Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Liberal Challenge

Some days it feels like the United States is driving top speed into its own demise. And then we read the news and listen to another spineless democrat politician make another empty promise about reining the whole thing. Like clockwork, ten minutes later, another blog post comes up from another liberal, frustrated and angry, try to articulate the cognitive dissonance of asking for stronger support of the Democrats for just one more cycle while acknowledging that the party isn't doing anything other than talking tough and caving quick.

Forget the devil and his administration, forget the critiques, let's zero in on the substance. Bush has no interest in "benchmarks" for success in Iraq because success means war (got it), hegemonic control (maintaining it, but losing grip by the minute), and the oil pump (got it). Ending the war means surrendering his fortunes. But the Liberals, who seem like a nice group of people caught up in a group hallucination, need to begin copping some benchmarks. No revolutionary alternative can be explored because they "just aren't realistic." Instead, we're told to stay within the two party system, register voters, write letters, contribute, and occasionally march. They get mad at Pelosi for saying that impeachment is off the table and then take everything but Pelosi off the table.

What has to happen for them to say enough is enough? Do children have to be raped, or threatened, in front of their parents as part of policy? Does the war need to continue to its fifth year? Does, for the second election in a row, the power brokers of the loyal opposition (sic) have to mount a candidate that talks about more war instead of less (e.g., Kerry's promise to fight the war better and this season's crop of fools blustering nonsense about Iran)? Does any sense of justice have to be respected on any level or does it have to just be a return to the illusions of habeas corpus? Is there a standard liberals can demand that is more than "better than cheney?"

Whatever the standards are, can we get the liberals to just agree to what those standards are with a date attached? If Giuliani or Obama gets elected and keeps the war on, can we expect a new strategy? Not that the rest of us should stop what we're doing, but there is something ridiculous about the liberal's anger at the path we're on and their steadfast refusal to consider more radical options, often dismissing them as "unrealistic."

Kerry got the nomination largely because he sold himself as the "electable" candidate. Lefties get lectured about not achieving anything by working outside the system. And all the while, the most technologically insane war machine chews up country after country. We're told to grow up and be realistic by kids in their twenties with Obama buttons for saying that we need much more than a candidate with a stump speech. For years, we've listened to this. Kos, and Atrios, and all the big libral bloggers need to listen to their own advice for Bush on Iraq: quantifiable benchmarks, clear schedules, objective analysis, and a clear and attainable goal.

I know, I know. There are a lot of people out there who aren't liberals and who are pissed. Instead of whining about the short bus, we should acknowledge the great unrepresented many. Of course, many of these liberal machines, from the Daily Kos community to Moveon, didn't exist mere years ago, and so why can't we build a similar machine? Why can't we lose the petty infighting and the eighty year old debates and get to work on building a new kind of machine? Why can't we?

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Neither scientifically proven or impossible

In the last 24 hours, our last post generated some discussion from interesting corners, so we thought we'd add a few extra notes. First, a few years ago, I remember reading an interview with one of the founders of 2600, the hacker magazine, on CNN. He was asked some preposterous question or another about what evils hackers could do and his reply stuck with me:
CNN: What percentage would you say are destructive as opposed to those in it out of intellectual curiosity or to test their skills?
Goldstein: This raises several points that I feel strongly about. For one thing, hacking is the only field where the media believes anyone who says they're a hacker. Would you believe someone who said they were a cop? Or a doctor? Or an airline pilot? Odds are they'd have to prove their ability at some point or say something that obviously makes some degree of sense. But you can walk up to any reporter and say you're a hacker and they will write a story about you telling the world that you're exactly what you say you are without any real proof.
So every time a movie like "Hackers" comes out, 10 million people from AOL send us e-mail saying they want to be hackers, too, and suddenly, every 12-year-old with this sentiment instantly becomes a hacker in the eyes of the media and hence, the rest of society. You don't become a hacker by snapping your fingers...
...The main problem is that when you make up such a word, no further definition is required. When you label someone with a word that says they're evil, you never really find out what the evil was to begin with. Murderer, that's easy. Burglar, embezzler, rapist, kidnapper, all pretty clear. Now along comes cracker and you don't even know what the crime was. It could be crashing every computer system in Botswana. Or it could be copying a single file. We need to avoid the labeling and start looking at what we're actually talking about. But at the same time, we have to remember that you don't become a hacker simply because you say you are.

