Progressive Calendar 09.09.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2007 18:57:43 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    09.09.07

1. Rsvl libraries   9.10 3pm
2. E-tools for all  9.10 6pm
3. Peace church     9.10 6:30pm
4. Sprogs           9.10 6:30pm
5. Nurse/Iraq       9.10 7pm
6. Palestine        9.10 7pm
7. Labor v war      9.10 7pm
8. The commons      9.10 7pm
9. Anti-racism      9.10 7pm
10. Kathy Kelly     9.10 7pm Rochester MN

11. StP primary     9.11 7am
12. Help animals    9.11 3:30pm
13. ArmeniaGenocide 9.11 4pm
14. Thinkers/war    9.11 5pm
15. 9-11 truth/film 9.11 5:20pm
16. 9/11 truth/film 9.11 6:30pm
17. Kathy Kelly     9.11 7pm
18. Impeach da SOBs 9.11 7pm
19. Activism event  9.11 7pm

20. Anarchism       9.20

21. Alexander Cockburn - Will the US really bomb Iran?
22. Jean Bricmont      - Why Bush can get away with attacking Iran
23. James Brooks       - Middle East mind lock; the occupation within
24. Jean Bricmont      - The class struggle will no longer be offshored

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From: Tim Erickson <tim [at]>
Subject: Rsvl libraries 9.10 3pm

You are invited to a panel discussion on "Libraries and Civic Engagement,"
this event is free and open to the public. Please forward this
announcement to interested individuals and groups:

Sept 10th, 3:00-4:30 PM
Ramsey County Library, Roseville Branch
2180 Hamline Avenue North, Roseville

SPECIAL GUEST: Taylor Willingham, Texas Forums
PANELIST: Melinda Ludwiczak, Minneapolis Public Library
 Coordinator for Civic Literacy Projects (See Below)
PANELIST: Others.... (To be Announced)

A discussion about the role of libraries as centers of civic activity and
education. Our special guest, Taylor Willingham will share some stories
and examples of how libraries are engaging the community in discussions
about important issues. Panelists and members of the audience will be
invited to share their own thoughts and stories about how libraries can
partner with community organizations to stimulate civic education and

--------2 of x--------

From: Rosa Maria de la Cueva Peterson <rmdelacp [at]>
Subject: E-tools for all 9.10 6pm

This is a reflection and an invitation to become involved in St. Paul
E-Democracy's Outreach Program at Rondo.

E-TOOLS FOR ALL - Monday, September 10 - 6:00 - 8:30pm (program at 7:00pm)
Digital Tools for Public Participation at Rondo Library
Alice Neve and  special guest Taylor Willlingham of Texas Forums
<> will be part of
the program Monday, September 10
6:00 - 8:30pm (program at 7:00pm)
Rondo Community Outreach Library
University Ave. and Dale Street -St. Paul, MN 55103 - 651-266-7400
Free food  free underground parking -Buses 16, 50, 65

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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Peace church 9.10 6:30pm

Monday, 9/10, 6:30 pm, Every Church a Peace Church potluck and program with
Amy Blumenshine discussing "The Church's role in the Reintegration of
Veterans with Their Families and Communities, Guardian Angels Church, 8260
Hudson Blvd N, Oakdale.  rolsen6376 [at]

--------4 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Sprogs 9.10 6:30pm

Monday, 9/10, 6:30 pm affinity groups meet, 7:30 chapter meeting, monthly
meeting for MN Network for Spiritual Progressives, Plymouth Church, 1900
Nicollett Ave, Mpls.  brucelissem [at]

--------5 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Nurse/Iraq 9.10 7pm

Monday, 9/10, 7 pm, former Abu Ghraib nurse Lt Col Deanna Germain (ret)
gives free talk about her book "Reaching Past the Wire," St Anthony Park
Library, 2245 Como Ave, St Paul. or 651-222-3242.

--------6 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine 9.10 7pm

Monday, 9/10, 7 pm, Ronald Young of the Interreligious Initiative for Peace
speaks on "The Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Is Peace Possible?'
Central Presbyterian Church, 500 Cedar St, S Paul.  651-224-4728.

--------7 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Labor v war 9.10 7pm

Monday, 9/10 (and every second Monday of the month), 7 pm, US Labor Against
War,, Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marchall Ave, St Paul.  Thomas Dooley at

--------8 of x--------

From: Loring Park Dunn Bros Coffee <dunnbros22 [at]>
Subject: The commons 9.10 7pm

Loring Park
Dunn Bros Coffee
329 West 15th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
dunnbros22 [at]
Free WiFi   Free Parking

Monday, September 10, 7:00 PM.

Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good.  The commons is the sum of all
we inherit and create together and must pass on, undiminished, to future
generations.  Our natural resources - air, running water, ocean, fish and
wild animals, minerals -- are as old as the earth and belong to all of us.
For more information visit

--------9 of x--------

From: mlarson [at]
Subject: Anti-racism 9.10 7pm

The EXCO semester is about to begin! Find out about classes! Learn about
teaching anti-racism in your EXCO class or in life! Come to the following:

Monday, September 10th
7-8:30 pm
Campus Center Rm 207

Tommy Lee Woon will lead participants in a workshop on countering
structural and individual racism in teaching spaces.

