Latest Release: Friday, January 31, 2005

Letter from an Antiwar Soldier: Patrick Resta, Specialist E/4, Responds to a Lieutenant Colonel

Patrick Resta, Specialist E/4

Left Hook co-editor Derek Seidman recently interviewed Patrick Resta, an antiwar Army medic who returned from Iraq in November, 2004, and began speaking out against the war and occupation. Resta's words were published cheap boat rental in Dubai far and wide, and he received a huge response from readers. Almost all the feedback was positive; some of it was negative. He received one email from a Lieutenant Colonel Lusk criticizing the interview (the subject of the email was "Disgraceful Interview"). Patrick Resta responded. We thought readers would be interested in reading this exchange, printed below. The original email sent by the Lieutenant Colonel is first, followed by Patrick Resta's response.

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Democrats Support Bush's Iran Policy

Joshua Frank

By now you have probably heard about the Bush Administration's secret plan to attack Iran and how US Special Forces units have been operating in the country for some time. Seymour Hersh, the maverick journalist for the New Yorker, broke the story earlier this week.

"The immediate goals of the attacks would be to destroy, or at least temporarily derail, Iran's ability to go nuclear. But there are other, equally purposeful, motives at work," writes Hersh. "The government consultant told me that the hawks in the Pentagon, in private discussions, have been urging a limited attack on Iran because they believe it could lead to a toppling of the religious leadership."

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Latest Release: Friday, January 28, 2005

The Day We Started Again: Our War for America

Jared McBride

The Democratic Party is dead. Whether it scraps itself together or rebuilds for another election is irrelevant. We questioned its relevancy and ability to represent millions of Americans after the pathetic outcome of the last two elections (2000 and 2002), but with its utter annihilation delivered in the 2004 elections, we can question no more. Let me repeat, whether the Democratic Party picks itself up or not does not concern us.

The 'us' I speak of is the millions of Americans who are against preventative war. The millions who are against blatant abuse of civil rights and human rights, who believe a woman has the right to choose what is best for her own body, and who believe in better wages and working conditions for America's workers. We are the Americans who believe religion has a place in America�in churches, mosques, and temples, not government affairs. We believe that poverty and racism must be eliminated. We believe the environment must be respected and corporate rule of our airwaves and daily lives broken. These were not the beliefs of John Kerry, he was not one of us. He can now go back to being just another millionaire senator.

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Special Release: Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"My vehicle has absolutely no armor": An Antiwar Soldier's Pictures From Occupied Iraq

Photo Gallery by Patrick Resta, Specialist/E4

These photographs were taken last year in Iraq by Patrick Resta, Specialist/E4. The captions are written by Resta.

This picture was taken shortly before we left Kuwait to cross into Iraq on the way to our camp in northeastern Iraq. This vehicle was used as a troop transport during the trip. As you can plainly see the "armor" consists of nothing more than half inch thick sheets of plywood.

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A Matter of Conscience

Kevin Benderman

Having watched and observed life from the standpoint of soldier for ten years of my life, I felt there was no higher honor than to serve my country and defend the values that established this country. My family has a history of serving this country dating back to the American Revolution and I felt that to continue on in that tradition was the honorable thing to do.

As I went through the process which led to my decision to refuse deployment to Iraq for the second time, I was torn between thoughts of abandoning the soldiers that I serve with, or following my conscience which tells me: war is the ultimate in destruction and waste of humanity.

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One Man's Choice and its Unsupportive Consequences

By Monica Benderman

For the past two weeks, my husband and I have answered questions from reporters, journalists, interested citizens from almost every state in the union, and about 8 foreign countries. After all of these interviews, I have a few questions of my own.

What is wrong with a country in which a man and his wife have to jump through hoops, and take psychological tests, and wait three months for the results of an application that declares that he has made a conscious choice to never go to war again?

- (Read full letter)

Latest Release: Monday, January 17, 2005

The Bush Administration: Aiding the Terrorists? (And, Why They Really Hate Us)

Derek Seidman

It has been a mantra repeated over and over again by George W. Bush and his administration: the world is a safer place because of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The usual explanation goes something like this:

"The world changed on September the 11th, and since that day, we have changed the world. We are leading a steady, confident, systematic campaign against the dangers of our time. There are still terrorists who plot against us, but the ranks of their leaders are thinning, and they know what fate awaits them�

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Contours of Conservative Hypocrisy: Part One

M. Junaid Alam

It is not controversial to assert that the values, ideals, and opinions held by people on social and political matters vary in accordance with their place on the political spectrum. What if, however, it was posited that on one end of this spectrum, politics consists not only of pursuing stated aims, but also of crafting codewords and rhetoric to lure in others who would not otherwise be interested in those aims? Judging from the output of its vast array of columnists, pundits, and intellectuals, the modern American Right perfectly fits this description.

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Democrats, Republicans attack women�s rights

Rebecca Doran

A common goal of the feminist movement has always been for the end of sex discrimination and abolishment of the second-class status of women. One of the most vital issues pertaining to this goal is the right to reproductive freedom and accessible health care, without which, women are constrained to the shackles of unwanted pregnancies, sickness, and an inability to function in society with the same facility as men.

In recent months, however, the right wing has stepped up its attacks against these rights to a new, more disturbing level. In what is being called another backdoor attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, a last-minute addition to the $338 billion spending bill signed by President Bush in November could have a serious impact on women�s right to reproductive freedom.

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Latest Release: Wednesday, January 11, 2005

The Cult of Imperialism: Confronting a Recruiter

Alex Sheremet

No matter the nature of any given power structure, resistance to the status quo - whatever it may be - will exist without question. The most one can hope for is the establishment of a system that will naturally limit dissent by creating conditions that are favorable to not only the majority, but also to the human collective in its entirety. However, under an arrangement that is, in essence, undemocratic, parasitic and subservient to a fortunate minority, dissent will be visible only to the extent that the power structure is able to artificially suppress it.

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From El Salvador to Iraq: Death squads come in waves

Charles Demers

Remember the heady, idealistic days of early 2005? You know, like, January 1st through to, say, the 7th or 8th? After the three-hundred-and-sixty-six day bloodbath that was 2004, and once the Are-the-Tourists-Okay? angle of the Tsunami story was driven into the ground - because apparently middle-aged sex tourists are still a more compelling image of Thai suffering than orphaned locals - it really seemed as though, this year, mourning brown-skinned folks as though they were real people would be en vogue.

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Aid as a Weapon of Foreign Policy: The US Isn't "Stingy"; It's Strategic

Tom Barry

Uncle Sam is not Ebenezer Scrooge. The U.S. government is the world's largest foreign aid donor, contributing economic assistance to more than 150 countries. The United States is also the largest national source of humanitarian and emergency relief aid. Before President Bush took office in 2001, the U.S. government was providing foreign nations with nearly as much development aid and humanitarian assistance as did France, Germany, and Great Britain combined.

When Jan Egeland, UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, called the U.S. "stingy" last week in the wake of the tsunami disaster, he affirmed the belief of many that the Bush administration was not only arrogant and aggressive but also lacking in compassion and generosity. The failure of the president to make a personal statement of support and condolence until three days after the tragedy--and the paucity of the U.S. initial commitment of emergency humanitarian aid--gave widespread credence to the charge that the U.S. is not a good global neighbor but rather a self-centered Scrooge.

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Latest Release: Wednesday, Junuary 05, 2005

Essay Contest Results

The Editors

Dear Left Hook Readers,

The results for our essay contest, "Why are you a radical?", sponsored by Monthly Review, are in: four contestants won $25 each for their submissions and they along with ten others won a year-long subscription to Monthly Review magazine. The four winners were: Chris Maisano, Josh Saxe, Shane Brinton, and Francisco Unger. Francisco's entry has already been published here; the other three winning entries have been included in this update.

Derek Seidman and M. Junaid Alam

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

by Chris Maisano

This past summer I caught a glimpse of the new society on a dirt road in rural Ohio.

I was working on a campaign to organize nursing home workers in Monroe County, and I pulled my car over to the side of the road to stop in front of the worker's house I was visiting. It rained hard the day before, and being the city slicker that I am, I didn't realize the seemingly solid ground was actually a mud patch. I was stuck.

I approached the worker's house to talk about the union and, if the meeting went well, to get some help. Nobody was home. Dejection set in. I began to think I'd be stranded in the Appalachians forever.

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Why I Am A Radical

Josh Saxe

My uncle isn't a janitor and my older cousins don't take a bus every morning into verdant neighborhoods to clean houses or raise rich people's kids. I haven't had to watch my parents struggle to find daily buyers of their bodies, and I haven't had to watch their health go as a boss translated their lives into spending money for his kids. Nobody mowed my grandparents down in the streets with water hoses while news cameras rolled because they wanted their humanity acknowledged. In fact, I am a white male who can't point to a worker in his family; fate has endowed me with comfort powered on the churning wheels of a global capitalism built on mountains of stolen lives and fed by other people's souls.

But how about the souls of the guardians of the system?

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Rebel With A Cause: Why I am a Revolutionary

Shane C. Brinton

It wasn't hard to become a radical. I was born in Humboldt County, CA to a leftist single mother. Being raised in the environmental movement, in the struggle to save the old growth redwood trees of Northern California, "radical" politics were all around me.

My earliest memories were of getting dressed up in my little tweed sport coat-my mom and I called it "the demo jacket." Mom would say "Shanie-boy, go get your demo jacket on." This was exciting. I knew that we would be going to some sort of rally. Essentially, I was born a radical; a green diaper baby. I was lucky. But, that was the easy part.

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Latest Release: Friday, December 31, 2004

Youthful Conservatism: Superficial Diversity at Phillips Exeter

Francisco Unger

At the age of 15, I am privileged to attend Phillips Exeter Academy, one of the nation's oldest and most historic high schools. When I first arrived on campus earlier this year, I looked forward to a community that would be more diverse and representative than the affluent private school that I attended in Boston, MA. As Exeter's brochures read, this was a high school with students from all four corners of the earth. During my first days of school, this promised diversity seemed to read true: my dormitory alone housed students from China, Korea, Saudi Arabia, England, and Guatemala.

However, over the course of my first semester, this superficial diversity would crumble.

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Heartless in Crawford Bush and Tsunamis

Walter Brasch

On Sunday, Dec. 26, an earthquake-triggered tsunami with an effect of 1,000 miles from its epicenter in the Indian Ocean near Sumatra devastated 12 countries. Within hours, numerous countries and private social service agencies had begun massive relief operations. President George W. Bush, vacationing on his ranch in Crawford, Texas, made no public statements. His press office, however, released a 121-word press expressing the President's "condolences," and that the Bush Administration would provide all "appropriate assistance" to the affected nations. The statement did not directly quote the President. In contrast, German chancellor Gerhard Schr�der cut short his vacation to return to Berlin.

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Will they bring themselves home?

Zeljko Cipris

Stuck in an endless, bloody war troops will sometimes simply pull up the proverbial stakes and go on home. In 1917, Tsar Nicholas' troops told him in effect to go screw himself (or Alexandra, or Rasputin, or whomever) and headed back to their towns and villages.

Is it conceivable that something similar will happen in the current so-called 'War on Terror?' Despite the ubiquitous danger, troops in the battle zones have sufficient time to reflect and to realize that 1) they're trapped in a war that's based on lies, 2) they've been made to destroy the lives of many innocent people, and 3) they're stirring up a lot of hatred that isn't doing themselves or their country's reputation any good.

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Latest Release: Monday, December 27, 2004

Social Security is Healthy and Successful

Ron Watson

At 31 years of age, I have already benefited from the Social Security program. My father died when I was 3 years old. Like most women at the time, my mother was a housewife. My father's death was an unforeseen horror for my mother; the unthinkable. They had planned for this worst case scenario, and life insurance allowed my family to keep our house. Social Security was a major factor in my mother and my ability to keep our home and in aiding my mother's transition from housewife to bread winner. It continued to ensure our security despite recession, occupation changes, and illness, until my eighteenth birthday. My mother died a month after my 19th birthday. I was the first person on either side of my family to go away to college.

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Saving Social Security?

Seth Sandronsky

Officially, the people of Iraq are being �saved� with bombs and bullets by the Bush White House. Meanwhile, the administration is pressing forward to �save� the Social Security system for Main Street America. Presumably, introducing personal savings accounts will preserve this program of social insurance for retirements, survivors' benefits and disabling injuries.

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Latest Release: Monday, December 20, 2004

The Ohio Recount: a "Dumboacracy" Issue

Josh Frank

What a waste of time and money this is. This Ohio recount business is nonsensical. The Green Party and David Cobb are calling it a democracy issue. More like "dumbocracy."

Larry Long, the Executive Director of the Ohio Association of County Commissioners, claims that Cobb's actions are "an exercise in futility and a ridiculous waste of county tax money." He's not kidding. Each county in the state has had to shell out thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours of staff time to proceed with the recount.

"But this is vote fraud, Bush stole the damn election," you say!? Not so fast there.

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A Weekly Data Sheet of US-uk Military Fatalities Post-May 1, 2003

Paulo de Rooij

Why this data sheet? The US military doesn�t allow the compilation and publication of Iraqi casualties, and it is very difficult to know how bloody the occupation of Iraq has resulted. The only indication of the intensity of the conflict are the military fatalities. We can use this as a proxy measure to determine if the occupation is a bloody quagmire or if the dust is finally settling on the rubble.

Furthermore, as demonstrated elsewhere, the Pentagon and their media surrogates are attempting to hide the true extent of the carnage among its soldiers.

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Latest Release: Friday, December 17, 2004

Canada in Haiti

Yves Engler

"Haiti is not for sale," "Liberate Haiti's political prisoners" and "Latortue assassin - Paul Martin complicit" were just a few of the chants this weekend in Montreal (in French of course). Friday and Saturday the Canadian government held a conference with an elite few of Haiti's two-million person Diaspora to discuss the future of that country.

Canadian officials interested in legitimating the February 29th overthrow of elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and improving western companies' short-term economic prospects on the Caribbean island, selected participants accordingly. The Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network labeled the gathering the "Chalabis of Haiti."

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We Will Reclaim Our Armed Forces!

Speech by Stan Goff

...This is one reason we are important to the movement not just against the war, but the movement to overthrow a system that breeds war, why veterans and military families and dissident soldiers are so important in this crucial period. In this period when the old tricks no longer work, and the depredations of this global system have once again consumed the very bases of that system - its subordinated people and its wrecked environment - the essence of that system, its true essence, the gun and the bomb and the rape and the prison, are being unmasked by the necessity to use these colonizers' tools openly to preserve power.

