Volume , Number 0
Silja j.a. Talvi
Silja j.a. Talvi
Stephen R. Shalom
Nonviolence Versus Capitalism
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Trajectory of Change
Jan knippers Black
Eleanor J. Bader
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Seven Stories Press; 106 pp.
Review by Joshua Sperber
The salient contradiction characterizing the mainstream media has become far more pronounced since September 11. That is, the conflict between disseminating corporate propaganda—a raison d'etre whose aims are largely consistent with those of U.S. global domination—and the fear of undermining its perceived credibility by not acknowledging actual events, has been heightened by the emergence of a visibly violent reality in which U.S. complicity is nearly impossible to deny. This has led to a marked increase of radical coverage in the mainstream news media on the one hand, and to an outbreak of nonsensical pseudo- explanations of historical phenomena on the other.
As'ad AbuKhalil's Bin Laden, Islam and America's New "War on Terrorism" is an important rebuttal to many of the notions emerging from the latter's arena. While AbuKhalil demystifies ubiquitous myths concerning the Islamic world and exposes numerous U.S. hypocrisies regarding its professed concern for democracy and human rights, his most important service is to discredit the view that the current conflict constitutes a "clash of civilizations."
AbuKhalil easily dismantles this idea and its implications of a homogenous and incorrigibly irrational Islamic mentality, by recalling movements like Arab Nationalism—the massively popular, progressive, and secular movement headed by Egyptian leader Jamal Abdul-Nasser. The assumption underlying the "clash of civilizations" line, that Islamic fanaticism is reflective of that civilization's inherent characteristics, is particularly cruel, given that the Islamic world's democratic movements have historically been undermined by the West and that rather than their fanatical replacements typifying uniquely Islamic traits, they evidence the kind of regimes Washington prefers.
The book's glaring liability is that, in explaining U.S. motives, it at times elevates a somewhat abstracted "Islamophobia" above concrete and historically consistent economic exigencies and behaviors. Although certainly real, U.S. "Islamophobia" cannot explain American attacks on Central or South America, or other non-Islamic regions that have asserted their economic independence, nor can it account for the Japan-bashing that accompanied World War II and Pearl Harbor's commemorations. AbuKhalil's polemic also loses steam when he places U.S. hostility to Arab nationalism within the context of the Cold War, without acknowledging that U.S. hostilities to Third World socialism have outlasted the Soviet Union. That the Cold War justified the enormous expenditures the nascent military industrial complex created and relies on, and was a replacement to World War II, and has been followed by a largely unpopular War on Drugs, suggests that any attempt to place the War on Terrorism within historical context must give primacy to a consistent economic policy whose fulfillment requires perpetual war.
Just the same, Bin Laden, Islam and America's New "War on Terrorism" is a cogent refutation of pervasive and misleading myths that have found a use value in today's retrogressive and increasingly antipodean ideological climate.
Joshua Sperber recently graduated from San Francisco State, majoring in 20th century European history.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
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