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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Kathy Kelly 9.10 7pm Rochester MN

Monday, 9/10, 7 pm, 3-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly,
co-founder of Voices for Creative Noonviolence and just returned from 2
months in Amman, Jordan, talks on "Iraq Refugees and Other Costs of War:
An Eyewitness Account," St John's Catholic Church, 11 - 4th Ave SW,

--------11 of x--------

From: "Grace Kelly (nicknamed Kelly)" <saintcurmudgeon [at]>
Subject: StP primary 9.11 7am

City elections are THIS year, the primary is on 9/11 and the general is on
11/6. Polls open 7 AM until 8 PM. I think voting would be a great thing to
do on 9/11! Seventeen year olds can register by mail in card if they are
18 on 9/11, US citizens, etc.

There are polling place changes this year, where notice will probably not
reach unregistered voters. A very nice gentleman promised to put signs in
the old polling places, however that is a hassle and signs can disappear.

From: Gary Thompson <gkthomp [at]>

As most of you know, Tuesday is Primary Election Day in St. Paul.  There
are only primaries in Wards 2, 4, 5, and 7.

Here is a quick link to all 17 SPED videos that have been posted to YouTube so 
and more:

We have 17 candidates (current & past) who have videos They are Tom
Conlon, Anne Carroll, David Haas, Sharon Anderson, Lee Helgen, Kathy
Lantry, Keith Hardy, Kevin Riach, Kazoua Kong-Thao, Christine VanTassel,
Jim Casci, Melvin Carter III, Bernie Hesse, Pakou Hang, Bill Dahn, Russ
Stark, and Jennette Gudgel.

See below, our CURRENT LIST of candidates and contact information:

Ward 1
Deborah Montgomery, 651-266-8610, 651-343-4443 debmontgomery [at],
Melvin Carter III 651-489-3567, info [at],

Ward 2
Dave Thune, 651-224-4457, webmaster [at],
Sharon Anderson, Sharon4Anderson [at],
Bill Dahn, eagledahn1 [at],,
Bill Hosko, 651-222-4767,, billhosko [at]
Fran Zamb,

Ward 3
Pat Harris, 651-266-8630,, patforcouncil [at]
Gerald Mischke,

Ward 4
Russ Stark, 651-646-8472,samantha [at],
Gregory Groettum, 651-917-3034, thor8851 [at]
Terrance Bushard, bushardforcouncil [at]

Ward 5
Lee Helgen, 651-488-1850, helgen00005 [at],
David Haas, david.haas [at]
Warren Anderson, 651-210-5738, andersonforward5 [at]

Ward 6
Dan Bostrom, 651-233-4648, danbostrom [at],,
Pakou Hang, 651-283-4621, 651-442-8689, info [at], PakouH [at],

Ward 7
Kathy Lantry, 651-266-8670, <Kathy.Lantry [at]>,, kathy.lantry [at]
Jim Casci, 651-578-2474, jim.casci [at]
Janine Kelley, 651-735-6846

Tom Conlon, 651-699-7399, t.conlonsr [at],
Anne Carroll, 651-690-9156, anne.carrfran [at],
Kazoua Kong-Thao, 651-238-1869,,
 Kazoua.Kong-Thao [at]
Keith Hardy, 651-497-8924, khardy63 [at],
Kevin Riach, 651-494-2530, kevin [at],
Jennette Gudgel, jagudgel [at], 651-699-1937
Rik Mulkern, rikandrocky [at], 651-776-5338
David Peterson, stpauldavid [at], 651-227-1470
Bernard Ruppert, adobehut7 [at]

--------12 of x--------

From: Gilbert Schwartz <gil [at]>
Subject: Help animals 9.11 3:30pm

Help Animals: Fall New Volunteer Meetings

Become part of Compassionate Action for Animals! Learn how to help
animals while socializing with other vegetarians, vegans, and
animal-friendly folks. Attend one of our new volunteer meetings on
Friday, September 7, or Tuesday, September 11, from 3:30 to 4:30.

At the meetings, we'll discuss who we are and what we do, as well as
your ideas for vegetarian and animal advocacy. We organize a huge
variety of events and campaigns, and there is almost definitely
something that you will be interested in. Everyone is welcome, whether
you are vegan, vegetarian, or just interested in helping animals. Both
students and community members are encouraged to attend.

Mark your calendar and help us improve and save the lives of thousands
of animals this fall by becoming part of CAA!

Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Coffman Union, Room 324 at the University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis <>

If you can't make the meeting, feel free to fill out a volunteer form
<> to stay informed about the
many ways you can help animals. For more info,

[Help animals - before they help you]

--------13 of x--------

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at]>
Subject: Armenian genocide 9.11 4pm

Tuesday Sept 11 4PM

"Ethnic Engineering of the Committee of Union and Progress and the
Turkification of Anatolia, 1913-1918": a lecture by Dr. Fuat Dundar.

Location: Nolte Center for Continuing Education, 125 Dr. Dundar received
his Ph.d from the prestigious Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
(EHESS) in Paris, has studied the cipher telegrams written by members of
the CUP government, and tracked the ethnic and demographic changes in
Anatolia from 1913-1918.

For his master's degree, he he focused mainly on the displacement of
Muslim populations, publishing a book titled "Ittihat ve Terakki'nin
Muslumanlari Iskan Politikasi (The Cup's Settlement Policy for Muslims)".
He is also the author of "Turkiye Nufus Sayimlarinda Azinliklar
(Minorities in Turkey's Censuses)".

Free and open to the public. Parking in neighboring U of M Ramps. Access
has not been restricted because of the 35W bridge collapse. Nolet Hall and
Pillsbury drive accessible from University Avenue and 17th Avenue S,
Washington Avenue and weaving through campus by left turn at Radisson
University, or via Huron Blvd if coming from Saint Paul.

--------14 of x--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Intellectuals/war 9.11 5pm

Dear St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesday evenings and
Wednesday mornings.  All households with basic cable can watch!