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Latest Release: Monday, December 13, 2004

The War is the War Crime: Abused Iraqis, Abused Americans

M. Junaid Alam

This was a war to transcend all wars - a war fought not for crass interests or crude motives, but for freedom and democracy. Or so we were told. Once this grand narrative was felled by reality, however, the story of its basic actors was twisted to meet new requirements: since it could not possibly be that the war aims were themselves corrupt, it must be the Iraqis - the supposed recipients of liberation, and the American soldiers - the deliverers of that liberation - who were flawed. This twist was to serve as punishment for those Iraqis who interpreted "freedom" to mean not only freedom from Saddam but freedom from US control, and as a smear job against those US soldiers who interpreted "defending the country" to mean something other than killing innocents and creating more hatred for America...

As the struggle in Iraq intensifies, its bitter and revealing ironies rise like angry waves, pummeling the eroding promontory of the war's many myths - foremost among them its very viability. Iraqis resisting occupation, soldiers exposing the brutalities that are fueling anti-occupation sentiment, and other Americans reluctantly being pressed into service to strengthen that occupation, are, in uneven, overlapping and contradictory ways, all victims of this war.

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The Antigay Mandate?: Fault lines in the Republican Party

David Baake

On Election Day 2004, the Republican Party achieved a major victory, gaining seats in both houses of Congress, and re-electing their president to serve four more years and to appoint up to three new members to an already Republican Supreme Court. In the exit polls, Bush supporters overwhelmingly agreed that there was one major reason that Bush should still be president despite a quagmire in Iraq, a never ending 'war on terror,' and an economy in shambles, this reason was of course, 'moral values.'

Bush's 'moral values' are based on two issues: he is pro-life, and he supports a constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriages. Many lower class Americans, especially Catholic Hispanics, voted directly against their economic interests because of these 'values' that are championed by the religious right. The Christian Right, after putting Bush back into office after the most expensive campaigns in history, will demand results. Bush can't allow Roe v. Wade to stand, when he controls all three branches of government, without losing the support of the religious right. Similarly, they will demand more than a symbolic attempt to ban homosexual marriage.

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Vote Fraud As Fundraiser: Cobb and the Ohio Recount

Josh Frank

Something fishy is in the air out in Ohio, where the presidential vote recount in being led by the Green Party's ex-presidential candidate, David Cobb, with minimal support from the Libertarian Party. However well-intentioned Cobb's pains to make every vote count seem, he may well be pulling a fast one on his supporters and Democrats, who have been battling denial since John Kerry's loss to George W. Bush last month.

Cobb's own performance in Ohio can be diagnosed as miserable. And that's putting it kindly. His ticket pulled in a mere 186 write-in votes in the state (Mickey Mouse and Bart Simpson were not far behind). This alone should make anybody wonder why Cobb and his staff, which is comprised largely of new recruits, are even dealing with the recount in the first place.

For starters, Cobb's name did not even appear on the ballot in Ohio, yet his team is the driving force behind Ohio's 88 county recount. Too bad Cobb didn't put this amount of energy into his own 2004 campaign. But for anyone who paid even the slightest bit of attention to the Greens this past election season, it should come as no surprise that Cobb's actions serve the interest of the Democratic Party once again.

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What is Happening in Haiti?

Stan Goff

Below is an audio link to a talk ex-Special Forces Sergeant Stan Goff gave at the Peoples Organization For Progress about developments in Haiti. Goff once served with the US military in Haiti and now goes back there frequently as an anti-imperialist activist.

  • Listen to the talk
  • Listen to the Q & A
  • Go to the website hosting the audio

    Latest Release: Thursday, December 09, 2004

    Flight Attendants, the Working Day and Labor Solidarity

    Seth Sandronsky

    A nationwide strike of 46,000 flight attendants has been authorized by the board of the Association of Flight Attendants. They are resisting airline employers making workers labor for longer hours at lower wages, and threatening to get rid of their pensions. A strike vote will be taken at four airlines--UAL Corp.'s United, US Airways Group Inc., ATA Holdings Inc.'s ATA Airlines and Hawaiian Holdings Inc.'s Hawaiian Airlines-with the votes set to be counted by the end of December.

    Many U.S. air carriers are in financial distress and squeezing their work forces in an effort to return to profitability. The judicial branch of the state is a key player. For example, US Airways is trying to use federal bankruptcy court to void collective bargaining agreements for current and retired employees over hourly pay, pension plans and health care coverage.

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    Another View: The Triumph of Liberalism

    Dave Stratman

    The electoral campaign has finally crawled to its dreary and foreseeable end: the victory of George W. Bush, anti-"red state" hysteria and despair among Kerry supporters, and the effective end of the antiwar movement.

    Those millions of Americans appalled at the continuing carnage in Iraq must step back from the electoral debacle and draw the right lessons from it, beginning by examining the role of the Democratic Party and the liberal agenda in the antiwar movement.

    The struggle against the War on Terror, or whatever name we wish to give the policy of pre-emptive wars endorsed by both candidates, is the most important struggle of our lifetimes. To succeed in it, we need now to establish a new antiwar movement on a broader popular basis than the one which chose to self-destruct in the Kerry campaign. To do this we must first step outside the mind-set which dismisses as mere bigotry the moral concerns of Americans who oppose gay marriage and abortion and other items on the liberal agenda such as gun control and affirmative action, but who are also deeply opposed to this criminal war.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Saturday, December 04, 2004

    Know Your Enemy: Political Contradictions of the Right

    M. Junaid Alam

    As right-wing forces consolidate their control over the commanding heights of national power, reaping the fruits of both their mobilization and liberals' demobilization, it has become increasingly urgent for serious progressives to examine the outstanding contradictions which mark many of the Right's main political positions. For as conservatism gains more power and prominence, it becomes increasingly difficult for it to sustain momentum by merely blaming its favorite boogeyman - the now marginalized "left" - as causing all America's ills. Stripped of this crucial crutch, conservatism's bold advance regresses into a limping gait - a fact of some consequence - but only if we are willing to expose and attack the Right's weaknesses and inconsistencies.

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    America's Alternate Reality

    Igor Volsky

    During the first presidential debate, President Bush said, "there's 100,000 troops trained: police, guard, special units, border patrol. There's going to be 125,000 trained by the end of this year. Yeah, we're getting the job done. It's hard work." But on Nov. 24, the Washington Post reported something quite different. The paper noted that "U.S. authorities have concluded that plans to provide new police officers with a two-month introductory course followed by some on-the-job mentoring will not be enough to ensure their effectiveness. With many police officers intimidated by killings and threats, some U.S. officials have begun questioning the notion of trying to establish a system of local policing at this time."

    Thus, in a sense, we on the left have been vindicated. The president has in fact been living in an election-induced alternative reality - and that's putting it mildly.

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    Liberalism and Its Bounds: Election 2004, an Epic Betrayal

    Joshua Frank and Merlin Chowkwanyun

    The amount of insult and betrayal those on the liberal-to-left spectrum will take seems to have few limits, if any. Below, we survey one election's worth of pre- and post-election betrayal from the Democratic Party. By the end, we hope that rank-and-file Democrats and their Anybody But Bush (ABB) election year sympathizers agree that the time has arrived for all those that abandoned their movements in 2004 to root for John Kerry, to now abandon the Democrats on the national level and join radical reformers and others working outside of the Party's stifling structure. Change will not come within this corrupt political entity.

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    GI News Briefing #4: Army Gearing Up to Punish Soldiers Who Refused Dangerous Mission - Defend the 343rd!

    Left Hook Readers: below is a statement issued by the Campus Antiwar Network in defense of the 24 soldiers of the 343rd quartermaster company who are facing punishment for refusing to go on a dangerous mission earlier in October. Left Hook urges readers to visit www.campusantiwar.net and show your support for these soldiers by signing the petition being circulated in their defense. Read more about what happened with the 343rd and here.

    Defend the 343rd! Sign the petition in support of the 343rd Quartermaster soldiers who refused to follow dangerous orders at: Campusantiwar.net

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    Latest Release: Monday, November 29, 2004

    U.S. Hiring Increases, But Slow Job Growth Continues

    Seth Sandronsky

    Despite the apparent resolution of the presidential race, the U.S. economy still faces many problems. One is slow job growth. This, and not abortion and gay marriage, is the social issue of the day, determining for the majority in blue and red states who does get by and who falls by the wayside.

    In October, the U.S. economy added 337,000 new, nonfarm jobs, the highest total since March. The creation of new jobs, as revised by the Labor Department, was 139,000 in September and 198,000 in August. Policy makers with the Federal Reserve Bank issued cheery comments concerning recent U.S. job growth on November 10.

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    His Own Fault: John Kerry's Failure

    Igor Volsky

    John Kerry has lost his bid for the presidency. To most Democrats who, expecting a Kerry victory, were confirming their celebration-party catering, the loss was a major disappointment. But President Bush had been confident all along. When asked if he had any doubts about winning a second term, Bush would fiercely shake his head from side to side with the conviction of a two-year-old refusing to eat his broccoli.

    Throughout the election, I had been quick to dismiss the president's confidence as arrogance; convinced that his policies had alienated so many Americans that his defeat was inevitable. But this election was not decided by the issues. Instead, the vote turned into a referendum on gay marriage and Kerry's service in Vietnam.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Friday, November 26, 2004

    The Horse's Head Is in the Demo-Liberal Bed: Time to Start Digging In

    Richard Moreno

    With the highly touted historical mandate of a little more than a quarter of the eligible vote, the incumbent President has made no secret of his plans to start spending his newly acquired "political capital." In this context, the neoconservative disciples of Leo Strauss are being strategically placed in key positions within the current administration. Indeed, headlines are filled daily with fresh news of "resignations," from top CIA officials to State Department heads, alongside of their concomitant replacements by failed ultra-conservative ideologues.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Monday, November 22, 2004

    Bush in Ottawa, Criminality in Fallujah

    Samer Elatrash

    The video footage, which a news cameraman shot in Fallujah, Iraq, showed wounded Iraqi prisoners spread on the rubble-strewn floor of a mosque. American marines had captured the mosque a few days before, but the soldiers who were inspecting the prisoners had just entered the mosque. One prisoner lay flat on his stomach, his face turned from the camera. He would have looked like a corpse, but he convulsed as he hopelessly sucked air and dust into his dying body. A marine walked to him. "He's fucking faking he's dead", said the marine, who now stood at the dying man's feet. He aimed his assault rifle and pressed the trigger, sending a bullet into the prisoner's head and splattering the wall of the mosque with blood. Another marine consoled the murderer: "He's dead now."

    When told that the American television station MSNBC had the footage, the American army disclosed that it had launched an investigation into the murder. Iraqis who stayed in Fallujah--males between the ages of sixteen and seventy weren't allowed to leave the city in the days before the American assault--say that the execution was not an isolated act.

    - (Read full)

    France's Fallujah: The Battle of Cote D'Ivoire

    Matt Reichel

    In a marked display of ignorance, the mainstream American press and analysts from both sides of the political spectrum have effectively painted a rosy picture of France this election season: making the country out to be pacifistically opposed to the U.S. war in Iraq. Undoubtedly, the French citizenry is overwhelmingly opposed to what Bush has done in Iraq, and simultaneously supported his defeat this election season. But have no illusions about the French government: from Napolean to Chiraq, this is a land of empire.

    Likewise, where there is empire, there is violence by definition. As the 50th anniversary of the infamous massacre of Algiers passes, the French have embroiled themselves in a re-birth of colonial war in the Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire). This is the same narrative that has been re-told many times through imperial history: a native population being resentful of foreign occupation. Like the U.S. in Falluja, the French government is proving slow to learn that subjects of colonialism never desire their subjugation.

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    GI News Briefing #3: Left Hook Readers, Show Your Support for this Antiwar Marine!

    Compiled by Derek Seidman

    I was going to put together some stories about the resentment brewing amongst soldiers, ex-soldiers, and members of the National Guard over what many are calling "a back door draft"-the implementation of the "a stop-loss" program, where soldiers are ordered to serve beyond their discharge date or are called up out of their civilian lives to go to Iraq. In the past few weeks, thousands of members of the Army Reserve and National Guard have been called up this way.

    But something came up that seems more urgent (though to read more about the "stop-loss" program, read this article and this one. There is an article circulating around the internet written by a mother of a marine whose son is trying to achieve conscientious objector's status because he's against the war and doesn't want to be sent to kill anyone. Because of his effort, he's been the victim of harassment and physical violence from within the military.

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    Face the Music: Time to Oppose Our Troops' Actions

    By Joshua Frank

    At what point will the left have to face the music and admit that in order to fully oppose the Iraq war, we have to also oppose our troops' actions?

    On Saturday November 6, US forces pounded Fallujah, and razed a civilian hospital. "Witnesses said only a facade remained of a small Emergency Hospital in the centre of the city," reported the BBC News on the day of the bombing. "A nearby medical supplies storeroom and dozens of houses were also damaged as US forces continued preparing the ground for an expected major assault."

    ...Clearly no warning was put forth by the US military prior to the bombing of this hospital. And now that the troops have hit the ground running, more war crimes have been committed, and in fact captured on film.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Thursday, November 18, 2004

    American Occupation: Think Rampaging Elephants

    Joe Ramsey

    Most reasonably informed people by now will concede that the US invasion of Iraq was something between a mistake and a crime, and that the case for war in Iraq was made based upon mis-information, if not outright lies. There were no WMDs or active WMD programs in Iraq. There were no Saddam-Al Queda terror links. The Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and the recent reports of US soldiers executing unarmed Iraqis in Falluja cast doubt on whether American forces are (capable of) respecting Iraqis human rights. The war in Iraq has made the US more hated and less secure, and is sucking up US tax dollars that could be much better spent elsewhere. All, or most, of this, for most people in my neck of the woods (Tufts University), is more or less uncontroversial.

    Thus the most common defense of the occupation I get today is a metaphorical one:-Iraq is a pot in a store, they say-"'We' broke it, so now we've bought it." "Iraq is now ours to fix." I hear it again and again. "We can't just leave it broken."

    In this article, I would like to offer a radical revision of this ubiquitous clich�.

    - (Read full)

    Democrats Commit Suicide: Harry Reid, Wrong Choice for Senate Minority Leader

    Joshua Frank

    The Democrats, obviously still mourning John Kerry's embarrassing loss to George W. Bush just two weeks prior, have drawn up a new game-plan in hopes that it will help them challenge their purported rivals in elections to come.

