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Obama @ the UN: The Overwhelming Arrogance of American Imperialism

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From WSWS.org

Obama at the UN: The arrogant voice of imperialism

By Bill Van Auken
24 September 2010

President Barack Obama used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly Thursday to defend US wars and state terror abroad and to proclaim that the economic crisis has been resolved thanks to his Wall Street bailout.

The US president received a noticeably tepid response from the assembled UN delegates. While in his first address to the body last year, he was able to pose as a fresh alternative to the crimes carried out by the Bush administration, by now it has become clear to most on the international stage that his administration’s policies are largely in continuity with those of its predecessor.

In its tone and its content, the Obama speech was the authentic and arrogant voice of US imperialism.

Parroting remarks delivered by George W. Bush from the same podium, Obama began by invoking September 11, 2001, once again exploiting the terrorist attacks of that day to justify the acts of military aggression committed by both US administrations in the intervening nine years.

In the same breath, he referred to Wall Street’s financial meltdown of September 2008, as an event that “devastated American families on Main Street,” while “crippling markets and deferring the dreams of millions on every continent.”

These two events were presented as the source of the core challenges confronting the US administration. Supposedly in response to the first, the Obama administration has continued and escalated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan-Pakistan, while reaffirming Washington’s “right” to carry out unilateral military aggression anywhere on the planet.

In response to the second, the administration continued the massive bailout begun under Bush, committing more than $12 trillion to propping up the US banks and financial institutions, while holding none of those involved responsible for the criminal forms of speculation practiced on Wall Street.

Obama claimed that the so-called Wall Street reform legislation passed by his administration would ensure “that a crisis like this never happens again.” It does nothing of the kind, placing no serious limits on the speculative activities and profitability of the big banks and leaving Wall Street to continue with “business as usual.”

“The global economy has been pulled back from the brink of a depression,” Obama told his UN audience. This statement flies in the face of the grim conditions confronting working people on every continent. This includes the US itself, where the official unemployment rate remains near 10 percent, the unemployed and underemployed account for 17 percent of the workforce, some 30 million people, and one out of every seven Americans is living below the poverty line.

While profits have returned to pre-crisis levels, the reality is that none of the underlying contradictions that have given rise to the deepest world economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s has been resolved. They have only grown in intensity. The response of the ruling classes throughout the world has been to redouble their attacks on the working class in an attempt to force it to pay for this crisis.

Obama followed his assertion about the economy being pulled back from “the brink” with an even more absurd claim that he would not “rest until these seeds of progress grow into a broader prosperity, not only for all Americans, but for peoples around the globe.”

In the US, throughout Europe and in much of the rest of the world, governments are pursuing unprecedented austerity policies that are ripping up basic social rights and dramatically lowering the living standards of working people. Meanwhile, Obama himself spoke before a global poverty summit the day before his speech, warning the world’s poorest that Washington was determined to break their cycle of “dependency.”

The US president’s lies about the economy were followed by the fraudulent claim that the military operations his administration is pursuing abroad are aimed at upholding “our common security.”

Obama said that he is “winding down the war in Iraq” and will pull out all of its occupation troops by the end of next year. At the same time, he declared Washington’s intention to forge “a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people,” by which he means maintaining a US protectorate over the oil-rich country in order to advance the geo-strategic interests of American capitalism.

He said that the drawing down US troops in Iraq had allowed the US military to be “refocused on defeating al Qaeda and denying its affiliates a safe haven” in Afghanistan. This is another lie. US military and intelligence officials acknowledge that there are no more than 100 al Qaeda members in all of Afghanistan. The nearly 100,000 US troops deployed in that country are not combating “terrorism,” but asserting US neo-colonial control in a bid to advance Washington’s quest for hegemony in Central Asia.

In one of the speech’s more chilling passages, Obama bragged that “from South Asia to the Horn of Africa, we are moving toward a more targeted approach” in the war on terror, that did not require “deploying large American armies.” In other words, while constrained in its ability to carry out another major military occupation, US imperialism is pursuing its policies by means of assassinations, drone missile attacks and the deployment of elite killing squads, and has arrogated to itself the right to target and kill its perceived opponents anywhere on the planet.

Obama used the speech to once again threaten Iran. Only days before his appearance at the UN, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech urging elements within the Iranian ruling elite to carry out regime change in the country. He reiterated the vow made in his speech last year that Iran “must be held accountable” for its alleged violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

At least a quarter of Obama’s address was dedicated to the US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian “peace talks” that appear to be on the brink of yet another breakdown in the face of Israeli intransigence and provocation.

For all the hackneyed rhetoric about the “Holy Land” and “our common humanity,” the Obama administration is pursuing these negotiations as a means of solidifying support among the Arab regimes for its escalating threats of aggression against Iran and to further its domination of the Middle East.

The content of the speech made clear the US administration’s unwavering complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Obama urged that a limited moratorium declared by the Israeli government be extended beyond September 26, when it is set to expire. He said Israel should do this because it “improved the atmosphere for talks,” not because the entire settlement activity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is a violation of international law and multiple UN resolutions. In the same breath, the US president asserted that “talks should press on until completed,” presumably regardless of what Israel does.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that his government will not extend the moratorium, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had initially insisted that his delegation would be forced to walk out if it does not. An ever-pliant servant of Washington, Abbas has since indicated that he might back down on this threat.

The rest of Obama’s remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian question had an Orwellian flavor, in which Israel was presented as the victim. “The slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance—it’s injustice,” Obama declared. He made no mention of the slaughter of 1,400 Palestinians in the US-backed siege of Gaza in 2008-2009 or the criminal attack on the Gaza aid flotilla that killed nine Turkish civilians last May. The day the US president spoke, the UN issued a report charging that Israel’s actions were illegal and employed an “unacceptable level of brutality,” meriting war crimes prosecution.

The US president concluded his speech with an exaltation of “democracy” and “human rights,” which again echoed similar language employed by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

In Bush’s case, this phony democratic rhetoric was employed to justify US imperialism’s drive for dominance in the Middle East, where Washington demonstrated its commitment to “human rights” by carrying out mass killings, the detention of tens of thousands without charges or trial, and the infamous acts of torture at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantánamo.

In Obama’s case, the posturing as the global champion of democratic rights is no less contemptible. The target, however, appears to have shifted.

The Council on Foreign Relations, the establishment thinktank that enjoys close ties to the administration and the State Department, spelled this out. Noting Obama’s “full-throated endorsement of democracy as the best form of government,” it commented: “Yet the appeal of such an idea faces challenges at bodies like the UN. This is not, for example, the future world that Chinese leaders envision.”

Indeed, Obama followed his celebration of democracy by calling attention to his upcoming trip to Asia, ticking off the countries he will visit—India, Indonesia, Korea, Japan—and praising each for having promoted “democratic principles in their own way.” The itinerary includes the four largest countries that US strategists envision as bulwarks against the expansion of Chinese influence.

On the same day that Obama delivered his speech, the New York Times published a front-page article on the increasingly tense US-China relationship that was clearly based on the perspective of the US administration. The Times reported that “rising frictions between China and its neighbors in recent weeks over security issues have handed the United States an opportunity to reassert itself—one the Obama administration has been keen to take advantage of.”

It noted that Washington has inserted itself into territorial disputes between China and Southeast Asian countries, organized provocative joint military exercises with South Korea near Chinese waters and has solidified its alliance with Japan, largely in opposition to China’s influence.

Under conditions of rising conflicts between Washington and Beijing over currency and trade relations, Obama’s praise for “democracy” at the UN represents a thinly veiled threat of new and far more catastrophic eruptions of American militarism.

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Gordon Duff: America, Apartheid Or Apocalypse?

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It Can’t Happen Here – But It is

Gordon Duff: America, Apartheid Or Apocalypse? | Sabbah Report.

To millions of Americans, the “end times” seem to be on us. The BP disaster in the Gulf may leave 25% of America virtually uninhabitable, eco-systems destroyed for sure but maybe much more, a destroyed sea floor, toxic gas clouds moving inland and warnings of something worse, a geological disaster of biblical proportions sitting offshore like a ticking time bomb. Millions of American believe the president is a foreign born Muslim, a puppet of the terrorists while millions believe he is working for Israel. Every speech, every state visit, everything done is seen to support one side or another, sometimes both. The destruction of the American presidency is only part of it, part of a program of racial division, fear, hate and a descent into class warfare and violence.

The end result of the disasters, political infighting, religious extremism, the total collapse of trust in America’s system of government and the infiltration of terrorist elements into every institution, America’s military and political core, financial terrorists working to destroy America’s standard of living, its industrial base, its currency and, eventually the last of its freedoms will be the division of America, starting with an apartheid state and ending in “Balkanization” and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal being unleashed on the world. This has been heard before, it is a story that faith based broadcasting has been sending out to the American people for the past thirty years. The biblical flood began when the money disappeared.

ECONOMIC APOCALYPSE

The serious side is the economic meltdown. Even with the hundreds of billions Americans borrowed to give to our “banksters” who our “congress critters” decided were too big to allow to fail, we have no banks, simply depositories for stolen money while it waits to be shipped overseas. Money is taken in, none loaned out, not for jobs in America anyway. All the government did was to push the burgeoning debt left us by the Bush/Cheney failures even higher, topping $13 trillion dollars this month, money we owe to pay back money we never got from people who had no right to print it in the first place.

