Posts from May 2012

CFP: Affinities, on “Challenging the rhetoric of non-State actors, political violence and ‘terrorism’”

Received to-day via the North American Anarchist Studies Network e-mail list. Feel free to distribute widely.

From: Michael Loadenthal
Subject: CFP: “Challenging the rhetoric of non-State actors, political violence, and ‘terrorism’”
Date: 28 May 2012 11:49am

Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action
www.affinitiesjournal.org

Call for papers for Issue #6: “Challenging the rhetoric of non-State actors, political violence and ‘terrorism’”

Affinities, a journal of contemporary radical politics, is now accepting submission proposals from individuals or collectives interested in contributing to a special edition focused on non-State actors, political violence and ‘terrorism.’ The purpose of this special edition of Affinities is to reengage critical anti-authoritarian scholarship with themes that challenge Statist attempts to control discourses around violence. Who is a terrorist? What is terrorism? When does resistance become violence? How does one label direct action movements? This special issue seeks to create space for an evolving discourse beyond the ‘violence versus non-violence,’ debate. How can we move stagnant conversations about tactical efficacy, the ethics of non-violence, the strategy of economic sabotage and direct action forward?

Submissions are warmly invited for this special issue as it our intent to open up a space for reflection, critique and revolutionary analysis. Submissions can come from any and all ‘disciplines’ including but not limited to: anarchist studies, critical theory, Marxist studies, Queer theory/LGBT studies, public anthropology, cultural studies, terrorism studies, security studies, peace studies, conflict analysis or others. We also accept nonpeer reviewed submissions from artists, activists, journalists and others outside of the academy.

Possible topics for submission include (but are not limited to):

  • Effective challenges to statist monopolization of discourses involving violence, terrorism, and the ethics of state vs. non-state violence
  • Anti-statists and their relationships to nationalist (liberation?) movements
  • What is militant non-violence and can it be effective?
  • Anarchist and other perspectives or critiques of violence in the Palestinian intifada, the Chechen jihad, the Angry Brigade, the Occupy movement…
  • How can radical communities respond to State terrorism and/or non-State violence?
  • What role can horizontal direct action movements have in mediating conflict?

To see previous issues of Affinities, or for more information on the journal, please visit www.affinitiesjournal.org. To propose a paper, please submit an abstract (500 words max.) no later than June 30, 2012, to Michael.Loadenthal@gmail.com. Authors whose abstracts are accepted for the special issue will be contacted by mid-July, with final articles to be due mid-October.

Please direct inquiries & abstracts to the issue editor: Michael Loadenthal (Michael.Loadenthal@gmail.com)

Universal health care does not mean government health care.

I’ve seen this note that I wrote a while back at ThinkProgress.org popping up here and there on the Internet. I’m glad that people have found it useful. Since it is currently locked up in a horrible Facebook-based dynamically transcluded comment thread thingy, I figured that I would re-copy and re-print here, so that the point, if it was worth making, can have a something of a real home on the Internet. The comment was in reply to a reply to Matt Yglesias’s reply to Roderick Long’s reply to a conversation between Wolf Blitzer and Ron Paul about healthcare policy. Roderick (rightly) thought that Paul’s answer to the questions betrayed a serious mistake about how to think about free-market healthcare. Yglesias (wrongly) thought that Roderick was encouraging libertarians to avoid the important question. A commentator called ds_at_yglesias chimed in:

If you oppose universal health care, you by definition support letting people who can’t afford health care die.

Most conservatives are socialized to not say such things in public, but of course they believe it.

—ds_at_yglesias, 15 September 2011, 7:39pm

Of course, I don’t give a tinker’s cuss about saving the reputation of political conservatives. But there’s an important conceptual issue for anti-authoritarians. So I replied (emphasis added):

Maybe so. (Certainly, there are plenty of conservatives who are all too comfortable with — or even enthusiastic about — a lot of needless suffering in the world.)

