Fun fact: China is big

New York
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Antonio

Those are all 9 US cities with a population of 1 million or more.


Those are the 9 largest cities in China with a population of 1 million or more — out of 166! And only 40 percent of Chinese live in cities.


Hope is on the way?!

Is MoveOn.org actually getting more annoying? I guess they were always wholly subordinate to the Democratic Party, but as the campaign progresses they become more and more shameless about it.

In an e-mail they sent out today, this is what they had to say:
When you watch John Kerry tonight, allow yourself to imagine a better future. Imagine an America which is respected throughout the world, and which strives to do right by all of the citizens of the world. Imagine living in a country where the values of community, respect, and empathy are held highest. Imagine having a President who, like President Roosevelt, believes that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

We'll have a lot of work to do on November 3rd when Kerry is our new President. But we'll wake up that morning able to dream big dreams for a country and a world that are once again headed in the right direction.
I know we're all taught as kids how important it is to exercise our imaginations, but to imagine a Democratic president leading the world in the "right direction" is asking far too much.

What we'd get with Kerry is what we had with Clinton: Policies meant to expand American global hegemony, but done under the guise of multilateralism — less aggressive, certainly, but perhaps more effective, especially in the current climate. Tepid support for progressive domestic measures to address social inequalities, with little to no policy follow-thru. Allowing corporate priorities to set the economic agenda at home and abroad.

Groups like MoveOn are far too quick to ignore how Democrats actually govern, and far too eager to amplify their campaign rhetoric. This is not how to build a progressive movement. Tricking people into having hope every four years doesn't do much good when those hopes are always cruelly disappointed. The outcome is apathy and cynicism.

I don't have a problem with people voting Democrat if that's what they want to do. But to do so naively is the worst possible course. Vote with your eyes open, and with the understanding that no matter how many times the Republicans are defeated, the Democrats will never eliminate fundamental global and domestic inequalities. For that to happen we must pursue the much harder work of organizing communities and building democratic businesses. Don't expect political elites to do the work for us.


Operation: Irani Freedom?

As if any more evidence was needed, the USA has once again proved that how it deals with terrorists has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with larger US strategic goals.

Everyone knows that the USA tries to destroy certain terrorist groups, mainly those that target US assets or Israel. And everyone who is reasonably well-informed and not blinded by American nationalism also knows that the US supports other terrorist groups and many kinds of state terrorism. But generally speaking, the USA doesn't actually include the terrorists it supports on its official list of terrorist groups.

The Irani group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) is an exception. Until last year this organization periodically assassinated Irani leaders (including the president and premier in 1981), attacked Irani embassies, and launched mortars into Iran from their sanctuary in Iraq. Equipped by Saddam Hussein, the MEK helped crush the Shi'i and Kurdish revolts following the first American war against Iraq. In 1997 the USA, seeking to improve relations with Iran and seeing no loss in condemning an Hussein-allied group, added the MEK to the official list of terrorist organizations.

Things changed with the conquest of Iraq. Neoconservatives, looking ahead to the expected overthrow of the Irani regime, sought to protect MEK. But other forces in the administration pushed the other way. They hoped to improve relations with Iran and feared undermining American credibility with the unusually obvious hypocrisy proposed by the neocons.

It seems the neocons have won the argument. After the invasion, MEK members were confined to their camp outside Baghdad until the USA could decide what to do with them. Now the decision has come, and it seems to be the first step in signing up the MEK as a proxy army for aggression against Iran. After a 16-month review, the USA has reclassified them "protected persons", a classification under the laws of war that ensures members of the MEK will not face charges in Iraq or be extradited to Iran.

How could the USA protect people that America itself brands as terrorists? A senior American official explained the nuances, "A member of a terrorist organization is not necessarily a terrorist." In this case, apparently, none of the members of a terrorist organization are terrorists.

We could be seeing the opening moves in administration plans to destabilize or possibly even invade Iran. Middle East expert Juan Cole thinks so. In a post last week, he explained and debunked the latest allegations of Irani complicity with the 9/11 highjackers — the same sorts of insinuations and carefully-worded quarter-truths that launched us on the conquest of Iraq. Cole fears that a second Bush term will give us an invasion of Iran. That may be a little alarmist at this point, a covert destabilization campaign seems more likely (anyone remember 1953?). But let's not rule out some sort of crisis exploding over Iran's development of nuclear weapons, perhaps kicked off by an Israeli bombing of their facilities. In that situation, it might not matter who's in the White House.

