Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 24, 2006

The Israel Lobby

Filed under: zionism — louisproyect @ 7:19 pm

Posted to www.marxmail.org on March 24, 2006

The latest London Review of Books has an article by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt titled “The Israel Lobby.” It and the longer paper that is based on has generated some controversy. The London Review article argues:

“[T]he thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.”

This argument has been heard before. Although it superficially sounds “radical”, it is most often heard from paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan who also sparked controversy in the 1980s for making similar arguments.

In the most recent development, Alan Dershowitz has become the main antagonist of Mearsheimer and Walt (who is on the faculty at Harvard with Dershowitz) in terms depressingly similar to the Norman Finkelstein controversy:

A prominent Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, is alleging that the authors of a Harvard Kennedy School paper about the “Israel lobby,” one of which is the Kennedy School’s academic dean, culled sections of the paper from neo-Nazi and other anti-Israel hate Web sites.

“What we’re discovering first of all is that the quotes that they use are not only wrenched out of context, but they are the common quotes that appear on hate sites,” Mr. Dershowitz, who is identified in the paper as part of the “lobby,” told The New York Sun yesterday.

“The wrenching out of context is done by the hate sites, and then [the authors] cite them to the original sources, in order to disguise the fact that they’ve gotten them from hate sites.”

It is understandable why somebody like Dershowitz might become so upset. When professors from prestigious universities publish a lengthy attack on Israel in a prestigious London journal, a hardened Zionist apologist like Dershowitz will go into battle.

Before examining Mearsheimer and Walt’s arguments, it might be worthwhile to put them into context ideologically. Both men subscribe to “neorealist” theory, which falls within the international relations (IR) branch of political science. This term is related to “realpolitik,” the word coined by Bismark that obviously described the way that another realist Henry Kissinger conducted foreign policy.

Realist

“States are assumed at a minimum to want to ensure their own survival. This driving force of survival is the primary factor influencing their behaviour and in turn ensures states develop offensive military capabilities, as a mean to increase their relative power. Neorealists bring attention to a persistent lack of trust between states which requires states to be on guard and act in an overtly aggressive manner.”

Full: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neorealism

To some extent, it is difficult to predict how realist scholars will apply their theories to the world of practical politics. One realist, E.H. Carr, had a career that defied conventional anti-Communist expectations while another, George Kennan, exemplified professional anti-Communism.

Mearsheimer was opposed to the invasion of Iraq and signed an ad in the NY Times with other realists like Kenneth Waltz under a heading that is quintessentially realist: “War with Iraq is not in America’s national interest”. And what if it was? Bombs away?

The London Review article is filled with “realist” reasoning, such as the following:

“One might argue that Israel was an asset during the Cold War. By serving as America’s proxy after 1967, it helped contain Soviet expansion in the region and inflicted humiliating defeats on Soviet clients like Egypt and Syria. It occasionally helped protect other US allies (like King Hussein of Jordan) and its military prowess forced Moscow to spend more on backing its own client states. It also provided useful intelligence about Soviet capabilities.”

I am not sure what kind of argument this is, at least in terms of accepted progressive thinking. Soviet “expansion” in the region amounted to support for half-hearted nationalist regimes such as Nasser’s. The post-Nasser regime that resulted from Israeli military victories in a series of wars has been “strategically” useful to the U.S. but a plague on the Egyptian people. It has tortured its citizens while squandering their money, all the while providing virtually no resistance to Israeli expansionism. But this hardly matters if the most important criterion is “strategic value” to the U.S.

Mearsheimer and Walt are very much into quantitative analysis, seeing the strategic value of a state in terms of dollars and cents:

“Backing Israel was not cheap, however, and it complicated America’s relations with the Arab world. For example, the decision to give $2.2 billion in emergency military aid during the October War triggered an Opec oil embargo that inflicted considerable damage on Western economies. For all that, Israel’s armed forces were not in a position to protect US interests in the region. The US could not, for example, rely on Israel when the Iranian Revolution in 1979 raised concerns about the security of oil supplies, and had to create its own Rapid Deployment Force instead.”

However, it is difficult to quantify the impact of Israel’s intervention in the area in terms of dollars and cents in other respects. For example, if Israel had not kept the Arab revolution on the defensive, wouldn’t the U.S. face an even larger exposure on the oil front? A revolutionary front of Arab states might have been able to dislodge the Saudi feudal bourgeoisie and thus made Opec an even bigger threat to U.S. strategic interests. The authors assume that a “pro-Arab” tilt might ensure a more favorable business climate for American oil companies, but who can say that an Arab Hugo Chavez might arise? With Israel, basically a land-based aircraft carrier, acting on behalf of U.S. interests, that possibility is lessened.

In other respects, the article helps to expose Israeli pretensions. By quoting from the Zionist leaders themselves, the authors allow them to hoist themselves on their own petard. For example, they quote David Ben-Gurion’s words to Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress:

“If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country . . . We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”

Apparently, Dershowitz did a little bit of detective work and came to the conclusion that the authors were prowling around neo-Nazi websites. Quoting from the NY Sun article once again:

Under the section “Manipulating the Media,” on pages 19 and 20 of the paper [a reference to the longer paper the article is based on], Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer write: “In his memoirs, for example, former Times executive editor Max Frankel acknowledged the impact his own pro-Israel attitude had on his editorial choices. In his words: ‘I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert.’ He goes on: ‘Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.'” The footnote cites Mr. Frankel’s 560-page book, “The Times of My Life and My Life with the Times,” published in 1999.

Yet the Frankel quote used by Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt, Mr. Dershowitz said, is nearly identical to the quote used by a neo-Nazi Web site in its own take on Jewish press influence, “Jewish Influence in the Mass Media.” The document, posted on Holywar.org, quotes more extensively from the same section in Mr. Frankel’s memoir.

