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July/August 2010
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Table Of Contents

The Iranian Threat 3 6 7 10 11 12 14

Noam Chomsky on the real threat


Misplaced Hopes Militarism Run Amok: Afghanistan, Gaza, Arizona & Beyond

Jon Hochschartner interviews William Blum


Max Elbaum on the ominous resurgence of the use-force mentality


Oversight of Dangerous High-Dose Medical Radiation

John Laforge on an FDA decision to investigate overuse of CT and PET scans


Dual Crises of Globalization: Arizona and the Gulf of Mexico Berkeleys Greenlining Institute

Jeb Sprague and Cesar Rodriguez on recent disasters


Bill Berkowitz on efforts to overturn the Community Reinvestment Act


Pedophiles and Popes: Doing the Vatican Shuffle

Michael Parenti on the arrogant tolerance of the church


How to Occupy Your Workplace Criminal Investigation of Massey Energy 18 20

Chris Spannos interviews Republic Windows and Doors workers


Kevin Zeese on the wrongdoing behind the April 5 mine disaster

The Economy

22 23 25 28 33

Financial Reform Regulation in Devolution Hitting the Class Ceiling

Robin Hahnel on the maneuvering to please the paymasters


Edward S. Herman on the decline of regulatory legislation


Rob Larson on growing class conflict


An Economic Crisis Balance Sheet Hungry By The Numbers

Jack Rasmus on the hype of emerging recovery


David Bacon and Betsy Edwards on food insecurity

Table Of Contents

Living in District 9 36 38 40

James McEnteer on the bad old (and new days) in South Africa

Somalia Still Suffers Apocalypse in Central Africa

Tim Coles on Western complicity in crimes against humanity


keith harmon snow on war crimes and U.S. and UK involvement

Looking Back

How Bushs DOJ Killed a 2006 Criminal Probe Into BP The Political Economy of Mexican Immigration What the Past Teaches About U.S. Democracy 45 50 54

Jason Leopold investigates a spill on Alaskas North Slope


Collin Harris on NAFTA and its predictable after-effects


Herbert P Bix on democracy and imperialism in the U.S. and ancient Greece .

Looking Forward


Why Participatory Economics?

Michael Albert on an alternative to capitalism

Media, Culture, Reviews


65 69 72 73 74

User Generated Content & the Remaking of Media Publishing Better Living through Poverty: Blood, Sweat & Takeaways

David Rosen on the history of digitalization and its effects


Review by Michelle Fawcett & Arun Gupta


Blood on Our Hands by Nicolas J.S. Davies

Review by Douglas Valentine

Jailhouse Lawyers by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Review by Mischa Geracoulis

Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet by Michael Klare

Review by Jim Cabral



Foreign Policy
way to the Persian Gulf, where its task is to implement the sanctions against Iran and supervise the ships going to and from Iran. British and Israeli media report that Saudi Arabia is providing a corridor for Israeli bombing of Iran (denied by Saudi Arabia). On his return from Afghanistan to reassure NATO allies that the U.S. will stay the course after the replacement of General McChrystal by his superior, General Petraeus, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen visited Israel to meet IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and senior Israeli military staff along with intelligence and planning units, continuing the annual strategic dialogue between Israel and the U.S. in Tel Aviv. The meeting focused on the preparation by both Israel and the U.S. for the possibility of a nuclear capable Iran, according to Haaretz, which reports further that Mullen emphasized, I always try to see challenges from an Israeli perspective. (Mullen and Ashkenazi are in regular contact on a secure line.) The increasing threats of military action against Iran are, of course, in violation of the UN Charter and in specific violation of Security Council resolution 1887 of September 2009 which reaffirmed the call to all states to resolve disputes related to nuclear issues peacefully, in accordance with the Charter, which bans the use or threat of force. Some respected analysts describe the Iranian threat in apocalyptic terms. Amitai Etzioni warns that The U.S. will have to confront Iran or give up the Middle East, no less. If Irans nuclear program proceeds, he asserts, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other states will move toward the new Iranian superpower. In less fevered rhetoric, a regional alliance might take shape independent of the U.S. In the U.S. army journal Military Review, Etzioni urges a U.S. attack that targets not only Irans nuclear facilities but also its non-nuclear military assets, including infrastructuremeaning, the civilian society. This kind of military action is akin to sanctionscausing pain in order to change behavior, albeit by much more powerful means.

The Iranian Threat

By Noam Chomsky

he dire threat of Iran is widely recognized to be the most serious foreign policy crisis facing the Obama administration. Congress just strengthened the sanctions against Iran, with even more severe penalties against foreign companies. The Obama administration has been rapidly expanding its offensive capacity on the African island of Diego Garcia, claimed by Britain, which had expelled the population so that the U.S. could build the massive base it uses for attacking the Middle East and Central Asia. The Navy reports sending a submarine tender to the island to service nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines with Tomahawk missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads. Each submarine is reported to have the striking power of a typical carrier battle group. According to a U.S. Navy cargo manifest obtained by the Sunday Herald (Glasgow), the substantial military equipment Obama has dispatched includes 387 bunker busters used for blasting hardened underground structures. Planning for these massive ordnance penetrators, the most powerful bombs in the arsenal short of nuclear weapons, was initiated in the Bush administration, but languished. On taking office, Obama immediately accelerated the plans, and they are to be deployed several years ahead of schedule, aiming specifically at Iran. They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran, according to Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London. U.S. bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours, he said. The firepower of U.S. forces has quadrupled since 2003, accelerating under Obama. The Arab press reports that an American fleet (with an Israeli vessel) passed through the Suez Canal on the

What is the Threat, Exactly?

uch harrowing pronouncements aside, what exactly is the Iranian threat? An authoritative answer is provided in the April 2010 study of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Military Balance 2010. The brutal clerical regime is doubtless a threat to its own people, though it does not rank particularly high in that respect in comparison to U.S. allies in the region. But that is not what concerns the Institute. Rather, it is concerned with the threat Iran poses to the region and the world. The study makes it clear that the Iranian threat is not military. Irans military spending is relatively low compared to the rest of the region, and less than 2 percent that of the U.S.



Iranian military doctrine is strictly defensivedesigned to slow an invasion and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities. Iran has only a limited capability to project force beyond its borders. With regard to the nuclear option, Irans nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy. Though the Iranian threat is not military, that does not mean that it might be tolerable to Washington. Iranian deterrent capacity is an illegitimate exercise of sovereignty that interferes with U.S. global designs. Specifically, it threatens U.S. control of Middle East energy resources, a high priority of planners since World War II, which yields substantial control of the world, one influential figure advised (A. A. Berle). But Irans threat goes beyond deterrence. It is also seeking to expand its influence. As the Institute study formulates the threat, Iran is destabilizing the region. The U.S. invasion and military occupation of Irans neighbors is stabilization. Irans efforts to extend its influence in neighboring countries is destabilization, hence plainly illegitimate. It should be noted that such revealing usage is routine. Thus the prominent foreign policy analyst James Chace, former editor the main establishment journal Foreign Affairs, was properly using the term stability in its technical sense when he explained that in order to achieve stability in Chile it was necessary to destabilize the country (by overthrowing the elected Allende government and installing the Pinochet dictatorship). Beyond these crimes, Iran is also supporting terrorism, the study continues: by backing Hezbollah and Hamas, the major political forces in Lebanon and Palestineif elections matter. The Hezbollah-based coalition handily won the popular vote in Lebanons latest (2009) election. Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian election, compelling the U.S. and Israel to institute a harsh and brutal siege of Gaza to punish the miscreants for voting the wrong way in a free election. These have been the only relatively free elections in the Arab world. It is normal for elite opinion to fear the threat of democracy and to act to deter it, but this is a rather striking case, particularly alongside of strong U.S. support for the regional dictatorships, e.g., Obamas strong praise for

the brutal Egyptian dictator Mubarak on the way to his famous address to the Muslim world in Cairo.


he terrorist acts attributed to Hamas and Hezbollah pale in comparison to U.S.-Israeli terrorism in the same region, but they are worth a look nevertheless.On May 25 Lebanon celebrated its national holiday, Liberation Day, commemorating Israels withdrawal from southern Lebanon after 22 years, as a result of Hezbollah resistancedescribed by Israeli authorities as Iranian aggression against Israel in Israeli-occupied Lebanon (Ephraim Sneh). That, too, is normal imperial usage. Thus, President John F. Kennedy condemned the the assault from the inside, and which is manipulated from the North. The assault by the South Vietnamese resistance against Kennedys bombers, chemical warfare, driving peasants to virtual concentration camps, and other such benign measures was denounced as internal aggression by Kennedys UN ambassador, liberal hero Adlai Stevenson. North Vietnamese support for their fellow citizens in the U.S.-occupied South is aggression, intolerable interference with Washingtons righteous mission. Kennedy advisors Arthur Schlesinger and Theodore Sorenson, considered doves, also praised Washingtons intervention to reverse aggression in South Vietnamby the indigenous resistance, as they knew, at least if they read U.S. intelligence reports. In 1955, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff defined several types of aggression, including Aggression other than armed, i.e., political warfare, or subversion. For example, an internal uprising against a U.S.-imposed police state, or elections that come out the wrong way. The usage is also common in scholarship and political commentary, and makes sense on the prevailing assumption that We Own the World. Hamas resists Israels military occupation and its illegal and violent actions in the occupied territories. It is accused of refusing to recognize Israel (political parties do not recognize states). In contrast, the U.S. and Israel not only do not recognize Palestine, but have been acting for decades to ensure that it can never come into existence in any meaningful form. The

governing party in Israel, in its 1999 campaign platform, bars the existence of any Palestinian state. Hamas is charged with rocketing Israeli settlements on the border, criminal acts no doubt, though a fraction of Israels violence in Gaza, let alone elsewhere. It is important to bear in mind, in this connection, that the U.S. and Israel know exactly how to terminate the terror that they deplore with such passion. Israel officially concedes that there were no Hamas rockets as long as Israel partially observed a truce with Hamas in 2008. Israel rejected Hamass offer to renew the truce, preferring to launch the murderous and destructive Operation Cast Lead against Gaza in December 2008, with full U.S. backing, an exploit of murderous aggression without the slightest credible pretext on either legal or moral grounds.

Turkey, a Model for Democracy

he model for democracy in the Muslim world, despite serious flaws, is Turkey, which has relatively free elections and has also been subject to harsh criticism in the U.S. The most extreme case was when the government followed the position of 95 percent of the population and refused to join in the invasion of Iraq, eliciting harsh condemnation from Washington for its failure to comprehend how a democratic government should behave: under our concept of democracy, the voice of the Master determines policy, not the near-unanimous voice of the population. The Obama administration was once again incensed when Turkey joined with Brazil in arranging a deal with Iran to restrict its enrichment of uranium. Obama had praised the initiative in a letter to Brazils president Lula da Silva, apparently on the assumption that it would fail and provide a propaganda weapon against Iran. When it succeeded, the U.S. was furious, and quickly undermined it by ramming through a Security Council resolution with new sanctions against Iran that were so meaningless that China cheerfully joined at oncerecognizing that at most the sanctions would impede Western interests in competing with China for Irans resources. Once again, Washington acted to ensure that others would not interfere with U.S. control of the region.


Not surprisingly, Turkey (along with Brazil) voted against the U.S. sanctions motion in the Security Council. The other regional member, Lebanon, abstained. These actions aroused further consternation in Washington. Philip Gordon, the Obama administrations top diplomat on European affairs, warned Turkey that its actions are not understood in the U.S. and that it must demonstrate its commitment to partnership with the West, the AP reported, a rare admonishment of a crucial NATO ally. The political class understands as well. Steven A. Cook, a scholar with the Council on Foreign Relations, observed that the critical question now is How do we keep the Turks in their lane?following orders like good democrats. A New York Times headline captured the general mood: Iran Deal Seen as Spot on Brazilian Leaders Legacy. In brief, do what we say, or else. There is no indication that other countries in the region favor U.S. sanctions any more than Turkey does. On Irans opposite border, for example, Pakistan and Iran, meeting in Turkey, recently signed an agreement for a new pipeline. Even more worrisome for the U.S. is that the pipeline might extend to India. The 2008 U.S. treaty with India supporting its nuclear programsand indirectly its nuclear weapons programswas intended to stop India from joining the pipeline, according to Moeed Yusuf, a South Asia adviser to the United States Institute of Peace, expressing a common interpretation. India and Pakistan are two of the three nuclear powers that have refused to sign the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), the third being Israel. All have developed nuclear weapons with U.S. support and still do.

Non-Proliferation Exemptions

o sane person wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons; or anyone to do so. One obvious way to mitigate or eliminate this threat is to establish a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East. The issue arose (again) at the NPT conference at United Nations headquarters in early May 2010. Egypt, as chair of the 118 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement, proposed that the conference back a plan calling for the start of negotiations in 2011 on a Middle East NWFZ, as had been agreed by the West, including

the U.S., at the 1995 review conference on the NPT. Washington still formally agrees, but insists that Israel be exempted and has given no hint of allowing such provisions to apply to itself. The time is not yet ripe for creating the zone, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated at the NPT conference, while Washington insisted that no proposal can be accepted that calls for Israels nuclear program to be placed under the auspices of the IAEA or that calls on signers of the NPT, specifically Washington, to release information about Israeli nuclear facilities and activities, including information pertaining to previous nuclear transfers to Israel. Obamas technique of evasion is to adopt Israels position that any such proposal must be conditional on a comprehensive peace settlement, which the U.S. can delay indefinitely, as it has been doing for 35 years, with rare and temporary exceptions. At the same time, Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, asked foreign ministers of its 151 member states to share views on how to implement a resolution demanding that Israel accede to the NPT and throw its nuclear facilities open to IAEA oversight, AP reported. It is rarely noted that the U.S. and UK have a special responsibility to work to establish a Middle East NWFZ. In attempting to provide a thin legal cover for their invasion of Iraq in 2003, they appealed to Security Council Resolution 687 (1991), which called on Iraq to terminate its develop-

ment of weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. and UK claimed that they had not done so. We need not tarry on the excuse, but that Resolution commits its signers to move to establish a NWFZ in the Middle East. Parenthetically, we may add that U.S. insistence on maintaining nuclear facilities in Diego Garcia undermines the NWFZ established by the African Union, just as Washington continues to block a Pacific NWFZ by excluding its Pacific dependencies. Obamas rhetorical commitment to non-proliferation has received much praise, even a Nobel Peace Prize. One practical step in this direction is establishment of NWFZs. Another is withdrawing support for the nuclear programs of the three non-signers of the NPT. As often, rhetoric and actions are hardly aligned, in fact, they are in direct contradiction in this case, facts that pass with little attention. Instead of taking practical steps towards reducing the truly dire threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, the U.S. must take major steps towards reinforcing U.S. control of the vital Middle East oil-producing regions, by violence if other means do not succeed. That is understandable and even reasonable, under prevailing imperial doctrine. Z

Noam Chomsky is a linguist, social critic, and author of numerous articles and books, including Failed States and Hopes and Prospects.


Empire Watch

Misplaced Hopes
Jon Hochschartner inter views William Blum
illiam Blum, the author of Killing Hope and Rogue State, is one of the foremost chroniclers of U.S. imperialism. Currently, Blum writes a monthly e-newsletter The Anti-Empire Report (KillingHope. org).

cia. There were so many of these secret prisons. Where is the evidence showing things have changed in those places? I dont think anyone has a right to say Obama has ended torture. The burden of proof is on him. Earlier this year, Obama green lit the assassination of Anwar Al-Awaki, a U.S. citizen. What effect do you think this will have on due process? Due process was already a casualty of the war on terror. There are all kinds of cases of people who have been arrested and imprisoned for years and years without a trial or even a charge. We already have done great harm to the concept and the practice of due process even before this case you mentioned. Its hanging by a thread, the idea that people have to be charged with something, indicted, tried, and convicted before theyre put in prison. Or the idea a person is innocent until proven guilty. That certainly died years ago. How much worse can we make it now? The White House recently unveiled a new National Security Strategy. Whats your interpretation of it? Its my opinion that one can never understand U.S. foreign policy un-

Shortly after taking office, Obama declared, America does not torture. Is that true?

No, its not. There is no evidence to support that statement. I have read several articles from good sources showing that the abuse at Guantanamo, for example, has continued unabated. In fact, in some ways, its even worse. In Afghanistan, weve uncovered a secret prison where prisoner abuse is rampant. And we dont know whats happened to all the other secret prisons, like the one on the island of Diego GarBLUM:

less one comes to terms with a basic premise of that policy, which is that the United States wants to dominate the world. If you dont accept that premise, then much of what we call U.S. foreign policy can be confusing. But if you understand that premise, much of those policies fall into line and make sense. So this National Security paper youre speaking about, which is an annual thing, has the unspoken premise that the U.S. wants to dominate the world. It says again and again that we have to exert world leadership. Either it says it explicitly or it implies as much in some casesand its because of our exceptionalism. Thats what it comes down to. It overuses the terms values and human rights, and, of course, the old standbys democracy and freedom. It begins by mentioning that the U.S. is threatened. It mentions 9/11. The U.S. uses 9/11 as the Israelis use the Holocaust. It doesnt say why were threatened. It doesnt indicate that its because of anything U.S. foreign policy has done that makes us so hated. It just implies that these people who hate us are irrational and we have no choice but to defend ourselves. That fits in very well with the need to dominate. So you dont see it as a significant departure from the Bush policy? If anything, its worse. Obama has actually attacked, militarily, five countries since hes been in power. Thats more than Bush did. Im speaking of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia. In my Anti-Empire Report, I ask the question: how many countries does Obama have to be at war with before he becomes unqualified for the Nobel Peace Prize? Its amazing. Many liberals who were outspoken critics of Bushs foreign policy seem to ignore the fact Obama continues the Bush legacy. Why do you think this is? Its painful for them to have to admit to themselves and to the world that their hopes were totally misplaced. Its very understandable, but they shouldnt have been fooled in the



first place. In his campaign speeches he threatened, on several occasions, to invade Iran if they didnt behave the way he wanted. He said he was going to increase our armed forces in Afghanistan. He said it all. He wasnt hiding it. Z
Jon Hochschartner is a freelance writer from Lake Placid.

Wake-Up Call

Militarism Run Amok: Afghanistan, Gaza, Arizona, & Beyond

By Max Elbaum
irst the execution, then the trial; Stop them if they look illegal, round em up and deport em; Lock em up and throw away the key. Excerpts from an unused script for the TV show 24? Lines from a B-grade Western where cowboys in white hats triumph over Indians and Mexicans? Sentiments fanned daily by a powerful right-wing media machine and embraced by a substantial chunk of the U.S. public? Crude descriptions of policies embedded in the structure and practice of government in this country? Unfortunately, for people here and around the world, this is no Hollywood fantasy. Recent events from Arizona to Afghanistan to Gaza and beyond should be a big wake-up call about the dangers at hand. Especially ominous is the connection between the resurgent impulse to rely on repression, military force, and violence to address social and political problems and the demonization of groups of people. Theres plenty of resistance to some of the most blatant features of the anti-popular onslaught. The terrain of battle is complicated becauseaccording to the formal terms of the 2008 electiona majority of voters rejected the kind of fear-

mongering and expansion of state repressive power that is again so prominent. Some sources of hope indicate a potential for beating back the latest threats, but the overall picture also shows how deeply imperial militarism and a use force mentalityinterwoven with racism and national chauvinismhas become implanted in the U.S.

Executions Without Trial, Torture, Indefinite Detention

ccording to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, U.S. forces in Afghanistan are carrying out battle field ex e cu tions of pris on ers. Hersh, who broke the Abu Ghraib prison abuse story in 2004 (and the My Lai massacre story in 1968), says that commanders in Afghanistan tell the troops, you have to make a determination within a day or two or so whether or not the pris on ers are Taliban. And if you cannot conclude theyre Taliban, you must turn them free. What it means is, and Ive been told this anecdotally by five or six different people, battlefield executions are taking place. If they cant prove theyre Taliban, bam. Its not just Afghans being executed without even the semblance of a trial. The New York Times reported

May 13 that the Obama administration authorized the CIA to kill a terrorism suspect who is a U.S. citizen living far from any current battlefield. Slated for execution is radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, now in hiding in Yemen. The Times reported the matter with total understatement: The notion that the government can, in effect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy. To eavesdrop on the suspect, intelligence agencies would have to get a court warrant. But designating him for death, as CIA officials did early this year with the National Security Councils approval, required no judicial review. Then theres torture and indefinite detention. According to the White House, the U.S. no longer tortures prisoners as it did during the Bush years. But there is strong evidence that the same techniques are still employed at the U.S. airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan. Despite Pentagon denials, the BBC reports that the Red Cross confirms the existence at Bagram of a facility for detaineesa so-called black jailseparate from the main prison. At least nine former prisoners told the BBC that they had


been subject to torture techniques in that facility. Meanwhile, a federal appeals court ruled May 21 that three men who had been detained by the U.S. military for years without trial in Afghanistan had no recourse to U.S. courts. The Obama administration claimed the same powers as its predecessor to hold detainees indefinitely without any kind of trial and praised the decision. The detainees, two Yemenis and a Tunisian, say they were captured outside Afghanistan and are innocent of any wrongful activities. If it stands, the ruling will allow the military and government to imprison any non-U.S. citizen for as long as they want, the only proviso being they are held in a prison outside the U.S.

Major Expansion Of Clandestine Military Operations

hese are not isolated items. The New York Times reported May 24 that the new orders from the top U.S. commander in the Middle East mandate a big expansion of clandestine military activity. A secret directive signed last September by General David Petraeus authorizes sending Special Op er a tions troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa. The order in-

cludes Iran. Officials said the order per mits re con nais sance that could pave the way for a possible military strike against that country. This new directive gives the military more latitude than it had even under the Bush administration. Bush had approved some clandestine military activities far from designated war zones, but government officials, speaking anonymously, stated that the new order is intended to make such efforts more systematic and long term. Exposed by the Times just a few days before the Obama administration issued its first formal National Security Strategy, this expansion of military power appears to be counter to the spirit, if not the letter, of the presidents policy. In contrast to official doctrine under Bush, the new strategy stresses multilateralism over unilateralism and declares that the U.S. cannot sustain extended military operations abroad indefinitely. It even says that key to national security is addressing problems of the U.S. economy, education, energy, and of climate change. These are good concepts. To the degree they actually become the driver of Washingtons concrete actions, it would mark a step in the right direction. But these declarations remain paired with insistence that the U.S. maintain military superiority

and that Washington will, if it deems necessary, act alone with whatever military force the Administration feels is needed. Unfortunately, it is these parts of the document that are driving the latest round of U.S. actions. This constitutes an extremely dangerous expansion of militarism and state repressive power, even if it is not conducted under the Bush-era rhetoric of might makes right and a permanent war on terror.

Protecting Israel, Even After Piracy And Murder

ther important aspects of government policy this year show a disconnect between rhetoric and action. For months the Administration has been publicly critical of Israeli settlement build ing. Top U.S. mil i tary leaders have declared that indefinite blocking of an Israel-Palestine peace agreement undermines U.S. strategic in ter ests. This pub lic pos ture has made Obama the object of vitriolic attacks from the far right. But what is the Administration doing in practice? Earlier this month it requested an additional $205 million in military aid to Israel on top of the record-breaking $3 billion already present in the 2011 budget. As most of the world reacted with outrage to the May 31 Is raeli at tack on a Gaza aid flotillaan attack of international piracy and mur derWash ing ton is once again giving Israel diplomatic cover. In an especially bitter irony, this is taking place at a time when a new level of criticism of Israeli policies has broken out within an important sector of U.S. zionism. Former New Republic editor Peter Beinart sparked a firestorm with a New York Review of Books piece that pilloried Israeli government policies and some U.S. zionist organizations defense of them. In defending his article, Beinart burnished his no-one-can-accuseme-of-not-loving-Israel credentials by saying that he does not demand that Israel give its Arab citizens equal rights. But he stood his ground, as far as condemning the Israeli right wing, by writing: The prime minister of Israel has repeatedly compared the establishment of a Palestinian state to the Holocaust. His foreign minister, and protg, has flirted with



advocating the physical expulsion of Israeli Arabs. The spiritual leader of his governments fourth-largest party has called for politicians who advocate ceding territory to the Palestinians to be struck dead. West Bank settlements are growing at triple the rate of the Israeli population and, according to a recent Tel Aviv University poll, 80 percent of religious Jewish Israeli high schoolers would refuse orders to dismantle them. One-third of Jewish Israelis favor pardoning Yigal Amir, the man who murdered Yitzhak Rabin. [T]here is only one decent response to these truths: fury. If youre not angry, youre either not paying attention or you dont care. With such indictments coming even from prominent pro-Israel supporters; with generals like Petraeus implying that Israeli stonewalling is a threat to U.S. interests; with almost the entire political class screaming about the budget deficit; and with Israeli soldiers now boarding ships and killing unarmed humanitarian activists in international waters, one would think the time was favorable for talking about cuts rather than expansion of military and diplomatic assistance to Tel Aviv. But the House vote on Obamas aid to Israel request was a staggering 410-4. Washington stands alone in its failure to resolutely condemn Israels latest brutality. These constitute endorsements of militarism and occupation and signs of just how hostage to that big muddy combination Washingtons Middle East policy remains. The banner headline across Israels Maariv newspapers front page on May 27Netanyahu: I Wonreferred to U.S.-Israeli settlement talks and indicated the glee of those who plan not only to permanently occupy Palestinian land, but drag the U.S. into war against Iran.

core. The president also continues to call for comprehensive immigration reform that would include a humane and workable path to le galization. But when it comes to positive steps, all we have so far is a Justice Department studying and investigating whether it will act to block SB1070. There are no orders to endor even re ducethe fam ily-bust ing, in humane raids that ICE has been conducting all over the country. Instead, the pres ident deploys the Na tional Guard. The only thing it could possibly accomplish is making more peoples lives harder and whetting the appetite of the deport-em-all lobby for even more repressive force. The roots of large-scale south-to-north migration lie in economic and social conditions, unequal relations between the U.S. and Latin America, displacement of people from their homes as multinational corporations distort local economies, the drive of U.S.-based employers for a pool of vulnerable and cheap labor, and so on. Walls, troops, and raids will not stop any of this. They will only inflict misery and perpetuate bigotry as corporate interests laugh all the way to the bank. The specifics of Arizona are obviously different from the Middle East. But the conflict between U.S. corporate interests, local elites, and vulnerable populations has many parallels. Life in the U.S.-Mexico border region especially is becoming similar to life under occupation, with the Border Patrol and now the National Guard functioning as the occupying force.

Multi-Leveled Fightback

Troops To Arizona

hen there is the decision to send Na tional Guard troops to the U.S.-Mex ico bor der. Obama has joined the chorus of criticism against Arizonas draconian anti-immigrant law, SB 1070a welcome addition to the campaign to expose and counter the anti-Latino bias that lies at its

he outcry against Arizonas law from prom i nent fig ures in the worlds of sports and entertainment, as well as politics, is heartening. It was a boost to see Mexicos President Felipe Calderon issue an anti-racial profiling message while speaking to the U.S. Congress, something few U.S. politicians seem to have the guts to do. A great deal will depend on how much mo men tum and broad reach the grass roots move ment springing to life against SB 1070 can acquire in the next several months.

Preparations are underway for a host of activities in Arizona and nationwide (www.altoarizona.com). Regarding Afghanistan and the general use of direct U.S. military force in the Middle East, the landscape is somewhat different. Public opinion has soured on these adventures over the last several years. Majority sentiment is skeptical that the U.S. will accomplish anything positive in Afghanistan (or Iraq). And each week news reports and admissions from Washingtons own commanders indicate that these are lost causes. But antiwar activism at the base level is muted and decisions to authorize more covert activities or hold prisoners indefinitely without trialwhich would have led to significant protests had they been made by Bushdo not spark the same level of resistance with Obama in office. Changing this will require an antiwar movement that finds new ways to combine educational activities, mass public protests, and integration of antiwar and cut-the-military-budget efforts into the growing fights over jobs, services, immigrant rights, and environmental protection. Fighting to end blank-check U.S. support for Israel occupation, meanwhile, involves a whole set of special challenges. But the glaring disconnect between even the most minimal respect for human life or (per the U.S. Declaration of Independence) a decent respect for the opinions of mankind [sic] vs. Israels recent actions opens up new possibilities for broad educational and protest activities. All these will be most effective if a consistent anti-militarist theme is struck as often as possible. Shoot em and lock em up demagogy can grip popular sentiment for some time. But it has no real solutions to the actual problems that afflict an increasingly interconnected and fragile worldwhich is why its diehard adherents retreat steadily into a world where fantasy and crazy replaces reality. This creates opportunities for advocates of peace and justice to offer a solve-real-problems message on a variety of levels. In a time of extended economic hardship, catastrophic oil spills, and wars that threaten to engulf entire regions, our arsenal


ranges from the full critique of empire and imperial-era racism through the call for fair-play and common sense to an appeal for everyone to think about the very survival of this generation and the next. Z
Max Elbaum is editor of War Times/ Tiempo de Guerras and author of Revolution in the Air (Verso, 2002).

Health Alert

Oversight of Dangerous High-Dose Medical Radiation

By John LaForge
rare and revealing sentence in the February 10 New York Times reported what Nukewatch and other watchdog groups like Public Citizen have warned about for years: Patients today receive far more radiation than ever before. The average lifetime dose of diagnostic radiation excluding therapeutic radiation

has increased sevenfold since 1980, prompting widespread concerns that certain procedures are overused and that they needlessly expose patients to an increased risk of cancer. Children and women are particularly vulnerable. The warning was part of last winters announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it would expand its lax and often unenforced regulation of medical radiation procedures that expose patients to high doses, in particular CT scans which can dose individuals with the equivalent of 400 chest X-rays. The FDAs oversight decision came on the heels of several critical studies and after hundreds of radiation overdoses caused by poorly calibrated (and mostly unmonitored) radiation machinery and by undertrained operators. The FDA is investigating why over 300 patients at 4 different hospitals were exposed to as much as 8 times as much radiation as intended by powerful CT machines used to detect strokes. The largest overdoses were administered in 2009 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and at two other California hospitals. (The gross radiation exposures were only discovered after some patients lost their hair.) In an April 8 announcement, the FDA ad-

mitted that it had reviewed over 1,000 reports of radiation exposure errors filed over the last 10 years. Californias overdoses were echoed by similar events in Missouri at the CoxHealth hospital in Springfield, and at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. At CoxHealth, over a 5-year period, 76 patients, most with brain cancer, were overradiated according to a February 25 report. At Moffitt, 77 brain cancer subjects received 50 percent more radiation than what was ordered between 2004 and 2005. As the Timess January expos said, these overdoses were caused by new equipment that was miscalibrated and by hospitals that violate safety rules, injure patients, and fail to report mistakes. Cox- Health president and CEO Robert Bezanson made public a letter he sent in February to the FDA warning that its recent decision to toughen oversight of diagnostic radiation was too limited: The initiative should be broadened to include regulation of medical radiation therapy as well. In April, the FDA seemed to take stock of the advice and announced it would work to prevent overdoses in radiation therapy and, in particular, halt the use of streamlined approval for new machines. Some skepticism about the announcement was voiced by Dr. Howard Amols at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who told the Times, Its not clear that FDA has the expertise to police this, considering serious nationwide shortcomings in staffing, competency, and hospital quality control programs. The new emphasis on oversight has also been clouded by allegations of FDA retaliation against one of its scientists, Dr. Julian Nicholas, who says he was fired after he recommended against the approval of CT scanners for routine colon cancer screening. Nicholas said he objected to exposing otherwise healthy patients to the cancer risks of radiation, the AP reported. 2009 study in the New England Journal of Medicine said 4 million people in the U.S. get dangerously high doses of radiation from CT and PET scanners and that



400,000 get very high doses. The over-use of medical scans are unnecessary, wasteful and dangerous and may be causing tens of thousands of additional cancers, according to Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Dr. Rita Redberg, a cardiologist at UC San Francisco. The FDA says it hopes to reduce unnecessary radiation exposures from three principal medical imaging systems: CT scans, which create threedimensional images; radioactive ingestion studies, in which patients are given radioactive substances that doctors watch move through the body; and fluoroscopies, in which a radiation-emitting device projects an internal image on a monitor. These types of imaging exams expose patients to ionizing radiation, a type of radiation that can increase a persons lifetime cancer risk, the FDA now warns. A 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that as many as 2 percent of all future cancers in the U.S. may be due to radiation from CT scans given now. The group Public Citizen and others have repeatedly charged that the FDA allows manufacturers to sell the imaging machines without first having to prove their safety. Now, the FDA says it might require manufacturers of scanners and fluoro- scopic machines to build in new safeguards and provide better training to operators. FDA-proposed improvements include: that the equipment display, record, and report calibration settings and radiation doses; that an alert be issued when radiation exposures exceed the optimal dose; and that machines be required to capture and transmit radiation dose information to a patients electronic medical record and to national dose registries. Dr. James Thrall, professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and chair of the American College of Radiology, told the Times that a major hazard with most scanners is that, There is nothing on the machine that tells the technologist that theyve dialed in a badly incorrect radiation exposure. Z
John LaForge is on the Nukewatch staff and edits its quarterly newsletter.