Avoiding disaster while dealing with the China threat

Every so often a rash of articles appears warning about the dangerous rise of China. Increasingly tho — at least in more liberal publications — the rise of China is seen as inevitable and attention is focused on how to accomodate the new power rather than on the threat to American control.

One recent example is James Hoge writing in Foreign Affairs, "A Global Power Shift in the Making". He writes:
Major shifts of power between states, not to mention regions, occur infrequently and are rarely peaceful. In the early twentieth century, the imperial order and the aspiring states of Germany and Japan failed to adjust to each other. The conflict that resulted devastated large parts of the globe. Today, the transformation of the international system will be even bigger and will require the assimilation of markedly different political and cultural traditions. This time, the populous states of Asia are the aspirants seeking to play a greater role. Like Japan and Germany back then, these rising powers are nationalistic, seek redress of past grievances, and want to claim their place in the sun. Asia's growing economic power is translating into greater political and military power, thus increasing the potential damage of conflicts. Within the region, the flash points for hostilities Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, and divided Kashmir have defied peaceful resolution. Any of them could explode into large-scale warfare that would make the current Middle East confrontations seem like police operations. In short, the stakes in Asia are huge and will challenge the West's adaptability.
And he's right. Even the worst horrors we've seen in the last ten years — the Rwandan genocide, the sanctions against Iraq, the Congo civil war — could pale next to war in East or South Asia. Of particular interest to Americans, there's no question that the USA would involve itself in any war over Taiwan or in Korea. Tho the chance of such wars is relatively low, the situations are volatile enough that even a minor incident could quickly escalate into a crisis.

The USA itself may set off such a crisis thru its belligerency against North Korea or by bringing into the open its support for de facto Taiwan independence and military containment of China. Starting under Clinton and accelerating rapidly after 9/11, the USA has quietly moved to hem in China with a ring of alliances (the most important being Japan, India, and Australia) and military bases and agreements (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, and soon Indonesia added to 60-year-old deployments in Japan and South Korea).

Hoge is the first mainstream commentator I've seen to acknowledge this, and he makes a strong case that we have to start thinking about more constructive ways to manage the transition to a China-centered Asia. But his suggestions for accomplishing this are, to say the least, inadequate to the task. His main ideas seem to be sending more staff to the US embassy in China and admitting China to the G8. (The Group of 8 is an organization of the rich countries plus Russia that holds an annual high-level meeting and doesn't do much else.)

In other words, Hoge isn't even beginning to confront the major divergence of interests between China and the USA that is already increasing tensions. The biggest issue is, as always, Taiwan. China claims the island as its own, and officially Washington agrees. But the USA also views Taiwan as an important strategic asset which, if China reaquired peacefully, would significantly expand Chinese geopolitical and economic power. Neither side is willing to back down, and some right-wing forces in the USA are even pushing for a "re-evaluation" of the official policy accepting Beijing's claim to Taiwan. Such a step would be disastrous.

Other potential points of contention include the USA's massive military presence surrounding China, American control of Asia's major shipping lanes, China's claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea, US support for Japanese remilitarization, and control over natural resources, especially oil.

If open conflict comes, it will be over these strategic issues. But the fundamental question is whether or not the USA can maintain its hegemony over Asia thru alliances with local elites in all the countries around China save North Korea and Myanmar. Will these alliances hold up, or will Asian elites begin to see realignment with China as better serving their interests? If they do, will the USA take destabilizing measures to wrench their allies back under American protection? If it comes to that, I fear for both Asia and America.


What to do about nationalism and electoralism

Justin Podur, a Canadian writer for ZNet, posted recently about two important topics for the left to think about: nationalism and electoralism.

I added my thoughts about nationalism in the comments to his post. The left has historically been internationalist in its rhetoric, but anti-imperialist movements and communist revolutions have almost always governed in distinctly nationalist ways when they came to power, generally to the great harm of their people. But would their success have been possible without nationalism to mobilize support? Do the gains they make outweigh the damage their nationalism does?