There is a similar phenomenon with the word activist and the concept of activism. This has been written about before, but it bears repeating. We're caught up in the scene and signifiers of activism, but we're not actually contesting power. And this doesn't just extend to the individual, but also to a number of these big anti-war groups. Yet it's not over just because we've lost our way. And just because groups and people identify as antiwar, it doesn't mean that they are doing anything to really stop the war and especially does not mean that they should be looked at as indicators for how the antiwar movement is doing.
This isn't intended to sound like a "group A is a real anti-war group and group B is a traitor/enemy/whatever." This is a case of good people with good intentions trying to figure out how to end the war.

And here's where we go off the idealistic deep end. We can end the war period full stop. Social agency is a wonderful thing and as long as we're not combating nature itself (c.f. AIDS, volcanoes, lightning, impending mortality), We've done more than we thought possible (often not as well as we'd like) when it was still in future tense: ending slavery, overthrowing the empires, ending civil death for women, getting children out of the factory, et cetera. Now, I'm sure there's a little whiner in most of the people reading this who'll quickly point out that the slaves just became sharecroppers and leased convicts, the empires went through a revolving door into neo-colonialism, the patriarchy is still alive and well, and that there are millions upon millions of child laborers all around the world today because of this wretched mess we're in.
True. But we've still gotten a lot done that was thought impossible at the time and we're just not finished yet. At a Chris Day talk I saw years ago, he asked everyone to recite "I am the products of 500 years of resistance." We are the products of five hundred years of resistance and it isn't over and it probably won't be over for a little while (I'm thinking early February, but maybe March?). This is important. And we need to remind ourselves of this when we start saying things like "Maybe we need to seriously consider the possibility that, as of our current place in history right now, it's simply not possible for anti-war activist organizations to end this war." and "it is impossible at this point in history to stop these wars." Maybe, if we want to be specific, it IS impossible for "anti-war activist organizations" as they are currently conceived to stop the war, but nothing that is made by people cannot be stopped by people.
So, to sum up, we shouldn't conflate the possibilities of stopping the war with the results from today's antiwar groups and strategies and saying that we can't stop the war is a cop out. Just as disorganized as yesterday's post, but that's what you get when you write at midnight.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Voices and Silence: Ruminations on the Peace Movement

This weekend, we went to a peace demonstration in D.C. We talked with a lot of people and had a good time, but also left with a lot of concerns about the direction of the anti-war movement and renewed confidence in some of our earlier misgivings.
We want the war to stop and we think the Democrats have proven, yet again for the really slow at home, that they have no intention on stopping it. At the last Democratic Presidential debate, all three of the front runners refused to promise that troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of their first term in 2013. This is insane. With the exception of one very nice Kucinich supporter I met at the rally, no one really thinks any of the other candidates have a decent shot and the republicans are all just as insane. Like always, no surprises here, the people of the country will have to stop the war.
Stephen Duncombe, author of Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy, recently said in an interview in the Indypendent:
"Think about normal protests, which are a spectacle. The march on Washington: how does it work? We all get on a bus, we all go down to Washington, we get off the bus, we go on a route that has already been worked out with the police, we march literally around in a circle, then we listen to our leaders speak to us on bad sound systems, and then we march over to a designated civil disobedience area, sit down, and have the police arrest us. Now this is a spectacle of impotence. The police have essentially engineered everything for us and what the police haven't engineered the protesters have done. In fact, that's what the protester's job is: to make it a safe environment worked out in advance with the police. Now I worked on some of those, so I'm critiquing myself here.
The globalization protests worked completely differently. They were chaos. They were carnivals. They were street theater. They were planned, but they were planned by the participants, not with the police. And they were also highly effective. The shutting down of Seattle, what happened in Prague, what happened in London, and other cities around the world, were highly effective at getting attention drawn towards the World Trade Organization, GATT, NAFTA, and so on. 9/11 sort of put the kibosh on that and you saw the return of the repressed march-chant protest where we literally become spectators toward our own activity." (from original transcript)