But I hope that you realize that not everyone who supports universal healthcare supports government healthcare, and not everyone who opposes government healthcare opposes universal healthcare. The one might follow from the other if the only way to get universal coverage were by means of a political guarantee of coverage. But that’s not so: there are folks who oppose government healthcare because they think corporate healthcare is awesome and they don’t mind if people die; but there are also folks who oppose government healthcare because they support non-governmental, non-corporate universal coverage through grassroots social organization and community mutual aid. (See for example http://radgeek.com/gt/2007/10/25/radical_healthcare/ or the closing sections of http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/health-care-debate-meaningful/.)

Of course, that leaves open the question of whether they (we — I’m one of ‘em) are right about the best means for getting universal coverage. Maybe social means are inadequate; or maybe there is some reason, which has yet to be mentioned, why governmental control is preferable, as a means for getting it, to voluntary associations for mutual aid. But whether the position is right or wrong, it’s certainly not one that can be answered simply by defining it out of existence, as you do when you pretend that the only alternatives available are (1) corporate coverage of only those who can afford it; or else (2) universal coverage by means of government mandates; as if there were no (3) universal coverage by non-governmental means.

—Charles Johnson, 16 September 2011, 10:32pm

Also.

Funding? More like, Is.

Dear The Nation Magazine,

I’ve just received your e-mail of May 24, headlined: Why Is Obama Funding A Murderous Regime? And I have to ask: Seriously?

I am glad that you have discovered U.S. foreign aid to the Honduran government,[1] and that you have realized that this is a problem. I’m glad that you have chosen to publish Dana Frank’s timely and important article on this. But I have no idea why you as editors are acting so surprised. Of course the Obama administration is funding a murderous government in Honduras. Mr. Obama’s administration has no reason to hesitate at backing murderous regimes; his own administration has after all killed thousands of people every year by perpetuating wars, escalating wars, and starting new wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and throughout the world. And the Obama administration’s military and police aid policies in Honduras are in absolutely no significant respect any different from the U.S. government’s foreign policy, in literally every single President’s administration, of military and monetary support for the forces of repressive regimes in Honduras, as well as in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, etc., etc. etc., for more than 100 years running.

Does it really take that much to figure this out? Barack Obama is many things. But first and foremost Barack Obama is the President of the United States. The headline of your article asked, Which Side Is the US On? Of course the answer is that the U.S. government is on the side of the government in power, not on the side of the people they murder and oppress. Your e-mail asks why Obama is funding a murderous regime. The answer is that he is funding a murderous regime because he is the head of a murderous regime, and the first loyalty of murderous governments is to other murderous governments.

Sincerely,
Charles W. Johnson

Also.

  1. [1] Which, like more or less all U.S. foreign aid, means aid first and foremost to the military and police forces that tyrannize and murder the people of Honduras.

Priorities (cont’d)

From CBS News, CIA sacrifices valuable intelligence source to foil underwear bomb plot

U.S. intelligence officials faced a difficult decision. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was looking for a suicide bomber. The target: an American jetliner. The only way for intelligence officials to ensure they controlled the plot was to have their own agent volunteer to be the bomber and then hand the bomb to the CIA. The tradeoff: They would lose a source penetrated deep inside the organization — but they would save lives.

— John Miller, CIA sacrifices valuable intelligence source to foil underwear bomb plot, in CBS News (9 May 2012)

The choice presented here is a choice between giving up some government spying, on the one hand, or standing by and knowingly leaving hundreds of people to be murdered, all for the sake of your military-political priorities. I suppose I should be glad they didn’t choose the latter. But I must point out that this is a tradeoff only if you think you have a right to trade in human lives. And it is a difficult decision only if you don’t value those lives very highly.

Also.

Shameless Self-promotion Sunday: Diluvial Mother’s Day edition

Most of the week this week I’ve been spending tidying up, and prepping a lot of material for Fair Use Repository, some of which you can see in the recent posts at the Fair Use Blog, and some of which is soon to come along behind. Meanwhile, to-day, it is cool and cloudy outside, but not all crisp; it’s been pouring all day, and everything here is somewhere between dewy and soggy. What better day for calling Mom, and then staying inside with a good manuscript, a hot tea, and some Shamelessness?

What’s up with y’all this week? What have you been up to? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.