More and more Americans are becoming aware of the fact that our system, the Federal Reserve, is nothing but a racket where foreign bankers, all thinly disguised Rothschilds, sell us our own money while maneuvering us into debt, really a massive mortgage on America’s future, we can never keep up the payments on. America has been systematically destabilized, the most powerful nation in the history of the earth, living on borrowed money and, frankly, borrowed time.

TOO MUCH TO STOMACH, BP BUYING OUR GOVERNMENT AND LIEBERMAN CONTROLLING THE INTERNET

When Americans look at television and see half their politicians crying about BP, a company that laid waste to more of the planet than any in history, they see a world upside down. They know their politicians take money, everyone knows this, but to think they would be brazen enough to scream out “yes, we are crooks, what are you going to do about it?” is more than that. It is an announcement that anyone in government can do anything they want, anything, and never answer for it, not even face reelection problems. The more crooked a politician, the more favorable press he gets, the more the Israel lobby supports him, the more the Tea Baggers support him, the more “heroic” he is portrayed by the pundits and fear mongers.

Things have gotten so bad that Senator Josef Liebermann (I-srael) has introduced a bill that would allow the internet to be closed down in case of “emergency.” Liberman talks about terrorism or espionage but the real problem was that the “corporate press” got caught lying over the Freedom Flotilla massacre and millions of Americans have turned to the internet for the news, news sometimes bizarre, conspiratorial and fringe, often however, much more accurate and truthful than the newspapers and TV networks. His bill, written in Tel Aviv, is designed to make Americans who depend on the internet for news and communication feel helpless, isolated and ready to turn to violence.

Picture yourself going to the computer. Your email is blocked, nothing in, nothing out. You are looking at one screen, the same thing on every computer in the country. The logo, a simply, DHS, Department of Homeland Security. In the middle of the screen is a new search engine, “Safety Friendly Family Approved Searches.” Below that are approved news stories, linking you to ABC, CNN, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, the WSJ, NYT, WP and Family Security Matters.org. Below that is a warning:

“Your microphone and webcam are in active mode. Do not attempt to mute, shield or disable under penalty of law.”

Senator Lieberman is trying to start a civil war, more than just planting the seeds, this is a provocation, a clear and present danger to American freedom.

BUILDING THE MECHANISM OF APOCALYPSE, THE MOVE TO APARTHEID

Let’s talk about “social cohesion.” Israel has shipped their five million Palestinians to Jordan, Lebanon or Gaza to have social cohesion, one country, one race, one religion, no room for outsiders, no matter how long they have been around. America did the same thing with the Indians (Native Americans), eventually wiping most of them out in a series of wars, treaties and resettlement programs. However, America’s problems with social cohesion are far greater than Israel’s or even those of America during the pioneering years. Today, we are a society divided on, not only race and ethnicity but region, religion and, worst of all, extremist political views. The government that is supposed to join us together and the constitution that is meant to guarantee our belief in equal justice for all have been ground into the dust, twisted, bought, obliterated and disfigured.

America is heading for a meltdown. Another civil war is possible, even likely. 40% of states are bankrupt. This means they can’t pay police or teachers or fix roads except with borrowed federal money. It also means their pension plans, all that is meant to keep millions of Americans out of dire poverty in retirement, are gone. The states lost their pension plans in the 2007 collapse. Only federal bail outs, which aren’t going to happen, will cover this massive shortfall. Eventually, workers, hundreds of thousands of families who worked and saved for financial security will be told it isn’t there anymore. This isn’t the future, it happened, its real and it can’t be hidden very long.

There is no federal government to step in and carry the load. Wars have left it drowning and political corruption has crippled America to where it is no more stable than many of the nations of Africa. Hiding behind years of scare tactics, terrorism, tiny countries with nuclear weapons, or the real problem of Mexico’s collapse under the rule of drug lords and the millions flooding into our country, financial criminals have looted America and a worldwide criminal conspiracy of financial criminals, headquartered in Tel Aviv and New York, protected by congress and Mossad death squads traveling the world with German passports. The press, something we generously call either the “mainstream media” or “corporate controlled press” isn’t just a mechanism for censorship, its part of a long term effort to destroy the faith Americans have in their own ability as people to rule themselves and trust, not the criminals presented to vote for in elections, but their own ability to reject the lot of them.

THE MANY FACES OF THE AMERICAN TALIBAN

Radicalization of America has been the goal all along. Who would have ever believed that internet conspiracy theory would end up being, not only more believable, but more fair and certainly more balanced than traditional media sources that have been discredited to such a degree in recent months. A key area of division in America has been religion. For awhile, financed by the Israeli lobby and the “bankster” criminal elements, the “neo-cons” were able to build a bridge uniting Evangelical Christians with Christian Zionists, groups that are, from a scriptural standpoint light years apart. To this, the abortion/women’s rights issue drew many Catholics to abandon their traditional values and join with these groups which had shared little in common with them. Catholics are urban, typically well educated with a Euro-centric culture, while Evangelicals shun higher education for religious instruction.

The first American Taliban may have been the Puritans but they have been eclipsed in American history by the atavism of the Mormon Church, whose beliefs deeply parallel the most frightening and profound heresies of Islam, church over state, no rights for women and an undercurrent of violence unrivaled by any sect seen in a western society since the Albigensians. Mormons, chased across America, seized much of the Southwest and set up a defacto government, one with little in common with the rest of America. As the Mormon regions of America come into conflict with the massive Hispanic Catholic population, the roots of dissolution, border wars, draconian race laws and eventually full apartheid will take hold. It will start in Arizona and spread through the American West.

Perhaps the largest threat is the religious theory of Zionism. Originally a race theory based on Jewish racial superiority and political supremacy, offshoots of Zionism have entered Evangelical Christian belief systems creating the heresy known as Christian Zionism. Original Zionism, a violent and radical offshoot of Judaism is more racial than religious or political in nature. Though a minority of American Jews practice Zionistic beliefs, most are coerced into either financial support or even into sending children into military servitude in Israel in order to avoid social ostracism.

As the result of the founding of Israel in Judea or Palestine, a slow decline in social,cultural and intellectual traditions has infected the Jewish community in America, one known for the advancement of social causes and broad advocacy of American freedoms. With the increased radicalization of America and her economic decline, many Jews have looked to Israel as an anchor, failing to take into account the role Israel has played in the onset of the entropy they fear. This situation could be equated with burning down your home to save your garage.

Christian Zionists have only anecdotal similarities with the Judaic variety. They tend to be rural, poorly educated, envious and resentful, not only of what they call “elites” but many other groups as well but primarily African Americans. The basis of Christian Zionism is hatred of African Americans. All other monikers or descriptions are a subterfuge to escape the labels these same groups had been associated with in the past, Klan, racist or bigot.

Hiding behind tortured and obscure biblical references and using bizarre stories of disaster and apocalypse, stories oddly well supported by current times, these simple rural people unable to grasp much of the complex modern world. They have been melded into a political front serving the interests of Israel, a state they understand poorly, and the class of economic criminals, many associated with Israel but also with the movement in America called “conservatism.” Their political role has been to serve as a vocal and sometimes violent front for the economic oligarchy, a very real monied elite, that has assumed broad control over America’s policitcal and social life.

THE DOOM SO MANY PRAYED SO HARD FOR IS HERE

America’s security has been tied, for 65 years, to NATO. Today, our newspaper and TV gurus are telling us to dissolve NATO. With the breakdown of the alliance between Israel and Turkey, Israel, who controls 444 members of congress and 50% of America’s wealth has demanded that America either throw Turkey out of NATO or leave herself. As yet, Israel is allowing the United States to remain in the United Nations because America’s security council veto, used hundreds of times to save Israel from sanctions for war crimes or nuclear proliferation violations, is vital to the welare of Israel.

This week, Israel was discovered on the verge of bombing Iran. Little real damage would have been done. Iran has no nuclear infrastructure tied to weapons manufacture. The intent would be, as Israel had planned it, to enter Iran from the north where there are few defenses, bomb useless and remote targets, safe targets so all planes could return and claim a major victory, destroying that which did not exist. As Saudi Arabia has already been set up as the fall guy, said to have allowed the attack in advance, something the Saudis deny, they would become hated among Muslim nations.

Israel’s plan is to force Iran to attack Saudi Arabia, close the Straits of Hormuz and push America and Western Europe into total collapse. With 60% of the world’s oil supply eliminated, world financial and currency markets would collapse and the world’s armaments industry would explode with orders. Israel is the third largest exporter of weapons. Israel prides itself as the inventor of “game theory,” the method of strategic planning making use of deception, manipulation, “false flag attacks,” assassinations, bribery and blackmail in a complex chess match meant to bring the world to a chaotic state subject to their mathematical models. Israel is filled with Nobel Prize winners. This is what they work on.