    Well, it isn't really a new plan, just a fresh spin on an old failing strategy. The Democrats again believe, even after Kerry's stubborn loss, the only way to beat the neocons is to outflank them to the right. Take on their "values" and surpass their fanaticism.

    The saga began to unfold following Democratic Senate minority leader Tom Daschle's horrific defeat to Republican John Thume in the South Dakotan Senate race on November 2. After Daschle's loss Democratic National Committee chair, Terry McAuliffe, was on the phone rallying support behind one of his favorite Senators, Nevada's own, Harry Reid.

    Reid, an admitted friend of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, was being tapped for the position well before Daschle's loss, and quickly gained enough support to assure his appointment and upcoming confirmation. A conservative Mormon, Reid, who was born and raised in Nevada, could just as well have ran as a Republican when he chose to do so in 1982.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Friday, November 12, 2004

    The Irony of Arafat

    Sylvia Shihadeh and Robert Jensen

    Yasser Arafat died as the leader of a country that does not yet exist, and therein lies the tragic nature of the former leader and the ongoing tragedy of the people of Palestine.

    Arafat's passion and commitment helped forge a Palestinian independence movement, putting the dispossession of his people on the political map in a way the world couldn't ignore. Pundits are talking of him as merely a "symbol," a strategy not only to ignore his real contributions but also to denigrate the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for justice.

    Arafat had long carried those aspirations, for which he will be remembered. But at a crucial turn, he betrayed both principle and pragmatic politics by accepting the 1993 Oslo agreements, which left him not an independent leader of an emerging state but a subordinate to Israel in charge of policing his own people but with few other powers. The irony of the tragedy is that this fatal mistake is the one thing for which he is lauded in the halls of power in the United States.

    - (Read full)

    Forget the Democrats, Build The Mass Movements!

    Roy Rollin

    In the aftermath of the elections, much of the mainstream left remains in a state of despair or disbelief over Bush's victory. Many are hoping against hope that some scandal of epic proportions will emerge out of Ohio. Others contemplate packing their bags and moving to Canada. Not a few of the liberal literati have taken to writing off most of America's population as a bunch of religious rednecks who got the government they deserved by not heeding their enlightened advice on who to vote for. However, the real tragedy was not the defeat of pro-war and pro-globalization John Kerry, but the demobilization and demoralization of the anti-war and global justice movements that the liberal left's perspective of Anybody But Bush (ABB) was predicated upon.

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    The Reelection of George W. Bush: A Possible Bright Side?

    Joshua Frank

    We are nearing the end of 2004. And if there has been one lesson that we should have all learned this year it is that the U.S. electoral system sets all challenges to the power-elite up for a horrifying defeat. Hence the reason so many liberal and progressive voters deemed John Kerry our only hope for defeating George W. Bush this November. Faulty logic indeed.

    They said, and still say, that Kerry was at least marginally better than Bush. After all, who in his or her right (or left) mind did not support the Kerry campaign? Bush, we were told, was (and now again is) the worst president in history. An Adolf in the making.

    Or is he? Bush is bad, no doubt. But he has yet to drop an A-bomb on a civilian population. Only Democrat Harry Truman did that. Okay, so maybe Bush is the second worst president.

    No progressive would defend Dubya's doings, though. He lacks any redeeming qualities. But has Bush really been the greater evil during the past four years? Has he done a worse job than Bill Clinton did? Sure, we have eight years by which to judge Clinton, compared to Bush's four, but let's give it a quick whirl.

    - (Read full)

    Dear America, Thank You

    Macdonald Stainsby

    Dear United States: I want to thank you. Don't get me wrong. I don't think you had a real choice. But the fact is, you are going along with this. No, I don't mean that no one is challenging the vote. I was unable to figure out which side I was thinking would be better in helping the movement for a better world. I suppose there is a part of me that is choosing to believe that we have been granted the best option possible, whatever the outcome, we are stuck with it anyhow. For the last couple of weeks, I was trying to determine for myself which of the various options available would be best for those of us on the planet-- you know us, the other six billion, give or take-- engaged in one form or another of resisting your government.

    - (Read full)

    Why Did Bush Win? And What Do We Do Now?

    Pham Binh

    This is the question that 55 million Americans who voted for Democrat John Kerry asked themselves when they awoke November 3rd to find that George W. Bush had - for the first time in his life - won a national election fair and square. Bush won the popular vote with 59 million votes, and the Republicans picked up 3 Senate seats and 5 seats in the House of Representatives. Bans on gay marriage won in all eleven states where they were on the ballot.

    What happened?

    One view is that the country has moved to the right politically, and the majority of working-class Americans in the "red states" or "middle America" are too conservative, apathic, stupid, or some combination of the three to see that Bush has been one of the most terrible presidents in history. Yet this view doesn't square with the facts.

    The first fact is that turnout of eligible voters was only about 55 percent, which means only a minority of the country supported Bush. When broken down by education, Bush voters tended to have more education indicating that Kerry's support tended to be working-class, while Bush's tended to be from the middle and upper classes. The class breakdown of the vote becomes even more stark when looking at income: 36 percent of people making under $15,000 voted for Bush, 55 percent of those making $75,000-$100,000 voted for him, and 63 percent of those making over $200,000 voted for him.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Monday November 08, 2004

    The ABB Logic of Retreat Has Been Discredited: Now We Must Advance

    M. Junaid Alam

    This past election found the American left split into two antagonistic groups: a majority camp which insisted Bush represented so unique and unprecedented a threat that all other considerations be subordinated to the goal of a Democratic victory, and a minority camp which deemed the broader two-party dynamic itself to be the real threat and urged a clean break from the Democrats in favor of more leftist alternatives. History, usually slow and often ambiguous in its judgment, spoke with rare and resounding authority on this question on November 2nd. The convincing defeat handed to the Democrats and their cowed supporters by Bush and his militant base has completely demolished and discredited the majority camp's lesser-evil logic of acquiescing to the Right. To reorient ourselves and move our struggles forward, radicals must first take stock of this fact and soberly assess its meaning and consequences.

    - (Read full)

    Suburban Bravado and the Global Consequences of Regional Failures:
    A Muslim View

    Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

    The young zealot sitting in front of me at this small mosque in Glasgow was trying unsuccessfully to convince his humble and polite friends on positive consequences of the 9-11 tragedy for Muslims. He argued that Muslims and Christians had gotten too comfortable with each other, and due to the subsequent polarization, Muslims have a better understanding of their identity and have grown stronger as a community. My attempts at refuting this version of the absurd, yet ubiquitous notion of a 'clash of civilizations' were quite unsuccessful, since I realized that we were speaking two different languages. While I was employing logic and reason to present my case, it failed to penetrate the defensive wall of my adversary as he was used to only the language of Manichean rhetoric peppered with emotional symbolism. However, the irony of this encounter only manifested itself the next day, while I was up watching C-Span's online coverage of the Election. Roughly half the callers spoke in those very terms, invoking the upholding of 'moral values', defense of 'freedom' and support for 'our troops' as the mandate for reinstating a clearly incompetent incumbent. Orwellian double-think could not have been more vividly exemplified as those very areas best demonstrate W's failures.

    - (Read full)

    GI News Briefing #2: "All we are doing here is treading water"

    Derek Seidman

    The election's over. Now there's not going to be anything to regularly overshadow the reality of the catastrophe in Iraq.

    Two Saturdays ago, eight marines were killed and nine others wounded from the explosion of a car bomb outside of Fallujah (there was also a ninth combat death that doesn't seem to be related to this). It was the deadliest single day for US troops in six months. As of November 1, at least 1,122 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the war.

    The group that claimed responsibility for the bombing, calling themselves the 1920 Brigade, said that its members are "Americanized spies speaking in Arabic tongue." This assertion comes right before a November 1st AP article entitled "U.S. Marines Can't Easily ID Enemy in Iraq." It reports of a situation for soldiers where "people smile by day - and launch deadly projectiles by night."

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    What is Canada Doing in the Arctic North?

    Macdonald Stainsby

    Well, now it appears to be official. On October Seventh, 2004 Imperial Oil (otherwise known as Esso) has submitted an application to build the single largest mega project of industrialization in the history of the settler state of Canada. Along with several Inuit and many other Dene Nations, the Deh Cho (Dene) Nations of the Mackenzie Valley are among those whose land will be traversed by a 1700 kilometere long natural gas pipeline. It has taken many years for oil and gas giants to breakdown the resistance of local indigenous nations to such a project. In the 1970's, The Canadian Government carried out an inquiry-- the Berger Inquiry-- to examine the benefits and costs of the proposed pipeline. The various Nations and the Metis would be decimated by such a proposal, according to the Mackenzie Valley pipeline review written by Thomas R Berger in 1977 at the behest of then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's government.

    - (Read full)

    Post-Election Views: Friday November 5, 2004

    Putting Things in Perspective: 1968 and Now

    Jonah Birch

    I think that an a useful comparison for leftists today to use when talking to people about Bush is the election of Richard Nixon in 1968. The election that year took place in a context of growing social polarization and anger around the Vietnam War. In the spring of 1968, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam had demonstrated the incredible unpopularity and weakness of the U.S. occupation in that country...

    In the end, Nixon defeated Humphrey by less than 1 million votes in one of the closest election in American history. Many on the left were of course devastated, believing that the election had demonstrated a new rightward shift in American popular consciousness.

    They were totally wrong.

    - (Read full)

    A Message to American Liberals Upon Bush's Victory

    Asad Haider

    I was walking around campus as the news of Bush's victory was still sinking in. A preacher is paid to stand in front of a building to spew fundamentalist drivel, and as I walked past he was responding to a question from a student as to whether a less aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East might reduce the threat of terrorism. He said, more or less: "These people have a religion and an ideology which will always lead to violence against us. They're not good people. Islam will always preach hate against the US."

    I couldn't ignore him this time...

    - (Read full)

    Bush is Not Invincible

    Ramin Bajoghli

    Now that the dust has settled and our lame duck President has been re-elected, it is not only vital but essential to reflect over this past election and move forward. A couple of lessons can be learned from this past year that will definitely galvanize the youth and the disenfranchised citizens of the U.S. The most important fact to remember is that John Kerry is not a savior to the problems caused by the Bush administration. At most he brings a sense of relief and hope- that in the midst of the current debacle (both domestically and internationally) caused by Bush and his group of bandits- there stands a candidate that has the possibility of triggering the start of a new era in the U.S. state of political affairs. By no means is Kerry the answer to all our problems.

    The most important lesson to be learned from this election is the success of mobilization by both sides of the political spectrum. Republican or Democrat, Nader or No Nader, and Left of Right, everyone is talking politics. Conversations in and around Boston revolved around the incredible Red Sox comeback against the Yankees (sorry New York!), their ensuing victory of St. Louis, and over the presidential election. It is now cool to talk politics.

    - (Read full)

    Election Tricks - And An Interclass Alliance of Ignorance?

    Y. Kleftis

    The 2004 election was stolen, but how? We need to do the research to establish the fix and undermine the sham victory at the level of ideas. We know that the Republicans have whipped the population into a paranoid frenzy, but that does not explain everything, and certainly not this sack of DU-tainted elephant dung sold as the US election. A brief outline and a few places to start looking:

    After the disaster of 2000, which exposed the ruling class's vulgar arrangement of power, the plan was set to insure a popular, not just electoral, victory, and remove the taint of illegitimacy. As long as the Republicans could remain within the margin of error, manipulation would be hard to detect. A comfortable 2% popular vote margin lowers the chances of a Democratic challenge, but over 4% or so would be too obvious. How to do it? Add votes to states that you own, through various tricks, so that the popular margin comes out large, but prevent an embarrassingly suspicious percentage. Many of these "uncontested" states were not heavily polled. Coupled with the fact that most pollsters overestimate the Republican advantage, the current 3% or so "popular" margin is perfect.

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    Special Pre-Election Release: Monday, November 1, 2004

    Observations on Election Day

    Mark Yu

    Regardless of the final outcome, the latest presidential election has already revealed the sad state of American politics. The idea of government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" remains an unfulfilled promise more than one hundred and forty years after it was articulated by Abraham Lincoln. The small amounts of popular sovereignty won through the struggles and bloodshed of working people are continually threatened by ruling class interests. Democracy is being slowly poisoned by the corrupting power of corporate money and violently pummeled by political gangsters working to deny large numbers of people their most basic democratic right, the right to vote.

    - (Read full)

    Kerry Advisor is a Real Dick: Richard Holbrooke and East Timor

    Merlin Chowkwanyun and Joshua Frank

    Soon the tallies will be rolling in, and those that cast a vote for John Kerry in hopes of altering the US foreign policy paradigm, will have wasted their energy. What the mainstream media and others have failed to disclose this election season is that one of Senator Kerry's key policy advisors, Richard Holbrooke, happened to play a significant role in perhaps the largest US backed genocide of the twentieth-century. As Kerry insiders have said recently, Mr. Holbrooke along with Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, is in the top running for Secretary of State if Kerry wins on Tuesday, and is assured another spot in Kerry's cabinet if not Secretary.

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    Got International Stability? Not with Bush

    Jeff Barger

    Americans are not safe, the United States is not secure, freedom is under attack and civilization itself is in peril! Have no fear, the white knight from Texas is here to continue leading America and the free world to victory against 'evil doers'. World opinion and international agreements are nonsense and merely an obstacle to saving civilization from the terrorist apocalypse. We will lead even if nobody follows because real leaders don't need followers. So we must do the patriotic thing and put are unambiguous trust in George Bush and follow his oily foot prints to victory and security. Right? Wrong! George W. Bush's handling of foreign policy during his term has made America and the world far less secure.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Saturday, October 30, 2004

    Progressive as Pawns: Cannon Fodder for Kerry's War on Nader

    Stephen Conn

    The progressives and peace activists who are helping to stop Ralph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo don't realize it but they are being used by people who represent the corporate interests, especially the military-industrial complex, of the two major parties.

    After months of fund raising, research and development of a detailed attack plan, anti-Nader Democrats hatched a much publicized two pronged attack on the Nader campaign in meetings with party leaders from Washington, New Mexico and elsewhere during the Democratic Convention (David Postman, "Nader foes seek funding from Democratic donors," Seattle Times. July 28, 2004).

