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The Dirty Twenty
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War Criminals (Economics Division): The Dirty Twenty
Identifying any kind of war criminal is tricky. It is common to latch on to the hit men, or the ones issuing the immediate orders, while ignoring the planners and decision-makers, the funders, and those providing intellectual and moral support. And of course war criminals (military division [MD]) are always found only on the losing side, when frequently there are outstanding candidates among the winners. Identifying war criminals is hard to do without an arbitrariness that renders the whole effort dubious.
As for economics-based criminality, the very idea is anathema to the western establishment, because it points up an area in which its principals are vulnerable. Just as the West (and especially the United States) fought against incorporating economic (and social) rights as fundamental rights in post World War II formulations of the International Declaration of Human Rights, so today it avoids the phrase "class war" as well as the possibility of criminality associated with economic policy and private economic actions. The western establishment devotedly supports capitalism, which means "economic freedom," which means the freedom to starve as well as accumulate wealth.
It also means the right of establishment politicians to carry out economic policies that immiserate and kill large numbers of people, and the right of the corporate elite to fire, exploit, and otherwise mistreat employees within the (flexible) limits of the law. These rights are fundamental to the system, and spokespersons for contemporary capitalism view any immiseration produced by its normal operations as inescapable facts of nature, like cosmic rays. As we are in a New World Order of resurgent corporate power, more aggressive class warfare, an ongoing global redistribution of income upward, return to "Dickensian" work conditions, and environmental devastation, the notion of economic criminality is especially dangerous. Immiseration must be normalized, and it is the function of the intellectuals at the Cato, American Enterprise, Manhattan and other institutes, and economists at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, to extend the intellectual and moral boundaries of potential immiseration.
The press has the responsibility of keeping such uncomfortable notions as economics-based criminality out of sight. Each year Oxfam puts out powerful documents on global poverty and the devastating effects of World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies on the world's non-elite billions (a superb illustration is its 1995 The Oxfam Poverty Report), but these are never reviewed or even reported in the New York Times. Similar suppression or marginalization is applied to the publications and conferences of Food First, the Development Group for Alternative Policies, the Global Exchange, PROBE International, and other dissident groups, and to campaigns like last year's "Fifty Years Are Enough" (celebrating the 50th anniversary of the World Bank).
The media also treat in a very low key the massive looting by western clients like Mobutu, Suharto and the
In addressing economic criminality we run into some of the same kinds of problems that establishment analysts encounter in identifying military war crimes. Who is "responsible" in a complex system of division of labor? Do we look behind the middle and top managers to the large shareholders and bankers who may call the shots? Do we stop with the political leaders who make and execute laws or do we reach back to the election funders, advisers, planners and intellectuals urging on the criminal projects? Pinning the label of criminality on individuals ignores the systemic element in such crimes--the fact that they are not only the result of how the system works, but that large numbers share responsibility. It is true that some can be identified with special discretionary powers and exceptional involvement in war and economic war crimes, but we still face difficult problems. Information on criminal economic behavior, which extends over the entire globe, is limited and the actual locus of economic and political decisions if often difficult to establish. In short, our selection is going to have a strong element of arbitrariness.
Why bother then? As noted earlier, one reason is to highlight the arbitrariness of the establishment's confinement of war crimes to those that fit its biases and to focus on the immorality and viciousness of important forms of criminal economic activity. A second is to name names, and to call the scoundrels in question by their deserved name of war criminal--economics division. They are all quite respectable folk, much honored. A man like Michel Camdessus, a prime war criminal-ED who heads the International Monetary Fund, considers himself a "socialist" and do-gooder.
Economic crimes deserving attention fall into two categories: first, are those that harm large numbers by enforcing an economic policy that serves the global elite, as with Camdessus' "structural adjustment" programs for poor countries. A second form of crime is large scale theft, as in the case of Mobutu, the Western imposed looter in Zaire, and Suharto in Indonesia. The robbers also help immiserate, but they do it not so much through policy actions as by directly reducing the GDP available to the populace by their own robbery and that carried out by foreign businesses who have made entry payoffs. A number of war criminals-ED are also war criminals- MD. Mobutu and Suharto, in addition to looting, have also participated in large scale repression and murder.
The Dirty Twenty
I am going to break my list of war criminals-ED into four categories: Government Leaders, Middle Managers, Businessmen, and Economists-Intellectuals-Advisers. I will include only criminals currently active, so that Margaret Thatcher, Carlos Salinas, Ronald Reagan and George Bush are excluded, although they would show up in a historical accounting. I am also going to list only twenty in total, with a very brief explanatory comment, although the potential list would be of large size. I invite readers to send in their own additions or emendations to my list. Perhaps Z Magazine should have an annual listing of war criminals-ED, given the unwarranted neglect of this subject by the mainstream media.