The apolcalypse that Christian Zionists prayed for, the “end times” though to begin with a series of natural disasters has been hurried along. Pushing for a nuclear war has always been a part of it but the possiblity, not yet proven, that the BP disaster in the Gulf could eventually turn the Gulf Stream and leave Europe uninhabitable is a continual subject of discussion with America’s religious broadcast community.

HOW DESTABILIZATION BECOMES APARTHEID

With collapse in the trust in America’s institutions, a Supreme Court with five neo-Fascist judges, congress with 444 “Israeli-firsters,” and millions of Americans believing the president is the Anti-Christ, one more economic disaster, the one Israel is attempting to stage right now, would make the 2007 collapse seem like a joke. With the broadcast media having worked the country into fear, distrust and ready to pick up weapons to use against their neighbors, all carefully staged, the scripts have been passed out.

You will know when you see the face of Sarah Palin on every network, perhaps in a pantsuit with a miltiary cut. Do you think she will be wearing a beret? There will be a flag behind her and the Star Spangled Banker will fade to silence as she makes the announcements.

Nuclear arsenals will be seized by patriotic groups from within our military, led by Israeli commandos and helped by our armies of private defense contractors. Those secret “FEMA/UN” prisons will suddenly turn out to be real, with local police in riot gear, American flags on their cars and uniforms, hunting down journalists, activists and, eventually, the educated.

Senator Lieberman will pull the plug on the internet. Private logins will carry arrest lists.

After the educated classes and politially progressive groups are rounded up, then the African Americans and Hispanics will be cataloged, given travel restrictions. Pass laws will be enacted.

Then, surprise of surprises, they will start rounding up Jews.

Welcome to the hell of your own making.

* Gordon Duff is senior editor of Veterans Today.

“While Israel Kills and Maims… The Outrage at Helen Thomas” By ALISON WEIR

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Thanks to  Counterpunch!

June 9, 2010

Whenever Israel commits yet another atrocity, its defenders are quick to redirect public attention away from the grisly crime scene.

Currently, there are headlines about allegedly anti-Semitic comments made by senior White House correspondent Helen Thomas. Pundits across the land evince outrage at her off-the-cuff 25-second statement made to a man who appears to be holding a camera right in her face.

Thomas issued a public apology for her words, but this was insufficient to assuage the wounded feelings of powerful antagonists, and she has now retired from a long and distinguished career.

Before we examine her comments and evaluate their possible validity, let’s look at other recent events having to do with Israel.

On May 31st Israeli commandos killed at least nine unarmed volunteers attempting to take humanitarian supplies to Gaza.

According to eyewitness reports and forensic evidence, many of these aid volunteers were shot at close range, including a 19-year-old American citizen killed by four bullets to the head and one to the chest fired from 18 inches away.

Israel immediately imprisoned eyewitnesses and hundreds of other aid participants, confiscated their cameras, laptops, and other possessions, and prevented them from speaking to the press for days. Among the incarcerated were decorated U.S. veterans and an 80-year-old former ambassador who had been deputy director of Reagan’s Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism.

When they finally emerged and were able to tell their stories, many described horrific scenes of Israeli commandos shooting people in the head, of those tending the injured being shot in the stomach, of people bleeding to death while flotilla participants waved white flags and pled for help.

They also described being beaten brutally by Israeli forces, again and again – including those on ships that, in the U.S. media’s judgment, experienced “no violence.” A 64-year-old piano tuner from California, Paul Larudee, described hundreds of Israeli commandos boarding his ship. When he refused to cooperate with them, soldiers then beat him numerous times both on board the ship and after he was imprisoned on land.

Eventually he was taken by ambulance to an Israeli hospital. He wasn’t treated, however, and Larudee believes he was taken there because Israel didn’t want media to see his black eye, pronated joints, bruised jaw and body contusions.

Marine veteran Ken O’Keefe described similar beatings while in Israeli custody. In his case, the public was able to see his bloodied, battered face in video clips and still images – but only on the Internet, since American mainstream media failed to report on his press conference or to publish the many still photos of his injuries.

Other gruesome photos available to the American public only on the Internet are of Emily Henochowicz, a 21-year-old American student whose eye and eye socket were recently shattered by Israeli forces. She has since had her eyeball removed, three metal plates inserted in her face, and her jaw wired shut.

Henochowicz was not on the flotilla; she was taking part in a nonviolent demonstration against the Israeli assault when an Israeli soldier shot a high-velocity teargas canister into her face.

A Swedish citizen standing with Henochowicz said, “They clearly saw us. They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face.”

Henochowicz is not the first to have been shot by such a canister.

Thirty-year-old Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh died when an Israeli soldier shot one at him at close range while Abu Rahmeh participated in a demonstration against Israeli confiscation of Palestinian farmland. A video of this is also available on You Tube; U.S. networks have also chosen not to broadcast this.

Californian Tristan Anderson was shot in the head by a similar canister while he was taking photographs following another demonstration. Part of Anderson’s brain was removed and he was in a “minimally responsive state” for 6-7 months.

He is now in a wheelchair, has almost no movement in his left arm and leg, is blind in one eye, and his mental functioning is significantly reduced. Photos of the shooting are also available on the Internet.

Since at least 2006 Israeli forces have closed off Gaza to the outside world, essentially imprisoning 1.5 million men, women, and children, and denying them foodstuffs, medicines, and building materials, as documented by such agencies as Amnesty International, Oxfam, and Christian Aid, which said that Israel was using food and medicine as weapons.

One of the multitudinous victims of this illegal siege is five-year-old Taysir Al Burai, who suffers from an acute neurological disorder and requires round-the-clock care. According to the UK Guardian, he could be cured if Israel would allow him to leave Gaza, but to date his parents’ repeated requests have been denied.

Another victim is 7-month-old Mohammad Khader, whose swelling in the brain required specialized treatment unavailable in Gazan hospitals depleted by the Israeli siege. His distraught parents’ applications asking Israel to allow them to travel abroad were similarly denied. Their tiny son died a few days ago.

Such stories go on and on. [Recently, a couple in their 50s were run over by a settler. They had nine children].

Thomas’ “outrageous” statement

Yet, the rage we see in the U.S. media is directed against none of this. People shot in the head, eyes and brain parts destroyed, the elderly beaten, small children and infants caused to suffer and die, parents to grieve – none of this has caused a hint of anger. In fact, most of it has been considered of too little importance even to report.

Instead, media reports are filled with outrage at “anti-Israel” words spoken by 89-year-old Helen Thomas.

In Thomas’s lifetime Israel has ethnically cleansed over a million people, replaced them with colonists from around the world, committed dozens of massacres, tortured thousands of people, killed and maimed untold numbers of children, mangled limbs, and committed outrages on women, old people, the weak and the infirm.

It has assassinated people throughout the world, invaded numerous countries, spied on the U.S., killed and injured 200 American servicemen (the anniversary is this week), and tortured and imprisoned Americans. All while receiving more American money than any other country on earth.

For years, long before her recent words, Thomas has been the target of Israel’s vicious American volunteers, the Zionist blogosphere abounding with nasty slurs on her looks and her Lebanese ancestry, this latter also consistently emphasized by the media, despite her Kentucky birth and upbringing.

One of the reasons for the ferocious animosity toward her is the fact that Thomas is one of the very few mainstream reporters to challenge the neocon engendered lies that led the U.S. into wars that have caused massive death, destruction and tragedy and to continue to expose ongoing policies of violence and cruelty.

As the same groups and individuals who pushed the US into attacking Iraq have in recent years been escalating their efforts to push the U.S. to now similarly decimate Iranians under the pretext that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons, Thomas’s questioning attempted to elicit from Obama the fact that Israel already posses nuclear weapons. While the rest of the press corps has conspired in the cover-up of this fact and others, Thomas worked to expose them.

Not surprisingly, the many people complicit in these manipulations, such as former Bush spokesperson Ari Fleischer, have led the charge against her.

It is useful to examine the video and context of Thomas’s allegedly “anti-Semitic” comment.

A man, apparently holding a camera right in her face, asks for her comments about Israel. She says, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied. And it’s their land…” He interrupts her and asks where they should go. She responds, “They should go home. To Germany, Poland, America, and everywhere else.”

While Thomas has since apologized for her hasty words and many Israelis have the right to continue living where they are, the reality is that Israeli settlers did, indeed, come from elsewhere; they are, in fact, illegally occupying Palestinian land (a fact acknowledged even by the U.S. State Department); and international law does require that they leave.

Many commentators evince particular anger at Thomas’s inclusion of Germany and Poland as places to which Israeli colonists should return, suggesting that Hitler is still in control and waiting to pounce.

The happy fact is, however, that World War II and the Nazi holocaust ended well over half a century ago. In Poland today there is a vibrant Jewish revival with a 10-foot tall Menorah being lit in the center of Warsaw during Hanukah, and Germany has become, according to the New York Times, “a country where Jews want to live.” In fact, in recent years more Jews have chosen to immigrate to Germany than to Israel.

Thomas’s call for colonists to return to America (this destination was left out of many articles) is far from outrageous given that a great many West Bank settlers are from the U.S.