And that sad spectacle was what we saw on Saturday. Souvenir guys sold peace protests t-shirts dated to remind us that we actually went to the peace protest like it was disney world or a serious basketball game. There have been upwards of twenty "major" demonstrations in DC and countless other ones around the world, literally involving millions of people. What have we produced? A million dead in Iraq, years of war, and a very real concern that the U.S. will attack Iran (tangential side note: we don't think the U.S. will attack Iran, but it still boils our blood). In Michael Moore's documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, there is a popular scene of Bush mis-speaking:
George W. Bush: There's an old saying in Tennessee. I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee, that says: "Fool me once...” [pause] "... shame on...”. [pause] "Shame on you...” [pause] "If fooled, you can't get fooled again."
Everyone loves this and loves to call Bush a moron for not learning from his mistakes, but the sad truth is that we've had about half a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq and the peace movement hasn't stopped any of it. Lefties love to point out that Liberals are nuts for believing that any of their knights of hope will stop the war and that the definition of insanity is "is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." But the Left is just an insane: we have no real vision for how to stop the war and it shows. Speakers on a stage and marching in circles is not working and hasn't been for some time. It is difficult to live in this time and place, but we have to get past these self-therapeutic rituals of illusory resistance. We say "No justice, No Peace," and nobody asks what that really means. We have had no justice; does "no peace" really mean shouting loudly on empty saturday streets?

There's a real battle over words like "normal" amongst the left and academia. Who is to say that transgendered isn't normal and that white middle-class guy is? While we accept the basic premise of this, the bus we went down on was populated by some of the most abnormal people one could find. One bore looked and sounded like the Comic Book guy from The Simpsons who kept droning on and on about Humphrey in '76, another guy wearing a permanent helmet and an air traffic controller headset seemed like he belonged in a group home, and a guy with a serious facial rash seemed enthusiastic about, I'm not joking, a possible Sam Nunn presidential bid. The same trot guy we always see, young, but getting a little older now, still hawking his papers and arguing his correct line. Of course, we also met a swell couple and talked to them for several hours and had a grand old time with a number of people we met. This isn't intended to be mean, but we bring up these examples because we think there is something important about this.
When the big anti-war demos began, we really thought that the best thing that could happen is if they stopped. We had just gotten off the explosion of the corporate globalization movement in the late nineties and it felt weak to return to the march, chant, argue with Trot paper sellers, and get back on bus routine. We thought that the groups organizing the marches, no matter how well intentioned, had to sign expensive insurance waivers to get permission to hold their marches and wouldn't jeopardize anything past pre-arranged Civil Disobedience and heated rhetoric from the stage. In the absence of this dog-and-pony shows, we imagined the anarchists and other independent lefties swooping in to create a carnival of resistance. There haven't been a lot of these big demos in the last few years, but no one has risen to take the place of the March-Chant-Protest spectacle. The baton has been passed to...
On the bus, we listened to a nice, well-intentioned bus captain talk to us about a new kind of movement. But the major groups (UFPJ, NION, WCW, ANSWER, TON, etc ad infinitum ad boredom) are bickering and fighting and can't even get their act together. She talked about a new kind of movement, but passed out the same weathered copy of some paper we put down after a only a few sentences of another tired old re-tread article. She talked about a new kind of movement, and we were told how important the day was, but the speakers had repeated the same old things and we called out the same old chants and got back the same old responses. And we looked around our tired bus coming back and something crystalized.
They say that Bush has 30% of the country who still like him, but he can't go much lower. Because these people will like him no matter what: because he's white, because they're afraid, because their minds are so traumatized into that bad space where you think bombing Iran will somehow keep everything holding on for that much longer, because just because. And these people will never stray; after so much wicked and stupid things Bush has done, their loyalty is branded into their very eyes and censors what they can possibly hear. They're the ones at the pre-screened rallies, thanking him for all he's doing. They're politically like Terri Schiavo: there, but not. The fools who don't know when to stop, take measure, and re-align back to a better path.
I'm a lefty and will be until I die. I think we can have a world of justice and freedom and that capitalism and its various sicknesses, man-made that it is, can be unwrought and a better society can be formed. I don't think there is a liberal solution possible: we couldn't reform our way out of the concentration camps and we can't lobby our way past the death squads. But looking around the bus, I felt too much of a connection between Bush's thirty percent, following blindly, and this antiwar moment, performing our anger, but resisting nothing. We owe it to ourselves to create the new strategy. Because this isn't working.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Critique of a Critique of the meta-Critique: Why No News is The News

