Saturday, January 30, 2010

THE RULING IDEAS ARE THE IDEAS OF THE RULING CLASS: NOT ALWAYS

Harry Targ

In 1962 Thomas Kuhn published a book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, suggesting that the development of scientific research was grounded in social structures. A set of scientific ideas, what he called a “paradigm,” become established in disciplines-chemistry, physics, biology- and this set of ideas, if they explain significant features of the field, become dominant. Most chemists, physicists, or biologists do scientific research from the standpoint of the fundamental ideas of the paradigm.

Kuhn said that then newer generations of researchers and educators work from within the paradigm. They do what he labeled “normal science.” Their publications, their theories, maintenance of their jobs depend on them doing science from within the framework of the paradigm.

Kuhn then suggested that occasionally the dominant paradigm raises so many questions that it gets challenged. There is a “revolution” in the science and a new paradigm begins to dominate the discipline.

To me this view of science was fascinating. Studying any discipline, Kuhn seemed to be saying, involved the institutionalization of a way of thinking about a subject, making sure that way of thinking becomes part of the “power structure” of the discipline and only gets changed by “revolutions” in the field. The development of ideas, he implied, parallels domination and subordination in societies and stability challenged by radical change.

Some scholar/activists in the 1960s and beyond began to look at other fields, such as in the social sciences and humanities, through the lens of Kuhn, whether or not it was his intention. These scholar/activists began to see that in virtually every field of study dominant paradigms were created that enshrined certain ideas including in economics, history, politics, and culture. For the most part, these paradigms celebrated capitalism, the United States in the world, American democratic institutions, and artistic works that ignored social problems and concentrated on the personal. However, increasing numbers of a new generation began to argue that key ideas were left out of these paradigms. Prominent among these suggestions was that understanding the United States and the world required considering the roles of class, race, and gender.

As a result of the turmoil on and off campuses in the 1960s, these scholar/activists were emboldened to critically revisit the dominant paradigms in their fields. They began to do research that looked at the underside of capitalism; the U.S. role in the world from an anti-imperialist lens; the connection between class, race, and U.S. political institutions; and the one-sidedness of excluding certain writers and artists for their political subjects from the study of literature and the visual arts.

Perhaps no paradigm was more enduring and institutionally self-serving than the consensus view of United States history. Students from K-12, college, and graduate school were educated to believe that American history was driven by the quest for assimilation, democratization, economic growth, and global leadership. That historic evolution was shaped by wise elites who were white, male, and wealthy; educated at the finest institutions of higher learning; and inspired by various humane religious faiths. It was a history of the rise to the top of expertise, compassion, wisdom and the perfectibility of a people.

In Kuhn’s terms, young scholar/activists began to reflect more on the “anomalies” in the paradigm. Millions of indigenous people who had established vibrant and stable societies were massacred as Europeans and their descendents moved across the North American continent. The development of modern capitalism was based on hundreds of years of the accumulation of wealth produced by peoples kidnapped from Africa. After slavery, racism continued to influence political and economic life through out the United States. And, despite traditional claims, reforms in the work process, guarantees of health and welfare, and political rights resulted not from the benevolence of elites but through class struggle.

As the discovery of anomalies in all the social sciences and humanities were uncovered, activists, students, young scholars, and even some older scholars realized that all knowledge reflects economic and political interests. There is no such thing as “academic objectivity.” They discovered that the dominant ideas that were disseminated in elementary and high schools, college, graduate programs, and media punditry reflected the paradigms that served the interests of the United States, particularly in the context of a struggle against ideas, movements, and nations that represented different paradigms and interests. Those coming to newer perspectives also realized that the development of knowledge required not a distancing of the “scholar” from the people but the embedding of the research in political activity. Many realized that “theory and practice” were intimately connected.

Why all this discussion? Well Howard Zinn, a creator and product of the intellectual turmoil of the 60s presented us with a new paradigm for examining U.S. history, indeed all history. His classic text, A People’s History of the United States, which has been read by millions compellingly presented a view of history that highlighted the roles of indigenous people, workers, women, people of color, people of various ethnicities, and all others who were not situated at the apex of economic, political, or educational institutions. He taught us that we needed to be engaged in the struggles that shaped people’s lives to learn what needs to be changed, how their conditions got to be what they were, and how scholar/activists might help to change the world.