Overall, reporting on the incident has largely departed from the standard journalistic practice of quoting people from both sides of an issue. Quotes from Thomas supporters are missing, even though the You Tube page featuring the infamous video contains a large number of comments supporting her. In contrast, quotes from Thomas’s detractors, almost all of them Zionists, are ubiquitous, but generally fail to divulge the speakers’ frequent conflicts of interest.

For example, the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz quotes Jeffrey Goldberg without mentioning that Goldberg is an Israeli citizen who served as a prison guard at an Israeli prison that held hundreds of Palestinians without charge, some killed in cold blood by the prison commander.

Mainstream media organizations do not seem to have investigated reports that the man who videotaped Thomas, Rabbi David Nesenoff, also made an offensive video featuring himself and another man impersonating a buffoonish Catholic priest and Mexican immigrant.

Similarly, news reports that a high school had disinvited Thomas as a graduation speaker almost never inform readers that many of the school’s parents and students wished Thomas to remain, even though this unreferenced group may represent a majority of the school. Members of this group have created a Facebook page, “Helen Thomas should have been our graduation speaker,” that states:

“The purpose of this group is to quietly but firmly protest the ability of a small minority to impose its will on the larger group through engaging or threatening to engage in disruptive discourse. This group affirms a belief in reasonable discussion and feel that in this scenario, a clear minority was able to override a larger majority by distorting the issues and discussion.”

It is not known who will take over Thomas’s front-row seat at White House briefings. Given the record of the current press corps, it is likely that Israel partisans are breathing a sign of relief.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. Photos and videos referenced in the article can be viewed on the website (http://ifamericansknew.org) She can be reached at contact@ifamericansknew.org

Israel’s Disinformation Campaign Against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

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Israel’s Disinformation Campaign Against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Israeli disinformation cannot hide the siege of Gaza.

For over four years, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to an increasingly severe blockade, resulting in a man-made humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. Earlier this month, John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with humanitarian aid. This weekend, 9 civilian boats carrying 700 human rights workers from 40 countries and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid will attempt to do just that: break through the Israel’s illegal military blockade on the Gaza Strip in non-violent direct action. In response, the Israeli government has threatened to send out ‘half’ of its Naval forces to violently stop our flotilla, and they have engaged in a deceitful campaign of misinformation regarding our mission.

Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International’s Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli’s siege on Gaza has “deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law.”[1]

Israel claims that its blockade is directed simply at the Hamas government in Gaza, and is limited to so-called ’security’ items. Yet When U.S. Senator John Kerry visited Gaza last year, he was shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade included staple food items such as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.[2] Furthermore, Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, has documented numerous official Israeli government statements that the blockade is intended to put ‘pressure’ on Gaza’s population, and collective punishment of civilians is an illegal act under international law.[3]

Israel claims that if we wish to send aid to Gaza, all we need do is go through ‘official channels,’ give the aid to them and they will deliver it. This statement is both ridiculous and offensive. Their blockade, their ‘official channels,’ is what is directly causing the humanitarian crisis in the first place.

According to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: “Palestinians in Gaza are being actually ’starved to death,’ receiving fewer calories per day than people in the poorest parts of Africa. This is an atrocity that is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It is a crime… an abomination that this is allowed to go on. Tragically, the international community at large ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings.”[4]

Israel claims that we refused to deliver a letter and package from POW Gilad Shalit’s father. This is a blatant lie. We were first contacted by lawyers representing Shalit’s family Wednesday evening, just hours before we were set to depart from Greece. Irish Senator Mark Daly (Kerry), one of 35 parliamentarians joining our flotilla, agreed to carry any letter and to attempt to deliver it to Shalit or, if that request was denied, deliver it to officials in the Hamas government. As of this writing, the lawyers have not responded to Sen. Daly, electing instead to attempt to smear us in the Israeli press.[5] We have always called for the release of all political prisoners in this conflict, including the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, among them hundreds of child prisoners.[6]

Most despicably of all, Israel claims that we are violating international law by sailing unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to a people desperately in need. These claims only demonstrate how degenerate the political discourse in Israel has become.

Despite its high profile pullout of illegal settlements and military presence from Gaza in August—September 2005, Israel maintains “effective control” over the Gaza Strip and therefore remains an occupying force with certain obligations.[7] Among Israel’s most fundamental obligations as an occupying power is to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population. An occupying force has a duty to ensure the food and medical supplies of the population, as well as maintain hospitals and other medical services, “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” (G IV, arts. 55, 56). This includes protecting civilian hospitals, medical personnel, and the wounded and sick. In addition, a fundamental principle of International Humanitarian Law, as well as of the domestic laws of civilized nations, is that collective punishment against a civilian population is forbidden (G IV, art. 33).

Israel has grossly abused its authority as an occupying power, not only neglecting to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population, but instituting policies designed to collectively punish the Palestinians of Gaza. From fuel and electricity cuts that hinder the proper functioning of hospitals, to the deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid delivery through Israeli-controlled borders, Israel’s policies towards the Gaza Strip have turned Gaza into a man-made humanitarian disaster. The dire situation that currently exists in Gaza is therefore a result of deliberate policies by Israel designed to punish the people of Gaza. In order to address the calamitous conditions imposed upon the people, one must work to change the policies causing the crisis. The United Nations has referred to Israel’s near hermetic closure of Gaza as “collective punishment,”[8] strictly prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. All nations signatory to the Convention have an obligation to ensure respect for its provisions.[9]

Given the continuing and sustained failure of the international community to enforce its own laws and protect the people of Gaza, we strongly believe that we all, as citizens of the world, have a moral obligation to directly intervene in acts of nonviolent civil resistance to uphold international principles. Israeli threats and intimidation will not deter us. We will sail to Gaza again and again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the world.

NOTES:

  1. Amnesty International, Annual Human Rights Report (26 May 2010); http://thereport.amnesty.org
  2. “The pasta, paper and hearing aids that could threaten Israeli security,” The Independent (2 March 2009)
  3. “Restrictions on the transfer of goods to Gaza: Obstruction and obfuscation,” Gisha (January 2010)
  4. “Carter calls Gaza blockade ‘a crime and atrocity,” Haaretz (17 April 2008),http://www.haaretz.com/news/carter-calls-gaza-blockade-a-crime-and-atrocity-1.244176
  5. “Gaza aid convoy refuses to deliver package to Gilad Shalit,” Haaretz (27 May 2010)
  6. “Comprehensive Report on Status of Palestinian Political Prisoners,” Sumoud (June 2004); Palestinian Children Political Prisoners, Addameer, http://www.addameer.org/detention/children.html
  7. Article 42 of the Hague Regulations stipulates, a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army,” and that the occupation extends “to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.” Similarly, in the Hostage Case, the Nuremburg Tribunal held that, “the test for application of the legal regime of occupation is not whether the occupying power fails to exercise effective control over the territory, but whether it has the ability to exercise such power.” Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, like those in the West Bank, continue to be subject to Israeli control. For example, Israel controls Gaza’s air space, territorial waters, and all border crossings. Palestinians in Gaza require Israel’s consent to travel to and from Gaza, to take their goods to Palestinian and foreign markets, to acquire food and medicine, and to access water and electricity. Without Israel’s permission, the Palestinian Authority (PA) cannot perform such basic functions of government as providing social, health, security and utility services, developing the Palestinian economy and allocating resources.
  8. John Holmes, Briefing to the U Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 27 January 2009.
  9. Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article I stating, “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.” See also, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, I. C. J. Reports 2004, p. 136 at 138;http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf.

Israeli disinformation cannot hide the siege of Gaza.


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Written by chinarose

May 28, 2010 at 8:51 am

Insanity and aggression reign supreme in the final days of the American empire

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Simply unbelievable arrogance and stupidity again on display in DC. Thanks for Ron Paul for his 5 minutes of rational, considered opinion. The 300 legislators who voted to censure Iran apparently were all drinking the same kool aid. They’re apparently lusting for WW III and the destruction of our nation. Traitors all.

http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/ron-paul-an-act-of-war/.

Naomi Wolf Corrects a False Assumption

with 3 comments

Read Naomi Wolf’s article. My comments follow the link.

Naomi Wolf Thinks the Tea Parties Help Fight Fascism — Is She Onto Something..? | News & Politics | AlterNet.

NOTES on the Tea Party – by China Rose

1) AlterNet ain’t very alter. Though the article is oozing with mainstream media assumptions, as least they published this. Maybe someone will learn a thing or two….
Viva Naomi W!

Think of the benefits of manipulating fed-up but undereducated citizens. You can…

2)… approriate and pervert the rhetoric of the American revolution (which, BTW, was against an EMPIRE) to serve America’s corporate masters. MAJOR switcheroo.

3)…turn the emphasis off of certain touchy subjects (the bailout, foreclosures, homelessness, offshoring, job loss, infrastructure meltdown, the demise of public education, posse comitatus. Katrina, Detroit, widespread violation of civil liberties, pollution, factory farming, GMOs, 9-11 and the NWO) and onto one SINGLE issue: the health care fiasco (which d could be easily cured by dismantling, or at least stepping on, Big Pharma and the medical establishment).

4) …make Obama the Hun seem like a “leftist” or “socialist” as he pursues the most aggressively right wing militaristic agenda in US history. An absurd notion beyond all imagining.