I don't always agree with Krugman, but his criticism of the meta-analysis is right on. He says, in part:
"One of my pet peeves about political reporting is the fact that some of my journalistic colleagues seem to want to be in another business – namely, theater criticism. Instead of telling us what candidates are actually saying – and whether it’s true or false, sensible or silly – they tell us how it went over, and how they think it affects the horse race. During the 2004 campaign I went through two months’ worth of TV news from the major broadcast and cable networks to see what voters had been told about the Bush and Kerry health care plans; what I found, and wrote about, were several stories on how the plans were playing, but not one story about what was actually in the plans.

There are two big problems with this kind of reporting. The important problem is that it fails to inform the public about what matters. In 2004, very few people had any idea about the very real differences between the candidates on domestic policy."

But how much of it has to do with the fact the there is essentially a consensus between the two major parties? They both strive to be business-friendly (supporting things like NAFTA and the WTO over the working and middle class), hawkish on foreign policy (no debate about bombing a country for what non-state actors have done), and neck-and-neck on domestic issues (with the Democrats making a big celebration out of the most minor deviations, like Don't Ask, Don't Tell, while continuing the mass incarceration craze). The only two issue they seem to disagree on is guns, and there by very little despite what the NRA keeps promoting, and abortion, where they seem to have a gentleman's agreement that one party has to be the choice party and the other party is the anti-choice party. As a frustrated Michael Moore pointed out, in the second Gore-Bush debate. for over thirty issues, the two candidates simply agreed.

There is a problem with the corporate media's obsession with politician personality and surface performance over their substantial policy proposals (and, god forbid, alternatives to the proposals), but when, for the last several years, the Republicans argue for more war and the democrats counter (!) that the war needs to be fought better, doesn't responding with theater criticism make sense?

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Like Powell at the U.N., Bush trots out another general puppet

Petraeus is Bush. Say it again and again, if you have to. The puppet might as well have Bush's hand sticking in his back for all the independence he has. Bush's credibility is shot on the war and Petraeus is his proxy, a new untarnished voice, to repeat Bush's script. And every journalist and politician who, in turn, repeats Petraeus's findings is either a moron or someone in on the take. Petraeus is just another prop at the photo-op over the wreckage.
This can happen because the corporate media, for all it's self-deprecatory apologies for cheerleading us into this war (though always in past tense), continues to fight for the war. This is the liberals' grossest moment, from the New York Times and Jon Stewart on down, their champions tinker with rhetoric and pander to argument, but only push responsibility and tell us to believe it means more war. It all indicts the left, a left that doesn't even exist, because we're not smashing this whole machine apart.

