Bulletin N°220


29 December 2005
Grenoble, France

Christmas has come and gone, and the killings in Iraq continue. The CEIMSA research center is busy organizing our International Conference N4 this spring on : "The History of Pacifist Movements in the United States ". It will be a large 3-day event, beginning on Wednesday 5 April 2006, at the Université de Savoie in Chambéry, France . Our complete program for this event will be published in the coming weeks. . . .

Meanwhile, we share with you some recent items CEIMSA has received concerning the Anti-War Movement in the U.S. and its evolution over the past several months.

A. is a copy of my letter to pacifist folk singer Joan Baez, inviting her to participate in our International Pacifist Conference in Chambéry, in which I describe the history of our scientific work at CEIMSA and the obstacles we have had to encounter in Grenoble since the administrative changes at Stendhal University in spring 2004.

B. are short Internet video clips of two Rebecca MacNeice documentary films on the brave pacifist demonstrators in the United States who risked prison terms for expressing the courage of their convictions this year at Crawford, Texas and at Fort Benning, Georgia.

C. is a recent communication from Information Clearing House on the emerging democratic movements which might grow to eventually challenge ruling-class hegemony in American political culture. [See also the Anti-War.com article on the strategic importance of the U.S. Anti-War Movement in future U.S. foreign policy decisions :
://www.antiwar.com/orig/hirsch.php?articleid=8312 .]

Item D. is a communication from Professor Fred Lonidier at UCSD, who make some helpful observations on "Homeland Security" in America .

And finally, item
E. offers some much needed humor from Professor Bertell Ollman, at NYU, on nothing less than . . . Life against Death.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble-III


From: Francis FEELEY

Dear Joan Baez,

Since my early student years, during the anti-war movement in Austin, Texas, I have been an admirer of yours.

Later, in San Diego, California, in the early 1980s, I worked with the United Domestic Workers of America, an affiliate of the United Farm Workers, and your music continued to inspire my work. I became a university professor, after getting my Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and I have taught abroad for many years now. I was teaching at the University of Grenoble back in 1995-96, when you gave a concert, just weeks before my first daughter was born. In fact, my wife first felt her move during your performance. Naturally, when we learned that your were coming to Grenoble again this spring, we bought tickets so that we can experience your beautiful voice with our two daughters, Fiona (9) and Michelle (7). (My wife, Tanya Baklanova-Feeley, is a Russian concert pianist, and our children play cello and violin, as well as piano.)

I have been politically active all of my life, since growing up in the south Texas town of Weslaco, where I joined in resistance  against racism and authoritarianism at the local high school, and where I worked with the small Presbyterian church, where my family attended, against violence to Mexican migrant farm-laborers on the border, near my home.

I am writing you this letter to let you know how much you have influenced by life, and also to make a special request. As professor of American Studies here at The University of Grenoble, in southern France , I am also the Director of a Research Center, called CEIMSA (Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements). [Our web site is temporarily located at The University of California-San Diego.]

Since the creation of our Research Center, in 2000, we have organized several conferences, including three very large International Colliquiums : In January 2002, more than 1,200 people attended our two-day conference on "The Impact of American Multinational Corporations of Societies and the Environment". Many American intellectuals and activists, including the group associated with Noam Chomsky (Ed Herman, Michael Albert, Susan George, Jean Bricmont, Diana Johnstone), and Michael Parenti of Berkeley, Doug Dowd of San Francisco, Fred Lonidier of UCSD, Bertell Ollman of NYU, came to Grenoble to meet with their French counterparts to discuss and analyze the impact of U.S. multinational corporations.

This first big event was followed by another equally large conference on 5-6 May 2003, when my good friends Howard and Roz Zinn joined John Gerassi of Queens College-NYC, and a dozen French activists scholars to discuss "The Other Side of America: United States Foreign Policy and Domestic Policy".

The following year, in April 2004, Jim Hightower and Susan DeMarco came from Austin, Texas to join Diana Johnstone, Philip Golub, graphic artist, Joanna Learner, and several others for two days of discussions on "The Contemporary State Of American Political Culture". We enjoyed a very large turnout again April 2004.