5) …funnel all the discontent into  Republican party cages.

6)…use racist code words to get the masses riled and rekindle any latent racism. The idea that Obama’s disastrous “leadership” has anything whatsoever to do with race is another corker. Obama’s policies are as white as any other Pres, maybe more so. The original purpose of the race card was to shelter him from any criticism — and it’s working for the Dems and libs. Perhaps the other purpose was to kindle discontent among those who have latent race issues, thus vindicating Obama by default. Provocateurs anyone?

For the record:

1) A goverment run by an elite is an oligarchy

2) A government in which the forces of the military, the government, ‘Big Religion” and corporations are merged to form a new and dangerous creation, and is usually accompanied by  corruption (bribes), tyranny (abuse of power) and dictatorship (an abusive chief exective), is known as fascism.

Don’t even think of getting me started on the inane “coffee parties” counterpoint.

“What a tangled web we weave…” et cetera.

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Al-Nakba in pictures

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Before

After

Purpose

For more information on the infamous events of 1948, please consult

Lest We Forget and Palestine Remembered

THE BANALITY OF JEWISH SYMBOLISM

TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2010 AT 7:32AM GILAD ATZMON

In a remarkable exposé of the Mossad operation in Dubai, The Times happens to refer to Meir Dagan’s (the Mossad chief) ‘philosophy’. “The tone of Dagan’s directorship is set by a photograph on the wall of his modest office in the Tel Aviv headquarters. It shows an old Jew standing on the edge of a trench. An SS officer is aiming his rifle at the old man’s head. ‘This old Jew was my grandfather’ Dagan tells visitors”. According to The Times, the picture reflects Dagan’s belief: “We should be strong, use our brain, and defend ourselves so that the Holocaust will never be repeated,”

Dagan’s interpretation of the photographic symbolism as a license to kill is rather banal yet common amongst Jews and Zionists in particular. However, this interpretation is far from being the only interpretation available. I haven’t seen the Photograph on Dagan’s wall but I guess that it must depict a devastatingly intense situation between a murderer in Nazi uniform and an oppressed Jewish man facing his death. However, Dagan and to a certain tragic extent, far too many Jews, are clearly fascinated by the role of the man with a rifle rather than with the ordeal of their collective grandfather, a defenseless venerable victim. Instead of grasping the Holocaust as a universal message against racism or oppression of any kind, Dagan and his Jewish State interpret the holocaust as a license to execute.

Though the photograph can be realised as a simplistic symbolic binary opposition between the innocent (Jew) and the evil (Nazi) there is a further element in these photographs that is totally dismissed by Jewish post war political, intellectual and ideological discourse namely universalism. Unlike the Zionist or in our case Dagan, who draws some immediate murderous ‘operative’ conclusions that are there to serve the Jewish tribe and that tribe only, a humanist would stare at such a photograph and try to come up with some ideas that may present us all with some positive prospects of a better future for humanity as a whole.

In the late 1940’s a few sporadic Jewish thinkers insisted that after Auschwitz the Jews should position themselves at the forefront of the battle against evil. Not only has this never happened, the Jewish state is now established as the leading danger for world peace. Moreover, Jewish lobbies enthusiastically support racist ideologies (Zionism) and push for colonial expansionist and interventionist conflicts around the world.

“This old Jew was my grandfather” says the Mossad’s chief. Indeed, after the big war many Jews wanted to believe that the Holocaust provided them with an entry card into humanity for the Holocaust redeems the Jews  from the original sin of Crucifixion. The Iconic image of the persecuted venerable collective ‘grandfather’ provides the Jew with a suffering symbol that could easily have stood a competition with Christ or any other emblem of religious persecution. In 1979, Pope John Paul II called Auschwitz the “Golgotha of the modern world.” Yet, along this line of thinking, something went horribly wrong. While Jesus’ suffering is interpreted by his followers as a call for mercy and compassion, Dagan’s grandfather’s shoa experience is interpreted by the national Jew as a call for retribution and vengeance. As disastrous as it may sound, the holocaust religion that was recognized by Israeli Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz as the new Jewish religion, is nothing less than a crude and sinister call for murder. It is probably the most resentful religion known to man.

In 1844 Karl Marx argued that for humanity to liberate itself it first must emancipate itself of Judaism*. Karl Marx was not at all a racist, he was probably referring to Jewish ideology (Jewishness) which he knew closely. I would maintain that if we want to find the road to humanism we must liberate ourselves of the Holocaust religion. The Holocaust as a message failed to become a universal call. Instead it matured into a tribal religion that opposes every value humanity and humanism have ever stood for.

Many of us including me tend to equate Israel to Nazi Germany. Rather often I myself join others and argue that Israelis are the Nazis of our time. I want to take this opportunity to amend my statement. Israelis are not the Nazis of our time and the Nazis were not the Israelis of their time. Israel, is in fact far worse than Nazi Germany and the above equation is simply meaningless and misleading.

In the past I mentioned that unlike totalitarian Nazi Germany, the Jewish State is a ‘democracy’. In other words, the entirety of its Jewish population is complicit in IDF crimes against humanity. As if this is not enough, the fact that 94% of Israel’s Jewish population supported the IDF genocidal attack in Gaza  just over a year ago makes the case against Israel solid like a rock.

But there is another point that must be mentioned here. As we all know very well, Nazi Germany didn’t like its Jews. It introduced racial laws, it aimed to cleanse Germany and even the rest of Europe of its Jewish population. It didn’t want to see Jews in politics, in the workplace, in shops, in the media, in the banks and in the streets. As resentful as Nazi policies were, one thing was clear. Germany did it all in the open. It didn’t hide a thing. It was racist and it was proud about its bigotry. Israel and its Jewish lobbies on the other hand, are doing it all in a deceiving method. Rather than saying we hate Arabs, we want Muslims out or even dead, rather than admitting its ethnic cleansing policies and practices, Israel always kills in the name of a grand ‘progressive’ ideology: in the name of democracy, pluralism, ‘moral interventionism’, ‘war against terror’ and so on. Israel’s supporters around the world are doing very much the same, they preach for war in the name of ‘noble motives’, they always want to ‘liberate’ other people, and to teach them about the greatest values of the ‘democracy’ through military expansionist interventionism.

The legendary Israeli humanist Israel Shahak wrote in the late 1980’s about his experience as a Jew under Nazi occupation: “if you enter a square from which there are three exits, one guarded by a German SS man, one by an Ukrainian and one by a Jewish policeman, then you should first try to pass the German, and then maybe the Ukrainian, but never the Jew.”

I must say it loudly. I take Shahak’s advice very seriously. If I ever enter a square from which there are two exits, one Guarded by a Nazi officer holding a rifle and the other blocked by Meir Dagan holding a pillow, I will certainly go for the Nazi with no hesitation.

TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2010 AT 7:32AM GILAD ATZMON

Works of Karl Marx 1844

On The Jewish Question

Written: Autumn 1843;
First Published: February, 1844 in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher;
Proofed and Corrected: by Andy Blunden, Matthew Grant and Matthew Carmody, 2008/9.

See Citizen in the Encyclopedia of Marxism, for an explanation of the various words for “citizen.”


The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.”




Triumph of the Will: Hollywood’s Imperial Propaganda

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It’s enough that Obama is semi-Black; any atrocities he commits are thereby justified… It’s enough that Katherine Bigelow is a woman; any cinematic atrocities she creates are hereby justified… and just coincidentally, her role is to justify Obama’s reign of terror in Iraq.

Leni Riefenstahl was a piker. She has been succeeded by much more sophisticated practicioners. The Oscars were rigged from the start. There has to be a self-hating Nazi. Like we’ve never seen that before. Like you can’t find material from all the other Holocausts© since the 40s. Henry Kissinger, take a bow. Crazy Heart? What a totally predictable, inane premise — it’s been done to death. The Hurt Locker: Help, I can’t breathe. I’m in a locker, wrapped in a giant flag, and I’m suffocating! What about Mo’Nique. Is there some dicta that an award must now be given to a person with only one name? What’s with the apostrophe? Is this some cultural watermark? My how open-minded the trolls of the Academy have become. Unfortunately, their open-mindedness is as thin as their consciences. Again with the weird spelling: Inglourious Basterds, or how to make vicious and thoroughly brutal [pro-Jewish] revenge seem heroic. Wondering who the producers were of this expedient gem.

AVATAR should have swept the Awards. Normally, it would have.

*****

World Socialist Web Site wsws.org

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards: Hollywood celebrates itself, undeservedly

By Hiram Lee and David Walsh

9 March 2010

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony has come and gone. The broadcast Sunday night from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, at three hours and 32 minutes, was a long and dull affair in which relatively little of real life found its way into the proceedings. It is difficult to think of a sustained moment that one could single out for praise. Self-absorption, self-congratulation, insincerity and cynicism prevailed.

What stood out most glaringly about the ceremony was the extent to which the realities of life faced by millions of people were absent, both in the films honored (with few exceptions) and the program itself. The world and the country are gripped by the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, bringing with it high levels of unemployment and social misery, the Obama administration is prosecuting two neo-colonial wars and threatening more, the US seethes with social frustration and discontent, and yet none of this found the slightest expression in last night’s broadcast.