On electoralism I spelled out my thoughts in this article. While I'm ultimately opposed to representative "democracy", I also think electoral strength is an important means to a more progressive society. Yet the electoral system isn't much use to us as long as we remain weak in our ability to mobilize people or money. So the priority should be building social movements, community organizations, and democratic businesses. If that can be done thru electoral organizing, fine. But that should always be the focus, and mustn't be lost in the strange obsession many leftists have in figuring out who to vote for (as if one vote matters).


Radical thoughts on gay marriage

Today the Senate votes on a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Obviously this kind of ban would be totally unacceptable. But I have to admit being a bit conflicted on the issue.

First, I don't see why the institution of marriage is all that desirable in the first place. It might be better to eliminate marriage as a social norm altogether. Still, if people want to get married, that's their choice. Certainly there's no place for the state to interfere in consensual behavior.

But I don't think there's any place for the state to affirm marriage either. The basic set-up now is that the state recognizes marriages and provides financial benefits for people who get married. Why would we want or need state sanction for marriage? And why on earth would the unmarried subsidize those who are married?

Yet the movement for state-recognized gay marriage isn't only about eliminating discrimination between gay and straight marriages (which would be best addressed by removing state involvement altogether). It's also about using a hugely important symbol to push the dominant society into further acceptance of gay people.

Gay marriage does this in two ways:
  • As a provocation, by challenging people's conceptions of one of their most closely-held ideals, it forces them to confront the existence of different sexualities and come to terms with otherwise submerged prejudices;
  • As a move to normalize gays, making them less of a threat, by integrating them into the deeply conservative institution of marriage.
The first is useful, the second more questionable. But maybe acceptance of gay people needs to come before challenging more fundamental systems of gender and sexuality.


More on re-Baathification

Here's something interesting I hadn't heard before, which strengthens the point I was making in the last post:
As one of his final acts, [ex-proconsul of Iraq] Bremer revoked all [Coalition Provisional Authority] orders and directives relating to de-Baathification, the controversial process that banned all Baath Party members above a certain rank from posts in the occupation government. In April, Bremer announced that he would liberalize the law, which he said had been unfairly applied. On June 28, he went further, formally disbanding the Iraqi De-Baathification Council headed by former [Iraqi Governing Council] member Ahmad Chalabi.
Thus marking the end of a truly revolutionary experiment in colonialism, and acknowledging that a reconstituted Baath bureaucracy and military led by suitably loyal Iraqis will be necessary to achieve American goals in Iraq.


Indirect rule triumphs in Iraq

In his glowing portrait of "sovereign" Iraq's new prime minister, Iyad Allawi, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reveals something very important. He quotes Allawi from over a decade ago, when he was attempting to overthrow Saddam Hussein, as saying, "We were originally leading members of the Baath Party, so we still have a lot of supporters in the Iraqi establishment. We subscribe to the theory that we can only change the regime through the existing establishment."

And here we see the only viable option that the United States ever had in achieving its goals in Iraq — decapitate the Baath power structure but preserve the body, substituting the USA as the new overlord.

America's goals have always been control of Iraq's oil, permanent military bases from which to police the Middle East, and access for American corporations. The spectacularly arrogant neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon thought the best way to do this would be to eliminate the old power structure: abolish the army, dismantle the Baathist bureaucracy, transfer control of the economy from the state to American corporations, and impose American clients like Ahmed Chalabi as the new lords. They thought the Iraqi people would welcome foreign domination since it was replacing Sunni brutality.

But the occupation failed. Iraqis did not welcome the domination of the country that had attacked them twice in 12 years and imposed devastating sanctions on them in between. The promises of reconstruction were left unfulfilled. Security was impossible to maintain as members of the military and Sunni establishment took up arms, and were eventually joined by Shia. Privatizing the economy into American hands ran into legal trouble.

The balance of power within the administration shifted from the neoconservatives to the more cautious planners in State and the CIA. Allawi was a CIA asset for years, and always a rival to Chalabi. His elevation represents a decisive repudiation of the revolutionary neoconservative attempt at outright colonialism, now replaced by the honored imperial use of indirect rule thru existing power structures.

Allawi has moved quickly to reestablish the old ruling apparatus, reconstituting the military and giving himself sweeping powers to impose martial law. The Baath bureaucracy, because it was needed to keep things running, was never purged except at the highest levels. This will become the social base for the new American approach.