9/11 5pm and midnight and 9/12 10am "Intellectuals in a Time of War".
Interview of University of Minnesota professor Richard Martinez.  Hosted
by Eric Angell.

--------15 of x--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: 9-11 truth/film 9.11 5:20pm

Tuesday, September 11, 5:20 p.m. Riverview Theater, 3800 42nd Avenue
South, Minneapolis. Sponsored by: the Minnesota 9/11 Group. FFI: Call
612-384-8742 or email <minnesota_911 [at]>. 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The Mad Hatters Tea House Pax Salon, 943 West 7th, St. Paul. Drawing
from Paul Thompson's exhaustive research, "9/11: Press for Truth"
documents how family members of 9/11 victims compelled the greatest
powers in Washington to conduct an investigation, only to watch the
9/11 Commission fail to answer most of their questions. Featuring
overlooked news clips, buried stories, and government press
conferences, the documentary reveals a pattern of official lies,
deception, and spin that raises disturbing and important questions.
Admission is free.

--------16 of x--------

From: patty <pattypax [at] EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: 9/11 truth/film 9.11 6:30pm

Tuesday, 9-11, we will commemorate that day by showing the film, "9-11,
Press for Truth."  this film adapts Paul Thompson's definitive Complete
9-11 Timeline (published by HarperCollins as The Terror Timeline). The
filmmakers stitch together rare, overlooked news clips and government
press conferences revealing a pattern of official lies, deception and
spin.  The Jersey Girls (as they became known) tell their story for the
first time on film.

Since Tuesday is election day, Dave Thune (who owns the building where we
have salons) needs "our" space that evening for his election party.
Sooooo, we will have the film/salon kitty corner across the street (going
west) in the corner building which is the W 7th Federation Building.
Please come there.  The film will start around 6:45 at this place.  But,,
come early for a seat.  Thanks, patty

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------17 of x--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Kathy Kelly 9.11 7pm

"Iraq Refugees and Other Costs of War: An Eyewitness Account" Kathy Kelly
Tuesday, September 11, 7:00 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 Third Avenue
South, Minneapolis.

Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and three-time
Nobel Peace prize nominee, has traveled to Iraq more than 25 times and has
recently been living among Iraqi refugees in Amman, Jordan for the past
two months. On September 11, Kathy will share her first-hand accounts of
how the war on Iraq has profoundly changed the lives of the Iraqi people.
She will focus on the consequences of war-for displaced Iraqis living in
Jordan, for Americans who suffer neglect because of our bloated military
budget, and for the planet when we fail to address the major environmental
problems which face us, in part, because we are pouring our resources into
"military misadventures." Sponsored by: Iraq Peace Action Coalition
(IPAC). FFI: Call Marie Braun, 612-522-1861 or WAMM, 612-827-5364.

--------18 of x--------

From: Impeach <lists [at]>
Subject: Impeach da SOBs 9.11 7pm

Impeach for Peace
We meet Tuesdays at 7pm at Joe's Garage (Restaurant along Loring Park)
1610 Harmon Pl Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 904-1163

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From: 9/11 Event <lists [at]>
Subject: Activism event 9.11 7pm

9/11 Event for Activism

The Sunday Times of London is reporting that the Pentagon has plans
for three days of massive air strikes against 1,200 targets in Iran.
 Working towards impeachment could never be more critically needed.

Spend an evening celebrating our freedom of expression thru music,
dance and spoken word (open mic time, too.)

Learn about the case for impeachment, find out about the campaign for
a US Department of Peace, and discover great ways to work for change
right here in Minneapolis...

Speakers Include: Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent and Time person of
the year 2003, Marv Davidoff founder of the Honeywell Project, Chante
Wolf of Veterans for Peace, Rome Hanson of Parents of Murdered
Children and more...


Tuesday, September 11, 2007 [at] 7:00pm for 3 hours.
Minneapolis Farmer's Market Annex
200 Lyndale Ave. N (corner of Glenwood and Lyndale.)
for further information contact jennifer @ (612) 414-7859, or
jumolac [at] <mailto:jumolac [at]>

--------20 of x--------

From: Betsy Raasch-Gilman <raaschgilman [at]>
Subject: Anarchism 9.20 [posted out of order]

"Nonviolence and Anarchism: An Intergenerational Dialog" is a class
sponsored by EXCO, Macalester College's experimental college. Four
sessions, beginning 9/20/07, will focus on the upcoming protests of the
Republican National Convention. Activists coming from somewhat different
philosophies of social change often wind up on different sides of the
property destruction debate. Explore why that is, clarify your own
opinions, and meet people who may disagree with you!  Facilitated by Betsy
Raasch-Gilman and Rob Czernik.  Sign up at; space is

--------21 of x--------

CounterPunch Diary
Will the US Really Bomb Iran?
September 8 / 9, 2007

"They're about taking out the entire Iranian military."

This particular spine-chiller comes from Alexis Debat, excitingly
identified as "director of terrorism and national security" at the Nixon
Center. According to Debat, the big takeout is what the U.S. Air Force has
in store, as opposed to mere "pinprick strikes" against the infamous
nuclear facilities.

Predicting imminent war on Iran has been one of the top two items in
Cassandra's repertoire for a couple of years now, rivaled only by global
warming as a sure-fire way to sell newspapers and boost website hits.

Debat was re-roasting that well-scorched chestnut, the "Shock and Awe"
strategy, whereby-back in March of 2003-the U.S. Air Force proposed to
reduce Iraq's entire military to smoldering ruins. In the event, "Shock
and Awe" was a resounding failure, like all such pledges by Air Force
commanders to destroy the enemy's military since the birth of aerial
bombardments nearly a century ago. Such failures have never stopped the US
Air Force from trying once again, and there are no doubt vivid attack
plans now circulating the government.

