FROM THE WEB
Net Briefs - 04-10
GENDER & SPORTS
Bronner & IDF
Jane Anne Morris
Protesting School Cuts
Dolls & Drudges
Epic Recession III
Capitalizing on Disaster
NY For Sale
In Vitro, In Vivo!
Zaps - 04-10
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
I Don't See Much Difference
A talk with Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is a renowned linguist who is perhaps better known for his radical critique of America's economic and foreign policies. According to the Chicago Tribune, he's "the most often cited living author. Among intellectual luminaries of all eras, Chomsky placed eighth, just behind Plato and Sigmund Freud." I interviewed him on January 26, for the Industrial Worker, the IWW's newspaper. It's printed here with their permission.
HOCHSCHARTNER: You wrote that Obama "broke ground" in supporting the Honduras coup. Explain what you meant.
CHOMSKY: I don't remember putting it that way. In earlier years, the U.S. supported coups outright or carried them out for that matter. In fact, in 2004, they carried out the coup in Haiti and in 2002 openly supported the coup in Venezuela. Obama did it indirectly. He joined the Organization of American States in criticizing the coup. He wouldn't call it a military coup. He kind of dragged his feet.
Almost every country, even in Europe, withdrew their ambassadors. The U.S. didn't. The U.S., of course, has enormous influence in Honduras. The military's trained by the United States. They have very close connections, but they didn't do much at first. They didn't try to use their influence. Then, as it proceeded, the Obama administration ended up essentially supporting the coup regime. The U.S. was almost the only country that recognized the elections under military rule. It was the usual support for right-wing military coups, but in a softer way than usual. That's partly a reflection of the change in power relations.
What do you mean by that?
Latin America's become a lot more independent. Take Brazil. Forty-five years ago the Kennedy administration didn't like the government in Brazil. It was a kind of mildly social democratic government not very different from [current] President Lula's. So they organized a military coup and established a neo-Nazi style national security state. That was the norm, one country after another through the 1980s. It was a monstrosity. Latin America, finally, after 500 years, is moving towards integration for the first time and paying a little attention—in some cases, like Bolivia, a lot of attention—to the needs of the poor majority, which is new. That's made the continent a little more independent of the U.S. The U.S. was kicked out of its last military base in Ecuador in September 2009. It now has seven new ones in Colombia, which is the last holdout.
In Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court gave corporations free rein to spend as much money they wanted on elections. What effect will have?
It's a significant step beyond what was already intolerable. Elections are pretty much bought. You can predict the victor in an election by who's outspending whom. And the funding, of course, mostly traces back to corporations in one way or another. But until now they had to do it in kind of indirect, devious ways. The Supreme Court has now said, "Look, you can buy them off directly if you like. You can run ads in favor of a particular candidate with corporate money." That's even more extreme than campaign funding.
The mainstream media's tried to balance what's going to be a huge influx of corporate spending by saying, "Well, the unions are going to be able to do it too." But the idea that the unions are going to raise anything comparable…
Not only that, but, even with all of their flaws, unions, basically, are democratic. Its workers who get together and are supposed to be able to make decisions. That's not what a corporation is. A century ago, corporations were identified by the courts with management. Management is the corporations. For this campaign spending, management doesn't even have to consult with shareholders. They're pure tyrannies. Labor unions are supposed to, at least, work for the benefit of their members. Corporations are required by law to work only for profit and for material gain. They're not allowed to do anything else. How can you compare them? It's just a joke.
After the Republican victory in Massachusetts, Democrats have said they don't think they have the votes for health care. What's your take on the situation?
The election in Massachusetts was interesting. The statistics came out on the voting. Brown won because of very strong support in the wealthy suburbs and because of pretty much apathy in the poorer, urban, Democratic areas. So the rich want even more. Nothing's ever enough. The population is saying, "Look, we don't like the way you're giving everything away to the rich." So they just mostly stayed home.
The Republicans are not like any political party in American history. There's only one word in their vocabulary: "no." Anything the Democrats propose, "no." They've gotten the Democrats to concede on issue after issue—primarily because they don't disagree all that much. But one of the things they've gotten them to agree on is that everything has to go to a filibuster. Filibusters have been used in the past, but they're not the routine way of responding to proposed legislation. The Republicans are like the old Communist Party. Everybody has to vote the same way. So what you get is a Republican minority that can block any legislation just by threatening a filibuster.
Returning to health care, a majority of the population is opposed to Obama's health-care program. That's what the headlines say and that's true. But if you look at the polls, they're mostly opposed to it because it doesn't go far enough. He gave away everything. They gave away the public option, which there's a strong majority for. They gave away the Medicare buy in at 55. Again, very strong majority. He made a deal with the drug companies saying, "Yeah, we'll continue the policy of not negotiating with you." There's about 85 percent opposition to that.
The public wants cost-cutting, which makes sense. The program's out of sight. But you can't have cost-cutting when you hand it over to private insurance companies that are unregulated. You can cut around the edges somewhere, but you can't deal with the essence of the problem.
On the right, there's been a lot of talk about the tea party. Do you see a third party coming from the left?
The tea party thing is a real sign of the failure of the left. Those people, they're a mixed group, but many of them—I would say probably most of them—are the people who ought to be organized by the left. These are people with real grievances. For the past 30 years—years of financialization and neo-liberalism—for the majority, wages have stagnated. Benefits, which were never very great, have declined. Working hours have shot way up. They've gone into debt to try to preserve the consumerist lifestyle that's rammed down their throats by the advertising industry. So they're in bad shape. Not Third World-style bad shape, but bad shape by the standards of the way a rich, industrial country is supposed to be.
Those are the things the left ought to be organizing around. Right now, people are very upset, and rightly, about the giveaway to the banks and the high unemployment. If you look at unemployment figures, which are always understated, in the manufacturing industry it's back to the level of the Great Depression. And people are not going to get those jobs back. So they have every right to be mad, but the left is not offering them anything.
Emma Goldman—I'm paraphrasing—said, "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." Do you subscribe to that kind of non-participation in electoral politics?
I often don't vote or I vote Green or something like that. But there are times when I think it matters. So, say in 2004, I thought it mattered to keep Bush out. If you were in a swing state, I thought it was important to vote for Kerry, holding your nose. I'm in Massachusetts, so I didn't have to. Similarly in 2008, I thought it was important to keep McCain and Palin out. This is bad, but that would be a lot worse. So it's not as extreme as Goldman said. There's a limited functioning democracy, which gives the population some voice, and sometimes a lot of voice when they get active and organized.
How would you rate Obama's first year in office? I remember you quoting Condi Rice—that it was an extension of the second Bush term.
I think that's about what's happened—a little variation here and there, but not much. He's escalated the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan beyond what Bush was saying he was going to do. He's been a little bit more open to negotiations on Iran. He's done nothing on Israel/Palestine, on Latin America. He's approximately the same as Bush. I just don't see much difference.
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.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
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.
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 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.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
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.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
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.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.