Dual Crises Of Globalization: Arizona And The Gulf Of Mexico

By Jeb Sprague and Cesar Rodriguez
he explosion on April 20 at BPs offshore drilling rig 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana led to the worst oil spill in the countrys history, killing 11 workers and unplugging an oil-gushing vein in the sea floor. Just three days later, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed into Law SB 1070, which requires state police to check the legal status of anyone suspected of being undocumented. The two events are intricately connected within a system that values the accumulation of capital over the livelihoods and survival of people and the environment. Sociologist Leslie Sklair has described two central crises in the era of globalization: (1) a class polarization crisis with the creation of in-

creasing poverty and increasing wealth within and between communities and societies; and (2) an ecological crisis from the unsustainability of the system. In 2010, we have seen more clearly these disastrous consequences. In Arizona, the fiscal crisis comes with an aroused nativist sentiment against the poorest and most susceptible. On the Gulf, instead of mounting a national effort to halt the spill, government elites, taking on practices and ideologies of globalization, have relinquished guardianship over the ocean. During the Bush II administration, the U.S. Mineral Management Service stated that oil companies themselves were in the best position to determine the environmental effects of drilling, a policy continued under the Obama administration. Ira Leifer, a researcher in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a member of the U.S. governments Flow Rate Technical Group, now says theres no reason to disbelieve BPs worst case and that it could be very large, in the 100,000-plus [barrels a day] range. That could mean more than four million gallons a day. Today, a ten-mile plume of oil surges toward the Gulfs loop current. U.S. gulf-coast marshes, home




to a rich spectrum of flora and fauna, face destruction. Five of the worlds seven species of sea turtles, various species of sharks, dolphins, mollusks, as well as the brown pelican and approximately 96 species of migratory song birds, are under threat. The Atakapa-Ishak nation, a centuries old indigenous community subsisting on the Grand Bayou, watches the disintegration of its habitat. Plaquemenies Parishs black fishing community, just gaining stability five years after Hurricane Katrina, now struggles with a moratorium on fishing. In another local town, St. Bernard Parish, federal authorities have imposed checkpoints aimed at immigrant workers. Just as transnational petroleum companies, with the ready support of allies in government, gained drilling access to vast tracks of sea floor, transnational agricultural firms, also with the blessing of state leaders, carried out the massive dispossession of lands from peasants in rural Mexico. Faced with rising unemployment and violence in their homeland many chose to leave for global cities in the north, where, according to sociologist Saskia Sassen, they provide labor for the low-wage service and manufacturing jobs that, in turn, service the high-income lifestyles of those employed in the specialized, expanding service sector. The nature of these dual crises is entwined with transnational processes, distinctly different from the past era of nationally-based business monopolies. BP is a company that is truly transnational, both in its production networks, but also in its financial portfolio. Similarly, the formation of an exploitable class of migrants in Arizona is a transnational trend with migrant workforces now in almost every country on the planet, a linchpin of the global capitalist economy. Across the U.S., intense media coverage has reflected the explosion of outrage against BP. Still, this has not diminished the use of immigrants as a punching bag in the other ongoing national debate. The well-timed campaign of xenophobia appears to have had some success, as a nationwide Gallup poll in April indicated. In Arizona, the polling numbers in

support of SB 1070 are even higher, a state where, in 2004, 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Latino, were blocked from registering to vote. SB 1070 serves not only to drive undocumented migrants into the shadows, but also to further disenfranchise lower-income Latino voters. Senator Russell Pearce (R-AZ), who pushed through SB 1070, is now working on legislation to deny the children of undocumented immigrants their 14th Amendment right of automatic birth citizenship, a right that stems from efforts in 1868 to turn back the legacy of slavery. He explained to CNN his proposal for a highly securitized guest worker program: Crops have to be brought in, but I dont need a man to wash my car, mow my lawn, or do I need to eat at fast food restaurant. [I]t doesnt lead to citizenship, doesnt lead to any permanent status, cant bring family with you, cant come here and bring your babies, cant come here and bring a burden on the taxpayer. Come here, work, earn your wages, and go home on a stub. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party continues its rightward lurch, as Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), author of a new Democratic immigration plan, scolds party activists who refer to illegal immigrants as undocumented workers. Pro-business sectors of the immigrant rights movement, now close with the Obama administration, have long sought to speak for and co-opt the larger grassroots movement. From the Gulf to the University of Arizona, voices are being silenced. Fisherpeople at Grand Isle on the Gulf report being required to sign contracts with BP that guarantee their silence in order to receive compensation. In Arizona, with the mandated closure of the University of Arizona Ethnic Studies program, Associate Professor Sandra Soto, speaking out in protest at her universitys graduation ceremony, was jeered by some audience members.

Cains (R-AZ) office. Other student protesters have carried out a number of acts of civil disobedience in southwestern cities. Locals from the Gulf, such as the Plaquemines Parish commu nity, are also or ga niz ing. One Texas shrimper, Diane Wilson, went so far as to douse herself with what appeared to be oil at a recent Senate energy hearing, as oil industry ally and Secre tary of the Inte rior Ken Salazar spoke. Salazar, President Obama, and BP executives regularly churn out the rhetoric of change, but the plight of migrant workers and the environment reveals that elite-driven globalization relentlessly produces victims as well as profits. Z
Cesar Rodriguez and Jeb Sprague are graduate students in the PhD program in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Conservative Watch

Conservatives Try ACORN-ing Berkeleys Greenlining Institute

By Bill Berkowitz
fter three decades, it took a pair of right-wing activists masquerading as a pimp and prostitute, equipped with a hidden camera, a phony storyline, and access to Andrew Breitbarts well-traveled websites, to finally take down ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). With that success under their belts, the right has moved on to other targets. In April, the San Francisco Examiner, now a conservative news operation owned by a Hollywood mogul, one of the richest people in America, launched an attack on the Berkeleybased Greenlining Institute (greenlining.org). In partnership with CalWatchdog.com, a news service sponsored

Rising Protests

n late May, 100,000 people gathered in Phoenix, Arizona to protest SB 1070. Three undocumented students, now facing deportation, carried out a sit-in on Sen. John Mc-


by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a conservative think tank that claims to be non-partisan, the tabloid newspaper manufactured a scandal in a splashy six-part series. The series pivots around another goal: the repeal of the Carter administrations Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1978. While the attack on Greenlining has the veneer of balanced journalism, it betrays itself through a series of provocative, unsubstantiated charges, the use of inflammatory rhetoric, and no factual evidence.

Defund The Left Campaign

n 1981, the Heritage Foundation pro duced Man date for Lead ership, a document for the Reagan administration aimed at moving conserva tive ideas into the main stream. One challenge, as Heritage saw it, the Center for Media and Democracys SourceWatch points out, was to counter the rise of its ideological opponents by whit tling away their status as public interest organizations and eliminating federal financial support for liberal groups. Other conservative think tanks most notably the National Center for Policy Analysis, the Capital Research Center, and the New Citizenship Project, along with a host of conservative political columnists, right-wing radio and television talk show hoststook up the challenge, as SourceWatch notes, to curtail funding of nonprofits, but also to introduce legislation aimed at silencing advocacy groups. Over the years, targets have included Planned Parenthood for America, the Sierra Club, and ACORN. This past September, Michelle Bachman, addressing a conservative conference about Congresss vote to cut off funding to ACORN, triumphantly stated that, defunding the left is going to be so easy and its going to solve so many of our problems.

by Rob ert Gnaizda and John C. Gamboa (both recently retired) and in volved mem bers of the Af ri can American, Asian American, Latino, and dis abled com mu nity to fight redlining and institutionalized discrimination. Its stated mission is to empower communities of color and other disadvantaged groups through multi-ethnic economic and leadership development, civil rights, and antiredlining activities. As opposed to redlining, greenlining would be the proactive effort of bringing investments to communities. One of the lynchpins of the Examiners Greenlining series was its attempt to link the organization to ACORN as another corruption-addled group. In the series, Tori Richards stated that Greenlining has been called a bunch of shakedown artists, a growing menace, and a cousin to ACORN. In an April 12 story headlined Greenlining & ACORN: Two peas in a pod? Richards asked: Are they two sides of the same coin? In another story titled Radical Greenlining Institute perfected legal bank heists, Richards wrote: Most recently, Greenlining officials have begun aiming their proven high-pressure intimidation tactics at the trillions of dollars in assets held by private foundations across America. What started two decades ago as an organization to help minorities and low-income residents obtain bank loans morphed into a political intimidation machine that has infiltrated the

sectors of public utilities, insurance, education, health care and charities. While the Greenlining Institutes Executive Director Orson Aguilar dismissed the series as pretty weak journalism, he acknowledged that the underlying issue is serious in that the Examiner is using us to attack the Community Reinvestment Act and [by extension] the whole idea that huge Wall Street financial institutions have some responsibility to the communities they serve. We may be the scapegoat du jour, but the real aim is to blame low-income communities for a financial crisis that was caused by inadequate regulation and greed. We have no intention of backing down.

Community Reinvestment Act

RA is a federal law aimed at mitigating deteriorating conditions in low and moderate income neighborhoods by addressing discriminatory lend ing and credit prac tices known as redlining. At its website, the Greenlining Institute points out that the CRA rates large financial institutions based on three practices: their lending, their investments, and their services. Financial institutions must demonstrate to regulators that its activities in each of these three sectors are adequately serving the communities in which they have market presence. Over the years, the CRA has been repeatedly revisited. In 1995, for example, it was revised under the

The Greenlining Institute

t its website, Greenlining describes itself as a national policy, organizing, and leadership institute working for racial and economic justice. It was co-founded in 1993


Clinton administration to prevent financial institutions with poor CRA compliance records from participating in mergers. However, as the Greenlining Institute notes, The main responsibility for enforcing CRA lies with consumer protection groups and the CRA as it is currently implemented has weak disciplinary powers for non-complying institutions. In this post-stimulus, post-bail out period, Greenlining believes that CRA should be expanded to cover insurance companies, credit unions, investment banks, and other essential parts of an interrelated financial services industry. Aguilar reported that, Free-market zealots blame CRA and those who support it for the subprime disaster, but 75 percent of subprime loans were issued by institutions not covered by CRAindependent mortgage brokers and lightly-regulated bank subsidiaries.... Anti-regulation zealots hope to avoid further oversight of financial marketsand loosen what already existsby blaming CRA and its supporters for causing the recession, when the real culprits were inadequate regulation and greed. On April 16, in an editorial titled Repeal CRA, stop blackmailing banks, the Examiner asserted that, The CRA gave ACORN, Greenlining, and legions of similar groups leverage to extort loans and mortgages in return for not conducting devastating PR and political pressure campaigns designed to libel offending banks and bankers as racists. Greenlinings Orson Aguilar told me, If thats extortion, then everyone from the Heritage Foundation, Pacific Research Institute, AARP, to the ACLU is also guilty. The bottom line is this isnt really about us, its about distracting from the real cause of the economic crisisgreed and fraud. Instead, some want to...blame the crisis on the poor and on laws that have helped the poor, such as the Community Reinvestment Act. Z
Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering conservative movements.


Pedophiles and Popes: Doing the Vatican Shuffle

By Michael Parenti
hen Pope John Paul II was still living in Poland as Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, he claimed that the security police would accuse priests of sexual abuse just to hassle and discredit them (New York Times, 3/28/10). For Wojtyla, the Polish pedophilia problem was nothing more than a communist plot to smear the church. By the early 1980s, Wojtyla, now ensconced in Rome as Pope John Paul II, treated all stories about pedophile clergy as little more than slander directed against the church. That remained his stance for the next 20 years. Today in post-communist Poland, clerical abuse cases have been surfacing very slowly. Writing in the leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza, a middle-aged man reported having been sexually abused as a child by a priest. He acknowledged, however, that Poland was not prepared to deal with such transgressions. Its still too early.... Can you imagine what life would look like if an inhabitant of a small town or village decided to talk? I can already see the committees of defense for the accused priests. While church pedophiles may still enjoy a safe haven in Poland and other countries where the clergy are above challenge, things are breaking wide open elsewhere.

sued in diocese after diocese, nation after nation, as to leave the impression of being a deliberate policy set by church authorities. And indeed it has been. In struc tions com ing directly from Rome have required every bishop and cardinal to keep matters secret. These instructions were themselves kept secret; the cover-up was itself covered up. Then, in 2002, John Paul put it in writing, specifically man dat ing that all charges against priests were to be reported secretly to the Vatican and hearings were to be held in camera, a procedure that directly defies state criminal codes. Rather than being defrocked, many outed pedophile priests have been allowed to advance into well-positioned posts as administrators, vicars, and parochial school officials repeatedly accused by their victims while repeatedly promoted by their superiors. Church spokespeople employ a vocabulary of compassion and healingnot for the victims but for the victimizers. They treat the child rapist as a sinner who confesses his transgression and vows to mend his ways. Instead of incarceration, there is repentance and absolution. While this forgiving approach might bring comfort to some malefactors, it proves to be of little therapeutic efficacy when dealing with the darker appetites of pedophiles. A far more effective deterrent is the danger of getting caught and sent to prison. Absent any threat of punishment, the perpetrator is restrained only by the

Protecting the Perpetrators

s everyone now knows, for decades church superiors repeatedly chose to ignore complaints about pedophile priests. In many instances, accused clerics were quietly bundled off to distant congregations where they could prey anew upon the children of unsuspecting parishioners. This practice of denial and concealment has been so consistently pur-


limits of his own appetite and the availability of opportunities. The tender tolerance displayed by the church hierarchy toward child rapists does not extend to other controversial clergy, such as those who:

challenged the hierarchy in the politico-economic struggle for liberation theology advocated lifting the prohibitions against birth control and abortion proposed that clergy be allowed to marry presided over same-sex weddings are openly gay believe women should be ordained bravely called for investigations of the pedophilia problem itself

Such clergy often have their careers shut down. Some are subjected to hostile investigations by church superiors. Church leaders seem to forget that pedophilia is a felony crime and that, as citizens of a secular state, priests are subject to its laws just like the rest of us. Clerical authorities repeatedly have made themselves accessories to the crime, playing an active role in obstructing justice, arguing in court that criminal investigations of church affairs violated the free practice of religion guaranteed by the U.S. Constitutionas if raping little children were a holy sacrament. Church officials tell parishioners not to talk to state authorities. They offer no pastoral assistance to young victims and their shaken families. They do not investigate to see if other children have been victimized by the same priests. Some young plaintiffs have been threatened with excommunication or suspension from Catholic school. Church leaders impugn their credibility, even going after them with countersuits. Responding to charges that one of his priests sexually assaulted a six-year-old boy, Cardinal Bernard Law asserted that, The boy and his parents contributed to the abuse by being negligent. Law himself never went to prison for the hundreds of cover-ups he conducted. In 2004, with things getting too hot for him in his Boston archdiocese, Law was rescued by Pope John Paul II to head

one of Romes major basilicas, where he now lives with diplomatic immunity in palatial luxury on a generous stipend, supervised by no one but a permissive pontiff. A judge of the Holy Roman Rota, the churchs highest court, wrote in a Vatican-approved article that bishops should not report sexual violations to civil authorities. And sure enough, for years bishops and cardinals have refrained from cooperating with law enforcement authorities, refusing to release abusers records, claiming that the confidentiality of their files came under the same legal protection as privileged communications in the confessionala notion that has no basis in canon or secular law. Bishop James Quinn of Cleveland even urged church officials to send incriminating files to the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC, where diplomatic immunity would prevent the documents from being subpoenaed.

Just a Few Bad Apples

ears ago the Catholic hierarchy would insist that clerical pedo-

philia involved only a few bad apples and was being blown completely out of proportion. For the longest time, John Paul scornfully denounced the media for sensation- alizing the issue. He and his cardinals (Ratzinger included) directed more fire at news outlets for publicizing the crimes than at their own clergy for committing them. Reports released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (one of the more honest organizations in the Catholic Church) documented the abuse committed in the United States by 4,392 priests against thousands of children between 1950 and 2002. One of every ten priests ordained in 1970 was charged as a pedophile by 2002. Another survey commissioned by the U.S. bishops found that among 5,450 complaints of sexual abuse, there were charges against at least 16 bishops. So much for a few bad apples. Still, even as reports were flooding in from Ireland and other countries, John Paul dismissed the pedophilic epidemic as an American problem, as if American priests




were not members of his clergy or as if this made it a matter of no great moment. John Paul went to his grave in 2005 still refusing to meet with victims and never voicing any apologies or regrets regarding sex crimes and cover-ups. With Ratzingers accession to the papal throne as Benedict XVI, the cover-ups continued. As recently as April 2010, at Easter Mass in St. Peters Square, Dean of the College of Cardinals Angelo Sodano assured Benedict that the faithful were unimpressed by the gossip of the moment. One would not know that the gossip of the moment included thousands of investigations, prosecutions, and accumulated charges extending back over decades. During that same Easter weekend, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, declared that the public uproar was an overreaction incited by the doings of a few dishonest and criminal priests. It is remarkable how thoroughly indifferent the church bigwigs have been toward the abused children. When one of the most persistent perpetrators, Rev. John Geoghan, was forced into retirement (not jail) after 17 years and nearly 200 victims, Cardinal Law could still write him, On behalf of those you have served well, in my own name, I would like to thank you. I understand yours is a painful situation. It is evident that Law was more concerned about the pain endured by Geoghan than the misery he had inflicted upon minors. In 2001, a French bishop was convicted in France for refusing to hand over to the police a priest who had raped children. It recently came to light that a former top Vatican cardinal, Dario Castrilln, had written to the bishop, I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil authorities. You have acted well and I am pleased to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all the bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son and priest. (The bishop actually got off with a suspended sentence.) Castrilln claimed that Pope John Paul II had authorized the letter years ago and had told him to send it to bishops around the world (New York Times, 4/22/2010).

There are many more like Cardinal Law and Cardinal Castrilln in the hierarchy, aging men who have no life experience with children and show not the slightest regard or empathy for them. They claim it is their duty to protect the unborn child, but offer no protection to the children in their schools and parishes. The damage done to sexual victims continues to go unnoticed. The ensuing years of depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, panic attacks, sexual dysfunction, and even mental breakdown and suicide are the terrible afte reffects of child rape that seem to leave popes and bishops more or less unruffled.

Circling the Wagons

he Catholic hierarchy managed to convince itself that the prime victim in this dismal saga is the church. In 2010 it came to light that, while op er at ing as John Pauls ber-hit man, Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) had provided cover and pro tec tion to sev eral of the worst pred a tor priests. The scan dal has moved to the popes doorexactly where it should have been many years ear lier dur ing John Pauls reign. The Vaticans response was predictable. The hierarchy circled the wagons to defend pope and church from outside enemies. The cardinals and bishops railed furiously at critics who assault the church and, in the words of the archbishop of Paris, subject it to a smear campaign. Benedict blamed secularism and misguided applications of Vatican 2s aggiornamento as contributing to the context of sexual abuse. Reform-minded liberalism made us do it, he seemed to be saying. But this bristling Easter counterattack by the hierarchy did not play well. Church authorities came off looking like insular, arrogant elites who were unwilling to own up to a horrid situation largely of their own making. Meanwhile the revelations continued. A bishop in Ireland resigned, admitting he had covered up child abuse cases. Bishops in Germany and Belgium stepped down after confessing to charges that they themselves

had abused minors. And new allegations were arising in Chile, Norway, Brazil, Italy, France, and Mexico. Then, a fortnight after Easter, the Vatican appeared to change course and for the first time issued a directive urging bishops to report abuse cases to civil authorities if required by local law. At the same time, Pope Benedict held brief meetings with survivor groups and issued sympathetic statements about their plight. For many of the victims, the pontiffs overtures and apologies were too little, too late. Their feeling was that if the Vatican really wanted to make amends, it should cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities and stop obstructing justice; it should ferret out abusive clergy and not wait until cases are publicized by others; and it should make public the churchs many thousands of still secret reports on priests and bishops. In the midst of all this, some courageous clergy do speak out. At a Sunday mass in a Catholic church outside Springfield, Massachusetts, the Rev. James Scahill delivered a telling sermon to his congregation: We must personally and collectively declare that we very much doubt the veracity of the pope and those of church authority who are defending him. It is beginning to become evident that for decades, if not centuries, church leadership covered up the abuse of children and minors to protect its institutional image and the image of priesthood.... The abusive priests, Scahill went on, were felons. He had severe doubt about the Vaticans claims of innocent ignorance. If by any slimmest of chance the pope and all his bishops didnt knowthey all should resign on the basis of sheer and complete ignorance, incompetence, and irresponsibility. How did Father Scahills suburban Catholic parishioners receive his scorching remarks? One or two walked out. The rest gave him a standing ovation. Z

Michael Parentis latest book is God and His Demons (2010) which deals with all sorts of theocratic misconduct and misbelief.



How to Occupy Your Workplace

Chris Spannos Interviews Chicago Workers
his years Labor Notes conference in April 2010 featured hundreds of workshops and was one of the largest ever. Over 1,000 labor activists, organizers, and others gathered to share experiences, learn lessons, and celebrate troublemakers in the arena of workers struggle. One of this years Labor Notes Troublemaker awards went to the workers of the Republic Windows and Doors factory for their workplace occupation in December 2008, when they sat down and refused to leave until their demands were met. They shared their experiences in a workshop titled How to Occupy Your Workplace where they explained the nuts and bolts needed for a successful occupation, including personal and legal safety precautions. Broader strategic issues were considered as well, such as the difference between a hard occupation and a soft occupation. A hard occupation is where the workers may take

bosses, managers, or machinery hostage in order to meet their demands, or when the workers try to run the workplace or factory themselves. A soft occupation includes sit-down strikes and workplace takeovers in order to achieve workers rights, such as back pay, better working conditions, and health and safety standards. The Chicago workers experience exemplified a soft occupation, while Jess Torrez Nuo of the Democratic Tire Workers Cooperative in Mexico, TRADOC (formerly Euzkadi Tire), discussed a hard occupation. The tire workers struggle included a three-year strike and eventual takeover of the factory to run it themselves. At first it was out of necessity for survival, but later it was to improve wages and reorganize the division of labor for horizontal remuneration and decision-making across the workplace. Each worker gets paid the same amount in the tire factory and, according to Jess, they are some of the best paid in all of Mexico. After the workshop I talked with Rocio Perez and Leah Fried, both participants in the Republic Windows and Doors occupation. Rocio Perez is a union steward with United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 1110 and Leah Fried is an organizer with UE.


We were told on a Wednesday that the factory would be closing on a Friday and we knew we had to do something to fight back. The company also told us that our vacations were null and void. There was a fear that our last paychecks would bounce. Under the law they were supposed to give us 60 days notice, something they did not do.

Of all the tactics you could have chosen, how did you arrive at the decision to occupy the factory?

We had to take the factory because we didnt have any other options. That was the only power we had. The machinery inside the plant was the only guarantee we had of getting what we were owedto make sure they could not get their machines until we got paid.

Were you ever in a workplace occupation before?

PEREZ: No, that was my first time. SPANNOS: What was that like? PEREZ:

What led workers to occupy the factory?

At the beginning it was a little scary. We werent sure what was going to happen, but we knew we could not just stand there with our arms crossed after what they had done. So we found the courage and we decided to do it.

How do you think that experience changed you and the other workers?

Workers occupied their workplace in Chicago starting December 5, 2008photo from documentary, Workers Republic, www.workersrepublic.tv 18 Z MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

It is sad what happened to us, but at the same time it made us stronger. We have greater knowledge of the abuses that workers suffer and how to defend ourselves. One of the things that changed me and one of the lessons I learned was that when you are faced with losing your job, its not okay to sit back. I had been unemployed before and I sort of took it. Now the idea came to me that I can fight back. I was angry. Thats where I found the cour age. Also there were a lot of us. If it were just me that was angry, maybe I would not have had that courage. But it was all of us who were really pissed off at


the way they were treating us so that gave us more strength. It was even more upsetting to see that there were entire families where the husband and the wife both worked at that place and they were the only source of income for their family. To see them crying and really frightened, wondering, How are we going to feed our kids? What is going to happen to us tomorrow? All of that pain and emotion converted to anger and the desire to fight and really made us much stronger. We decided that, whatever happens, we have to stay till the very end.

What kind of support was there outside the factory?


Workers won their demands against the company and its creditor, Bank of America, on December 11photo from www.workersrepublic.tv

There were other unions and other organizations. Every time somebody arrived with support and help, it made us stronger. We knew we had to keep up the fight because people were watching us and really cared about what would happen to us. It started out with people in our state. Then it became national. Then it became international and you really felt like you were doing something important.

they try it again, we have the experience now so we will be even more powerful.

If you were talking to any other worker in the U.S. facing a similar situation, and they were considering occupying their workplace as a tactic to get their demands met, what would you tell them?

What were the obstacles you experienced along the way?


Be sure to talk a lot among yourselves. That you should not be afraid, because when you are united you can win. Everything is possible.

One of the obstacles was that even among the workers, there were those saying, We cant do this because we are going to get arrested.... They are just going to call the police and they will arrest us and take us away. But at that moment, compared to all the pain that was being caused by the actions of the company, getting arrested didnt seem that bad.
SPANNOS: What do workers say now? PEREZ:

Are you working at the fac-

tory now? The factory re-opened under a new owner, Serious Materials. There are about 29 workers who have been called back to run the factory. I hope that eventually we will all be called back and that we will be together again soon. Even if, for some reason, I end up not going back, it would make me feel wonderful knowing that all my co-workers are going to eventually have their jobs back and that all that pain that they went through will eventually be healed.

All of us are happy because we want justice in the end. Just the feeling that the company tried to pull one over on us, and we fought back, and we were not weak like they thought we were. They could not walk all over us like they thought they could. That makes you feel really good. I think employers are going to think twice before they try to pull one of their tricks on us again. If

One thing we were able to do was negotiate a union contract with Serious Materials that requires them to hire all 270 UE members of Local 1110 before they can hire anyone else. As production ramps up, they

have to hire from our membership before they can hire anyone else. So a lot of them are still out of work, but they are guaranteed to be hired back to that job. The owner did not bother to show his face. The COO (Chief Operating Officer), who told people that there was no money for them, didnt really understand how callous they were being towards people. They really just thought, These are just a bunch of immigrants. Who cares? We will pull a fast one on them. In fact, the company was pulling a fast one. They had known since that summer that they planned on closing. They were slowly moving the machinery out. I think that most employers just assume that the WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) is so weak because it has a huge loophole that basically says that economic conditions can dictate that the employer does not have to give notice to workers. Certainly, Bank of America knew about the move and Bank of America said that, You can shield us from any liability from the WARN Act and any anger from the employees, and they were just caught with their pants down. They just didnt anticipate workers fighting back. I hope this is an example to other workers everywhere to not be afraid. Z

Chris Spannos is an activist and a Z staff member. He also edited the collection Real Utopia.



Criminal Investigation of Massey Energy

By Kevin Zeese
ince the April 5 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that killed 29 West Virginia miners, more evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Massey Energy has been revealed and federal prosecutors and the FBI are investigating the corporation and its executives. In addition, citizen pressure urging prosecution is growing and financial problems for the corporation are showing. I went to Richmond to attend the Massey Energy shareholder meeting on May 18. We could not get inside, but joined more than 1,000 people outside protesting Massey Energy and its CEO, Don Blankenship. One chant repeated regularly was Send Don to Jail. Protesters included coal miners, their families, environmental activists, economic justice advocates, and concerned citizens. Some of the protesters were able to get inside as shareholders entered their meeting in the main ballroom of the Jefferson Hotel. Activists from Rising Tide occupied the adjacent rotunda, chanting loudly while draping a banner over the railing. The day before the meeting, two mountaintop-removal mining activists

were arrested and charged with trespassing, conspiracy, obstruction, and littering when they blocked a road to a Massey Energy office with trash. Emma Kate Martin and Ben Bryant of Climate Ground Zero were charged in Julian, West Virginia and held in the Southwestern Regional Jail on $100,000 bail. The bond was later reduced to $2,500 and Bryant is accepting a plea agreement of time served, community service, and house arrest. The key vote at the shareholder meeting was the election of three board nominees who ran unopposed. The company refused to reveal the outcome of the votes, saying only they received a majority vote. United Mine Workers (UMW) President Cecil Roberts said the vote must have been close for the company to conceal the totals, saying, They ran unopposed and almost lost. North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell, whose office is one of nine state pension funds or treasurers offices opposed to the companys directors, described the close results as a near majority of shareholders have no confidence in these directors. The FBI is currently investigating Massey Energy for criminal negligence for its role in the death of the 29 miners. NPR has reported that the FBI is investigating possible tampering with safety monitors as part of its criminal probe. Another aspect of the investigation involves a May 13 disclosure by MSHA investigators that a page was removed from the fire-boss book where Performance Coal offi-

cials were required to record daily ventilation fan measurements. The missing page in the ventilation plan was first publicly disclosed in a lawsuit against the mine administration by two of the dead miners families. The missing page would have noted when mine personnel checked ventilation fans and could help provide evidence of criminal negligence. The U.S. attorneys office in Charleston, West Virginia said on May 14 that it is investigating the company for willful criminal activity. The U.S. attorneys office said in a letter to the Department of Labors Mine Safety and Health Administration that investigators are looking into possible criminal conduct by the mines operator, Performance Coal, and its directors, officers, and agents (Performance Coal is a subsidiary of Massey Energy). The criminal probe includes examining violations at Upper Big Branch that date back to at least 2007. The probe is being coordinated with an investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which began interviewing witnesses on May 10 at the agencys mine academy in Beaver, West Virginia. Criminal investigators asked that MSHA stay appeals of civil fines involving 500 citations so they do not conflict with the criminal investigation. The interviews are taking place behind closed doors and names of witnesses are not being released. The agency claims this is being done to protect the witnesses and to prevent co-ordination of testimony. NPR interviewed ten supervisors and miners at Upper Big Branch off the record and reported statements like: They wouldnt fix the ventilation problems, a former supervisor and a member of mine management said. I told them I needed more air. They threatened to fire me if I didnt run enough coal. And, another miner said, There was constant confusion in the management of the airflow system. The airflow system is critical to preventing explosions like what occurred at Big Branch. Z
Kevin Zeese is executive director of ProsperityAgenda.US and spokesperson for StopTheChamber.com.

Activists and miners protest at Massey shareholders meetingphoto by Chris Eichler, Rising Tide 20 Z MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

The Economy

to please their paymasters on Wall Street. When all is said and done:

Fig Leaf

the big holding banks will be even bigger and less

likely to be permitted to fail

commercial and investment banking will still be

Financial Reform
By Robin Hahnel

tied at the hip

trading in highly profitable, esoteric financial

productsthat have no social value whatsoever, but put the financial system at great riskwill continue
regulatory powers will be more concentrated in the

othing is more important right now to stabilize the global economic system than financial reform. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. As much as anything else, the triumph of neoliberalism has been the triumph of the financial sector over everything else. In 1982, the financial industry received 12 percent of all domestic corporate profits in the U.S. In 2002, the financial industry received 45 percent of domestic corporate profits. When an industry that literally produces nothing you can touch is gobbling up almost half of corporate profits, something has gone very wrong. So the first problem is that a ridiculous amount of U.S. human capital that could be employed producing something useful is being siphoned off by the financial sector to produce nothing. The second problem is that the financial services the industry provides have deteriorated dramatically in quality as it has expanded. Financial services are useful if they steer societys savings into productive investments, i.e., investments in more and better machines that help us work more effectively. If a financial institution helps an enterprise borrow other peoples savings so it can better equip its workers to become more productive sooner, using its own profits, the financial institution has provided a useful service. But the U.S. financial sector provided less and less of this kind of useful financial service as neoliberalism progressed. Instead, the financial sector steered savings away from productive investments into speculative financial investmentscorporate mergers and takeoversand one risky asset bubble after another. The third problem is that, while taking more resources to do less useful things, Wall Street was also building a financial house of cards that was an accident waiting to happen. More leverage plus less regulation sooner or later spells financial disaster and financial disaster spells an even bigger disaster for residents of Main Street. With decades of swollen profits, the industry was able to buy enough politicians (and professors of finance) so by the mid-1990s it was operating outside any effective regulation whatsoever. We are now witnessing the kind of political maneuvering you would expect under these circumstances from the Obama administration and Congress: speeches designed to assuage a furious public, followed by legislation designed

hands of the Federal Reserve Bank, which Wall Street captured long ago In short, financial reform will be a fig leaf in the U.S., leaving the financial system just as prone to crisis as it was before September 2008. The only question will be what the next asset bubble looks like, and how long it will take to grow and burst. The inability of the European Bank, IMF, and political leaders in Germany and France to prevent global financial markets and private credit rating agencies from forcing interest rates through the roof for Greekand now Portuguese and Spanish governmentbonds, as they try to refinance their debt, is the newest sign that nothing has changed for the better in the international financial system.

Fiscal Stimulus

othing is more counterproductive right now than waging a war against government budget deficits. Unfortunately, this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Besides regulating, or better yet, nationalizing finance once and for all, nothing would be more helpful than strong fiscal stimulus from governments to pull the global economy out

The Economy

of the Great Recession. Since fiscal stimulus and budget deficit are two different names for the same thing, this means we need governmentsparticularly in the larger economies like the U.S., Germany, and Japanto run larger temporary budget deficits. Deficit spending on education, greening infrastructure, and health care which generate the most jobs per dollar, is good. Tax cuts, particularly for the poor and lower middle class who are more likely to spend a tax cut, are good. Fighting to reduce government budget deficits during the worst recession in over 80 years is not only bad, it is insane, unless you are an opposition political party trying to prolong the recession for partisan political gain. Reducing government deficits today is not even good policy if your goal is to have a lower national debt five years from now. Failing to provide fiscal stimulus today will prolong the recession, continue to depress tax revenues indefinitely, and increase the national debt. The conservative government in Germany is tragically committed to a penny wise and pound foolish notion of fiscal responsibility for itself and for others. The Republican opposition in the U.S. is fanning the flames of concern over the national debt in a deliberate and cynical attempt to prolong the recession to reap short-run political gain in the Congressional elections of 2010 and the presidential election of 2012. Obamas economic advisors, Laurence Summers and Timothy Geithner, have also stirred up deficit fears and are responsible for preventing the Administration from shooting for a larger fiscal stimulus in 2009 and for killing a second stimulus in 2010. The Japanese government has done better on this score, but cannot sufficiently stimulate the global economy on its own. Meanwhile, governments of smaller economies like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Latvia, and all the smaller third world countries have no choice but to practice fiscal austerity, because, instead of protecting their ability to borrow on reasonable terms, those running the neoliberal international financial system have thrown the smaller economies to speculator dogs who jack up the interest premiums on their borrowing whenever their budget deficits increase. In a global economy where new business investment may follow, but certainly will not lead us out of recession, and where consumers in all the advanced economies are tapped out, there is nobody left except governments to prime the proverbial pump. Unfortunately, more than 18 months into the recession, the needed fiscal stimulus is still not forthcoming and, consequently, we are headed for a jobless recovery at best, but more likely for a double dip as recessionary dynamics take root again. Z

Fog Watch

Regulation in Devolution
By Edward S. Herman

Robin Hahnel is a radical economist and political activist. He is Professor Emeritus at American University in Washington, DC where he taught economics from 1976-2008. He has also taught most recently at Lewis and Clark College and Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He is best known as co-creator, along with Michael Albert, of a radical alternative to capitalism known as participatory economics.

egulation in the United States reached its high point in the 1930s, with the collapse of the old order of capitalism, the deep and long depression, the successes of unionization, the spread of leftist and reformist thought, the creation of new regulatory agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and activation of old ones like the Department of Justices antitrust division. Very important in the relative success of the new and renewed regulation was the discrediting of the old regime, with some of the leading financiers really excoriated in the Pecora hearings and a number, including a former head of the New York Stock Exchange, actually hauled off to jail. Orthodox thought about the ability of free markets to take care of everything was prostrate; interventionist thought surged with theories of imperfect competition and of business cycles and macro-instability, culminating in J.M. Keyness General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936, that called for systematic government fiscal offsets to keep the unstable capitalist ship afloat. In this intellectual and political environment, the new and revived regulatory agencies were treated with considerable respect. Although subjected to abuse and obstruction by the old establishment, they not only had the power to act, they also attracted quality staff and strong leadersnotably, later Supreme Court Justice William Douglas as SEC chair and Thurman Arnold as head of the antitrust division. Regulation went into a slow decline in prestige and power after World War II and took a sharper downturn in the Reagan era and through the Bush-Cheney years. Regulation in the United States has always suffered from the influence of the regulated in personnel selection, including an active revolving door between regulators and industry and via legislative constraints and budgetary blackmail or rewardscuts if aggressive and uncooperative; rewards if responsive to industry wants. Scandals get the medias and publics attention, but only briefly, whereas the regulated industries maintain continuous attention to the regulatory process and work steadily, and with substantial resources, to limit its effectiveness in the public interest. It was long recognized that during its lifetime the now-defunct Interstate Commerce Commission was the most generously funded regulatory agency, based on its feeble public service direction and virtual industry capture (by railroad and, later, trucking interests). As regards regulatory law, there have always been friendly legislators who would help make the law loophole-ridden or with ambiguities that would permit delays, litigation, and resolutions of conflict satisfactory to the interests of the regulated.