    The first prong was a nationwide preemptive attack on voters who might choose Nader. The Democratic Party would field law firms to challenge Nader's access to state ballots with ubiquitous law suits to deplete his resources and limit his candidacy. Nader's grassroots campaign would be sued to death. The second prong was a campaign to insinuate and perpetuate a lie found effective by polling and focus groups, that Ralph Nader was a tool of right wing Republicans.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    Kerry and the Environment: Not Easy Pretending to be Green

    Joshua Frank

    Despite John Kerry's cozy relationship with big green organizations like the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, the Senator should not be mistaken as a friend of the environment.

    For example, Kerry, who voted against the Kyoto Protocol, told Grist Magazine in an interview last year: "[The Kyoto agreement] doesn't ask enough of developing nations, the nations that are going to be producing much greater emissions and which we need to get on the right course now through technology transfer." Perhaps someone should clue Senator Kerry into the awful truth-that although the US accounts for only 4% of the world's population, we still emit over a quarter of the globe's CO2. Shouldn't we, then, be setting an example?

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    Memo To Liberals: Attack the Corporate Parties, Not Fellow Progressives

    Carl Mayer

    Over the last several months a cottage industry has developed of progressives who, in concert with the corporate Democratic Party, spend an inordinate amount of time attacking the Nader for President campaign. They have become professional Stop Nader Liberals.

    The ringleaders of this effort have been Norman Solomon, Jeff Cohen, and to a lesser extent, Micah Sifry.

    These gentlemen might better spend their time defending democracy and the one candidate in the race who has fought his entire career for democracy and for the progressive issues they profess to believe in: ending the war, stopping trade deals and opposing the Patriot Act. Ralph Nader is on the right side of all these issues; Kerry and Bush are not.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Friday, October 22, 2004

    Left Hook GI News Briefing #1: "All we are doing around here is getting blown up"

    Derek Seidman

    What really contributed to ending the war in Vietnam (besides the resistance of the Vietnamese, which was probably the biggest factor), was the widespread antiwar activity and sentiment amongst GIs. Left Hook would like to start posting more material relating to the situation of the troops in Iraq and vets coming home. Besides publishing articles around this, we'll try to regularly gather various stories, information, and links circulating around the internet and pull them together into a "column", however messy. It's becoming increasingly important to get the word out and emphasize this stuff. Here is our first report.

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    Open Letter to America's Unions on the Elections

    Michael Yates

    Dear Brother and Sisters,

    As it does every four years, organized labor is pumping tens of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours into electing the Democratic Party candidate for President of the United States. Four years ago it was Al Gore; this year it is John Kerry...

    And yet, much as I understand the desire to unseat Bush, something bothers me about labor�s support of Kerry. It seems to me that when so much money and time are given to a candidate, something ought to be demanded of that candidate in return and it ought to be clear in listening to the candidate speak that he or she understands that debts are owed and will be paid. Perhaps I have missed something, but I have not seen this.

    - (Read full)

    The Jackson 17: Reflections on a Mutiny

    Jack Random

    When a platoon of soldiers out of Jackson, Mississippi, the 343rd Quartermaster Company, refused to carry out an order to transport contaminated fuel along a dangerous corridor north of Baghdad, it was not an act of courage or conscientious objection. It was an act military prudence in keeping with every soldier's first obligation to his fellows and himself: survival.

    As much as we would like to embrace their cause, we can only offer our sympathy and support. This act of defiance does nothing to indict the war; it indicts the incompetence of those charged with carrying it out. It does instruct us to ask: Why are we in Iraq? It instructs us to ask: Where has all the money gone if not to protect the troops? We have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $130 billion and committed $70 billion more, yet our soldiers remain ill-equipped and we are further from victory now than we were on the day of Shock and Awe.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Sunday, October 17, 2004

    The Million Worker March

    Pankaj Mehta

    If the labor movement and the radical left more generally is able to revitalize itself in the next forty years, October 17, 2004 may be a date that perceptive historians point to as marking a turning point in American politics. This date will not be significant because the march on Washingoton will be particularly large. I do not expect more than a hundred thousand workers to be in Washington. Nor will it be significant because the march will result in immediate, significant changes. I do not expect free higher education and universal health care to suddenly become a reality. Nor do I expect that the troops will suddenly be brought home. Instead, the significance of the date will lie in the message and its medium.

    - (Read full)

    Leaving So Soon? A Response to Josh Frank

    Peter LaVenia

    I usually have no desire to polemicize against Joshua Frank, because his analysis is usually excellent. Yet I find that his leaving the Green Party saddens me as much as the joining of opportunists like Normon Solomon disgusts me. His is an overreaction to events, one that can be explained, and hopefully corrected.

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    Amnesty International: A False Beacon

    Paul de Rooij

    Given the current escalation of Israeli depredations in Gaza and the daily US bombings of Falluja, it is interesting to examine Amnesty International’s (AI) statements on the situation. AI is widely viewed as an authority on human rights issues, and thus it is of interest to analyze its output on these recent events. Careful scrutiny of AI’s record reveals that, its typical response to the daily obscene deeds by either Israeli or US armies is a few barely audible ruminations with an occasional lame rebuke. The impotence of these responses raises many questions.

    - (Read full)

    Shooting From the Hip: Kerry Out-Hawks Bush

    Joshua Frank

    It may seem inconceivable to some, but John Kerry is indeed out-hawking George W. Bush this election season. No doubt we should have seen it coming as the Democratic National Convention was nothing more than a glorified war parade, where Kerry floated on by and reprehensibly announced that he was �reporting for duty.�

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    John Kerry and the Democrats' Project for a New American Century

    Roy Rollin

    Many of those on the liberal "left" who have jumped on board the "Anybody But Bush" bandwagon cite the current administration's non-stop saber-rattling and war-mongering as a justification for their doing so - as if such behavior was the private preserve of the Republican right. In particular, they point to the "neo-cons", who serve as Bush's brain trust, and whose "Project for the New American Century" (PNAC) for "maintaining global US pre-eminence and shaping the international security order in line with American principals and interests" has served as Bush's blue-print for further imperial expansion. But when it comes to defending and extending the empire, the Democrats are no slouches either. Nor have they ever been - something their own spokesmen don't hesitate to reiterate whenever they get the chance.

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Saturday, October 09, 2004

    In Defense of Ralph Nader

    Toby Shepherd

    In 1848 Zachary Taylor, running on the ticket of the Whig party, had an interesting campaign strategy: avoidance. Instead of adopting a stance on the hot topic of the day - whether or not slavery ought to be permitted in the recently acquired territories - he focused his campaign on his military heroism and the 40 impressive years of killing Indians and Mexicans he had under his belt. Sure, "Old Rough and Ready" owned 200 slaves of his own, but he had something his opponents lacked: charisma.

    Taylor ran against two opponents; the first was Democratic candidate Lewis Cass. Cass had adopted an ambiguous position on slavery, toting a lukewarm proposal of allowing each state to decide for itself whether or not to institutionalize the practice. The third opponent was aging politician Martin Van Buren who ran on the ticket of the anti-slavery, "free soil" party. Angry northerners, disappointed with Cass's hand-wringing and Taylor's calculated silence, voted for Van Buren, giving him a respectable if not overwhelming 10%. In the end, Taylor narrowly won the election over Cass, which in turn sent the Democrats reeling. How could Van Buren be so belligerent, no, so egotistical as to run for President? Didn't he know he'd siphon potential votes away from Cass, who was quite obviously the lesser of two evils? What the hell was Van Buren's problem?

    - (Read full)

    Captain David Cobb abets the Collapse of the Left

    Joshua Frank

    I officially changed my voter registration and left the Green Party this past week. Or, more aptly put, the Green Party left me. Actually, they abandoned many of us last summer when they decided not to run a candidate for president.

    Oh, I know what you are thinking: "They are running a candidate. His name's David Cobb. Give the guy some respect!" My rejoinder: If David Cobb is a presidential candidate, then why have an oppositional party that is supposed to challenge the Democrats and Republicans at all? What good is it? For me, it is not that the legitimacy of Cobb's nomination is suspect -- although it is; Rather, what I find bothersome is the way that Cobb has chosen to run his insipid campaign and the cultish drones within the Green Party who refuse to acknowledge that Cobb's bid is actually hurting the Party -- and the Left -- while aiding George W. Bush's re-election in the process. Ignorance must be bliss.

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    Beyond American Bravado: Iraqi Suffering Matters

    Mirza A. Beg

    If destruction was the objective, the United States could have destroyed Iraq in one fell swoop. Destroying Iraq was not the stated objective. Destroying it slowly with a promise to rebuild is proving to be excruciatingly expensive, in American reputation, lives and material. Winning means achieving the objectives of the war.

    The aim of removing Saddam from power was achieved, but the reasons for the war -- WMD, imminent threat of nuclear weapons, and collusion between Al Qaida and Saddam -- were false and contrived, as proven by the 9/11 commission and congressional and independent inquiries as well as the CIA. Though Wolfowitz conceded in 2003 that creating democracy would not have been a sufficient reason to invade Iraq, Bush nevertheless, has settled on the war objective of bringing democracy to Iraq and being the "best friend" of Iraqis.

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    The Only Thing We Have to Fear...: A Century of Waiting for the Fascists to Arrive

    Mickey Z.

    Election 2004 will be decided by fear.

    President (sic) George W. Bush and company have scared half the voters to death with stories about terrorists...so they�ll vote for him.

    Senator John F. Kerry (JFK2) and his surrogates on the soft left have scared the other half to death with stories about creeping fascism...so they�ll vote for him.

    Of course, anyone with an iota of objectivity left realizes the terror threat is laughably exaggerated...and there�s infinitely more danger in operating a motor vehicle than all the �evildoers� in the world combined.

    But what should we make of the claims of the Democrats (and the disturbing number of lefties who support them)? What about all the yarns spun about liberties lost...solely due, we hear, to one inarticulate puppet from Texas?

    - (Read full)

    Latest Release: Wednesday, October 06, 2004

    It's Not a Debate When They Agree

    Mark Yu

    The presidential debate last Thursday night did not offer any new perspectives on the November election. Kerry criticized Bush for mishandling the invasion and occupation of Iraq while Bush continued the effort to portray Kerry as a flip-flopper. They repeated words and phrases that had been carefully selected by their professional public-relations teams and designed for maximum impact on the voting population. The whole setup seemed more like a fusion of two expensive campaign commercials than a dialogue fit for a truly democratic society.

    - (Read full)

    Elections, Debates, and "Diverting Forces"

    Richard Moreno

    During Thursday night's presidential debate, Senator Kerry referred to Bush's failed Iraqi invasion and occupation as diverting forces, a diversion ostensibly from the so-called war on terror. Once again, however, the Massachusetts senator has verbally achieved the inconceivable. With all the flair and contortions of a professional carnie acrobat, he has managed to flip the truth and turn it inside out. For it is precisely the whole presidential election with its phony debates that is the great diversion.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Friday, October 01, 2004

    Disrupting America's Fateful Non-Debate on the Roots of Terror

    M. Junaid Alam

    On September 11th, nineteen hijackers commandeered four airliners and guided three of them into important symbols of American power with lethal precision. An unsuspecting citizenry, quite unaware of events outside the national purview, suddenly found 3,000 of its countrymen killed at the hands of a few fanatics from a far off part of the world. One would expect that, in a democratic country which prides itself on freedom of speech and press, wide-ranging diversity of opinions, and quality of intellectual debate and scholarship, one of the responses to the horrific attacks would be a rigorous and reflective discussion of why they happened. Three years on, what we have instead is the ceaseless, unchallenged mass production - and consumption - of a core set of noxious lies about September 11th that form the foundation of a perpetual, bloody, boundless, and winless war.

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    Nuclear Realities and Iran

    Troy Pickard

    Despite the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran hasn't agreed to dismantle its nuclear program. And, why should it? Even in a worst-case scenario in which it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, it is preposterous to suggest that Iran lacks the same right to "the bomb" now held by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel.

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    When You Have Breast Cancer in Gaza

    Gideon Levy

    One out of every nine women gets breast cancer. There are doctors who say that statistic has worsened lately and now stands at one out of every eight. The disease is particularly violent in younger women and the primary growth in the breast spreads rapidly to the liver, the lungs, the bones and the brain. Is there anything worse than being a young woman with cancer whose chances are slim? It turns out that there is - being a young Palestinian woman with cancer whose chances are slim.

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    Last Release: Tuesday, September 28, 2004

    Whether it's AVP or ABB, Whoever Wins, We Lose

    Roy Rollin

    A formerly much maligned fellow by the name of Karl Marx once wrote that under capitalist "democracy" the people were given the opportunity by the ruling class of deciding which member of that same class was to rule over them every four years. However apt that observation may have been, the promoters of the sci-fi flick "Alien vs. Predator" were more on the money with their "whoever wins, we lose" ad. For in spite of the "Anybody But Bush" (ABB) liberal-left's dire warnings that this is the most important election since Hitler ran against von Hindenburg in Germany in 1932 (or since Bush ran against Gore in 2000), this year's campaign is no exception to those rules.

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    Telling the Truth About the Election: A Different Viewpoint

    Asad Haider

    The left needs to come to its senses about the 2004 election. Some thoughtful analysis has appeared on ZNet and elsewhere, but it seems that too much commentary is coming to reflect the regrettable polarization into a "more-radical-than-thou" camp and a "more-sensible-than-thou" camp, one of the most unfortunate setbacks for the left since the fall of Barcelona. It's a real shame, because there is a great need for serious strategic analysis today, and the often dogmatic and sectarian quibbling over Kerry is a real obstacle to creating the kind of unified left that is so necessary in the United States. Last year, we were able to unite into the strongest anti-war movement in human history; what the hell happened?

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    Lesser Evilism and Mandates

    Richard Moreno

    In the run-up to the November presidential election, some of America's most renowned social critics--from Noam Chomsky to Howard Zinn--have lent their leftist credentials in the service of the Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry. To be sure, some of these former radicals have qualified their moral capitulation with the nuance of supporting Kerry only in swing states. Yet, in essence, their fundamental goal, i.e., getting Kerry elected, is identical to that of the typical pro-Kerry Democrat. According to this quasi-leftist thinking, Anybody but Bush, however similar, deserves the people's mandate.

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    Last Release: Friday, September 24, 2004

    From Clinton to Bush: Bi-Partisan Arrogance and Imperial Forays

    Joshua Frank

    Despite what John Kerry may say along the campaign trail, the Democratic Party is largely to blame for laying the groundwork the Republican hawks needed to justify attacking Iraq and waging Bush's greater "war on terror."