Will it come to pass? In his memoirs, I Claud (which I'm happy to say
CounterPunch Books/AK Press will be republishing next spring,) my father
offers a useful recipe on this matter of prediction.

One morning, as we at length relaxed at breakfast by a brazier on the
terrace of the Caf du Dme, he [Robert Dell, the diplomatic correspondent
of the Manchester Guardian] said to me: "Do you want to get what used to
be called a 'scoop' for your horrid little paper every day?" (The "horrid
little paper" was, of course, the Daily Worker, whose diplomatic
correspondent I then was.)

"That would be nice."

"Well then, all you have to do is to read all the continental papers
available every morning, take lunch with one or more of Europe's leading
politicians or diplomats, make up your mind what is the vilest action
that, in the circumstances, the French, British, Italian or German
government could undertake, and then, in the leisure of the afternoon, sit
down at your typewriter and write a dispatch announcing that that is just
what they are going to do. You can't miss. Your news will be denied two
hours after it is published and confirmed after twenty four."

So, whether in 24 hours or 24 days or at some point before the end of his
term, we should predict Bush will send the bombers on their way to Teheran
to destroy the usual targets--power stations and kindred civilian
infrastructure, hospitals, maybe a few bomb shelters crammed with women
and children.

But will it really come to pass?

Despite the unending stream of stories across the months announcing that
an attack on Iran is on the way, I've had my doubts. Amid the housing
slump here, with the possibility of an inflationary surge as the credit
balloon threatens to explode, would the US government really want to see
the price of gas at the pump go over $5? What would Hugo Chavez do? Even a
hiccup in flows from Venezuela would paralyze refineries here,
specifically designed for Venezuelan crude. China has a big stake in Iran.
It's also Uncle Sam's banker. The Chinese don't have to destroy the
dollar, merely squeeze its windpipe, or revalue their currency enough to
double retail prices in Wal-Mart. The Republicans and the presidential
candidates wouldn't want that on the edge of an election year.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff know the Iraq War has almost broken the US Army.
Wouldn't they adamantly oppose the notion of an attack on Iran, which
would see Shiite resistance groups in Iraq cut US supply convoys from
Kuwait bringing fuel and water to the big US bases? Wouldn't Shiite forces
as a whole finally commence a campaign of eviction of the American
occupier? Wouldn't this puncture the fantasy that General Petraeus'
"surge" is working?

The other side of the ledger isn't hard to fill in either. The oil
companies like a crisis that sends up the price of their commodity. The
Chinese are a prudent lot and don't want to rock the world economy.
Politically, both they and Russia would like to see the US compound the
disaster in Iraq and get into a long-term mess in Iran. Israel wants an
attack on Iran, and the Israel lobby calls the shots in US foreign policy.
What Israel wants, Israel gets. The US peace movement is in disarray, and
sizable chunks of it would be delighted to see bombs shower down on the
woman-hating ayatollahs and Ahmadinejad, the holocaust denier.

Amid the disaster of their Middle Eastern strategy Bush and his advisors
may hype themselves into one last desperate throw, emboldened by the fact
that the selling of the surge has been a success even though all the
Democrats need to do is cite the UN, which says the number of Iraqis
fleeing their homes has gone from 50,000 to 60,000 a month. Or quote
Associated Press which counted 1,809 Iraqi civilians killed in August,
compared with 1,760 in July. The Sunni split in Anbar province is not one
likely to be replicated in Baghdad or elsewhere and anyway had nothing to
do with the hike in US troop levels. Bush didn't dare go to Baghdad.

Weigh it all up, and you'd be foolish to bet that an attack on Iran won't
happen. I knew Noam Chomsky used to be dubious about the likelihood of a
U.S. attack and emailed him last week to ask if he is still of that
opinion. Here's his answer.

Yes, I was quite sceptical. Less so over the years. They're desperate.
Everything they touch is in ruins. They're even in danger of losing
control over Middle Eastern oil -- to China, the topic that's rarely
discussed but is on every planner or corporation exec's mind, if they're
sane. Iran already has observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization -- from which the US was pointedly excluded. Chinese trade
with Saudi Arabia, even military sales, is growing fast. With the Bush
administration in danger of losing Shiite Iraq, where most of the oil is
(and most Saudi oil in regions with a harshly oppressed Shiite
population), they may be in real trouble.

Under these circumstances, they're unpredictable. They might go for broke,
and hope they can salvage something from the wreckage. If they do bomb, I
suspect it will be accompanied by a ground assault in Khuzestan, near the
Gulf, where the oil is (and an Arab population -- there already is an
Ahwazi liberation front, probably organized by the CIA, which the US can
"defend" from the evil Persians), and then they can bomb the rest of the
country to rubble. And show who's boss.

The peace movement had better pull itself together, remembering that
should the bombs start to fall on Tehran, most of the Democrats in
Congress will be on their feet, cheering.

Note: A shorter version of this column ran in The Nation last Wednesday.

--------22 of x--------

When wishful thinking replaces resistance
Why Bush can get away with attacking Iran
by Jean Bricmont
September 09, 2007

Many people in the antiwar movement try to reassure themselves: Bush
cannot possibly attack Iran. He does not have the means to do so, or,
perhaps, even he is not foolish enough to engage in such an enterprise.
Various particular reasons are put forward, such as: If he attacks, the
Shiites in Iraq will cut the US supply lines. If he attacks, the Iranians
will block the Straits of Ormuz or will unleash dormant terrorist networks
worldwide. Russia won't allow such an attack. China won't allow it - they
will dump the dollar. The Arab world will explode.