The Economy

Regulation has suffered more severely under Republican than Democratic rule, with especially savage setbacks under Reagan and George W. Bush. But the Democrats have failed to compensate for prior Republican damage, so the regulatory ship has slowly foundered. Carter deregulated the airlines and trucking industry while Clinton not only failed to resuscitate the damaged FCC, he reappointed Ayn Rand disciple and financial bubble-facilitator Alan Greenspan to the Feds chair. With the conflict-of-interest-laden advice of Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, Clinton did nothing to contain the growing derivatives menace and engineered the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Self-regulation was the watchword, aided of course by the supposed discipline of competition. Very important in the process of weakening regulation was the changing ideological environment, with the rise of the Chicago School of Economics, the decline of liberal Keynesianism and its partial displacement by Military Keynesianism, and the associated triumph of marketscan-do-it-all neoliberalism. The Chicago School was (and remains) aggressively hostile to regulation, with Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Sam Peltzman, Ronald Coase, George Benston, Gary Becker, and others arguing vigorously for the great efficiency of uncontrolled securities and merger markets and the desirability of their deregulation (see The Politicized Science in Herman, Triumph of the Market, South End Press, 1995). In a much-cited article in 1964, George Stigler attempted to prove quantitatively that SEC regulation had not made security markets less volatile and otherwise more efficient than in the years prior to the creation of the SEC (Public Regulation of the Securities Markets, Journal of Business, April 1964). It was one of my more pleasurable academic experiences to have been able to demonstrate statistically that Stigler had massaged the data: 24 of his 25 data errors served to support his preferred conclusion, which when corrected supported the opposite conclusionthat SEC regulation had improved market performance (Irwin Friend and Edward Herman, The SEC Through a Glass Darkly, Journal of Business, July 1964). This was the year Stigler served as president of the American Economics Association. The Chicago School and its ideology has suffered heavy blows over the past several decades: the failure of monetarism as a policy guide; the failure of freed exchange rates to stabilize international exchanges; the collapse of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile; the recent stock market and housing bubbles and their bursting; and the associated decline and discrediting of more fundamental free market theorizing like rational expectations and the efficient markets hypothesis. This ideological collapse was epitomized in Greenspans belated pathetic admission that he had not only been wrong, but still didnt understand what happened and why: Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief (Edmund L. Andrews, Greenspan Concedes Flaws in Deregulatory Approach, NYT, October 24, 2008). One thing the Chicago School got right was their theory of regulatory capture. But they never linked their idea that regulators were likely to be captured by the regulated to their analyses of why regulation might not be very effective. We may be sure that they never

urged an enhanced democracy that would be alert to the capture threat, prevent it, and assure that public-spirited people were put into regulatory office. Actually, one of the founders of the Chicago School, Henry Simon, in a booklet published in 1932 entitled A Positive Program for Laissez-Faire, did argue that if efficiency required firms to be too big to sustain competition, they should be nationalized rather than regulated or left as a private monopoly. But that was an early and more honest Chicago School. The Friedman-Stigler version of the post-World War II years, that would eventually love the Pinochet military dictatorship of Chile, could never support nationalizationthey would prefer private monopoly. We are now in an age of attempted re-regulation, with widespread recognition that the regulatory system had been under-nourished and dismantled at great cost. But it is not likely that a new regulatory apparatus will be constructed that will be able to cope with contemporary problems. One reason for this is the greater complexity of the financial world, with the executives of the financial institutions sometimes admittedly unable to keep up with the rapidly evolving new instruments and tricks of the trade produced by their technical whizzes and their global scope making them still harder to follow and regulate. Regulators do not have the resources and expertise to cope with these challenges. This is a result in part of the fact that regulatory service is neither honorific nor well-paid and, of course, is still hardly free from being compromised or undermined by industryfriendly legislators, executive politicians, and courts now well-packed with right-wingers. The revolving door, which reached a high level under Reagan and the Bushes, is hardly gone and the number of former legislators and legislative staffers now serving as industry lobbyists is at a very high level. (In a recent study, 243 just for the 6 largest banks and their trade associations.) All of this erodes the morale of public-spirited regulators and leads to a further exodus, positively desired in a Reagan/Bush regulatory environment.

The Economy

The problems, including the revolving door, have not been resolved by the election of Barack Obama. Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, key appointees in the financial regulation field, had records of closeness to the leaders of the financial sector that did not promise well for any reform with bite, and we have not gotten any. Recent attention has focused on Ken Salazar, a right-leaning Democrat and rancher selected by Obama as Secretary of the Interior, to the dismay of environmentalists and gratification of business. Salazar failed to move quickly, or at all, in cleaning up what a 2008 internal review by the Interior department of its Minerals Management Services Unit (MMS) called a a dysfunctional organization that has been riddled with conflicts of interest. Salazar was hardly the person to end what Obama called a cozy relationship between MMS and the oil industry. In fact, Salazar hired as deputy administrator for land and minerals management former British Petroleum (BP) executive Sylvia B. Vaca. And under Obama and Salazar, MMS continued to give BP a steady stream of exemptions from required environmental impact studies. The decline of regulation and the difficulty of rescucitating it rests heavily on the structural changes that have strongly impacted politics and the media as well as regulation. Greater inequality of wealth and the enhanced importance of finance have fed into politics, paralyzing the Democrats as the erstwhile reformist party and making it virtually impossible to engage in serious structural or regulatory change. The changes required run into previously mentioned complexity and globalization problems. Adrian Blundell-Wignall, a special adviser to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said recently that the most basic lesson of the crisis was that we need to separate capital market banking from standard commercial banking in order to make incentives and regulation manageable. And we need to control leverage on a global basis to prevent the circumvention of the regulation of risk-taking. But Blundell-Wignall suggests that these essential reforms seem to be blocked by the institutional capture of policy-makers by the leading global financial institutions (Larry Elliott, Banking split, essential to avoid new financial crisis, warns OECD adviser, Guardian, May 27, 2010). The current financial regulation bills in the United States do not split the capital market from commercial banking, which would entail a return to Glass-Steagall; they do not reduce the size of financial institutions; they provide no fixed limits on leveraging; and they do not deal with the problems that will arise from the absence of such limits abroad. They are what Joe Nocera calls oh-so-reasonable bills, as if Congress...wouldheaven forbid!upset the banking industry (Dubious Way To Prevent Fiscal Crisis, NYT, June 5, 2010). Z

Whats Wrong

Hitting The Class Ceiling

By Rob Larson

ven conservative observers are commenting on todays growing class consciousness. Reporting from the 2009 St. Barts Bucket yacht race, a Fortune columnist called the timing of the event a testament to tone-deafness [and] megawealth.... If you have sufficient millions, it may not really matter if your portfolio plummets. Nor may you particularly care if the proles are offended by your profligacy (The Yachting Class Sails Along, 4/13/09). Elsewhere, the Financial Times reported that, America discovered class war in the finance crisis, thanks to wealth inequality becoming a Grand Canyon (Bosses Greed Releases Class Politics Genie, 9/25/08). The class dynamic of the economy is very tumultuous. On the one hand, we can celebrate the apparent bottoming-out of U.S. union density, which actually grew in 2008 before falling with the economy in 2009, to 12.3 percent of the U.S. work force (New York Times, Most Union Members Are Working For the Government, 1/22/10). Also, militancy has continued to surprise, with high-profile factory occupations and community solidarity-building successes, like the UFCWs alliances with anti-sprawl community activists to shut out Wal-Mart and the Republic Window sit-down strike. However, recent years have also seen the near-destruction of ACORN and the rise of the Tea Party demonstrations. The Tea Party movement is in large part a media-created astroturf stage show, but it clearly manifests real resentments of the sold-out American middle class. Found to have above-average income and education, many of the Partiers grievances are very real, but few are waving banners protesting labors decline in the national income share. Engaging them requires a coherent understanding of the contemporary class reality. Finding Middle America in great numbers suddenly on the streets with us on the Left, we need to have our story straight about whats fundamentally wrong with the economy.

This Lands Not Your Land

Edward S. Herman is a professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He has written extensively on political economy, foreign policy, and media analysis. Among his books are The Political Economy of Human Rights (with Noam Chomsky, South End Press, 1979); Corporate Control, Corporate Power (Cambridge University Press, 1981); The Terrorism Industry (with Gerry OSullivan, Pantheon, 1990); The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader (Peter Lang, 1999); and Manufacturing Consent (with Noam Chomsky, Pantheon, 1988 and 2002).

t the heart of class conflict is the ownership of productive propertythe factories, machinery, offices, and other physical capital that can be used to make goods and services. For class analysis to apply to an economy, the ownership of these means of production (and the wealth they bring) has to be concentrated among some social stratum. A good indicator of this ownership is the stock marketstocks are pieces of companies, so the ownership of these pieces means ownership of Americas productive resources. The conventional wisdom suggests that todays

The Economy

America is characterized by a broad owning class made up of the more than half of American households that own stock. But this is hardly accurate. First, less than half of American households now own stock and, more importantly, the richest 10 percent of U.S. households owned 81 percent of all stock by value in 2004. The lower 80 percent of America owned less than 8 percent of U.S. equity (State of Working America, 08/09, Economic Policy Institute). That is a tightly concentrated ownership of Americas productive resources, a crucial fact about our free market that the Right prefers to dismiss or ignore. This concentrated ownership in itself amounts to class conflict, since households lousy with physical and liquid wealth naturally earn higher incomes, even in times of economic distress. The recent economic crisis and deep recession are perfect examples. While news headlines document the phenomenal public pain of this jobless recovery, Fortune magazine described the corporate worlds experience as the anatomy of a bouncethe business world has bounced back to major profits again. The reason was a wondrous surge in productivity as the major U.S. corporations shed over 3 percent of their total payrolls, driving the remaining employees to greater effort out of fear of joining the mobs of unemployed (Fortune 500: Profits Bounce Back, 5/3/10). This, of course, reflects what the business world recognizes as the relative bargaining power of labor and capital, between people who work and people who own. Recessions drive workers to harsher competition for precious jobs as layoffs escalatea circumstance many Tea Partiers are familiar with. Thats the most basic type of class conflict, which also explains why the stock indices so frequently improve when unemployment goes uphigher unemployment puts employers in a stronger position relative to workers, who are more afraid to join the jobless. This means higher productivity and lower wage growth for workers and, therefore, higher profits, driving the stock indexes up. The conventional economic view says that because there is no law that says a person on the street cant become rich, we

all have an equal chance. But this weak-sauce ideology misses the fact that wealth has been concentrated for generations and while you may work your way up, the potential of this is limited when the top 5 percent owns two-thirds of American capital. But while this absurdly lopsided ownership of the economy is the fundamental basis for class warfare, it is only the beginning of the modern practice.

Organize For Size

econd in importance only to concentrated ownership, organization for scale is pivotal to all modern class conflict. Here the conditions of labor and capital are wildly divergent. To the corporate world, its usually taken for granted that organization and size are all-important, and businesses will usually take any opportunity to grow in scale and market clout, if they can raise the cash for a merger/acquisition. A relevant example from the universe of corporate behavior might include the intense concentration of the freight rail industry after Reaganite deregulation. Rail is often looked to as a valuable low-carbon alternative to auto transport, so its important to note the negative effect of megamergers in the industry. As Fortune describes: The consolidation boom began after the bankruptcies of legendary linesand industry deregulation in 1980. Today each of the Big Four has at least 21,000 miles of track (Trainspotting, 2/8/10). But the archetypal example is commercial banking where the companies have gotten so enormous that they had to be bailed out lest their bankruptcies sink the economy. Here again, as soon as deregulation took hold in the 1980s and 1990s, the banks went on a merger binge, resulting in the too big to fail financial institutions of today. Why are firms so gung-ho for this growth? The simple answer lies in economies of scale, which are what savings companies enjoy when they produce more output. Economies of scale give firms a great incentive to get large, since this will improve per-unit profitability. These economies may come from many sources, depending on the industry. In rail, they arise from the ease of moving freight further distances without changing carriers and thus losing time and money. In banking, they can come from spreading the costs of large computing systems over more and more output (Not Too Big Enough, Dollars & Sense, 7/10). The large size firms strive to attain also may grant some degree of powerthe clout of being a large institution with significant business to throw around. Large rail firms can demand lower prices from suppliers and charge clients more because their options are diminished as the market concentrates. Likewise huge banks can muscle retailers to charge higher fees for debit card use. Economies of scale and market power go a long way to addressing perhaps a major bone of contention between the left and the Tea Party rightdo markets mean corporate power or efficient competition? The further concentration and corporate growth proceed, the more the market tends toward the former. On top of the growth and organization of the companies, we should realize that the



The Economy

companies are themselves organized into industry groups, which belong to various national business organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, organizations with massive resources and political pull. The influence and political spending power of these umbrella groups of capital is an order of magnitude beyond what labor as a whole can muster. Labors condition is a near-polar opposite of the large-scale organization of the corporate world. By now, only 12.3 percent of American workers are represented by a union, yet BusinessWeek reports that the share of American workers saying they want a union in their workplace has been increasing for decades, to nearly half of non-union workers (Can This Man Save Labor? 9/13/04). So if workers are more interested in unionization, why have union numbers tended in the opposite direction for the last 30 years? The magazines analysis is that heightened corporate power has checked union growth. Unionization elections are typically so lopsided today that most unions have all but given up on them. Most employers pull out the stops when labor organizers appear, using everything from mandatory antiunion meetings to staged videos showing alleged union thugs beating workers, backed by streams of leaflets and letters to workers homes. While most of these tactics are legal, companies also illegally fire union supporters in 25 percent of all elections. Historically, while corporate capital accumulated and gained quasi-monopoly positions, conspiracy laws forbade workers to organize themselves. U.S. labor history remained unusually blood-soaked well after Europes, yet to this day Americans remain sympathetic to the countervailing strength of worker organization. The commercial presss reliable description of U.S. labor as powerful is disingenuous in light of the growth and influence displayed by U.S. business. The business presss description is more realistic: Clearly, in an economy dominated by corporate giantsunions must gain scale in order to wield market clout as the firms do. The consistent and wide divergence in state treatment of these two strains of social organization speaks volumes.

Money Walks

nother crucial dimension of modern class conflict follows directly from the concentrated ownership of Americas productive property, the capital. With the development of modern telecommunications technology in the 1980s and 1990s, globalization became a new weapon in class conflictbetter thought of as capital mobility, the power to quickly move your money or productive property from one part of the world to another. Thanks to concentrated ownership of the means of production, this can be used as a means of playing different work forces against one another for the lowest pay and benefits. This makes the enormous growth of international outsourcing a very useful lead issue in discussion with Tea Partiers. Many of these conservative populists, minus the Ron Paul variety, are significantly nationalist in their outlook. Yet, it is the business community, the rights worshipped entrepre-

neurial element, that has elected to offshore more and more industrial jobs over the last few decades. Even the new World Trade Center, the symbol of U.S. resilience, is being built with Chinese glass. The glass manufacturing industry has followed the trend of outsourcing production overseas to take advantage of cheaper and more controllable labor, lack of environmental standards, and even easier bribery (New York Times, Glass-making Thrives Offshore, But Is Declining in U.S., 1/19/10). Thus, globalization has become a pivotal weapon for putting the squeeze on the exact demographic turning up at Tea Party demonstrations. As a media technician told the business press, It would be hard to outsource my job. But it is used as an unspoken threat to keep wages down. The general message is summarized by the conservative Financial Times: Globalization may have permanently changed the relative bargaining power of capital and labor in the industrialized world (Anxious Middle, 11/2/06). The connection was explored in more detail in a famous and still-valuable study by Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell, who found that offshoring grew enormously in the 2000s, following a systematic pattern of firm restructuring that is moving jobs from union to non-union facilities within the country, as well as to non-union facilities in other countries, and that the overwhelming majority of companies engaged in international outsourcing were ultimately owned by extremely large, profitable, U.S.-based, publiclyheld multinationals (Bronfenbrenner and Stephanie Luce, Offshoring: The Evolving Profile of Corporate Global Restructuring, 12/04). This dynamic creates the race to the bottom for the worlds working people, showing how the freedom of the market degenerates into class war. Its really the freedom of the worlds elite capital owners to pit the worlds workers into a gladiatorial contest for a days work.

Bond Market Bondage

inally, the telecom revolution has enabled such swift movements of money that investors can exercise a good deal of control over a society simply through their degree of willingness to lend. The movement of money, or capital flow, has swollen to trillions of dollars daily, driven by

The Economy

bank growth, financial deregulation, and savings of the rich, providing a pivotal new means of social control. Very typically governments run budget deficits where they spend more than they take in through taxes. Often this is stimulus to combat the shrinkage of the private sector during recessions, keeping total demand up to help shorten or weaken the downturn. In order to run these deficits, governments must borrow in the form of selling bonds, which are promises by states to pay back the purchase price with interest. So an investor purchasing a government bond is essentially lending money to the state. The fact that the wealthy investors of the bond market are so concentrated allows for serious limitations on what government can do, even in the face of public demand. Greece is presently suffering from a sovereign debt crisisits spending has exceeded its revenues long enough that the burden of the debt payment is killing its budget and currency. The concentrated ownership of Greeces debt in the bond market means that certain fixes for the state deficit are considered, like cutting pensions and social programs, but others are not, such as hiking taxes on the rich and their corporate wealth. The press has coyly reported this, suggesting the Greeks appear to be resigned that megaphones and protest songs are no match for the volatile financial markets that have roiled the country (New York Times, Three Reported Killed in Greek Protests, 5/5/10). University of New Mexico law professor Timothy Canova has extensively studied this phenomenon and found that the liberalization of international capital flows has created a world in which the sovereignty of any one nation is surrendered to the forces of private financial speculation. Capital is capable of staging a general political strike against the policies of any nation state, including the United States, by simply voting against that countrys currency and bonds in the private marketplaceeven Federal Reserve Board policy is subject to the veto-power of the international capital markets (Brooklyn Law Review, The Transformation of U.S. Banking and Finance, Winter 1995). This means class war. And, of course, there are more direct methods. One memorable instance took place this year when the New York Times reported that the largest U.S. banks were shifting their massive political contributions from the Democrats, who they supported in 2008, to the GOP. The Times suggested that, Republicans are rushing to capitalize on what they call Wall Streets buyers remorse with the Democrats (In a Message to Democrats, Wall St. Sends Cash to GOP, 2/8/10). The Democrats have been pushing an extremely mild finance reform bill that leaves the system almost entirely intact, but they have resorted to populist condemnation of the banks to shore up their sagging approval numbers. So the banks are naturally putting their weight behind the other party and their political investment will probably bring more Republicans into office this year. This dominance of the political system by concentrated corporate and financial capital also has a rougher side than posh investors meetings and political dinners. Two years ago, the U.S. exceeded 1 in 100 adults in the prison and jail systems, a rate of incarceration unmatched even in the worlds police states (NYT, 1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says, 2/28/08). One in nine state workers are employed in corrections at enormous cost, guarding a disproportionately large numbers of blacks, Hispanics, and folks from poorer communities. To the extent that deindustrialization and lower economic growth have created great

bodies of unemployed, and social policies no longer provide support, the underclass is increasingly warehoused in the penal system. If the right-wing grip on the Tea Party demographic tightens, it will mature as a new faux-populist tool to bring further electoral victories to regressive policies and corporate power. But, while the Tea Partiers are quite conservative in the talk radio-Fox News matrix, when spoken to reasonably, they are often rather easily won over to a view that jobs require rational economic planning, not the chaos of powerful market giants. If the last 30 years have taught the American blue- and white-collar middle class anything, its that they are considered disposable. Putting the blame for this on the deserting corporations and the tiny elite that owns them is essential for forestalling disaster in the U.S. Class war is only hell for one side, but with middle Americas eyes open to class conflict, we could make the ruling class sweat too. Z

Rob Larson is assistant professor of economics at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana. He has written for Z, the Humanist, and Dollars & Sense.


An Economic Crisis Balance Sheet

By Jack Rasmus

n April 2009, proclamations by Obama administration chief economic advisor Larry Summers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and President Obama himself assured the public that the Administrations $787 billion fiscal stimulus bill, together with measures to bail out the banks, would create millions of jobs and get credit flowing again. But neither jobs nor credit followed. Total job loss, measured by the Department of Labors unemployment rate, the most comprehensive indicator of joblessness, rose from 15.4 percent in April 2009 to 16.5 percent a year later. At the same time total bank lending in the U.S. declined by 10 percent throughout 2009 and another 3.25 percent in the first three months of 2010. This past spring, once again, the hype of emerging recovery was fed to the public. According to Summers, the recovery was well underway and was more vigorous than was common in such crises. The U.S. economy was now moving toward escape velocity that would result in increased job creation. Evidence cited included a nascent rebound of manufacturing and exports, plus net new jobs created since January 2010. A V-shaped (rapid bounce back) sustained recovery was claimed to be finally underway. Such perennial premature proclamations have all proven wrong. To understand why, it is necessary to understand the recent three-year-long crisis within a broader general con-

The Economy

text. In fact, most released economic data for May-June 2010 point to the U.S. and other global economies once again either slowing, or about to slow, while global financial instability is growing worse.

August 2007-April 2009

ugust 2010 marks the third year of the economic crisis since its initial eruption in early August 2007, precipitated by the collapse of the housing and subprime mortgage market. In a matter of weeks, that financial implosion quickly spread to the shadow banking system of unregulated and highly speculative hedge funds, investment banks, private equity firms, finance companies, etc. It thereafter infected, in turn, the commercial banks (e.g., Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, etc.), which after decades of deregulation from Reagan to George W. Bush, had become tightly integrated with the unregulated shadow banking sector. By December 2007, Commercial banks had virtually stopped lending, even to each other. By year end 2008, the entire financial system was, in effect, freezing up. Nothing remotely close to that had happened before, at least not since the 1930s. The initial financial instability eruption that occurred in the form of the subprime mortgage bust and its spread to other financial sectors in 2007 soon precipitated a corresponding decline of the real (non-financial sectors) economy. By December 2007, the real economy in the U.S. rapidly slid into recession, followed soon after by most of the advanced economies of Europe, Japan, and elsewhere. Thus, unlike normal recessions, the crisis was synchronizing globally by 2008. Moreover, financial instability and the real economy were also becoming more interdependent, with each feeding off the other. That too was unique compared to prior normal recessions. Both the financial and the non-financial, real economy were becoming increasingly fragilewith fragility on the real side of the economy expressed in terms of consumption, as two-thirds of consumers incomes stagnated while their debt levels rose. By late summer 2008, the crisis shifted to a new, even more serious phase, leading to the well-known collapse of major financial institutions like Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and the effective insolvency of banking giants like Citigroup and Bank of America. With the banking panic of September-October 2008, financial fragility provoked an accelerated decline of the real economy within just a few weeks. Industrial production and business spending nearly shut down in the closing months of 2008. Lending by virtually all sectors of financial institutions dried up. Non-financial businesses rushed to cancel new investment plans, suspend investment projects in progress, and dramatically cut back even current production. Mass layoffs of a dimension not seen since the 1930s immediately followed in October-November 2008, at a rate of one million a month or more from November through April 2009a rate of job loss that exactly tracked the collapse of jobs between 1929 and 1931. Six million were laid off in a matter of six months. To the six million were added an additional seven million reduced from full-time to part-time employment. Millions more were thrust into discouraged status and forced to leave

the labor force. Millions of the employed were experiencing foreclosure, and tens of millions were experiencing collapse of retirement funds and housing values. After a quarter century of virtual stagnation of real weekly earnings for a hundred million workers in the U.S., and thus growing long term consumption fragility, consumption fractured after November 2008 concurrent with financial fragility in the banking system. Never before had both occurred more or less concurrentlyat least not since 1929-30, or before that in 1907-08. Throughout 2008 the Federal Reserve under its chair, Ben Bernanke, was late to respond and fell consistently behind the crisis curve. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson performed even worse. He sat on the sidelines until the summer of 2008, allowing the Federal Reserve to expend nearly its entire available $900 billion of funds on hand bailing out the investment banks. Even more behind the crisis curve, trying to catch up with events, was the U.S. Congress under Bush. It passed a paltry $168 billion stimulus bill that was mostly composed of business tax cuts. That stimulus had virtually no effect on the deepening decline of the U.S. economy. Paulson was finally forced to act in mid-summer 2008 with the imminent collapse of the quasi-government housing mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Paulson bungled that as well and was forced eventually to intervene with $200 billion in July to assure foreign bond holders in Fannie/Freddie that the U.S. government would not let them fail. If it hadnt, the purchase of U.S. bonds by foreign investors and banks would likely have plummeted. Paulson allowed Fannie/Freddie common stockholders, however, to bear the brunt of losses, as Fannie-Freddie stock was also driven to near zero by short-sellers and other speculators. Following the temporary bailout of Fannie/Freddie, Paulson refused to bail out either bond or stockholders at the investment bank Lehman Brothers, the main competitor to

The Economy

Paulsons own company, Goldman Sachs, where he was once CEO. Lehman collapsed, followed quickly by a string of others, precipitating the banking panic of 2008. At that point, the economy crossed the economic rubicon from normal to epic recession, with mass layoffs, a collapse of production and investment, and a freefall in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) not witnessed since the 1930s. Most of the big 19 banks were technically insolvent by October 2008. Paulsons answer was to browbeat Congress into giving him a $700 billion check called TARP (term asset relief program) to buy the bad assets from the banks, thereby releasing reserves for them to lend to get credit flowing again. But the banks refused to sell except at inflated prices, not at the real collapsed market values of the bad assets, and Paulson couldnt buy at inflated market values with funds provided by Congress. So nothing happened. The bad assets remained on bank balance sheets and lending continued to free fall. For cover, Paulson threw the money around to institutions that didnt need it, often forcing them to take it. Other uses were found for the funds, such as the auto companies and their finance arms, or the buying of insurance giant AIG, which amounted to merely a money pass through to AIGs biggest debtor, Goldman Sachs, Paulsons old company. Much attention has been given to TARP and the $700 billion. But TARP was just a minor back story. The real plot and real money spigot involved the Federal Reserve. Bernankes Federal Reserve didnt need Congresss appropriation and money. It could print its own if needed. Moreover, it didnt have to tell Congress a thing about how it dispensed its bailout funds, to whom, on which terms, etc. The Fed threw more than $3 trillion at the banks, essentially giving them free money at near zero interest rates. In fact, it actually paid them to take the money by paying them interest on the money it gave them. Of course, the banks took the free money. Both the big 19 name banks, as well as many of the remaining 8,000 regional-community banks. So did many of the unregulated shadow banks, like market funds, finance companies, and insurance companies. But they didnt lend to businesses in the U.S. to create real products and jobs. Instead they lent to other hedge funds and shadow banks that speculated in foreign currency, offshore real estate, commodities, gold, emerging market funds, and the like. The business press euphemistically calls it trading. In fact, it is financial speculationpractices that created much of the current financial instability in the first place. The arrangement did result in rising profits for banks, which in turn drew in more investors buying bank stocks. Those profits and the bank stock appreciation were sufficient to just about offset half of the bad assets and debts remaining on bank balance sheets. By the end of 2009, banks would accumulate about $1 trillion in cash and sit on it, except for speculative investing forays offshore. Key conclusions from the first 18 months of the crisis are as follows:
> Normal fiscal and monetary policies designed to engineer a recovery from normal recessions have little effect on epic recessions > Leaving bad assets on bank balance sheets and offsetting the values of those assets with temporary trillion dollar injections by the Fed and Treasury only partially stabilizes the banking system

> Bailing out the banking system cannot generate a sustained recovery of the real economy > Only massive fiscal spending on job producing investment can produce sustained recovery > The fiscal stimulus of 2008 represented a token attempt, with virtually no prospect of success, at generating economic recovery as it was mostly free tax cut handouts to business and a one-time consumer tax rebate, little of which was actually spent

From Collapse to Stagnation

s late as June 2009 the economy was still losing 500,000 jobs a month. The two key measures proposed by the early Obama administration to engineer recovery were the $787 billion stimulus package of spending and tax cuts, roughly half each, and a series of three banking stabilization measures: the PIPP, TALF, and HAMP. The PIPP was merely TARP warmed over. It, too, like TARP, proposed the government assist the removal of bad assets clogging bank balance sheets. Unlike TARP, the government would not buy the assets directly, but subsidize buyers and sellers market prices for the assets. But neither banks nor investors rose to the occasion. Banks still did not want to sell at below inflated prices; and investors didnt want to buy risky assets, often worth a tenth of their original value, above the deflated true market price. PIPP was dead on arrival and dismantled within months. Similarly, TALF was designed to subsidize investors to buy up the bad securitized mortgages, consumer credit, and auto and student loans. But again few takers. It was largely dismantled by the Fed within months. Finally, HAMP was designed to subsidize mortgage lenders and servicers to entice them to offer lower mortgage rates for new home buyers. The idea was to get them to buy up the large volume of new housing inventory (thus aiding home builder companies) still on the market that couldnt be sold due to accelerating foreclosures and excess housing supply. At merely $75 billion allocated, HAMP had little effect as well. It was given a second boost, however, with the supplemental first-time homebuyers subsidy program enacted by Congress after the passage of the original $787 billion stimulus. The official bank bailout programs of the Obama administration were largely programmatic cover for the real bank bailout strategy, which included Congress lifting the requirement that banks report their losses at true market value, suspending what was called mark to market accounting. Banks could now legally lie and misrepresent their actual losses and bad assets, making them appear more profitable. A second measure was the Administrations way to make it appear that the big 19 banks were not insolvent. The third was the Aministrations encouragement of the banks to engage once again in tradingi.e,. speculative investing in offshore financial markets in order to quickly raise profits. And bank profits did rise as a result. The combination of false accounting, phony stress tests, and renewed speculation did the trick. Stockholders re-entered the market buying bank common stocks, further capitalizing bank losses. All these measures originated circa April 2009, once it became clear PIPP and TALF were essentially dead on arrival. Almost immediately bank stock prices surged. Speculative profits flowed in, enabling bank stock prices to continue to

The Economy

grow. This continued throughout 2009 into early 2010, when a host of events slowed bank profit accumulation and stock price gains. In the interim, however, the big 19 banks did accumulate a hoard of about $1 trillion in cashalthough their bad assets, according to the International Monetary Fund, still amounted to about twice that amount. Further banking collapse had been avoided, but at the cost of more than $3 trillion in loans and spending by the Fed, the FDIC, and other government bank bailout agencies. The bad assets had been offset, temporarily, but at the cost of a corresponding increase in bad assets on the public balance sheet of the U.S. government. On the fiscal side, the Obama $787 billion official package of spending and tax cuts was even less successful. Half of it was comprised of tax cuts, mostly targeting business, nearly all of which had little impact over the next 18 months. On the spending side, the remaining $400 billion or so was not designed to create jobs. The stimulus was primarily designed to offset the growing consumption collapse by spending on extended unemployment insurance, subsidizing medical insurance premiums for the millions more newly unemployed, plugging up state and local governments massive loss of tax revenues due to the deep recession, providing aid to schools, and a one-time $250 check to social security recipients. While useful measures in the very short run, these programs did not generate jobs any more than did the business tax cuts. In other words, it was a completely free market approach to ending the crisis. The Obama strategy was never to create jobs directly, but to buy time for markets to recover to do the task.

Dissecting GDP and a Faltering Recovery

n the third quarter of 2009, the first positive growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) occurred, at a 3.5 percent rate. However, almost all of that growth was the consequence of two programs, cash for clunkers and first time homebuyers credit, plus a slowdown in the rate of inventory depletion compared to the previous quarter, which gets recorded as a technical growth in GDP. The first two programs accounted for nearly two-thirds of the 3.5 percent and inventory technicalities just under another third. In other words, the $787 billion stimulus accounted for less than .5 percent of the 3.5 percent. In the fourth quarter, GDP surged even more, at 5.7 percent. But 3.5 percent of that was technical inventory adjustment. Another .5 percent was due to a manufactured export surge driven by Asian and European demand for U.S. products, which had become more competitive as the dollar declined. Another 1 percent was due to the twin supplemental programs, leaving less than 1 percent due to the original stimulus. In the first quarter of 2010, GDP began to falter after only two quarters, to 3.0 percent. This reversal was significant. In normal recessions, for example, GDP growth continues to accelerate beyond two quarters and at levels far higher than what has been occurring this time. Typically, GDP growth surges at quarterly rates of 8-9 percent for at least four quarters. Moreover, 1.6 percent (or more than half) of the 3.0 percent gain was again due to inventory change, with another .75 percent due to cash for clunkers boosted by its announced discontinuation at quarters end and a similar surge in first time homebuyers also anticipated to be ending at the time. The remainder first quarter growth was due to exports-manufacturing, driven by foreign factors once

again. Data for the second quarter of 2010 is not yet available but may well show a further slowing in GDP growth rates. The point of the above data is twofold. First, what growth and economic recovery has occurred since mid-2009 has been driven by temporary programs, temporary adjustment factors, and exports. The $787 billion has had little effect due to its poor composition of spending, excessive business tax focus, and insufficient magnitude. Second, the temporary factors driving the last 12 months of tepid growth have come or are about to come to an end. As of June 2010, both the cash for clunkers and first time homebuyers programs have been suspended. Both the auto sales and housing construction blip likely only pulled future sales into the present, rather than generated net additional long-term output. The technicalities of inventory adjustment have all taken place. And the export-manufacturing mini-surge is about to end, as China, Brazil, and other countries have recently moved to cool off their economies and the dollar rises against the Euro. Finally, the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates once the November elections are over, and will no longer buy back trillions in bad mortgages. It is increasingly clear that the deficit cutting hawks are gaining momentum in Congress. States, cities, and school districts will turn to massive layoffs, wage cutting, and local tax hikes as a consequenceall of which will impose further pressure on an already slowing economy. Should Democrats lose further seats in the House and Senate, a highly likely event, federal spending will be almost certainly be further reduced in 2011. Even extending unemployment benefits has run into trouble at mid-2010 and both parties in Congress have agreed that the unemployed will no longer have medical insurance premiums subsidized by government spending.