What does it say about the present state of the commercial film industry that an event bringing together its leading figures should find itself so thoroughly divorced from reality, including widespread popular moods in the US?

The opening number, starring Neil Patrick Harris, followed by the comic patter of co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, set the tone for the evening. Even the tepid “topical” humor of recent years was eliminated. Not a single reference was made to an event or individual outside Hollywood’s inner circles.

Is it accidental that political jokes at the Oscars entirely disappeared now that Barack Obama sits in the White House?

For the super-wealthy liberal milieu, the election of an African-American (or a woman, or…) is the apotheosis of their politics. They have reached the limits of their vision. This was reflected in the awards ceremony—the lack of genuine humor, sarcasm, let alone anger. No matter that the Obama administration is one of the most right-wing in modern American history.

Of the films nominated for Academy Awards, the more intelligent works—A Serious Man, A Single Man and Up In The Air—went entirely unrecognized while the most confused, banal, and in some cases downright filthy (Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, praised by presenter John Travolta for its “rewriting” of history), fared quite well. On this occasion, it seems, the Academy voters put aside whatever critical faculties and taste were available to them when it came time to cast their ballots.

In the acting categories, Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. Christoph Waltz [self-hating Nazi] won Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a brutal Nazi officer in Inglorious Basterds. It was pleasing to see the talented Jeff Bridges acknowledged for his role as “Bad” Blake in Crazy Heart, but, on the whole, the more sensitive and engaging performers nominated—from Maggie Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick to Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan—were passed over.

Mo’Nique was awarded the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her performance as Mary in the film Precious. The abusive mother of a struggling teenage girl in Harlem in the late 1980s, the Mary character was made into something horrific by the filmmakers.

As the WSWS review noted, “Mary is not a human being. She is a monster. Rather than explaining the social relations that produce such extreme forms of backwardness as hers, Precious obscures the causes and sensationalizes the results.” The film becomes a form of titillating (and alarming) the more privileged and complacent with fantasy views of oppressed working class life. It is troubling that the Academy would point to this grotesque portrait as one of the best performances of the year. Precious also won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar, which we were repeatedly told was the highest grossing film of all time, and perhaps the most talked about and high profile of the nominees, lost in all of the major categories, but received several technical awards—the only territory in which the film could be said to have broken new ground. In any event, it may be that the attacks from the right-wing on Avatar for its fairly forthright depictions of militarism on a fictional planet (with parallels to Iraq and Afghanistan) may have helped cost the film more awards.

In what amounted to an abandonment of any critical attitude towards the war in Iraq, the academy bestowed the awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing on The Hurt Locker. Telling the story of a US Army bomb squad serving in Iraq, the film is said to be an “apolitical” or “neutral” movie about the war. In fact, The Hurt Locker manages to glorify, or at least sanitize, the role of US troops in the region. Whether the filmmakers are entirely conscious of it or not, their work is meant to obscure the character of the conflict in the Middle East and make the public forget about Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Haditha and every other horror that has been committed by the American military.

Those who created The Hurt Locker absurdly contend it is possible to tell a truthful story about the troops while ignoring the character of the war they are fighting, one that screenwriter Mark Boal admitted at the awards ceremony was “unpopular.” The war in Iraq is unpopular because its launching has been exposed as based on shameless lies, its conduct continues to be justified by lies, and much of the public, although the media does all it can to cover this up, suspects that oil and other such matters lie at the heart of the ongoing illegal occupation.

Rather than point to this important reality, director Kathryn Bigelow, Boal and company have created an abstract portrait of courage and “sacrifice,” which could be done in the case of any military force, including Hitler’s Wehrmacht, a portrait whose net effect is to encourage dangerous illusions in the US armed forces and their mission.

In accepting the awards for Best Director and Best Picture, Bigelow, said, “I’d just like to dedicate this to the women and men of the military who risk their lives every day in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. May they come home safe.” She added later, “They are there for us, and we are there for them.” At this point in history, with vast numbers of Iraqis dead, a country destroyed by US brutality and recklessness, such comments are thoroughly reprehensible.

Much was made over the fact that Bigelow was the first woman to win a best directing award. On hand to present the trophy was singer Barbara Streisand, one of Hollywood’s leading millionaire liberals, who proudly declared, “The time has come.” That such a comment could be made and wild applause ring out, simply because Bigelow is woman, tells us what we need to know about the self-satisfaction and ignorance that hold far too much sway in this wealthy and insulated milieu.

That a female director has entered what was previously an “all-boy’s club” is considered a great victory, perhaps the greatest possible victory; that the woman in question has directed a film which might be taken for a pro-war work is beside the point to such people.

The awards ceremony underwent a number of changes this year, in the hopes of attracting a larger audience, particularly among younger viewers. In addition to expanding the Best Picture category to include 10 nominees (in a year in which it would be difficult to come up with 5 films truly deserving of recognition) so that more “popular” studio films would stand alongside smaller, “independent” works as contenders for the top prize, producers made a number of cuts to traditional Oscar night features now deemed too time-consuming or uninteresting to a youthful audience.

The Academy did a disservice to its viewers this year, and its younger viewers in particular, in eliminating the honorary Oscars and lifetime achievement awards from its broadcast. These awards, honoring veteran artists and performers in the cinema, were handed out at an earlier ceremony that was not televised.

Receiving honorary Oscars this year were actress Lauren Bacall, star of such remarkable films as To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, and Written on the Wind; and Gordon Willis, the cinematographer behind such films as The Godfather, Annie Hall, Manhattan, and All The President’s Men. Both Bacall and Willis, it should be noted, gave us far more substantial works than those being celebrated on the stage during Sunday night’s broadcast. In a healthier cultural climate, the Academy would have considered it a duty to encourage younger viewers to seek out the best works of an earlier period.

Even the traditional memorial segment, honoring those in the industry who died this past year, seemed rushed and perfunctory.

For now, Hollywood carries on as it has for some time, in a dismal state. A breath of fresh air is sorely needed. We have no doubt that important changes will occur. The social eruption that the present economic crisis is preparing will produce vast changes in artistic and cultural life. New moods will be introduced and new artists will emerge. Some of those currently at work will be reinvigorated. Many of those now celebrated will become irrelevant. This is all long overdue.

Copyright © 1998-2010 World Socialist Web Site – All rights reserved

Dissident Jews Blacklisted in Germany

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Welcome to the new Nazi-free Germany… well, not quite free. The names have been changed to protect…. Israel.

If you are Jewish and criticize Israel, you can lose your job, go to prison, or be deported. Everything but the armbands. http://tinyurl.com/yed8d2q

And if you are Muslim, you can be knifed to death because of a scarf. During a trial at your local courthouse. http://tinyurl.com/yazbdow

Dissident Jews: Unwanted in Germany?

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A Brilliant Assessment of “A People’s History” as Zinn’s Flawed Chef D’oeuvre

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Apologies for the formatting problem with the article below. I’m looking into it!

This article helped to verify just what I felt were some of the weaknesses in “A People’s History”: 1) dualism (“us” vs “them”) that supposes that there are only 2 positions in every conflict  in US history, the “Establishment” and the “resistors.” Though the resistors seem to lose repeatedly, we are exhorted to join them! This is overly simplistic, defeatist and sentimental. Ultimately it is the end result of a victim mentality. It is a means of pre-emptive helplessness and surrender that allows fascism to flourish and proceed apace while retaining one’s self-image as a noble, yet resigned crusader. Okay, activists, time to take your Don Quixote pill. The only problem is, Don Quixote, with all his intelligence and noble ideals was delusional. Why? His mind was inundated with fantastic notions of a romantic quest for truth.

2) Eley discusses the 1960’s New Left time machine that trapped Howard Zinn, a machine that was incredibly useful in its time for debunking Victorian morality, American pretensions and social straitjackets, but which become outdated beginning in the 1980’s when the Right coopted its methods of deconstruction and revisionism, and used them to smear everything proactive, progressive, cooperative and constructive in our culture.  Where was Zinn when the think tanks rolled over and flattened the ideals of the New Left? Seeming stuck in the tire tracks: Eley finds that Zinn’s enduringly irrelevant New Left attitudes inform much of the weaker elements in A People’s History.

3) A People’s History’s limited treatment of economic issues. A historian cannot truly dissect or meaningfully oppose fascism without exploring its components: government, military, religious and corporate interests that incestuously feed off of each other. Zinn primarily dwells on the first two with little attention to the institutional religious sanctimony so necessary  to further the cause of empire and, surprisingly, even less to the rise of corporatism and the economic system that underpins all of it. Got capitalism?

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010

An assessment of A People’s History of the United States

By Tom Eley

15 February 2010

Howard Zinn, historian, activist, and author of A People’s History of the  United States, died on January 28 at the age of 87. Born in Brooklyn in 1922 to Jewish immigrant factory-worker parents, his father from Austria-Hungary and his mother from Siberia, Zinn came of age during the Great Depression in a sprawling working class neighborhood. The influence of socialism and the presence of the Communist Party were particularly pronounced in this time and place; Zinn recalled attending a CP rally as a youth where he was clubbed by a policeman. Books were few until his father purchased him a Charles Dickens compilation. Zinn served in
WWII as a bomber pilot. He was deeply troubled by his participation in a needless mission at the war’s end during which his plane dumped napalm — in its first-ever military use — on a target in France, killing both German soldiers and perhaps 1,000 French civilians. After the war he went back to the area of France he had bombed and dealt with the experience in his book, The Politics of History. Zinn was, by all accounts, humane.

