GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
FROM THE WEB
JOURNAL OF THE 22ND YEAR
Bailout & Sellout
Heritage Fights Back
LAW & ORDER
Carlos Perez de alejo
War Without End
THEORY & PRACTICE
Campesina V Agrofuel
John e. Peck
Elections & Change
SPECIAL OFFER DVDS
Goodbye to Bush Offer
Outrageous Gift Offer
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.
War Without End
The Iraq War in Context
By Michael Schwartz; 2008, Haymarket Books, 320 pp.
Michael Schwartz's illuminating new book, War Without End: The Iraq War in Context, provides a comprehensive overview of the ideological roots of the war and its social costs for the Iraqi people. He shows how neo-liberal policies and the privatization of state resources, backed by massive force, helped to exacerbate the suffering of Iraqis who increasingly turned to resistance against U.S. power and rule and remain disdainful of the occupation.
According to Schwartz, a professor of sociology at Stony Brook University, America's war aims were clear from the outset: to create a strategic base to control the Middle East's prized energy reserves and to usher in an economic transition from the "socialist dictatorship" of Saddam Hussein to an unfettered free-market capitalist state. In the aftermath of the invasion, Administrator L. Paul Bremer and his staff rapidly privatized state resources. They rewarded multinational corporations like Haliburton and Bechtel with major contracts to help rebuild the Iraq's infrastructure.
These policies confirmed for a large number of Iraqis that the U.S. had invaded for self-serving reasons. Furthermore, they caused a social and economic crisis of epic proportions, which gave strength to the insurgency. The dismantling of state industries caused the loss of thousands of jobs, which were replaced by foreign contractors. Local businesses were bankrupted by the flooding of the country with cheap imports and by a lack of regular electricity. Unemployment rates in the once prosperous nation skyrocketed to over 60 percent. Massive corruption in the rewarding of contracts and the dismissal of skilled local technicians resulted in gross inefficiency. This trend was typified by a failed $70 million Halliburton project to reconstruct an oil pipeline in Al Fatah, which came to resemble, as one observer put it, "some gargantuan heart-bypass operation gone night- marishly bad."
Most disconcerting was the decline in health and educational services. Schools damaged by the fighting were never properly repaired and lacked basic textbooks and school supplies. The U.S. military sometimes used schools as a staging base for military incursions. By 2007, UNICEF reported that only one-sixth of Iraqi children were being educated.
After dismantling the state health-care system, which had been among the best in the Arab world before Hussein's ascent to power, occupation officials promised to construct dozens of private clinics across the country. Most of these never materialized, resulting in a decline in accessibility of basic medicines and equipment. In the newly "liberated" Iraq, doctors would fill prescriptions that the pharmacies could not provide. Family members of patients even had to serve as nurses, and IVs and needles had to be reused. Over time, doctor shortages and the imposition of curfews in cities made the situation worse. The inability of occupation officials to provide clean water throughout the country and the overflow of raw sewage into city streets resulted in outbreaks of cholera and other diseases which the hospitals were ill-equipped to treat.
One of Schwartz's important contributions is to show how the failure of America's privatization and "nation-building" programs contributed to the rise of the insurgency in Iraq. Rather than being composed of "dead enders," in Donald Rumsfeld's now infamous words, or foreign jihadists or ex-Bathists, he demonstrates how resistance was in fact driven by "local factors that grew strength from deep grievances and a widespread hostility to the presence of foreign troops," as U.S. intelligence analysts concluded. In the early phases, many Iraqis staged demonstrations against the occupational authorities demanding basic social services and jobs. Rather than responding to their demands, the authorities instructed the military to greet any act of dissidence as suspicious and to shoot at any perceived threat. U.S. soldiers consequently fired on peaceful crowds and killed and wounded civilians, stoking popular anger. Many more innocent civilians were killed by fearful Marines at often poorly marked checkpoints throughout the country. The routine raiding of homes, designed in part to strike fear among the population, helped to further stoke popular anger and resentment, as did the prevalence of deplorable prison conditions and the revelations of torture. Meanwhile, the U.S. construction of a gaudy multi-billion dollar embassy made apparent America's ambitions to remain in Iraq indefinitely.
In order to try to maintain its grip on power, and in clear violation of international law, the U.S. adopted a doctrine of collective punishment designed to annihilate not only the insurgent fighters, but anyone who harbored and supported them. The consequence was the perpetration of many massacres, such as the notorious incident at Haditha where 24 civilians were killed. The doctrine of collective punishment was on display during the siege of Fallujah where the U.S. military killed thousands of people and turned the entire city into "a desolate world of skeletal buildings, tank-blasted homes, weeping power lines and severed palm trees," in the words of New York Times journalist Erik Eckholm. A Marine lieutenant proclaimed afterwards: "This is what happens if you shelter terrorists." As these comments reveal, the siege of Fallujah was intended as a warning to others that it would suffer the same fate if it defied U.S. power.
Much like the Vietnamese in an earlier failed U.S. colonial intervention, the Iraqis refused to bow to U.S. pressure and thus paid a high price in fighting for their sovereignty and independence. The backbone of the resistance took root in Sunni as well as some Shia cities like Sadr City, where local warlord Muqtada Sadr gained in prestige not only by defending Iraqi cities from attack, but also by seeking to provide basic social services that had been abandoned under the occupation. The resistance in Iraq, however, was never unified and became factionalized and ridden by sectarian tensions which culminated in full-scale civil war.
The war's ugliness was compounded by the tactics of many insurgent fighters—particularly the small number of Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq whose agenda was to expel the U.S. from Iraq and establish a caliphate through the Arab Middle East embodying the principles of Salafi Islam. They adopted terror techniques, such as suicide and car bombings directed against supposed colonial collaborators and Shia, which intensified public suffering. Criminal gangs seized on the violence and chaos to loot public resources and facilities and to extort money for ransom.
According to Schwartz, the United States bears a large share of the blame for creating a climate in which these trends emerged. In his view, the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq resemble those of the U.S. in Fallujah, with the aim of inducing civilians to withdraw their support for the enemy once they experienced the agony of punishment. Contrary to the false impression given by a majority of America's mainstream media, through the extensive air campaigns and search and destroy missions, U.S. forces and their proxies bear responsibility for the majority of both civilian and combat deaths, which studies place at well over one million. Schwartz estimates plausibly that the U.S. has been responsible for at least 57 percent of the killings, many of which he attributes to a hysterical use of firepower by U.S. troops in urban combat zones. The much vaunted "surge" strategy of President George W. Bush only worsened the carnage and further inflamed Iraqis, who continue to live in conditions of utter destitution. The U.S.-backed Maliki government and military, meanwhile, remain predominantly powerless outside Baghdad's Green Zone due to the growing strength of the sectarian militias who control many neigh- borhoods.
On the whole, while destined to create controversy, Schwartz has written a very powerful book on the U.S. occupation of Iraq and its devastating consequences for the country. He sheds great insight into the mindset of U.S. policy elites and military officials and documents the stark brutality of their programs. He demonstrates further that the rise of insurgency in Iraq was not irrational or driven exclusively by an Islamicist agenda or by hate, but was rather a product of the arrogance of U.S. occupying officials and the failure of U.S. state-building policies and neo-liberalism, which failed to guarantee basic social services and thereby helped to facilitate Iraq's social decay. Most of all, Schwartz reminds us of the true victims of war.
Jeremy Kuzmarov is visiting assistant professor of history at Bucknell University.
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: email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; 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 on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.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 University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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: email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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/; email@example.com.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.