A Tale of Two Men

American Shock and Awe came to a remote hideaway north of Baghdad Wednesday, when two 500lb bombs delivered by American F-16 fighter jets killed notorious terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and five others gathered with him at a safehouse in the isolated town of Hibhib.

The Jordanian ultra-Islamist was widely viewed as the brains behind the foreign insurgency in Iraq and his death was welcomed both by U.S. forces desperate for a tangible victory in the increasingly brutal war there, and by Iraqi Shiites, who have been the main targets of terrorist violence coordinated by Mr. al-Zarqawi.

U.S. President George W. Bush announced the news with understated wariness this morning, saying, “Zarqawi is dead…We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him.”

Indeed, on Thursday more than 40 people died in Baghdad bombings alone.

The news of Mr. al-Zarqawi’s death stole some of the thunder from the announcement of 27-year-old US Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, who on Wednesday became the first U.S. military officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.

At a news conference in Tacoma, WA, Mr. Watada said he had researched the reasons behind the U.S. involvement in Iraq and concluded the war is illegal and immoral.

”We have violated American law,” Mr. Watada said. ”We can’t break laws in order to fight terrorism.”

Mr. Watada said he was prepared to face the consequences of his refusal to deploy when the other members of his 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division begin heading to Iraq later this month.

”I feel it is inevitable … I will be charged and I will be punished.” He said he could face Court Martial and prison time for failing to deploy.

His refusal to serve in Iraq is not based on a conscientious objector application or an objection to participating in war in any form, but rather is specific to the war in Iraq, which he said has featured mistreatment of the Iraqi people and violations of the Army’s own Law of Land Warfare.

More information on Mr. Watada and the broad support he is receiving for his pricipled stand against the war in Iraq can be found here.

Raw Pentagon footage of the strike that killed Mr. al-Zarqawi can be seen here.

Comments

  1. Tricia Fortina - June 8, 2006 @ 11:35 pm

    Hello Lonnie…
    I couldn’t get the raw pentagon footage to open up, it says it’s unavaila le, like the site isn’t set up, or something.
    I hope I will run into you andyour wife, some day, again at Thomas’ yoga retreat… I haven’t forgotten your great voice… Love, Tricia

  2. lonbud - June 8, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

    Tricia: Thanks for the tip. Bad link in the original post; it should be fixed now. All the best to you…

    Om shanti,
    Lonnie

  3. David Gizzarelli - June 9, 2006 @ 1:37 am

    The war in Iraq

    Who is the greater evil? America or the terrorists?

    The Ban on Same Sex Marriage

    Where did the idea of marriage come from?

    I really don’t know what is “immoral” when you are condemning a liberating war and supporting same sex marriage that God never intended.

    “Daddy? Which one of you is my father?”

  4. lonbud - June 9, 2006 @ 6:32 am

    What is the nature of Evil; how does one measure its degrees?

    Death is war’s only liberation.

    The idea of Marriage comes from the notion of property.

    From whence does one divine God’s intentions? The story of the Garden of Eden lacks a wedding ceremony.

    And what about the Mommies?

  5. Bonnie - June 9, 2006 @ 7:45 am

    Three cheers for Mr. Watada! Maybe he should run for president in the up-coming election. The footage was sad because someones children may have been blown up along with al-Zarqawi…Someone else may be waking up to the news of a parents death. Life is hard enought this day and age with incurable illness, money problems, homeless people, gas prices just to mention a few. The war should be over, Bin- laden should die of natural causes and quick and we should put all this hatered and nonsence aside. I personally think that you would make a wonderful president. You would have my vote! BPK

  6. Tam O’Tellico - June 9, 2006 @ 8:19 am

    Lon, though I consider the Marriage Amendment just more childish pandering by an administration totally bereft of real ideas, I must take exception to your statement that “the idea of marriage comes from the notion of property”.

    Marriage has been practiced for ages by primitive peoples for whom property is a meaningless notion – at least to minds like ours. Read Mutant Message Down Under, a book about Australian aborigines for an expanded view. The San Bushmen of the Kalahari are another pretty good example of a people for whom property is a meaningless notion – at least until the discovery of Hoodia on their lands by way-too-fat Westerners.

    Marriage may well have its roots in our genes, in the need to provide a stable environment for offspring, thus insuring the preservation of those genes in future generations. Among primitive peoples, each individual is generally highly-valued – it is only among “civilized” industrialized cultures that people are thought of as essentially disposable. Our friend Michael would probably violently disagree, but in human terms, primitive cultures are in many ways far more advanced than ours. The notion that it takes a village to raise a child did not begin with Hilary Clinton.