I mention this brief history of our activities simply to let you know that we are doing our best to bring to students and citizens of this region alternative views of America , which are not readily available to them. But, as you can easily imagine, there has been a conservative backlash at my University, and despite the success of my research center's activities over the years (we published two books since 2002), the Center has been suppressed, the web site removed from the university server, and my 8 Ph. D. students have been obliged to enroll at the nearby University of Savoy, in Chambery, in order to complete their studies under my direction, despite the fact that I continue to teach at Grenoble.

Recently, the University of Savoy invited me to organize an international conference, and I have agreed once again to bring American and European scholars and activists together, this time for three days (5-7 April) to discuss : "The History of American Pacifist Movements". Although our budget is small, I have invited American pacifists Father Daniel Berrigan, Professor Harriet Alonso of City College of NY, to join San Francisco Attorney Robert Rivkin, and representatives from The Iraq Veterans against War and The Vietnam Veterans against War for a three-day discussion with war resisters in Europe, from the time of World War II and the Algerian War to the present.

When I learned that you would be in Grenoble on 17 March 2006, I looked at your web site [http://www.joanbaez.com/contacts.html] and discovered, much to my delight, that you plan to remain in the area of southern Europe -- Italy and Germany-- through mid-April, and that you seem not to have an engagement on the day of 6 April.

I would like to invite you to the University of Savoy in Chambéry on this day, and ask if you could give a performance, pro bono, for students attending our American Pacifist conference.

I wish I could offer you a fee with this request, but the constraints on our budget make this impossible. In the past, the generosity of participants like Howard Zinn, Jim Hightower, Susan George and others have made these International Conferences possible. I receive nothing, of course, for this work, except a considerable degree of negative attention from conservative and parochial forces in the area. Nevertheless, I am committed to continue my educational activities, and I would be very grateful if you were able to accept my invitation for a rendez-vous at Chambery on 6 April.

If you are interested in participating at this international event (on the Chambéry campus, about 30 minutes north of Grenoble, France ), please feel free to suggest any conditions which you might require for this to happen.

in solidarity,
Francis Feeley

from Truthout
28 December 2005

Two Rebecca MacNeice Documentary Films on Democracy in Action inside the USA :

The Prairie Chapel Road 12
A Film by Rebecca


School of the Americas Protest
A Film by Rebecca MacNeice

from Richard Drayton :
Information Clearing House
28 December 2005

Shock, awe and Hobbes have backfired on America 's neocons
[ Iraq has shown the hubris of a geostrategy that welds the philosophy of the Leviathan to military and
technological power]

By Richard Drayton

12/28/05 "The Guardian" -- -- The tragic irony of the 21st century is that just as faith in technology collapsed on the world's stock markets in 2000, it came to power in the White House and Pentagon. For the Project for a New American Century's ambition of "full-spectrum dominance" - in which its country could "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major-theatre wars" - was a monster borne up by the high tide of techno euphoria of the 1990s.

Ex-hippies talked of a wired age of Aquarius. The fall of the Berlin wall and the rise of the internet, we were told, had ushered in Adam Smith's dream of overflowing abundance, expanding liberty and perpetual peace. Fukuyama speculated that history was over, leaving us just to hoard and spend. Technology meant a new paradigm of constant growth without inflation or recession.
But darker dreams surfaced in America 's military universities. The theorists of the "revolution in military affairs" predicted that technology would lead to easy and perpetual US dominance of the world. Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters advised on "future warfare" at the Army War College - prophesying in 1997 a coming "age of constant conflict". Thomas Barnett at the Naval War College assisted Vice-Admiral Cebrowski in developing "network-centric warfare". General John Jumper of the air force predicted a planet easily mastered from air and space. American forces would win everywhere because they enjoyed what was unashamedly called the "God's-eye" view of satellites and GPS: the "global information grid". This hegemony would be welcomed as the cutting edge of human progress. Or at worst, the military geeks candidly explained, US power would simply terrify others into submitting to the stars and stripes.

Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance - a key strategic document published in 1996 - aimed to understand how to destroy the "will to resist before, during and after battle". For Harlan Ullman of the National Defence University, its main author, the perfect example was the atom bomb at Hiroshima. But with or without such a weapon, one could create an illusion of unending strength and ruthlessness. Or one could deprive an enemy of the ability to communicate, observe and interact - a macro version of the sensory deprivation used on individuals - so as to create a "feeling of impotence". And one must always inflict brutal reprisals against those who resist. An alternative was the "decay and default" model, whereby a nation's will to resist collapsed through the "imposition of social breakdown".

All of this came to be applied in Iraq in 2003, and not merely in the March bombardment called "shock and awe". It has been usual to explain the chaos and looting in Baghdad, the destruction of infrastructure, ministries, museums and the national library and archives, as caused by a failure of Rumsfeld's planning. But the evidence is this was at least in part a mask for the destruction of the collective memory and modern state of a key Arab nation, and the manufacture of disorder to create a hunger for the occupier's supervision. As the Sddeutsche Zeitung reported in May 2003, US troops broke the locks of museums, ministries and universities and told looters: "Go in Ali Baba, it's all yours!"

For the American imperial strategists invested deeply in the belief that through spreading terror they could take power. Neoconservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the recently indicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby, learned from Leo Strauss that a strong and wise minority of humans had to rule over the weak majority through deception and fear, rather than persuasion or compromise. They read Le Bon and Freud on the relationship of crowds to authority. But most of all they loved Hobbes's Leviathan. While Hobbes saw authority as free men's chosen solution to the imperfections of anarchy, his 21st century heirs seek to create the fear that led to submission. And technology would make it possible and beautiful.

On the logo of the Pentagon's Information Awareness Office, the motto is Scientia est potentia - knowledge is power . The IAO promised "total information awareness", an all-seeing eye spilling out a death-ray gaze over Eurasia. Congressional pressure led the IAO to close, but technospeak, half-digested political theory and megalomania still riddle US thinking. Barnett, in The Pentagon's New Map and Blueprint for Action, calls for a "systems administrator" force to be dispatched with the military, to "process" conquered countries. The G8 and a few others are the "Kantian core", writes Barnett, warming over the former Blair adviser Robert Cooper's poisonous guff from 2002; their job is to export their economy and politics by force to the unlucky "Hobbesian gap". Imperialism is imagined as an industrial technique to remake societies and cultures, with technology giving sanction to those who intervene.

The Afghanistan war of 2001 taught the wrong lessons. The US assumed this was the model of how a small, special forces-dominated campaign, using local proxies and calling in gunships or airstrikes, would sweep away opposition. But all Afghanistan showed was how an outside power could intervene in a finely balanced civil war. The one-eyed Mullah Omar's great escape on his motorbike was a warning that the God's-eye view can miss the human detail.

The problem for the US today is that Leviathan has shot his wad. Iraq revealed the hubris of the imperial geostrategy. One small nation can tie down a superpower. Air and space supremacy do not give command on the ground. People can't be terrorised into identification with America . The US has proved able to destroy massively - but not create, or even control. Afghanistan and Iraq lie in ruins, yet the occupiers cower behind concrete mountains.

The spin machine is on full tilt to represent Iraq as a success. Peters, in New Glory: Expanding America's Supremacy, asserts: "Our country is a force for good without precedent"; and Barnett, in Blueprint, says: "The US military is a force for global good that ... has no equal." Both offer ambitious plans for how the US is going to remake the third world in its image. There is a violent hysteria to the boasts. The narcissism of a decade earlier has given way to an extrovert rage at those who have resisted America 's will since 2001. Both urge utter ruthlessness in crushing resistance. In November 2004, Peters told Fox News that in Falluja "the best outcome, frankly, is if they're all killed".

But he directs his real fury at France and Germany : "A haggard Circe, Europe dulled our senses and fooled us into believing in her attractions. But the dugs are dry in Germany and France . They deluded us into prolonging the affair long after our attentions should have turned to ... India , South Africa , Brazil ."