In terms of the detective work, Dershowitz neglects to mention that Frankel’s quote can be found in Canadian Dimension, a socialist magazine that I have written for over the past 10 years or so, as well as Indymedia outlets. This is a rather pointless exercise. Neo-Nazi websites will quote practically anybody who has been critical of Israel, including the late Israel Shahak, who spent time in a Nazi concentration camp. Some of you might be familiar with this methodology if you have had the misfortune to be subscribed to the same mailing lists as the amateur redbaiter Michael Pugliese. Rather than dealing with the arguments of somebody who was opposed to NATO intervention in the Balkans, Pugliese will go sniffing around in the neo-Nazi garbage pails to see if he can find a link to something written by a Michael Parenti or a Ramsey Clark. It is called guilt by association and it is dealt with in the very fine movie “Goodnight and Good Luck.”

The more interesting question for Marxists and radicals such as us is how to weigh the role of the Israeli lobby or any other factor for that matter in analyzing U.S. foreign policy.

To begin with, it is important to make a distinction between Marxism and economic determinism which are really two different things. For example, Charles A. Beard’s “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution” is a classic in this vein. It examines the constitution as a kind of compromise between conflicting economic interests. Sometimes Marxist literature, especially vulgar Marxist literature, reads this way.

However, Marxism has always understood that ideas can become part of the objective conditions of society–as much as the mode of production–through the heavy weight of tradition. For example, there is no economic basis for homophobia in the same narrow sense as racism, but that does not mean that the U.S. will allow gay marriage any time in the near future no matter how many gay conservatives argue for how it makes sense economically.

You also have to reckon with the element of irrationality which seeps into any capitalist system in decline, like Nazi Germany or the U.S. today. Hitler’s invasion of the USSR did not make a lot of sense in strategic or economic terms, but after 10 years of ritualized incantations against Bolshevism conducted at all levels of society, it should not come as a surprise that Hitler invaded. Nor should it surprise anybody that they tried to exterminate the Jews, even though a live Jew slaving in a factory made more sense than killing him or her.

Until we have access to the secret files of the national security state, it will be impossible to “prove” why the U.S. supports Israel or invaded Iraq. Furthermore, even if such files existed, they might not reveal the real reason since this is a bourgeoisie that is obviously adept at lying to itself. If we found a secret memo, for example, written by Paul Wolfowitz calling for action against Saddam Hussein because he was threatening to violate our precious bodily fluids through the spread of fluoride, what would that prove? We are ultimately dealing with madmen on a certain level. Keep in mind that at Bush’s last “town hall” meeting, he couldn’t give a straight answer to the question whether the Book of Apocalypse in the New Testament was shaping U.S. policy in the region.

March 23, 2006

Exchanges with Doug Ireland

Filed under: antiwar,Gay — louisproyect @ 9:12 pm

1) Dear Proyect,

While I’m glad (for the sake of the persecuted gay Iraqis) that you distributed my article for Gay City News, “Shia Death Squads Targeting Iraqi Gays — U..S. Indiffent,” and while I note your grudging admission that I “retain a certain amount of radical integrity,” I really must point out to you how unfair it is for you to lump me in with the “anti-antiwar left.” I have written reams of copy against the invasion of Iraq — long before it took place, and ever since — and against the U.S. occupation under George W. Bush, just as I did when I opposed the first Gulf War, and as I did when I opposed the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan right after 9/11. As to George Galloway, you deform completely what I wrote about him. I never said he was personally homophobic — my article was entitled “George Galloway Panders to the Homophobes.” In that article, I laid out how the Respect Party, for which Galloway is the front man, receives half its funding from Dr Mohammed Naseem, a wealthy fundamentalist Muslim extremist who heads the ulra-homophobic Islamic Party of Britain (information available to anyone in the public financial filings required by the U.K. Electoral Commission.) I wrote that Naseem’s Islamic Party of Britain believes, according to the IPB’s own website: “People afflicted with unnatural conditions like homosexuality or pedophilia (sic) need treatment, not encouragement.”

The IPB’s home affairs policy would “safeguard public decency by preventing any public advocacy for homosexuality”. A violation of this law would fall under “public incitement” — meaning gay publications or broadcasts or posters would be illegal. For “public displays of lewdness witnessed by several people”, (e.g., having sex in a public park or toilet), the “death penalty” would apply (George MIchael better get ready for the gallows if the IPB takes power.)” And it is hardly a secret that Galloway was elected thanks to the votes of the religious Muslims who are the dominant force in his electoral circumscription — his pandering to the Muslim extremists and their repugnant homophobia was a pure matter of political opportunism, and I never wrote that it was because of personal homophobia on Galloway’s part (of which I have no knowledge one way or the other), but rather a blatant act of electoralist boot-licking no less condemnable. I must say that I, as an atheist and a libertarian socialist, have never understood supposedly secular leftists and Marxists who defend associating with those religious maniacs who hold views like the IBP’s, let alone taking money from them as Galloway and Respect do. By omitting any of the substance of my criticism of Galloway and Respect, and deforming my characterization of Galloway, you have seriously mis-represented my views. Anyone who cares to read what I actually wrote about Galloway may do so by clicking on: http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2005/11/george_galloway.html

Yours, Doug Ireland

—-

2) Doug, I am forwarding this in its entirety to the mailing lists to which I posted my original article.

As far as Galloway is concerned, this is really not what my critique was about. You are evading the real issue, which is about the contradictions embodied in Peter Tatchell’s war whoops for the Shia and now your painful realization that these war whoops led to death squads against gay men. The fact that you don’t try to resolve this contradiction, let alone address it, is a sign that you are perhaps struggling with it. That would be progress, I guess.

Louis

—-

3) Doug Ireland wrote: If I follow your logic, a sort of bastardized “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” the fact that I appreciate Peter Tatchell’s 30 years of gay and human rights activism makes me pro-war. If one wants to be consistent then, doesn’t using that same brand of logic mean that Galloway and Respect’s association with and acceptance of half their funding from the IBP make them homophobes? Or do you use a different logic for them than you do for me? D.

—-

4) As somebody who makes their living as a journalist, you really seem to have poor reading comprehension. I described two camps: the prowar and the anti-antiwar. I did not group you with either camp. I did say, however, that you have long-standing ties to Marc Cooper who certainly does belong to the latter camp, while Tatchell obviously falls into the first camp.