This is the same approach the USA used in the occupations it ran after World War II: West Germany, Japan, South Korea. Destroy the leadership for its crime of disloyalty to America, but retain the economic and bureaucratic elites as long as they swear fealty to the United States. In Germany and Japan the formula was highly effective. But Iraq may be more like Korea, because an independent power center exists outside of the state and business elites. In Korea, it was popular and highly organized revolutionary leftist organizations; in Iraq it's the Shia, organized thru important clerics. Resistance to American goals wasn't exterminated in Korea until the use of wholesale repression followed by catastrophic war. This may be Iraq's fate as well.

Where elite foreign policy debates come from

In an interview with Joshua Micah Marshall, Senator Joe Biden (possible secretary of state under a Kerry administration) gives as good a summary as you'll get of the differences between the multilateral imperialism practiced by most Democrats and many 'realist' Republicans on the one hand and the unilateral imperialism of the current administration:
[I support] what I refer to as this enlightened nationalism, that we operate in our national interests in every circumstance where we can under the umbrella of international rules and the international community. But where the damage and danger is irrefutable, we reserve the right to act in our own interest or in the interest of humanity, if we have the capacity. And that is a different standard than existed for the first 27 years I was a United States senator. [sic]

That is different than the standard and the rationale of our neoconservative friends. They argue that the exercise of force is important because we are at the apex of our power and that we are more enlightened than the rest of the world. And when we have the ability to exercise force it allows us to leverage our power in direct proportion to the moral disapprobation of the rest of the world.
The two factions have a very different conception of power: the liberals see it as a scarce resource, to be carefully shepherded and used in defiance of global opinion only when all attempts at consultation and bribery have been exhausted. The neoconservatives, however, believe that power must be used to be maintained, that when we have the most power is precisely the time that it must exercised most nakedly, to eliminate any remaining challenges to American hegemony while it is best positioned to do so. And to make an example of those who still resist.

But the obligatory gestures toward the "interests of humanity" aside, both factions are seeking the same thing: permanent American supremacy in the realms of economic and military power (i.e. "national interests"). Neither side is interested in international law except to the extent it can be used to advance these goals. Both sides support parliamentary democracy, but only if the government it produces assents to American suzerainty. Both sides regularly use extreme violence, and neither side will criticize the other for doing so. The only criticisms exchanged between the two are on how effective their tactics are for advancing the shared goals.

Despite the different outlooks and occasionally fierce tactical disagreements, the two factions often function in complementary ways. A unilateral administration takes sometimes shocking steps to expand American power, increasing global resistance to American hegemony. Multilateralists are then elected who deploy soothing diplomacy, listening to alienated allies, supporting multilateral initiatives, and generally rebuilding American standing — all while consolidating the gains made under their expansionary predecessors. This is a longstanding pattern: expansion under Eisenhower, consolidation under Kennedy, expansion under Johnson, consolidation under Nixon, Ford, and Carter, expansion under Reagan, consolidation under Bush I and Clinton, expansion under Bush II...consolidation under Kerry?


Market discipline for Europe

For some time now people on the left have been warning that EU expansion into the former Soviet empire would be used European elites to drive down working conditions and dismantle the European social compact. That effort is now starting to shift into high gear.

Siemens, one of Germany's most important corporations, has just used the threat of shifting work to Hungary to force workers at two of its factories to accept a 5-hour increase in the work week and elimination of the Christmas bonus with not increase in wages. This is part of a Europe-wide effort on the part of employers to break the limited work weeks that have been won over the last 30 years.

Since World War II, Europe's strong labor movement has won impressive gains that the much weaker unions of the United States could only dream of. 35 hour work weeks, 25-30 vacation days/year, universal healthcare, good unemployment insurance. American commentators like to ascribe this to cultural differences: Americans have a stronger work ethic, Europeans value leisure more. But unless someone can point out the millions of American workers who would turn down a month of vacation every year at the same wages, the difference is simply one of power. In the fight over who will control the wealth generated by industrial economies, the workers are weaker in the USA so they get less of the benefits.

Unfortunately, European unions became complacent and stopped short of demanding truly radical transformations: workers' control of factories, the elimination of management, ending private ownership of businesses, abolition of markets. The fundamental dynamics of a capitalist economy were not done away with, merely repressed. Now that employers can take advantage of low-wage competition in Eastern Europe and other poor countries to increase their leverage, they'll go back on the offensive.