    True, there are other means of accomplishing these goals. Among the Cherokee, for instance, marriage was a fairly weak institution, and divorce was easily accomplished simply by setting a man’s belongings outside the home. But this was possible because children were raised by the mother and her brothers, the role of the husband being limited primarily to that of a provider and not a father in our sense of the word.

    Though in essence the Cherokee were a matriarchal society, no one should credit them with being feminists. The reason they adopted such practices was simple: They knew who the mother was. In that, they were also way ahead of our deluded notions about fidelity in marriage.

    Our so-called monogamous one man-one woman for life paradigm, may look good on paper and may sound good ringing from the pulpit or extolled in the halls of Congress, but it hardly represents the historical reality of marriage. It was only during a brief period during the last half of the 20th Century that the phenomenon of the Golden Anniversary became relatively common. Premature death in childbirth, on the farm, or in war assured that the norm was closer to serial monogamy – and that was only in theory, since infidelity has always been common – if less acknowledged and publicized than it is now.

    As for the biblical pretensions of our Code and our Congress, our paradigm bears little resemblance to the honor-code based arrangement of the ancient Hebrews, with their practice of polygamy and concubines. I dare say no one in America seriously advocates the marriage practices of most of the Mideast even today save for Fundamentalist Mormons, whose practices have been outlawed even in their own state and by their own church.

    Speaking of church, as far as I am aware, no judge or gay rights activist is proposing that any church be made to sanction marriages between people of the same sex. What is proposed is that the government be restrained from denying the rights and benefits of a civil union to those who legally bind themselves to one another.

    If we acknowledge that family and marriage are indeed critically important to out society, what possible logic can there be in the notion that a committed, legal relationship between gays is somehow exempt from the same reality? It seems utterly illogical to oppose that proposition – unless someone fears that the gay life is so attractive that millions of heterosexuals will suddenly convert. Absent homphobia, the Marriage Amendment would have died aborning.

  7. David Gizzarelli - June 9, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

    Iraq

    Lets just pull out of Iraq and let it all go to hell. Iraq would appreciate that, no? What’s sad is that what happens there will affect the whole world. Maybe Russia or China would manage this region more efficiently … and they could control the worlds oil and energy supplies. My hope is that things will calm down in the East and Iraq will become a civilized country.

    Same Sex Marriage

    My views on gay marriage come directly from my Christian values. To me, the legal points are a non-issue, however, the more rights we grant the more they will want. Homosexuality is a sin. Maybe some gay people aren’t having sex. Maybe they simply love eachother and are good friends. If so, then what is the point? I’m not hostile about it, but I don’t support it. How far will it go? What is the next step? Will we soon accept child pornography as a liberal thing? Will we soon accept sex outside of marriage as something that is encouraged? What about crime and murder? Where does it all end? My fear is that soon we won’t know the difference between good and bad. And we all know the difference between good and bad whether or not we choose to admit it.

    Watada

    I think it’s interesting that I have not heard one thing about Mr. Watada in the media. And I receive lots of media. Looking forward to seeing more information about this.

  8. Jon Heller - June 9, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

    Raw pentagon footage opened just fine. While I have no doubt whatosever that the US should have never entered this quagmire, I LOVED seeing those bombs drop. What’s unfortunate is that he was Jordanian-born and relations between Israel and Jordan have never been better, at least trade-wise.

    Tricia, you’re right about Lon’s singing ability. Out of perhaps everyone who’s ever posted on this site, I’m the ONLY one who’s ever seen Lon jam with the infamous Rads of New Orleans (The Radiators) at a Memphis wedding a few years ago. He was THE man when he got up on stage with those boys…One of my 1st experiences of ever getting “trashed” was with Lon and I witnessed him shooting at stars and then ultimately passing out on a canoe trip in Northern Wisconsin when we were….ya think 14 Lon?

  9. Tam O’Tellico - June 9, 2006 @ 9:27 pm

    The pictures of the dead Zarqauwi brought me mixed emotions. I was glad to see him gone since he was the cause of so much misery in this world. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel sad that another human life had been wasted for the worst of reasons. It also occurred to me that I would probably feel exactly the same way looking at the corpse of George W. Bush.

    There is also an ironic connection between Mr. Zarquawi and Mr. Gizarelli who posts here. Both see fit to condemn others simply for disagreeing with their religious views. I would remind Mr. Gizarelli that while his Bible condemns homosexuality as an abomination, it equally condemns many other sins such as adultery. In fact, Jesus equated lusting in the heart with adultery, so I would hope Mr. Gizarelli has never lusted in his heart lest he be guilty of an abomination against God.