Perhaps most importantly, Zinn demonstrated that participants in people’s struggles were part of a “people’s chain,” that is the long history of movements and campaigns throughout history that have sought to bring about change. As he wrote in his autobiography, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times:

“What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

OBAMA LAUNCHES A NEW BEGINNING: The State of the Union Address He Should Give

Harry Targ

The Campaign

I wish to welcome you tonight so that you can carefully consider “the new beginning” of the Obama Administration. I want to review where we have come from over the last two years and then briefly discuss where we must go over the next three years of my administration.

First, and let us not forget this, I ran for office in the midst of the greatest domestic and global crisis the United States has faced since the Great Depression and World War II. This crisis has its roots in the radical privatization of the U.S. and global economy that was largely initiated by the Reagan Administration and the global military agenda of the Reagan Doctrine. The globalization of American capitalism and military power was given full priority in the 1980s and continued in the administrations of two Bushes and one Clinton presidency. Frankly the Great Recession of 2007 and beyond and the multiple wars of this century are direct results of the policies and programs instituted by the United States presidents, administrations, and corporate elites over the last thirty years.

Second, as a candidate for president I was able to tap into the enormous frustration large majorities of Americans felt about their loss of power, their growing economic insecurity, and their fear of expanding worldwide hostility to the United States. I recognize that my candidacy offered hope, particularly for workers, people of color, youth, and women in our rapidly diversified society. I made a pact with the people to begin to change America politically and economically. I realize now, that while I did take steps to meet the expectations of the people, I fell far short of their needs and wants. Today I am launching “a new beginning,” to embrace again the promises of the presidential campaign.

The First Year

On reflection, the errors we have made over the last year include the following: 1) We prioritized saving the massive financial institutions who brought us the recent economic crisis over putting people back to work. 2) We gave too much influence in my administration to those from the financial community and not enough from representatives from labor and other communities.
3) We chose to campaign for health care reform first and let the jobs crisis fester and grow. 4) We embraced the most compromised, minimum conception of health care reform from the very beginning rather than to endorse a single payer health care system that remains enormously popular. 5) While we began our administration with symbolic moves in foreign policy-to embrace diplomacy, to begin to dialogue with traditional enemy nations, to show some minimal respect to countries of the Global South-we have shifted back to traditional U.S. hegemonic policies in the Western Hemisphere, adopted the Bush era “war on terrorism” as a priority, and expanded U.S. military involvement in the Afghanistan quagmire. 6) Perhaps, the most central misjudgment I have made over the year is to engage in a politics of “pragmatism” that involves seeking to compromise with enemies of the people in the Republican Party and corporate and financial elites. And, in addition, I have failed to respond vigorously to the various media who consistently have promoted their right-wing agenda.

A New Beginning

As a result of serious reflection, self-criticism, recent setbacks to our progressive agenda, and frankly our concerns about the 2010 elections, I announce this “new beginning” which will include the following policy programs:

1) First and foremost, we will launch a campaign in the legislature and among the public to address immediately and with the resources of the country the growing jobs crisis. I will be bringing to the Congress a proposed additional $700 billion economic stimulus that will target green jobs, public service jobs in the tradition of the Works Progress Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Federal Arts Projects and other programs that in the past were enormously successful in putting people back to work. Jobs programs will target all workers but particularly the most vulnerable among our people.

2) I have already launched a campaign to reregulate U.S. banking institutions. This campaign must revitalize local, community banks, and reduce the wealth and power of the handful of huge Wall Street institutions. Particularly, there must be regulations to virtually eliminate financial speculation, a system that has grown to monumental proportions since the 1970s. The U.S. economy today is less involved in the production of goods and services and more revolves around speculative activities. That must change and I am committed to the change. And I believe this task requires new economic advisors in my administration who are not personally committed to the huge Wall Street institutions.