This moment is truly depressing in so many ways. We have the republicans panting blood from eating children wholesale and the internal hemorrhaging of a party run by career criminals and simplest minds. Democratic politicians, the naked army they have always been (Obama, the great hope™, threatening more war on the rest of the world, Clinton the Corporate Lawyer shamelessly pandering knowing full well she will leap right if she gets the primary, etc), trying their best to play "republicaner."
And still no left.
Let's take stock. The liberals, represented by Kos and his ilk, who write a good game, but who are the indentured servants of the democratic party - no more independent than junkies - and smart enough to know that the Party is a collosal failure, yet still hooked to the gills. Then you have the institutional left, old C.P. fronts, who are still yoked to the throat with party line, infighting, and the verse-chorus-verse of New York Times Ad-March on Washington-Paper Sales. I actually love and care for this last group quite a bit, but the same old song and dance gets tired after awhile and it's frustrating that instead of fifteen little groups, we can't have one or two bigger groups getting to work.
Then there are the anarchists, who seem to be permanently arguing a propaganda of the deed that says "Anarchism isn't going to work." Like a list serv flame war that meets in person, it is the politics of a mob who happened to attend Sarah Lawrence. Some promise all the fun of hardcore Maoist cadres with none of the actual discipline and others who're just seeking riot porn to star in or videotape. But reacting against the anti-practice of the university marxists means an anti-theory of spontaneity navigated by the radicaler-than-thou only after it has been authorized by the purer-than-thou and vetted by the colorfully dressed unimaginative ones. A generation of kids who wore the clothes of the seventies growing up in the nineties reduced to reenacting the sixties and afraid of the future.
Every once in awhile, I catch a glimpse of the promise and the excitement rekindles, but I didn't today. These are depressing times and we need to get our act together.

Petraeus is bush and there is no left, repeat if you have to. We need to ignite a left and get rid of the the whole system that bush rides.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

We're so sick of the internet.

Let's be honest. The greatest networking system in the history of humankind and the best we can do is post videos of each other whining about how the Democrats enable Bush. A million monkeys on a million typewriters collectively lamenting that a CIA agent was outed for political reasons. This is craziness. If every single CIA agent was outed - and sentenced to hard labor - it would be a good day for the entire world. Instead, we're exchanging crazy talk.
But we haven't given up on the internet. So many people visit History Is A Weapon, they link to us and use articles here to back up their online arguments. It's great. On top of that, we see ever so brief glimpses of what the internet could be:,, moveon (complain all you want, but it combines massive numbers of people into a fundraising and hissy-fitting might), campusactivism: the list goes on. Through the piles of silly online petitions and closed-circuit activist list-servs, there is the faintest sight of the possible future and it looks good.
The big dilemma is how to use online networks to build offline activism. Sure, we can advertise another march around another government building, but after more than a decade of connectivity we're reduced to forwarding grainy daily show reruns.
Well, our complaints are wearing us down. We want to make something new, something online and spectacularly dangerous. The kind of thing that takes over, changes everything, and skips well past hope into the realm of revolutionary possibility. Yes, it's ambitious, but none of us are getting any younger and while History Is A Weapon is great, the future is the terrain of choice.
Want to help? We need some friends who know Drupal and PHP. If you don't have that, send us some money so that we can hire some people who do (or at least buy a book or two on the subject).
We're going to make your favorite thing, we just need to get some coders who can make the brick and mortar. If you want to help, send us an email.
Update:We'll be leaving this post up for a while, so don't hesitate to respond even if it has been a few weeks.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Aborton, America, and Debate

There are two types of lefty political junkies: those who will stoop to obsessing over the elections and those who won't. With all apologies to the latter heads, we are working towards revolution and the total eradication of the capitalist state, but we also chase election gossip like the next hit on a aluminum foil pipe. For those of you still reading, we wanted to remark on a disturbing trend: Liberals' chastising of republican candidates' pro-choice histories.
Blog after blog raises hackles when uncovering decade-old contributions to Planned Parenthood and it makes us ill. But before we raise the biggest reason, let us digress a bit mercenary at first. The biggest difference between the democrats and republicans on a national level, all squawking and superficiality aside, is the choice women get in birth control. Hillary and Obama can talk on and on about all the great visions they have for a better America, but cut to specifics and Obama will take a country that we have attacked and bullied for decades and he'll threaten them with nukes and Clinton, ex-Walmart board member, is just gross. Sure, Sharpton and Kucinich will be allowed on stage to give the naive some hope, but anyone allowed to play ball for real is republican-lite. The republican model looks similar with the only difference that they use their farthest right fringe, like racist Tancredo, not as a bait-and-switch to keep the base in line, but as cover to push for their grossest visions (i.e., they're just answering to the grassroots). The battle royales they have are more like Professional Wrestling: a lot of sound and fury and very little actual heat.
Why is it so important to point this out? The day the democrats run an anti-choice presidential candidate, the Democratic party will deflate and third parties will get a rush of new dynamic recruits (maybe the republicans will win the next election, but it will fundamentally move the debate to the left on every issue, including choice); the day the republicans run a pro-choice candidate, the democrats will win the next election as the anti-choice base will immediately jump ship for the next largest antichoice party.
But, and I'm sure that this some dailykos junkie is already thinking this: what if liberals already know that the parties will never allow their nominee to buck the rule and it is just a strategy to weaken turnout from the base in case an ex-prochoicer wins the nomination. This is brings us to the second reason: abortion shouldn't be a political football. It is a right that should need no endorsement, apology, or excuse in the political ring. The ideal candidate quote is simply: "If elected, I will do everything in my power to guarantee a woman's right to choose. Next question."