    If one is to try to get to the heart of Jesus’ teachings on such matters, it is well to remember he offered another abomination: “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts, for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”

    Another words, from Jesus’ perspective the worst abomination in the sight of God was those who sport their religiosity as proof of their goodness rather than their goodness as proof of their religiosity. Think about that for a moment, Mr. Gizarelli, and you may be less inclined to condemn the sins of others.

  10. lonbud - June 9, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

    touched a nerve, have we?

    Tam O, we are blessed by your eloquence and your reason and your deep connection to the fundamental oneness of life. Though possible and laudable — even productive — it may be for humans to pair off and devote half a lifetime (or more) to raising families, broods, clans, and what have you, your own citations to civilizations beyond the eurocentric society from which WE stem show little evidence of a deep tradition in the institution of marriage.

    Marriage as a sacred compact between a man and a woman stems in THIS culture from the notion of securing and compounding political and property assets of those with something to lose.

    The Herdegenians of the world believe the most wonderous proof of its perfection lies in the fact that today even the most common and unsophisticated among us find it well withing our means to practice — and enjoy — rituals and amusements once reserved for the elite.

    David: the greatest sin is intolerance. Each one of us is an expression of the mind of god. It’s up to you, and me, and everyone else to figure that out and find the way home.

    Jon: Singing with the Rads was one of the great highlights of my life. To be on a stage in my hometown, among people who’d known me most of my life, singing with a band I rank among those whose music I’d need on that mythical, deserted isle…that’s a keeper.

    While you wouldn’t be the only one to be able to recount tales of my passing out, nor shooting at stars, you may be among the first with a license to do so. And here we are, more than 30 years on. Didn’t you give me this method for figuring out how much longer we might be around to tell such tales?

    Bonnie: can we raise 30 -40 million for the Watada-Lazar ticket? I’m in!

  11. Tam O’Tellico - June 10, 2006 @ 7:23 am

    Lon, thanks for the kind words, but I think you may have missed my point. Lavish weddings, bridal registries, divorce lawyers, pre-nuptial agreements and a host of “civilized” additions to the institution of marriage may well serve to advertise and promote net worth. But they have little to do with the underlying basic institution of marriage as practiced in almost any culture you can name.

    The fact is marriage exists even in those cultures where property – as we understand it in our acquistive culture – often does not. Now, if you want to equate the notion of a small body pouch containing a handful of prized possessions and symbolically precious mementoes with stocks, bonds, a BMW and a mansion on the hilltop, then I suppose cultures like the San can be said to have “property”. I would not accept such a notion.

    But such cultures do value marriage for the reasons I stated previously – as a means of protecting future generations and insuring the continued existence of The People. This principle is the very foundation of traditional Hebrew faith.

    My point in the context of this discussion is that a committed, homosexual relationship can promote family values, too. What it can’t provide is the offspring necessary to insure the continued existence of The People. While that may have been a concern for desert nomads 3,000 years ago, and while it continues to be a concern for tribes like the San, the last time I looked, there were few people concerned about the under-population of this planet.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why religious zealots are so frenzied about this issue; it truly seems that they are concerned that once freed from societal constraints, people will suddenly rush to sexual conversion. Nor can I understand their stance on the issue of abortion, when they are so often so callous about the protection and sustenance of children who are born.

    Let me put this as plainly as I can: The Cherokee had homosexuals and abortions, but they had no widows and no orphans. Would that our culture could be as civilized.

    P.S. Congrats on the Radiators; the thrill of my life was opening for Willie Nelson in 1997

  12. charles rachlis - June 10, 2006 @ 11:29 am

    News that Zarqawi was dead came to me just prior to my arrival at the airport. Being well trained for travel, I stripped off my belt and shoes (brought no jacket) and proceeded through the TSA checkpoint.

    Watching full-grown American buisness people and other middle class Americans patted down and searched it occured to me that Osama and Zarqawi have done their job well. The American people are now used to, prepared for, and willing participants in the “Total Information Awarness” age.

    How far is it before we are willing to give up our 4th amemdment rights against unreasonable search and seizure with out a peep? …woops, forgot that it’s already so. TheNSA spy machine is constantly at work monitoring my international phone calls to and from my anti-imperialist breatheren in countries south of the border.

    Angela Davis had a book entitled “If They Come In The Morning” which at that time exposed U.S. Government Police activies against political activists. The POLICE STATE is nothing new. The FBI, local “RED SQUADS” and the rest of the power of the State apparatus have for a long time invaded our privacy, planted spies and agent provacateurs in progressive, radical and revolutionary political organizations, as well as tracking , following and killing activists.