The Truth About Jobs

erhaps the best indicator of the faltering recovery is the jobs numbers since January 2010. Much has been said about the economy having turned the corner based on an alleged positive upturn in job creation. But a closer look reveals, for example, that since January a total of 575,000 federal jobs have been created. But 574,000 of these have been temporary federal census workers, who will be rapidly laid off in the fourth quarter of 2010. In addition, state and local governments have shed 81,000 jobs through May 2010. In the private sector of the economy, of the 495,000

The Economy

jobs added, a total of 468,000 were involuntary part-time workers. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of full-time permanent jobs have been eliminated. The picture is one of a heavy churning of jobs, from regular full-time to temporary and part-time, the latter of which are paid far less and with few benefits. The duration of unemployment has continued to rise, on a base that is already the worst since records were first kept of the statistic. There are reportedly six workers for every job opening. One in four workers in the U.S. labor force has experienced some period of unemployment since the crisis began, also an unprecedented figure. The true total jobless, when properly calculated, are between 23-25 million, not the official 15 million. And these dont account for the tens of millions of inner city youth, undocumented, and itinerant workers who are never interviewed by the Labor Dept. in its estimating of unemployment rates. These groups no doubt suffer from an even higher jobless rate. The true level of jobless workers is thus likely in excess of 25 million and the true, effective unemployment rate between 18 to 19 percent. To recover the jobs lost since the current recession began in December 2007 would require hiring more than 300,000 workers every month from now until 2017. Some key conclusions from the second 18 months of the recent crisis are:
The Obama administrations bank bailout strategy

was in essence no different than Bushs, with the exception that even more money was thrown at the banks on even more generous terms; trillions of dollars of bad assets still remain on bank balance sheets, threatening future instability
Despite massive injections of money and liquidity by

the Federal Reserve, banks have continued to reduce lending

Obamas primary focus on getting credit flowing

again has not produced its declared, intended results

Bailing out the banks and putting a floor under the

banking system collapse is not sufficient to generate a sustained recovery

The Obama short term strategy to subsidize banks,

state and local governments, and the unemployed and stave off further collapse relied on market forces to generate sustained recovery, but the markets have failed to do so
The Obama stimulus packages spending had little to

do with the job creation necessary to break out from long-term stagnation

It appears the Obama focus on allowing banks to return to speculative activity to generate capital and profits to offset losses has gone as far as possible, with bank stock prices and profits now flattening once again and more than half of bad assets and losses still remaining on bank balance sheets. Similarly, it appears the strategy of relying ultimately on bank lending to generate sustained GDP and job creation has begun to dissipate as well. Prospects for continued, let alone accelerating, GDP growth appear increasingly limited for the remainder of 2010 and 2011.

Threats to Recovery in 2010 and Beyond


he longer run scenario for the U.S. economy is not particularly positive. Jobs and housing continue to repreZ MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

sent a serious problem for the economy, and appear to be heading for further softening rather than recovery. Twenty-five million jobless and seven million foreclosures represent serious consumption fragility in the system. And those two figures do not tell the full story of jobs and housings negative impact on consumption and the economy. The hiring that has occurred has been at lower pay and fewer benefits levels. Higher paid full-time jobs continue to disappear at the rate of tens and hundreds of thousands a month. Mass layoffs will soon hit the public employee sector in 2011, adding still further to the job losses at a time when the 600,000-plus temporary government census workers will have also just been laid off in late 2010. Wage cutting via furloughs, benefit cuts, shorter work weeks, and lower entry pay have also been reducing the consumption base still further. Housing construction and sales, already off 75 percent from pre-crisis highs in 2006, have begun to weaken once again and home prices are predicted to fall a further 10 to 20 percent in the period ahead. Foreclosures are also forecast to rise further. One in five mortgages will foreclose or default in the current cycle, and between 30 to 40 percent home values are already under water This is not a scenario for positive consumption growth or sustainable economic recovery. States and cities in the U.S. are simultaneously facing a growing fiscal crisis. Over the past year, reductions in state and local government spending more than offset the amount of the Obama fiscal stimulus. Little attention has been given to that fact or the full dimension of the local government fiscal crisis. And that crisis will further worsen in the year ahead, as it appears that federal subsidies to the states will not continue as deficit cutting becomes the mantra of politicians at the federal level. Local government will be forced to raise taxes still further, as it lays off hundreds of thousands at minimum and reduces pay and benefits for millions more. To complicate local government financial stress further, signs of trouble have begun to reappear anew in the municipal bond markets. Should a crisis re-emerge here, the fiscal crisis, layoffs, and tax hikes by state and local government will intensify several fold. The slowdown in government spending at all levels, within a context of further housing deterioration, job losses, and wage decline is not a scenario for robust recovery. It is impossible to imagine a V-shape trajectory with just these threejobs, housing, government spendingthus deteriorating further. The private sector shows additional signs of growing weakness as well. Most notable, the U.S. manufacturing-export sectors recent modest revival will likely fade as well in the coming months, due to China and other Asian economies slowing as policymakers try to cool off growing bubbles in real estate and stocks, which will slow demand for U.S. exports. Also, the falling Euro against the U.S. dollar will make U.S. exports more expensive, leading to Germany and other economies displacing U.S. export sales. Despite the multi-trillion dollar bailout of the banks, there remain serious points of stress on the financial side as well as a growing risk of further financial instability in the future. As of mid-2010, bank stocks are falling and bank profits leveling off. Should recently passed financial regulation in Congress limit banks trading with hedge funds and other conduits to speculative markets globally, then bank profits and stock prices will decline further in the year ahead. Banks diverting of funds to speculative markets has resulted in a seri-

The Economy

ous decline in bank lending to small-medium businesses in the U.S. over the past year and this will likely continue. Although the big banks are sitting on and hoarding more than a trillion in cash, they will continue to restrict lending to U.S. businesses due to uncertainty about bank regulation, bank taxes, and increased capital requirements mandated by recent financial legislation. The second tier of 7,800 regional-community banks is in even worse shape. Close to 300 have already failed or been merged by the FDIC, whose funds for future consolidation of local banks will require hundreds of billions of dollars. The commercial property market, on which these banks depend heavily, shows few signs of recovery. Almost 800 tier-two banks remain on the FDICs trouble list and at risk of collapse or merger. The Fed has been unable to revive the securitized markets for commercial and residential mortgages, which only a few years ago amounted to nearly $2 trillion and today account for less than $100 billion in loans. To complicate the mortgage picture further, the quasi-government agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are required to buy up bad mortgages by law, are themselves moving toward a further financial crisis. Already having been subsidized by $200 billion from the U.S. government, they will soon need another $200 billion to keep going. Even hedge funds and other shadow banks, that had enjoyed a significant recovery in 2009, are showing signs of difficulty. Having lost $700 billion during the 2008-09 financial implosion, the funds recovered more than half of that loss last year. In 2010, however, losses have once again returned. Financial instability is growing as well in the municipal bond market and among pension funds, both public and private. But the biggest risk to financial fragility and instability is the potential impact of government debt crises beginning to appear in Europe at mid-year, and the likely impact on Euro bank losses and on U.S. banks in the months ahead. Globally, bank exposures to potential losses in the European periphery countries of Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland at mid-year amount to $2.6 trillion, according to data released in June by the Bank for International Settlementsi.e. the bank for central bankslocated in Switzerland. European banks are exposed to $1.7 of the $2.6 trillion. It is likely that U.S. banks account for at least $500 billion of the remaining amount. French and German banks alone are exposed to more than $950 billion of the debt of those four countries. And that does not include other countries in trouble, like Italy, Hungary, and elsewhere in Europe. The potential risk is likely even much higher than reported. Given this pending financial instability, in a repeat of the U.S. in 2007-08, European banks have begun to stop lending to each other. Should a chain reaction implosion occur in Europe, sovereign debt losses promise to cascade to Euro bank losses and to U.S. banks as well. A third global financial implosion would consequently follow. The effects of that on the real economy globally, and in the U.S., would be significant. Z

Photo Essay

Hungry By The Numbers

By David Bacon and Betsy Edwards Photos by David Bacon

Jack Rasmus is the author of Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression (Palgrave-Macmillan and Pluto Press). His website is www.kyklosproductions.com.

he federal government has tried to define for us what being hungry means. Theyve come up with a yardstick, food insecurity, which means people who have less food than they want and need. It includes not only people who go hungry, but also those whove had to reduce the amount they eat, skip meals, or eat food they know isnt good for them because they cant afford what it really takes to eat. Late last fall the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report that counted the number of hungry families. Some 16 percent of all families were food insecure (up from 12 percent in 2007). That amounted to 49 million people, including more than 16 million children. Thats almost a quarter of all the children in the United States. This year we know the number is higher, we just dont know how much . About one-third of those families went hungry. The other two-thirds survived because they had access to federal food programs, or got food at a local food pantry or soup kitchen. That means they were hungry too, but not quite as much. Hunger isnt spread evenly. More than one-quarter of all black and Latino households were food insecure, compared to 16 percent in general, and more than 13 percent of all families made up of single moms and their children. Some 42.2 percent of food-insecure households had incomes below the official poverty line of $21,834 for a family of 4 in 2008. So more than half of all hungry families had incomes above the poverty line, a line so low that millions of families not officially in poverty dont have enough money to buy the food they need. In 2009, with unemployment in California reaching more than 12 percent, these numbers went up. Families that formerly had no trouble feeding themselves, who went out to eat in restaurants, couldnt put enough food on the table to keep everyone from going hungry. So people went to food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens to try to make up for what they could no longer buy. Almost five million people went to food pantries last year, up from four million the year before. About 625,000 ate in soup kitchens. National numbers sometimes dont tell the local story, though. How many hungry people do we have where we actually live? Alameda County, with a population of 1.5 million, had probably a quarter of a million food insecure people in 2008; Contra Costa 160,000; Oakland 64,000; Berkeley and Richmond 16,000 each; Hayward over 22,000; Alameda over 11,000; and over 20,000 hungry children in Oakland. Here are a few of our neighbors and how theyve managed to survive. Beverly Cherkoff cooks her meals in a tiny kitchen in a van where plastic flowers climb the radio aeriel. Cherkoff, who parks the van in the parking lots of a couple of local factories, says she discovered one day, talking with the Mexican workers there, that they sometimes came to work hungry. She got a little extra food from the Davis Street food

The Economy

Beverly Cherkoff and the van where she lives

Out of work mother and daughter, Terry & Nnekia Stevenson

Homeless for two years, Jim Reagan waited eight months for a room

Mary Katherine Jones, a diabetic, in her one-room apartment with no kitchen

Unemployed parents, Coleen McEneany with her husband Scott, and daughter Allynn

Oscar Fernandez returns home with food after waiting in line all night

pantry and began cooking for them also. Today, she fills big bags with lettuce and carts away boxes of mushrooms. Shared food, she believes, makes you feel like people can all survive if they look out for each other. Most of the other people who get food at Davis Street have jobs, too, but still dont make enough money to both buy food and pay rent. Mary Katherine Jones lives with her son, Curtis, in a single-room occupancy hotel in downtown Oakland. Jones receives SSDI as a disabled diabetic and Curtis is her in-home care provider. The room has no refrigeration or kitchen so they have to keep their perishable foods in a cooler. Food doesnt keep well this way. Its also important to wash the cooler out every day in order to prevent sickness. Mary Katherine sometimes has to choose between paying for medications and buying food. To get to the store they have to take a bus and pay $2 round trip. Jones is a gospel singer and had been singing with a ministry in LA until they encouraged her to move to Oakland about a year ago. Now she spends her time going to bible school, singing, and writing music. She goes to St. Marys Center for seniors, located on the Oakland/Emeryville border. Curtis was an actor in bit parts in LA and takes classes in computer repair while looking for similar work in the Bay Area. Coleen McEneany used to be a private investigator. Her husband worked for Circuit City as an information technology specialist. But the PI work dried up in the recession and Circuit City closed. With their daughter, they moved into the Fremont home of her mother, a retired sixth-grade teacher. While the home has a pool and a well- tended garden, resources were stretched so thin that they now depend on food and help from Tri-City Volunteers. Ironically, she knew about the food pantry because she and her husband were both donors to the program back when they were working. With a degree in criminal justice, Coleen has hopes that shell somehow find a job. In the meantime, she is taking courses for a degree in early childhood education.

Nnekia Stevenson was living with her three-year-old son and his father in Berkeley. Despite holding down two jobs while her sons father worked in construction, she couldnt make ends meet and moved in with her mom in Fruitvale. Neither had much money and hardly any furniture. Nnekia works with children at a local agency, ISOP, and was able to get a few days work a month at the New United Motors Manufacturing plant in Fremont. But NUMMI closed in April, so Nnekia plans to start school in the fall to get a degree in childhood development. Nnekias mother gets SSI for her disability, which disqualifies them for food stamps. Terri was homeless off and on for 30 years, but finally moved into a shelter, Chrysalis, where she participated in rehab and got help finding a home. Jim Reagan used to live in Peoples Park in Berkeley. Last fall, he traded sleeping bags under the trees for a single-room occupancy hotel in Berkeley. Before living in the park, he worked in homeless shelters, but then became homeless himself for two years. Now he hopes to become a caterer while living month-to-month waiting for SSI checks. We met Jim at Night on the Streets/Catholic Worker, a crew of dedicated volunteers, many from local churches, who bring breakfast to homeless folks in Peoples and Provo Parks every Sunday morning. Oscar Fernandez, a day laborer from Mexico, lives in Hayward. His family lives in Merced in the Central Valley where his wife works in a large retail store. Oscar cant find work in Merced, so during the week he goes to Hayward and only sees the family on the weekend. Once a month Oscar and dozens of other mostly Mexican families spend the night on the sidewalk, waiting for the food distribution by Hope for the Heart on Saturday morning. Z David Bacon is a freelance writer and photographer. Betsy Edwards is the advocacy manager of the Alameda County Community Food Bank.



Living in District 9
By James McEnteer

stranger in Johannesburg immediately notices serious security measures everywhere. High walls are topped with electrified razor wire. Dogs are visible or audible behind the walls. Signs warn of alarms that will bring rapid armed response from one of many thriving security companies. The presence of so much defensive and offensive hardware prompts a question: whats going on here? South Africans have pondered that question since the late 1940s when apartheid became the countrys official policy. Much has changed since the 1940s and much remains the same. Apartheid was abandoned in 1990, after moral censure and economic pressure from the rest of the world. The countrys first free elections in 1994 brought a black majority government run by the African National Congress, which continues its monopoly on political power. Under ANC leadership, a new black elite emerged, blurring the traditional South African equation of race with class. Recent demographic data from the Human Sciences Research Council shows that the proportion of people living in poverty in South Africa has not changed significantly in the post-apartheid years. In fact, those households living in poverty have sunk deeper into poverty and the gap between rich and poor has widened. Each morning black workers stream into commercial and residential areas in large numbers, getting down from trains and buses and vans that serve as collective taxis, setting off on foot, sometimes for long distances, to work. Every afternoon, this process reverses as blacks migrate back to the poor townships and shanty towns where they must live. This strange and troubling ritual feels anachronistic and wrong. But with South Africas rate of unemployment above 25 percent (by some estimates, closer to 40 percent), anyone with a source of income, however meager, is not the least fortunate. Apartheids bad old days were much worse for the black majority, of course. That past is on display in many places, including the former womens prison downtown, now a museum, where black and white political prisoners were confined separately for their activism. Newtowns Africa Museum has a large exhibit detailing the six-year treason trial of prominent anti-apartheid activists, many of whom later became government leaders. Sowetos Hector Pieterson Museum reruns period TV footage of the 1976 protests in which police opened fire on unarmed students, killing dozens. The Apartheid Museum provides details of massacres like Sharpeville and the cold-blooded state murder of black leader Steve Biko. Last years off-beat science fiction movie, District 9, identified the shadow over Johannesburg. The movies plot involves the forcible relocation of alienswho resemble giant prawnsfrom their long-time ramshackle detention site in

the center of the city to a more remote location. The prawn people are portrayed as detestable and incomprehensible, but highly intelligent and dangerous. Beneath the high-tech make-up and special effects, the film is really a documentary metaphor about South Africa. Forced relocations of undesirables, a hallmark of the apartheid years, were also part of South Africas preparations for the World Cup soccer tournament in June. Clean-up efforts involved relocating residents of unsightly shanty towns from their previously visible sites. Under the euphemistic breaking new ground policy, Cape Town officials shifted township residents from their homes along a route between the airport and the city to a remote location invisible to soccer tourists, with minimal infrastructure and far removed from peoples places or potential places of work, in the words of reporter Robert Wilcox. Looking much like a concentration camp, this settlement was named BlikkiesdorpTin Town, by those herded there. South Africa hoped that by staging one of the planets premiere sporting events, the country would receive a financial windfall and lots of favorable international publicity. Germany made a tidy profit hosting the 2006 World Cup, but South Africa will find it harder to duplicate that feat. The long, expensive flights, the recent economic downturn, and inflated ticket prices have caused a revision downward in the number of visitors. According to Bloomsburgs Mike Cohen, South Africa has spent 34 billion rand ($4.6 billion) to host the soccer World Cup. So who stands to benefit? The big secret about the World Cup is that only the rich will get richer from it, in the words of South African playwright Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom. The lions share of World Cup income will benefit sponsors and international media. Some


owners of four star hotels and restaurants will no doubt reap benefits. Also profiting are the government officials who got kickbacks from the contractors awarded the construction contracts. Ordinary people, some of whom have been football fans for years, were excluded. As journalist Claire Byrne notes: The stadium...women from townships who serve up cheap local fast-food at games are being moved out to make way for FIFA sponsors, such as McDonalds. Most South Africans tell pollsters they are no better off now than in 1994 when apartheid was abolished. In fact, there has been a net job loss since then. Afraid of racial retribution, nudged out of jobs, or limited in their career trajectories by the ANC policy of black affirmative action, many whites have fled the country, taking needed skills and knowledge with them. The ANCs promised commitment to education in order to train a new generation of skilled workers to run the Diepsloot in the north of Johannesburg houses about 150,00 people in an informal economy has not materialized. The largest settlementphoto by Arndt Husar crisis is one of confidence in the government and in the future. Many outsiders think of South Africa in terms of Nelson Mandelas triumphs. Mandelas long walk to freedom is surely one of the 20th centurys most inspiring stories. But contemporary reality is not Invictus or happily ever after. R.W. Johnsons South Africas Brave New World provides a disheartening account of how the ANC dumped their socialist agenda in order to appease the IMF and attract international investment. Once in power they succumbed to corruption and cronyism, playing to the aspirations of middle class blacks and their own political elite, ignoring the hopes and desperation of the poor majority who voted for them. Thabo Mbeki, the powerful government organizer behind Mandela and the person who succeeded him in office, dismissed all criticism of ANCs ineptitude or malfeasance as Thousands of residents from Oukasie township protested in March racist. Conditioned by his decades of exile, dodging assasagainst inadequate government services to rural areas while millions are sination attempts as his father sat in prison, Mbeki centralspent on the World Cupphoto by Jaco Marais ized control and purged his rivals from within the party, sometimes brutally. A few grim statistics from the daily media show how Mbekis policies are coming home to roost as 1,000 South Africans a day are dying of AIDSpart of Mbekis legacy. As the nature and the scope of the epidemic was becoming clear in Africa and worldwide, Mbeki construed calls to fight the disease as a political attempt to blame Africans for this plague and stigmatize them anew. He disputed the science and refused to take responsible action when it could have saved millions of lives. South Africas current president, Jacob Zuma, has pledged a renewed commitment to AIDS education and testing, but he recently opined that the country only has about four more years to blame their former white supremacist rulerswho left office in 1994before they must assume full Commuters and World Cup attendees wait for the bus in Johannesburg in Junephoto from AfricanGoals2010, flickr.com responsibility for their own problems. Thats almost exactly how much time Zuma has left in his presidential term. Four Africa who are perceived to be taking jobs away from locals, years seems a long time to justify political drift and not to since they will work for less money. address pressing social problems such as the crime rate. Many South Africans would agree that their country is in There are 50 murders a day in a country of about 50 million crisis right now, but conditions in Zimbabwe and the Congo, people, the same number of murders as in the United States, among other nations, are so much worse, that the flood of which has 6 times the population. Much of this violence is immigrants continues unabated. Five-hundred people a day directed toward foreigners from Zimbabwe and elsewhere in


cross the border from Zimbabwe into South Africa. More than 25 percent of the economically active adult population of that country has fled to escape the despotism of Robert Mugabe. For decades Mugabe and his friends have looted the land, ruining the economy and persecuting anyone who objected. As the ruler of Zimbabwes most powerful neighbor, Mbeki was uniquely placed and morally obliged during his presidency (1999-2008) to intercede against Mugabes policies and many here and around the world pleaded with Mbeki to do so. But he refused. The result of Mugabes megalomania has been the slow starvation of a once prosperous nation and a desperate exodus that has caused bitterness and bloodshed in South Africa. ANC youth league leader Julius Malema has built his own career by calling for vengeance against the hardcore resistance of Afrikaner farmers, the Boers. In his public appearances, Malema likes to sing an anti-apartheid song that includes the lyrics, Kill the Boer, which often receives large applause. In early April, not long after Malema had regaled another audience with this violent anthem, a white separatist farmer named Eugene Terre Blanche was murdered at his farm. A divisive extremist, Terre Blanche founded an Afrikaner Resistance Movement and famously threatened civil war to maintain white rule in Africa. After three years in jail for assault and attempted murder, in 2008 Terre Blanche began calling for a free Afrikaner republic to be created inside South Africas borders. Terre Blanche is only the most recent and most famous white farmer to die from violence. The South African Human Rights Commission estimates that about 2,500 white farmers have died as the result of more than 9,000 violent attacks since the end of apartheid. (White farmers organizations claim the number of fatalities is closer to 3,000.) The Commission found that the rate of attacks on white farmers has increased 25 percent since 2005. The vengeful racist massacre that many feared when apartheid ended, but which Mandela seemed to have averted, is taking place in its own protracted way. The once-impoverished, poorly educated Malema now lives in splendor in Sandton, one of the most upscale sections of Johannesburg. A few weeks before the World Cup matches began, Malema was publicly reprimanded by the ANC and ordered to attend an anger management class though most of his outbursts appeared calculated, if not scripted. For Malema, the Boers are convenient prawn-like foils to deflect blame from the enfranchised ANC back to the ghosts of apartheid. Zuma, too, seems content to pin his nations problems on the past. Many unemployed South Africans, meanwhile, consider the immigrant population, legal and illegal, as the biggest threat to their well-being and perhaps to their survival. The fear and revulsion humans feel for the alien prawns in District 9 holds up a sci-fi mirror to this sort of scapegoating. Infected by the prawns, the protagonist of the movie begins to mutate, slowly becoming a prawn person himself, which horrifies him and everyone he knows. More hideous even than having to co-exist with the Other is becoming the Other. This fear has driven the policies of the Afrikaners and British for 300 years in South Africa, leading to the madness of apartheid, and continuing even today. Z


Somalia Still Suffers

By Tim Coles

James McEnteer lives in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, where his World Cup runneth over.

n analyst at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Roger Middleton, found that [t]he only period during which piracy virtually vanished around Somalia was during the six months of rule by the Islamic Courts Union in the second half of 2006. This indicates that a functioning government in Somalia is capable of controlling piracy. Given the furor over piracy, what happened to the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC)? Unfortunately, something far worse than piracy. Despite UN Security Council Resolution 1725, Britain and the U.S. refused to recognize the UIC, allegedly because they practiced Sharia Lawsomething overlooked when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Despite mass starvation and violence, the Western public continues to receive reports that the worst thing about Somalia is piracy. Piracy is important to the Western rulers, as Lord Jay admitted to Parliament, because Somalia is in chaos and threatens our trade routes. He did not say, Somalia is starving so we should stop our criminal activities. The UKs Department for International Development (DFID) stated that, [a]cross the country, as fighting cuts off the delivery of essential services and a prolonged drought causes widespread crop failure, an estimated 3.76 million peopleclose to 40 percent of the populationare thought to require emergency help. In no other country in the world is so large a proportion of the population in need of relief assistance. DFID boasts of its millions of pounds in aid donations, but omits the fact that Britain has helped to plunge Somalia into disaster by supporting the warlords of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) which Ethiopia, under U.S. auspices, sought to establish in Somalia in December 2006. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported: Since January 2007 at least 870,000 civilians have fled the chaos in Mogadishu alonetwo-thirds of the citys population. Across south-central Somalia, 1.1 million Somalis are displaced from their homes. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are living in squalid camps along the Mogadishu-Afgooye road that have themselves become theaters of brutal fighting. Although Human Rights Watchs Africa director, Georgette Gagnon, stated that Britains silence amounts to complicity in crimes against humanity, the deeper reality is much more abhorrent. The UK and the U.S. are actively supporting the Transitional Federal Government, which is responsible for cutting off Somalias funds and, consequently, for the fact that tens of thousands of Somalis every year risk life and limb, often dying, in the hope of fleeing the terror by crossing the Gulf of Aden to Yemen in order to seek asyluma country now condemned as a terrorist haven. The UNHCR says that, There are horrific reports of deaths at sea, people being thrown overboard far from shore and told to swim. Those who make it remember the journey with horror.


By 2009, the situation had not improved. HRW reported that [m]ore than 100,000 peoplealmost all of them from Somalia and Ethiopiahave arrived by boat along Yemens coast during the past two years. Most are fleeing war or persecution at home or are in search of work. HRW also reported that many Somalis seek asylum in Kenya80,000 since 2007. Kenyan authorities have seriously aggravated the humanitarian assistance needs among Somalis arriving in three refugee camps near the Kenyan town of Dadaab, which shelter almost 260,000 refugees, making them the worlds largest refugee settlement. Many Somalis and foreigners have been kidnapped while trying to flee and remain lost within the torture system of the CIAs rendition program. Amnesty International reported, At least 140 people were arrested by Kenyan authorities between December 30, 2006 and February 2007 as they tried A woman and her young children at an internally displaced persons settlement in to enter Kenya from Somalia. They were held with- South Galkayo, Somalia, with armed police standing byphoto by Kate Holt/IRIN out charge in several police stations in Nairobi and in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. They were allowed no contact with their relatives. If they wanted to claim asylum they could not, as they were denied access to UNHCR or any asylum procedure. One of the few journalists to venture into Somalia, Kenyan Aiden Hartley, reports that under the rule of the TFGs Abdullahi Yusuf, who governed Mogadishu from late 2006 to late 2008, up to a million civilians have fled the bombardments in Mogadishu; they now live in tents made of plastic and twigs.... This is a famine caused by men, not global warming.

Western Intervention

ost Westerners know Somalia from the UN intervention in 1992, which led to a U.S. invasion under humanitarian pretexts. If the U.S. wanted to feed the starving, journalist and Africa Somali refugees in northern Kenyaphoto by Amanda Rose, DFID Kenya scholar Richard Dowden observed, they would have come six months earlier when the famine was at its worst. Africa specialist Alex de Waal wrote, atives abroad are now going without. Armed with a wide The humanitarian garb of Operation Restore Hope was surange of new legislative powers, in the months following perficial from the start. Launched in December 1992 just as September 11 the Bush administration stepped up action on the famine was waning, the dispatch of troops had more to the second front of its war on terrorism. The USA PAdo with testing the newly-emerging doctrine of humanitarTRIOT Act and the International Emergency Economic ian intervention than saving Somalis. An independent rePowers Act provide Federal officials with the authority to view by the U.S. Refugee Policy Group concluded that the freeze assets of entities and individuals identified as financoperation saved between 10,000 and 25,000 lives rather ing terrorist operations. Launched on October 25, 2001, Opthan the 2 million initially advertised. This is a generous eration Green Quest has frozen more than $34 million in estimate considering the CIA estimated that the U.S. killed global assets linked to alleged terrorist organizations and in7,000 to 10,000 Somalis, many of whom were women and dividuals. British Telecom is one such company complicit children. Commanding Gen. Anthony Zinnisaid, Im not in the freezing of funds. counting bodies...Im not interested. The 9/11 Commission Report confirmed that federal Somalias civil war claimed over 500,000 lives. A new agents had been scrupulously analyzing the al-Barakaat charphase of Somalias torture came after 9/11 when the Bush ity and bank in Somalia and concluded that, their attempt to administration, with British backing, froze Somalias bank make a criminal case simply had no traction. Ultimately, accounts. Writing in Middle East Report, Khalid Medani exprosecutors were unable to file charges against any of the plained how, George W. Bushs sweeping campaign al-Barakaat participants, with the exception of one of the against Somali money transfer companieson the grounds customers in Minneapolis who was charged with low-level that they finance terroris so broad as to defy justificawelfare fraud. Despite exoneration, Somalias bank action. Millions of Somalis dependent on remittances from relcounts remain frozen while Somalia starves.


The United States recognized the Union of Islamic Courts in 2006 under UN Resolution 1725, which also stated that all States should refrain from damaging the fragile peace. Nevertheless, in 2006, Ethiopia, under U.S./UK auspices, invaded Somalia in order to impose the Transitional Federal Government, led by Abdullahi Yusuf. Despite being found guilty by Britains High Court of murdering a political opponent, which also found him guilty of carr[ying] out retaliations, including executions, Abdullahi Yusuf was given a liver transplant on Britains National Health Service and supported by the New Labour Party under Blair and Brown. Hartley reported that, British taxpayers money is helping to bankroll one side of this vicious conflict and several Somali leaders who have been linked to allegations of war crimes against countless civilians are living double lives in Britain[having] been given British citizenship, state benefits, and a subsidized home in this country. One such warlord is Mohamed Darwiish, the head of Somalias NSA, who used to work at Tesco in England. According to Hartley, the British police are paying his salary through a UN program. The former Somali Interior Minister and later ephemeral prime minister, Guled Gaamadheere, regularly held up aid deliveries, many of which are pirated.

cluding current Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, commonly known as Nur Adde, who has been the driving force behind bringing the Transitional Federal Government and Sharifs Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) together, the BBC reported. This was despite Britain and Americas efforts to smash indigenous democracy. Today, the links between Somalia and al-Qaedaa ticket on which the U.S. is ridingare thin enough to merit embarrassment. For instance, BBC Africa reported recently that the TFG confirmed to the BBC that an al-Qaeda fighter had been killed, but did not name him and said the government would provide evidence later. Even the BBC News, broadcast in the UK over the weekend of May 1, 2010, reported that a Mogadishu Mosque bombing could have been committed by any group, with many Somalis blaming the TFG, which they feel is a puppet of the West, for the simple reason that it is. The non-covert, but largely unreported, horrors are likely to continue as long as everyone is silent on Somalia. Z

Warlords, UK, and Piracy

Tim Coles is a Phd research student at the University of Plymouth (UK) and a filmmaker. His film, The Collapse of the Two State Solution? was released by Concord Media. He writes for Redress and his latest article is Coalition: another example of Britains sham democracy.

ost of the food aid comes by sea because the airspace is hazardous, with militia firing RPGs at helicopters and a land rife with gunmen. The high level of sea piracy has given the British Foreign Office a pretext not to supply aid in armored vesselsa minimal contribution given Britains military power. In 2007, there were 31 civilian and refugee ships attacked by pirates. No World Food Program vessels up to November 2008, which were provided solely by Holland, had been targeted. Despite this, the UK claimed it was too dangerous. Furthermore, Demark stopped providing ships; France provided ships for three months; Sweden refused to help; South Africa refused to help. As food aid pile[d] up in South Africa, Somalia starve[d]. The British Ministry of Defense denies ever receiving a request by the World Food Program to provide Royal Navy ships, which it now seems to have done solely to protect oil interests, following the hijacking of the tanker Sirius Star. Even more amazingly, Chatham Houses Roger Middleton reported that, Puntland, the semi-autonomous region in the northeast of the country, appears to be the base for most pirates in Somalia.... The fact that the pirates originate from Puntland is significant as this is also the home region of President Abdullahi Yusuf, a favorite of the West. As one expert said, money will go to Yusuf as a gesture of goodwill to a regional leaderso even if the higher echelons of Somali government and clan structure are not directly involved in organizing piracy, they probably do benefit. Puntland is one of the poorest areas of Somalia, so the financial attraction of piracy is strong. Somalias fishing industry has collapsed in the last 15 years and its waters are being heavily fished by European, Asian and African shipsanother example of the Wests benevolence. Officially, Ethiopian forces withdrew from Somalia in 2009, hoping that their ruinous impact on the country would allow a proxy government to thrive. Sheikh Sharif, of the UIC, now of the Reliberation of Somalia, which has become part of the TFG, defeated at least 14 other candidates, in40 Z MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

Brutal Regimes

Apocalypse In Central Africa

By keith harmon snow
As a key partner, we are very happy to be working with the Rwandan Defense Force as they seek to improve their capacity to do various peacekeeping missions as well as contribute in other ways to bringing peace to this region. And what were doing as a part of this visit is demonstrating to our Rwandan friends that we indeed are a committed partner... And by so doing, that stability is felt around the world... General William E. Ward, U.S. AFRICOM, press conference, Kigali, Rwanda, April 22, 2010

he U.S. war on terror destabilizes popular governments, communities, and indigenous societies all over the globe. This has occurred in the Great Lakes region of Africa, where people face the complete destruction of everything they know. The U.S. has for years intervened in the regionUnion Carbide was in control of the SOMIKIVU mines in the Congos Kivu provinces in the early 1960s. Through an expanding military partnership with key agents in Central Africa since 1980, U.S. interventions have produced an unprecedented loss of life, facilitated by U.S. government polices, covert military operations, and guerrilla warfare, all cloaked in euphemisms of peacekeeping, humanitarianism, and development.


Now Rwanda and Uganda (Ethiopia right behind them) have become the Pentagons primary bases of operations in Africa from which millions of dollars of military hardware and Pentagon-trained African proxy warriors are routed into Congo and Burundi, but also far beyond these to the Pentagons theaters of operation in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somaliaeven to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Haiti.

Widely Misunderstood

he United States has a long history of supporting brutal regimes. The Western mass media system provides cover stories and blankets the truth with propaganda campaignsformally named perception managementdevised by corporate foundation think tanks like the Center for American Progress. The contemporary apocalypse in began with the guerrilla war led by Yoweri Museveni, with Paul Kagame as his director of military intelligence. The Kagame/Museveni guerrilla warfare in Uganda set a course that determined the fate of millions of innocent people in Central Africa where the death toll continues to mount. In October 1990, the Ugandan Army and the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF) led by Kagame invaded Rwanda. These guerrillas, who violated international laws and committed massive war crimes, were backed by Britain, the United States, and Israel. They were Ugandans. They were not a stateless people. They were Tutsi elites, extremists bent on recovering power, who had attacked Rwanda repeatedly over the decades. On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying the presidents and top military staff of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down over Kigali, Rwandas capital. The assassinations of Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira sparked a massive escalation of war that is portrayed as meaningless tribal savagery rather than a response to criminal assassinations. After more than 18 years of disinformation about Rwanda, the Rwanda Genocide is one of the most widely misunderstood events in contemporary history (see, e.g., Davenport and Stam, What Really Happened in Rwanda? October 6, 2009, miller-mccune.com). According to the official story,

extremist Hutus in the government and military committed an orchestrated and pre-planned genocide of 800,000 to 1.2 million people from the Tutsi minority from April 6 to about July 16, 1994. In reality, the invading RPF were the preponderant killers, most victims were Hutus, and the numbers of dead during those 100 days were far less than reported. The RPF typically killed everyone in its path. Kagame did not trust any Tutsis who stayed in Rwanda after pogroms that created the Tutsi exile community prior to the Habyarimana government (1973-1994) and so the RPF also targeted the Tutsis. But under the new power structure there were strong motivations to accuse the stigmatized Hutus of all the war crimes. The final insult to truth came with the assertion that the RPF stopped the genocide by winning the war.

