Volume 20, Number 11
NYC Subway Workers
Outside The Bomb
Malai Joya Interview
Peltier: Silence Screams
Responsibility & Guilt
Gabriel matthew Schivone
Shock, Awe, and Antioch
George j. Bryjak
Guatemala '07 Election
Black Caucus Demise
Crackpots & the Left
Men and Abortion
Eleanor J. Bader
Guthrie's Live Wire Reviewed
In the Valley of Elah Review
Genocide in Iraq?
Health Care Hokum
There are no articles.
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Crackpots, the Left, and “Jewish Banker Cabals”
If I told you that Jewish bankers ran the world and there was a secret cabal who had manipulated history for centuries, you would dismiss me as a crackpot and anti-Semite (or at least you should). Apparently, if you change the name of the conspirators to the “cliques of bankers and financiers,” you’re a hero to some activists for exposing the evil plotters behind George Bush and Dick Cheney.
Last July 4 in Philadelphia, peace activists held an Emergency Antiwar Convention. It was staged as a coalition-building event and featured 9/11 conspiracy films, as well as presentations from conspiracy mongers, including former LaRouchite activists Lewis DuPont Smith and Webster Griffin Tarpley. The convention issued a statement crafted by Tarpley calling for “government by the people, not by cliques of bankers and financiers,” a phrase that sounds like it was borrowed from a Hitlerian diatribe against parasitic Jewish moneylenders. This type of rhetoric, which replicates the language of historic anti-Semites, discredits the antiwar movement.
Periodically, right-wing, neo-fascist, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists see an opportunity to recruit from the political left. This happened when Danny Sheehan of the Christic Institute began importing conspiracy theories about the “Secret Team” from the Lyndon LaRouche and Willis Carto networks. Both LaRouche and Carto are neofascist Holocaust deniers. During the first Gulf War, anti-Semitic rhetoric began to appear at rallies, sometimes traced to right- wing sources, and this has continued to divide activists seeking peace in the Middle East.
This year the Holocaust denial outfit, blandly called the Institute for Historical Review, bought a series of ads scheduled for the Nation magazine promoting their twisted publication, The Founding Myths of Modern Israel. After the first ad appeared in the May 3 issue, it was pulled when irate readers helped the Nation relocate its moral compass.
Let’s be clear that I do not think that any criticism of the state of Israel, its foundation, its policies, or the actions or ideas of specific individuals who are secular or religious Jews is automatically anti-Semitic. Philip Green examined this issue in the Nation in 2003 and it has reverberated several times since then. But any claim that there is a vast, longstanding, secret conspiracy involving Jews manipulating the government, media, and banks is anti-Semitic. Sometimes these conspiracy theorists replace “Jews” with phrases such as “cliques of bankers and financiers” (Webster G. Tarpley) or the “financial oligarchy run by the ‘City of London’” (Henry Makow) or the “neo-Venetian circles of the Anglo- Dutch philosophically liberal circles of rentier-financier power” (Lyndon LaRouche). Whether or not it is intentional, these phrases are historically linked to conspiracy claims about the vast Jewish plot that gained fame through Hitler’s favorite hoax document, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, forged in the early 1900s and spread by the Czarist secret police in Russia.
This is nothing new. In the 1800s August Bebel called anti-Semitic conspiracy theories the “socialism of fools.” In 1920 Lenin called the tendency toward opportunism and adventurism typical of many conspiracy theorists an “infantile disorder.” Bebel, a social democrat, was trying to get German workers to pay attention to the structural inequalities of the economic system rather than scapegoating Jewish financiers and bankers. Lenin, a Communist, was warning that sometimes people who claim to be on the cutting edge are actually dull blades ripping at the fabric of the movement.