    The “School of the Americas” funded by our tax dollars, has for decades been training torture methods (these techniques are familiar to us all now as they are also used at GITMO and Abu Graib) to the military and police of our Latin American neighbors so they could practice “counter-insurgency” against their trade unionists, church activists,
    indigenous activists, their nationalist and socialist revolutionaries, in order to prop up the local rich, who in turn allow American and European Corporations the right to plunder their natural resources.

    Note the fury of the US State Department when a nationalist government arrises to take back local resourses, resulting in US/CIA inspired coups (Allende), attempted coups (Hugo Chavez), and attempted murder (dozens of documented attempts on the life of Castro).

    Nor is this practice of international terror and destabilization new.

    So when I read well-wishers hoping for the arrival of civilization in the “cradle of civilizatioin” I have to ask, to what level of civilization do they wish to elevate these poor unfortunates? Ours?

    While we stand in line for the pat down, the real terrorists are in the White House, planning how to run up the pentagon budget so as to trickle big bucks down to the big boys (Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel, Lockeed Martin ….), who love how the American people have been snookered into being complacent citizens of THE EMPIRE.

    Once a freedom-loving people, we now justify the accidential killing of children and non combatants by claiming the bad guys use them as human shields (listen to Michael Savage for such vehament slime).

    All the while the so called “religious” right works itself up into a frenzy trying to restrict freedom of choice (both in terms of who we love and who controls our bodily functions), not realizing that they’re closer in their politics to Osama than to freedom-loving Americans who struggle every day in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

    Considering the 500,000 children who died during the sanctions agaist Iraq that spanned both the Bush presidencies and the Clinton years, it is the height of folly to have ever stated Amerian troops would be welcomed with flowers.

    Compared to the pain of the sanctions inflicted on the Iraqi people, the crimes of Zarqawi are minimal. If justice was to be meted out in equal proportions, we should expect 500 lb bombs to be dropped on the Clinton Estate in Chappaqua NY, and the Bush hideaways in Maine, DC, and Texas.

    And we wonder why they hate us.

  13. Butler Crittenden - June 10, 2006 @ 2:55 pm

    . . . and, exactly 50 years ago, W. H. Auden wrote “The Shield of Achilles,” one of the greatest poems ever on the insanity of war:

    “They marched away enduring a belief
    Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.”

    —– Original Message —–

    The Second Coming — William Butler Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    — William Butler Yeats

    http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/289.html

  14. Meredtih Charpantier - June 11, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

    There are those who believe in a god who condems murder and war as its progenitor, and those who believe in a god who condemns “murder” when love was the parent.

    And never, it seems, the twain shall they meet.

    Though they come together nicely in these pages to battle it out. Good touch.

    More rock and roll hall of fame. You all. Rock on.

  15. David Gizzarelli - June 11, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

    Charles

    The United States of America is a good country. We have been there to end wars and to liberate and stabalize countries. We offer aid thoughout the world. We are not always successful as we learned in Vietnam. Iraq is just another country that is screwed up. The USA is not perfect as you and I are not perfect. But we’re trying and we are not alone in our fight. The world does not hate us. This is media conceived paranoia. The world LOVES the United States. They all want to come here. They all want to be like us. And just like the suckers we are, we keep helping them. We keep letting them into our country. We keep lending them money.

    Much like my situation. I’ve been supporting my local music community for years, but not once has any of my musician friends asked me to open for their show. Not once have they asked me to sit in with them on a song. Not once have I been asked to feature. People just like to take and take and take. America just likes to give.

  16. charles rachlis - June 12, 2006 @ 7:47 am

    David,

    It it is telling that the state department tells people not to travel with US flags on their back packs. Many young travelers sport Canadian flags so as to protect themselves from all those who love us.

    I have traveled in many contries and found that the truth of our CIA and the School of the America’s (SOA) participation in the violation of human rights thoughtout Latin America is a well known fact. Torture and murder thoughout El Salvador at the behest of Ronald the Raygun is well documented. The slaughter of thousands in Guatamala with our State Departments assistance is also well known. It would behove you to travel the world and talk to those involved in the trade union movement you just need to talk to a few become informed of the brutality of US governmental organizaitons abroad.

    As for Vietnam we are responsible for close to 3million dead there and the poisoning of their land with agent orange (dioxin) birth defects and cancer still afflict the population. Our crimes in Vietnam are recognized around the world as they were here by 70% of the population who came to oppose that war.

    Take some time out of your music community and look into the reality of world affairs. I suggest you travel to Chile and ask local trade unionists about life under Pinochet who was installed in a US backed coup.

    As for Iraq during the years that Sadam was engaged in war with Iran Donnie boy Rumsfeld did the dirty work of the US by supporting him even during his criminal use of chemical warfare against both the Iranians and possibliy the Kurds.