All this is doubtful. The Shiites in Iraq are not simply obedient to Iran.
If they don't rise against the United States when their own country is
occupied (or if don't rise very systematically), they are not likely to
rise against the US if a neighboring country is attacked. As for blocking
the Straits or unleashing terrorism, this will just be another
justification for more bombing of Iran. After all, a main casus belli
against Iran is, incredibly, that it supposedly helps the resistance
against U.S. troops in Iraq, as if those troops were at home there. If
that can work as an argument for bombing Iran, then any counter-measure
that Iran might take will simply "justify" more bombing, possibly nuclear.
Iran is strong in the sense that it cannot be invaded, but there is little
it can do against long range bombing, accompanied by nuclear threats.

Russia will escalate its military buildup (which now lags far behind the
U.S. one), but it can't do anything else, and Washington will be only too
glad to use the Russian reaction as an argument for boosting its own
military forces. China is solely concerned with its own development and
won't drop the dollar for non-economic reasons. Most Arab governments, if
not their populations, will look favorably on seeing the Iranian shiite
leadership humiliated. Those governments have sufficient police forces to
control any popular opposition - after all, that is what they managed to
do after the attack on Iraq.

With the replacement of Chirac by Sarkozy, and the near-complete
elimination of what was left of the Gaullists (basically through lawsuits
on rather trivial matters), France has been changed from the most
independent European country to the most poodlish (this was in fact the
main issue in the recent presidential election, but it was never even
mentioned during the campaign). In France, moreover, the secular "left"
is, in the main, gung-ho against Iran for the usual reasons (women,
religion). There will be no large-scale demonstrations in France either
before or after the bombing. And, without French support, Germany - where
the war is probably very unpopular - can always be silenced with memories
of the Holocaust, so that no significant opposition to the war will come
from Europe (except possibly from its Muslim population, which will be one
more argument to prove that they are "backward", "extremist", and enemies
of our "democratic civilization").

All the ideological signposts for attacking Iran are in place. The country
has been thoroughly demonized because it is not nice to women, to gays, or
to Jews. That in itself is enough to neutralize a large part of the
American "left". The issue of course is not whether Iran is nice or not -
according to our views - but whether there is any legal reason to attack
it, and there is none; but the dominant ideology of human rights has
legitimized, specially in the left, the right of intervention on
humanitarian grounds anywhere, at any time, and that ideology has
succeeded in totally sidetracking the minor issue of international law.

Israel and its fanatical American supporters want Iran attacked for its
political crimes - supporting the rights of the Palestinians, or
questioning the Holocaust. Both U.S. political parties are equally under
the control of the Israel lobby, and so are the media. The antiwar
movement is far too preoccupied with the security of Israel to seriously
defend Iran and it won't attack the real architects of this coming war -
the Zionists - for fear of "provoking antisemitism". Blaming Big Oil for
the Iraq war was quite debatable, but, in the case of Iran, since the
country is about to be bombed but not invaded, there is no reason
whatsoever to think that Big Oil wants the war, as opposed to the
Zionists. In fact, Big Oil is probably very much opposed to the war, but
it is as unable to stop it as the rest of us.

As far as Israel is concerned, the United States is a de facto
totalitarian society - no articulate opposition is acceptable. The U.S.
Congress passes one pro-Israel or anti-Iran resolution after another with
"Stalinist" majorities. The population does not seem to care. But if they
did, but what could they do? Vote? The electoral system is extremely
biased against the emergence of a third party and the two big parties are
equally under Zionist influence.

The only thing that might stop the war would be for Americans themselves
to threaten their own government with massive civil disobedience. But that
is not going to happen. A large part of the academic left long ago gave up
informing the general public about the real world in order to debate
whether Capital is a Signifier or a Signified, or worry about their Bodies
and their Selves, while preachers tell their flocks to rejoice at each new
sign that the end of the world is nigh. Children in Iran won't sleep at
night, but the liberal American intelligentsia will lecture the ROW (rest
of the world) about Human Rights. In fact, the prevalence of the
"reassuring arguments" cited above proves that the antiwar movement is
clinically dead. If it weren't, it would rely on its own forces to stop
war, not speculate on how others might do the job.

Meanwhile, an enormous amount of hatred will have been spewed upon the
world. But in the short term, it may look like a big Western "victory",
just like the creation of Israel in 1948; just like the overthrow of
Mossadegh by the CIA in 1953; just like the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine
seemed to be a big German victory after the French defeat at Sedan in
1870. The Bush administration will long be gone when the disastrous
consequences of that war will be felt.

PS: This text is not meant to be a prophecy, but a call to (urgent)
action. I'll be more than happy if facts prove me wrong.

Jean Bricmont teaches physics in Belgium and is a member of the Brussels
Tribunal. His new book, Humanitarian Imperialism, is published by Monthly
Review Press. He can be reached at bricmont [at]

--------23 of x--------

Middle East Mind Lock
The Occupation Within
September 7, 2007

How were the terms of US political and economic debate severed from basic
standards of evidence and common sense? Why does the word "hypocrisy" seem
inadequate to describe the pretzel logic of the neo-conservatives? Why do
the people of the United States remain inert as the madness at the top
claims the authority to hemorrhage its execution of Iraq into a nuclear
war on Iran?