War Crimes

n November 17, 2006, French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguire issued international war crimes indictments after concluding that the RPF, under Kagames direct orders, carried out the surface-to air-missile attacks on the airplane carrying the two presidents. Likewise, on February 6, 2008, a Spanish court delivered international arrest warrants against 40 of the top military officials in the Rwandan regime. (President Kagame was not indicted only because heads of state have immunity.) The RPF officials are charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 1990 and 2002. Rwandan General Karake Karenzi, also indicted, was nonetheless contracted as the deputy force commander for the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur, another peacekeeping euphemism for the Pentagon-NATO proxy war targeting Sudans Islamic government of Omar al Bashir. The UN urged the Rwandan government to replace Karenzi after the Spanish indictments, but the UN reversed itself after Kagame threatened the withdrawal of 3,000 RDF troops from Darfur. In contrast to these scattered indictments against the RPF, international legal instruments like the International CrimiZ MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010 41


nal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) and now the International Criminal Court, backed by Western governmentsthe U.S., UK, Belgium, Canada, Britain, and Israel, in particularactively assist the Kagame regime in hunting refugees and critics. These governments backed the Rwanda Patriotic Fronts guerrilla war (1990-1994) and the years of terrorism that have followed (1994-2010). Neighboring Rwanda, eastern Congos North and South Kivu provinces are occupied and controlled by criminal networks from Rwanda and Uganda. In the DRC, there are countless sites of atrocities committed by the RPF and Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) as they marched across the country, calling themselves the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Zaire/Congo (ADFL). They slaughtered perhaps as many as 600,000 unarmed refugees Young Congolese men falsely accused of being Rwandan Hutu Forces for the Democratic (1996-1997), mostly women and children unLiberation of Rwanda arrested and beaten by Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) in South der 15 years of age. Kivuin 2006photo by keith harmon snow Rwanda and Uganda are run by secretive criminal military organizations in parallel with formal government structures, responsible for the systematic and intentional deaths of far more than ten million people since 1980, just counting in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo to the present. The label Interahamwe has come to stand for extremist murderous Hutu militias and is usually translated from Kinyarwanda to mean those who attack together. President Kagame and the RPF military-intelligence apparatus apply this terminology to mean anyone who is in opposition to the Rwandan Patriotic Army/Front movement, its government, or its elite clandestine networks, and in the case of Kagame, even to anyone I dont like. The labels Intera- hamwe and genocidaire are used to dehumanize all Hutu people everywhere. Unfortunately, this dehumanization has been perpetuated through the international mass media, human rights Congolese families struggle to survive digging for gold, cassiterite, and columbium tantalite in DRCs South Kivu provincephoto by keith harmon snow institutions, think tanks, non-government organizations, peace organizations, and numerous foreign governments. normal military planning in the course of the four-year It cannot be denied that hundreds of thousands of Tutsis Rwandan civil war (1990-1994). were killed in Rwanda during the 100 days of genocide from Today, anyone who steps out of line inside Rwanda will April 6 to July 1994. However, the RPF regime also killed immediately be targeted, accused of genocide revisionism or many Tutsis and the current regime is responsible for masparticipation in the genocide itself. The latest high-profile sive bloodshed against all ethnic groups in Rwand. But they victims of Kagames criminal regime include Victoire are supported internationally due to the economic, political, Ingabire, a Hutu woman who returned to Rwanda from exile and military interests at stake. in January to contest the upcoming presidential elections. People accused of genocide in Rwanda have been Ingabire made a public speech on arrival addressing the supbrought before the so-called community-based Gacaca tripressed debate about genocide in Rwanda and the mass killbunals repeatedly. Many innocent civilians have been tried ing of Hutus. She was immediately arrested and continues to and retried until they were found guilty. By contrast, in Debe persecuted by the regime and charged with genocide cember 2008, the Trial Chamber-1 at the ICTR acquitted the ideology. four highest-ranking senior military officers of the former Also targeted is Professor Peter Erlinder, an International government army, the Forces Armee Rwandaise (ex-FAR) human rights and civil rights attorney and a professor of law the supposed mastermindsof conspiracy to commit at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota genocide. More acquittals were delivered in November and the former lead defense counsel at the ICTR. Erlinder 2009, following seven years of trial at the ICTR, where the traveled to Rwandas capital, Kigali, on May 23 to join the court found that the prosecutors evidence was explained by


since the early 1990s, shielding U.S. involvement in Central African war crimes and genocide. AFRICOM information campaigns exclusively project an image of U.S. troops being only involved in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. Spokesperson Mark Swayne reportedly apologized for AFRICOMs use of Ugandans in building the new AFRICOM base under construction in Kisangani, Congo. Ugandas organized crime networks and the Ugandan military are hated for their plunder and terror in Congo. The Pentagons website identifies the elite U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) as training Congolese troops in Kisangani, DRC, and Swayne did not reveal that the Ugandans are mercenaries likely affiliated to Western oil companies (Heritage Oil & Gas, Hardmann Resources, H Oil Company), operating in the Lake Albert basin on the DRC-Uganda border. Congolese FARDC troops have been integrated with combatants from Rwanda One European expatriate who was a direct witness to in military campaigns throughout the DRCphoto by keith harmon snow RPF war crimes and the massacres of scores of thousands of Hutu civilians in Kisangani, Zaire (1996defense team of Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire 1997), under the eye of USAID, World Food Program, Ingabire Umuhoza and was arrested on charges of genocide UNHCR, and other officials, won a major construction condenial. Erlinder was realeased on bail after international tract for the new AFRICOM base in Kisangani. Construcpressure, but still faces up to 25 years in prison. tion involves Ugandan, Rwandan, and Tanzanian mercenary forces, while U.S. military and intelligence personnel have overrun one local hotel. When Victims Become Killers Insiders from the Mission of the United Nations Organization in the Congo (MONUC) in Kinshasa confirm that U.S. n mid-November 2009, DRC president Joseph Kabila semilitary personnel are operating inside the peacekeeping cretly airlifted a battalion of Rwandan Defense Forces mission in the G-2 division of military intelligence at (RDF) to crush a new rebellion in Congo where they are MONUC headquarters in Kinshasa. There is also a Pentagon perpetrating a scorched earth campaign today. The current military intelligence fusion cell, tasked with overseeing death toll in the eastern provinces of Congo alone stands at strategic minerals (essential for U.S. military stockpiles) opsome 1,500 people per day, with at least 10 million dead in erating covertly in northeastern Congo (Kisangani) and run Congo since the U.S.-backed invasion of 1996, and millions by an ex marine named Tom, two other U.S. military of refugees in the Great Lakes member states. Rwandan alpersonnel, and Rwandan troops. lied forces in DRC are perpetrating genocide at present in The MONUC peacekeeping enterprise in Congo is a $1 the Kivus, particularly in the lucrative mining areas, while billion a year operation involving contracts with Pacific ArWestern media and humanitarian agencies are silent. chitect & Engineers (PAE), a subsidiary of Lockheed MarJohn Numbi, formerly the head of the Armed Forces of tin. AFRICOM, NATO, and private military companies the DRC (FARDC )Air Force and now inspector general of Dyncorp and PAE have also been training and flying Uganthe Police National Congolaise (CNP), is reported to be dan and Rwandan troops to the wars in Somalia and Sudan Kabilas main link to Rwandan military officials Kagame (Darfur). and James Kabarebe. Numbi is a regular visitor to Kigali There are at least 300 Ugandans backing the U.S. in Afand described as one of Congos most dangerous men. ghanistan and more than 10,000 in Iraq, as well as 3,000 Numbi is responsible for mass graves in eastern Congo that Rwandans in Darfure and 2,000 or more Ugandans in Somathe United Nations will not investigate, though the most relia. An unknown number of Rwandan soldiers are also in cent United Nations Group of Experts Report also cited diIraq and Afghanistan. There are allegations that some rect Congolese National Police (under Numbi) involvement Rwandan forces serving in the Pentagons overseas war thein contraband activities with Rwandan Defense Forces in aters have been forcibly conscripted under threat of genoeastern Congo. On June 2, 2010, Floribert Chebeya cide accusations, trials, and lenthy prison terms. Ugandan Bahizire, the Congos leading human rights defender, was troops have been subject to slavery conditions and sezual asassassinated after being summoned to meet with Numbi. saults in Iraq. On June 20, 2010, Rwandas former general Chebeya, founder of the Congolese human rights organizaKayumba Nyamwasa was shot in an assassination attempt in tion Voix des Sans Voix (Voice of the Voiceless), criticized South Africa. Nyamwasa, also indicted by Spains National the human rights abuses of the regimes of President Mobutu Court for war crimes, made Kagames hit list after his Sese Seko, Laurent Dsire Kabila, and Joseph Kabila. outspoken accusations earlier this year of corruption and war profiteering. Z AFRICOM and the U.S.

n mid-March, at an exclusive United States Institute for Peace meeting in Washington, DC, a spokesperson for the U.S. miltarys African Command (AFRICOM) dismissed AFRICOM involvement in covert operations in Congo. The USIP has funded pro-Kagame disinformation campaigns

keith harmon snow is a war correspondent, photographer, and independent investigator. He is also the 2009 Regents Lecturer in Law and Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Looking Back

Corporate Crimes

How Bushs DOJ Killed A 2006 Criminal Probe Into BP

By Jason Leopold

ention the name of the corporation BP to Scott West and two words immediately come to mind: beyond prosecution. West was the special agent in charge at the Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division, which had been probing alleged crimes committed by BP and the companys senior officials in connection with a March 2006 pipeline rupture at the companys Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaskas North Slope. That spill dumped 267,000 gallons of oil across 2 acres of frozen tundrathe second largest spill in Alaskas historywhich went undetected for nearly a week. West was confident that the thousands of hours he invested in the criminal investigation would result in felony charges against BP. The companys senior executives had received advance warnings from dozens of employees who worked at Prudhoe Bay. In fact, West, who spent nearly two decades at the EPAs criminal division, was also told the pipeline was going to rupture about six months before it happened. In a wide-ranging interview, West described how the Justice Department (DOJ) shut down his investigation into BP in August 2007 and gave the company a slap on the wrist. He first aired his frustrations after he retired from the agency in 2008. His story is ripe for retelling because the same questions about BPs record are being raised after the catastrophic explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and ruptured an oil well 5,000 feet below the surface, spewing at least 200,000 gallons of oil per day into the Gulf waters.

North Slope and demanding immediate action. One of the letters is dated January 10, 2001 and was sent to Hamel by unnamed BP employees who asked him to assist them in getting management to address workers concerns about safety and maintenance issues after repeated attempts had failed. They said they ehad ven reached out to then-BP President Lord John Browne about inadequate staffing levels two years earlier, but never received a response. Hamel followed up the employees letter with one he sent to Browne on April 11, 2001 at the companys London headquarters alerting him to the substandard safety and maintenance policies at Prudhoe Bay that threatened the welfare of BP employees, an issue that persists at the facility nearly a decade later. Courageous concerned individuals contacted me for assistance in reaching you, Hamels letter to Browne said. They have not succeeded in being heard in the past two years in London, Juneau or Washington. I am again a reluctant conduit. They hope that you will take whatever action appropriate to effect corrective action which would protect the environment, the facilities and their safety. Hamel also sent a copy of the letter to President Bush. It is unclear if either Browne or the Bush White House ever responded or even read the letters. (BP would not comment for this story.) West said when he met Hamel, he was told in no uncertain terms that a section of pipeline at a caribou crossing was filled with sludge and was going to rupture and when it did, it would be catastrophic. Hamel explained that the pipeline was so fragile that new employees were warned not to lean against it or allow their keys to bang against the structure because of the damage it could cause. Hamel told West that BP failed to take steps to conduct an internal inspection of the pipeline through a lengthy process known as smart pigging, which calls for sending electronic monitors, referred to as smart pigs, through the pipeline to determine whether any defects exist, such as sediment buildup, on the pipeline walls. (The monitor squeals as it travels through the pipeline, giving the device its name.) It would later be revealed that BP had not conducted such an inspection for eight years and ignored and or retaliated against employees who suggested the company do so.


The Watchdog

n the summer of 2005, West was transferred from San Francisco to the EPAs Seattle office and was introduced to Chuck Hamel, an oil industry watchdog, who is credited with exposing weak pollution laws at the Valdez tanker port in the 1980s (prior to the Exxon Valdez spill). Hamel had become the de facto spokesperson and protector of dozens of BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA) whistleblowers, who would routinely leak to him documents, pictures, and inside information about the companys poor safety and maintenance record at Prudhoe Bay. Hamel also operated a now-defunct website, which became a clearing house for whistleblowers complaints and an archive showcasing, among other things, the letters Hamel had written to Congress, the White House, and BPs top executives, exposing the companys shoddy operations in the

uring the time that West met with Hamel, Congress was debating opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration and BP, which operated the Prudhoe Bay oil field, the largest in North America and jointly owned by ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips, would have led the drilling efforts. In an interview with me in 2005, Hamel said whistleblowers informed him and then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who at the time was touring the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, that the safety valves at Prudhoe Bay, which kick on in the event of a pipeline rupture, failed to close. Secondary valves that connect the oil platforms with processing plants also failed to close. Because the technology at Prudhoe Bay would be duplicated at ANWR, that meant there was a strong chance of an explosion there and massive oil spills. West said after he spoke with a handful of the BP whistleblowers, he started having nightmares.... They told me there was going to be a massive spill on the North Slope and I need to be ready, West said. I had these guys telling me

Looking Back

about conversations they had with mid-level managers and documents they turned in exposing the pipeline corrosion and leak detection equipment on pipes that failed and were ignored because it went off all the time. The employees were slapped down. They were given a lot of grief for having raised these issues. The BP culture is keep your mouth shut and your head down because nobody at BP wants to hear about it.... BP turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to their experts who predicted a major spill. It wasnt an intentional act to put oil on the ground, but it was an intentional act to ignore their employees. Thats negligence and its criminal. West said he contacted colleagues in one of EPAs regional offices in 2005 that he had information an oil spill was likely to happen in the North Slope. But, West said, the transit lines are not regulated by the federal government. It was the state of Alaska that had jurisdiction. The only thing we could do was wait.

vision and are familiar with the case said it was Browne, BPs then-president and chief executive, and Tony Hayward, who was head of the companys production and exploration division. The DOJ officials would only speak on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive issues surrounding BP in the aftermath of the recent explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that led to the massive oil spill in the Gulf. One of the setbacks West faced was that he could not use the information he and his investigators obtained from the employees who claimed BP officials knew about the pipeline corrosion prior to the spill. One of the things that made this case slow was the vindictive nature of BP, West said.

Prediction Becomes Reality

n March 2, 2006, West was at his desk when he received a phone call. It was one of the employees I spoke to months earlier, West said. He said, Just as we predicted, theres a leak at the caribou crossing we told you about and its pretty bad. Even worse, the leak had gone undetected for nearly a week. The leak detection equipment employees had warned BP managers about malfunctions and for about five days oil spilled out of a hole in the pipeline the size of a pencil eraser. The leak was discovered when an oilfield worker surveying the area smelled petroleum in the air and stepped out of his car to investigate. He ended up with a black foot, West said. Thats how bad the spill was. The oil leak was determined to be caused by severe corrosion. It forced BP to shut down five oil processing centers in the region for about two weeks, which led to a spike in gas prices during a time of tight crude supplies. Long-time BP employee Marc Kovac said a couple of weeks after the oil spill that he and his co-workers warned the company numerous times that their aggressive cost-cutting measures would increase the likelihood of accidents, pipeline ruptures and spills. West said he immediately dispatched one of his investigators to the North Slope. He admits that he became excited about the prospect of putting people in jail for environmental crimes and that was his goal as he and his team, working with the FBI, the DOJ, and Alaska state environmental and regulatory officials, launched their probe into the circumstances behind the spill. As Wests investigation into the company began to take shape, he obtained information that very senior people in [BPs] London [headquarters] were aware of what was going on [with regard to the corrosion in the pipeline] and did nothing. Thats where my investigation was going, he said. This was one of the top two cases being investigated by the EPAs criminal division in 2007. This was a big deal. This case had all the markings of letting us get high and deep into the corporate veil. West would not identify the executives, but two DOJ officials who work in the agencys environmental and natural resources di46 Z MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

Looking Back

BP Exploration Alaska President Steve Marshall testifies before the Senate in September 2006 about the spill earlier that year

Sources we spoke with would not allow their names to be used because they feared they would be fired or retaliated against. What that meant was that I couldnt send investigators out to knock on their doors at night and take their statements. [The employees] said, What you have to do is get me in front of a grand jury and subpoena me to testify. The U.S. attorneys office in Anchorage, under the guidance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Aunnie Steward, the lead prosecutor on the case, convened a grand jury to hear witness testimony and subpoena witnesses, as well as documents, from BP. Because grand jury testimonies are secret, West could not say who or how many people testified. Nor

could he divulge the details about what they revealed. West said his team prepared a surgical subpoena, requesting specific documents from the company that would shed light on who knew what and when regarding the Alaska pipeline rupture. BP overwhelmed us, West recalled. When I say overwhelmed Im talking 62 million pages of documents they turned over. That told me there was a smoking gun in there, but it was going to take time to find it.

Like Trying to Turn the Titanic

he investigation progressed into 2007 and by June of that year prosecutors were discussing the evidence of BPs alleged crimes. Indeed, in a confidential email dated June 12, 2007 and sent to other federal and state prosecutors and EPA officials working on the case, Steward said what made the Alaska pipeline spill an issue of criminal negliZ MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010 47

Looking Back

gence was that, BP knew or should have known that failure budget challenges and ordered top down cost cutting to maintenance pig the line that leaked would cause the line with no regard for the safety of its pipelines. to fail.... Standard in the industry is anywhere from quarSteward said in her email, however, that the explosion in terly to once every five years, said Stewards email, under Texas got BPs attention and company executives mainthe subject line BP Theory of the Case. The email was tained that BP had changed.... Tony Hayward traveled to prepared for an August 2007 meeting with BPs defense at[Alaska] after the [Texas refinery] explosion to see if there torneys. Steward noted that the goal for the prosecution for were similar problems in [Alaska] as in [Texas], such as the next two months was to get something in writing on the overly aggressive cost cutting and a lack of communication charges and the evidence. It wont be trial ready in Aubetween [management] and employees and found that there gust. But she said her hope for the August 28 [2007] were. meeting is to listen to BP and find out what they think their defenses or mitigating circumstances are so that we can foSomething Sinister cus on those. As for the evidence, Steward said the prosecution had uring a meeting of investigators and prosecutors in Anplenty and she expressed an interest in pursuing felony chorage on August 28, 2007 to discuss the case, West charges. It had been eight said he was told that if he did years since the line had been not have enough evidence to pigged. We have a nice photo allow prosecutors to file immeU.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline of the cross-section of pipe diate felony charges against BP sentenced BP to three years probation where the leak occurred with or executives at the company and said the oil spills were a serious six inches of sediment accuthen the government was no mulated in the line. BPs own longer interested in pursuing crime that could have been precorrosion engineers say that if the case. Federal prosecutors vented if BP had spent more time and they had known there was asked me what I thought we funds investing in pipeline upgrades that much sediment in the line could charge BP at that very and a little less emphasis on profit. they would have pigged immoment and I said a criminal mediately. The important misdemeanor for Clean Water point here is that other parts Act violations, West said. of BPs organization besides the corrosion team knew that And they said OK, then a misdemeanor it is. Im screamthere was sediment in the lineso perhaps a corporate coling bloody murder. I told them Im hot on the trail. Dont lective knowledge would get us to knowing, i.e., that BP kill this investigation now. It would be different if I were knew that failure to pig was going to cause the pipe to fail working this case for six years and spent a lot of time and because of sediment build up. resources on it. But it was only 17 months. By this point, BP had mounted a vigorous defense and DOJ attorneys in Alaska decided the best course of action suggested that, even if they had performed maintenance on was to settle the case then and there. West said he continued the line, it still could have failed. But the companys own to argue against the rush to settle and explained that he corrosion engineers disagreed with that assertion. The comstill had a large volume of evidence he hadnt yet reviewed. pany also said that it intended to pig the line by the summer He said he needed at least another year. They said flatly of 2006, but the oil spill happened first. Moreover, accordno, West said. He then asked for six months and again ing to Stewards email, BP has also made a point of saying was rebuffed. How about three more months? No, he that everyone thought these lines were not likely to leak and was told. Its over. so, even if they had more money to throw at it, nothing He suspects that federal prosecutors in Alaska had already would have been done differently regarding the lines that been negotiating with BP about a plea agreement prior to the leaked. We have a ton of evidence to the contrary on this August 28, 2007 meeting. DOJ officials familiar with the point. case said they were unaware whether there was any interferIt was all, however, too little too late, Steward wrote, ence from the Bush White House or senior agency officials like trying to turn the Titanic. Managers at BP have said that would have led to the decision to shutter the probe. that things were so tight at BP from the 1990s through 2004 In a statement made on November 2008 when he first that, even after things began to change in 2005, the mentalwent public, the DOJ said Wests claims that something ity of employees was still so entrenched in cost cutting that sinister took place between June 12 and August 28, 2007 the first response to any proposal was, Well never get the are not based in fact and simply not true. West disagrees. money for that. The only reason things started to change I know how this case would have proceeded, he said. I was because the corrosion manager was such a tyrant and would have interviewed more people and developed more cost cutting was so rampant that whistleblowers complained leads and obtained more documents to look at. Thats a guarto the probation office while [BP Exploration Alaska] was antee. At the end of the day, we would have had a clear unon probation for [a prior] felony conviction. This led to an derstanding of who knew what and when and then we would audit in 2004, which recommended serious changes in orgabe able to make appropriate charging decisions. But because nization and budgeting to address the problems that started the investigation was shut down that was the end of it. to be rolled out in 2005. The audit was prepared by the law firm Vinson & Elkins. Penalty Phase It said BP created a climate of fear for employees who wanted to report concerns about the companys operations. est said he believed the DOJ did not appropriately Congressional investigators probing the March 2006 oil spill handle the case as it moved into the penalty phase a obtained internal BP emails that showed executives issued couple of months later. The U.S. Attorney in Alaska, Nel-



Looking Back

son Cohen, sidestepped the recommendations EPA made for fines against BP, West said. He said the fine would fall somewhere between $20 to $35 million and that the benchmark he came up with was based on the [1999] Olympic Pipeline explosion in Bellingham, Washington, that spilled 277,000 gallons of gasoline into nearby creeks, which killed a teenager and two ten-year-old boys. West said he had a run-in with Cohen in October 2006, when, at the prosecutors request, he met privately with him in Anchorage to discuss the case. Cohen was one of the appointments recommended by then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to fill the vacancy in the federal prosecutors office in Alaska. West said Cohen asked him, What do you know about me? I said I didnt know anything about him, but I told him I was anticipating the attorney general to make a recess appointment who would come to Alaska and kill my case against BP. And here you are. West was, a year later, invited by Cohen to attend the meeting with BPs defense attorney Carol Dinkins and other people representing the company where terms of the plea deal would be hammered. I was shocked at what I witnessed, West said. Cohen opened the settlement negotiations with the lowest dollar figure: $20 million. He said the governments benchmark was between $20 to $35 million and he opened with $20 million. I have never seen such anything like this during my career. Usually you start on the high end and negotiate toward a lower figure. Cohen told the Wall Street Journal in November 2008 that the decision to impose a $20 million fine was a judgment call made by his office. Its not my job to take every nickel from a defendant when they have done something wrong, Nelson said. Our job is to come up with what we feel is fair and just. West said he was told that the reason the DOJ decided on the $20 million fine was because the criminal case against the company for safety and environmental violations resulting from the Texas Refinery explosion, where 15 people were killed and 170 other were injured, was being settled for $50 million, another example, West says, of a rushed settlement. On October 25, 2007, in what can be described as a package deal, BP settled all of its major criminal cases. The corporation pled guilty to a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act and paid the $20 million fine related to the March and August 2006 oil spills that occurred in the North Slope. The EPA said the $20 million fine still represented one of the largest penalties under the Clean Water Act. That same day, the company also pled guilty to a felony for the Texas City refinery explosion and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ where the company admitted that it manipulated the propane market. Rep. John Dingell, the Democratic chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, issued a statement the day the settlement was announced excoriating the oil behemoth. Congress has held hearing after hearing

about BPs mismanagement and now DOJ, [the Commodities Futures Trading Commission] and EPA have imposed criminal fines, Dingells statement said. It is troubling that many of the same BP executives who were responsible for the management failures that led to the criminal charges and settlements...are still employed by BP and, in some cases, have been promoted to the highest levels of the company. On November 29, 2007, BP formally entered a guilty plea in federal court in Alaska. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline sentenced BP to three years probation and said the oil spills were a serious crime that could have been prevented if BP had spent more time and funds investing in pipeline upgrades and a little less emphasis on profit.

The Whistleblower

ests tenure at the EPA was tumultuous after his investigation into BP was shut down. He said the agency tried to fire him over the fact that he continued to be outspoken about the case. He retired from the agency on October 29, 2008. I took a bath and washed off the stink because I was so disgusted, he said. Two days later, he would become a whistleblower in his own right. West took his complaints about the way the BP case was handled to the nonprofit organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). He issued a two-page statement on October 31, 2008 that said he never had a significant environmental criminal case shut down by the political arm of the Department of Justice, nor have I had a case declined by the Department of Justice before I had been fully able to investigate the case. This is unprecedented in my experience. The EPA issued a statement a few days later in response to Wests claims. In the case of BP Alaska, after a robust 18-month criminal investigation, EPA, FBI, and DOT, along with DOJ prosecutors, jointly concluded the corporation was liable for a negligent discharge of oil, the Novem-


Looking Back

ber 3, 2008 statement said. EPA, along with DOJ, also concluded that further investigative efforts were unlikely to be fruitful. Last year, the DOJ filed a civil suit on behalf of the EPA against BP Exploration Alaska over the March and August 2006 oil spills in Prudhoe Bay. One of the spills forced BP to shut down its oil processing centers in the region for five days, which led to price spikes during a period of tight crude oil supplies. The complaint, filed by the DOJ on behalf of the EPA and the Department of Transportation-Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), is seeking maximum penalties from BP, alleging the company violated federal clean air and water laws and failed to implement spill prevention technology. The state of Alaska has also sued BP for violating environmental laws, claiming it lost as much as $1 billion in revenue due to the 2006 oil spills, which resulted in 35 million barrels of oil that BP was unable to produce. The complaint said the spills, along with BPs work to repair a severely corroded pipeline, significantly reduced oil production for more than two years.

Neoliberal Effects

NAFTA and the Political Economy of Mexican Immigration

By Collin Harris

Oil Spill Redux

espite the plea agreement BP entered into, it would appear the company may still be cutting corners on safety and maintenance. Last November, a pipeline ruptured at BPs Prudhoe Bay oil field spilling 46,000 gallons of crude oil and water onto the North Slope, which now hovers just a notch under the top ten oil spills in the region. State officials said the rupture occurred due to a buildup of ice inside the pipeline that caused it to burst under pressure. Criminal and civil investigations were immediately announced, led by Wests former colleagues at EPAs criminal division and the FBI. The (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division is continuing to work in concert with our federal and state partners and British Petroleum, to assess the situation associated with the November 29 [2009] rupture, said Tyler Amon, the divisions acting special agent in charge for the Northwest. This matter is under investigation. BP is still on probation for the March 2006 oil spill. If investigators determine that the company failed to address any of the maintenance and safety issues whistleblowers had told West about before and after the 2006 leak, then that would likely be a probation violation. Mary Frances Barnes, BPs probation officer, said that is a question investigators will determine. West, who now heads the Department of Intelligence and Investigations for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has heard that story before. I dont think BP learned any lessons, he said. They were just doing what corporations do. Its the government that failed us. Now theres the disaster in the Gulf. When I first heard about it, I said to my wife that its probably a BP rig and I was right. I will bet that when the investigations into the explosion and leak are complete, were going to find out it had something to do with BP cutting corners. Z

nternational migration is not, strictly speaking, a new phenomenon. However, in recent decades, the ascendancy of the global economy and the (short-lived?) triumph of neoliberal economics produced a parallel ascendancy in the rate of international immigration. Specifically, in Mexico the effects of neoliberal structural-adjustment programs in the 1980s, NAFTA in the 1990s, and the ongoing Security and Prosperity Partnership have produced successive waves of Mexican migrants to the United States. As trade negotiations and immigration policy were formally joined in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the Commission for the Study of International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development was created to study the causes of immigration to the United States and to offer advice on how to filter and contain it. The commissions first report to President Bush in 1990 found that the primary motivation for migrating north was economic.

The Backdrop

Jason Leopold is a reporter and editor of the web-based political magazine, the Public Record. Leopolds pieces have been published in the Nation, Salon.com, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Utne Reader, Counterpunch, Common Dreams, and Truthout.org.

reminder of the backdrop against which NAFTA was implemented is crucial for understanding the broader implications for both Mexico and the United States. The globalization campaign, of which NAFTA is one stage, had been met with popular protest and mass resistance all over the world. Popular movements against the corporatist crusade to globalize the doctrines of laissez-faire began in the global South, eventually penetrating the affluent core of the global economy and climaxing (as of yet) in mass protests against the pillars of the global economic order in Seattle. Similarly, NAFTA was implemented in spite of general public opposition. Typically, dissent and thoughtful criticism of the expected consequences of NAFTA were silenced in the United States, with rare but revealing exceptions. As President Salinas toured the U.S. explaining why NAFTA would set Mexico on a path toward first-world status, an analysis by the Office of Technology Assessment, a research bureau of Congress, concluded that NAFTA would likely harm the majority of the North American population. Negotiations moved forward with this well in mind. In the New York Times, hardly hostile to state and corporate power, Tim Golden reported, Economists predict that several million Mexicans will probably lose their jobs in the first five years after the accord takes effect. In the southern provinces like Chiapas and Oaxaca, where the vast majority live on the land, native Indian populations rose up in mass resistance to NAFTA in January 1994. The Zapatista uprising coincided directly with the enactment of

Looking Back

NAFTA and attracted worldwide solidarity in defiance of policies that clearly sought to undermine Mexican sovereignty. A major motivator for the uprising was President Salinass decision to repeal Article 27 of the Constitution of the Mexican Revolution, which had established thousands of pueblos with inalienable community land-holdings called ejidos. As the centerpiece of Mexicos post-revolutionary land redistribution reforms, this integral part of the Mexican social safety net was the ultimate symbol for social justice in peasant communities. As noted by Noam Chomsky in Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order, such barriers to unfettered implementation of neoliberal reforms were detected in a 1990 Latin America Strategy Development Workshop in Washington: A democracy opening in Mexico could test the special relationship by bringing into office a government more interested in challenging the U.S. on economic and nationalist grounds. Mexican democracy was seen from the beginning as a primary threat to the architects of NAFTA, for reasons that are abundantly clear upon examination of the record. Before the formal establishment of NAFTA, Mexico had been successfully co-opted by key purveyors of the neoliberal paradigm, including the U.S. government, IMF, World Bank, and WTO. Evelyn Hu-Dehart acknowledges in her Globalization and Its Discontents that NAFTA should be seen as one stage, albeit a major stage, in a larger process of restructuring the Mexican economy, a process still underway. The first wave of reforms began during the financial crisis of 1982, amid the developing world debt crisis, with Mexico joining the GATT in 1985, NAFTA in 1994, and culminating in the Bush administrations Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). Plans for Mexican integration into the global economy pre-dated NAFTA. Essentially, Mexico was to integrate into the New World Order through the standard neoliberal formulas: export-oriented growth models, removal of trade/investment barriers and price controls, sweeping privatization of the public sector, deregulation of industry and finance, and removal of state-provided social services. By the mid-1960s, the United States and Mexico had established the Border Industrialization Project, which created a multitude of now-infamous assembly plants (maquiladoras) along Mexicos northern border. The preferred model for production in the era of globalization, these Export-Processing Zones were essential for transfering cheap consumer products (apparel, electronics, auto parts etc.) to those living in the affluent global core. Agricultural Devastation More than any other sector, agriculture in Mexico has been devastated by NAFTA. Agriculture is integral to Mexican heritage and cultural values. For thousands of years, indigenous Indian populations lived and worked on the land, primarily as subsistence farmers, providing for local families, communities, and markets. The decade preceding NAFTA had seen sharp increases in poverty rates, with

more than two million new rural poor produced as a result of reforms. By 1998, the rural poverty rate had reached 82 percent according to World Bank figures. In line with World Bank/IMF prescriptions, Mexican agricultural production shifted towards crops for export, including animal feed and other cash crops, much to the benefit of giant agribusiness firms and foreign consumers. Post-NAFTA, Mexico began exporting its agricultural output. A country with a proud tradition in farming and agriculture now suffered increasing rates of hunger and malnutrition, with over half the people lacking access to basic necessities. According to the Department of Agriculture, exports from Mexico grew at an astonishing annual rate of 9.4 percent between 1994 and 2001, while annual U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico grew to $12.7 billion by 2007. As employment in agriculture declined, productive lands were abandoned and Mexico began to import massive amounts of food and other basic necessities, suffering the consequences of global market volatility. In Displaced Peoples: NAFTAs Most Important Product, David Bacon discusses how NAFTA forced Mexican farmers/producers of yellow corn to compete in their own local markets with corn grown in the United States by industrial agribusiness operations, subsidized by the public sector through the U.S. farm bill. As NAFTA and earlier reforms eliminated price supports and state food subsidies in Mexico, the U.S. government set up huge protections by subsidizing industrial corn production. Traditionally, through the National Popular Subsistence Company (Conasupo), the Mexican government bought corn at subsidized prices, turned it into tortillas (a staple in Mexican households), and sold them at state-franchised grocery stores at low prices. NAFTA eliminated Conasupo and rural Mexican farmers went hungry trying to compete with American firms who were saturating the local markets with imported crops. Similarly subject to the whims of the global market, and with state assisZ MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010 51

Looking Back

tance banned by NAFTA, Veracruz coffee growers were devastated by a global coffee glut.