    As Democratic Leadership Council kingpins and proponents of Bush's war Al From and Bruce Reed wrote in the July issue of Blueprint magazine, "In the 1990s, Bill Clinton showed Americans once and for all that Democrats could make the economy grow again, make government work again, and make America safe again. As a tough-minded internationalist and decorated war hero, Kerry has a chance to make his own mark, and complete the transformation of the Democratic Party as the one Americans can trust to make the nation stronger both at home and abroad."

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    The Naomi Klein Doctrine: Stick to the Surface, Avoid the Foundations

    Macdonald Stainsby

    Naomi Klein has played no small part in making it so these union struggles, against the behemoth of the fast food franchise mega corporation, have more than simply a fighting chance. Workers and their allies owe a debt to such service provided. However, since her notoriety has escalated, Klein has felt it necessary to delve into all manner of political writing, and her scribblings on international relations and the "War on Terror"-- well, they aren't No Logo, that's for sure.

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    How to Avoid Becoming an Anti-American

    M. Junaid Alam

    A specter is haunting America - the specter of anti-Americanism. All the powers of patriotic America have entered into a corporate alliance to exorcise this specter: draft-deferrers and women-gropers, grammar-challenged and duel-challengers, oil diggers and grave diggers. It is the duty of all upstanding American citizens to fully understand and identify the leading symptoms of anti-Americanism, so that our homes, homeless shelters, reading chambers, torture chambers, chocolate refineries, weapons factories, and places of worship, such as churches, temples, and Wall Street, are completely free from the poison of anti-war sentiment. The patriotic American must save both himself and others from becoming an anti-American American by learning to be an active, honorable, anti-anti-American American. It is with this pressing obligation in mind that the following signs of anti-Americanism have been compiled and exposed.

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    �If You Harbor Terrorists, You Are a Terrorist�

    William Marina

    While delegates to the GOP convention were congratulating themselves for their candidate�s tough stand against terrorism, the Bush administration was creating an international incident�little publicized in the United States�by harboring a notorious group of international terrorists on U.S. soil.

    Earlier this month, three anti-Castro Cuban exiles flew to Miami from Panama after serving four years in prison for �endangering public safety.� They were arrested in 2000 for plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro by planting explosives at a meeting the Cuban dictator planned to hold with university students in Panama.

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    Last Release: Monday, September 20, 2004

    The Comrades Kerry Abandoned: The Real Story of Vietnam Veterans Against the War

    Joe Allen

    Vietnam Veterans are "quite different from veterans of earlier wars," observed Ralph Nader in 1973--then at the height of his fame as a consumer advocate. No prior war, Nader pointed out, had "witnessed such a moral dissent by soldiers and new veterans." What was it about the Vietnam War that produced this high level of opposition within the military? And what role did this resistance and organizations like VVAW play in ending the war in Vietnam?

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    Last Release: Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    Too Many Cameras and Not Enough Truth: John Kerry Dodges the Press

    Joshua Frank

    Democratic Presidential nominee John F. Kerry seems to be evading any confrontation with the media. According to journalists who have been tracking Kerry along the campaign trail, the senator has not held a formal press conference since August 9, some two weeks before the last time President Bush met with the press.

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    Labor Gets no Love from Bush

    Michelle Chen

    This past week, America's workers went back to work after a weekend of celebrating their contribution to society. Upon returning to their cubicles, counters, stalls and stations, these millions might have felt a bit strange, like things have changed. No wonder. Thanks to subtle tweaks in national labor laws-part of Bush's plan for economic growth-Americans now indeed find their jobs growing: that is, working more hours and getting nothing in return.

    For the rest of the workforce who don't have jobs, it just got a little tougher to find one, and the weeks of scanning job boards and biting nails just got a little more frustrating.

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    Last Release: Friday, September 10, 2004

    One Thousand Soldiers Dead - And the Left Lies Paralyzed

    Pham Binh

    Larry Syverson, whose son Bryce is a tank gunner in the 1st Armored Division stationed in Baghdad, told me: "I asked my son what do they talk about over there, you know, on their down time when they're not patrolling or doing raids. My son said, 'we try to guess the number of dead soldiers that's going to make the American people wake up and turn against the war.'" Larry and his son thought that 1,000 military deaths in Iraq might do it.

    That tragic milestone has come faster than anyone expected. As of this writing, 1,003 American military personnel have died in Iraq, and over 7,000 have been wounded. No one knows how many Iraqis have died, but estimates range up to 30,000.

    Make no mistake, the outrage against the war is there - among active-duty service people, military families, and working-class communities all over the country. It was in the theatres, where tens of millions lined up to see "Fahrenheit 9/11," and in the streets of New York when half a million marched against Bush's billionaire bash disguised as a respectable political convention.

    Despite all this, it is hard to tell that there is an ongoing anti-war movement here.

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    Last Release: Sunday, September 5, 2004

    Taking on Dangerous Lies:A Response to Zell Miller's Speech

    M. Junaid Alam

    On September 1st Democratic Senator Zell Miller delivered a speech to the Republican National Convention gushing with praise for the president and venom for his own party's nominee. He exalted the Republican Party as the only force that can best protect and preserve the future of his "most precious possession" - his family - because of its aggressive stance in the international "war on terror," and derided the Democrats for making the country "weaker" with their "manic obsession" to unseat Bush. What strikes the conscious American as most disgraceful about the senator is not his betrayal of the party to which he belongs, but his allegiance to the most dishonest set of positions to which justice and reason have never belonged. The promulgation of poisonous myths about the war abroad, like the eagerness of a nervous public to eat up those myths, is the greatest danger confronting America today.

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    Debunking the Republican-Nader Connection

    Forrest Hill

    Democrats are infuriated by recent reports of a vast conspiracy by Republicans to help Ralph Nader. After trying every tactic in the book to keep Nader off state ballots, including harassing signature gathers, hiring corporate law firms to scrutinize ballot access efforts and find legal technicalities, and sending threatening letters to volunteer petitioners, the Democratic Party is now accusing Republicans of covertly working to bolster the Nader campaign.

    Such accusations have lead to cries of foul by Kerry supporters and are causing "Anyone But Bush" voters to go ballistic. Yet are the Republicans really engaged in a full out effort to help Nader or is there some other hidden agenda behind this so-called Republican plot?

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    Last Release: Thursday, September 2, 2004

    The War on Terror is a Fraud:Unraveling the Logic of a Lie

    M. Junaid Alam

    Recently the president of the United States was asked if the "war on terror" could be won. His response was markedly free from the aggressive and self-righteous rhetoric that usually defines the outlook of his administration: "I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world." What happened to the swaggering Texan? Had he suddenly slumped out of a depressing meeting with advisers informing him that Iraq was slipping deviously out of American hands and into the arms of Iraqi nationalists? Was he caught in a rare moment of honest reflection about the true nature of a war he has so zealously advocated? An unlikely prospect, no doubt. But just in case Bush did have an epiphany, the ever-reliable warmongers of the Democratic Party galloped onto the scene to remind America that now was the time for killing, not questioning.

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    Trial By Fire: The SHAC 7 and the Future of Democracy

    Steven Best and Richard Kahn

    Since 1999, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) activists in the UK and US have waged an aggressive direct action campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), an insidious animal testing company notorious for extreme animal abuse (torturing and killing 500 animals a day) and manipulated research data. SHAC roared onto the historical stage by combining a shrewd knowledge of the law, no nonsense direct action tactics, and a singular focus on one corporation that represents the evils of the entire vivisection industry. From email and phone blockades to raucous home demonstrations, SHACtivists have attacked HLS and pressured over 100 companies to abandon financial ties to the vivisection firm. By 2001, the SHAC movement drove down HLS stock values from $15/share to less than $1/share. Smelling profit emanating from animal bloodshed, investment banking firm Stephens Inc. stepped in to save HLS from bankruptcy. But, as happened to so many companies before them, eventually Stephens too could not withstand the intense political heat and so fled the SHAC kitchen. Today, as HLS struggles for solvency, SHAC predicts its immanent demise.

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    Last Release: Monday, August 30, 2004

    Significance of Chavez's Victory for Latin America

    Yves Engler

    People who support democracy and equality should take hope from the victory of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Sunday�s referendum.

    Why did millions of ordinary Venezuelans vote to support their president despite his vilification by the wealthy elite, the mainstream media and the USA? I would argue the primary reason is because Chavez has acted to expand democracy and reduce the drastic inequality that plagues most citizens of that and every other Latin American country.

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    Last Release: Thursday, August 26, 2004

    "They're as bad as Walmart": Starbucks Workers get Organized!

    Derek Seidman

    Two days after workers at the 36th and Madison Starbucks in New York City turned in their union cards to the NLRB for a certification election, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, sent them a little voice message. In this dispatch from the corporate tower, Schultz-who personally brought in 17 million dollars last year-tried to appeal to the $7.75-per-hour upstarts in words that would impress George Orwell.

    The multi-millionaire CEO began his message by referring to his poverty-wage employees as "partners", and stressed how Starbucks and its workers "have built great trust in one another." He went on to explain that he viewed "treating everyone with dignity and respect as our highest priority", and stressed the "caring and supportive culture" of the company. He ended with this note of pure authenticity: "I want to conclude by simply thanking you for everything you do each day, and for being the real heart and soul of Starbucks."

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    Last Release: Monday, August 23, 2004

    The Green Party and Independent Politics

    Adam Levenstein

    The 1990s have seen many attempts by progressives to break the stranglehold the Democrats and Republicans have over electoral politics. The New Party, the Labor Party, the Green Party, and a myriad of local parties all have been pushes to drive an independent wedge in the duopoly of the super-rich. The most successful of these, of course, has been the Green Party.

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    Six Grim Consequences of the Anybody But Bush Plague

    M. Junaid Alam

    The Anybody But Bush plague has infected the American left with ruthless speed and efficiency. Descrying how, why, and under what circumstances this or that particular leftist figure has fallen victim to it is a rather cumbersome and tedious task best left to the coroners of history. It seems far more prudent now to identify, in concrete terms, the most salient consequences the ABB epidemic will produce on our attempts to reshape society along more just and rational lines. Below, I outline six of them.

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    Ralph Nader as David Duke? The ADL Wants you to Think so

    Josh Frank

    On Thursday August 20th, the Washington Post reported that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has branded Ralph Nader a "bigot", which is a furtive way of saying they think the independent candidate for president is a vile anti-Semite. Nader has come under attack from the ADL and their executive director Abe Foxman for suggesting that the US should proceed in a new direction regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

    "The days when the chief Israeli puppeteer comes to the United States and meets with the puppet in the White House and then proceeds to Capitol Hill, where he meets with hundreds of other puppets, should be replaced. The Washington Puppet Show should be replaced." Nader said in Washington DC forum titled "The Muslim Vote -- Election 2004".

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    Last Release: Monday, August 16, 2004

    The Left's Rotten Rallying Cry of Retreat: Cowardice is Not a Strategy

    M. Junaid Alam

    Bracing against a German assault that swiftly and brutally tore through western Russia in the summer of 1941, Josef Stalin remarked, "In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance." Today many radicals have joined the liberals and chattering classes in imagining themselves as partaking in an equally epic struggle with similar tactics; the Bush regime is Hitlerism reborn, an evil menace that can only be swept away by first retreating from many of the values and causes which they once rallied around in defense of the oppressed and downtrodden.

    But whereas the Red Army only ceded ground to reorganize and make a stronger stand around defensible positions, the battle cry of 'Anybody But Bush' sends its adherents scurrying towards a candidate and party which have - in no uncertain terms - fully endorsed and vowed to continue perpetrating the two most morally indefensible and politically disastrous tragedies of our time: the occupation of Iraq and Palestine. This hardly concerns our ABB intelligentsia: so entranced by their fanatical fear, zealous hatred, and personal demonization of George Bush, they have decided that removing him from power justifies abandoning any actual political position.

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    Electoral Pains and Movement Gains: Why the 2004 Election Pretty Much Sucks

    Joshua Frank

    The stench is dizzying. It�s almost too much to bear. Progressive voters are having a more than difficult time justifying their support for the rot we call the Democratic Party -- as the John-John ticket has few redeeming qualities, if any.

    Then again this George W. Bush boob is pretty fricken scary, isn't he? He lied, and drove our country into an unnecessary war. He hates minorities and despises gays. He cares little for the environment (unless it can turn him and his pals an oily buck of course). He believes the government has the right to spy on its citizens. He thinks the poor and working class deserve their wretched poverty. And the list goes on.

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    Where the Killing Starts: Reporting for Duty

    Media Lens

    The statistics of death in Baghdad are now �beyond shame,� Robert Fisk writes in the Independent. In the first three weeks of July there were 506 violent deaths in Baghdad alone: �Even the Iraqi officials here shake their heads in disbelief.� (Fisk, �Baghdad is a city that reeks with the stench of the dead,� The Independent, July 28, 2004)

    Before last year�s invasion, Baghdad�s morgue investigated an average of 20 deaths a month caused by firearms. In June 2003, that number rose to 389 and in August it reached 518. (Jeffrey Fleishman, �Baghdad's Packed Morgue Marks a City's Descent Into Lawlessness,� Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2003)

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    Last Release: Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    The Liberals Reveal Their True Nature: Florida Comes to California

    Todd Chretien

    Having spent the last month helping organize the petition drive to get Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo on the ballot in California, I'd like to make two observations and some comments.

    1. There are an appalling number of "liberals" or "progressives" who are willing to scream and spit in your face (literally) when you ask them if they'd like to sign a petition so that people who want to vote for a candidate who opposes the occupation of Iraq and the Patriot Act will have that right.

    Here's a typical conversation:

    Petitioner: "Excuse me, are you a registered voter in California?

    We're trying to get Ralph Nader on the ballot."

    Liberal Yuppie: "No, no, no!!! You cost Gore the election! Fuck you, bitch!"

    Petitioner: "We're not asking you to vote for him, just help us get on the ballot, so that people who would like to vote for him will have that right."

    Liberal Yuppie: "I don't care about your rights. You're going to hell!"

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    The Situation in Haiti and Canada's Role

    Yves Engler

    Four and a half months ago the Liberal government sent troops to a foreign country without the legally elected host government's permission. Since February 29, Haiti has been occupied by foreign troops and a pro-U.S. government has been installed. The Canadian media, and the rest of us, have been nearly silent.