His outspoken support of student civil rights activists and the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led to Zinn’s dismissal from his first academic job,
at the all-black women’s school, Spelman, in Georgia, in 1963. He then secured a position at Boston University held until his retirement in 1988.  Zinn was also a
notable Vietnam War protester. In 1968 he visited Hanoi with the Reverend Daniel Berrigan and secured the release of three US prisoners of war, and in 1971 Daniel
Ellsberg gave Zinn a copy of what came to be known as “the Pentagon Papers.” Zinn would edit and publish it with his longtime collaborator, Noam Chomsky.

Zinn’s work as an historian spanned five decades and resulted in the publication of numerous books, articles and essays, but it was his People’s History of the United States, published in 1980, that brought him to a place of relative prominence. The book has sold more than 2 million copies in multiple editions. A television documentary based on it, “The People Speak,” was broadcast in 2009, and featured readings and performances by Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Bob Dylan, MarisaTomei, Bruce Springsteen and Danny Glover, among others. Given the book’s influence, any evaluation of Zinn requires serious consideration of his work as an
historian.

A People’s History is a much-loved book for good reason. In accessible, direct language, Zinn introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to aspects of US history written out of what was, in all but name, the official narrative, with its essentially uncritical presentation of the US political and economic elite. Zinn relentlessly
exposed the self-interest and savagery of “the Establishment,” as he called it, while at the same time bringing to life the hidden political and social struggles of
oppressed groups in US history — workers, the poor, Native Americans, African Americans, women and immigrants. Zinn did not hide his sympathies for the
oppressed in history. “[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners,” he wrote, “it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to
be on the side of the executioners.”  A People’s History grew out of, and in turn contributed to, a growing skepticism of the democratic pretensions of the American ruling class — particularly among the youth. These characteristics of Zinn’s work earned him the hatred of those who wish to see college and high school curriculum more tightly controlled; after Zinn’s death, right-wing ex-radicals David Horowitz and Ronald Radosh penned columns attacking him for exposing truths about the US government to a mass audience. Indeed, no one who has read A People’s History could in honesty endorse President Obama’s recent claim that Washington does

“not seek to occupy other nations” and is heir “to a noble struggle for freedom,” or the right wing’s absurd mantra that the US military is “the greatest force for

good in world history.”  The book’s 23 short chapters begin with Christopher Columbus’ landing in the Americas in 1492 and the brutal slaughter of Native

Americans. What follows is a chronological account of American history, focusing in particular on different social and political struggles, with Zinn providing a

varying degree of historical context depending on the period. This is, in the end, a limited method, a problem that we shall address presently. But the contributions of

Zinn’s essentially empirical approach — the inversion of the official narrative through the presentation of hidden or alternative facts — has much to teach.

This empirical strength runs through most of the book, but there are chapters where it combines with greater attention to context.

His treatment of WWII, “A People’s War,” is one of his better. As a rare honest accounting of what has been uncritically presented by most liberal and radical

historians as a “war against fascism,” it merits attention. The chapter lists Washington’s many imperialist interventions over the preceding decades, and points out its

indifference to fascist Italy’s rape of Ethiopia in 1935 and Germany’s and Italy’s intervention on behalf of the fascist forces of Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil

War. This was “the logical policy of a government whose main interest was not stopping Fascism but advancing” its own imperialist interests. “For those interests,

in the thirties, an anti-Soviet policy seemed best,” Zinn concludes. “Later, when Japan and Germany threatened US world interests, a pro-Soviet, anti-Nazi policy

became preferable.” This policy could be dressed up in anti-fascist guise, but “[b]ehind the headlines in battles and bombings, American diplomats and businessmen

worked hard to make sure that when the war ended, American economic power would be second to none [and] business would penetrate areas that up to this time had

been dominated by England.” At home, the hypocrisy of a “war against fascism” was not lost on African-Americans, who remained subject to job and housing

discrimination in the North and Jim Crow segregation, disenfranchisement and terror in the South, nor on Japanese Americans, 110,000 of whom ere rounded up —

many of these second and third generation citizens — and placed in internment camps on the order of President Franklin Roosevelt.

Still more hidden from popular memory was the immense struggle of the working class during the war. “In spite of no-strike pledges of the AFL and CIO there were

14,000 strikes, involving 6,770,000 workers, more than in any comparable period in American history,” Zinn wrote. “In 1944 alone, a million workers were on strike,

in the mines, in the steel mills, in the auto and transportation equipment industries. When the war ended, the strikes continued in record numbers — 3 million on

strike in the first half of 1946.” In spite of the strike wave, “there was little organized opposition from any source,” he notes. “The Communist Party was

enthusiastically in support… Only one organized socialist group opposed the war unequivocally. This was the Socialist Workers Party. In Minneapolis in 1943,

eighteen members of the party were convicted for violating the Smith Act, which made it a crime to join any group that advocated ‘the overthrow of the government.’“

The Socialist Workers Party was the Trotskyist movement in the US at that time.

Zinn writes movingly in the chapter of the savage bombings by the US and Britain of German and Japanese population centers; doubtless his own experience as a

bomber pilot  in Europe breathed feeling into these pages. Zinn also exposes the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which remain enshrined in the official
mythology as necessary military acts. In fact, the decision that incinerated and poisoned hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians was made with an eye cast
toward the postwar order. By forcing a rapid Japanese surrender before the Red Army moved further into the Korean peninsula, the Truman administration hoped to
assert US dominance in East Asia. It is to Zinn’s credit that he concludes the chapter with a discussion of the early Cold War and the Red Scare, which were prepared
by US victory in “the Good War.”  After the war, US liberalism quickly turned on its radical allies grouped around the Communist Party. The Truman administration
“established a climate of fear — a hysteria about Communism — which would steeply escalate the military budget and stimulate the economy with war-related orders.”
What was needed was a consensus that “could best be created by a liberal Democratic president, whose aggressive policy abroad would be supported by conservatives,
and whose welfare programs at home … would be attractive to liberals.”

Zinn’s chapter on Vietnam, “The Impossible Victory,” merits reading. In only 10 pages, he offers a good look at the history of Vietnam’s long struggle for
independence against France, Japan in WWII, then France again, and finally the US. With both statistics and vivid illustrations, he reveals the barbarity of US
imperialism. “By the end of the war, seven million tons of bombs had been dropped” on Southeast Asia, “more than twice the amount” used in both Europe and Asia in
WWII. Zinn’s presentation of the My Lai massacre, napalm, the US assassination program called Operation Phoenix, and other cruelties are damning of
Washington’s claim that the US military was there to defend the Vietnamese people. The second half of the chapter focuses on the growing popular opposition to the
Vietnam War within the US on the campuses, among working people, and in the army itself.

It is not possible here to consider all the book’s chapters, but in general, those that cover the century lasting from the end of Reconstruction in the post-Civil War to the
end of the Vietnam War are strong and empirically rich.  Zinn writes effectively on WWI (“War is the Health of the State”), describing vividly the insanity of trench
warfare, and detailing the mass opposition to US entry and the strenuous efforts to overcome this. His chapter on the US embrace of imperialism in the Spanish-
American War correctly spots the underlying drive as a struggle for markets by US capitalism. Zinn consistently turns up useful quotes to illustrate his points, here
presenting Mark Twain’s comments on the US effort to subjugate the Philippines after Spain’s defeat: “We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried
them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors. And so, by these Providences of God — and the phrase is the
government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.”

Zinn correctly places socialism at the center of the Progressive Era, circa 1900 until 1917, entitling this chapter “The Socialist Challenge.” Progressivism “seemed to
understand it was fending off socialism,” as Zinn puts it. The chapter includes brief accounts of the great garment workers’ strike of New York City in 1909 — and the
Triangle garment factory fire in its aftermath — the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Lawrence, Massachusetts textile strike, and the Ludlow massacre of coal
miners in Colorado in 1914.

Two chapters on workers’ and farmers’ struggles in the 19th century, “Robber Barons and Rebels” and “The Other Civil War,” demonstrate with examples the rich
history of egalitarianism that remains the patrimony of today’s working class. Zinn’s selection of an 1890 quote rom the Kansas populist Mary Ellen Lease seems
timely: “Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a country of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and
for Wall Street… The people are at bay, let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware.”