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Monday, April 09, 2007


Paul Street has list of websites for soldiers and vets who're opposed to the war which I've posted below. The Times had an article about the growing issue of AWOL soldiers. What is the antiwar movement doing (and not doing) to support and assist more soldiers who don't want to continue perpetuating the crime of Iraq and Afghanistan? What else should we be doing?

Courage to Resist

GI Rights Hotline

Different Drummer

Citizen Soldier

Iraq Veterans Against the War

Gold Star Families for Peace

Veterans for Peace

Bring Them Home Now

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors

Veterans Against the Iraq War -

Democracy Rising

West Point Graduates Against the War

Jonah House

War Resisters Support Campaign

Center on Conscience and War


Nuremburg Principles – soldier’s legal and moral duty to resist orders to commit war crimes.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Edward Bernays

Oy Vey! So, maybe we're overdoing it on the posting whole books, but we came across a doozy the other day and it is now up. We'll let the Noam introduce the author and the work:
[The] American business community was also very impressed with the propaganda effort. They had a problem at that time. The country was becoming formally more democratic. A lot more people were able to vote and that sort of thing. The country was becoming wealthier and more people could participate and a lot of new immigrants were coming in, and so on.
So what do you do? It's going to be harder to run things as a private club. Therefore, obviously, you have to control what people think. There had been public relation specialists but there was never a public relations industry. There was a guy hired to make Rockefeller's image look prettier and that sort of thing. But this huge public relations industry, which is a U.S. invention and a monstrous industry, came out of the first World War. The leading figures were people in the Creel Commission. In fact, the main one, Edward Bernays, comes right out of the Creel Commission. He has a book that came out right afterwards called Propaganda. The term "propaganda," incidentally, did not have negative connotations in those days. It was during the second World War that the term became taboo because it was connected with Germany, and all those bad things. But in this period, the term propaganda just meant information or something like that. So he wrote a book called Propaganda around 1925, and it starts off by saying he is applying the lessons of the first World War. The propaganda system of the first World War and this commission that he was part of showed, he says, it is possible to "regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies." These new techniques of regimentation of minds, he said, had to be used by the intelligent minorities in order to make sure that the slobs stay on the right course. We can do it now because we have these new techniques.
This is the main manual of the public relations industry. Bernays is kind of the guru. He was an authentic Roosevelt/Kennedy liberal. He also engineered the public relations effort behind the U.S.-backed coup which overthrew the democratic government of Guatemala.
His major coup, the one that really propelled him into fame in the late 1920s, was getting women to smoke. Women didn't smoke in those days and he ran huge campaigns for Chesterfield. You know all the techniques—models and movie stars with cigarettes coming out of their mouths and that kind of thing. He got enormous praise for that. So he became a leading figure of the industry, and his book was the real manual.

—Noam Chomsky

Propaganda (1928) by Edward Bernays
(Chomsky's intro is repeated with the article).

