28 March 2003


Iraq is merely the first step to the imposition of "full spectrum dominance" upon the world. What does it mean?

This is either 1) an adventure cooked in the fertile minds of the masters of the Project for a New Ameican Century, a fringe group who will eventually be swallowed up in the progressive mainstream...

or 2) a return of the whole capitalist system to the imperialism of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

If it is 2), then we can imagine capitalism itself as a hostage scenario writ large. Capital is willing to threaten all labor with mass death rather than give up its claim to the surplus, & it is thus willing to re-impose imperialism upon the world to save that claim. This regression is going on today, and we can therefore envision the 1960s/ 1970s as the apex of development of our whole civilization, and expect our remaining years to be increasingly characterized by signs of decline.

I'm hoping for 1) .

27 March 2003


This article offered pause for thought. If you are an ecosocialist, or anyone who thinks differently in a society moving toward police-state status, the theories of "mass action" have no status for you. So 100,000 people show up at your rally? How many of them think as you do? How many of them don't? How many of them are police infiltrators? Others won't express your truth for you. If you want society to change, you must start with how you yourself are an expression of that want -- and make the truth of that self-expression even more glaringly apparent against the background of a movement that distinguishes itself (and thanks its numbers) by its indecision as to what it really wants to do, a movement under police pressure for even daring to think for itself.

25 March 2003


You know what happens at the checkout line at the grocery store: you put your groceries on the conveyor belt, and when it's your turn, the cashier scans them, the cashier tells you what you must pay, you pay the cashier, the cashier gives you a receipt, and you take your groceries and leave the store. What's happening in that little ritual? Well, first of all, you're paying for your groceries, but more importantly, you're reaffirming a connection to society. When you buy your groceries, you're reaffirming a role within society. You're a customer of a grocery outlet, and there is where you take the proceeds of your contribution to society, your wages, and plunk those proceeds down in exchange for your daily bread so that you may continue to live.

What would happen under ecosocialism? Well, when you went to the store to get groceries, you would still be reaffirming your connection to society, and you would still get your groceries, but you would do it in a different way. The way you do it now, your right to eat is conditioned upon your possession of money. Money doesn't just buy everything -- it buys you your reaffirmation as a member of society. And thus under capitalism we have a society for money. Without money, then, you are a nonperson: it doesn't matter if you work, or if you contribute to society in any small or important way, or how good you are. The system is patently unfair in that way; it confers personhood only upon those who can get money.

Ecosocialism would be a society based on the idea of there being a future. Everything will be done with the future in mind. In the checkout line of the grocery store, then, your contribution to the future will be measured against your receipt of groceries. Nobody would be denied the right to eat, but society would at least want to know that you took some groceries so that its members could know what is needed to set store for each other.

24 March 2003

In writing the article below, I'd like to cite as an inspiration Naomi Klein's article in the recent Nation magazine.

Declamations of the immorality of the war against Iraq, so common (and so justifiable) from the Left these days, don't seem to me to capture the experience of living in the midst of the actual horror that is going on. The morally objectionable part of the war is of course the casualties, as implied both on the "mainstream" news media (as informing as chloroform), and on those hidden Web documents (which I still haven't found -- if anyone can tell me where they are, please e-mail me) where the actual casualties are photographed.

Estimated death totals in the media, both mainstream and alternative, have so far been far too low, only in the dozens, to shatter any illusion that what we have here in Iraq is a picnic. Shattering this illusion is of course essential to shattering the faith of the pro-war crowd. I've seen and talked with pro-war counter-demonstrators at the protests I've attended -- they seem to be under the illusion that the US government will just take out Saddam Hussein, and then all Iraq, having been spared the war experience, will cheer us as liberators. One wonders if they will all claim that "it was worth it" when the total cost to humanity is summed up, as Madeleine Albright did when defending the sanctions to reporters during the Clinton era. Terms like "genocide," , regardless of their applicability (or not) to the current situation, destract the reader because of their shock value. What really informs us about the current war, like anything else, is the notion of "ethnography," so dear to an anthropological depiction of the truth. What we need, then, is a multiple ethnographic study of the lives of the dying, their experiences of death, their lives before they died. If we really want to understand it, we cannot declaim war as an isolated event to be abstracted from the lives of those affected. European Jews have done the sort of documentation I propose, in their investigations of what happened at Auschwitz -- it is time for the Left to get moving in much the same direction.

My own imagination would consider the possibility that the experience of living in Iraq today is just another horrible trauma to be added to the general pain of life under Saddam Hussein and US sanctions. Mass death, should it come in the weeks to follow, will be a rather gruesome form of mercy killing, of relieving the masses of the misery imposed by years of Saddam and sanctions. Perhaps the rest of the world will also recognize that, under global capitalism today, life will decline, through lousy dictators, so-called "elected" governments, and debilitating "structural adjustment" programs, until the people hate the act of living itself, at which point the repressive measures that finally put them out of their misery will be greeted as a form of euthanasia.

The living in Iraq, of course, can take solace in the promises of the US government to rebuild Iraq, promises which could be true -- or which could be false as they were all the previous times the US has promised to rebuild a country it has ruined. Promises as informing as chloroform. We can do better: we can wake people up, through information.