Yet while it is helpful in bringing to light facts written out of standard textbooks, Zinn’s work can only serve as a beginning to understanding US history. There is an
unmistakable anachronistic, even a-historical, thread in A People’s History. If it has a theme, it is an endless duel between “resistance” and “control,” two of Zinn’s preferred words. Populating his historical stage are, on the one side, a virtually unbroken line of “Establishment” villains who exercise this control and, on the
other, benighted groups who often struck out against their plight. The names and dates change; the story does not. Complexity and contradiction does not rest
comfortably in such a schema. The limitations of this approach are most evident in Zinn’s treatment of the American Revolution and the US Civil War, which he
presents as instances of the elite beguiling the population in order to strengthen its control. “Around 1776, certain important people in the English colonies made a
discovery that would prove enormously useful for the next two hundred years,” Zinn opens the first of his two chapters on the American Revolution. “They found that
by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from favorites of the British Empire… They
created the most effective system of national control devised in modern times.”  Zinn presents the Civil War in similar terms. Only a slave rebellion or a full-scale war
could end slavery, he wrote: “If a rebellion, it might get out of hand, and turn its ferocity beyond slavery to the most successful system of capitalist enrichment in the
world. If a war, those who made the war would organize its consequences.” (In fact, the Civil War became both a full-scale war and a slave rebellion.) “With slavery
abolished by order of government,” Zinn asserted, “its end could be orchestrated so as to set limits to emancipation,” a task that fell to none other than Abraham
Lincoln, who in Zinn’s presentation, was merely a shrewd political operative who “combined perfectly the needs of business, the new Republican party, and the
rhetoric of humanitarianism.” This deeply subjective rendering of the two most progressive events in US history calls to mind Frederick Engels’ comments on “old
materialist” philosophy, an approach that could not answer the question of what historical forces lay behind the motives of individuals and groups in history, the
“historical forces which transform themselves into these motives in the brains of the actors.” “The old materialism never put this question to itself,” Engels responds.
“Its conception of history, in so far as it has one at all, is therefore essentially pragmatic; it divides men who act in history into noble and ignoble and then finds that
as a rule the noble are defrauded and the ignoble are victorious.” Such, in short, was Howard Zinn’s operating thesis.

In his search for the origins of motives in history, Zinn at times lapsed into moralizing. He denied the characterization — writing on the American Revolution, Zinn
said he would not “lay impossible moral burdens on that time.” But this is precisely what he did, even in the case of the more progressive revolutionists. After
discussing the enormous circulation of Tom Paine’s writings in the colonies, Zinn concludes that Paine was too linked to the colonial elite. “[H]e was not for the
crowd action of lower-class people,” Zinn asserts, because Paine had “become an associate of one of the wealthiest men in Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, and a
supporter of Morris’s creation, the Bank of North America.” Paine “lent himself perfectly to the myth of the revolution — that it was on behalf of a united people,” is
Zinn’s verdict on one of the great revolutionists of the epoch. As for Thomas Jefferson, Zinn cited disapprovingly on two occasions that he owned slaves.

Thirty years ago, criticism of the mythology surrounding Lincoln or a Jefferson was perhaps useful. Such lines appear more wearisome today after decades of
moralistic attacks by well-heeled scholars like Lerone Bennett; if an historian does nothing else, he or she should concede that their subjects lived in a different time.
More importantly, in the cases of the Civil War and the American Revolution, Zinn’s anachronism distorted historical reality, minimizing the progressive character of

those struggles. It is worthwhile to note the work of historian Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood. Bailyn, in his Ideological Origins of the American
Revolution, demonstrated, through analysis of scores of commonly read political tracts in the colonies, that the thinking of the revolutionists was radical and
progressive and ultimately rooted in a century of Enlightenment thought. Wood, in The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992), seems to address himself to Zinn’s sort of argument that the war for independence was “hardly a revolution at all.”  It was, Wood writes, “one of the greatest revolutions the world has known” and
“the most radical and far-reaching event in American history.” Wood concedes that the Founding Fathers, having recognized the social forces unleashed by the
revolution, sought to contain democracy through the Constitution. But Wood shows that this effort did not undo the radicalism of the revolution, which had been
broadly transfused into social consciousness. The American Revolution, like the French Revolution it helped to inspire, marked a great historical advance. It
proclaimed in stirring language basic democratic rights, and laid these out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. It repudiated the divine right of
kings to rule, and threw off restraints on economic development designed to benefit the crown. That the revolution raised up contradictions that it could not yet resolve
— the most obvious being its declarations of liberty while maintaining slavery — does not erase these achievements. The new ruling class, which Zinn tended to treat
as a monolithic whole, was in fact deeply divided over slavery and economic policy toward Great Britain. The Civil War would resolve these conflicts and put in place
new ones, bringing to the fore the struggle between the working and capitalist classes that has been the axis of US history ever since. Like other great progressive
causes, the American Revolution has in a certain sense transcended the limitations imposed upon it by its time by inspiring and animating the progressive struggles
that followed — including the struggle against slavery. To cite an example, Zinn himself noted that the Vietnamese anti-imperialists modeled their own declaration
of independence on that written by Jefferson.

It must be stated clearly that Zinn’s method had little to do with Marxism, which understands that history advances through the struggle of contending social classes,
a struggle rooted in the social relations of economic production. While this does not by itself negate the value of a scholarly work, Zinn’s limitations as an historian
require some attention be paid to his political views, which grew out of the traditions of American radicalism. The two were, as he himself declared, mutually
constitutive. Zinn drew his material not from his own research, but from a growing body of “revisionist” scholarship during a period when radicals made inroads on
US college campuses. Beginning in the late 1960s, new academic pursuits emerged: critical revisionist studies of political, diplomatic and labor history, and new fields
such as African-American history, women’s history, Native American history, and many more. This approach — the criticism of establishment history and the
presentation of the social history of the oppressed who had left behind little or no written record — was fresh and yielded, at least in its earlier stages, significant
results.

Later, beginning in the 1980s, revisionist history and campus radicalism became increasingly bogged down in the miasma created by identity politics and post-
modernism, with their generally reactionary agendas. At that point, the weaknesses and political confusion of the underlying approach, there from the start, became
much clearer. A People’s History, as a compilation of 1960s and 1970s revisionist scholarship, expressed its contributions as well its limitations. It is not
coincidental that the new studies developed concomitantly to the emergence of identity politics and the promotion of affirmative action on the campuses, as US
liberalism, trade unionism and the Democratic Party sought a new constituency for their policies outside of the working class. The new academic history served this
political development and has, in turn, been richly fed by it. Indeed, in the more facile historical studies, the oppressed groups of the past are presented as mere
transpositions of the various “interest groups” that emerged in the 1970s. It should not be surprising that the new history treated political economy and politics
superficially — or not at all — and tended to present the “agency” of oppressed groups as independent of the historical process, or as introduced to it by human will or
moral choice.

With this in mind, it is perhaps easier to confront the apparent contradiction between Zinn the historian and Zinn the political commentator, who wrote frequently for
the Nation and the Progressive and whose views were much sought-after in radical circles. As an historian, Zinn found nothing progressive in “the system.” Of the

two-party system, Zinn wrote, “to give people a choice between two different parties and allow them, in a period of rebellion, to choose the slightly more democratic
one was an ingenious mode of control.” Zinn wrote that elections are times “to consolidate the system after years of protest and rebellion.” And he invariably presented
reforms as means by which the elite bought off the loyalty of the masses. Yet the same Zinn, who (incorrectly) found few differences to parse over between the
Republican Party of Lincoln and the pro-slavery Democratic Party of Jefferson Davis, called for a vote for Barack Obama in 2008, arguing that Obama, while not mgood, was decidedly better than George W. Bush. Zinn qualified his endorsement by arguing that Democrats, once in office, could be pressured to enact reforms, evidently drawing no conclusions from the unrelenting rightward shift of the US political system from the 1970s on.His idolization of “resistance” in the pages of A People’s History masked a pessimistic outlook. In every case, resistance for Zinn was either co-opted or crushed by establishment control. Given this, surely the best that could be hoped for was co-option through reforms. There were no strategic lessons to be drawn; this was all to

repeat itself. Zinn’s general disinterest in A People’s History in politics and thought — the conscious element in history — becomes more pronounced in his last chapters. By the time he arrives in the 1970s, even Zinn’s resisters appear less heroic: angry farmers, trade unionists, Wobblies, and Socialists have given way to proponents of identity politics, environmental reform, and the pro-Democratic Party anti-war movement.
Zinn’s concluding chapter, “The Coming Revolt of the Guards,” in which he ponders how “the system of control” might ultimately be broken, brings into the clear the
link between his politics and his history. “The Guards” referenced in the chapter title, as it turns out, are workers. “[T]he Establishment cannot survive without the
obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and
social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, transport and communications workers, garbage men and firemen,”
according to Zinn. “These people — the employed, the somewhat privileged — are drawn into alliance with the elite. They become the guards of the system, buffers
between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.”  “The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history,” Zinn
writes. “With a country so rich in natural resources, talent, and labor power the system can afford to distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit
discontent to a troublesome minority.”  These words reflected the demoralized perspective of the “New Left” and the ideological influences of elements such as the
Frankfurt School, Marcuse and others who wrote off the revolutionary role of the working class, viewing it as a reactionary mass that had been bought off by the
capitalist system. Included in an updated version of the book in published in 2003, they now seem quite dated. These considerable theoretical and political limitations notwithstanding, Zinn’s contributions in A People’s History of the United States — its presentation of the crimes of the US ruling class and the resistance of  oppressed groups — are significant. The book deserves its audience.

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