    At the end of February, Haiti was front-page news. The Globe and Mail's Paul Knox was there and CanWest's 11 daily papers ran stories from the Montreal Gazette's once-progressive Sue Montgomery. Both reported on President Jean-Bernard Aristide's authoritarianism, drug connections and "thuggish" supporters, known as the chim�res. Neither gave much credence to other side of the story and now that Aristide is in exile in South Africa, the Canadian media have lost all interest.

    So, what's going on?

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    Scientists as Modern Colonialists: The Ancient One and Jack Metcalf

    Macdonald Stainsby

    A recent ruling on the "Kennewick man" bones has deep implications as yet another in a long line of scientific attacks on indigenous sovereignty. The recent court decision that the local Indians do not control the bones despite the non-ambiguous nature of laws passed on agreements between the nation and the American state is one more salt-grinding demonstration that sovereignty of First Nations is not something that a North American government is bound to respect. Not only is the ruling a legal blast to the existing treaties and legislation, it is proof that the "above politics" nature of "honest scientific inquiry" is a total hoax. Before we know it, this will allow a tidal wave of racist reaction from first-to-fifth generation settlers about First Nations not really being "first".

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    Last Release: Thurdsay, August 05, 2004

    Logging is not Restoration: Forest Battles Escalate in Oregon

    Joshua Frank

    Ancient public forests out West are under attack as usual this year. Thankfully, courageous activists in Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest are attempting to fend off the worst of the pillage.

    On July 16 the US Forest Service placed 1900 acres of public land on the auction block. And by the end of the day the bids were in; 1160 of the 1900 acres were mapped out for demolition. The venture, titled the "Biscuit Fire Recovery Project", is the largest forest service sale in modern US history. When all is said and done 30 square miles of federal land could be handed over to chainsaw happy timber barons.

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    Last Release: Thursday, July 29, 2004

    Black Power(less): The Decline of Black Politics in America

    Norman Kelley

    Politics, like capitalism, abhors a vacuum, which is what George W. Bush created for John Kerry weeks before the Democratic National Convention. President Bush declined an invitation to speak before the 95th NAACP convention in Philadelphia, allowing Kerry to waltz in and tell the African-American audience what it wanted to hear. (Bush chose a friendlier convocation hosted by the Urban League.)

    In what CNN called a �politically significant speech,� Kerry said he�d be a �uniter� and would not divide the nation �by race or riches or by any other label.� The Kerry campaign also promised to send in teams of lawyers and observers to watch for Election Day problems like the funny business that kept thousands of black votes from being counted in Florida four years ago.

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    Last Release: Sunday, July 25, 2004

    Sleeping with the Enemy? Let's Be Fair

    Joshua Frank

    Democrats and liberal defenders of John Kerry are throwing tantrums over Ralph Nader's new found affinity for conservatives who are aiding his ballot efforts in swing states. According to a Detroit News report, Greg McNeilly the Executive Director of the Michigan Republican Party said, "We are absolutely interested in having Ralph Nader on the ballot." Indeed these Republicans hope Nader will siphon votes away from Kerry, and tally the state's 17 electoral points on George Bush's score card come election day.

    Right-wing organizations are also putting their efforts behind Nader out West. Citizens for a Sound Economy, an anti-tax, anti-government group run by Republican powerhouse Dick Armey, wants Nader on the Oregon ballot. A rigid Christian anti-gay group, known as Oregon Family Council, also believes voters should have a chance to pull the lever for Ralph in the fall. As you can imagine, Democrats aren't the least bit pleased with these recent developments. And they are the first to happily point out Nader's new bedfellows.

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    Last Release: Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    Ten Ways to Become a Better Democrat

    M. Junaid Alam

    Fellow radicals: recent events have made it clear that the primary task facing good people everywhere is unconditional support for the Democratic Party, the only party capable not only of removing a very, very bad man from office, but also increasing the pay envelope of starving and desperate Nation, Salon, MoveOn, and Sierra Club coffee-coolata-warriors across America. I submit my humble contribution to this effort by offering a list of ten virtues to cultivate in your personal journey towards becoming a better Democrat.

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    Cuts in Government Housing Subsidies

    Adam Ritscher

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau almost 40 million Americans live below the poverty line. And as hundreds of thousands of workers get laid off from closing plants, downsizing and outsourcing, that number is likely to climb.

    But despite the massive levels of poverty that pervade this country, the powers that be have decided that now is the time to cut federal housing subsidies that millions of low income people depend upon to pay their rent each month.

    This past April, the federal government, announced that it would be retroactively changing the way it funds housing vouchers. As a result of this major change, many local housing authorities are finding themselves dangerously short of funds. Nationally, the shortfall is estimated at $1.6 billion, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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    Last Release: Sunday, July 12, 2004

    Can the Iraqis Fight for Sovereignty?

    M. Junaid Alam

    The much-touted official handover of Iraq by American occupation authorities to Iraqi officials handpicked by American occupation authorities has come to pass. A new phase in the liberation process, in which the task of securing and stabilizing Iraq must now be largely carried out by Iraqis themselves, has been declared. Now is the time to "let freedom reign" as President Bush enthusiastically scribbled down on a note to the new Iraqi Prime Minister. Of course, it has been stressed that the handover ceremony itself was to be mostly symbolic, a sign of things to come more than any concrete achievement in and of itself. It symbolized quite a bit, though nothing positive for the "coalition".

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    God Must Be Watching

    By Derek Seidman

    How fortuitous! Just when you thought Fahrenheit 9/11 was dishing out anti-Bush conversions by the thousands (amidst the din of Yankee-fan boos directed at Dick Cheney), Bush's team has come to the rescue with a vengeance.

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    Beware the Liberal War on Terror

    Dave Stratman

    Many people who oppose the war in Iraq are living under a dangerous illusion: that the war is the work of a cabal of fundamentalist Christians and Jewish neo-conservatives who have hijacked the government for their own purposes --  that the war, in other words, represents not the policies of the core American Establishment but the zany doings of some interlopers.

    There have been plenty of indications that this view is mere wishful thinking. The war in Iraq had resounding support at its inception from both Democratic and Republican politicians and the media. Only now that the situation in Iraq has dramatically deteriorated have some politicians and editorial writers begun to backpedal. Even so John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has continued to give the war vigorous support, calling for 40,000 more troops.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Friday, July 2, 2004

    Iraq: The Limits of Empire

    Mark Yu

    The U.S. occupation of Iraq is running into serious obstacles on several fronts. Photos documenting the use of torture at Abu Ghraib prison have torn the mask of legitimacy from the face of the civilian-military occupying force. While the torture itself could be treated as a mere aberration by U.S. politicians and commentators--overlooking the violence of the entire colonial enterprise in Iraq and ignoring similar abuse in prisons at home--the political impact of the photographs could not be so easily disregarded. The prison scandal, scandalous only because the perpetrators were caught in the act, has permanently disarmed the public relations effort to "win the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.

    - (Read full)

    Take Me Out to the Antiwar Ballgame

    Derek Seidman

    Dick Cheney was able to score a hot ticket to see the biggest rivalry in baseball when he attended the Yankees-Red Sox game on Wednesday. The Vice-President even made his way into the locker room before the game to mumble at a few players. It was a proud moment for Yankee coach Joe Torre, who told the press, "It's great any time a dignitary like that visits. It slaps you with pride."

    Come the seventh inning stretch, it was Cheney's turn to get slapped.

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    Last Release: Thursday, June 24, 2004

    Forging Alliances: How Democrats Helped Bush Rape Mother Nature

    Josh Frank

    George W. Bush�s environmental record can be dummied down to one simple word: devastating.

    Not only has President Bush gutted numerous environmental laws--including the Clean Air and Water Acts--he has also set a new precedence by disregarding the world�s top scientists and the Pentagon, as their concerns about the rate of Global Warming grow graver by the day.

    As Mark Townsend and Paul Harris reported for the Observer in the UK in February of 2004, �[The Pentagon report] predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.�

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    Last Release: Sunday, June 13, 2004

    Palestinian Misery in Perspective

    Paul de Rooij

    The media usually focuses on the latest casualty and quickly forgets those who died even a few days before. The American media in particular has a Dracula-like predilection for warm bodies, and no interest in cases where blood has already dried. Unfortunately this ahistoric focus on the last victim hides the scale of mass crimes and the responsibility of various perpetrators. Whether in Iraq, Palestine, Colombia, or Haiti, it is necessary to locate human rights abuses in a wider context to appreciate the scale of what is occurring on the ground.

    - (Read full)

    John Kerry, Cheerleader for Israeli Brutality

    Josh Frank

    Even if he turns out to be the second worst president in US history, John F. Kerry will still be better than our sitting president. At least many liberal and progressive Americans are stating as much in order to justify their support for the leading Democrat. However, such rationale does not dilute the fact that most people in the world will not be able to sense any tangible variation between either, Bush or Kerry.

    Just ask the Palestinians who, as the Washington Post reported, suffered 19 (other estimates range between 25-30) deaths in the last nine days (prior to the May 19 attack by the Israeli military on a Palestinian demonstration in Rafah that killed at least 19 more people) due to hostile Israeli military aggression in Rafah, a Palestinian refugee camp located in the Gaza Strip.

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    Last Release: Saturday, June 06, 2004

    A Fool's Fate: Ahmed Chalabi

    Michael Dempsey

    Even before the first Daisy Cutter fell from its B-52, The Iraqi National Congress, headed by the unfailingly disastrous Ahmed Chalabi, was readying itself for the assumption of power. The plan was for Chalabi to be airdropped from an American F-15, piloted by co-conspirators Christopher Hitchens and Kanan Makiyaya, into downtown Baghdad, where the three were then to pull down the statue of Saddam together, thus saving the Americans the trouble of having to pay the Iraqi�s to do it.

    As is sometimes said here in Boston: not quite.

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    Confronting The Anybody But Bush Offensive: Don't Back Down

    Josh Frank

    On May 3rd the Village Voice stooped to a new low and published an article by Harry G. Levine, titled, �Ralph Nader, Suicide Bomber.� The title itself, in its racist conjecture (Nader is an Arab-American), exemplifies the fear beating in hearts of many Americans regarding the upcoming election. The majority of these liberals are willing to sideline any progressive tendencies in order to solidify George W. Bush�s defeat in November. Some even go as far as attacking Ralph Nader�s character, as they believe he is the largest hurdle to a Kerry triumph.

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    Coming Soon: The Return of the Draft, a Bipartisan Production

    Jacob Levich

    Barring a sudden reversal in the direction of US foreign policy, a strong bipartisan push to reinstate the draft can be expected soon after the November elections. Whether or not Bush wins is irrelevant. The logic of empire requires more boots on the ground, and conscription looks like the only way to get them.

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    Last Release: Saturday, May 22, 2004

    The time to act is now: A look at today's anti-war movement

    Nikki Marterre

    The torture photos that have been released from Abu Ghraib surprise few on the left and others that have remained active against the occupation of Iraq. We are familiar with the brutality of the United States and its imperialist adventures. However, the photos have meant something very different for American politics in general and the potential to build the anti-war movement. The anti-war movement has been suffering from stagnation - if not decline- ever since the war began on March 20th, 2003 with the exception of a few important events.

    Suddenly this May, hundreds of photos were released to the media (too big a story to cover up or ignore) showing torture of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, a known prison under Saddam which had obviously changed little under its new leadership. The pictures were disgusting, showing physical, mental and sexual abuse of prisoners. Even Congress got a slide show. Suddenly the very last reasoning that American troops should be there - liberation - came crashing down. Now according to Gallup polls over 30 percent of Americans want all US troops withdrawn from Iraq. Eighteen percent more at least want some troops withdrawn.

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    Kerry's "Image" Problem

    Michael Dempsey

    John Kerry's got a problem with the image thing. This even his fans confirm. Eric Alterman, while reflecting on a private meeting he and a few other liberal scribblers had attended with Senator Kerry, reported that although the Senator would make an able president he lacked savor faire so crucial in connecting with American voters. As a remedy to this, The New York Times reported with no small amount of elation that Kerry will be unleashing a barrage of million dollar television ads to acquaint the American people with him. The worrisome impression is that the voters don't know (or don't care to know) anything about John Kerry. By funneling snippets of his St. Alban's childhood into living rooms across America, people will begin to identify with the Senators program, whatever it happens to be on that particular day, or so the hope is.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Sunday, May 9, 2004

    Drafting the Empire

    Jeff Morgan

    Not since January 2003, when US House of Representatives member Charles Rangel introduced a bill calling to reinstate the military draft, has the issue of conscription been more talked about than now. Rangel ostensibly proposed the bill in large part to address the problems of the economic draft, in which, due to disparities in income, social position, and educational opportunities, members of the all-volunteer US military are disproportionately working class, African-American, and Latino.1 Unsurprisingly, few politicians supported Rangel's proposal and the debate soon died down.

    But on April 20 of this year Republican Senator Chuck Hagel once again brought the issue of the draft back into mainstream political debate. While Hagel also cited the socioeconomic imbalance of volunteer forces, he emphasized the deteriorating course of the occupation in Iraq. He stated that the growing crisis "is a steam engine coming right down the track at us" unless the US government acts to do something about it.2 As lawmakers like Hagel know, the endless "war on terrorism" promises continued occupations, interventions, and, hence, resistance by those occupied. This will undoubtedly require more troops - or at least a constant number - and if problems of retention and recruitment manifest themselves, the issue of a new draft will be more than speculation or hollow warnings.

    - (Read full)

    The Enemy is Within

    M. Junaid Alam

    Sharpened on racial and religious hatreds, the dagger of imperialism has thrust itself into the heart of the Iraqi people with vicious force. Our professional liberals, who have moved heaven and earth to not only produce this dagger but supply it a sheath woven of fine phrases about American moral supremacy, now recoil in horror at events in Iraq and propose a thousand solutions to "secure" it and avoid "chaos." Their minor and meek criticisms of the occupation separate them from the war planners to the same degree that the handle of this dagger is separated from its blade.

    - (Read full)

    Glossary of the Iraq Occupation

    Paulo de Rooij

    Any time there is war or an occupation of another country, propagandists or their media surrogates require language that mollifies, exculpates and hides the grim reality or sordid deeds. In an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of what is really happening in Iraq, this glossary elucidates the terminology commonly used in the media. Its aim is to enable us to peer through the linguistic fog.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, April 28, 2004

    "No Democrat is going to beat Bushism":
    An interview with Green Party activist Howie Hawkins

    Derek Seidman

    As the 2004 presidential election approaches, the pressure is mounting on advocates of independent politics to go ABB (Anybody But Bush), which in practice means supporting pro-war, pro-occupation, pro-corporation, pro-troop increase, pro-PATRIOT Act candidate John Kerry. Recently Left Hook's Derek Seidman caught up with Howie Hawkins, a longtime activist-leader of the Green Party and an outspoken voice for the need to fully break from the Democrats and the practice of lesser-evilism.

