In his dystopian novel Splinterlands, John Feffer looks ahead to life on planet earth in the year 2050. The signs of societal breakdown in the not-so-distant future, if we look, are already apparent in our world today. Feffer follows them to their logical conclusion. The climate is at war with the human species and every other species. The European Union, overrun with climate refugees, has disintegrated. China and Russia have folded in on themselves, as has the United States, where fractious and violent militias and gangs battle over diminishing resources.
One hundred years ago this week, Sylvia Beach, who ran the bookstore Shakespeare and Company on 12 rue de l’Odéon in Paris and nurtured a community of expatriate writers that included Richard Wright, T.S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, Thornton Wilder, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, placed in the bookstore’s front window a 732-page novel she had published, “Ulysses” by James Joyce. “Ulysses” had been rejected by numerous publishers in English speaking countries. The book, which was banned in the United States and Great Britain because of its “obscenity” until the 1930s, takes place during a single day in Dublin, June 16, 1904. It would swiftly become one of the most important novels of the 20th century, drawing its inspiration from Homer’s “The Odyssey.” “Ulysses,” which I have read three times accompanied by a book of annotations by Don Gifford to catch the literary and historical references, is timeless.
Former Army Major Danny Sjursen, a frequent contributor to Popular Resistance, urges people to consider themselves citizens of humanity and not of a nation. Sjursen is the author of "Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War" where he defines patriotism as wanting the country to live up to its aspirations, that dissents from the United States when it is wrong. When a country becomes an empire, Sjursen says it is our patriotic duty to dissent. Sjursen discusses three types of patriotism. Principled participatory patriotism takes the same sense of duty to urge the United States to become a better place that lives up to its values. Even the small numbers of people who take dissent as a role of patriotism have an impact on the direction of the country. Dissenters range across the political spectrum from libertarians to anti-imperialist leftists.
Something every American takes for granted has made the coronavirus outbreak much worse. That thing sits ingrained in our minds since we could barely take two steps without a face full of carpet. But before I get to that, let’s set the scene. I don’t have to tell you that things are bad. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, our economy (based almost completely on everyone buying things they don’t need at prices they can’t afford) has tanked, a record 3.3 million Americans just filed for unemployment...
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been delving back into one of my favorite books, “Plagues and Peoples,” by the celebrated historian William H. McNeill. Its relevance to today’s headlines is fairly obvious. What makes the book so compelling is McNeill’s ecological sensibility: He understands human beings as biological organisms embedded in living systems. For him, conquerors like Genghis Khan are macropredators, disease organisms are micropredators, and human history is the tale of how both have shaped population levels and relative degrees of social power. In his discussion of the role of diseases in the political developments of 18th-century Europe, McNeill makes this remarkable observation...
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday his plans to authorize the construction of some 3,500 new illegal homes for Jewish settlers in one of the most sensitive areas of the occupied West Bank. "I have given instructions to immediately publish for deposit the plan to build 3,500 housing units in E-1," Netanyahu said in a speech, describing the first phase of a planning process, adding that "this had been delayed for six or seven years."
After lengthy delays, the United Nations finally published a database last week of businesses that have been profiting from Israel’s illegal settlement activity in the West Bank. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, announced that 112 major companies had been identified as operating in Israeli settlements in ways that violate human rights.
February 15, 2020 "Information Clearing House" - Israeli soldiers shoot children. Sometimes they wound them and sometimes they kill them. Sometimes the children wind up brain dead, sometimes disabled. Sometimes the children have thrown rocks at the soldiers, sometimes Molotov cocktails. Sometimes by chance they wind up in the middle of a confrontation. They almost never put the soldiers’ lives in danger.
Activism and protests marked West Papua’s 50th anniversary last year of the so-called Act of Free Choice, which formalised Indonesia’s control over the territory, with the region’s people once again demanding independence from Indonesia. In January 2019, West Papuan activists delivered a petition to the United Nation (UN) demanding a referendum on West Papuan independence.
Media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict over the years has typically portrayed Palestinians as obstinate and imperious negotiating partners who insist on unreasonable preconditions before reaching an agreement (e.g., US News, 6/20/12; Wall Street Journal,4/28/13; Jerusalem Post, 7/18/17). When Israel’s preconditions are reported, the precondition that the peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians should be mediated by the US is often omitted.
The Trump “Deal of the Century” is nothing if not predictable. The product of a small group of Orthodox Jewish Americans willingly adopting the long-standing plans of the Israeli right, it merely reaffirms what Israeli policy has in fact done “on the ground” over the past 53 years. In fact, we in the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) made a map 15 years ago that corresponds closely to Trump’s map.
When the two old political fraudsters emerged at the White House this week with the most deranged, farcical tragi-comedy in Middle East history, it was difficult to know whether to laugh or cry. The 80-page “peace” plan from the White House contained 56 references to “Vision” in its first 60 pages – and yes, with a capital V on each occasion to suggest...
Palestinian leaders threatened on Sunday to withdraw from key provisions of the Oslo Accords, which define arrangements with Israel, if US President Donald Trump announces his proposal for Israel and Palestine this week. The Oslo Accords resulted in Israel’s recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organisation as a representative of the Palestinian people and a party to the peace negotiations, while the PLO, in turn officially recognised Israel’s right to exist peacefully and renounced the use of violence to achieve its goals, according to AMN.
In a wide-ranging interview, Yaakov Sharett, the son of one of Israel's founding fathers, says he regrets settling the Negev in the 1940s - and the entire Zionist project. “My name is Yaakov Sharett. I am 92 years old. I happen to be my father’s son for which I am not responsible. So this is how it is.” Yaakov chuckles and looks up from under a woolly hat towards a photograph of his father - proud in collar and tie - on his study wall in Tel Aviv. Moshe Sharett was a founding father of Israel, its first foreign minister and its second prime minister from 1954-55.
While revelers around the world are making new year’s resolutions for 2020, in the Gaza Strip, a different kind of assessment is taking place as Palestinians try to determine whether, or how, they can survive the next 10 years. In 2012, the United Nations published a report whose title asked a jarring question: “Gaza in 2020: A Liveable Place?” The report surmised that without fundamental change and collective effort, the strip would become “unlivable” in only eight years’ time.