With respect to Galloway, I can’t really improve on what has already been said by a guest blogger on Lenin’s Tomb:

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 Tatchell and pink-veiled Islamophobia posted by bat020

Call me naïve, but I like to hope that Peter Tatchell might one day embrace an inclusive brand of politics which seeks the widest possible unity against homophobia. That would require him desisting from specious polemics against the left. But we’re a long way from that felicitous day, judging by the latest outburst from Tatchell’s OutRage organisation (unfortunately recycled over at Direland)

There was, according to Tatchell, a “grassroots revolt” over LGBT rights at the Respect conference last weekend. You can picture the scene: rank and file delegates queuing up to denounce their unprincipled leaders, heckling, cheers and high drama…

Except it never happened. Instead, the conference unanimously passed a motion which regretted that an explicit defence of LGBT rights (which, as the motion pointed out, is part of Respect’s founding statement) was not included in the manifesto and ensured that the mistake would be rectified. No one spoke against this motion. There was no showdown. There was no revolt.

But from Tatchell — clearly keen not to let the facts get in the way of a good smear — this becomes a clear breach between “the grassroots membership” and “Respect’s leaders” (who were part of the unanimous vote, it being unanimous and all). Very odd.

full: http://leninology.blogspot.com/2005/11/tatchell-and-pink-veiled-islamophobia.html

To my knowledge, when these sorts of points were made in the comments section of your own blog, you deigned not to respond to them. I can’t say I blame you since you were skating on thin ice.

The consequences of “humanitarian intervention”

Filed under: antiwar — louisproyect @ 4:44 pm

The pro-war left in Great Britain and the USA has frequently argued that no matter how bad imperialist intervention is, it is not as bad as what it replaced in Afghanistan and Iraq. Very often there is some overlap between this camp and what might be described as the “anti-antiwar left,” which includes people like Marc Cooper, Todd Gitlin and Penn State professor Michael Bérubé who have written articles assailing Ramsey Clark, Noam Chomsky, and anybody else who strays too far to the left of acceptable liberal discourse. In particular this means a failure to denounce with sufficient vigor Islamic intolerance, especially against nonbelievers, women and gays.

Saddam’s Iraq, which despite its despotic character demonstrated a commitment to gender equality, has been accused of systematic homophobia. Journalist Doug Ireland, who retains a certain amount of radical integrity, has occasionally echoed the sentiments of the anti-antiwar left around this question. As a gay man and as somebody who writes eloquently about gay issues on his blog, Ireland has had a particular affinity for the writings and activism of Peter Tatchell, a British pro-war leftist who has tried to mobilize support for imperialist intervention on the basis that it is more enlightened than the Islamic enemy.

In a blog entry last November that falsely accused George Galloway of homophobia, Ireland relied heavily on the word of Peter Tatchell. Ireland wrote, “Galloway has long made common cause with despicable, homophobic dictators, from Saddam Hussein to Syria’s Bashir Al-Assad, without ever denouncing the reign of terror and repression their despotic regimes have visited upon gay Arabs and Muslims in their own countries.” (http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2005/11/george_galloway.html)

Three years ago, when the drums of war were being beaten in Great Britain and the USA, Tatchell urged all out support for the Kurds and the Shia:

ARM the Kurds and Shias.

Give them the weapons they need to overthrow Saddam Hussein: tanks, helicopter gun-ships, fighter planes, heavy artillery and anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.

With military aid, the Iraqi opposition can demolish Saddam’s dictatorship.

(http://www.tribweb.co.uk/tatchell07032003.htm)

Now that the Shia exercise power in Iraq, having reached this privileged status partially through the public relations effort mounted by people like Christopher Hitchens and Peter Tatchell, they are making life hell for Iraq’s gays. This, at any rate, is now what Doug Ireland tells us on his blog:

March 22, 2006

SHIA DEATH SQUADS TARGET IRAQI GAYS — U.S. Indifferent

I wrote the following article for the new issue of Gay City News — New York’s largest gay weekly newspaper — which hits the newsstands tomorrow:

Following a death-to-gays fatwa issued last October by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, death squads of the Badr Corps have been systematically targeting gay Iraqis for persecution and execution, gay Iraqis say. But when they ask for help and protection from U.S. occupying authorities in the “Green Zone,” gay Iraqis are met with indifference and derision.

“The Badr Corps is committed to the ‘sexual cleansing’ of Iraq,“ says Ali Hili, a 33-year-old gay Iraqi exile in London who, with some 30 other gay Iraqis who have fled to the United Kingdom, five months ago founded the Abu Nawas Group there to support persecuted gay Iraqis (Abu Nawas — right –Abu_nawas was a great 8th century classical poet of Arab and Persian descent who is known throughout Middle East cultures, and is famous for his poems in praise of same-sex love.)

(http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2006/03/shia_death_squa.html)

Meanwhile, turning our attention to “liberated” Afghanistan, we learn that a Muslim who has decided to convert to Christianity faces execution:

An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death on a charge of converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under the country’s Islamic laws, a judge said yesterday.

The trial is thought to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan and highlights a struggle between religious conservatives and reformists over what shape Islam should take here four years after the ouster of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime.

Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada said. Mr. Rahman was charged with rejecting Islam, and his trial was held Thursday.

During the one-day hearing, the defendant confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, Judge Mawlavezada said.

(http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20060320-123722-5185r.htm)

In a March 20 Nation Magazine review of Todd Gitlin’s “The Intellectuals and the Flag,” Daniel Lazare dwelled on the retreat from reason found among intellectuals after 9/11. For people such as Tatchell, Cooper and Gitlin, rallying around the flag (which is basically the raison d’etre of Gitlin’s book) has gone hand-in-hand with a failure to think critically about U.S. or British foreign policy. When the Enemy is cast in Orwellian terms as inimical to the values of one’s own society, there is enormous pressure for the professional intellectual to bend reality to fit the exigencies of the national security state. For some like Hitchens, it is too late to turn back. For others caught in the middle like Doug Ireland, who have decades of personal ties to the pro-war intelligentsia, one hopes it is not too late.

March 22, 2006

Genesis

Filed under: Film,science — louisproyect @ 9:32 pm

Can science and spirituality be reconciled? Probably not, but the documentary “Genesis” comes about as close as can be imagined.