3) I will work with key advocates in the Congress to secure the passage of legislation that establishes a single payer health care system. I have learned from my first year in office that we cannot on the one hand be advocates of the people and work in close collaboration with insurance companies, banks, auto makers and others in such a way that our principles get totally compromised.

4) I will reestablish dialogue with members of my administration on issues of national security with a goal of deescalating the U.S. military presence around the world, starting with Afghanistan. I will direct the Secretaries of Defense and State to begin planning a significant downsizing of the U. S. military budget. An immediate goal will be a forty percent reduction in the military budget by 2012.

5) I will reassemble a team of environmental experts, drawn from the broad array of environmental groups, to reconceptualize all of the policies above to meet the desperate needs of the physical survival of the planet.

I hope you will join me in this “new beginning.” I hope you can rekindle the passion, energy, and hope for a better future that was so critical to my election victory just one short year ago. And, in the end, I realize now more than ever that this “new beginning” is vital for our survival, economically and politically. This is a time of crisis but still a time of hope for "a new beginning.”

Thank You

Friday, January 15, 2010

"THIS MADNESS MUST CEASE"

Harry Targ

At a critical juncture in the escalation of the Vietnam War, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 describing the fundamental connections between war overseas and poverty at home:

“Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken.”

It is useful to reflect on the historic motivation for United States foreign policy, what Dr. King called "this madness," yesterday and today. And, in the spirit of Dr. King, it is incumbent upon us to continue to reflect also on its impacts on people abroad and at home. Such reflections should encompass venues such as Iraq and Afghanistan where the contemporary impacts are the result of war and countries such as Haiti where the structure of economic and political relations have been as devastating to the people as military occupation (though marines occupied Haiti from 1917 to 1934).

First, according to historians such as William Appleman Williams, the United States has pursued dominant influence in the world ever since the 1890s. After conquering the North American continent and all but exterminating its inhabitants, U.S. policy has been shaped by the pursuit of markets, investment opportunities, cheap labor, and vital natural resources. With the expansion of industrial capitalism, securing access to cheap oil became particularly important. Oil figured prominently in agreements with the ruling oligarchy in Saudi Arabia during World War 11, the 1953 overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, the severing of relations with a radical Iraqi regime in 1958, and the wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003.

Historian Loren Baritz has argued that U.S. policymakers have defined these economically driven global and interventionist policies in moral terms. For example, President Truman spoke of the threat of totalitarian communism to the free world in his famous Truman Doctrine speech of March 12, 1947. However, one week earlier, in a less familiar speech at Baylor University, he asserted that economics and foreign policy were inextricably connected and that the United States was committed to creating a global market economy in the post-war world. Thirty-five years later President Reagan repeatedly referred to the Soviet Communist system as an historical aberration and at the same time borrowed from our Puritan ancestors, declaring that the United States was a “city on a hill.” We were destined by God to transform the world. President Clinton also mixed economics and morality repeatedly reiterating his commitment to create “market democracies” around the world.

The impacts of this century-long search for what Williams called, “the Open Door,” the drive to economically penetrate the globe has meant pain, suffering, and waste for peoples everywhere including the United States. The U.S. sent marines to invade Central American and the Caribbean 25 times between 1900 and 1933. During the fifty years since World War 11 the U.S. threatened to use force or sent troops on at least 40 occasions, spent $3 trillion on the military, participated in wars between 1945 and 1995 in which 10 million people died, and lost at least 100,000 of its own soldiers killed in action with 10 times that number becoming casualties.

It was in this historical context that President Bush responded to the terrorist attack on 9/11 by launching a new global crusade, replacing communism with a “war on terrorism.” He justified “preemptory” attacks on any country or people we would define as a possible threat to U.S. national security. The Pentagon defined an “arc of instability” running from the northern parts of South America through North Africa, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and East Asia. They said the United States had to develop small, mobile military bases all across the globe (Chalmers Johnson estimates some 700 bases exist in 60 countries) with new technologies that would make the U.S. fighting force more capable of quickly intervening in self-defined trouble spots. Successful operations in Afghanistan and Iraq would solidify the presence, power, and control of strategic resources and institutionalize this strategy of “the last remaining superpower.”