Fallling Manufacturing Wages

n Happily Ever NAFTA?, John Cavanagh and Sarah Anderson document how, from 1993-1996, real manufacturing wages fell 20 percent. In 1999, wages in the maquiladoras were about $1.74, considerably lower than the rest of Mexican manufacturing with average wages of $2.12. Manufacturing became totally dependent on foreign consumer markets, with over 85 percent of exports and a majority of imports dependent on the American market. Between January 2001 and March 2002, over 500 maquiladoras shut down due to the U.S. recession. Industries became victims of external economic downturns, capital flight, and the search for even cheaper labor. While NAFTA did create 700,000 jobs in the maquiladora plants by 2000, 300,000 of them had disappeared to China and Southeast Asia by 2003. With the demise of the Consupo stores and price supports, the prices of tortillas more than doubled after the adoption of NAFTA, leading to the tortilla riots. Tortilla production is now monopolized by the Mexican oligopoly Grupo Maseca. Bacon notes that under the pre-NAFTA Mexican economy, foreign automakers like Ford and GM were required by law to purchase some materials for production from local Mexican producers. Post-NAFTA new laws prohibited requiring foreign producers to use a minimum percentage of local content for production of goods, allowing the auto giants to supply their assembly lines with parts from their own subsidiaries, usually located in other countries. Thousands of Mexican auto workers lost their jobs in the process. As a report by the Economic Policy Institute noted, NAFTA also prohibited governments from imposing restrictions such as local content requirements and local R&D sourcing and provided an expansion of investor rights in the investment chapter, thus reducing the costs and risks associated with foreign investment. Over half of all U.S. trade with Mexico consists of intrafirm transactions of the type described above. According to Cavanagh and Anderson, Mexican air pollution more than doubled under NAFTA, while Mexican government environmental expenditures have fallen 45 percent

since 1994. Chapter 11 NAFTA provisions allow foreign (primarily American) investors to sue governments directly, in highly secretive arbitration panels unaccountable to the public, for any acts or regulations that might diminish their bottom line. Mexico was forced to pay a California firm $17 million for denying the company a permit to operate a hazardous waste facility in an ecologically sensitive location. According to Bacon, by the mid-1990s, the majority of publicly-owned mines in Mexico had been sold off to Grupo Mexico, owned by the powerful and wealthy Larrea family. A steel mill in Michoacan was bought by the Villareal family, while the public telecommunications firm was sold to the wealthiest person in Mexico, Carlos Slim, the same oligarch who recently bailed out the New York Times. After having driven the citys bus system into extreme debt, former Mexico City mayor Carlos Hank bought the same public transit system he had destroyed at public auction after NAFTA. Wealthy narrow centers of power in Mexican society were not the only beneficiaries of these privatization schemes. In partnership with the Larrea family, American-based Union Pacific absorbed Mexicos primary north-south railway systems and immediately eliminated passenger service. In pursuit of ever-decreasing production costs, railway employment in Mexico fell drastically. After NAFTA, American firms now own and operate Mexicos ports and shipping terminals, with negative consequences for labor and the environment.

Militarizing the Border

t is no coincidence that, a few days after the passage of NAFTA, the Senate passed sweeping anti-crime legislation, militarizing the Mexican-American border and establishing the foundations for an emerging North American security-state. In an op-ed in the LA Times, Henry Kissinger called NAFTA the single most important decision that Congress would make during Mr. Clintons first term...the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War...not a conventional trade agreement but the architecture of a new international system. The NAFTA model was to be the prototype for bilateral and multilateral trading systems in the era of globalized capital, a process which Rockefeller accurately identifies as originating in Pinochets Chile. Projects of this scale produce inevitable backlash, part of what economists prefer to call externalities. As the fabric of social life decays, communities begin to disintegrate and people begin to seek out any means of survival. Once the neoliberal project is underway, in any given society, critical security and military infrastructure is often necessary for containment and suppression of the victimsthe general population. From the 1970s on through the 21st century, from South Americas Southern Cone to Russia to China to North America, these policies have necessitated the use of force and coercion to protect both the state and other vested interests from popular revolt. When NAFTA was signed, there were 2.4 million undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. More recent data shows that number at 4.8 million and the total number of Mexican-born people in the U.S. doubled to 9 million by 2000. Over 600,000 Mexicans migrated north in 2002 alone. Mexican migration has increased so much that remittances have become something of a lifeboat for the Mexican economy. NAFTA was to be extended to the realm of security and de-



Looking Back

fense via SPP, a highly secretive regional security initiative launched between President Bush, Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2005. Quietly launched by the Bush administration, the SPP circumvents elected legislatures, media scrutiny, and general public oversight entirely. In this sense, it is not a treaty or law (which would require consent of the public), but a loose network of interests collaborating behind closed doors as a means of not only enhancing the architecture of NAFTA, but as a way of institutionalizing the infamous Bush National Security Strategy of 2002, the most hegemonic expression of American power since the Monroe Doctrine. Thomas Shannon, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, described SPPs purpose with revealing candor: To a certain extent, were armoring NAFTA. Mexicans and other Latin Americans have learned that adopting the U.S.-promoted neoliberal economic modelwith its economic displacement and social cutbackscomes with a necessary degree of force, but this was the first time that a U.S. official had stated outright that regional security was now about protecting a regional economic model. Washington had three fundamental objectives embodied in the SPP:
to create more advantageous conditions for trans-

national corporations and remove remaining barriers for the flow of capital and cross border production within the framework of NAFTA
to assure secure access to natural resources in the

other two countries, especially oil, which had yet to be fully privatized in Mexico
to create a regional security plan based on push-

ing its borders out into a security perimeter that includes Mexico and Canada Through the SPP, the Bush administration sought to push its North American trading partners into a common front that would assume shared responsibility for protecting the United States from external threats, promoting and protecting the free trade economic model, and bolstering U.S. global control, especially in Latin America where the State Department sees a growing threat due to the recent elections of center-left governments. Post 9/11, a massive industry was spawned around the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and, increasingly, defense/security/intelligence. Disaster-response matters are now outsourced to the private sector (firms like Boeing, GE, Lockheed Martin, Blackwater, etc.).

Plan Mexico

he latest step forward is Plan Mexico (also known as the Merida Initiative), passed by Congress, and signed into law by Bush in June 2008, which allocates $400 million to Mexico for 2008-09. The original plan foresees about $1.4 billion over a 3-year period to the Mexican military, police, and judicial systems for training and equipment. Plan Mexico is an adjunct to SPP with the expressed intent of arming

Mexican security forces in order to protect the shared economic space of North America. Hiding behind an empty gesture to combat the deadly drug trade along the Mexican-American border, the Bush administration set in motion a scheme to militarize North America, including widespread border and domestic surveillance and expansion of the private prison complex, allegedly to combat increasing illegal immigration and underground criminal networks. The counterterrorism/drug war model elaborated in the SPP and embodied later in Plan Mexico encourages a crackdown on grassroots dissent to assure that no force, domestic or foreign, effectively questions the future of the system. As Laura Carlsen notes in her report for the Center for International Policy, All of these programs are directed to the goals of supply interdiction, enforcement, and surveillanceincluding domestic spying.... This military model has proved historically ineffective in achieving the goals of eliminating the illegal drug trade and decreasing organized crime, and closely related to an increase in violence, instability, and authoritarian presidential powers. By extending NAFTA into regional security, Washington decidedand the Mexican government concededthat top-down economic integration necessitated shared security goals and actions. Given the huge imbalance of economic and political power between Mexico and the United States, this meant that Mexico had to adopt the foreign policy objectives and the destabilizing, militaristic counter-terrorism agenda of the U.S. government. Under the rubric of Counter Narcotics, Counter Terrorism, and Border Security, the initiative would allocate $205.5 million for the Mexican Armed Forces. Over 40 percent of the entire package goes to defense companies for the purchase of 8 Bell helicopters (at $13 million each, with training, maintenance, and special equipment) for the Mexican Army and 2 CASA 235 maritime patrol planes (at $50 million each, with maintenance) for the countrys Navy. Most of the $132.5 million allocated to Mexican law enforcement agencies also lines the pockets of defense companies for purchase of surveillance, inspection, and security equipment, and for training. The Mexican federal police force receives most of this funding, with customs, immigration, and communications receiving the remainder. The rest

Looking Back

of the 2008 appropriations request is comprised of $112 million in the Rule of Law category for the Mexican Attorney Generals Office and the criminal justice system. This money is earmarked for software and training in case-tracking and centralizing data. The initiative would also give $12.9 million to the infamous Mexican Intelligence Service (CISEN) for investigations, forensics equipment, counterterrorism work, and to other agencies including the Migration Institute for the establishment of a database on immigrants. The U.S. government allots $37 million of the packet to itself for administrative costs.

Democracy Deficit

What the Past Teaches About U.S. Democracy

By Herbert P. Bix

War on Drugs Model

or the Bush administration, the war on drugs model has served to lock in pro-corporate economic policies and U.S. military influence in the region. When the United States exports its war on drugs it becomes a powerful tool for intervention and pressuring other nations to assume U.S. national security interests as their own. This global police role creates dependency on the U.S. military and intelligence services and militarizes diplomacy. The Pentagon takes the lead in international policy, while relegating international law and diplomacy to a distant second place. What does this all mean for Mexican migration to the U.S.? The answer is relatively simple. NAFTA finalized the restructuring of the Mexican economy that began in 1982. As Mexico was locked in to the neoliberal economic model, peasant farmers and assembly plant workers sought economic refuge in the country directly to the north, the center of the worlds economy. As free market policies pressured the state into cutting budgets for social services, Mexican communities were left with few options. Displacement of Mexican workers is the defining legacy of NAFTA-era Mexico while U.S. industries benefit from illegal migrants who demand much less than their U.S. counterparts in terms of wages, benefits, and legal protections. In 2001-2002, while the American economy was shedding millions of jobs, Mexican migrants arrived in staggering numbers. Currently, the vast majority of international migration in the global economy is forced migration. NAFTA and the SPP should be seen as stages in larger plans for the expansion of corporate and state control over economic, social, and political life in North America. These policy developments of the previous two decades have established a continental economic system and the necessary rules to govern it: private corporate control with the force of the state at its disposal. The criminalization of Mexican immigrants, essentially adopting the counter-terrorism/waron-drugs approach to addressing the issue, is a recipe for continued failure. Without repealing the systemic reforms established by NAFTA and earlier structural adjustments, actively resisting the radical militarization of North America via the SPP, and establishing self-sufficient Mexican communities, we can expect northbound Mexican migration to continue unabated. Z
Collin Harris, originally from Springfield, Illinois, attended Columbia College and then transferred to UIC where he spent his final two years and where his three major research projects dealt with NAFTA and the political economy of Mexican immigration, participatory society, and the application of social movement theory to the movements in South.

his article examines how American elites have expanded an empire constantly at war while ignoring the needs of the vast majority at home. It sketches the present political moment centered on President Barack Obamas first 18 months in office, then looks at ancient Athens in order to pick up concepts that Athenians debated, such as citizenship based on democratic equality and freedom, as well as its oligarchic opposites. Drawing on Athenian ideas and practices of democracy by politically empowered citizen-peasants, artisans, and casual laborers can deepen our understanding of the many anti-democratic features of the U.S. political system. Similarly, we may gain a better perspective on the persistence of imperialism in our own time by seeing how Athenians forcibly acquired foreign economic, political, and geographical assets in order to enhance the power of their city-state, often violating law and their own moral norms in the use of military force.

Obamas Presidency

bama promised a return to the rule of law, openness in policy decision-making, and a transformative change in government. Instead, he continued the Iraq occupation, ordered the largest ever escalation of the illegal ground war and an aerial assassination campaign against Pashtun resistance forces and remnants of al Qaeda in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan. Concurrently, he escalated covert operations by U.S. Special Forces and CIA personnel inside Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The president has said nothing about his condoning of torture-by-proxy or his personal ordering of assassinationsa war crime under international and U.S. law. However, he has defended his multiple Afghanistan surges by falsely claiming that the war was just, lawful, defensive in nature, and endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. Meanwhile, Obama has tightened economic sanctions and stepped up war preparations against Iran, continued enabling and defending apartheid Israels war crimes and occupation of Palestinian lands, and is shoring up traditional U.S. imperial relationship with Latin American and Caribbean nations in order to undermine independent, populist governments that pursue pro-people policies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Cuba. The Obama administration secretly contracted with the Colombian government to use seven military bases for Pentagon operations throughout South America. It sided with the coup regime in Honduras and increased the Pentagons presence in Mexico, which earlier had been placed under the authority of the new Northern Command. Obama is continuing the Bush policy of expanded

Looking Back

weapons sales and direct military involvement in at least six African countries facing domestic insurgencies. To staff his Transition Economic Advisory Board, Obama chose individuals who were complicit in corporate crimes. One of them, Timothy Geithner, the former head of the New York Fed under the Clinton administration, was a serial tax-evader who had also helped set the stage for the global recession. Playing roles on Obamas Advisory Board were two leading proponents of economic deregulationformer Secretaries of the Treasury Robert Rubin (who enabled the criminal activities of Enron leaders and numerous other CEOs and directors of private companies, banks, and hedge funds) and Lawrence Summers, Clintons deputy treasury secretary who, together with Ruben, played an instrumental role in repealing the New Deals chief piece of banking reform legislation, the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking. Obama soon made Summers his top economic advisor and Geithner his Treasury Secretary. Geithner had just been involved in covering up his secret negotiations to bailout the giant insurer AIG, Inc. so that AIG could then use taxpayers money to fully repay the banks it had borrowed from. When it came to picking an attorney general, Obama appointed Eric H. Holder who had justified Bushs illegal program of spying on the private conversations of American citizens through warrantless wiretaps on the grounds of protecting state secrets. Holder answered calls for inquiry into past acts of presidential lawbreaking by rejecting the Nuremberg principles pertaining to heads of state who committed war crimes and CIA and military torturers who claimed to be following presidential orders. Having affirmed impunity for Bush, Cheney, and their torture-justifying lawyers (including Jay Bybee and John Yoo), Holder announced his intention to establish what constitutional scholar Glenn Greenwald called a three-tiered justice system, with jury trials in a federal District Court for some illegally-held and tortured detainees, special military commissions for others who are also being held illegally, and indefinite detention without charges for...the rest who are going to be moved to the first preventive detention prison established on U.S. soil. Thanks to Holders efforts, the Senate extended the PATRIOT Act for another year, which allows the president to, treathuman rights advocates as criminal terrorists, and threatenthem with 15 years in prison for advocating nonviolent means to resolve disputes. In 2009-10, these issues came together during congressional discussions of the relationship between the free enterprise, predatory capitalist economy and the publics need for health care. Most Americans wanted the government to move to a single-payer system or, failing that, at the very least a public option or some form of Medicare for all. But Obama opposed any proposal that shut out the private, for-profit insurance industry. The new law does not make health care universal, or more cost-effective, efficient, and affordable for millions of middle-income Americans. It guarantees hundreds of billions in windfall profits for the radically corrupt pharmaceutical companies that charge exorbitant prices for drugs because the government refuses to negotiate costs with them. And it allows the insurance industry to continue setting rates and enjoying exemption from anti- trust regulation. The incompatibility between democracys ethical ideals and the rationale of unregulated capitalism is a problem Obama inherited. But he became president partly because he

operates on the same Reaganite assumption as the Republicans: namely, that in order for a capitalist market economy to further its goals, the majority of citizens must be prevented from realizing most of their social demands. Keep the public ignorant of what officials are really thinking and doing; deny them information on how decisions are made and who benefits most from them; and build non-accountability into the financial system, so that when things go wrong, the losses are borne by the public, not the too-big-to-fail banks. In assessing Americas domestic and foreign policies, a clearer view of the relationship between imperialism, war, and democracy can help us see the connections, besides being interesting in their own right. Bearing in mind that historical experiences are unique, time is multi-dimensional, and comparisons from different eras can be pushed too far, let us turn to the example of ancient Athens, where democracy was a form of city-state that fully empowered all free-born male citizens.

Perspectives from Antiquity

ell over 2,000 years ago in Athens, Greece, in a city-state about one-eighth the size of Massachusetts, the democratic form unfolded alongside an empire of tributary states, controlling people living throughout the Aegean Sea area and along the coast of Anatolia. Broadly speaking, ancient Athenian history teaches that any political form can be fully compatible with imperialism and the worst kinds of violence and the most diabolical methods of inflicting pain on the human body that mortals can imagine. A war-fighting democracy can survive military defeat, remain stable, and strengthen its democratic institutions by retaining a limit on civil office and relying on written law. But even as the Athenians made changes in their politics and economy, they continued their struggle to recover some of their 5th century possessions, until the cumulative effect of repeated wars, mistaken policies, and lack of money led ultimately to democracys failure. Athens followed such a course for about a century and a half after losing the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC and going through a short period of impotence. In the late 4th Century BC, Alexander the Great absorbed Athens into the Macedonian empire. Only then did the era of the city-state and of mass democracy as a political regime cease to exist, though the theory of democracy lived on, revived by the English Levellers in the 17th century and advocated by Tom Paine in the late 18th century. Looking through the prism of our own political situation, we see that in Athenss decentralized democracy, citizens routinely tortured slaves as part of the judicial process and used torture to promote civic discipline and reducevice. Americans practice torture as a matter of state policy and share with the Athenians a history of racism, as evidenced during U.S. wars against Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The anti-barbarian (i.e,. anti-Asian) racism of the Athenians and their inability to recognize a common humanity in other Greek democracies, may even have contributed to the total defeat of their naval expedition against Syracuse and other city-states on the island of Sicily (415-413 BC), their longest, costliest campaign. Both Thucydides, who made imperialism, power, and hubris the main themes of his history of the long Peloponnesian War, and Aristotle, the 4th century Athenian philosopher of political forms and their transformation, encourage us to

Looking Back

question the conditions under which democracy and imperialism are compatible and the conditions under which they clash. What parts of the population profit from imperialist policies and war and who pays the cost of ruling over or controlling others who wish to be free of foreign control? Rule by the people conveys the idea that ordinary people (the many) actually have the political power to govern and that they strive publicly to redefine the terms of ruling and being ruled. For 200 years, from the late 6th through the late 4th centuries BC, the male citizens of Athenian democracythe most successful State in Greecetook political decisions by majority vote and strove constantly to increase their share of power and extend it to all institutions. Contrast that with the U.S. where the main institutions of power have tried to suppress democracy from below. In the Athenian city-state, democratic or absolute equality was based on citizenship, which rested only partly on war-generated chattel slavery. Historian Kurt A. Raaflaub observed, since Athenian democracy guaranteed collective freedom, the rights and freedoms of the individual citizen, whether rich or poor, rarely need[ed] to be stressed and formulated as such. Ellen Meiksins Wood reminds us that Athenian democracy did not rest primarily on slavery, but rather was the product of a laboring citizenry, composed of peasants, [urban and rural] craftsmen, and even casual laborers. The majority dwelt in the countryside, but all eventually came to enjoy both freedom of speech and equality of speech. Oligarchs, members of the wealthy upper class of property owners, reacted against those who had to work for a living and could not enjoy economic independence. They downplayed the citizens political identity and daily life experiences, emphasizing instead higher education and the personal qualities required for the citizens right of full political participation. But democracys defenders rebutted them by insisting on the average citizens political expertise, intelligence, and right of free speech. No wonder that Athenian citizens, in their assembly, council, and jury courts, used freedom of speech to closely scrutinize and control their highest public officials. Their democracy grew out of oligarchy and oligarchs and aristocratic land-owners were always ready to revolt against democratic methods of organizing power, even though they seldom contested empire and imperial expansion. Certainly, Americans have far surpassed Athenians where the understanding of citizenship and civil liberties are concerned. But the American way of life and politics, characterized by dynamic geopolitical expansion, constant and forceful meddling in the affairs of other peoples, and denial of equality of speech between citizens and corporations, has yet to emerge from oligarchic rule. Athenian voters, by contrast, understood that secrecy and misrepresentation of policy by those in public office were utterly destructive of democratic governance. So they gave most of their officials the opportunity to exercise power for only one year, then held them strictly accountable for what they did or failed to do while in office. The elaborate machinery they evolved to do this included frequent accountability trials for non-trivial offenses against the people.

Generals, too, could be tried and, if found guilty, executed or ostracized for their decisions on the battlefield. They could also be indicted and examined without being charged. Athenian citizens appeared to understand that democracy reverts to oligarchy and citizens lose control over their political system when non-accountability prevails among the very highest civil and military officials of the state. In comparison, Americas most important political and economic institutions, as presently constituted, are so utterly incompatible with democracys most basic principles as to make nonsense of the proposition that the U.S. is a democracy. In the U.S. Congress, accountability trials for the highest officials are virtually nonexistent. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo attest to this. So, too, does the online video clip of an American war atrocity that was seen by millions of viewers around the world in early April 2010. The classified military film, leaked to the Wikileaks.org website by someone within the Pentagon, showed 2 American helicopter crews murdering 12 Iraqis civilians in broad daylight, including 2 Reuters reporters, and seriously wounding 2 Iraqi children; a nearby American tank came upon the scene and deliberately crushed the body of a wounded Iraqi who was trying to crawl away. The Pentagon sought to cover up this incident, which occurred on July 12, 2007, then lied about it. But massacres of this sort are common occurrences in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as attested by a recent incident on a main highway near Kandahar in which trigger-happy American soldiers intentionally raked a large passenger bus with gunfire, killing 5 Afghan civilians and wounding 18 others. The murders touched off riots against the American occupiers.

Economic Predators

ontinuing with our excavation into the deep past, the Athenians had an agricultural economy with a weak material and technological base. As their democracy developed, they became economic predators who set justice aside and waged war continuously. Indeed, war and its preparation was Athenss chief business, just as it has become Americas. But, in ancient Greece, war was transpar-

Looking Back

ent rather than covert. For almost three decades non-professional Athenian citizen militia and partially democratized naval fleets fought the Persians, then fellow Greeks, led by Sparta, the champion of oligarchy. Fighting was constant. A small number of demagogues skilled in oratory, enlisted the Athenian citizen-militia in military adventures and sustained their support for empire and war. They appealed to the citizens honor, pride, and self-interest. But they also justified their policies by stoking fear of external enemies. Fear-wracked citizens then came to view imperialism and its techniques as morally wrong when practiced by others but not themselves. By contrast, war waged in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S and its NATO allies is deeply embedded in industrial, financial, and educational structures. The demagogues role is played by the president, Congressional leaders, mainstream media elites, and the corporations that employ them, as well as by Pentagon officials themselves. They keep the public in line, shape perceptions of war in accordance with their policy line and their own beliefs. Because modern warfare is entirely profit-oriented, mercenaries employed by specialized private military and intelligence companies play a big role in its conduct. This can be seen especially in Iraq and Afghanistan where the Pentagon employs a huge work force of private armed-contractors and gun-slinging thugs who enjoy legal immunity for the crimes they commit. Even citizens who disagree with Americas wars are enjoined to support the standing army and regard as heroes and warriors all professional soldiers and enlistees who serve in battle zones. According to Aristotle, Athenians administered their empire with 700 military/civilian officials. His 700 figure indicates a scale of administration that, in the opinion of historian Moses I. Finley, was relatively larger than the formal administration in the provinces of the Roman empire. What made Athens empire work was naval power, consisting of fleets of triremes, crewed by up to 170 rowers (most of whom were citizens, augmented by foreigners). The fleet enabled Athens to control the Aegean Sea and nearly all of its islands, and to collect from its colonies annual tributes, in the form of cash, timber, and grain, or income from land and confiscated mines. Finley also argues that in the ancient economy, the modern forms of colonial exploitation, such as cheap labor and cheap raw materials, were not operative. Nevertheless, he stresses that empires direct and indirect

advantages were considerable. The poorer half of the Athenian population profited most directly and to an extent unknown in the Roman empire or in modern empires, whereas the more prosperous Athenians in the upper classes paid the most domestic taxes as well as the costs of war and empire.

Democracy Deficit

y comparison, in the modern oligarchic-ruled United States, this relationship to empire is reversed: the poor fight and suffer most from constant imperialist wars and interventions. The rich, the senior military officer class, and many professional politicians, are wars chief beneficiaries. And the various stratum of the middle class usually receives material advantages, except when the wars are overly long and unsuccessful. A noteworthy issue that connects Athenian political thought to the American present is the Athenian understanding that inequality destroyed state unity and ignited class conflict. If democracy was to flourish and society remain healthy, inequalities of power and wealth had to be limited. By contrast, the drafters of the U.S. federal Constitution expressed their anti-democratic biases by structuring power in ways explicitly designed to foster economic inequality. To focus attention on inequality and, along with it, the problem of accountability, one need only contrast Aristotles understanding of democracy with James Madisons understanding of it in the late 18th century. Aristotle regarded democracy as approaching the most enduring, stable, and just form of government, for it was the form most likely to serve the common good of all free male human beings or full citizens as opposed to the non-citizens who lived among them and against whom they defined themselves, such as slaves, women, and resident aliens. As he defined it, democracy, was narrowly egalitarian and meant the judicious management of societys resources to benefit all full citizens, who, in the political sphere at least, had to be treated equally, with equal rights to debate and to determine policy. But, in his Politics, Aristotle also recognized a conflict between economic inequality and democracy. To lessen this class conflict, Aristotle proposed reducing economic inequality in the city-state, so that rich property owners, the educated, those who did not have to work for a livingi.e., the oligarchic classwould be less inclined to take advantage of others internally as well as commit aggression against other societies. For unless there was economic justice for all citizens, not only would the rich behave insolently, but people in general would act indecently toward one another, the political community would fracture, and the middle class contract. By contrast, as Noam Chomsky notes, the pre-capitalist, chief architect of the American Federal Constitution, James Madison, recognized the same age-old conflict between rich and poor, but proposed the exact opposite solution, arguing, in effect to let the systemic inequalities in American society remain, and reduce the scope of popular participation in government. In the state debates on the Federal Constitution, Madison expressed his contempt for democratic (agrarian) reform by observing that, in England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place...our government

Looking Back

ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation, which would be harmful to the wealthy minority. Although familiar with democracys requirements, Madison, like his fellow slave-holder Thomas Jefferson, did everything in his power to enshrine economic inequality, strengthen property rights, and guard against the redistribution of wealth. For if the people had more money to spend on their basic needs and could control their lives, they would want more and would pressure their political leaders to really represent their interests. The problem for Madison was how to contain the leveling threat of the peoples political participation and reverse the direction of the country, to set it against the democratic and participatory politics flourishing in the states. He and the other drafters achieved these goals: (a) by means of the Constitutions structure and balancing of offices, (b) by not granting political rights equally, and, over time, (c) by judicial review by judges appointed for life, so that citizens could not call them to account for their decisions in favor of the propertied. The result was a constitution overflowing with built-in oligarchic features. Ever since the U.S. Constitutional system was enacted in 1787 to replace the more democratic Articles of Confederation, it has helped privileged elites in their effort to prevent the majority of citizens from participating actively in national politics. Based on oligarchic, as opposed to democratic, political equality, the pro-slavery Constitution institutionalized existing race, gender, class, and economic distinctions. It framed a state that aimed at effective military defense, perpetuated discrimination, and encouraged extreme acquisitiveness. Its complex Electoral College and winner-take-all election system obstructed candidate selection from below and insured the development from the early 19th century onward of a two-party system for selecting presidents, all of whom, from George Washington to Barrack Obama, have been avid supporters of empire and opponents of social democracy. The Constitution, in short, created a constitutional republic that has permanently condemned the majority of citizens to secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of [lifes] blessings, which they could never have, though they still might dream otherwise. Prompted by this flawed document, the Federalist project advanced into the early 19th century under Republican leadership. In the 1830s the Jacksonians opened up the nationali s t , c e

ntralizing project begun by the Federalists. Under the presidency of Andrew Jackson, they extended the franchise to all white males, while at the same time intensifying the ethnic cleansing of the Indians. Over the next 50 years, the rise of corporations and private bank companies completed the Federalist project of making America safe for oligarchic rule. Giant corporations, big banks, and the individuals who ran them empowered the enemies of popular democracy in ways the Federalists never even imagined. Corporate leaders and bankers, aided by the media they controlled, became the dominant force shaping domestic law. They used the law to empower managers rather than regulators and to make the courts rather than elected legislators the overseers of corporate profits and behavior. Thus, they insured that American society would continue to function non-democratically, without equal justice and freedom for all people.

In the USA Today

ump ahead to the present phase of U.S. imperialism in which the worlds richest nation continues to experience sharply accelerating internal poverty and income inequality. When in 2007 a UN research report ranked market-oriented countries of unequal size in terms of income inequality, the U.S. stood third with the top percentile of Americans receiving the highest ever share of income. Only Hong Kong and the city state of Singapore had bigger gaps between rich and poor, while Israel, Portugal, and New Zealand ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth; Britain and Italy tied for seventh place; Australia was ninth and Ireland and Greece tied for tenth place. Why did American income inequality rise so dramatically in the neo-liberal era? Part of the explanation lies in such political and constitutional factors as: the blocking of the majority of citizens from effective participation in public affairs; the repression of trade unions that could protect workers, and the highly class-conscious business elites undermining of popular support for unions. Rising income inequality is also related to the unrestrained authority over wealth that Federal and state governments give to top corporate executives, Wall Street bankers, and financiers; and to rampant external and internal militarism, fed by increases to both the size of the defense budget and its annual rate of growth. The military budget is almost as sacrosanct as the financial system, which can never be discredited no matter how many times it fails. American policy-makers have long ignored economic constraints on their ambition to refashion the world to their own liking. Under the Clinton administration, when the U.S. economy rebounded from recession and was growing again, the Clintonites encouraged and bribed allies to adopt aggressive capitalist free trade policies (NAFTA), which deepened global economic inequalities. They also abetted the financial speculation that led to the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Many Asian banks were brought to the edge of collapse. Riots erupted in hardest hit Indonesia, undermining, then ending the 31-year-long dictatorship of former army general and mass murderer Suharto. In November 1999 came the Battle of Seattlethe first large-scale street protests in the North against corporate crimes and neo-liberal globalization policies promoted by the U.S. through the World Trade Organization, the IMF, and the World Bank. Critics of capitalism had found their voice, but neo-liberal ideas continued to be the common



Looking Back

sense of government policy-makers and most economists; and the myths spread around the world. They started with the false assumptions that free markets allocated resources efficiently and, as economist Joseph E. Stiglitz put it, were self-correcting. Financial market operations should be unrestrained and unregulated, and corporate-managed tradecalled free trade encouraged everywhere. Neo-liberal ideology spread around the world. It came to Russia at a time when its limited integration into the world economy was just getting underway. After experiencing several years of disastrous financial pillage of its resources and multi-billion transfers of public wealth into private, sometimes gangster hands, resource-rich Russia reorganized itself for economic growth based on energy exports. Russias return to participation as a significant player in the world economy, on its own terms, posed no serious economic challenge to American aspirations to total global dominance. Neither did Chinas rise to economic power status. Instead, dynamic economic growth in the European Union countries, especially Germany, represented more of a challenge. But what mainly reduced U.S. economic capacities and contributed to the nations relative economic decline were the de-industrialization and militar- ization of U.S. society, and the decision by increasing numbers of American corporate leaders to shift production to low-wage countries like China and India. As the 21st century opened amid forebodings about the future, the world economy continued to restructure into great regional epicenters of economic power. With no other nation powerful enough to balance the U.S., Bush Junior opted to use military force to control the internal politics of oil-rich Muslim states and to set maximalist diplomatic goals in Eastern Europe, where he tried to expand NATO right up to Russias borders while making inroads into the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. It really didnt matter what the Bush/Cheney administration attempted to do abroad because, as one economist put it, so long as the dollar reserve system [held], the rules really [were] different for the United States. Thus, unrestrained by rivals, the U.S. began spending more on its armed forces than all other nations combinedreaching nearly 5 percent of its GDP in 2009. Embedded militarism at home insured Congressional support for military spending while the global deployment of U.S. military forces and naval fleets, linked by the new information-communication technology, reinforced the illusion of remote control of distant battlefields from within the U.S. The enhanced power that these developments gave to U.S. political and economic elites, almost none of whom had ever directly experienced actual warfare, strengthened their resolve to go on using military power to control the world no matter what the cost to others. Seven years after 9/11 the U.S.-led neo-liberal economic project, which the leaders of the advanced economies in Europe and Asia more or less followed, brought on a major world recession. As credit markets at home and abroad froze up, starting in December 2007 and continuing through all of 2008, the recession turned into the greatest global financial crash of the post-World War II era. Extreme laissez-faire

ideas (i.e. free market ideology) and the impulse to privatize most state-functionsjust two of many neo-liberal strands of discoursefell into brief disrepute. After about a year and half of recession, the Obama administration was able to check the financial meltdown by means of massive government monetary and fiscal interventions. He gave tax-payers money to banks without conditions (so that they would start lending again, which most of them failed to do) and rewarded Wall Street traders and high level corporate officers, whose actions had caused the succession of crises that led to the global recession. A political crisis of the capitalist system itself, such as occurred in the 1930s, was thereby postponed by creating massive government debt. In late 2009, investor confidence in the inflated global financial system recovered but the trend of slow economic growth, high unemployment, and declining real wages for most Americans continues. Under the Obama team, unemployment and underemployment, as well as home foreclosures and foreclosure delinquencies continue to rise through 2010, bringing misery to scores of millions of middle class and working families in all walks of life. According to the recent estimates made by the National Academy of Science, which take into account medical costs and geographic variations, there were approximately 47.4 million Americans [i.e. 1 in 6] living in poverty in 2008, 7 million more than the governments official figure. The backdrop to todays struggles for democracy and economic justice is a nation that has undergone the worst economic setback since the Great Depression thanks to the policies of successive Democratic and Republican governments. One of the great struggle of the 21st century will be to end militarism and check the trend toward unregulated corporate authority over vast wealth. Unless that happens the larceny of bankers and CEOs, corporate shaping of the governments agenda, plus economically and socially debilitating war and militarism are likely to continue rotting the United States from within. Just like Athens. Z

Herbert P. Bix, author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (HarperCollins, 2000), writes on problems of war and empire.

Looking Forward

Reimagining Society

Why Participatory Economics?