This 2004 film was directed and written by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou, a husband and wife team, who also were responsible for the highly regarded 1996 “Mikrokosmos,” a study of insect life that critics generally hold in higher regard than “Genesis.”

Although “Genesis” might sound like an overly ambitious project, aiming at nothing less than depicting in photography the entire gamut of life starting with its inception on Earth, it is really much more intimate than that. By avoiding Grand Statements about the meaning of life (in keeping with the filmmakers’ obvious belief in the sheer contingency of natural evolution), they allow nature itself to tell its own story, which is by turns cruel and loving. The film also focuses on “lesser” creatures, many of whom have operate at the more intimate margins of forest and ocean. Although this is obviously par for the course in the world of wildlife documentaries and the National Geographic network on cable, Nuridsany and Pérennou have a much different perspective.

“Genesis” relies on the narration of Sotigui Kouyaté, a Malian griot and stage actor who performed under Peter Brook’s direction in Paris, to convey the directors’ distinct sensibility. This includes observations on the significance of death following a series of remarkable images including a snake swallowing an egg at least 10 times its diameter:

“Everything that begins must end. Otherwise what is time? And no one has ever contradicted time. Who has ever seen a river go back to its source or a chick return to its egg? In the end the consuming flames always lose their appetite and die. The towering mountain finally kneels and stretches out like a plain. As for life, it goes against the grain of time. It appears, grows and blooms in a world where everything rushes toward greater disorder. It flees the peace and quiet of the inanimate and advances like a high wire artist along a tightrope, forever delaying the day of reckoning. But we cannot dodge indefinitely the slings and arrows of time. That is forbidden.”

Sotigui Kouyaté

In an age of deepening superstition and challenges to scientific understanding in the name of the spiritual, it is reassuring to view a film like “Genesis.” It clearly embraces the physical world and the ineluctable natural laws that govern it, but is imbued with an almost pantheistic spirit. Despite the reputation of Marx and Engels in some circles as being utterly indifferent to the natural world, it was clear that they sought a kind of oneness with nature that the film embraces. Perhaps the clearest indication of this are these words from Engels’s “The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man“:

“And, in fact, with every day that passes we are acquiring a better understanding of these laws and getting to perceive both the more immediate and the more remote consequences of our interference with the traditional course of nature. In particular, after the mighty advances made by the natural sciences in the present century, we are more than ever in a position to realise, and hence to control, also the more remote natural consequences of at least our day-to-day production activities. But the more this progresses the more will men not only feel but also know their oneness with nature, and the more impossible will become the senseless and unnatural idea of a contrast between mind and matter, man and nature, soul and body, such as arose after the decline of classical antiquity in Europe and obtained its highest elaboration in Christianity.”

March 21, 2006

A Dave Van Ronk joke

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 1:46 am

As a scene, though, Cambridge always annoyed me because they were such snobs. It was class snobbery, the whole Harvard mystique, even if they were not actually connected with Harvard. It was like the story about the little Jew from the garment district who makes his pile, goes to England, and wants to get a real English gentleman’s suit from a real London tailor. He goes to Saville Row and he’s informed that they require four fittings, the guy says, “That’s okay, I’ve got time.” So he goes in for the first fitting, he second fitting, the third fitting. Finally, everything is ready except the final touches: getting the shoulders adjusted, dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s. He is standing there in this beautiful suit, and he looks like Anthony Eden, But as he is looking at himself in the mirror, he bursts into tears.

One of the tailors says, “Oh sir, is there something wrong?”

He says, “No, everything’s perfect. . . but vy did ve hef to lose India?”

(From “The Mayor of MacDougal Street”)

March 17, 2006

Sir! No Sir!

Filed under: antiwar,Film — louisproyect @ 5:39 pm

posted to www.marxmail.org on March 17, 2006

“Sir! No Sir!” is the definitive documentary on the GI antiwar movement of the Vietnam era. Drawing upon archival film, still photos and interviews with the key activists, director David Zeiger has made a film that illuminates the past as it helps us to think about political possibilities today with the USA bogged down in another big muddy.

Zeiger, who is now 55 and who began making films in the early 90s, had exactly the qualifications to make such a documentary, since he was one of the organizers of The Oleo Strut, a coffeehouse in Kileen, Texas that attracted GI’s from nearby Fort Hood during the period 1968 to 1972. All around the country such coffeehouses allowed servicemen and women to listen to poetry, folk music and read leftwing and antiwar literature. In other words, they were acting exactly like their peers on campus.

Well-known figures of the movement now in their sixties describe what motivated them to stick their neck out. Dr. Howard Levy, a dermatologist who spent 3 years in prison for refusing to train people in Vietnam, says that he thought that the training would be used to curry favor with peasants when some minor skin disease was cleared up. But when compared to the impact of napalm bombing on their villages, he felt that such public relations would violate the oath he took as a physician.

Navy Lieutenant Sue Schall, a nurse, decided to march in uniform at a peace demonstration in San Francisco on November, 1968. In the days leading up to the demonstration, she dropped leaflets from a small plane over military bases in the Bay Area promoting the demonstration. When the brass told Schnall that marching in uniform was not permitted, she responded that if General William Westmoreland could speak at prowar rallies in uniform, then she should have the same rights. Such defiance grew out of a deep conviction in the peace and radical movements of the time that American society had to live up to the democratic ideals that supposedly were being defended in Indochina.

Zeiger also interviews some relatively unknown figures that most of us, including someone like myself who was very much involved with the antiwar movement, would ostensibly be finding out about for the first time. He is to be commended for allowing them to tell their stories as well.

One of them is Terry Whitmore, a Black Marine who received a medal from Lyndon Johnson when he was recuperating in a hospital from severe wounds suffered in Vietnam. Weeks later, when he was scheduled to be shipped out once again to Vietnam, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. When Whitmore saw American soldiers clubbing or firing on Black people, he made the connection between racism at home and abroad. As Mohammed Ali would put it, “No Vietnamese ever called me nigger.” (The film shows a sign painted by the NLF urging Black soldiers to avoid combat.) Whitmore decided to desert to Sweden.