The world according to LaRouche is a centuries-old conspiracy of “parasites” who have “powerful, Anglo- American financier-oligarchical patrons,” and the result of their secret conspiracy is the “accelerating descent of humanity into a new dark age.” Recent LaRouchite publications rail about neoconservatives, who include a number of high profile Jews, with titles including phrases such as the “Children of Satan,” or “The Beast Men,” both of which echo ancient anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Tarpley’s analysis is virtually identical to that of the LaRouchites; in fact Tarpley helped shape core LaRouchite obsessions. In 1995 when he was a LaRouche acolyte, Tarpley wrote: “An agent shared by Memmo with the Morosini family was one Giacomo Casanova, a homosexual who was backed up by a network of lesbians. Venetian oligarchs turned to homosexuality because of their obsession with keeping the family fortune intact by guaranteeing that there would only be one heir to inherit it; by this time more than two-thirds of male nobles, and an even higher percentage of female nobles, never married. Here we have the roots of Henry Kissinger’s modern homin- tern. Casanova’s main task was to target the French King Louis XV through his sexual appetites.”
Hominterm/Cominterm. Cute. In one paragraph Tarpley scapegoats Jews, Communists, and homosexuals. Note that this same linkage was central to the McCarthyist witch hunts in the 1950s—another borrowed idea. These days Tarpley is also a featured author on the Jeff Rense website, along with more obvious anti-Semites such as Henry Makow.
Could the language of Tarpley and LaRouche be an innocent coincidence? It doesn’t matter. People who claim such a vast knowledge of history and politics should know these phrases signal anti-Jewish themes and avoid them.
Even when conspiracist theories do not center on Jews, homosexuals, people of color, immigrants, or other scapegoated groups, they create an environment where racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice, bigotry, and oppression can flourish. We do not need conspiracism to challenge social injustice. There are other forms of analysis. With any form of conspiracism, serious questions of race, class, and gender are almost always shoved aside. Political and economic policies are framed as controlled by a handful of powerful and wealthy secret elites manipulating elections, foreign and domestic policy, and the media.
Tarpley shared the stage with Peter Dale Scott at a June 2007 Vancouver 9/11 “Truth” conference, along with other conspiracists. In an interview at that conference, Scott criticized the form of political analysis of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky as “structuralist,” saying this analytical model is superficial compared to the “deep politics” unveiled by the more “fundamental” understanding developed through conspiracy theories. This turns political reality on its head. It is precisely those forms of analysis that explore the structural, institutional, and systemic aspects of power that provide substantial “deep analysis” that help activists make effective strategic and tactical decisions.
A common perception is that the 1989 collapse of communism in Europe cast social change activists adrift without an ideological rudder. This is not accurate. For decades there have been other analytical frameworks used by organizers who stepped away from traditional Marxism and, instead, crafted approaches based in humanism, ecology, liberation theology, anarchism, and the politics of race and gender. C. Wright Mills’s famous study The Power Elite was published in 1956. Power structure research emerged from the student movement of the 1960s. Feminist theory, critical race theory, queer theory, and other models grew in the 1970s and 1980s.
Well-known activists who follow these traditions include democratic socialists Barbara Ehrenreich and Cornel West and left-libertarian egalitarians (libertarian socialists), best represented by the work of Noam Chomsky. Today, academics such as G. William Domhoff, Adolph Reed, Jr., and Jean Hardisty—as well as journalist-activists such as Holly Sklar, Roberto Lovato, and Amy Goodman—have refined the power structure research model inspired by Mills. What all of these perspectives share is an analysis of complex systems of power, rather than a fixation on individuals who may or may not be involved in conspiracies. As Domhoff observes, our “opponents are the corporate conservatives and the Republican Party, not the Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderbergers, and Bohemians. It is the same people more or less, but it puts them in their most important roles, as capitalists and political leaders,” where they are “readily identifiable and working through visible…institutions.”
The process of individualizing history through conspiracy theories sets the stage for anti-Semitism. On the Tarpley, LaRouche, and Jeff Rense websites, legitimate criticism of the role of U.S. “neoconservatives” and others in staging the war in Iraq is mixed with historic anti-Semitic stereotypes. This issue of anti-Semitism goes beyond debates over the validity of conspiracism as an analytical model, strategies for the peace movement, or lingering questions about 9/11. These jerks have tramped anti- Semitic crap into our kitchen and it is time for the political left to hose out their dirt, and them with it.
Chip Berlet, analyst at Political Research Associates, is an investigative journalist specializing in the study of right-wing politics.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
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 scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
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LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com 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 University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.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.
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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 throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
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 branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, 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; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.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 in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.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.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
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WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
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SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
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WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.