By Michael Albert

arkets subjugate ecology, abominate personality, breed poverty, and require gross inequality. War, what is it good for? Not people. Capitalism? It makes accumulation the goal of life and caring a token of failure. But, another world is possible nearly everyone replies. Really, what is it? We want the world and we want it now. Yes, but kind of world do you prefer? Well, when I am asked that question about economicsand it is a good question about culture and kinship, and polity tooI answer, what I want is the fourth of four currently available options. The first, capitalism, combines private ownership, remuneration for property, power, and, to a degree, output, corporate divisions of labor, and markets in ways primarily benefiting the capitalist class. The second and the third, centrally planned and market (20th century) socialism combine markets or central planning with public or state ownership, remuneration for power, and, to a degree, for output, and corporate divisions of labor which primarily benefit a coordinator class of planners, managers, and others similarly empowered in the economy. The fourth, participatory economics (parecon for short) combines social ownership, self-managing workers and consumers councils, remuneration for duration, intensity, and onerousness of work, balanced job complexes (that apportion labor so each job has roughly the same empowerment effects as all other jobs), and participatory planning where workers and consumers cooperatively negotiate economic outcomes with no class divisions. I advocate participatory economics because it transcends capitalism and also market and centrally planned socialism by establishing core institutions that promote solidarity, equity of circumstance and income, diversity, participatory self management, classlessness, and efficiency in meeting human needs and developing human potentials. Here are more detailed reasons.

gineers? Critics of the received left wisdom werent satisfied with lumping these highly empowered workers in with either rote workers below or even more powerful owners above. We felt that the in-between group was different based on their economic position, yet not ownership. What made a class, in this view, went beyond conditions of ownership to something more generalposition in the economywhich gave classes interests collectively different and contrary to other classes, a different methodology for personal advancement, a different self image and image of others, and a potential to rule economic life. Participatory economics extends the insights of anarchists like Bakunin and libertarian socialists like Barbara Ehrenreich that what was called socialism in the past had core institutions that didnt elevate workers while eliminating owners, but that elevated coordinators while eliminating owners. In the so-called socialist economies, we realized workers didnt decide economic outcomes and equitably share societys output. Instead, it was coordinators who dominantly decided economic outcomes and who aggrandized themselves from societys output. So parecons class insight was that beyond capitalism there is classlessness as one option, but there is also coordinatorism, as another option, where coordinatorism is an economic system that retains the class division between those who monopolize empowering circumstances in their workthe managers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, etc.and those who mainly follow orders and suffer tedious conditions, the workers. In response, participatory economics, proposes a system that eliminates the familiar corporate divisions of labor through what it calls balanced job complexes. Each worker does a fair mix of tasks such that everyones job is essentially equivalent in its total empowerment effects. Participatory economics solves the class problem by (a) identifying the key classes; and (b) accomplishing economic functions without incurring class division and class rule. The features of Parecon that are most central to its solving the class problem are:
seeing that economies produce people and social

relations, not simply outputs

understanding that not only ownership relations,

but also the conditions under which people work and the things they do impact both their collective motives and their operational means
realizing that corporate divisions of labor and mar-

ket allocation produce the coordinators as a separate and dominating class

Reason 1: Parecon solves the problem of class

he usual approach to class has been that economic classes were a product of ownership relations. The main division was between capitalists owning the means of production and workers owning only their ability to do work. There were other classes such as peasants, but they were deemed less important. One could also distinguish between little or big owners, skilled or unskilled workers, and so on, but this was also secondary. The big issue was capital versus labor. When some folks examined this time-honored left wisdom, we asked, what about managers, doctors, lawyers, enZ MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010 61

Looking Forward

committing to balanced job complexes and partici-

patory planning in their place

Reason 2: Parecon solves the problem of economic self management

any in my generation became radicalized in the mid-1960s. Controlling our own lives was a key theme of our new leftist commitments. It was quite natural, then, to like the idea of self management which came to mean that we each should have a say over decisions that affect us proportionate to the extent of their effect on us. Sometimes 50 percent rule was the best approximation to everyone having that level of influence. Other times consensus was the best way to achieve it. Sometimes requiring two-thirds for a decision was best or sometimes one person alone deciding, as in how to arrange his/her desk. Sometimes extensive discussion, debate, and refinement of proposals made sense. Other times, when less was at stake, quicker procedures were better. It didnt take long to realize that if we should all have a say in decisions in proportion as they affect usto the point where trying for further precision would cost us more in time and hassle than it would gain in desirable decision making and processthe implications for economics were pretty extreme. An economy is a general system in which each part, including each choice, sets the context for all other parts and choices. If I consume a pencil, you cant consume that pencil. More, if we, together, in our society produce 100,000 pencils, we arent producing whatever else we could have with the labor and resources that went to the pencils. Doing any one thing foregoes using the component energy, resources, and labor to do some other thing. But this means every decision affects every actor, albeit some actors far more than others. So for an economy to be self managing, workers must have a say in their workplaces about their activities as producers and consumers must have a say about what they get to eat or wear or ride, and also about what is available. So in a participatory economy, workers councils and consumers councils use self-managed decision-making in their local deliberations and choices. But it is also necessary that the interface between workers in various plants, between consumers in one region and another, and between workers and consumers throughout the economy, is handled in a way that all participants have appropriate influence.

Suppose workers in a plant make their local decisions, but central planners tell them how much they must produce or markets impose output levels on them over which they have little say. Goodbye self management. Likewise, suppose consumers get to choose what they want from among societys outputs, looking at lists of availabilities and freely choosing among them, but what they choose from is determined without their having an impact. Or suppose those who breathe pollution dont have a say in car sales, or those who produce bicycles have no say in the availability of rubber or of safe biking conditions. Again, goodbye self management. Participatory economics solves the self-management problem by understanding and highlighting accomplishing economic functions without giving any one set of participants more than proportionate say. The features of participatory economics most critical to its solution to the self-management problem are understanding that
each persons freedom needs to extend to the point

of others having similar freedom but should not extend further than that:
not only what we do day-to-day has to be self man-

aged, but also the broad context in which we make those choices
familiar corporate divisions of labor and market al-

location produce dominating elites with excessive say over outcomes

hierarchical decision-making destroys self manage-

self-managed councils, balanced job complexes,

and participatory planning need to replace capitalist and coordinatorist options

Reason 3: Parecon promotes equity

egarding equity, parecon examines remuneration and arrives at a particular normthat we should each receive for our socially useful contributions to the economy a share of its outputs in proportion to the duration, intensity, and onerousness of our socially valued labor. We should get more income if we work at useful production longer, harder, or while enduring more onerous conditions, as should everyone else, and for no other reason. Someone might think, instead, that it is equitable for Bill Gates to get income equal to that of whole populations of numerous countries by virtue of owning property. Or that it is equitable for Tiger Woods to get gargantuan income by virtue the value of his fantastic athletic talent to those who like to watch golf tournaments. Or that a thug with great bargaining power such as our corporate centers of industry deserve whatever income they can take. But parecon rejects remunerating property, or remunerating bargaining power, or even remunerating personal output. You get more simply for working longer, or harder, or at worse conditions, as long as you are producing valued output. You cant work hard digging holes in your back yard and filling them and expect an income for it. Nor can you work hard at making something useful and desired, but doing the work in a slipshod or incompetent fashion that misuses inputs. In such cases, you are not creating socially desired outputs commensurate to the labor you are expending, which is to say not all the time or effort you are expending is war-



Looking Forward

ranted by the desirability of its product and therefore not all of it deserves full remuneration. I cant be shortstop for the Yankees or quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts in a participatory economy because my efforts would not be appreciated, just as if I were digging holes and filling them. Parecons combination of methods and structures ensures that each actor who is able to work is afforded a share of the social product of his or her choosing in proportion to the duration, intensity, and onerousness of his or her socially valued work. Parecon is not manic to the tenth decimal place about this, of course. Rather, in different parecon workplaces, workers will adopt methods and norms of measuring that they prefer, always consistent, however, with the overarching guidelines. What parecon contributes regarding equity is, first, clarification as to its meaning and composition and, second, institutions that facilitate attaining it, which are, again, the participatory planning system, balanced job complexes, and self-managed councils.

Reason 4: Parecon can help overcome cynicism

here is no alternative, Margaret Thatcher intoned many years ago, offering the claim as a reason for accepting capitalism. For Thatcher, as well as for most people, leftist entreaties to activism sound like juvenile whining. They believe if it isnt one war it will be another. If that group over there isnt homeless or starving, some other group will be. Massive suffering is just the way of the world, so stop whining about it. Their belief in the necessity of the pains all around us ensures social passivity. A person might have great energy for their job or interpersonal relations, or some sport or hobby, but they do not have great energy for social change because social change seems to be a dead end. To me, this cynicism is an obstacle so centrally important that overcoming it is a precondition for building large and sustained movements. If participatory economics is widely shared and clearly enunciated and if I am right about its merits, it can help people recognize that indeed there is a viable and worthy alternative to capitalism.

Reason 5: Parecon can inform current activist focus in ways essential to success

t is an old anarchist adage, and I think a very correct one, that we need to try to incorporate the seeds of the future in the present. Our movements, in their internal organizational structure, decision-making methods, modes of remuneration, divisions of labor, and relations to other efforts should try as much as possible to reflect the values wed like in a future society both to learn and to inspire. As such, we should have movements that embody what we seek in race, gender relations, decision making, and class relations. Parecon can inform how we construct and carry out our projects, organizations, and movements, helping us to incorporate councils, self-managed decision making, equitable re-

muneration, balanced job complexes, and relations among people that embody the features of participatory planning. Many people, and ironically it is often precisely those who by their values most desire a self-managed economy, think there is a contradiction between seeking liberty and freedom and espousing an institutional vision. They think advocating specific institutions for a new society forces us into authoritarian, sectarian dynamics, leading to a world we would rather not inhabit. I am confused by this objection to parecon and to vision more generally. It says that unless the future is brought into being without being thought about, discussed, debated, refined, and widely self consciously sought, it wont be participatory, classless, and self managing. But how can a movement win a different future unless, at some point, it is seeking it? How can a movement be participatory and attain a self-managing economy and society, unless it is seeking such a society based on the insights of huge numbers of people? How can a huge number of people be seeking particular institutional changes unless they know what these new institutions look like, why they are valuable, and how they would work? And how can a large number of participants have such knowledge and the confidence to act, unless they have discussed and refined their aims? How can movement activists become advocates of a shared vision which, however, doesnt exist in the public imagination? Peoples justified fears of sectarianism actually suggest that we should adopt vision flexibly, with an open mind, and welcoming criticism and debate, always ready to make changes. People with concerns about giving time to developing and advocating vision often say that what we want for our future should arise from our experiences. I agree. Of course, it should arise from our experiences. Indeed, where else has participatory economics or any other vision come from other than our assessments of our accumulated experiences over about 200 years of anti-capitalist activism plus a few decades of personal experiences and experiments? Movements that dont have shared compelling vision will not have large and powerful memberships that can embody the seeds of the future in the present, orient their actions to desirable goals, and give participants an equal chance to make the aims of the movement their own, understand the aims, adapt the aims, act in light of the aims, correct, refine, or supercede the aims, and finally win them. What our movement needs is shared classless and selfmanaging vision offered in the most accessible possible language, welcoming debate and refinement, able to inspire support and action. Yes, vision should be minimalist in the sense of not specifying circumstances that are for future participants to decide. But it should also be maximalist in seeking that which allows future people to self manage classlessly. Z

Michael Albert is co-founder of South End Press and Z Magazine. He is currently a staff member of ZNet and he is author of numerous books, including Realizing Hope, Remembering Tomorrow, and Parecon: Life After Capitalism.

Media, Culture, Reviews


User Gen er ated Con tent & the Re mak ing of Me dia Pub lish ing
By David Rosen
eports of newspapers and magazines closings are daily occurences. Similar reports of the closing of book publishing houses appear regularly. These three leading forms of traditional print publishingnewspapers, magazines, and booksare in free fall. Their recent demise mirrors the earlier experience that befell the music industry in the wake of the wide-scale adoption of the MP3 digital format. Today, technological destabilization and market instability are compounded by a profound economic recession. Jason Epstein, a long-time publishing executive, recently wrote: Digitization makes possible a world in which anyone can claim to be a publisher and anyone can call him- or herself an author. It sets free a new publishing paradigm, one not limited to the print media. As Epstein points

out, the digitalization of print publishing is the enabling step in the transition from Gutenbergs moveable type to computer-based creativity and Internet dis tribution. He notes, with almost utopian euphoria, the huge, worldwide market for digital content, however, is not a fantasy. It will be large, very diverse, and very surprising: its cultural impact cannot be imagined (New York Review of Books, March 11, 2010). Most overlooked and most important for the development of a true, democratic 21st century culture is that digitalization fosters an historically unprecedented volume and variety of popular forms of creative expression, user-generated content (UGC). UGC provides many people with the tools and techniques to not only speak for themselves, but also to find an audience and, thus, enter into the public dialogue in a way that was not previously possible. Whether this contributes to increased knowledge, more informed decision-making, and more effective political organizing remains to be seen.

New Genres

handful of examples suggest the scope of the new genres remaking the publishing landscape. In

2009, Wikipedia, the premier UGC research tool, posted an estimated 2.7 million articles (in English) from 75,000 contributors and had some 700 million visitors. Craigslist, the online ad service that has singlehandedly created havoc with the newspaper in dus try, had 636 mil lion searches during the month of January 2010. Still other forms of UGC suggest the scope of change underway. eBay, the online auction house, had 635 million searches in November 2009 and Second Life, the popular virtual UGC online community, has an es ti mated 700,000 res idents. Online blogs have become the new political pamphlet, the personal tract, the idiosyncratic self-published manifesto. They are promoted by news organizations like CNN, specialty groups like the Huffington Post, and an ever-growing universe of lone commentators. Blog publishing services rely on software that is proprietary, free, open-source (e.g., WordPress) or are developer hosted (e.g. TypePad). According to comScore, this new information and opinion platform is proliferating with 133 million new blogs added worldwide since 2002 and 346 million worldwide readers in March 2008. The popular adoption of Web 2.0 social networking applications signals a further reconfiguration of what is understood as publishing. Sites like Facebook and Twitter represent complementary models of highly personal yet very public forms of self-expression. They bridge the user-generated genre of letter writing (historically hand written) and the more public (and printed) pamphlet or tract and transforms formerly private communications to public exchanges. As a distinct Web 2.0 culture emerges, the line demarcating the socially acceptable shifts. Less then a century ago, people accepted the shared experience of telephone conversations as a modern innovation. The private in-home telephone, phone booth, and car phone superceded shared communication. Today, we live in a public space in which (one side of) intimate cell-phone conversations are shared with complete strangers in the most banal of public venuesbe they restaurants, airport

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lounges, or movie theater lines. The private lives of 400 million friends are publicly shared on Facebook as are the public communications of 75 million Twitter members. Digitalization has had its greatest impact on video media. Since its inception a century ago, the full-motion entertainment business, first as film, followed by analog television and then cable and home video, has witnessed repeated struggles over the creation and distribution of programming content to the end-user audience. Critical Supreme Court decisions, including Motion Picture Patents (1917), Paramount (1949), and Sony (1984), disrupted the industrys monopolistic tendencies. During this analog era, UGC video slowly emerged with the introduction of 16mm and 8mm film in the pre-World War II era, followed by home video in the 1970s and, most importantly, with the introduction of Sonys camcorder in 1985. The adoption of digital media tools and techniques since the 1990s fostered an explosive growth of UGC video. The online market-tracking firm, comScore, reports that 173 million U.S. Internet users watched 33.4 billion videos (with a total of 173 billion unique page views) in January 2010. This in a nation with just over 300 million people living in 120 million households and, according to Nielsen, approximately 228 million Internet subscribers as of August 2009. Most illuminating, comScore found that the top five nontraditional media sites, including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, dominate online video distribution. It estimates that this sector accounts for nearly 45 percent of all videos viewed; Google sites alone, especially YouTube, accounted for 39.5 percent of viewers. YouTube received nearly 13 billion views in January 2010, with individual viewers watching an estimated 93 videos on average during the month, an increase of 50 percent from January 2009. Another source estimates that in March 2008, YouTube offered 70 million videos from 200,000 producers. For all the zany private videos, the most popular YouTube videos tend to be professionally produced and run for promotional purposes, though market research pro66 Z MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

jections anticipate UGC content increasing to 60 percent of online video traffic over the next few years.

History of UGC

mateur artists, whether writers, painters, sculptors, or musi cians, have long cre ated UGC. During the post-WWII era, the amateur arts expanded to include new forms of technology-based creative expres sion and, more importantly, new makers, those traditionally defined as ordinary consumers. The line between amateur art and UGC, like that between amateur and professional or auteur, is slippery. User-generated film emerged in the 1920s when Kodak introduced the 16mm Kodascope film stock and camera. During the Depression, Kodak followed with the 8mm format to appeal to amateur or home movie enthusiasts. However, the new technologies introduced during the post-WWII era launched popular media making and publishing. Polaroids self-printing instant camera, introduced in 1946, revolutionized photography. It enabled users to take a photograph and have it automatically duplicated in about a minute. It brought mechanical reproduction to UGC. The mimeograph machine dates from one of Thomas Edisons early inventions and was long used as a low-cost alternative for the production of newsletters and bulletins.

However, the introduction of the Xerox photo-duplication process in the 1960s popularized the mass reproduction of black-and-white words and images. The 1960s counterculture movement fostered an alternative sensibility as underground poets, writers, journalists, musicians, filmmakers, and visual artists took full advantage of relatively affordable and easier-to-use creative and distribution technologies to forge a new sensibility. These artists used the new technologies to break the tyranny exercised by the big media companies over the content marketplace. Equally important, maverick artists showed ordinary creators, those who did not consider themselves artists, that personal voices and visions could not only be created but could find an audience. Two developments proved especially critical. First, the rise of the underground press and citizen journalism gave voice to the 1960s counterculture music, literature, and lifestyle as much as it chronicled the civil rights, anti-Vietnam war, and womens movements. Second, the 1960s democratic spirit fueled the 1970s battle over community or PEG (public, education, and government) television. The outcome of these struggles established public access cable, an early form of UGC video, which has been institutionalized in nearly all subsequent cable licensing

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agreements, though under attack today. What Polaroid did for the still image, VHS home video did for the moving image. Until the introduction of home video, unless one was exceptionally competent technically, the ordinary consumer could not reproduce 16mm or 8mm filmor a photograph for that matter, let alone print a book. You needed a commercial vendor to process moving or still images or text. Home video offered greater freedom not only over image production, but also the reproduction and distribution of full-motion representations. Ampex introduced the first videotape recorder in 1956 as part of a technical effort to make television production more efficient and economical. In 1967, Sony brought out the first portable analog tape system. It wasnt until the introduction of VHS tape by JVC in the mid-1970s and Sonys camcorder in 1982 that a viable popular UGC video movement emerged. It freed amateurs and pro-sumers to express themselves in highly personal ways.

The further maturation of analog technologies during the 1980s and the adoption digital media in the 1990s set the stage for the explosive growth of 21st century UGC video. The Supreme Courts 1984 Sony decision decriminalizing a consumers right to off-air copying (i.e., downloading) of broadcast programs helped spur the adoption of the VCR. As the price of VHS production equipment dropped, more and more people began making their own programs. Most UGC was poorly shot, often with only a cheap hand-held camera and with equally poor quality audio and lighting. Nevertheless, much of it found a loyal audience. What UGC lacked in professional quality, it made up in viewer identification, a sense that one was watching the real thing. The steady maturation of the computer industry during the post-WWII era set the stage for the transition to digital video. Key to this process was the continuing evolution of the integrated circuit following the logic known as Moores Law, by which processing speed doubles every 18 months or so combined with a com-

parable price decline. A host of complementary technical developments, including advances in compression, data storage, digital cameras (e.g., Sony introduced its first digital camera in 1995), and appropriate editing tools, furthered this process. By 2000, digital video became the creative standard.

Transforming Media

merican media publishing has been pro foundly trans formed since the end of World War II. Two of the dominant popular prewar media, movies and radio, were eclipsed by a series of postwar technology rev o lu tions. First, the wide spread adoption of analog broadcast and cable television, followed by the popul a r a c c e p t a n c e o f ho m e v i de o reconceived the moving image. Second, the digital revolution introduced a host of computer-based media tools and technologies that created the age of ubiquitous content. Third, the incorporation of the Internet and mobile connective is transforming the media pallet. Publishing is in a state of crisis. Old business models are no longer working and new ones have yet proven viable. Nearly all of the major corporate players in each media sector, from books and newspapers to music and videogames to movies and television, are struggling to figure out how to survive and better position themselves for a new world just emerging. The conventional business models for most media publishing sectors are well established and pretty simple. For book and game publishing, the model is based on a consumer paying a retail price based on the fees associated with maintaining a retail outlet and the costs assumed by the publisher, including a writers or programmers advance, editing, printing, marketing, and shipping. For magazines and newspapers, its the combination of retail sales and advertising revenue to cover operating costs and profits. Costs associated with content creation and distribution for broadcast television are covered by advertising revenues, while for cable programming, its advertising and subscriber fees. For movies, its the

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box-office ticket sales plus a host of ancillary revenues, including DVD sales, international licensing, and now web streaming. The media game is based on securing the greatest number of revenue streams. These models helped establish the formal three-tier structure that defines professional media. On one tier are the writers, filmmakers, musicians, and other creative professionals who work alone or in consort with others to create a work of art, the original content. They normally receive an advance that is recouped (along with innumerable marketing charges) by the publisher on unit sales. The second tier consists of the publishers, be it a book, game, record, or video production company (along with their innumerable minions) that transforms the work of art into a commercial product. The third tier consists of the matrix of facilitators or middle-vendors that distribute media publications from the content publisher to the customer or audience who purchases it. These include the book or videogame or record retailer, cable operator, and online vendor. UGC upsets this three-tier structure and the associated business models of traditional media publishing. UGC is a form of freeware, content given away free-of-charge. Freeware is computer software numbering in the thousands and covers a wide assortment of applications, from business titles to antivirus programs to videogames. It is popular with a small sector of well-informed computer users and those looking for a bargain. Most open source programs, like freeware, do not threaten corporately-produced applications that dominate the commercial software market. One notable exception is Linux server software. Two distinct programming models define the online UGC market. The dominant approach is the platform model, one in which a company hosts or aggregates end-user content. Platforms include both commercial and noncommercial venues. Among the leading commercial sites are Facebook (VC financed), YouTube (Google owned,) and Second Life (Linden Lab owned). A parallel UGC reseller platform model is repre68 Z MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

sented by eBay (public company) and Apples iTunes. Among the leading noncommercial (or less commercial) platforms are Wikipedia (Jaime Wales and foundation), WordPress (Matt Mullenweg and foundation), and Craigslist (Craig Newmark and company). The sec ond UGC approach is the personal offering model represented by the lone blogger or website specializing in a highly idiosyncratic business or service. The challenge facing both approaches, like the more conventional media publishing industry, is whether they are financially sustainable. Sustainability means different things to different people. The more corporate entities, like News Corp. (with MySpace and Photobucket) and Google (with YouTube and Blogger), have built businesses exploiting free user-generated materials as the content for a new publishing medium. For example, the UGC aggregated by Googles YouTube serves as a way to challenge the dominant TV/cable conglomerates that either produce their own content or acquire it from a third-party supplier. Similarly, the UGC aggregated by News Corp.s MySpace provides a wedge for an established media publisher to expand into a new programming sec-

tor. Each strategy requires a viable revenue model, one that is not only profitable but doesnt scare away the providers of free content who keep viewers coming back. MySpaces effort to include ads seems to be a major factor in its declining popularity. However, Googles decision to share YouTube ad revenues with the videos producer marks a major shift among commercial UGC platform providers, essentially turning YouTube into a mini TV network. YouTubes sale of indie films from the 2010 Sundance festival extends its revenue model and pushes it up against Netflix and other more specialized online indie film retailers. Sustainability for less- or non-corporate UGC publishers takes a variety of forms. Wikipedia and WordPress do not take advertising or subscriber fees, but accept contributions to their foundations. It is not clear how viable this model is for longterm sustainability. For example, recent changes in Wikipedias editorial policy (e.g., who edits submissions, the decline in the number of senior editors) may be tied to problems with its utopian business model. Another model is Craigslists effort to democratize the publication of classified ads. It is quite successful, operating

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in 570 cities around the world and charging modest fees to employment recruiters, real estate brokers, and sex workers, while all other postings are free. Its 2009 revenues were estimated at $100 million. Sites seeking advertising support represent a third approach. This approach can be daunting as it is predicated on increasing unique visitors to get advertisers (agencies and Googles adwords) measured in terms of CPMs (cost per thousand) that range from a few cents to $15 or more, depending on traffic and how desirable the specific audience. Finally, the classic indie media maker model conceives UGC as a labor of love. This sector involves the amateur who will likely have a day job and cultivate her/his creativity, in whatever form it takes, outside the workplace. In our post-industrial, post-modern society, these makers proliferate.

Media Marketplace

he media-publishing marketplace is built on the blockbuster product model. Over the last three to four de cades, book, mu sic, and movie publishers grabbed onto the blockbuster strat egy to drive in creased sales of a hand ful of hit titles. These pub lish ers mar shaled their promotional and marketing dollars to push pre-select branded products to maximize anticipated financial returns. Some were successful, many others were flops. Nevertheless, this strategy defines Hollywoods tent pole model for the release of a slate of titles. Un der this strat egy, the blockbuster is expected to capture sufficient returns to cover the costs of the lost-leader titles that fail financially (at least in the short term) but fill out a distribution schedule. UGC challenges this model. The current crisis facing media publishing involves more then digital destabilization and economic instability. It is rooted in the long-term consequences of the publishing industrys adherence to the blockbuster product strategy. It is a strategy that not only is represented in the concentration of resources into a few major releases, but also leads to industry concentra tion dominated by a few major players. The majors in each

media-publishing sector benefit significantly from the blockbusterperhaps too much. The super-blockbuster Avatar has broken all movie exhibition records, once again proving the wisdom of the blockbuster strategy, yet oddly, as the blockbuster model reaches its performance zenith, it seems to be faltering as new technological and market conditions are undercutting the blockbusters long-term viability. These forces are undermining the homogeneous culture blockbusters cultivate. With the digitalization of content creation and Internet (and wireless) distribution comes an increas ing powerful undertow within the media marketplace. This undertow consists of the ever-growing number of amateur media makers who create their own content and the equally powerful segment of the consuming public open to a wider variety of original and unconventional media content. It remains to be seen whether digitalization and the proliferation of user-generated content will sustain a viable alternative media publishing community. Z
David Rosen is a writer and consultant living in New York.

Reality TV

Better Liv ing through Pov erty: Blood, Sweat & Take aways
Review by Michelle Fawcett & Arun Gupta
rom Survivors remote jungles to Big Brothers households under lockdown, reality TV is always searching for new frontiers to colonize. The latest setting is the farms and factories of impoverished countries, which serve as sites for extreme challenges for telegenic youth. In Blood, Sweat and Takeaways, a recent series on Discovery Communications Planet Green channel, six young fast food junkies from Eng-

land travel to Indonesia and Thailand to meet the workers who toil for their cheap meals and to learn the true human cost of their consumption. (In British slang, takeaways refers to fast food takeout.) Across four episodes, the British youths labor alongside locals in the difficult work of producing rice, prawns, tuna, and chicken, while living on the same paltry wages and in the same cramped huts. The Westerners retch, cry, and faint when confronted with the daily realities of backyard pit toilets and repulsive shit rivers that crisscross the slums; relentless as sembly lines and filthy farm drudgery; and sex-worker mothers and sweatshop children. The visuals of labor and living conditions in the developing world will likely be eye-opening for many viewers, as it is for the youth, whose reactions provide added emphasis. Were eating prawns that probably cost us 5 or 6 poundsall the way to Britain, says Josh, a 20-year-old mortgage advisor from the city of Warrington. It puts it all in perspective. How hard these guys work for absolutely nothing. To the series credit, it does discuss wages in relation to production, explaining, for example, how each worker in a tuna factory receives $5 a day for cleaning enough tuna loins to fill 600 cans that the company sells for 80 cents a tin. What this means is each worker is paid about .8 cents for each can, barely 1 percent of the sale price. But within the genre of reality TV, such exposure also serves as sensationalistic poorism. We ogle at the squalor, allowing us to appreciate our comfortable lifestyles. Likewise, the aim of this series is not to present solutions to Third World poverty, but to fix the attitudes of spoiled first-world visitors, who are the true subjects. I came here to learn about food, says Josh. But I seem to be learning so much about myself. Before the youth are dispatched to capitalisms backwaters, some express smug satisfaction with the global depredations that secure their comforts. Manos, who lives on fried chicken and chips, is a Westernized 20-year-old political science student from London, much to the chagrin of his Bangladeshi father, who declares

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he has to change. Manos doesnt care how cheap chicken is produced, proclaiming, If one man is to live in luxury then the evil necessities of economic exploitation must occur. Olu, a British bodybuilder of Nigerian descent, is of a similar mindset and his father hopes he will learn something deep that he will never learn in England. While loading up his basket with meat products at his local supermarket, Olu tells the camera, I dont know how they produce it, where they produce it, I dont care, keep producing it. Im going to have as much as possible. Others are blissfully ignorant. Josh, who owns his own home, does not appreciate what he has. According to his father, Josh can go for the easy options quite often. Jess, whose family calls her Paris Hilton because she wants everything to go her way, is oblivious to the efforts of others to afford her this lifestyle. Only Stacey, cast as the concerned consumer, is interested in the labor conditions behind the food she loves. In the first episode, the six Brits tackle the tuna industry in Indonesia. After a tough day on the factory floor, gutting, skinning, and filleting fish, Jess, Lauren, and Stacey are shocked to receive barely $3 in pay. In one of the few clashes between labor and capital in the se ries, the women tepidly ask if the workers are happy with what they earn. Sharon, the tuna canning factorys quality controller, responds, Its enough for workers. And anyway, she continues, They cant do anything about it. They have no other choice. What the privileged youth and viewers really learn about the true human cost of consuming cheap food, clothes, and electronics is that there is not much they can do to address brutal poverty or working conditions in the Global South. The only thing they really can change, we are led to believe, is themselves. Poverty still has a role to play, though the Brits encounters with poverty lead to minor adjustments in their personalities, lifestyles, and consumption habits. At a time when privatization, personal responsibility and consumer choice are promoted as the best way to govern liberal capitalist democra70 Z MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

cies, argue scholars Laurie Ouellette and James Hay, reality TV shows us how to conduct and empower ourselves as enterprising citizens. Takeaways fits snuggly into the sub-genre of intervention as do makeover shows such as The Biggest Loser, Jamie Olivers Food Revolution, Intervention, and Extreme Makeover. But rather than the poor and middle class in the U.S. who, according to Ouellette and Hay, apply by the hundreds of thousands for reality TV programs, here the wealthy and self-absorbed are taught how to discipline their egos, to be grateful for their privilege and to thus become manageable political and economic subjects.

Remaking The Ego

ach ep i sode of Take aways (and its predecessor Blood, Sweat, and T-Shirts) pres ents a seven-step guide for puncturing the

tory work ers say they would be happy if their children were able to get similar jobs, Jess, ignoring the Indonesian workers beside her, exclaims to the other Westerners, I just think its unreal how they think their job is a good job. After the visceral immersion, the test begins: can the contestants separate 12 pieces of chicken per minute, clean 1,000 prawns per hour, and build a mud dike by hand before sundown? The locals are once again dehumanized in the process: Im a human being, not a robot. I cant do this, says Manos. Were not Indonesian workers, says an exasperated Jess. Its just not what we do. In the dramatic clashes that inevitably ensue, the youth crack under pressure, challenging managers, shunning work, blaming each other, and storming off. Manos still misses the point, intones the narrator. Indonesians do hard work for low pay, with no attitude. Such tantrums slow

swollen ego through the use of exposure to pov erty: shock, rebel lion, aware ness, and guilt, followed by confession, redemption, and, finally, per sonal trans for ma tion. As the youth reject local food and hospitality during the shock phase, our distaste for them grows, heightening the drama, but at the expense of insulting their hosts. I understand our ways of life are different, says Pan Jai in a Bang kok slum. I tried to help them. The way they reacted disappointed me. In Indonesia, Manos vomits when taken to an outdoor latrine, which leads the homeowner to say she is offended. When tuna fac-

the incessant pace of production, jeopardizing the youths pay and forcing the group into a suspenseful decision between rent or dinner. The Brits can always quit the game, however. Stacey bribes a worker with cosmetics to finish her garment quota, Jess flatly refuses to skin fish, and Mark walks away when told to carry a massive load of cotton on his head. When times get really tough, the weary youth choose a four-star hotel, dinner at McDonalds, or first-class medical care in a hospital room that looks like a penthouse. But the game for the rich is at the expense of the poor. The Western

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youth get an education, but its the locals who must work late to compensate. Ratmi, a line supervisor in the tuna factory, is yelled at after the Brits botch the days output. She and the other supervisors are told not to blame the Westerners for the drop in production and are made to stay an extra four hours without pay to finish the work. When reality settles in for the youth, the transformation begins. If I knew this is where my prawns come from, every prawn Id eat Id treasure so much, says Josh. If Manos had known how his beloved fast-food chicken was processed he would have become vegan long ago. After meeting cotton pickers who earn perhaps $2 a day, shopaholic Georgina vows to stop buying cheap clothes that she wears once and chucks away.

As Manos confesses, we cut back to the young women at the tuna factory as they receive their meager pay. They go home with choc olate and $1.60 for their host Ratmi. Stoic throughout the episode, Ratmi breaks down when given money, driving the women to embraces and a baptism of tears. If the poor are happy and grateful for so little, I can change my behavior too, sobs Lauren. Stacey says, Ive got so much and I do appreciate it. Seeing what people have here and how happy they still are, it brings it all home for you, you know? The lack of choice and agency is a refrain throughout the series. You see poverty, seeing it close up, smelling it close up, how can people choose to live like this. But thats the point, there is no choice, says Josh.

Seeing the face of the poor of the global production body makes all participants feel guilty and they begin to recognize the need for change. The dramatic arc builds, not to a resolution of social change, but to individual confessions. Manos and Josh are expelled from the tuna factory for sloppy work and sent to sea. One inky black night on a rickety fishing boat, after a round of song and apparent camaraderie with their Indonesian cohorts, Manos blurts out his confession: I have to apologize, he begins hesitantlynot for their reality, but for his own ego. I need to change. After a quick cut to a confused-looking fisherperson, another issues his blessing: Yes, this is good, he says. Manos is redeemed.

Over here, you dont have choice. Either you do it or you starve yourself to death, says Jess. Never asked are the seemingly obvious questions: what are the roots of this poverty; how can the economic system be changed; what are the alternatives? Instead, we are taught to accept life as it is, disciplining labor and behavior on either side of the commodity chain, with humility and grace. By engaging with the natural workings of the market, they learn there is no alternative to it. In the final phasetransformationthe youth become more governable subjects back home. Mark will appreciate that his mother, whom he lives with, dotes on him. Manos expresses newfound interest in his fam-

ily and heritage. Jess will cherish every bit of food I have and not complain. Richard, who was part of the T-Shirts crew, will reassess his materialistic life and seek to inform people of whats going on. His transformation, apparently, is limited. A camera follows him into a local pub where, over a brew with a mate, Richard laughs about designing a possible clothing label that says, Not made by a 12-year-old. Others seek to create awareness by writing letters or articles. T-Shirts Stacey holds an auction of Indian childrens art (to fund English lessons for them) where she recounts her experiences in the faraway land of Indi-ahhh. Beseeching supermarket customers to buy fair trade bananas appears to be the most radical action, embraced by Josh. But he is unable to think beyond the market. Buying fair trade bananas allows Josh to feel valorized in his consumption at a premium price even if the actual return to the workers is minimal (as it is with many fair trade products). In the end, the self-absorbed youth understand their good fortune to be at the luxurious end of the pole sustained by the immiserated masses at the other end. Enlightened with a dim awareness of global capitalism, some of the youth decide that, while their desire for cheap goods fuels exploitation, boycotting sweatshop labor is counterproductive because their consumption also provides desperately needed employment for the poor. After his experiences in the sweatshops of India, Richard concludes, Were being a massive help, otherwise theyd have nothing. You think conditions are bad now, if all UK consumers revolt, just imagine what their conditions would be like then.