John McMurtry is a decorated professor of philosophy who has pursued
questions like these to the ideological foundations of today's US-centric
global empire. (1) His analysis offers insights that can help us identify
and think our way out of this now ubiquitous "mind-lock". McMurtry's
approach also turns out to be useful for illuminating core ideological
contradictions in Israel's US-supported ethnic cleansing regime, which has
been forcing Palestinians off their lands for the last 60 years.

McMurtry narrates the ascendance of a "fanatic mind-set" in the west
following the demise of the Soviet Union, when "a strange ideological
inversion occurred." Marxism's 'economic determinism', "abhorred by
liberal theory", was swiftly replaced with the west's own brand of imposed
economic determinism. "Inevitable globalization" was framed as a product
of unaccountable and unstoppable forces unleashed by a veritable law of
nature, the ultimate "wisdom of the market" that benefits all.

McMurtry demonstrates the destruction of value and meaning inherent in the
adoption of this absolutist dogma, which claims to encompass all human
activity and reflexively rules out of order any other explanation or
concern. He also traces the use of this irrationality to justify brutal
economic and military predation under the twin deceptions of "free trade"
and "democracy". The nakedness of this nonsense is revealed by McMurtry's
observation that it glorifies its "no alternative" market theory and
bullying imperial trade policies as the ultimate in economic freedom.

Noting the ways in which similar inversions of meaning have been used in
totalitarian ideologies, he concludes that inversion is one of the
fundamental processes involved in the development of today's "fanatic

"Throughout the world re-engineering by the global apparatchiks, there has
been a transformative principle of representation across phenomena and
crises: to invert social values and general facts into their contrary so
that no bearings remain for intelligibility of resistance." [emphasis in

Observers of Israel and its influence within the United States see a long
trend toward ideological convergence between the two nations, especially
in foreign policy, war, economics, and propaganda. One of the little-noted
fundamentals of this growing affinity is a mutual and increasing need and
desire to justify unjustifiable acts and obscure incriminating truths.

So it is not surprising that Israel is awash in the same intellectual
process of inversion that McMurtry finds so pervasive in the US. Indeed,
one could argue that many of Israel's ideological contradictions are at
least as old as the state. Using McMurtry's style of formulation and
taking broad liberties with his method, here are a few of the more obvious
inversions of meanings and values underlying the Israeli government's
proclamations and practices. US readers may note the obvious parallels:

Israel's "right to defend itself" assumes the "harsh necessity" of its
military and civilian occupation of Palestinian land, which is an illegal
act of war. Self-defense = Aggression

Israel's security depends upon the continual provocation of forces that
will threaten Israel's security when provoked. Security = Promotion of

Israelis' freedom depends upon the imprisonment of another people. (2)
Freedom = Denial of freedom

Israel's democracy depends upon the racist exclusion of its indigenous
citizens and the empowerment of the most intolerant of its privileged
citizens. (3-5) Democracy = Apartheid

Israel is a "bastion of religious freedom" in which civil law is based on
an "orthodox" version of a single religion. (6) Religious freedom =
Religious exclusivity

Israel's continued prosperity requires "market liberalization" that
dramatically increases poverty and consolidates wealth at the top. (7,8)
Prosperity = Poverty

Israel's commitment to the rule of law and sound economic policy (which
promises to earn it a seat at the OECD next year) is reflected it its
continuing slide down international corruption indexes, an unending string
of serious political scandals, and thriving organized crime. (9-11)
Legality = Lawlessness

Peace for Israel requires its negotiating partners to accept terms that
fall far short of their people's minimum standards for peace. Whether or
not these terms are met, the formula is: Peace = Continual war

Prospects for peace are enhanced when negotiating partners collaborate in
banning, imprisoning, and isolating their constituents who oppose Israel's
terms. Such actions also signal the negotiating partners' "commitment to
democracy". (12-14) Peacemaking = Democracy = Unconstitutional oligarchy,
collective punishment, and civil strife = Illegitimacy and probable
failure of any agreements reached between Israel and its partners =
Continual (land-grabbing) war

The public's acceptance of these inversions creates what McMurtry calls an
"occupation of consciousness" that makes it very difficult for the citizen
thus "occupied" to understand her predicament, much less anyone else's.

However, just as one man's meat is another man's poison, the ideological
contortions that befuddle and disempower the public simultaneously comfort
the powerful with an automatic self-justifying narrative. While there is
no gainsaying the cynicism of today's leaders, the "fanatic mind-set" must
be an irresistibly attractive narcotic to those driven to acquire the
power to give the orders to drop the bombs.

One of the implicit subtexts of the mind-set is that cynicism is reality;
the ends always justify the means if the means can be kept largely hidden
from public view and the ends are framed as unassailable indispensables;
freedom, democracy, "growth", rule of law, etc. The negative side of the
equation is always "more than" balanced by its positive equivalent.

The powerful are the anointed agents of the world's "best hope". To
advance its interests (and their own) they ought to do anything "the
market will bear". It's not just what the powerful want us to believe. At
least to some degree, it's what most of them need to believe, to do what
they do.

McMurtry argues that the fanatic mind-set is "closed" and
"self-referential". From within the delusion, it would be logical to
conclude that increasing the negative side of the equation can increase
the positive. More denial of freedom to others equals more freedom for us,
and (as an afterthought) all the other "good" people of the world.

We hear that 'a greater readiness to use military force will better
protect our democracy and freedoms at home', and we hardly notice. But if
this mind-set is closed in its circularity, it will increasingly diverge
from reality. And, being self-referential, chronically ambitious, and
uniquely powerful, it can only seek to outdo itself. If such a dominant
mind-set persistently follows its inverted logic, it may rapidly
auto-escalate with disastrous results.