Clinton Administration policies toward Iraq differed in tactics but not in substance from his successor. Clinton sought to increase the U.S. presence in the Gulf by starving the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Economic sanctions led to a 60 percent decline in the GDP of the country and the economic embargo cost the lives of about one million Iraqis, mostly children under the age of five.

However, supporters of the lobby group, Project for the New American Century (PNAC), including Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, and other Bush policymakers, demanded that Clinton do more. As soon as 9/11 happened, these neo-conservatives convinced President Bush to attack Iraq even though the latter had nothing to do with 9/11 and everyone knew that Iraq, after a decade of US and British bombing, economic sanctions, and rigorous inspections, had no weapons of mass destruction.

The war on Afghanistan began in October, 2001 and the war in Iraq in March 2003. The impacts have been devastating to these war torn countries.

What can be done about this “madness?” Despite President Obama’s recent decision to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan progressives must continue to demand that the United States deescalate and withdraw all U.S. troops from there and Iraq. U.S. military bases all across the globe must be shut down. This process should be done in conjunction with negotiations with relevant nations and peoples to transform international relations. Americans must pressure their leaders to embrace foreign and domestic policies that promote peace and justice. At the time of his assassination Dr. King was organizing a Poor People’s Campaign, a mass movement to end war, racism, and economic misery. That project still needs to be completed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

WORKING CLASS SOCIALIST,GRASSROOTS LABOR ORGANIZER,FEMINIST,FILM STAR Thoughts on the Life of Vicky Starr

Harry Targ

I read recently that Vicky Starr died on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009. She was 93 years old. Thinking about Vicky Starr (or for fans of the film Union Maids Stella Nowicki) reminded me about how her life, which many of us learned of through the film, was so inspirational.

As a teenager, Vicky Starr left the family farm in Michigan and arrived on the Southside of Chicago in 1933. She stayed in the home of Herb and Jane March, Communist activists who had come to Chicago to organize the packing house workers in the huge Stockyards. Under March’s tutelage she sought employment in the Yards and almost immediately began to network with workers to build a union of workers in the days leading up to the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

The processing of meat from the 1880s until the late 1950s was centered in Chicago. The Stockyards, housing the Big Four packers (Armour, Cudahy, Swift, and Wilson), employed thousands of workers. Because the work was so dangerous and unpleasant, it was largely carried out by the most marginalized sectors of the working class.

In the era of Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle, workers were primarily immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. After World War 1 and the “the Great Migration,” African Americans secured the lowest paid and most dangerous jobs in the Yards. Historic union organizing drives in 1904, and 1921 faltered because of racism and ethnic conflict among workers. Communist and socialist organizers in the Yards, such as March, realized that combating racism was central to organizing industrial unionism in the meat packing industry.

And it was rank-and-file activists like Vicky Starr who tirelessly met with workers, helped write leaflets and newsletters, interacted with the radical students from the University of Chicago who had offered their assistance to union organizing drives, and communicated with sympathetic members of the influential Catholic Church in the city.

As a member of the Young Communist League, Starr and her comrades would read classic Marxist and Leninist texts. Since Starr would be identified with organizing campaigns by her bosses she often lost her job in the yards. When that occurred she would apply for work at another packing house company using a different name.

She told Alice and Staughton Lynd (Rank and File, 1973) many years later: “When I look back now, I really think we had a lot of guts. But I didn’t even stop to think about it at the time. It was something that had to be done. We had a goal. That’s what we felt had to be done and we did it.”

In 1937, workers established the Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee (PWOC). Despite resistance by the major meat packers, state violence, red-baiting against union organizers by the state and the American Federation of Labor’s Amalgamated Meat Cutters (AMC), the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA-CIO) was constituted in 1943. Until its merger with other unions, it remained a militant trade union that fought racism and red-baiting and publicly opposed United States foreign policies such as participation in the Korean War. And during its formative years in the mid-1940s Vicky Starr served for a time as Education Director for District 1 of UPWA.