    Our actions to stabilize countries and oust dicatators is indeed selctive and serving of certain interests. No one in the administration can deny that for year our government condemed Nelson Mandela’s “terrorist” orgainzaiton the ANC and supported the criminal aparthide regime in South Africa. Today we ignore our criminal compicancy in that brutal regime. Only the progressive and civil rights community in the USA came to the defence of South African liberation a task for which many were put under government survalliance during the 1970’s.

    Yes I declare that the US government is and has been criminal in its practices abroad. The worst terrorists in the world today run the US government and if there was justice in this world the likes of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, Dick Chaney, and W not to mention Clinton, Gore and company would be put on trial for crimes against humanity.

    Sorry that does not fit your delusional picture of America the home of the free and the brave.

  17. Tam O’Tellico - June 12, 2006 @ 9:53 am

    Charles, you are quite right that certain aspects of American culture are envied and adopted around the world. Also inarguable is that without our substantial sacrifice in WW II, most of the world would now speak German. The Marshall Plan is a singular instance in history of the victors saving rather than punishing the vanquished.

    However, we are a long way removed from the afterglow of the Second World War, and much of the planet now views us as a greedy bully – at least when it comes to our foreign policy. Some of this is a natural consequence of the fall of the USSR, a counter-balancing force which held in check the worst of our impulses.

    Ironically, we are now being led by men who are slaves to the same Marxian historical mindset in that they believe the fall of the USSR was inevitable because of our moral superiority. They view our present struggle against terrorism in the same way – as a struggle of Good against Evil, and therefore, the outcome must inevitably go our way because we are the Good Guys.

    Strange that such minds see no conflict between their professed moral superiority and the spying, lying and propagandizing they foist off on their own people, propaganda that has little if any positive affect on the rest of the world, but seems to work wonders at keeping a great many Americans delusional. There is much to be concerned about with this “Unitary President”, the Decider who knows better than all others what the law is because he is above the law himself. We are living out the old joke “The law is what I say it is.” That is no better than the Divine Right of Kings, and leaves us all slaves to the failed notion that Might makes Right

    All this begs the question whether the military-industrial complex that now runs this country is that far removed from that of the Third Reich. I know some are offended by such comparisons, but at the very least, we seem to be trying to become the New Rome. But Pax Americana does not appear to be going that well at the moment. The democratization of communication via the Internet and cell phones, and easy access to weapons of all sorts ‚Äì which we are as much to blame for as any nation — makes it difficult to keep the conquered conquered ‚Äì as events in Afghanistan and Iraq provide graphic witness.

    Yes, we can kill Zarqawi and eventually we will probably get Osama, too. But that will not end this struggle, it will only worsen it because we will be creating more martyrs for those who view martyrdom as the ultimate destiny.

    Asking whether America is the Good Guy or the Bad Guy is like asking whether the glass is half-empty or half-full – it misses the real question: Is it safe to drink the water?

    We need to stop our ridiculous posing about being knights in unshiny body armor and ask the question many of us posed before we got ourselves buried in a shit and sand storm in the MidEast. Does our policy of aggression (call it pre-emption if you can’t handle the truth) truly benefit this nation or does it merely benefit those with a vested interest in guns and oil?

    Unfortunately, we have been lied to from the git-go by those in charge of our foreign policy, therefore a reasoned answer to that question is all but impossible to come by. But if I were dying of thirst in the desert, I wouldn’t swallow anything handed to me by this administration.

    Rather than a half-full glass of water, we are being asked to drink the kool-aid.

  18. charles rachlis - June 12, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

    Tam,

    I think you ment to address David as I am in general agreement with most of your substantive statements.

    Factually the there is no denying the role of the “Greatest generation” in defeating Hitler but the Red Army did the bulk of the work of sucking the wind out of the NAZI war machine and the people of the USSR were the bulk of the victems of the NAZI onslaught some 20 million soviet citizens were killed.

    Your equating the current mindset of our countries leadership with the “Marxian” mindset is questionable to me. If you would rephrase your comment to read “Stalinist rhetoric” as opposed to “Marxian mindset” I would find closer ground to agree with you on.

    The Marxist methodology does not include broad statements of moral superiority to justify or predict the ultimate victory of the working class acting in its own interest over the current dictatorship of Capital.