This is part of a worldwide reassertion of power by the ownership class against workers that's been unfolding for 30 years. In the poor countries it's called "structural adjustment" and imposed by the IMF. In the USA it's seen in the shift to casual/part-time work for low benefits and pay as the cities deindustrialize. Here it's called "globalization". Western Europe is the last holdout, but the process is getting underway there too. Everywhere, welfare measures are being dismantled, businesses are privatized, regulations are eliminated, labor is increasingly exploited, elites are increasingly powerful and rich.

If all you do is reform capitalism when you're strong, it'll only be a matter of decades before the system reasserts itself and all your gains are undone.


Watch out for the apocalypse

A week ago the most widely-read liberal imperialist, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, informed us that he'd be taking a break for three months to finish a book (he's being replaced in the month of July by the first decent liberal to be given space as a columnist, Barbara Ehrenreich). Friedman wrote about world developments he'd like to see in his time away. As usual, he was extremely annoying:
  • He insisted on plugging his new book by name;
  • The new book has a lame title, The World is Flat;
  • He was, as usual, embarrassingly naive about American actions in Iraq;
  • He was, as usual, embarrassingly naive about the war on "terrorism".
On the other hand, he didn't use any of his intolerable business-writing metaphors (remember this one from a few weeks ago, about how Indians are saying, "Slow down the globalization train, and build me a better step-stool, because I want to get on.")?

And he raised an extremely important idea, which I haven't seen in the mainstream before:
a grand China-US Manhattan Project — a crash program to jointly develop clean alternative energies, bringing together China’s best scientists and its ability to force pilot projects, with America’s best brains, technology and money.
The most dangerous thing facing humanity right now is how we deal with energy. Currently the world relies overwhelmingly on oil, coal, and natural gas to produce its energy, and extensively uses oil to produce chemicals and plastics.

This is a problem for two reasons. First, industrial society would collapse without fossil fuels, so if the supply ever starts getting tight we can anticipate fierce competition — up to catastrophic war — among the major consumers over access to supply. And second, fossil fuels devastate the environment, causing air and water pollution (and a whole range of human health problems), and probably worst of all, threaten us with global warming. Global warming is a time bomb that will likely increase sea levels (inundating coastal cities and increasing devastating floods in places like Bangladesh), make extremes of weather worse, hurt agricultural production, and increase the spread of disease.

The environmental reasons alone should have us taking drastic measures to substitute clean and sustainable fuels for fossil fuels. But the other matter — a tightening supply of fossil fuels, especially oil (far and away the most important of the three fossil fuels) — should have us scared to death.

For one thing, within a matter of years we may reach the peak of global oil production, as argued in the new book The End of Oil. If so, supplies of oil will rapidly decline in coming years. Either way, large poor countries with rapidly expanding economies — above all, China — will send demand ever higher, with supply lagging increasingly far behind. As Paul Krugman has laid out, this summer's oil price increase is the first hint of things to come. Add to that the possibility of supply disruptions because of instability in the major producing nations. Because industrial economies are so thoroughly dependent on oil, any large price spike can easily drive them into recession.

A particularly rapid price increase would be even more devastating. The prices of everything we use oil for — gasoline, medicines, pesticides, fertilizers, plastics, industrial lubricants — would shoot up too. With the food, transportation, manufacturing, and healthcare industries in crisis, industrial society might start breaking down. Competition over declining resources would be fierce, possibly to the point of general war among the industrial powers. It's a terrifying prospect.

The only alternative is to begin the transition away from fossil fuels early enough that constricting supplies won't cause such violent disruptions. A concerted shift away from fossil fuels would be a mammoth undertaking, and would have to be driven by large government expenditures from all the rich countries. The richest countries, who got rich in the first place thru intensive use of fossil fuels and stayed that way by maintaining control of the Middle East and imposing low oil prices, have a duty to contribute most of the money and expertise to develop alternative energy sources and make us much more energy efficient. But they must also work closely with the poor countries to teach them the science and engineering skills and give them the clean technologies that will allow economic development without the destructive environmental impact of Western industrialization.

Yet even a massive crash program to develop alternative fuels is unlikely to fully replace the energy we can so easily extract from fossil fuels, especially if we were to evenly distribute the consumption of energy (the USA, 4 percent of the world's population, uses 25 percent of its energy; the OECD, a club for the rich countries, consumes on average 450 percent more energy than the non-OECD countries). That means a major change in our own consumption patterns is also necessary: the elimination of private vehicles in cities; the transition to sustainable agricultural methods that use little petroleum, and the necessary corollary of shifting to a meatless diet; decreased new consumption and increased recycling and reusing.