Central to Starr’s contribution to the working class from the time she was a member of the Young Communist League, to the budding labor movement, the formation of the UPWA, and later as an organizer of clerical workers at the University of Chicago was her constant struggle against racism and sexism. After the formation of UPWA Starr said “We tried to make sure that there were both Negroes and whites as officers, stewards…in all the locals.” She fought residential segregation and participated in building the Back of the Yards Council on Chicago’s south side, and worked to end the exclusion of African Americans from professional sports. And in the end she recalled that the most militant trade unionists on the shop floor, the beef kill, were African Americans.

As an organizer in the 30s and a UPWA staffer in the 40s she combated sexism as well. “Women had an awfully tough time in the union because the men brought their prejudices there.” Women often had the most demeaning jobs in the Yards, wage rates discriminated against them, their special needs, such as child care received no attention, and they often were fearful of demanding their rights on the shop floor and in the union.

As a socialist, Starr reflected on those halcyon days of UPWA-CIO organizing. She said that there was a sense that workers were ready to come together. There was a growing feeling of working class solidarity. Union organizers would show up at the Stockyards with literature and speeches. And at the grassroots she and others were on the shop floor spreading the word informally about the union.

And socialism needed to be addressed in terms of the concrete benefits of people’s lives. “You had to talk about it in terms of what it would mean for that person. We learned that you can’t manipulate people but that you really had to be concerned with the interests and needs of the people. However, you also had to have a platform--a projection of where you were going.”

Starr left the Yards in 1945, was forced underground for a time in the McCarthy period, raised four children and returned to work as a secretary at the prestigious University of Chicago. She still had “a platform” at the university, organizing all non-professional staff. Despite predictable resistance from the bastion of liberalism in higher education she applied the grassroots organizing skills she learned as a teenager in the stockyards to achieve victory for clerical workers. Teamsters Local 743 was recognized in 1978. Vicky Starr became the first shop steward of the new local.

But Starr’s contribution to the American working class, Black and White, male and female did not remain unnoticed beyond the shop/office. Alice and Staughton Lynd captured her remembrances of CIO organizing in the 1973 book Rank and File and the clerical workers struggle in the 2000 book New Rank and File. And especially, “Stella Nowicki” was one of three stars (the others were Sylvia Woods and Kate Hyndman) in the wonderful documentary (Union Maids, 1977) about women organizing in the CIO in the 1930s.

This last project made Vicky Starr a major celebrity. It brought to the attention of new generations of activists the fighting spirit of the 1930s, the central role Communists played in the battles, and the absolute centrality to organizing the working class of fighting racism and sexism.

Still relevant today, Union Maids (and the Lynds collections of interviews), can help inspire, educate, and inform activists about tactics, strategy, and basic principles of organizing.

Vicky Starr concluded her 1973 interview saying: “It was a privilege and a wonderful experience to participate in the excitement of those times.”

It is important to remember Vicky Starr for what she did for the working class, particularly industrial and clerical workers. And reflections on her life and work can still inform activists as they struggle for economic justice today.


(A memorial celebration of Vicky Starr’s life will be held January 23, 2010 at 4 pm at the North Shore Retirement Hotel, 1611 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 WILL BE A YEAR OF IDEOLOGICAL STRUGGLE OVER WAR AND PEACE

Harry Targ

The year ends with the resurgence of what we might call “globalist discourse.” Globalist discourse is a set of ideas or theories about how the world works that justifies United States military and political intervention on a global scale.

Since the United States became a great power, it has sought to expand its influence, power, and economic presence everywhere. But during some periods the policy and the defenses of it (the discourse) have emphasized diplomacy, building relationships with allies, and even, from time to time, currying the favor of potential competitors for world domination. This represents a kind of “pragmatic approach” to global influence. During other periods the United States has rejected diplomacy, demanded allied obedience, and engaged in bloody military adventures, the globalist approach.

The election of Barack Obama offered the hope to the peace movement, and large sectors of the public that the new administration would reinstate a more “pragmatic” approach to foreign policy. As has been stated by many, however, Obama’s newly announced counterinsurgency policy for Afghanistan and bold proclamation at the Nobel Peace prize awards ceremony that the world is an ugly place and therefore that wars are inevitable suggest that he may be tilting toward the more globalist, interventionist strain in United States policy.