    Rather the marxist method weighs the dynamics of the interaction the forces of production (how production is organized and realized) and the social relations (how human relations are stratafied as in classes, organized as in state structures, molded as in their consciousness) in a given society at a given time. From the resultant analyisis the marxist theorist/practicionar develops a historical balance sheet of the relationship of class forces locally, nationally, internationally which is used to develop methods of intervention and participation in the struggles of the oppressed, and the working class for liberation from the anarchistic, brutal rule of Capital through its agents (the capitalist class, the state buracracy, and its warrior elite including the pentagon, NSA, CIA, etc).

    Note I state that the CAPITAL acts though its agents. CAPITAL appears to take on a life of its own overshadowing, indeed creating the consciousness of individuals and in turn molding the consciousness all social classes that must, by virtue of participation in the economy interact with it. The possestion of CAPITAL as well as the non-possestion of CAPITAL molds the world view of the individual and the social class they come from. The Capitalist class (those born owning, or coming to own thru their dealings, the means of production…you might know them as trust fund babies, their parents, or as entrepenures) see only the up side of CAPITAL. Much like the Royalty of days gone by who believed in the Divine Right of Kings.

    The consciousness of those whose bellies are swelled by CAPITAL worship its reign as the ultimate development of political economy (the so called end of history). Conversly the class whose sweat and labor-power is transformed throught the produciton process into CAPITAL
    has their conciousness molded in a contrary direction. The working class comes to see itself as a class and act in its own interests asking the age old question “If I am not for myself who will be?” Throughout the world the mass of workers find thier way into and organize political parties which seek to represent them as a class. In the United States the power of CAPITAL has for a long time deminished the self consciousness of the workers. The bread and circus method of ancient Rome (today fast food and identification with celebrity) continues to do its job of winning the working classes to the side of their birth-mother/exploiter CAPITAL.

    It is worth noting that when spokespeople for the working class argue to tax the rich in order to fund social wealfare or call for better pay for workers, the talking heads of CAPITAL attack them for launching class warefare. Conversley preachers of the rule of CAPITAL constantly seek to deminish the view that we live in a class society thus obscuring the class nature of the STATE. In turn they (read the schools, the media, the news, the group think of the upper class) promote the view that anyone can get rich and that you are a looser if you end up in a dead end job making the median national income (where you do not own the means of production). It is your own fault you are part of the mass and will never amount to anything. Your misery is of your own making and there is nothing you can do about it (except buy some tapes from Tony Robbins or Suzy Orman).

    Marxists on the other had incite class warfare with the cry “Workers of the world unite you have nothing to loose by your chains and you have a world to win”.

    Liberals/Greens and their ilk on the other hand go along with the rule of CAPITAL and seek only to reform its excesses to tame the sleeping giant (note social security was not a gift from FDR but a hard fought victory won in the labor battles during the rise of the CIO). The liberal will readily point to the “excesses of the rule of CAPITAL” when the Republicans are in power. However, when the Democrats need their support they will ignore the crimes of the Democrats (see 500,000 dead Iraqi children mostly during Clinton’s years, ending “welfare as we know it” also under Clinton, the raid at Waco also under Clinton, indiscrimanate bombing of Yugoslavia, bombing an Asprin factory thought to be Al Queada) and fall in rank behind war candidates like Kerry.

    Ultimately the Liberal and the Green find the rule of CAPITAL acceptable and further promote the ideology/mythology of the classless government which is available to all through the so-called democratic process. Which indeed serves to further difuse the self-actualization of the working class from a class in-it-self to a class for-it-self.

    Class lines are being drawn and all will be called upon to choose sides. It may not be apparent to the well fed and insulated class here but in Latin America the ranks of worker’s organizations are swelling. The experience of the self organization of the working class in Argentina and in Venezuala has the potential of shaking the rule of CAPITAL. History is far from over the final battle to save the world from the exploiters and commence rational production for the needs of people, other species and the planet is clearly on the agenda. It is an most inconvienent truth.

  19. Tam O’Tellico - June 12, 2006 @ 7:09 pm

    Charles, sorry about any confusion I exhibited.

    As for Marx, I was referring to the claim attributed to Marx’ that capitalism must inevitably fall to communism. If history teaches us anything, it is that economics is an inexact science, and it’s predictive value is highly suspect.
    My point in making the comparison between this administration and Marx was that in both cases the belief in the inevitablity of their cause bears more resemblance to religion than economic theory.

    The Bushites seem to be guilty of exactly the same sort of fatalistic “historical inevitability” as Marx, though the Bushite view owes to the supposed Christian bent of these men. Bent is perhaps the perfect word to describe their perverted view of Christianity. In short, if God is on our side, who then can stand against us? No one seems to comprehend that there is an “if” clause in this hypothesis.