Unfortunately, the capitalist global economy has not only given us this crisis, it also stands in the way of a solution. The logic of competition bars sharing of money, technology, and expertise for clean alternatives; the culture of consumption demands ever-increasing production; the rules of capitalism prevent the social and environmental costs of energy use from being reflected in its price. Those with a material and power interest in the status quo control not only the rich countries but countries like China as well. Despite Friedman's praiseworthy idea of a Sino-American clean energy project, maybe he's simply being naive again.

Those of us with a better understanding of state behavior might put our hope elsewhere: that enough regular people could change their own habits and bring enough pressure to bear against their leaders that they would be forced to change the institutions that have brought us here.

Hussein's Iran atrocities reported

At last, the American media have covered the story of Saddam Hussein's anti-Iran war crimes being excluded from the indictment against him. The newspaper? The New York Daily News. At the end of an article on page 12.

No word yet from any of the supposed papers of record.

The charges, by the way, can be found here. Reporting on the charges has been very vague, with more than one newspaper mistakenly making reference to the Iran war.


Anti-Iran atrocities don't count?

Following up my post from yesterday, Reuters reports that Iran is wondering why Saddam Hussein's war crimes against it are not included in his indictment. Hussein's illegal invasion of Iran in 1980, his repeated use of chemical weapons against Irani soldiers, his massive indiscriminate bombing campaigns against Irani civilians — apparently all off limits in his trial. With the exception of his genocide against Iraq's Kurds, these crimes are Hussein's worst, far worse than his invasion of Kuwait or the various assassinations he ordered. Perhaps there's an unwritten rule in international jurisprudence: immunity for any acts committed with the support of the United States.

A Lexis-Nexis search shows that no major newspaper in the United States has covered this issue or even commented on it.


Does the left love capitalism?

Michael Albert today added an interesting post to his blog on participatory economics. It seems that while audiences up to and including the mainstream in countries around the world are interested in hearing about parecon, in the USA not even liberals will give it a shot.

Outside the country, Albert is invited to conferences, the latest parecon book is translated and reviewed, meanwhile American leftist publications like The Nation or The Progressive won't even review the book much less start up a discussion on the vision.

This is strange, to say the least. Liberals know that free markets make all kinds of social inequalities much worse, that they destroy the environment, that they corrupt politics. And here's a proposal that would eliminate markets and replace them with something egalitarian and democratic. Wouldn't we at least want to talk about it?

Maybe these liberals are afraid of appearing too radical? Do they fear that talking about ending capitalism would hurt their credibility? It's possible. But credibility with whom? Who is their audience? Is it regular men and women, or is it those who hold power in society? Most mainline liberal organizations, like NOW, the PIRGs, NAACP, &c, focus their attention on appeals to legislators, corporate leaders, and other highly-placed authority figures. These people would of course dismiss any fundamental challenge to free markets — their power is based on the status quo.

Regular people are too often merely foot soldiers to man the phone banks and collect the petitions, not individuals to be mobilized and empowered in new structures of power. Maybe this audience would be more receptive?

Another possibility, as Albert has suggested, is that the leaders of these magazines and organizations themselves have a class interest in preventing the sort of nonhierarchical structures of parecon. They, like their counterparts in government and corporations, serve at the top of hierarchies, receiving greater pay and authority than those they order around. The people who fund these organizations and read these magazines, too, tend to be from an educated, professional background, expecting the power and perks that accrue to their class. In parecon these sorts of inequities would be eliminated.

Whatever the reason, it's time for the left to stop being afraid. The injustices we fight against, from race to foreign policy, can't be solved as long as capitalism reigns.

(I make the case for parecon here)


Here's what Saddam Hussein had to say when asked about the genocidal anfal campaign he waged against Iraq's Kurds, "Yes, I heard about that."

It's nice to see him in the dock, even if it is a puppet government trying him.

The only question is whether the trial will suppress information on the US government's complicity in Hussein's worst crimes, which he committed while an American ally in the 1980s. Strangely absent from the indictment against Hussein was his use of chemical weapons against Irani soldiers and his killing of Irani civilians in the Iran-Iraq war, both of which he did with the material aid and advice of the Americans.