    - (Read interview)

    Lesser-Evilism and the Fight for Gay Marriage: The Politics of Self-Defeat

    Keith Rosenthal

    The movement for gay marriages that has emerged spontaneously all across the country is clearly beginning to reach a crossroads. On the one hand, a wide collection of city councils and mayors have been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples over the past several weeks despite Bush's bigoted threats to amend the federal constitution to ban same-sex marriages. These mayors and city councilors have stood up to do what's right with the help of grassroots pushes by gay rights activists, from New Paltz to Seattle to San Francisco.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Thursday, April 22, 2004

    Conservatives: A Brake on Human Progress

    Morgan Southwood

    The strict definition of a conservative is one who holds to traditional methods or views, or a cautious or discreet person. If the good old days were actually good, I'd be more inclined to give traditional conservatives a bit more credit, but they were not, so I can't. Other hallmarks of conservative thinking include pseudo-Christian zealotry and proud neurotic selfishness - myguns, my tax dollars, my standard of living.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Saturday, April 17, 2004

    We Are the Barbarians: Consequences of Colonialism in Iraq

    M. Junaid Alam

    Jaw agape and fangs unsheathed, American colonialism has lashed out with severe brutality against the newly-unified Iraqi resistance, counting on its military might to crush the aspirations of Iraqis who seek to liberate their country from foreign control. Relying so heavily on the force of arms against a people it claims to liberate, the US has inverted Clausewitz's famous dictum that war is a continuation of politics by other means; our policy now is politics as a continuation of war by other means.

    But it so happens that this is a double-edged sword - with both edges thrust firmly into the heart of the occupation.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Tuesday, April 13, 2004

    Interview with Jeffrey St. Clair

    M. Junaid Alam

    Recently, co-editor of Left Hook M. Junaid Alam had a chance to interview Jeffrey St. Clair, co-editor of Counterpunch, about his devastating critique of corporate-government ruination of the environment presented in his recent book, Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature.

    - (Read full)

    Looking Ahead: Some Thoughts on the Youth Movement in the USA

    Derek Seidman

    There is an increasing urgency-though not yet an extreme urgency - for young people in the United States involved in various social struggles to take our broader struggle for social and economic justice a big step forward...

    The emergence of a visible, united, and unapologetic rebellion, the symbolism of ordinary people rising from the ashes of decades of war and sanctions to throw their bodies into the gears of the mightiest of empires, has shaken the balance of forces. The Iraqis are on the front line of the struggle against the US global juggernaut, and we in the heart of the empire itself are positioned strategically inside the apparatus of the machine. Hardly ever before has a greater and more imminent imperative been placed on a people to take care of their responsibilities at home.

    - (Read full)

    Reflections on Anti-Semitic Firebombings in Montreal: Really Combating Racism

    Macdonald Stainsby

    Prime Minister Paul Martin, Quebec Premier Jean Charest and others have stepped out of their usual role of slashing social spending, giving insurance salesman smiles and cutting ribbons on new stretches of pavement to instead deliver an impassioned denunciation of recent anti-Semitic firebombings in Montreal. And it's a good thing to see. I can't help but wonder, however, is it a sign of their own racism that they didn't do this when hate crimes swept every corner of the state north of the 49th parallel? Is it only political opportunism in response to a powerful Zionist lobby, rather than any real condemnation of anti-Semitism or concern for Jewish people living in Montreal?

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, April 7, 2004

    Regime Change, Resistance-Style: Iraq's Intifada Begins

    M. Junaid Alam

    Barely a year after America closed its eyes to reason, its greatest nightmare has arrived.

    The neoconservative elites who launched America into war with lofty rhetoric about overthrowing Arab tyranny are now witnessing mass resistance against the most brutal tyranny in the region today - their own. The combination of a renewed insurgency in the Sunni center and an explosive popular rebellion in the Shiite center and south presents a damning indictment of America's colonial occupation of Iraq. As children in rags run in the streets to hurl stones at American tanks and as those tanks fire furiously into homes and buildings to crush a growing two-pronged rebellion, one thing above all seems clear: Iraqis demand real liberation, not Bush's farce. And they are willing to challenge the most powerful army in the world to win it.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Saturday, March 27, 2004

    Israel, Suicide Nation

    M. Junaid Alam

    Politics, being the art of deception, must certainly recognize Israel as its Da Vinci. Its smug self-portrait as a 'civilized democracy', rendered with brushes dipped deeply in the oil paint of antipathy for Arabs, has won much admiration among impressionable Americans. Galvanizing and amplifying latent Western hatred of Muslim Arabs in order to rally the West under the banner of 'Judeo-Christian civilization', and intimidating doubters by abusing the memory of the Holocaust to claim special 'unique victim' status, Israel intones, 'Stand with us because we are white and bomb towel-heads in F-16s just as you do, and don't dare stand against us because you once persecuted our forefathers and should atone for your sins - by abetting ours.'

    - (Read full)

    A Canadian Look at U.S. Healthcare

    Yves Engler

    Watching the U.S. presidential campaign get under way from north of the border, I sometimes feel like shouting "It's healthcare, stupid."

    While the economy will always be an important issue, one reason for the current "job loss recovery" is rising health costs. Companies prefer to increase existing employees' hours, even if they have to pay overtime, rather than cover new workers' health insurance.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Tuesday, March 23, 2004

    Killing Rachel Corrie Again: Making Murder Respectable

    Michael Dempsey

    In his essay, Politics and the English Language, Orwell writes that "political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." In no case has this statement been truer than that of the Israeli- Palestinian dispute. For over a half a century, an entire people have been denied not only the right of self-determination, but the more basic right of human recognition.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, March 17, 2004

    Anniversary of the Death of Rachel Corrie

    Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie. She was killed by an Israeli bulldozer, which crushed her as she stood defending a Palestinian home. Reprinted below is an article written by Left Hook co-editor Adam Levenstein the day after her death. We dedicate this update of Left Hook to the memory and example of Rachel Corrie.

    - (Read full)

    Ralph Nader: Crashing the Party

    Michael Dempsey

    But even though Kerry has edged everyone else out, it appears that what transpired up to this point was a genuinely multifarious competition. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes evident, that what really took place was an intra-party putsch, where the candidate who was clearly favored by the rank and file, Dean, was usurped by the candidate favored by the party elite, literally almost overnight.

    Enter Ralph Nader.

    - (Read full)

    What the CNN poll Should Have Asked after the Spanish elections

    Derek Seidman

    The day after the Spanish Socialist Party won the national elections, a CNN.com poll asked "Do the election results in Spain represent a victory for the terrorists?" This type of loaded question is not uncommon, especially in the polls of that dreaded refuge of liberal bias, CNN. When former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill came out a few months ago to say that Bush and his clique were plotting an attack on Iraq before 9/11, the CNN poll asked "Did Paul O'Neill betray George Bush?" Whether it occurred to them to ask a more sensible question (such as, "Did George Bush betray America?") is unknown.

    - (Read full)

    So, You Want A Better World

    Macdonald Stainsby

    All right, so you want a better world. What does that mean? That's a question I want to both ask and see answered. But first, a reminder of what kind of world those in power seek, fresh from today's 'editorial' pages across the globe. The same people who 'intellectually authored' (oxymoronic term) the attack on Iraq have now written further in "An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror", the latest tract on how to use aerial bombardments and mass slaughter in defense of 'Americans'. This screed has already alarmed many all over the world, for it outlines some new military adventures, despite the fact they are meeting with very prolonged resistance in Iraq that threatens by itself to engulf more and more of the US army's military capability.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, March 09, 2004

    An Anti-Civilizational War?: America and Israel on the Front Line of Colonialism

    M. Junaid Alam

    For the past five hundred years, humanity has witnessed the ascension of a civilization which acclaims the Rights of Man but kills non-white man wherever it finds him. The Western authors of social contracts and constitutions granting freedom and liberty for their kinsmen also granted themselves the freedom to take liberties with the lives and fate of the non-white world. For while it was widely understood that humans have certain inalienable rights, chaining or whipping Black 'sub-humans' and expropriating or uprooting Indian 'savages' were considered well within these rights. And so, within its own selective borders the glowing attributes of Western civilization shone brightly, but for the untamed darker sections of humanity, rifles and bayonets, later replaced by bombs and missiles, were the preferred methods of enlightenment.

    - (Read full)

    An Open Letter to Thomas Friedman

    Shirin Vossoughi

    Dear Thomas L. Friedman,

    For the last few years, I have read your column in the New York Times and become increasingly disturbed at the arrogance with which you defend U.S. hegemony, imperial occupation (of the U.S. and Israeli varieties) and what you consider the benign effects of a devastating global economic system. Until now, I have seethed in seclusion, occasionally venting to friends and family. But this Sunday's column was the last straw.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, March 03, 2004

    Interview with Paul Buhle

    Derek Seidman

    There is probably no one in the world that knows more about the history of American radicalism than Paul Buhle. A former member of Students for a Democratic Society and a disciple of CLR James, Buhle founded the journal Radical America as well as the Oral History of the American Left project. He is the author/editor of nearly thirty books, including: Images of American Radicalism, Marxism in the United States, Radical Hollywood: The untold story behind America's favorite movies, The Encyclopedia of the American Left, The Immigrant Left in the United States, The New Left Revisted, Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz, and the forthcoming From the Lower Eastside to Hollywood: Jews in American Popular Culture.

    Buhle is currently teaching at Brown University. Left Hook's (www.lefthook.org) Derek Seidman recently caught up with him for a short interview.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

    WMDs: Weapons of Murderous Deception

    Todd Tavares

    More than a year after President Bush began to make claims that Iraq possessed WMDs and posed a threat to the world's only superpower nearly half a world away, these claims have been refuted as far as can possibly be done by the recent Kay report. Bush still has the upper hand however; it is impossible to disprove the existence of something that isn't real (try to disprove Santa to a five year old), hence no one can prove that WMDs aren't buried in the Iraq desert. So now the goal of the White House is two-fold: to spin it that the cause of war wasn't WMDs, but because Saddam was a bad dude, and to convince America that the intelligence community somehow deceived the highest level of government (and, as a result, the public), when it in fact told the administration what it wanted to hear to justify its quaint little military adventure.

    - (Read full)

    Last Release: Thursday, February 19, 2004

    Chasing Judith Miller off the Stage

    Derek Seidman

    When I heard that the New York Times correspondent Judith Miller was going to be speaking at a local campus last week, I was eager to check her out. Ever since I read Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power's atrocious review of Noam Chomksy's "Hegemony or Survival" in the Times book review last month, I've been increasingly on the lookout for these intellectual-defenders of an "enlightened" imperialism . Moreover, seeing Judith Miller (also a Pulitzer winner) was especially enticing, as she has been embroiled in controversy for her role in the Iraq war. (Read full)

    Last Release: Thursday, February 11, 2004

    When Even the Illusion is Gone: "Black Box" Voting and Faith-Based Elections

    Adam Levenstein

    In the United States, we don't have much in the way of democracy. Every four years, we go to the polls, and select which white man from one of our two corporate-backed parties we want to be President. Then - lest our votes directly go towards the individual in question - faceless electors who our votes actually go to meet and they vote in the actual President. (Read full)

    They'll Never Call Him a Radical (or Even an Alternative): The Many Faces of John Kerry
    Elizabeth Schulte

    As Kerry now stands by a virtually insurmountable margin as the leading Democratic nominee for the upcoming elections, we reprint this timely and scathing analysis of his true history and background from CounterPunch. Rather unsurprisingly, it turns out that Kerry's campaign rhetoric denouncing Bush and pandering to populist notions stands in stark contrast to his own centrist congressional record and opportunistic political stances. (Read article)

    Last Release: Wednesday, February 04, 2004

    An Interview with Noam Chomsky

    M. Junaid Alam

    Professor of Linguistics at MIT and author of many best-selling political works, most recently Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky has been renown for his incisive and hard-hitting criticism of U.S. foreign policy for decades. Recently, M. Junaid Alam, co-editor of the new leftist youth journal Left Hook, was able to interview Professor Chomsky on the nature of the Bush administration, the American left's strategy in upcoming elections, domestic and foreign consequences of continued occupation of Iraq, and the basis for US-Israeli relations. (Read here)

    Mexico's Workers Fight Against Global Capitalism

    Adam Meyer

    Recently this fall, Vicente Fox had proposed another attack on the workers of Mexico; raising taxes on basic necessities such as medicine, milk, gasoline and staple food products. Also part of his proposal was the privatization of many state owned properties including publicly owned movie studios. But on November 27, nearly 100,000 people marched on Plaza Zocalo in Mexico City to protest the latest rounds of privatization, as well as the proposed tax increases. Protesters shouted, "Nuestro pais no se vende!" or, "Our country is not for sale!" It was an impressive showing of trade unionists, farmers, students, workers and left wing political activists. And while this most recent proposal was defeated in the congress, it is but the latest in long line of privatization schemes aimed to please free trade officials at the expense of ordinary people. One can be sure that there will be much more to come as well. (Read full)

    From Death Row: Prison Writings of Kevin Cooper

    If all goes according to plan, Kevin Cooper will be executed by the state of California on February 10th. Cooper's fate comes despite strong evidence that points to his innocence. Further procedures that could also aid his case (such as investigation into police tampering with DNA) are also being denied.