But the most fascinating revelation in Zeiger’s film comes out of interviews with the men who were involved with WORMS (We Openly Resist Military Stupidity), a group of Air Force interpreters whose job it was to fly over North Vietnam intercepting radio communications. During the Christmas 1972 bombing of North Vietnam, many of them went on strike. What is interesting about this is that although these men did not face the same degree of danger as the foot soldier, they still took action. The same mood of resistance from relatively safe quarters was reflected on the aircraft carrier Coral Sea, where 1200 sailors signed a petition against the war.

The film had special resonances for me as a former member of the Socialist Workers Party. PFC Howard Petrick, one of the early antiwar GI’s, came from our ranks. He was threatened with a stiff prison sentence for speaking against the war in 1967. After the party mounted a powerful defense campaign, he received a dishonorable discharge about a year later. After party members Joe Cole and Joe Miles (an African-American) were drafted, they found themselves at Fort Jackson where they launched something called GI’s United Against the War. They had “rap sessions” in the barracks where antiwar literature and the speeches of Malcolm X were discussed. Eventually they were thrown in the stockade, but released after the SWP mounted an effective defense campaign. One of the GI’s who was drawn to their meetings was Andrew Pulley, an African-American who was given the choice of going into the army or prison when he was 17. Pulley eventually joined the SWP and became a key leader, running as the Vice Presidential candidate in 1972.

Except for Marxist groups like the SWP, the CP and the WWP (all of whom had members or supporters in the military at one point or another victimized for their antiwar stance), the radical movement did not exactly have the perspective of winning the GI’s to an antiwar perspective at the outset. From 1965 to 1967, there was a widespread belief–especially in SDS–that soldiers were vicious killers who could not be reached. This led to moralistic posturing that would alienate GI’s from the movement.

Based on the experience of the Russian Revolution, the SWP always had the perspective that the army was subject to the same class differentiations that existed in society as a whole. The men and women at the lower levels, especially the draftees, tended to reflect the working class while the officers, especially from the rank of Captain and above, tended to reflect the interests of the ruling class.

Nobody understood these issues better than Fred Halstead, the SWP’er who led our antiwar work. As a young sailor stationed in East Asia in 1945, Halstead participated in the “Bring us home” movement. This consisted of enlisted men who demanded to be sent back home rather than be used as cannon fodder in the Chinese civil war that was taking shape at the time. Many of the leaders of this movement had been veterans of the CIO organizing drives, including Emil Mazey. Freedom Road Magazine of Summer 2003 reports:

“A 156 man Soldier’s Committee was elected in Manila to speak for 139,000 soldiers there, “all interested in going home.” It issued leaflets which declared, “The State Department wants the army to back up its imperialism.” The Soldier’s Committee elected an eight man central committee which included Emil Mazey, who had been an auto union local president and played a leading role in the battle to unionize auto in the late ’30s.”

Just as occurred during Vietnam, a new GI antiwar movement has emerged. At the 2006 Leftforum Conference in NYC, there was a panel discussion on “A Soldier’s Movement Against the Iraq War: Prospects and Challenges” It was chaired by Tod Ensign of Citizen Soldier, a group that has been involved with such issues since the Vietnam era. Speakers included José Vásquez, an Army Reserve conscientious objector.

Also very much worth mentioning is the March 14-19 “Walkin’ To New Orleans” action that combines concerns about racism at home and the war in Iraq, just as Terry Whitmore made connections between Memphis and Vietnam in the 1960s.. You can read about it on Stan Goff’s “Feral Scholar” website: http://stangoff.com/?p=258. Goff, like Green Beret veteran Donald Duncan who was featured in Zeiger’s film, was a highly trained Special Forces soldier who turned against his profession during a tour of duty in Haiti.

What exists today that did not exist in during Vietnam is the phenomenon of military families speaking out against the war. For millions of Americans, this has become personalized in the figure of Cindy Sheehan but she is not alone. Groups such as Military Families Speak Out in the USA and Military Families Against the War in Great Britain are growing proof of the same kind of disaffection that undermined the war in Vietnam. When a group that has traditionally flew the flag or put yellow ribbons on the front lawn begins to speak out against the war, the warmongers have a tough job maintaining the status quo.

Finally, there is a kind of demonstration that will have an impact on the shape the outcome of the current war even if it does not come wrapped in conventional antiwar garbs. I speak of the recent Zogby poll in Iraq taken among the troops themselves. It found that 29% of the respondents said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,” while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.” So in other words, only a little more than 1 in 5 soldiers agree with the White House’s perspective. Although it would be obviously difficult to prove such a thing, favoring withdrawal in such a poll might amount to a surreptitious version of wearing a peace sign. With the mounting disillusionment in the war in Iraq in society as a whole, the day of making such signs visible might not be far off.

“Sir! No Sir!” opens in NYC at the IFC Center on April 19, at the Red Vic Movie House in San Francisco on April 7 and at Los Angeles’s Laemmle’s Monica 4 theater on May 5. Unfortunately, the IFC Center in NYC has fired its unionized projectionists so I would urge people to think long and hard about whether they should patronize this theater or not. It is really too bad that the IFC tends to feature films that are of interest to the left under these circumstances.

Iraq Veterans Against the War: http://www.ivaw.net/
Citizen Soldier: http://www.citizen-soldier.org/
Military Families Against the War in Great Britain: http://www.mfaw.org.uk/
Military Families Speak Out: http://www.mfso.org/
“Sir! No Sir!” website: http://www.sirnosir.com/ (Highly recommended)

March 16, 2006

Liberal anti-Muslim racism

Filed under: Islam,racism — louisproyect @ 3:18 pm

The LA Weekly is an “alternative” newspaper that occupies roughly the same place on the spectrum as the Village Voice, salon.com, the Nation Magazine, etc. Marc Cooper has a weekly column and Doug Ireland is a frequent contributor. The editor is Harold Myerson, a leading liberal wonk who also edits the American Prospect, a magazine funded by Bill Moyers basically.