The Personal Is Apolitical

akeaways and T-Shirts make visible the bottom of the commod ity chain only to ob scure its enormous middlethe corporations, politicians, bureaucrats, and financiers that make up modern capitalism. There is no talk of the role transnational corporations, banks, or markets play in ordering the production, distribution, and consumption

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of goods. We dont hear how Western states, the World Bank, IMF, and WTO force and bribe de vel op ing world politicians into lowering their economies defenses, decimating social wel fare and work ers rights protections, while prioritizing export-oriented production. When this middle collapses, we are left with individuals on either side tossing personal responsibility back and forth like a hot potato. For instance, in T-Shirts, Stacey takes on the sweatshop owner: Hes a nasty piece of work, she

Book Reviews

Blood on Our Hands

The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq By Nicolas J.S. Davies
Ann Arbor, Michigan, Nimble Books LLC, 2010, 440 pp.

Review by Douglas Valentine

lood on our Hands is a powerful and important book that unravels the Bush administrations lies and deceptions, revealing its brutal policies and conduct during the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It explains the almost unbelievable violenceits rationales, applications, extent, impact, illegalities, and cover-upsand what that violence means in human terms, to Americans as well as Iraqis. The book explains the broad foreign policy of which the destruction of Iraq was a part. Briefly, the U.S. policy is to try to maintain a monopoly on military power in the world, so it can destroy its enemies with as few American casualties as possible by using a combination of proxies, covert action, propaganda, and overwhelming force. Once a nation is targeted, the corporate and bureaucratic interests that drive the military machine determine how to fracture it for generations to come, so that it will be manageable and exploitable. They hire the best and brightest American minds to cover their tracks. Davies unravels the machinations of the Bush regime while exposing its pattern of illegal criminal actions and the people complicit in them, including the media. The history of the Iraq War is chilling. In the beginning the CIA hired Saddam Hussein and helped him rise to power. The U.S. supplied him with anthrax, other biological warfare agents, and satellite intelligence to support his chemical warfare. It encouraged him to attack Iran, looked away when he gassed the Kurds, and may have given him the green light to invade Kuwaitafter which the U.S. bombed Iraqs army

says to the camera and with hands on her hips, begins to badger him as well. Finally, she asks: Where do these clothes go? To London, he replies, which means you shouldnt be wearing them. This stops her in her tracks. This traces the commodity chain a bit, she says later. It ends up in a trendy shop looking beautiful and the whole process is lost and a baby made it. Where did that process go? According to this series, its ones personal responsibility not to hire babies, anothers personal responsibility not to buy cheap clothes. To buy or not to buy. Whether it is nobler to exploit children or let them starve. But dont ask why things are this way or bring that invisible processthe capitalist systeminto focus. Z
Michelle Fawcett teaches communications and international development at NYU and is working on a book about culture, neoliberalism and UNESCO corporate partnerships entitled The Market for Ethics. Arun Gupta is a founding editor of The Indypendent and is writing a book on the politics of food for Haymarket Books.

into oblivion and instituted sanctions and no-fly zones that crippled its economy. When Iraq was sufficiently softened up and Saddam sufficiently vilified, the Bush administra tion used 9/11 as a pretext to effect an invasion that had been planned for years. It lied about Iraqi uranium purchases in Africa, interfered in the UN inspection process, undermined the UN Security Council, and used the image of a nuclear holocaust to terrorize the American people into supporting the invasion. The son of a British Naval officer, Davies tells how Tony Blair rejected legal advice that warned the planned invasion would be an illegal crime of aggression. Nevertheless, the events leading up to the shock and awe campaignwhose architects compared it to a Nazi Blitzkriegwere carefully scripted and preordained, with the complicity of the pro-war media. Davies does a wonderful job articulating, and supporting with facts the mechanics of American control over every facet of occupied Iraq, from its hand-picked collaborators, to the military and security forces it organized and operated, and, of course, every penny appropriated for reconstruction and building military bases. The media has propagated the myth that violence in Iraq is sectarian, with the Americans standing in the way of a far greater number of

Media, Culture, Reviews

atrocities that would occur should they withdraw. As Davies explains, the truth is exactly the opposite. We learn about the Salvador Option, a plan that involved special units hunting down and assassinating civilians suspected of being key figures in the insurgency, based on the CIAs Phoenix Program in Vietnam. When Americans were not in charge of the death squads themselves, they were training Iraqis to do it. Davies names the protagonists and unravels the organizational shell game that enabled their deadly charade. He explains how a former senior DEA officer and a retired U.S. army officer, most likely under contract to the CIA, created teams of commandoes within Iraqs Interior Ministry. Linked to a wave of extra-judicial killings in which the victims were invariably handcuffed, blindfolded, tortured, and shot once in the head, the plausible denial of the occupations command and control of these terror teams protected the U.S. from worldwide condemnation over its crimes. Always focused on law and language, Davies shows how the American recruitment and training of security forces in Iraq was not designed to stabilize Iraq, but to complete the conquest of the country. The horrors of wrongful and indefinite detention are described in detail. There is a particularly edifying chapter on how the occupation governments terror teams, aided by the American propaganda machine, exploited the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. He presents the evidence necessary to trace the operational realities in the field back to those who were responsible for the policies, exposing the cover operations. Davies tells how, as policy, the U.S. dismantled Iraqs industries and public institutions and thus created the soaring unemployment that made it possible to recruit young men to the puppet governments armed forces and militias, under U.S. command. He talks about the use of language to manipulate the American public: how smart bombs become a euphemism for carpet bombing, and how military planners knew full well that most casualties would be civilians, despite

assuring people that their technology would minimize civilian deaths. The military also propagandized its own troops, leaving them in the dark about their obligations under the Geneva Conventions and leading them to believe they were fighting a war of divine retribution. Davies pulls no punches in showing how American civilians and soldiers were conditioned by their politicians and the media into falsely believing that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9/11 and connected to Al Qaeda. Deliberately deceived by the officer corps, many soldiers believed that all Iraqi civilians should be treated as insurgents. The deception of the soldiers and the criminality of their leaders, enhanced by the most powerful weapons in military history, resulted in a brutal occupation in which torture, the killing of wounded enemy combatants, the abuse of civiliansfrom the theft and destruction of their money and private property, to the sexual abuse of detainees arrested on false chargesbecame commonplace. All this happened because terrorizing the Iraqis into submission was the policy. Soldiers were rarely charged with any crimes, let alone murder. When cases did get to court, evidence was fudged or lost. When convictions were unavoidable, crimes were blamed on a few bad applesinvariably those who obeyed orders, not those who issued them. During sieges of Iraqi cities, U.S. forces illegally used access to food, water, medicine, doctors, and electricity as a means of blackmail that people hand over resistance fighters. Then, when they refused, this became the pretext for savage bombardment. Before the final assault on Fallujah, young men and boys were detained at checkpoints or turned back to remain trapped in the killing zone, where snipers and aerial and artillery bombardment wasted everyone and everything. Americans destroyed the city, racking up a barbaric death toll of at least 4,000 civilians. Davies, unlike the mainstream media, actually uses the word resistance, not insurgency, and tells how the resistance was initially characterized by nonviolent street demonstrations. The

Americans, however, used violence to incite violence. As in Fallujah, they provoked conflict by killing civilians in cold blood be fore any armed resistance was present in the area. As the resistance grew, so did the assassination campaign designed to drive a wedge between the Iraqis and to forestall a united resistance. Those who spoke out publicly against the occupation were assassinated, often in ways that deliberately obscured responsibility. Having granted themselves immunity, the Americans began to revel openly in their violence. But, as Davies states, there is no political or military solution that can reconcile the people of Iraq to their invasion, subjugation, and subservience to American interests. Blood on Our Hands explains why achieving peace is difficult, but not impossible and must be our goal. It is a sober reminder of the dangers of a foreign policy based on belligerent nationalism and how such policies can affect the very nature of the people who support them. Z
Douglas Valentine is a journalist and historian. His latest book is The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped The DEA.

Jailhouse Lawyers
Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A. By Mumia Abu-Jamal
San Francisco, City Lights Publishers, 2009, 280 pp.

Review by Mischa Geracoulis

o borrow from an old African-American proverb, Mumia Abu-Jamal speaks truth to power in his latest book on jailhouse lawyering, the American legal system, and the prison-industrial complex. Abu-Jamal has been imprisoned for over two decades in a Pennsylvania correctional facilitythe institution famous for employing Charles Graner, the prison guard and Army reservist convicted of prisoner abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The



Media, Culture, Reviews

prison employs a staff thats 95 percent Caucasian to oversee the 98 percent African-American inmate population and is notorious as an environment fraught with institutionalized racism and abuse. The reader might expect text that was produced in such a volatile environment to translate into defensive, derogatory, or perhaps censored reading material. On the contrary, Abu-Jamal writes with incisive equanimity while presenting penetratingly disturbing facts, little known in mainstream society. The jailhouse lawyer is self-educated, spends every possible moment devouring law bookssuch as The Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook (Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild, 2003) and The Jailhouse Lawyers Manual (Columbia Law School, published biannually)takes paralegal correspondence courses, and apprentices under other jailhouse lawyers. Jailhouse lawyers work for free, at an acute disadvantage, and with persistent exposure to prison-issued retaliation. More often than not, they are consigned to solitary confinement for pursuing this work. In prison, unity is feared. Hence, isolation is punishment. The author points out that, despite these obstacles, the jailhouse lawyer is among the rare few to actually affect positive and far-reaching prison reform, as well as reversals of convictions. Abu-Jamal defies an adage popularized in the lawyer industry that one who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client. Surprisingly, these fools often emerge victorious. At its core, jailhouse lawyeringnecessitated by the inequality in Americas legal and prison systemsis part of a class and social struggle, and a human rights movement. With the giant increase in Americas prison population since the 1970s, Abu-Jamal looks at the political rhetoric on the various wars within our culture. The so-called war on drugs is one example of a campaign waged, not to rehabilitate people hooked on drugs, but to grant more state power to incarcerate. His examination gives rise to questions as to whether the real war might be on our nations own citizenry, in partic74 Z MAGAZINE JULY/AUGUST 2010

ular, its minorities. Statistics show that the number of incarcerated women has grown 300 percent (as compared to men at about 200 percent), and in overall prison demographics, African Americans eclipse all other racial and ethnic groups. As an aside, the privatization of the American prison system, or the prison-industrial complex, is big business. With prisons as a cog in the wheel of the free market economy, it then stands to reason that the demand for prisoners necessarily increases. Presently, one in 100 Americans is imprisoned. Furthermore, American prisons have been likened to labor campsa high volume prison population translates into cheap labor. Journalist and author Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) is noted for his assertions that the prison-industrial complex is a set of interest groups and institutions, as well as a mindset. He sees the seduction of big money as a corrupting factor in the nations criminal justice system. The prison-industrial complex is not about rehabilitation, its about profits. For this system to survive, it banks on an inordinately high failure rate among the prison population. The more packed the prisons are, the more the system profits. Inside this system, prisoners like Abu-Jamal who dare speak up for their rights, who dare hold abusers and corrupters accountable by taking legal action, are those who live in danger of being thrown in

the hole, threatened with torture and even death. This reiterates the point of the conditions under which Jailhouse Lawyers was written, and helps the reader grasp the authors conviction that jailhouse lawyering warrants public attention. Jailhouse Lawyers goes on to dissect the intent of the law, describing the views of Rousseau, Marx, and Darrow, all of whom generally agree that the will of the upper class converts into law for the commoners. Abu-Jamal makes a convincing case that the law is regularly dictated by the wealthy and replicates class stratification and tyranny. He references American lawyer Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) who, in 1902, explained that the rich make the laws and that those very laws are not necessarily there to protect. Courts, then, are not instruments of justice. What matters most is not ones innocence or guilt, but whether or not one has a savvy lawyer at their defense. Paraphrasing Howard Zinn in Declarations of Independence, a judge is more like a dictator and the courtroom a dictatorship. One enters the courtroom anticipating a bastion of democracy, but finds that the judge dictates the use of evidence, witnesses, questions, and interpretation of law. And, Abu-Jamal adds, the meting out of punishment. To put it another way, when a prisoner does get to trial, its a crapshoot. In these circumstances a persons destiny is random, designated by the luck of the draw of judges. Abu-Jamal points out that the Prison Reform Act only serves to reinforce the assumed faultlessness of the state. Jailhouse lawyers must pander to this flawed system nonetheless. Not having the street lawyers luxuries of wheeling and dealing, jailhouse lawyers must approach the system as though it operates justly. Abu-Jamal points out that sometimes the hired or appointed street lawyers have little interest in working on their clients behalf. With the class, ethnic, and racial differences that surface in the legal system, its crucial to have a lawyer whos sworn to defend the rights of their client. In the case of the jailhouse lawyer, the client is already a prisoner, one whos often on death row. Motivated

Media, Culture, Reviews

not by money, jailhouse lawyers work as though their life depends on itwhich it usually does. In addition, jailhouse lawyers frequently demonstrate a greater competency than their street counterparts, especially as the street lawyers are driven by dollars. But, the author rhetorically asks, who can blame them with the exorbitant student loans they bear from law school? Abu-Jamal stresses that being a non-white prisoner (or non-white citizen for that matter) is disadvantageous. American law, his book asserts, even after the civil rights movement, is laced with Dred Scott-esque white supremacy. He sources the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford case in which Scott argued for his wifes and his own freedom. The verdict said that no person of African ancestry could claim citizenship in the United States and, furthermore, that Scott was not entitled to bring suit in federal court. Abu-Jamal reiterates that the rights of the American people remain heaviest within the affluent domain. Poet, writer, and activist Audre Lorde has said that silences will not protect us, but will only hurt us. Deadly silence is what propels the jailhouse lawyer. Unbeknownst to most of us, jailhouse lawyers are a task force for reform. Reform, however, first requires identification of the problem, followed by education

and action that jeopardizes the status quo. Jailhouse lawyers inspire a sense of hope for their clients themselves and, perhaps, for oppressed people everywhere. Z
Mischa Geracoulis is an essayist and reviewer in Los Angeles. With a background in political and social sciences and art history of the Near and Middle East, her body of work reflects issues of identity, myriad paths to truth and justice, and the multifaceted human condition.

Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet

The New Geopolitics of Energy By Michael Klare
New York, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt & Co., 2009, 352 pp.

Review by Jim Cabral

he disaster engendered by the explosion and subsequent hemorrhaging of British Petroleums Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico has thrust energy costseconomic and environmentalinto the public discourse in a way not seen since the summer of 2008 when gasoline prices hovered in the $4 per-gallon range. Michael Klares Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, published that summer, could not have been more timely. After all, his warnings about the dire implications of the worlds growing reliance on finite energy sourcesespecially petroleum, natural gas, and uraniumseemed validated by those record-high gas prices. However, shortly afterward, an epidemic of real estate foreclosures and the subsequent financial crisis and recession contributed to a near 50 percent reduction in the price of gasoline (prices have since rebounded somewhat). Was Klares ominous portrayal of the geopolitics of energy extraction and consumption an over-statement? Hardly, if the current crisis in the Gulf is any indication. In view of recent comments made by BP officialse.g., CEO Tony Haywards claim that the sheer vast-

ness of the worlds oceans would render the environmental costs of virtually any oil spill negligibleit is easy to imagine them and other defenders of the fossil fuel status quo dismissing Klares warnings as alarmist. But, todays geopolitics of energy is a scary state of affairs. Rising Powers is an expos of the heavily militarized competition among the globes largest energy-consuming nations for finiteand soon to be dwindling sources of energy. Moreover, Klare makes clear that these remaining sourceslike the oil currently gushing out of the well in the Gulf of Mexicoare becoming increasingly remote and hazardous. Rising Powers can be seen as an elaboration on a broader themethe centrality of natural resources (energy-related or otherwise) in geopolitical relationssketched out in his previous books, Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict (2002) and Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws: Americas Search for a New Foreign Policy. Klares overriding intent in Rising Powers is to portray this sobering reality of a progressively volatile end-game fueled by military proliferation. Moreover, Klare asserts that this dynamic marks the beginning of a new era in global politics. Traditionally, national security consider ations and state power have been defined in terms of the relative size and strength of states military arsenals. Now, state security and power are increasingly understood by policymakers as hinging on the possession of and/or access to sources of energy. The energy-driven dynamics of international relations are creating a realignment of the global power line-up, which in turn will necessitate nothing less than a redrawing of the map of international politics, as both energy surplus and energy deficit states come to enjoy influence disproportionate to their size and condition. During the Cold War, Klare observes, governments for the most part relied on privately owned, international oil companies (IOCs) and market forces to secure adequate supplies of energy. However, in the post-Cold War world, the high rates of economic growth experienced by the

Media, Culture, Reviews

worlds most populous industrializing countriesChina, India, Brazil, et al.have prompted a degree of hysteria among policymakers of all major energy importers (including those of China, India, etc.). Explaining this hysteria, Klare remarks that, [T]wo themespredominate: fear that global energy supplies will fall short of anticipated demand and that the rising industrial powers of the developing worldwith their booming economies, surging middle classes, and new automotive cultureswill trigger a brutal struggle for whatever energy there is. Such anxieties have therefore compelled states to assume more and more control over energy procurement in the post-Cold War era. Consequently, of the worlds 15 largest (in terms of proven oil reserves) oil companies, 13 are now government-owned, national oil companies (NOCs). Klare notes that other scholars have described this resurgent statist behavior as neo-mercantilism or resource nationalism. However one phrases it, it is clear that state leaders are increasingly understanding national security as energy securityreliable energy procurement. Understood as a matter of state security, energy procurement is inexorably bound up with military proliferation. Hence, Klares new geopolitics of energy is fraught with the potential for conflict, especially given the urgency that state leaders attach to finding new sources of energy. En-

ergy competition among what Klare calls the energy deficit states typically involves arms-for-energy tradeoffs with their suppliers, the energy surplus states. In the case of oil, arms transfers to the governments of surplus states pave the way for the deficit states NOCs (and any IOCs headquartered in their countries) to both exploit their hosts oilfields and search for new ones. For deficit states, the top priority accorded to energy security renders considerations of surplus states integrity (Do they respect international norms? Allow their citizens to exercise civil liberties?) irrelevant, for the most part. Not surprisingly, the accelerating militarization of energy procurement increases the possibilities for armed international conflict. With typical insight, Klare explains how nationalism provides momentum to this process: The long-term risk of escalation is growing even more potent because major energy importers and exporters regularly appeal to that most dangerous of emotions, nationalism, in making their claim over the management of energy flows. Nationalistic appeals, once they have gripped a populace, almost invariably promote fierce emotion and irrationality. Add to this the fact that the leaders of most countries involved in the great energy race have come to view the struggle over hydrocarbon assets as a zero-sum contestone in which a gain for one country almost always represents a loss for others. A

zero-sum mentality leads to a loss of flexibility in crisis situations, while the lens of nationalism turns the pursuit of energy assets into a sacred obligation of senior government officials. The competitive arms transfers that represent the militarization of energy procurement also have another disturbing upshot: strengthening and legitimizing repressive, corrupt regimes. In the case of U.S. arms recipients, the list is long and growing. It includes long-time allies in the Persian Gulf regionSaudi Arabia most notablywhose anachronistic social policies effectively reduce women to the status of second class citizens; corruptible African governments in Nigeria, Chad, and Angola, where along with off-shore drilling sites along the continents west coast U.S.-based oil companies such as Exxon and Chevron currently operate; and more recent allies in the energy rich Caspian Sea region, including what Klare re fers to as the autocratic regimes of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. While the governments of the oil rich Persian Gulf have long been wooed with deficit countries military largess, the emergence of the Caspian Sea regions governments as coveted allies may come as a bit of a surprise to some. Klare soberly sketches out a three-way struggle for geopolitical advantage in the Caspian Sea basin, as the U.S., Russia (Caspian states having formerly been Soviet republics), and China funnel arms and other forms of military assistance into the region in competition for influence there. Again stressing the dangers of an escalation of conflict, Klare notes that: This three-way struggleis militarizing the Caspian basin, inundating the region with advanced arms and an ever growing corps of military advisers, instructors, technicians, and combat-support personnel. [It will] heighten traditional suspicions and rivalries that have long plagued the region. The Great Powers are not only adding tinder to possible future fires, but also increasing the risk that they will be caught in any conflagration. Another source of tinder is the very real and increasing gap between the supply and demand for energy,



Media, Culture, Reviews

with Klare citing energy trade journals characterizations of the jump in energy use from 2004-2030 as extraordinary. (China and India Chindia, in the parlance of some energy analystswill play a conspicuous role here, representing the source of the aforementioned fear among policy-makers of major energy importers.) At the same time, in the case of oil, Klare warns that rates of output in mature fields continue to decline; the track record regarding the discovery of new sources of easy oil has been disappointing; and investors have been reluctant to risk new ventures for tough oil in remote, hazardous, or otherwise hostile environs (such as deep in the Gulf of Mexico). Moreover, over the long term, non-renewable alternatives to oil are insufficient as substitutes. As the worlds largest energy consumers, China and the U.S. would seem to be the logical starting points from which to begin redirecting the increasingly militarized global race for non-renewable energy sources. Accordingly, Klare asserts that a change from competition to collaboration in the U.S.-China energy paradigm could serve as an example for the rest of the world. Transcending commonly held notions of the inevitability of conflict between the two nations will be necessary for such collaboration to occur, along with recognizing and emphasizing what they have in common:

shared status as oil-dependent energy consumers, and what Klare describes as a common interest in tackling the global warming dilemma. Together, [the United States and China] are projected to account for a staggering 45 percent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions by 2030a truly terrifying prospect, given the grievous harm in the form of intense storms, floods, droughts, fires, and pestilence that climate change is likely to inflict on both countries. Klare goes on to illustrate initiatives already underway that may promote U.S.-China energy cooperation. These include an ongoing discussion forum between the U.S. Department of Energy and Chinas National Development and Reform Commission, titled U.S.-China Energy Policy Dialogue; the U.S.-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, a periodic colloquium among industry and government officials from both countries; and top economic officials establishment (in late 2007) of a joint U.S.China working group to come up with a ten-year plan for cooperation on energy and environmental issues. Clearly, when it comes to the prospects for U.S.-China energy cooperation, the countries are not starting from scratch. More important, it is not hard to see how, given the size of their respective populations and economies, the U.S. and China could leave an indelible impression on the rest of the worlds nations by

operationalizing Paulsons excitement about the possibilities for collaboration. Whatever the prospects for geopolitical collaboration in energy procurement, the sustainability Paulson refers to above will clearly require a substantial transformation of national energy policies from their current preoccupation with non-renewable energy sources to renewables, including solar and wind sources. Additional measures, such as promoting energy efficiency in the construction of buildings, and even the cleaner burning of coalthe demand for which, as oil and natural gas sources begin their decline, is expected to rise in the foreseeable futureare among those advocated by Klare in the books last chapter, Averting Catastrophe. (While the debate over clean coal need not be hashed out here, it is worth noting that many scientists and environmentalists refute the notion that coal can be burned cleanly.) Illustrating that considerable research and development on energy renewables is already underway in both the United States and China, Klare makes convincing cases for the viability of both renewable energy and a new international energy paradigm in which the United States and China play leading roles. While overcoming the zero-sum, ultra-nationalistic impulses that inform the energy policies of industrialized nations will be no small task, Klare is not nave in appealing to our better natures by urging a more collaborative approach to solving the worlds energy challenges. Indeed, the very real and growing catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico brutally underscores the need to transform the policies and practices of energy procurement into something akin to Klares more sustainable, collaborative approach. The grievous costs of not doing sothe destruction of the Gulfs wildlife habitat and, along with it, the source of its socioeconomic sustenancebecome increasingly evident with each passing day. Z
Jim Cabral teaches international relations and political science in the Social Science Department at Landmark College inVermont.


participate by attending or hosting local events, donating materials, or traveling along. Contact: IFCO/Pastors for Peace, 418 W. 145th St., New York, NY 10031; 212-926-5757; cucaravan@igc.org; www. pastorsforpeace.org.
TRAINING - An Earth Activist

tures training, speakers, and entertainment. Contact: DemocracyFest, info@democracyfest.net; www.democracyfest.net.

ANTI-WAR - A National Antiwar

and entertainment scheduled for August 13-15 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia. Contact: Twin Oaks Communities Conference, 138 Twin Oaks Road, Louisa, VA 23093; 540-894-5126; conference@ twinoaks.org; www.communities conference.org.
URPE - The Union for Radical

Rainbow Gathering is scheduled for July 1-7 in Pennsylvania. Advocating for a more inclusive United States National Forest, the event creates an unofficial, temporary eco-city in the wilderness, complete with kitchens, plumbing, medical care, sanitation, and childcare, and culminates with an elaborate prayer for World Peace. Contact: www.welcomehere. org/gathering_of_the_tribes/annual.

Conference is scheduled for July 23-25 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany, New York. Contact: United National Antiwar Conference (UNAC) Planning Committee, 518-227-6947 or 518-227-6947; UNAC2010@ aol.com; www.nationalpeace conference.org.
BIKE4PEACE - Former Green

Training for social permaculture is scheduled for July 3-17 in Bellingham, Washington. Co-taught by Starhawk, with guest teachers Bill Aal and Margo Adair of Tools for Change, this course offers a design certificate with a focus on organizing, activism, and social justice. Contact: Earth Activist Training, PO Box 170177, San Francisco, CA 94117; 800-381-7940; earthactivisttraining@gmail. com; www.earthactivisttraining. org.
PEACE CAMP - Peace of the Ac-

Political Economics (URPE) 4-day workshop/retreat istitled Capitalism and Global Climate Change and is scheduled for August 15-18 in Camp Deer Run in Pine Bush, New York. Contact: Union for Radical Political Economics, Gordon Hall, University of Massachusetts, 418 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002; 413-577-0806; urpe@ labornet.org; www.urpe.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace

Think Outside the Bomb, a youth-led network for nuclear abolition in the U.S., is conducting a national tour, with stops in cities throughout the south and west, culminating in a convergence and encampment on San Ildefonso Pueblo land near Los Alamos, New Mexico, July 30 through August 9. Contact: www.thinkoutsidethe bomb.org; www.totbtour.word press.com.
EXHIBIT - Out of the Closet

Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney will join others from Bike4Peace in a crosscountry tour departing San Francisco on July 24 and arriving in Washington, DC on September 22, World Car-Free Day, for a Critical Mass bike convergence. Contact: 541-829-9034; bike4 peace@googlegroups.com; www.b4p.bbnow.org.

tion is planning a Summer Camp OUT NOW with Cindy Sheehan from July 4-17 in Washington, DC, featuring direct action and educational events opposed to U.S. occupation and war. Contact: cindy@peaceofthe action.org; www.peaceoftheaction.org.

and Into the Street: Posters of LGBT Struggles & Celebration will be on display at the ONE Archives Gallery & Museum in West Hollywood July 3 through September 26. Contact: Center for the Study of Political Graphics, 8124 West Third Street, Suite 211, Los Angeles, CA 90048; 323-653-4662; cspgweb@politicalgraphics.org; www.politicalgraphics.org.

Rouge Forum 2010, Education in the Public Interest, will be held at George Williams College conference center in Williams Bay, Wisconsin from August 2-5. Contact: fwilson@aurora.edu; www.rougeforumconference.org
CHIAPAS - The independent col-

celebrates its 25th anniversary at this years annual convention August 25-29 in Portland, Maine, with workshops, talks, and strategy sessions, a final day rally and march. Contact: Contact Veterans For Peace, 216 S. Meramec Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; 314-7256005; www.vfpnationalconvention.org.
ARTIVIST - The 7th Annual

ance for Community Media 2010 National Conference is scheduled for July 7-10 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Workshops and skillshares will be offered by this grassroots coalition of community media groups. Contact: ACM, 1100 G Street, NW, Suite 740, Washington, DC 20005; 202-393-2653; www.alliancecm.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National

lective, Chiapas Against The Grain, is offering programs to learn Spanish and Tsotsil in a socio-cultural context, with visits to different projects, themed discussions, and videos, August 2-13 or August 16-27, with a July 15 registration deadline. Contact: chiapasacontrapelo @cronopios.org; www.chiapasa-contrape lo.cronopios.org/en.
CO-OPS - The 2010 National

Artivist Film Festival & Artivist Awards, dedicated to addressing human rights, childrens advocacy, environmental preservation, and animal rights is scheduled for October 5-9 in Hollywood, California. Contact: The Artivist Collective, Inc., PO Box 910, Hollywood , CA. 90028; 310-712-1222; info @artivists.org; www.artivists. org.

Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 10-13 in San Antonio, Texas, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
CARAVAN - The 21st annual

Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba is scheduled for July 3 through August 3. Volunteers will travel across the U.S. and Canada collecting aid and educating about the unjust blockade against Cuba, before an orientation in Texas July 18-20, followed by travel to and from Cuba until August 3. People can

Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-776-1718; www.nclr.org.

Worker Cooperative Conference is scheduled for August 6-9 at Clark Kerr Conference Center at UC Berkeley, California. Contact: U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives; 415-3799201; info@usworker.coop; www.usworker.coop.
COMMUNITIES - The Communi-

ESSAYS - The Daniel Singer

Annual DemocracyFest will be held July 23-24 in Las Vegas, Nevada. DemocracyFest is a political festival for liberal and progressive activists, which fea-

ties Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for anyone interested or involved in co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events,

Millennium Prize Foundation invites submissions to the 2010 Daniel Singer Prize competition, up to 5,000 words, on the topic: Given the devastating effects of the present crisis on working people, what proposals for radical reform can be raised that are both practical to the vast majority while moving us towards the goal of socialism? Deadline: July 31.



Contact: The Daniel Singer Millennium Prize Foundation, PO Box 2371, El Cerrito, CA 94530; danielsingerfdn@gmail. com; www.daniel singer.org.
SUPPORT - MediaChannel.org,

St. Louis de-industrialization are all explored. Contact: Big Noise Films, PO Box 72, NY, NY 10013; noise @bignoisefilms.org; www. bignoisefilms.org.
RACE - In a lecture based on his

Contact: Penguin Group, Viking Adult, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014; 212-366-2000; www.us.penguingroup.com.

Contact: Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago Review Press, 814 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610; 312-337-0747; www. chicagoreviewpress.com.

founded in 2000 by Danny Schechter and Rory OConnor to inspire debate, collaboration, action, and citizen engagement, is struggling through a financial crisis. It has been kept alive through fundraisers of late, but is now asking for creative ideas, as well as financial support to keep going in a difficult media environment. Contact: MediaChannel, 575 8th Ave., New York, NY l0018; 212-246-0202; dissector@ mediachannel.org; www.media channel.org.

book Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity (City Lights, 2010), activist and author Tim Wise discusses the pitfalls of colorblindness in the Obama era and argues for deeper color-consciousness in both public and private practice. Contact: Speak Out!, PO Box 22748, Oakland CA 94609; 510-601-0182; info@speak outnow.org; www.speakout now.org.

Prospects is a collection of lectures and essays from the past few years by Noam Chomsky, which survey the dangers and possibilities, from Latin American progressivism to U.S. delusions of exceptionalism. Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; info @haymarketbooks.org; www. haymarketbooks.org.
GRAMSCI - The biography Anto-

book, War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1861-1914, Cynthia Wachtell reveals the buried history of prominent Americans questioning the morality of warfare, including Melville, Whitman, Hawthorne, and Twain. Contact: Louisiana State University Press, 3990 West Lakeshore Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808; 800-848-6224; customerservice@longleafservic es.org; www.lsu.edu/lsupress; www.warnomorethebook.com.


ACORN - In Seeds of Change:

nio Gramsci by Antonio A. Santucci (preface by Eric J. Hobsbawm; translated by Graziella DiMauro with Salvatore Engel-DiMauro) offers a synthesis of the Italian philosopher/political theorists life and thought. Contact: Monthly Review Press, 146 W. 29th Street, #6W, New York, NY 10001; 800-670-9499; bookorder@monthlyreview.org; www.monthlyreview.org.
MAPS - Following up on his ear-

The Story of ACORN, Americas Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group, John Atlas chronicles past ACORN campaigns to organize unions, fight the subprime mortgage crisis, promote living wages, struggle for affordable housing, and help Hurricane Katrinas survivors. Contact: Vanderbilt University Press, VU Station B 351813, Nashville, TN 37235; vupress @vanderbiltuniversitypress. com; www.vanderbiltuniversitypress.com.
MIGRANTS - The documentary BODY IMAGE - Ancient Bodies,

lier book, The Power of Maps, Denis Woods new Rethinking the Power of Maps describes how cartography facilitated the rise of the modern state, demystifies hidden assumptions of mapmaking, and explores the promises and limitations of diverse counter-mapping practices today. Contact: Guilford Press, 72 Spring Street New York, NY 10012; 800-365-7006; info @guilford.com; www. guilford.com.
MINERS - In When Miners

PROTEST - Protest Nation:

Which Way Home investigates the personal side of immigration as child migrants from Mexico and Central America risk everything to make it to the U.S. riding freight trains. Contact: Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-3764; info@bull frogfilms.com; www.bullfrog films.com.
NEWS SHORTS - In Big Noise

Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Womens Health by anthropologist Wenda Trevathan explores a range of womens health issues viewed through an evolutionary lens. Contact: Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; 212-726-6000; custserv.us@oup.com; www. oup.com.

Words That Inspired a Century of American Radicalism, edited by Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John McMillian, brings together the historic speeches, letters, broadsides, essays, and manifestos of American dissidents. Contact: The New Press, 38 Greene Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10013; 212-629-8802; www.thenewpress.com.

March by William C. Blizzard, the epic West Virginia Mine Wars is explored, the largest open and armed rebellion in U.S. history. Contact: PM Press, PO Box 23912, Oakland, CA 94623; 510-658-3906; info@pmpress. org; www.pmpress.org.
NIGERIA - A Swamp Full of Dol-

Dispatches 06, the latest installment of the Dispatches shorts news series on DVD, Jeremy Scahill investigates Blackwaters role in the Nisur Square massacre, Greg Palast tracks American debt speculators to Liberia, and the resurgent white power movement in America, and East

Summer: The Savage Season that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy, Bruce Watson offers a moment-by-moment account of the historic 1964 campaign, based on letters, diaries, and interviews with participants and residents.

lars: Pipelines and Paramilitaries at Nigerias Oil Frontier by Michael Peel reveals the confrontations between oil companies, villagers, and rebels within the largest U.S. trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.

Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq, Nicolas J.S. Davies takes apart the wall of propaganda surrounding one of historys most significant military disasters and most serious international crimes. Contact: Nimble Books, 1521 Martha Ave., Ann Arbor MI 48103; www.nimblebooks.com.