. No one can predict what it will do in Iraq because the administration wishes to preserve the illusion of success and is genuinely confused how to proceed. It has produced chaos. Iraq is very likely to remain a tragedy, one wracked by violence, for years to come. The Bush administration has created a massive disaster involving the lives of many millions of people. A great deal depends on the President, whose policy has utterly failed in Iraq, is failing in Lebanon, and one of his options is escalation - war with Iran. Israel might attack Iran in order to drag America in, but by itself it can only be a catalyst. Olmert and Bush approach these issues in a remarkably similar fashion. Either way, Bush has not ruled out war with Iran despite warnings from many military men that such a conflict would have vast repercussions, probably last years, and the U.S. would likely lose the war, even if it used nuclear weapons, after creating an Armageddon. A number of the neocon theoreticians have repented the Iraq adventure, and even criticized some the basic premises that motivated it, but it would be an error to assume that this administration has some contact with reality and can be educated - by the electorate or by alienated neocon intellectuals. There are still plenty of people in Washington who advocate going for broke, who still retain fantastic illusions. There remains the imponderable factor of rapture - fantasy and illusions mixed with desires. Is victory around the corner if we escalate with more troops? Will the Iraqi troops the Americans train attain victory over enemies that eluded U.S. forces? Many much wiser presidents have pursued such chimeras. Why not Bush too? Facts on the ground, which are much greater in constricting American power than they were six years ago, are a critical factor. They may not be sufficient to prevent irrational behavior. We simply cannot know. All of these factors, and perhaps others not mentioned here, will affect each other. The whole is very often no stronger than all the parts. All surprises that thwart the Bush administration's freedom to act are now to be welcomed, and while the world's financial system is the leading candidate for upsetting the U.S.'s calculations, it is scarcely the only one. The facts on the ground, realities rather than decisions, are usually crucial, and here the US is losing in its megalomaniac ambition to shape the world. It has been this way for many nations led by men far superior in intellect to George Bush. Wishes are not reality and the US has an endemic ability to hold onto its wishes and fantasies as long as possible. Desire often leads to its acting despite itself. But its resources are far more constrained now than they were six years ago, much less for the United States during the Vietnam War - which it lost. The American public is already deeply alienated, the world financial system is teetering, the US' military resources are virtually exhausted. We shall see. Gabriel Kolko is the leading historian of modern warfare. He is the author of the classic Century of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914, Another Century of War? and The Age of War. He has also written the best history of the Vietnam War, Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the US and the Modern Historical Experience. His latest book is After Socialism. [Now that capitalism is down, I propose that we kick it. -ed] --------16 of 16-------- SOME WHO FEEL NO REASON FOR THANKSGIVING [Col. Writ. 11/19/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal To this day, I can hardly bear to think of that quintessentially American holiday -- Thanksgiving. When I do, however, I do not dwell on pilgrims with wide black hats sitting to sup with red men, their long hair adorned with eagle feathers. I think not of turkeys, nor of cranberry, foods now traditional for the day of feast. Unlike millions, I don't even think of the day's football game; and not thinking of it, I don't watch it. I think of the people we have habitually called 'Indians'' the indigenous people of the Americas. Those millions who are no more. I think of those precious few who remain, and wonder, what do they think of this day; this national myth of sweet brotherhood, that masks what can only be called genocide? Several years ago, I read a thin text that was pregnant with poignancy. It was a collection of Native remarks from the first tribes who encountered whites in New England, and down through several hundred years. Throughout it all, the same vibration could be felt, no matter what the clan or tribe. A profound sense of betrayal and wrong; from people who were treated like brethren when they first arrived. In New England, the name Powhatan (ca. 1547-1618) is still recalled (even if that wasn't his name, but what the English called him). Known as Wahunsonacock by his people, he headed a confederacy of 32 tribes, and governed an area of hundreds of miles. He was the father of Pocahontas, the young Indian maiden who saved the life of Capt. James Smith. A year after sparing Smith's life, the white captain threatened the great chief. This is some of his response given in 1609: "...Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food? We can hide our provisions, and fly into the woods; and then you must consequently famish by wronging your friends. What is the cause of your jealousy? You see us unarmed, and willing to supply your wants, if you come in a friendly manner, and not with swords and guns, as to invade an enemy. I am not so simple, as not to know it is better to eat good meat, lie well, and sleep quietly with my women and children; to laugh and be merry with the English; and, being their friend, to have copper, hatchets, and whatever else I want, than to fly from all, to lie cold in the woods, feed upon acorns, roots, and such trash, and to be so hunted, that I cannot rest, eat, or sleep. In such circumstances, my men must watch, and if a twig should but break, all would cry out, "*Here comes Capt. Smith*"; and in this miserable manner, to end my miserable life; and, Capt. Smith, this *might* be soon your fate too, through your rashness and unadvisedness. I therefore, exhort you to peaceable councils; and, above all, I insist that the guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy and uneasiness, be removed and sent away." [Blaisdell, Bob, ed., *Great Speeches by Native Americans* (Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Press, 2000), p.4.] That great chief's sentiments would be echoed for over hundreds of years, but injustice would just be piled on injustice. Genocide would be the white answer to red life. Centuries later, what can Thanksgiving Day mean to Native peoples? Thank you for stealing our land? Thank you for wiping out our people? Thank you for placing a remnant of our once great numbers on rural ghettoes called 'reservations?' Thank you for abolishing most of the ancient traditions? Thank you for poisoning what little Indian lands remain with uranium? Thank you for poisoning the lands now inhabited by the whites? Thank you for letting Indians fight in American wars against other people? Thanks. The real tragedy is that millions of Americans don't know, and don't want to know about Indian history and traditions. Today, the names of rivers, lakes, and landmarks bear indigenous markers of another age. The people, except for an occasional movie, are mostly forgotten; out of mind. The easier to replace with false images of happy meals, and turkey dinners. Happy Thanksgiving. Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner in the United States on death row. For more information on Mumia's case, check out the following web sites: Yet Another Witness Comes Forward and Refutes The Frame-Up Of Mumia Abu-Jamal! http://www.freemumi a.com/policecoer cion.html Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal http://www.laboract ionmumia. org/ International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal http://www.mumia. org/freedom. now/ Free Mumia Coalition, NYC http://www.freemumi a.com/ Socialist Action Free Mumia Site http://www.freemumi a.org Chicago Committe To Free Mumia Abu_Jamal http://www.chicagof reemumia. org/ Liberation News at RiseUp: http://lists. riseup.net/ www/info/ liberation_ news ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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