    Like political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, Cooper has maintained a defiant voice throughout his stay on death row, keeping up a constant stream of writings infused with a focused fury over the injustice being done to him- an injustice that is related to and symbolic of the broader ones in our society, as he'll be the first to tell you. Here we reprint several of his writings, and we encourage you to read more of them, and more about his case, at http://www.savekevincooper.org/.
    You can also find out about actions to take in the last efforts to stop his execution. (Read letters)

    Last Release: Thursday, January 30, 2004

    Iraqi Democracy and Anti-Chomsky Tantrums: Some Reflections on Power and Dissent

    Derek Seidman

    The great historian E.H. Carr once advised to "Study the historian before you begin to study the facts� By and large, the historian will get the type of facts he wants." 1 The principle behind this advice is pretty obvious, and it need not be confined to the practice of history: reality will be framed in a way as to support the legitimacy and interests of those doing the framing. If the latter happen to possess real power-especially control of the mass media, educational institutions, and so forth- their version of history and reality will be all the more dominant. (Read full)

    "If You Organize, You Can Win": Philly School Workers Fight for Fair Contract

    M. Junaid Alam

    Fed up with their inexcusably low poverty-line wages and bare-minimum medical care, Full-time Food Service Workers and Noon Time Aides working for the Philadelphia school District have been waging a campaign for decent wages and benefits. Recently M. Junaid Alam, co-editor of the new radical youth journal Left Hook (http://www.lefthook.org), had the opportunity to discuss the situation with Warren Heyman, chief negotiator for Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union Local 634 and Secretary Treasurer of Local 217. (Read full)

    An Open Letter from the Arab-American and Muslim Community to the US Anti-War Movement

    Dear peace and justice organizations and activists,

    On March 20, 2004, the world will mobilize against war and colonial occupations. The significance of this historic day is evident to all and requires no further elaboration. The political clarity and character of this mobilization in the US, however, remains illusive. (Read full)

    Last Release: Saturday, January 24, 2004

    Hold on to Your Humanity

    Stan Goff, US Army Ret.

    I am a retired veteran of the army, and my own son is among you, a paratrooper like I was. The changes that are happening to every one of you-some more extreme than others-are changes I know very well. So I'm going to say some things to you straight up in the language to which you are accustomed. (Read full)

    Last Release: Friday, January 16, 2004

    Innocence: the Second Casualty of War - The case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir

    Keith Rosenthal

    While Saddam Hussein remains locked up in an undisclosed location in Baghdad under the authority of the United States, another Iraqi man remains locked up in Jamesville Penitentiary in New York state under the authority of the U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft.

    Dr. Rafil Dhafir has spent over nine months in various prisons in the area around Syracuse, New York, after he was arrested on February 26, 2003 by federal officials for the alleged crime of violating the International Economic Powers Act. This Act, essentially placing US-backed sanctions on Iraq, prohibits individuals from providing any material aid to the Iraqi people. (Read full)

    NAFTA Turns Ten: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

    Todd Tavares

    The New Year marked the ten-year anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and also marks one year from the date set to implement it's expansion, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, in 2005. So we can now approach greater trade liberalization with a bit of hindsight, and the decade marker is a good place to look back from and make some real evaluations. How well did NAFTA live up to it's expectations? And what unexpected changes did it make? Who is better off because of free trade? (Read full)

    Last Release: Monday, January 12, 2004

    Iraq's Right to Resist: Outside the Spectacle

    M. Junaid Alam

    Waging war is a peculiar American pastime: its appeal does not diminish as corpses multiply. Quite the contrary - each new round of this gruesome spectacle is greeted with the greatest fervor by the elites, the loudest applause from the intellectuals, and the proudest swagger of the patriots. No effort is spared in hammering into the public consciousness two absolute Truths about the contenders in this sordid spectacle: America is absolutely good, and the Enemy absolutely evil. America, preaches an appropriate (and appropriately paid) representative of Capital, is the savior of the world, the benevolent exporter of democracy, the deliverer of freedom; The Enemy, whatever small, poor, far-away and relatively defenseless nation it may be, is savage, senseless, a direct and immediate threat to American interests which must be destroyed. (Read full)

    Angry Tears from Home and Abroad: Letters from the Military and their Families

    With all the hoopla going on surrounding the occupation, we thought Left Hook readers should see for themselves what many soldiers and their families are saying about the occupation of Iraq. Below is a compilation of letters, poems, and quotes from members of the military stationed in Iraq, retired vets, mothers and girlfriends, and youth who are stationed in the US waiting for deployment. (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, January 07, 2004

    Election, Anti-War Movement, and the Left

    Adam Levenstein

    With the occupation of Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein, the 2004 elections continue to resonate throughout the Left and the anti-war movement. George "Dubya" Bush, a main instigator of the war, is an easy target for many of us; he has lied, he has killed, and in all likelihood he will continue to do so. It is therefore natural that a prominent feeling towards the elections is to vote for the Democratic Party candidate, whoever it may be. (Read full)

    Free the Market and Your Ass Will Follow

    Speech by Fabricio Rodriguez

    The Stop the FTAA mobilization is the second part of the Jobs With Justice Season of Struggle. The Season of Struggle ties three mass mobilizations together in a way that, we feel, draws a complete picture of the oppression of workers world wide. (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, December 22, 2003

    The Whole Paradigm is Wrong: Hypocrisy of Hoopla over Hussein Capture

    Jared McBride

    During the trial of Saddam Hussein, I want one of the following questions answered: what was the United States government's reaction to Saddam's crimes in the time they were committed? How did the United States react to the gassing of the Kurds? What was our resolve when it was announced at the UN that Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranians? Amongst all of the smug smiles and smirks on the faces of CNN broadcasters, the militant Senators, and GW himself, not once will such questions be answered. No one will even dare bring them up. The History must be bastardized for the masses. (Read full)

    Short Interview with Michael Ratner

    Derek Seidman

    Left Hook's Derek Seidman had the opportunity to carry out a short interview with Michael Ratner, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights (find out more about the CCR below). Ratner is an international human rights lawyer, a former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and an author and co-author of several books, including the recent "Against War with Iraq: An Anti-war Primer". He also currently teaches at Columbia Law School. You can find out more about him and his work at http://www.humanrightsnow.org/ (Read full)

    Gangs: Identity Groups and Street Capitalists

    Sergio Jimenez

    Gang cultures were first developed amongst isolated, alienated, and harassed minority groups who sought solidarity and understanding amongst people of their own race, culture, and ethnicity; people who were constantly being ostracized and left to die in their own misery by our racist system. The phenomenon of gangs isn't something new, as commentators and politicians would like to have you think. They have been around for a several hundred years, first growing out of the community bonds of tribes who sought to join up and live together as common people with shared values and with a sense of protection from other groups. There have been pirates, Mafiosi from the Italian and Irish mobs, cholos from the Latino community, and the crips and bloods, from mostly underdeveloped and working-class Black neighborhoods. However, the rise of the industrial revolution and capitalist ideology has sped the rise of gangs due to the amount of poverty and income inequalities, along with the need of rich entrepreneurs and their middle class servants to create paramilitary-like police officers and to write into law racist policies that mainly target minority communities. The increase in gangs has been further fueled by the ever growing and unexpected migration to the cities. (Read full)

    Last Release: Wednesday, December 17, 2003

    Saddam as a Footnote

    Derek Seidman

    For all intents and purposes, this weekend's capturing of Saddam Hussein brought to an end a long and complicated relationship between the United States and the deposed leader, one ranging from conscious support for Hussein's atrocities to a determined effort towards his removal as a barrier to US imperial ambitions. Yet behind all the sensationalism of the capture, this weekend also marked the end of a roughly two week period where several events occurred that further confirmed the true nature and dynamics of the current mission in Iraq. (Read full)

    Last Release: Friday, December 12, 2003

    Who's Booking Your Flight?: Slave labor and the Prison-Industrial Complex

    Michael Schwartz

    It seemed like a normal factory closing. U.S. Technologies sold its electronics plant in Austin, Texas, leaving its 150 workers unemployed. Everyone figured they were moving the plant to Mexico, where they would employ workers at half the cost. But six weeks later, the electronics plant reopened in Austin in a nearby prison. (Read full)

    Final Letters from a Slain Activist: Rachel Corrie

    Hi friends and family, and others,

    I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me-Ali-or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me, "Kaif Sharon?" "Kaif Bush?" and they laugh when I say, "Bush majnoon," "Sharon majnoon" back in my limited Arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn't quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: "Bush mish majnoon"-Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say, "Bush is a tool," but I don't think it translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago. (Read full)

    Last Release: Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    Left Hook Exclusive: Interview with Norman Finkelstein

    M. Junaid Alam

    M. Junaid Alam, co-editor and webmaster of the new leftist journal for American youth, Left Hook (http://www.lefthook.org), recently had the opportunity to interview Norman Finkelstein, prominent and outspoken critic of Israel and son of Nazi holocaust survivors. Mr. Finkelstein is a professor of Political Science at DePaul University in Chicago and the author of the authoritative and controversial books Imagine and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and The Holocaust Industry. {Read full interview here}

    Coup at Amnesty International: Venezuelan Human Rights, Canadian Film Festivals and Censorship

    Macdonald Stainsby

    I used to canvass for Amnesty International. They are one of several progressive but not openly radical NGO's I have worked for, and I've learned a great deal about talking to strangers about political issues from this experience. I've had some serious misgivings about working with the organization--I was not interested in Amnesty's penchant for being 'extra tough' on those very countries that the United States or other imperialist countries have lined up through their militarist or colonialist sights--nonetheless, I preferred to spend my wage earning days talking about Guantanamo Bay, even if I put unrealistic stress on that issue compared to AI in general. I also spoke to people about the real life example of a man I met who was a former dissident from Iran-- he told me of his story of getting out of Iran, only to arrive in Pakistan and somehow then, making it to Canada. Once he arrived, he was told that he didn't qualify as a political refugee and was to be deported back to Iran directly, as Pakistan didn't want him either. AI apparently took up his case and shortly thereafter he was recognized as a legitimate human rights political refugee case; he says Amnesty saved his life-and this story became the 'personal touch' I used to help bring in enough donations and memberships to safely keep my job. (Read full)

    Last Release: Tuesday, November 25, 2003

    An Interview with Author and Radical Economist Michael Yates

    Derek Seidman

    Left Hook's Derek Seidman interviewed Michael Yates, author of the new book Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy. Yates is a radical economist, a longtime labor educator, and a former Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburg. He is the author of numerous books, including . He is currently the associate editor of Monthly Review. (Read interview here)

    Last Release: Friday, November 21, 2003

    Cautious Optimism for Anti-Occupation (Not Win-the-Occupation) Movement

    Derrik O'Keefe

    ...October 25 was the largest international mobilization against the occupation of Iraq since last April, and -at least from the view north of the 49th parallel -the unity in action achieved between the United for Peace and Justice and the International ANSWER coalitions appears significant. The participation of GIs and their families is also a major development, coming as it does amidst growing reports of demoralization in the ranks of U.S. occupation forces. The slogan "Bring The Troops Home" is beginning to resonate at some level within the economic conscript army, the GIs and their families. This unity and GI participation bode well for the size of future actions, such as the March 20, 2004 demonstration that will mark one year since the bombing of Iraq began. (Read full)

    The Awakening of California Immigrant Labor

    Javier Armas

    The Democrats and Republicans have been using California immigrants a pawn in their political game. Democrats Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante both voted down a bill to give immigrants their California driver's license. But, feeling the pressure from the Republicans in the recall, they did a 180-degree turn and voted for the bill, which passed. While the myth is that the Republicans are protecting the poor whites against these parasitic immigrants whom the Democrats are allied with, this is just a classic case of good cop, bad cop. (Read full article)

    Happy Holidays

    Morgan Southwood

    The Holiday season is almost upon us again, friends and neighbors. For the last four or five years now I've wished that I had the money to spend it in a totally non-Christian country, like Nepal, but since I'm stuck here I'm forced to be a grudging participant in the Christmas season consumer frenzy. Last year I boogied on over to the mall to pick out a toy for some unprivileged (what a euphemism, huh?) kid. My Mom's workplace sponsors a family from the battered women's shelter and I wanted to help out a bit. (Read full article)

    Release Date: Monday, November 17, 2003

    Iraq: As the Resistance Grows, So Does Demoralization of the Troops Derek Seidman

    The euphoria over a victorious invasion has quickly vanished as the occupation of Iraq becomes a living nightmare. The reality of the situation is setting in more firmly with every reported death and without any legitimate sign of progress or possible exit. (Read full)

    The Dean Deception

    Keith Rosenthal

    With Howard Dean currently leading in the polls in the key election primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, the choice for voters in 2004 could very well be between the man from Vermont and the man from Texas. The question is: Does Dean deserve your vote and your hope? His record as governor of Vermont holds some clues. (Read full)

    The Politics of Fear, Guilt and War: Image is everything

    Fabricio Rodriguez

    Out of deep desperation and want for the "authentic," the public latched onto the slogan, "Image is nothing! Thirst is everything! Obey your thirst!" In 1993, Sprite begged the citizen consumer to rebel against the hype. The commercial series that sold being "real" pushed sales up 13% over the course of the campaign. (Read full article)

    Launch Release: Tuesday, November 11, 2003

    Left Hook Exclusive: An Interview with Stan Goff

    Derek Seidman

    Stan Goff knows better than most people about what really goes on in the US military. He served from 1970 through 1996, for many years as a Master Sergeant with the Special Forces and Delta Force and as a military instructor at West Point. In the process of his military career he was deployed to Vietnam, South Korea, Colombia, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, Somalia, and Haiti. Retired, he is now an anti-imperialist activist and founder of Bring Them Home Now (www.bringthemhomenow.org). He is the author of Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti, as well as the forthcoming Full Spectrum Disorder. He lives in Raleigh, NC.

    Left Hook's Derek Seidman was able to interview Stan Goff. {Read full interview here}

    Yes, The Iraqis Are Celebrating: Bust a Move for the Occupation

    M. Junaid Alam

    Six months after the American liberation of Iraq, celebration among the natives is in full swing. But will the US survive the party?

    The rapidly decreasing morale and increasingly high suicide rate among US soldiers in Iraq is probably attributable to the ululating musicals being sung by the locals in their honor - not exactly Metallica material. Helicopter crewmen, too, have been irked as villagers below happily hurl flowers in the air with such vigor that it's doing a number on the rotor blades. Even Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz of Arabia, official groom of the uppity Iraqi bride, ditched the wedding after uninvited guests pelted him with rice through the windows of the fabulous Rasheed hotel. {Read full article here}

    Workers' Upheaval in Southern California

    Michael Schwartz

    We are in the midst of the largest labor struggle since the UPS workers went on strike in 1997. In the late evening of October 11th a strike was called by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) against Vons and Pavilions (Safeway). Their "competitors", Ralphs (Kroger) and Albertsons immediately responded by locking out all of their unionized workers. {Read full article}

  • Discussion List Issues: The Youth Anti-War Movement: A Debate (1) The Youth Anti-War Movement: A Debate (2) The Youth Anti-War Movement: A Debate (3) Oil and Indigenous Lands (1) Oil and Indigenous Lands (2) Oil and Indigenous Lands (3) Israel, Palestine, and Nationalism (1) Israel, Palestine, and Nationalism (2) Israel, Palestine, and Nationalism (3) To join our discussion list, go here Join Our Info. List:
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