What's next? Rather than simply "protecting" our freedoms by creating,
torturing, and slaughtering "terrorists" in Iraq, why not be "pro-active"
and eradicate an "evil source of terrorism" that threatens everyone's
freedoms? Wouldn't bombing Tehran - a supposed "existential threat" to
nuclear-tipped Israel - produce more freedom and prosperity for all?

Ideologies create the authoritative psychic space within which the
unthinkable can become possible. At one time, few could have imagined that
the west's Christian democracies would support a concrete wall splitting
the little town of Bethlehem in two, or that the United States would pay
for decades of bloody ethnic cleansing in the Holy Land. Israel's ideology
(to some extent crafted to appeal to western powers) supplied the
framework of justification that made it possible.

In the US, we face a threat to our national sanity that is similar to the
physical danger bearing down on the caged and impoverished Palestinian
people - the destruction of what we have left. Our common foe is an
irrational ideology that inverts fundamental values and legitimizes crimes
against humanity. For us, the struggle to overcome the threat begins in
the mind.

James Brooks serves as webmaster for Vermonters for a Just Peace in
Palestine/Israel. He can be contacted at jamiedb [at]

1. John McMurtry, Value Wars: The Global Market Versus the Life Economy
(London and Sterling Va.: Pluto Press, 2002), 277 pages.
2. Prison within a Prison, Gideon Levy, MIFTAH, 8/27/2007
3. GDP per capita of Arab Israelis third of that of Jews, YNetNews,
4. IRIN reports on the devastation caused to Bedouins by the Israeli
forces in the Negev Ma'an News Agency, 6/27/2007
5. Mr. Lieberman Comes to Washington, Will Youmans, CounterPunch,
6. Only Orthodox conversions accepted in Israel, Boim stresses, YNetNews,
7. NII report: 100,000 newly poor, half of them children, Ha'aretz,
8. Netanyahu: Cut taxes for rich to help poor, Dalia Tal, Globes Online,
9. A supreme effort is required, Ze'ev Segal, Ha'aretz, 5/27/2007
10. Poll: 85% of public believe the leadership is corrupt, Ha'aretz,
11. Dichter: Police trying to block mafia's bottle recycling takeover,
Ha'aretz, 1/9/2007
12. Hamas members arrested by the Palestinian Authority, Ma'an News
Agency, 8/22/2007
13. U.S.-Backed Campaign Against Hamas Expands to Charities, Adam Entous,
MIFTAH, 8/22/2007
14. Abbas urges Socialist leaders to help isolate Hamas
By Aude Marcovitch, Middle East Online, 6/29/2007

--------24 of x--------

The Class Struggle Will No Longer Be Offshored
Who will make our shirts when China is rich?
by Jean Bricmont
September 08, 2007
Le Monde diplomatique

The defeat of the French left in the presidential and legislative
elections was fair punishment for its lack of vision. Social democracy is
still based on the exploitation of the third world, with which Europe must
now create a new relationship.

This year's catastrophic election results in France destroyed any
illusions created by the victory of the no campaign during 2005's
referendum on the proposed European Union constitution. The origins of the
current crisis of the French left can be traced back to its failure to
live up to the commitments it made during the 1981 election. Within two
years of victory, the new socialist government abandoned its programme
and, with no social or economic policies to pursue, resorted to an
unenthusiastic neo-liberalism. Its discourse became purely moralistic,
proposing antiracist, feminist and antifascist values in an attempt to
distinguish itself from the right.

At a practical level, the left's main initiative was European
construction, with the principal effect of ruling out any alternative to
neo-liberalism. By encouraging this process in the name of values -
especially anti-nationalism - the Socialists and Greens created an
institutional mechanism designed to protect them from their own audacity,
and that of their rank and file. In a bid to insulate the political
process from the influence of the people, they handed over responsibility
for as many decisions as possible to an unelected bureaucracy open to the
influence of private lobby groups. Elections would continue, but they
would be of little importance. And no serious political alternative would
be proposed: no New Deal, no structural reform, no common leftwing
programme, no Italian road to socialism.

Unsurprisingly, the beneficiary was the hard right, whose very different
values - discipline, law and order, the nation - appeal far more
powerfully to minorities. Programmes based on values are designed to allow
those who support them to sleep with a clear conscience and forget
questions about the real balance of power in the world. (Most people find
it easier to describe themselves as good citizens than as good
antiracists.) The right's economic policies are perfectly consistent with
the European structures established by the left and the Greens. On the
issues of Europe and values, the right has been victorious on battlefields
mostly chosen by the left yet on which the left was bound to lose.

To succeed, political movements must believe what they say. The victors on
the right have not been the Keynesian, conservative wets (as Margaret
Thatcher called them), but the hardliners. Until the left can come up with
something better than moderately rightwing policies, it has no chance of
winning. To change that, it must go back to the roots of the conflict
between left and right. It must see beyond values, like feminism or
antiracism, which the modern right is quite happy to adopt. It must
address the fundamental question: who controls the economy?

A belief in socialism

When 18th century liberal thinkers envisaged a society of small
independent producers, the idea of a free market and hostility to the
power of the feudal state and the church made sense. But the emergence of
big business led to the increased socialisation of production and raised
questions about the private ownership of the means of that production. The
fundamental principle of socialism is that once the process of production
has been effectively socialised, its control must also be socialised, if
we are to realise the hopes for freedom expressed by classic liberalism.