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

An update

We were going to post something about rethinking activist strategies, but instead, we'll just strongly recommend Dan Berger and Andy Cornell's article Winning the (Anti) War and Rebuilding Political Imagination. But we think you'll be back. Why? Because we just posted the full text of George Jackson's Soledad Brother.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007


If you're like a lot of political people on the internet, you skim the liberal blogs. There's a lot of them, some of them are actually well-written, and while the political analysis is often misses the mark, they can sometime surprise you with some sharp critique (usually before ruining it with their standby solution: simply vote and contribute to candidate X). And they hate them some Bush and that's always fun to read.
But like candy, there's always a price to pay for enjoying the sweetness. If I was a better writer, I'd extend this metaphor into something about a lack of teeth. I'm not a better writer. In the Bush-bashing case, it is a critique that focuses an entire system into a single man and then argues that a different single man would make everything better or at least get us headed back in the right direction. Except that Bush is simply a representative of a system and anyone else the system picks to represent it is simply a different face on the same body. In this case, the system is modern capitalism (and it's auxiliary cultural components of white supremacy and patriarchy). Changing the face is not enough: it's like giving a concentration camp a paint job. If that seems a bit strong, ask the Iraqis living under the gun.
So now the ugly ugly beast is waving its fangs over at Iran. Now, before I go any further, I don't think that the U.S. is going to invade Iran. I also know that there is dissent within the ruling class, personified in some instances by the Democratic Party, against the idea of invading Iran. This doesn't change our criticism one whit: first, the U.S. isn't going to invade Iran because the generals aren't morons. Iranian president Ahmadinejad can pretty much say to Bush's bullying "Yeah? You and what army?"
Besides that, the U.S. for all it's bluster doesn't invade countries that have a chance. Think back about the last two decades of U.S. invasions: Grenada and Panama. We used proxy armies to terrorize most of Latin America and I don't think they'd employ that strategy again in the middle east even if they could: remember Osama Bin Laden and his origins in Afghanistan. Yugoslavia and even the first Gulf war? Big coalitions. Not happening anytime soon on Iran. The U.S. is a rogue nation and a bully and, even if we're moving a bunch of big ships into the gulf, we all know that it's just bluster.
As for those Democrats in congress hedging and hawing about the idea of invading, if Iraq had gone smoother, they'd be right in line to invade. Their criticisms are about the strategy and not the goal.
Now let me go out on a real limb and advance an argument that I have and that I never thought I'd even think. I think Iran has a pretty convincing case on needing nukes to prevent war. Think about it and put yourself in Ahmadinejad's shoes. A few years ago, America's ruling regime announces three primary enemies: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Now you're Iran. Iraq obeys and disarms, lets the weapons inspectors in, and what does it get? Bombed, occupied, robbed, raped, and cut up. The U.S. installs its main architects of '80s Latin American Death Squad strategy, ferments strong ethnic rivalries, build a bunch of permanent bases, and starts stealing oil wholesale. North Korea? Disobeys and immediately ramps up production of a nuke. Even though the thing may not even work, what does the U.S. do? Whimper and insist on new negotiations. It's like an old Highlights Goofus and Gallant strip. Be honest: if you were Iran, who would you emulate?
Reagan wanted nukes and that sick scumbag should've been arrested. Ahmadinejad isn't even making the case, but I'd support it.
Where do the Liberal bloggers come in on this? I was reading "Crooks and Liars" the other day and they asked about Bush's Iran bluster: where's the evidence? Though they were channeling MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, they said it was the question everyone needs to be asking right now. Now they meant where is the evidence for Iran wanting to harm the U.S. This is the most psychotic response ever. If Ma Barker showed up at your door and said she needed help because there was a bank downtown that was threatening her, you wouldn't you ask for the evidence. The evidence is that Ma Barker has a history robbing banks. Now imagine that you happen to bump into Ma Barker in the bank mid-robbery and she says to you: "I know this doesn't look good, but we have to succeed, and the bank next door has been threatening me so we have to go there, too."
Iran is just another bank to these people and we have all the evidence we need: the war in Iraq is a crime on a barely imaginable scale, we need to have criminal prosecution of the criminals, and anyone who tries to change the subject to debating the legitimacy of Iran needs to be corrected sternly.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bill Moyer Movement Action Plan

Just added Bill Moyer's (not to be confused with progressive journalist Bill moyers) Movement Action Plan. Better get your slippers on, take out your notebook, and clear your schedule, because it is loooooong. No complaints, however, because Moyer gets to tackling the questions so many of us have: How do we fight and how do we win?

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