Pressure to continue to move in the globalist direction increased as 2009 came to a close. First, spokespersons for war criticized the Obama administration for not understanding that the United States is in a perpetual global war against terrorists. Former Vice President Dick Cheney spoke for this view after the Christmas Day attempted terrorist attack on a commercial plane flight ending in Detroit. “We are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe.”

Cheney decried Obama’s reluctance to use the language of “war on terrorism.” Such language Cheney said “doesn’t fit with the view of the world he (Obama) brought with him to the Oval Office.” And, of course, what the Bush/Cheney team brought to the Oval Office, the former Vice President argued, was much preferred. It was the view that the United States, as the last remaining superpower, is constantly threatened by forces more diabolical than the former Soviet Union. 9/11 was just one manifestation of a global war of “Jihadists” who wish to destroy the U.S.

Unfortunately, rather than directly challenging the validity of this view, spokespersons from the Democratic Party, responded by saying that Obama in fact has said that the U.S. is at war. They reminded the public that in his inaugural address Obama proclaimed that; “Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” However, to provide some rationality to the response an adviser to the President for Homeland Security, John O. Brennan, indicated that U.S. policy is targeted at specific threats which are “… tangible-Al Qaeda, violent extremists, and terrorists- rather than at war with a tactic, terrorism.”

An additional byproduct of what may be called “the doctrine of perpetual violence” is the claim that military priorities trump all other policies. In this regard Cheney pointed out that the Obama perspective on the world does not fit the needs of national security because “…it doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency-social transformation-the restructuring of American society.” Cheney implied that Obama is squandering energy, resources, and time on health care reform, global warming, jobs, education, and other vital needs at home rather than engaging what is needed to defeat “the terrorists.”

A parallel set of claims about threats to the United States was aired in a troubling December 31 broadcast segment on National Public Radio. In it, NPR foreign policy analyst Tom Gjelten, interviewed so-called experts who claimed that failure to stop the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan might lead to wider wars in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. These threats to regional stability were also threats to United States vital economic, political, and military interests.

Gjelten sited Jean-Louis Bruguiere who was identified as a European Union envoy on terrorism. Bruguiere suggested that an “arc of conflict” was emerging that increasingly encompassed Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia. He added that radical insurgent groups, which formerly operated only in their own countries now work in collaboration with their counterparts in other countries. If the insurgents win in Afghanistan, it will boost the prospects of radical insurgent victories in the other threatened regimes.

Paul Quinn-Judge, identified as the Central Asia Director for the International Crisis Group, referred to the importance of one insurgent group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which is now operating with the Taliban in Afghanistan. “If the Taliban can consolidate themselves in northern Afghanistan, that’s already going to be an excellent jumping-off point for the IMU and for other Central Asian Islamists” which “…would be a very disturbing development for most of the countries of Central Asia.”

Gjelten then referred to David Sedney, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Central Asia, who in recent Senate hearings indicated that some supplies for the U.S. war on Afghanistan are brought via road and rail through Central Asia, the so-called Northern Distribution Network. He said that in “… the mindset of the Taliban and other Islamist movements, Central Asia is now part of the general theater of war.”

Whose “mindset” sees Central Asia as “now part of the general theater of war?” Is it really the Taliban? Or is it the globalists who see the world as part of “the general theater of war?”

While many Americans, perhaps most, dismiss the ravings of Dick Cheney, the threat of terrorism, the reminders of the horror of 9/11, the articulation of the view of the world that says nations and peoples are driven by the violent laws of the jungle have some resonance. Even greater weight is given to the “expert” laced analyses of hand-picked “experts” put on display with intellectual reverence by National Public Radio.

As 2010 dawns, the peace movement must begin to attack the fundamental premises of the globalist discourse. Wars are not inevitable. There is no global jihad. U.S. violence in the world generates equal and more threatening responses. And, finally, the whole globalist discourse celebrates and revels in massive violence, military waste, and dehumanization. Therefore as we select our political representatives, consume news and views about the world, and work for a better world, we must demand a discourse that is not wrapped in apocalyptic visions of human affairs.