In the latest issue there is a positive review of a new book by Oriana Fallaci titled “The Force of Reason,” which the reviewer Brendan Bernhard (author of White Muslim: From L.A. to New York to Jihad) describes as an answer to the question: “How did Europe become home to an estimated 20 million Muslims in a mere three decades?” According to Bernhard, Fallaci is an equal opportunity bigot, lashing out at both the radical movement and Islam:

While the Arabs demanded that Europeans respect the religious, political and human rights of Arabs in the West, not a peep came from the Europeans about the absence of freedom in the Arab world, not to mention the abhorrent treatment of women and other minorities in countries like Saudi Arabia. No demand was made that Muslims should learn about the glories of western civilization as Europeans were and are expected to learn about the greatness of Islamic civilization. In other words, according to Fallaci, a substantial portion of Europe’s cultural and political independence was sold off by a coalition of ex-communists and socialist politicians. Are we surprised? Fallaci isn’t. In 1979, she notes, “the Italian or rather European Left had fallen in love with Khomeini just as now it has fallen in love with Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and Arafat.

Oriana Fallaci: racist

This is basically the same filth found in Carlin Romano’s Philadelphia Enquirer review of another racist diatribe that I wrote about here. Bernhard concludes his review with a ringing endorsement of the Danish right:

As that Norwegian Mullah told Aftenposten, “Our way of thinking … will prove more powerful than yours.” One hopes he’s wrong, but if he is, it will be ordinary Americans and Europeans, including courageous Arab-Americans like L.A. resident Wafa Sultan and the Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali (two women openly challenging Islamist supremacism), who prove him so, and not our intellectual classes (artists, pundits, filmmakers, actors, writers …). Many of the latter, consumed by Bush-hatred and cultural self-loathing, are perilously close to becoming today’s equivalent of the great Norwegian novelist Knut Hamsun, who so hated the British Empire that he sided with the Nazis in World War II, to his everlasting shame. The Force of Reason, at the very least, is a welcome and necessary antidote to the prevailing intellectual atmosphere.

It is becoming apparent that along with the growing hatred of the war in Iraq there is a counter-tendency taking shape among certain liberals that objectively gives aid to expanded wars in the Middle East.

Both Cooper and Ireland have solidarized themselves with the Danish racist right around the cartoon controversy. The whole purpose of books such as the kind that Bawer (reviewed by Romano) and Fallaci write is to increase the hatred of Western liberals toward Muslim and Arab peoples. Since the conservative right is already lined up behind an agenda of the New Crusades, winning the liberals to a war on Iran is essential. If a war is launched against Iran, it will have many of the same rationales as the invasion of Afghanistan. It will be put forward as a war to “liberate women and gays”, as a war to allow freedom of expression and democracy, etc. But basically it will be a war about oil just as the current war is. It is a sign of the decrepitude of contemporary liberalism that it will allow itself to be drawn into this insane march toward a war that has disastrous implications for all of humanity.

March 13, 2006

Leftforum 2006

Filed under: Academia,China,Latin America — louisproyect @ 4:38 pm

Posted to www.marxmail.org on March 13, 2006

I try to make it to at least one day of the yearly Leftforum Conference (once known as the Socialist Scholars Conference) in order to get a handle on what the academic left is putting out. The conference features speakers–mostly male, white tenured professors who were 60s radicals early in their life–who publish in Science & Society, Monthly Review, Socialist Register, Dissent, the Nation Magazine, etc.

The following are some off the top of my head notes on the sessions I attended yesterday.

On Sunday 10am, I attended a panel on “Marxist Views of China’s Contemporary Development” that was distinguished by the participation of Cheng En Fu, who is dean of the Marxism Research Institute of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and standing sub-dean of the Marxism Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Just by coincidence, the NY Times that morning had a lead article on the front page about the reemergence of Marxism in China. It stated: “old-style leftist thinkers have used China’s rising income gap and increasing social unrest to raise doubts about what they see as the country’s headlong pursuit of private wealth and market-driven economic development.”

That certainly describes Cheng’s presentation. He began by defending the Maoist economic record that sustained an 8% growth rate over the period from 1953 to 1978. He alluded to Maurice Meisner, a very fine left-oriented China scholar, for support on this claim. With the advent of “market socialism,” there has been a tendency among the Chinese intelligentsia to downgrade Maoist economics. It would seem that the new generation of Marxist scholars, who are the ideological descendants of the original Maoists, might be advised to not bend the stick too far in the other direction since Maoist bureaucratism had a lot to do with China’s current capitalist evolution.

In Cheng’s view, market reforms were not intended as a repudiation of the Maoist past, but as an attempt to make something good even better. He likened it to a champion athlete experimenting with a new technique to make his or her performance even better.

Market reforms have indeed accelerated economic growth, but there are two other factors that Cheng mentioned (and that I have never considered before) that have complemented the unleashing of market competition. One is a reduction in population to the tune of 300 million. The other is a reduction in the size of the army, a result of a lessening of cold war tensions.

Next, Cheng launched into a frank discussion of the failures of what he described as market socialism. Mainly, this has been a function of a decline of the public sector and a concomitant growth in inequality as the iron rice bowel has shrunk and unemployment has grown. He was also critical of a tendency among Chinese intellectuals and policy makers to look at the USA uncritically and to see it as a model for China. Basically, Cheng did not call for an abolition of private property but a series of reforms that would restore the balance between the private and public sector. Although it is heartening to hear a Chinese scholar speak in the name of Marxism, it struck me that he was proposing something not much different than what Gorbachev proposed in the USSR. As we know, it is difficult to reconcile the imperatives of a market economy within the framework of socialism, especially when the nation is as integrated in global economic markets to the degree that China is.

Dave Kotz, who chaired the panel and who is the co-author of a very useful book on capitalist restoration in the USSR titled “Revolution from Above: the Demise of the Soviet System,” made some pointed observations on the evolution of market socialism as an ideology.

When it was first proposed in the 1930s by Oskar Lange, it was seen as a form of socialism with “market-like” mechanisms. But competition or profit-seeking as we know it in China did not exist. Later on market socialists like Alec Nove did call for genuine markets. With the collapse of the USSR, there was a tendency for market socialists to put forward these ideas as goals for the Western left, which were largely ignored of course. Mainly, market socialism only has relevance for a way of (mis)describing China today.