1. Bill Clinton: for his contribution to welfare "reform," for his economic policy of slow growth, tight monetary and fiscal policy, and trickle-down economics, which has caused insecurity to rise and the income distribution to become more unequal in his tenure. Also for his support of Yeltsin and Russian "reform," his Iraq policy of holding 18 million people hostage and subject to an economic boycott, and his general fronting for global neoliberalism and the corporate order.
2. Boris Yeltsin: for his key role in beggaring millions of Russians, in service to a looting economic mafia and the West.
3. General Suharto: one of the great thieves (and mass murderers) of the twentieth century, who created a "favorable climate of investment" in Indonesia, and is consequently treated in the West as a "moderate" and "modernizer."
4. Mike Harris: the current Progressive [sic] Conservative Premier of Ontario, who relishes putting workers out of work and poor people out on the streets; a caricature of a rightwing ideologue, with executive power.
5. Sese Seko Mobutu: possibly the greatest thief of the twentieth century in ratio of loot to GDP, with estimated wealth in excess of $5 billion; put in place by U.S. intervention, supported by the IMF and World Bank, and very solicitous of creditor claims, if not the basic needs of his people.
6. Ernesto Zedillo: successor to Salinas as head of the PRI, in charge of managing the huge contraction of the Mexican economy at the expense of the underlying population, to keep payments flowing to Mexico's creditors. Also responsible for the ongoing repression of peasant and indigenous uprisings.
7. Michel Camdessus: long time head of the IMF, whose structural adjustment programs have imposed enormous burdens on the world's poor, while servicing the demands of the global transnational corporations and banks. Camdessus is very possibly directly responsible for more human deaths than any person since World War II--the neoliberal equivalent of Adolph Eichmann.
8. Allan Greenspan: Reaganite head of the Fed has not only managed a monetary policy focusing on inflation control, slow growth and a sizable reserve army of unemployed, he contributed to the S & L debacle with an adulatory letter of recommendation for S & L crook Charles Keating, now in jail for fraud.
9. James Wolfensohn: a recently appointed head of the World Bank, who continues to carry out its policies of environmentally destructive loans for dams, support for leaders like Zedillo, Suharto and Yeltsin, and structural adjustment programs for countries like Haiti--his job is criminal by structural necessity.
10. Jim Bob Moffett: chairman of Freeport-McMoRan, a transnational mining company, now famous for its environmental destruction and criminal abuses of the native population in West Papua, New Guinea (under the rule of Indonesia, the company assisted by the Indonesian army); also one of the leading polluters in North America.
11. M. A. Van den Bergh, Managing Director of Royal-Dutch-Shell: for his and Shell's role as long-time collaborator with the Nigerian dictatorship; has abused the Ogoni people's lands for decades, keeping them under control with the help of the Nigerian military.
12. Donald Fites: the CEO of Caterpillar has set a standard in union busting, with his triumph over the UAW in a four year strike.
13. Al Dunlap: champion of down-sizing, Dunlap did a major job on Scott Paper employees, and has now been brought in to kill jobs on behalf of the stockholders at Sunbeam Corporation.
14. Charles Hurwitz: corporate raider, who cost the taxpayer $1.6 billion in S & L losses, is most famous as boss of Pacific Lumber, owner of the Headwaters Grove, the last major private ancient redwood forest in California. Pacific Lumber has been notable for ruthless clear cutting of the California redwoods.
15. William Simon: pioneer in the leveraged buyout method of ripoff, which led the way to the Reagan era buyout-merger frenzy; also a top organizer and subsidizer of neoliberal and rightwing propaganda as head of the Olin Foundation.
Economists and intellectuals:
16. Jeffrey Sachs: Harvard's and the neoliberal world's leading shock therapist, responsible for human devastation in Bolivia, Poland and Russia. Any failings in these shock treatments were a result of inadequate speed and comprehensiveness, not Sachs' misunderstanding of institutions, cultures, and economics itself.
17. Arnold Harberger: Chicago School guru who was the leader of the Chicago boys in Chile, and is proud to have brought free markets to that country (over many thousands of murdered bodies).
18. Robert Bartley: editor of the Wall Street Journal, passionate supporter of supply side economics and all the death squads necessary to bring it to fruition here and abroad.
19. Charles Murray: author of the antiwelfare classic Losing Ground and the racist classic The Bell Curve, Murray has been in the intellectual forefront of the attack on the poor, weak and black.
20. Thomas Sowell: Hoover Institution economist, one of three black social scientists (the others: Walter Williams and Shelby Steele) who have given the Charles Murray slant to affirmative action and welfare state policies in general. Sowell won a close competition among the three.
This selection can be contested; the potential candidates run into the thousands. The Dirty Twenty are all "good" (i.e., despicable) candidates, but in a sense they are symbolic representatives of a large criminal class.
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.