While a good Kleinian therapist may be able to help Peters work through his weaning trauma, only America can cure its post 9/11 mixture of paranoia and megalomania. But Britain - and other allied states - can help. The US needs to discover, like a child that does not know its limits, that there is a world outside its body and desires, beyond even the reach of its toys, that suffers too.

Dr Richard Drayton, a senior lecturer in history at Cambridge University, is the author of Nature's Government, a study of science, technology and imperialism


Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

From Fred Lonidier
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 15:54:18 -0800
Subject: Homeland Security

Like many of you, I have had some trouble understanding what "Homeland
Security" is all about.  I mean FBI field officers had some of the WTC
bombers in sight taking flying lessons and all but they just couldn't get
their higher-ups to follow up on it.

And, I thought I knew what "homeland" was being referred to but I guess I
was wrong.  See, "Homeland" is on Highway 74, near Hemet CA, which we go
through both ways on our way to Idyllwild.

So, I hope I've cleared this all up for you.

Happy New Year,



from Bertell Ollman :
27 December 2005

Radical Jokes

("Radical" means to get at the roots of whatever is being described, and the roots of our society lie in the capitalist relations that structure and hence loosely determinewhether directly or indirectlyall that happens to us in this society. Jokes are radical when they reveal something important about these little understood relations and criticize their effects on our lives.)

A young girl asks her father, "Why is it so cold in the house?"

"We don't have any coal", he says.

"But why is there no coal?", she wants to know.

"Because I lost my job", he replies.

Still unsatisfied, she asks one more time"And why did you lose your job?"

To which he answers, "Because there is too much coal".

Boss to employee: "Young man, you have risen very fast in this company. Two years ago, you began as an office boy. In a couple of months, you were a clerk. Then, you became a salesman, after that assistant manager, then manager. Now you are the vice president of the company. What have you to say about all this?"

Employee: "Thanks, Dad".

Question: How many capitalists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Answer: None, since we don't need capitalists to screw in light bulbs or any thing else that really needs doing in our society.

Capitalism is a lot like an airplane in which the pilot announces to his passengers that he has two pieces of news to tell them. The good news is that they are traveling at the pre-established speed of 600 miles an hour and all the systems on the plane are functioning perfectly. The bad news is that they are lost.

(I've added the qualification "a lot" to the joke, because even capitalism's "systems" are not functioning all that well lately.)

Student asks his principal, "Where is my teacher?".

"Citywide layoffs", replies the principal.

"My text books?" asks the student.

"State austerity plan", says the principal.

"Student loan?" continues the student.

"Federal budget cuts", says the principal.

Finally, exasperated, student asks, "But how am I going to get an education?".

To which the equally exasperated principal replies, "This is your education".

A capitalist is walking through his factory with a friend.

Friend asks, "What did you tell that man just now?"

"I told him to work faster", answers the capitalist.

"How much do you pay him?" asks the friend.

"Fifteen dollars a day" answers the capitalist.

"Where do you get the money to pay him?" asks the friend.

"I sell products", answers the capitalist.

"Who makes the products?" asks the friend.

"He does", answers the capitalist.

"How many products does he make in a day?" asks the friend.

"Fifty dollars worth", answers the capitalist.

"Then", concludes the friend, "Instead of you paying him, he pays you thirty-five dollars a day to tell him to work faster".

"Huh", and the capitalist quickly adds, "Well, I own the machines".

"How did you get the machines?" asks the friend.

"I sold products and bought them", answers the capitalist.

"And who made those products?" asks friend.

To which the capitalist can only respondto his friend, but also to the media and to the schools"Shut up! He might hear you".

(Remember, I didn't say radical jokes had to be very funny to be radical, or to be jokes.)

A group of workers enter the boss's office and tell him that they have just taken over the factory. "You can't", says the boss. "I own it"

"And how did you come to own it?" asks one of the workers.

"It was left to me by my father", says the boss.

"How did he get it?" asks the worker.

"He got it from his father", says the boss.

"And he?" asks the worker.

"From his father", says the boss.

"And he?" persists the worker.

"He fought for it", says the capitalist in a burst of familial pride.

"Well", say the workers, all together this time, "We'll fight you for it".

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université de Grenoble-3
Grenoble, France