Kotz then presented an historical overview of how market socialism has been formulated by the CCP since 1982. Like the evolution that took place from Lange to Nove, Chinese ideology has moved inexorably to a belief that markets per se are necessary to keep a socialist economy viable. He also made an interesting observation on the tendency of elites in the state sector to become willing partners in privatization even though they don’t actually *own* any capital. With the acquisition of *wealth* and perks by plant managers, etc., there is a tendency to accept inequality and the logic of privatization, especially since their connections make it almost inevitable that they get the lion’s share in a sale of plant assets.

Minqi Li, a young professor at York University and contributor to the Socialist Register and MR, gave a talk on China’s role in a capital accumulation crisis that will mature in 25 years or so and give rise to a challenge to neoliberalism. It should be obvious that Minqi is very much into “long wave” type analyses. His talk was basically a version of an interesting MR article.

Richard Smith was the last speaker. He called attention to China’s looming ecological crisis. Although his talk was informative, it was basically the same one he gave a year ago.

===

At 12PM, I attended a panel discussion on “Evo Morales and the New Bolivia” that was organized by North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). It opened my eyes to an emerging ideological tendency to invest the Bolivian radical movement with the themes present in Zapatista support literature, John Holloway and autonomism. I had been obviously aware of the differences between people like James Petras, Jorge Martin of the Grant-Woods tendency and Gerry Foley on one side (representing varieties of ortho-Marxism or ortho-Trotskyism) and enthusiastic supporters of Morales like Roger Burbach on the other.

I tended to associate Forrest Hylton, a frequent contributor to Counterpunch and Znet and critic of Morales and who spoke at the panel, with the “ortho” camp but now see him much more clearly as a defender of autonomism rather than Marxism. His frequent allusions to “radical democracy” and “the social movements” in past articles might have alerted me to this, but I was focused more on his reportage. His talk yesterday did not get into these questions, but dealt more with the history of Bolivian indigenous resistance going back to Tupac Amaru. It was a bit superficial but useful.

It was up to NYU professor Sinclair Thomson to lay out the autonomist perspective. Describing himself as a colleague of Hylton (they co-authored a Counterpunch article), Thomson described the indigenous movement in Bolivia as best seen in terms of the EZLN and/or anarchism and as a rejection of “Bolshevism”. Hostility toward Morales had as much to do it seems with a distrust of the state as it did with whether he was willing to nationalize the energy resources, etc. In the Counterpunch article cited above, Hylton and Thomson recommend the following for Bolivia’s indigenous peasantry and workers:

“The Assembly could help redraw state-society relations to reflect Bolivia’s new historical conditions. It could recognize the enduring non-liberal forms of collective political, economic and territorial association by which most rural and urban Bolivians organize their lives. It could democratize the political relations that throughout the republican era have limited the participation of indigenous peoples in national political life, forcing them to resort to costly insurrectionary struggles.”

I would say that it is impossible to truly “democratize…political relations” without an insurrectionary struggle, but what the heck, I am one of those Brontosaurus Bolsheviks I guess.

During the q&a, I asked Thomson why anybody would try to superimpose Zapatismo on the Bolivian mass movement, since the EZLN is basically defunct. (I could have also made the point that Cuban doctors from the dreaded Bolshevik island are saving the lives of more Chiapas babies than anybody from the EZLN, but these conferences frown on speech-making.) Thomson simply ignored my question. I don’t blame him, since he obviously had no answer.

The final speaker, Anibal Quijano, a Peruvian academic and World Systems theorist, endorsed the idea of Andean capitalism as put forward by Morales’s vice president. He hailed the idea of energy profits being siphoned off to fund community-based projects.

A word or two about NACLA might be useful in understanding the political meaning of this panel discussion, which might not be obvious to many of the attendees. Basically, NACLA is hostile to state socialism. Although it was formed as a nonprofit research institute in the 1960s by young scholars in solidarity with Cuba and the guerrilla movements, it has evolved into a combination of State Department liberalism and autonomist post-modernism. When Laurie Berenson was arrested by the Peruvian cops for supporting pro-Cuba guerrillas, NACLA said something like, “tsk-tsk–she should have been making better use of her time.” God knows what that might have meant. Working for a Soros-funded NGO, I suppose. NACLA has also falsely accused the FARC of murdering Indians. In the current issue, there’s a letter complaining about their bias on Cuba. I suppose that NACLA is trying to demonstrate its evenhandedness by printing the letter, but it would be better advised to adopt a more objective outlook, especially in light of Cuba’s role in helping to stiffen Latin American resistance to neoliberalism today. But that would take a different editor and a different board of directors and different funding. So, in other words, don’t expect any change.

===

At 2pm, I attended a panel discussion on Bubbles and the US economy that was remarkable for Doug Henwood’s obvious worries about the impact of rising interest rates in the home mortgage market, and consequently on the economy as a whole. When Doug Henwood starts to sound like the people from In Defense of Marxism, Watch Out!

===

At 4pm, I attended a debate on perspectives for the antiwar movement which brought together Leslie Cagan from UfPJ and Brian Becker from the ANSWER coalition. As might be expected, Cagan made noble-sounding statements about the need to work harder and reach more Americans but did not really get into the substantive disagreements between UfPJ and ANSWER. Becker, on the other hand, was determined to have things out but his talk was so utterly detached from political reality that debate with Cagan or any other living human being would have been impossible. Basically, Becker analyzed the differences in terms of the Zimmerwald Manifesto and carrying on in the traditions of Lenin. His speech was phrase-mongering elevated to an almost stratospheric level. After he was done, he was applauded by a smattering of Spartacist types in the audience but I booed him at the top of my lungs. That really felt good.

March 10, 2006

Racial hysteria in New York City

Filed under: racism — louisproyect @ 12:13 am

On February 25, the body of a white female graduate student named Imette St. Guillen showed up in a vacant lot in Brooklyn. There were signs that she had been tortured and raped. The fact that she was a criminology student studying forensic investigation at John Jay College of Criminal Justice made this more of a “murder mystery” than the average killing. It was like watching a CSI episode in which the lead investigator was the murder victim.