    Personally, I have never found anyone who can reconcile the basic tenets of Christianity and capitalism. In fact, Christianity bears far more resemblance, at least theoretically, to communism. On the other hand, communism as postulated bears little resemblance to communism as practiced. In practice, godless Communism operated as a religion far more often than as a government. The Chinese were and are guilty of this, and monsters like Pol Pot were particularly so.

    As for your obviously informed opinion about the confrontational nature of the future, you are quite right to suggest the class war is far from over. You are also quite right that neither party seems particulary interested in addressing the most important social issues facing this country.

    But in my view, the wretched excesses of this administration have exacerbated divisions to the point where even the politically inept now see how badly they are being served by elected representatives beholden only to lobbyists, they can see increasing welfare for the rich, increasing environmentalo degradation, and increasingly disenfranchised voters.

    The policies of these greedy fools has led to unbearable national debt and unsustainable balance of trade in a time of peak oil and the falling from grace of the dollar as the medium of exhange in favor of the euro. All this points to a disastrous future for this country, a future that grows more imminent by the moment because of the continued greed and incompetence of this administration.

    Instead of addressing these very real problems, this administration and this Congress spends like a drunken sailor and wastes our much-needed resources on a suspect war for suspect reasons with suspect plans. I suspect that the dire consequences resulting from of all this profligacy and incompetency are inevitable.

  20. charles rachlis - June 12, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

    Tam,

    Again I find myself in agreement with your conclusions regarding the disasterous results of this adminsistrations actions for this country and if I may add the world at large.

    As for the reconciliation of the basic tenets of capitalism and christianity it has always been a strech to write exploitaion and oppression into christianity but every pope, slave holder and bible thumper has made a go of it. Their attempts may not withstand intellectual scrutiny but that does not belittle the impact of their labors.

    Small “c” communism on the other hand can be reconciled with the most compasionate teachings of most of the major religions. Christianity being a religion of slaves (it took off in the slave community of Rome) has a particular alignment with the communist redistribution of wealth.

    Your reading of Marx’s work as basing its practice on “historical inevitablity” is quite mistaken. I have not seen anywhere in Marx where the goal of communism is presented in his theory to be “inevitable” Rather Marx developed a methodology to arm the working class with the theortical tools of struggle to carry out a transformation of social relations that would meet their needs. For Marx only if and when the working class becomes a self conscious actor on the world stage acting in its own self interest would communism become a possibility. Until 1871 this was all theory for Marx but the rise of the Paris Commune and the self organizationof the working class to govern Paris, though short lived, confirmed for Marx that his theory was indeed an expression of the development of the working classes possibilties.

    It was revisionist social democrats like Edward Bernstein who promoted the inevitabiliy of the transition to communism. This school of thought prevelent in the Social Democratic International (the second international home of the Labor Party in Britian, the French Social Democrats the Isralie Labor Party today ….) channeled the aspirations of the working class away from revolution and toward reform. These organizaions ultimately were responsible in a big way for allowing world war one to happen.

    As for the deformed and degenerated worker’s states that bore the mantle of Communism for more than half a century there is a long running tradition of Marxist critique of those societies involving both theoretical and practical struggle against the Stalinist regimes.

    Those who see the value of Marxism as a method and of communism as postulated find it important to not only understand and explain but to struggle against the Stalinist regimes their policies and practices.

    Indeed the history of the 20th century is wrought with betrayels of working class revolutions by the Stalinist Communist Parties particualry the Chinese revolution of 1925-27 where the Communists allied with the Nationalist against the Japanese only to abandon the workers in the major industrial centers to slaughter by the Nationalists destroying the emerging centers of workers self organization and paving the way for Mao’s reliance on the peasanty. Again in Spain from 36-39 the Communist Party turned the power (read guns) of the Republic against the workers revolution (see Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell). Betrayels of working class uprisings by the Stalinist Communist Party’s internationally goes hand in hand with the betrayel in 1914 by the old Social Democratic parties of Europe which voted to support the their nations entry into the war pitting working class soldiers from warring countries against each other. Clearly a causal factor in the erruption of the Russian Revoluion and the isolation of the young soviet republic which followed. NAZISM as well as can be causally linked to the consequences of WWI.

    Class conflict is the only thing inevitable in Marx’s analysis. The persistant defeat of the worker’s attempts at self organizaiton and revoultion is the result of the relationship of forces and the theoretical relevence or lack there-of, of the leadership of the class in periods of sharp confrontation.

    The crisis we are in now, perpetuated by the extended rule of Capital may well lead to the destruction of the web of life on this planet. Inevitabilty is not an issue, survival is. I have yet to see any serious capitalist present a plan where capitalism can turn this crisis around. The task falls to the masses who in this world today are workers and peasents.