Once the means of production, and the means of information that emerged
during the 20th century, are in private hands, specific individuals
possess vast, almost feudal power over the rest of the population. Today
the real successors of classic liberals are the proponents of socialism;
while those who currently describe themselves as liberals are the
supporters of a particular form of tyranny, that of the employers - and,
often, of a violent form of state control through US military domination
of the rest of the planet.

Socialism, as I describe it here, is a natural response to the problems
associated with the development of capitalism. The fact that it is rarely
discussed any more is evidence of the effectiveness of the targeted
systems of indoctrination known in our societies as education and
information. The question of socialism has nothing to do with the crisis
of capitalism, the destruction (real or imagined) of nature, or the
alleged bourgeoisification of the working class. Because control over
one's own existence is a fundamental human aspiration, the question will
not go away as living standards rise, and it does not require a
catastrophe to bring it to the forefront. The more our survival-related
biological needs are met, the more our strictly human needs for autonomy
and freedom demand to be satisfied.

It is a mistake to believe that nobody cares about socialism any more. One
leftist position that retains its popularity is the defence of public
services and workers' rights, now the main areas of struggle against the
power of capital. The whole point of European construction is to preserve
the appearance of democracy while dismantling the social Eden - social
security, mass education and public health care - which is an embryonic
form of socialism that remains popular.

Sadly, the near disappearance of a socialist perspective from political
discourse affects many aspects of everyday struggle: there is a huge
difference between protesting against abuses committed by a power whose
legitimacy one acknowledges, and fighting for short term objectives
against employers' power that one regards as fundamentally illegitimate.
This is exactly the difference in the past between reforming and
abolishing slavery, between enlightened monarchy and republicanism, or
between colonies run by native collaborators and national independence.

A major transformation

Liberal thinkers deride Marx because the anticipated transition to
socialism in developed capitalist countries failed to happen. One response
should be that the system under which we live is not just capitalist, but
imperialist as well. Europe owes its development to the existence of a
vast hinterland. Imagine that Europe was the only landmass on the planet
and that all the other continents had never risen from the oceans. There
would have been no slave trade, no South American gold, no emigration to
North America. What sort of societies would we have built without a
constant supply of raw materials, cheap immigrant labour, imports from
low-income economies, and a supply of educated people from the developing
world to rescue our collapsing education systems? We would have had to
save drastically on energy, the balance of power between workers and
employers would be radically different, and the leisure society would not

Socialism failed in the 20th century largely because the countries where
capitalism generated a degree of cultural and economic development, where
the elements of democracy existed and where, consequently, it was possible
and necessary to go beyond capitalism, were also the dominant countries in
the imperial system. Imperialism has two consequences. Economically it
allows dominant nations to delocalise problems to the periphery.
Strategically it has a divide and rule effect: western workers have always
enjoyed better living conditions than their equivalents in the developing
world and acquire a feeling of superiority that helps stabilise the

This is why decolonisation was the most significant transformation of the
20th century. It freed hundreds of millions of people in Asia and Africa
from a racist form of domination. Its effects will continue into this
century and bring a definitive end to the historical period that began
with the discovery of America. Europeans will have to adjust to losing the
benefits associated with our privileged position in the imperial system.
At present the Chinese have to sell us millions of shirts to buy an
Airbus; but once they can build their own Airbuses, who will make our

There is a potential for conflict between the main beneficiaries of
globalisation - those whose control of capital enables them to exploit the
workforce in Asia - and the huge majority of the population in the West
who have no such luck. Because it lives in the developed world, that
population finds itself forced to sell its labour power at a price that is
no longer competitive in the global marketplace. This implies more
exclusion and a crisis for the welfare state; but it could also mean a
resumption, in a new form, of the class struggle.

Adapting to decline

The developing world is becoming more autonomous in other respects. The US
is bogged down in Iraq, unable to extract itself from an unwinnable war
unless it renounces its imperial ambitions. Iran's nuclear programme
confronts the West with the choice of backing down or embarking on a
catastrophic war. At a more symbolic but significant level, Israel
suffered a second military defeat at the hands of Hizbullah in 2006. The
political and military victories of Hamas are a sign of the failure of the
policy of collaboration with Israel adopted by some members of the
Palestinian elite after the Oslo accords. All these unexpected events have
provoked a serious crisis of confidence among world leaders.

The main problem facing Europe is to adapt to our decline: not an
imaginary decline in relation to the US, but a real decline compared with
the developing world. The ruling class of the US is trying to maintain its
hegemony by force; its failure can only intensify the Empire's crisis,
while the European right still fantasises that we can solve our problems
by imitating the US. The radical left generally ignores the question of
decline; behind its rhetoric, it continues to defend social-democratic,
Keynesian policies that globalisation has severely undermined.

The absolute priority is to prevent western populations from falling for
US-Israeli fantasies of the war on terror and Islamo-fascism (to which a
dangerously large part of the French left have already succumbed). This is
symptomatic of the western left's long tradition of incomprehension of
peripheral conflicts.

Historically, change has often come from the periphery. The October 1917
revolution and the Soviet Union's role in the victory over the Axis powers
had an enormous impact upon decolonisation and upon the possibility of
creating a social-democratic Eden in Europe. The victory of the colonised
nations led to a number of progressive changes in Europe during the 1960s.
If we make the effort to understand and take account of it, the current
revolts in Latin America and the Middle East may force radical changes
upon the dominant powers. Which may mean a less depressing future for the
rest of us.

Jean Bricmont is professor of theoretical physics at the University of
Louvain (Belgium), author of Humanitarian Imperialism (New York University
Press, 2007) and co-editor, with Julie Franck, of Chomsky (Herne, Paris,

Translated by Donald Hounam


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