Last Monday the cops arrested Darryl Littlejohn, a 41 year old African-American bouncer with a long criminal record who worked at the bar where St. Guillen was last seen on the night of her death. From the minute he was arrested, the NYC and national media have gone on a racist frenzy. Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post has been leading the charge, as it has for many years now whenever Blacks have faced mob justice. Here’s the lead lines from a Post article from the day before yesterday:

“A brawny bouncer with a violent history argued with grad student Imette St. Guillen after booting her from a tony SoHo tavern the morning she disappeared – and bar staffers later heard a muffled scream, law-enforcement sources said yesterday.

“Cops now believe that the bouncer, ex-con Darryl Littlejohn, 41, could be the sadistic fiend who murdered St. Guillen – as probers yesterday combed his Queens home looking for evidence that she may have been slain there.”


Mugshot of Darryl Littlejohn shown widely in the media (Blaze is an assumed name).

Although evidence might finally link Littlejohn definitively to the crime, there are a couple of signs that the cops might have the wrong man. St. Guillen’s body was found in a semen-stained blanket, but the DNA does not trace back to Littlejohn nor does that of the skin found under the dead woman’s fingernails.

Since Littlejohn has never been arrested for anything like rape or sexual assault in the past, the cops were anxious to establish that he is a predator. Since there have been a string of rapes in Queens carried out by a Black man who forced the victims into a dark-colored van like Littlejohn’s, they were sure that the women would pick Littlejohn out of a lineup. But the results have been unexpected:

Channel 7 news, a NYC station, reports:

“Darryl Littlejohn was placed in a lineup for another violent crime, a Queens rape, but the victim in that case did not pick out Littlejohn. So where do investigators stand now?

“While it appears that there are some carpet fiber matches, it is not conclusive enough to charge Darryl Littlejohn with murder. After today’s developments he will not be charged with rape in an assault that took place in October in Forest Hills.

“He remains a key suspect, but today partial vindication for Darryl Littlejohn. This afternoon the 41-year-old appeared in a lineup before a rape victim. The woman failed to identify Littlejohn as her attacker even after he stood inches away from her separated by just a pane of glass.”

I have no idea how this case will play out, but it serves to illustrate the sick obsession that American society has with white women being the prey of Black marauders. This was the theme of the Central Park jogger case of April 1989, when a young investment banker was supposedly beaten and raped by Black and Latino youth out on a “wilding” expedition. The NY Post was in the forefront of a virtual lynch mob and Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in the papers demanding that the death penalty be brought back. Years later, after the youth had been languishing in prison, another man with no connection to them confessed to the crime.

March 8, 2006

Nazi Ecology?

Filed under: Ecology — louisproyect @ 7:53 pm

Dear Professors Thomas Zeller and Mark Cioc,

In the course of following some leads on the Internet today, I stumbled across a reference to your new book “How Green Were the Nazis?” This is a subject of some interest to me, having written an article for Socialist Viewpoint magazine titled “The Ecology of Nazis, Greens and Socialists.” (http://www.socialistviewpoint.org/mar_04/mar_04_19.html)

When I went over to the Columbia library, where I work as a programmer, I was dismayed to discover that your book had been pilfered from the shelves. Those naughty students can be utterly wanton when it comes to hoarding scholarly material. Undaunted, I put in a request to BorrowDirect, only to discover that the book would not be shipped from one of Columbia’s partner libraries because it was supposedly on file here.

Now I am ready to fork out the 22 dollars to pick it up from amazon.com, but I am trying to figure out whether your book is in line with past books written by the likes of Anna Bramwell (Ecology in the 20th Century: A History) and Luc Ferry (“The New Ecological Order”). If so, I don’t think I want to waste my money since this is really an old story. You know the drill, I’m sure. Nazis were nature worshippers, so are the deep ecologists chaining themselves to Redwood trees. By this logic, George W. Bush is into ecology because he likes to ride his bicycle in the brush on his Texas ranch.

Maybe you can persuade your publisher to send me a review copy, since my funds are a bit depleted right now. (My address is at the bottom of this missive.) Even if I write a critical review, I am sure that many readers would benefit from finding out about your book since my website gets about 200,000 visits per month, including many dogmatic Marxists who have a deep antipathy to snail darters and who never saw a nuclear reactor that they didn’t want to hug. This, of course, stems from a rather undialectical reading of “The Communist Manifesto.”

What really caught my eye, however, are these words from the publicity blurb for your book that can be found on Professor Cioc’s website at Santa Cruz:

“The Nazis created nature preserves, contemplated sustainable forestry, curbed air pollution, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature.”

That’s quite a mouthful. With respect to nature preserves, I am familiar with the projects of Walter Schoenichen, an aide to Herman Goering, who in his capacity as Minister of the German Forests supervised the “Germanization” of forests in conquered territories.

In 1941, the Nazis took control of the Bialowieza forest in Lithuania which they resolved to turn it into a hunting reserve for top officers in accordance with these precepts. Open season was declared on the Jews, who made up 12 percent of the population in this region and who violated the ethnic purity of the proposed game farm. Five hundred and fifty Jews were rounded up and shot in the courtyard of a hunting palace operated by Battalion 332 of Von Bock’s army division. Goering decided that the purified area should be altered after the image of East Prussian forests. An SS team led by Konrad Mayer, who had been Minister of Agriculture at Berlin University, planned a colonization program that would “Germanize” the forest. Poles, and any remaining Jews, were reduced to the status of barnyard animals to be penned up or slaughtered.

Schoenichen jumped at the opportunity to administer this program. This “total landscape plan” would first empty villages and then the unpopulated forest would be stocked with purely “Teutonic” species, including eagles, elk, and wolves. Since there was a painting of a bison on Goering’s wall, it was crucial to include this beast in the menagerie.

Surely you don’t imagine that such schemes have anything to do with Greenpeace or Earth First! Do you?

To continue. Do you honestly think that the construction of an autobahn that would allow Germans to “get close to nature” is what people like Judi Bari and David Brower had in mind? I wonder if this was anything much different than what Robert Moses did when he built the Long Island Expressway. In fact, one might even argue that such superhighways are inimical to the whole idea of ecology since they posit a town-country duality that all ecologists, beginning with Karl Marx, were anxious to overcome.

Thank you,

Louis Proyect 1623 Third Ave. #13J NY, NY 10128

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