    Which is ultimatly why Marxists seek to win progressive thinkers to the side of the working class and enlist their intellects in the development of revolutionary theory and practice.

  21. lonbud - June 13, 2006 @ 1:10 am

    It’s fascinating to me, this notion that one day the working class, acting in its self-interest, may organize a revolutionary shift in the balance of power that will result in a harmonious exisistence wherein there is enough from each, according to his ability to each, according to his need.

    Capitalist theory, on the other hand, posits a neverending progression of increasing wealth, ease, and comfort to those with the happy combination of brains, good fortune, and the fortitude to protect and employ capital in their self-interest.

    Meanwhile the history of the working class is a tragic one of disorganization and betrayal, while the history of capital — despite the mountains of human bones rising from oceans of human blood on which it rests — has played out much as written in the script.

    We do, as Charles points out, appear to be at an inflectiion point where capitalist practice is straining the host’s capacity for supporting it. True Believers, of course, pooh-pooh concerns for the destruction of the web of life as “scientific theory.”

    My guess is that we shouldn’t look soon for a plan where capitalism can turn this crisis around. On the other hand, these are dark days, indeed, for organized labor and the working class seems more smitten with theocratic balms every day.

  22. Tam O’Tellico - June 13, 2006 @ 10:04 pm

    Don’t know who said it, but I’m fond of this quote: Capitalism is the exploitation of Man by Man, and Communism is the opposite.”

    Whichever flavor of economic Kool-Aid one chooses to swallow, the consequences seem to be pretty much the same for the “masses”. At the risk of sounding like an elitist, I believe one reason for this is that the masses seldom seldom operate out of “enlightened self-interest”. See the French Revolution or most any union election for details.

    Of course, the same can be said for their corporate masters, who cannot comprehend that they, too, are part of the web. Rather, they are content to respond to the rotting all around them with the functional equivalent of “let them eat cake”.

  23. David Gizzarelli - June 13, 2006 @ 10:29 pm

    Charles

    The state department tells people not to wear flags because there is a fight against terrorism. The state department tells people not to wear flags because there is a terror movement throughout the world that is blowing up innocent people. I’d like to keep reading these posts, but all I see is large words and intelligent looking sentences that are missing common sense. There has always been wars and there will always be. There has always been corruption and there will always be. The current administration is not the only greedy self serving administration. The United States is not the only country to have men and women dying for no reason. The only thing anyone can do in the chaotic out of control world is hope that Jesus comes back soon before more young innocent men women and children are lost to this new age movement that says it’s alright to be gay, it’s alright for a man to marry a man, it’s ok to kill unborn children, and it’s ok to not care about your fellow man. One thing, among many, that makes me sad is that people father are fighting for this country but what are they fighting for? So values can be destroyed? So morals can be a thing of the past? So liberals can fool people enough to get their vote and money? We have all lost when we lose sight of what we are. And what are [were] we? A strong decent collection of peoples that have something that all the other countries want … integrity. But we are losing it. It’s being stolen from us.

    This is the way of the world. There is no stopping it. The strong rise to power and conquer. If the USA doesn’t do it then someone else will. It’s common sense.

  24. Tam O’Tellico - June 14, 2006 @ 5:53 am

    David, I certainly agree that “war and rumors of war” certainly seems to be the lesson of history. But I’m confused; your posts seem to suggest America is no better than the rest of the world while at the same time arguing that we are the greatest nation in history. How is that possible?

    That same sort of self-contradictory argument can be found in the sanctimonious bleating about bringing “democracy” to the world vomited by apologists for our naked oil-grabbing aggression.

    My argument is was and always will be, you can’t have it both ways. Before you can ever hope to pass off democracy or the teachings of Christ onto the rest of the world, you must practice them as a person and as a nation. We have a very long way to go on both counts.

    You also reveal a James Wattian streak in your apocalyptic longing for the return of Jesus to make things all right. Don’t expect that to happen any time soon. Though “no man knoweth the hour of His coming”, I can give you a pretty good guess. Jesus won’t be returning until we are wise enough not to kill him again – which is exactly what would happen to him today.

    As for your homophobia, do you not find it strange that in a time and place where marriage and children were of fundamental importance, the Gospels make no mention of the wives or children of Jesus or his disciples? Do you not wonder what was the the thorny affliction that so haunted Paul and so deeply troubled his soul? Do you not find it curious that there are so many closeted gays among the Catholic clergy? What would you think if Jesus returned and announced he was gay to the millions who claim his name without practicing the love of sinners and strangers that is the very heart of his teachings?

    I know not what Jesus would do in the privacy of his own bedroom, but I know what he would say 0n this subject: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

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