Wednesday, September 14, 2011

501. A Word with the Readers and the 10th Anniversary of September 11, 2001 terrorist Attacks

Assistant editor, Fluffy
This 501st post coincides with the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, a watershed in the U.S. and world politics.  What can be said about this anniversary?

The terrorist attacks and the U.S. response to them have been subjects of much discussion. I want to address a single question frequently asked these days: are “Americans and the world safer” today than before U.S. government response to these events?

Politicians, the mass media, and an army of “security experts” and pundits have answered in the affirmative.   They share the belief that the safety of the American public and the people of the world can only be assured through the exercise of the naked U.S. power at home and abroad, assisted by its allies. But what is the class nature of the United States?  Which social class organizes and runs the affairs of the state?  The current economic crisis can offer us an idea.  The U.S. government under Bush and Obama has not failed to assist corporation and entire economic sectors (e.g. finance and auto) while workers facing long-term employment have been quietly forgotten. The concepts of “safety” and “security” apparently too have a class character.  Thus. It is presumed and advertised that the safety of American public lies in the economic and political hegemony of the American capitalism protected by any means necessary.

This view has shaped methods and means employed to respond to the September 11 terrorist actions and Al Qaeda.  Policies pursued include limiting and even suspending civil liberties at home, especially through a racist anti-Arab and anti-Muslim campaign, and an imperialist war that has devastated Afghanistan and Iraq and has been expanded to Pakistan, Yemen and parts of Africa. 

Although liberal bourgeois currents and their pseudo-socialist counterparts have argued that repression at home and war abroad is essentially a Bush era policy, the presidency of Obama has largely maintained this legacy and in some respects expanded it.  The war in Afghanistan has been intensified and expanded to Pakistan and elsewhere.  Meanwhile, the liberal bourgeois opposition to such policies during the Bush presidency has died downed. There is no significant opposition to the continued limiting or suspending civil liberties or intensifying or expanding the “necessary war” (as Mr. Obama calls the ongoing imperialist war in Afghanistan).

To an observer not liberal politics and the Democratic Party, this bi-partisan response to the September 11 terrorist attacks is not surprising. It dovetails that anti-labor offensive that took its definitive shape under President Reagan and has continued to this day.  Labor bureaucrats note that there are difference between “friends of labor” (often Democratic party politicians) and outspoken anti-labor politicians (often republicans).  However, Democrats and Republican argue over tactics but agree on the strategy to serve that capitalist class they both serve. In fact, increasing repression at home and continuing imperialist war abroad complement the economic war employers and their government have been waging at home and abroad.  What is certain is that the center of American politics has shifted steadily to the right since the mid-1970s. 

So, are the working people safer in the U.S. and abroad given the policies outlined above?  The answer is clearly in the negative.  Not only because we are more at the mercy of the employers and their governments but also because of the policies we need to pursue that are not pursued as they run counter to the interest of the capitalist ruling classes.  I am referring to policies to protect the planet and its ecosystems and the environment, from global warming and climate change, to acidification of the oceans and species extinction.

The challenge remains for the labor movement, civil libertarians, anti-war movement, and the environmental/ecological movements to forge an ecological socialist movement that transcends the capitalist system in the U.S. and around the world and open the road to establishing a socialist society that thrives by being part of a healthy ecosystem we can Earth.
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The last 100 posts addressed topics of interest to ecological socialism.  A large number of posts are about ecological crisis and environmental degradation: 18 posts reveal aspects of ecocide and 9 deal with climate change and global warming.  There are 11 posts dealing with capitalism, 10 with crises generated by it and the longer term anthropocentrically organized human societies (mostly the so-called “civilization”), and 6 dealing with imperialism and war. There are 3 posts about prisoners and the death penalty.

There are 10 articles dealing with the planetary history, including evolutionary change, and 6 articles on science and methodology, three on animal liberation and 4 on various reform measures that are worth ecological socialist support. There are a number of book and film reviews, calls to action, and two pieces highlighting anthropocentrism.

There are 13 posts on Cuba and two on Latin America.

I should like to restate a standard journalistic policy: all signed articles represent the views of their author(s).  They are posted here because they relate to a subject of our interest and some from mass media can even represent current bourgeois thought.  Only unsigned articles are the points of view of Our Place in the World.

Our Place in the World has been in existence for a little over two years. It has become a resource for a number of people and communities across the world. Please help us to improve it by commenting on the posts, by sending articles, and by sharing ideas and criticism by writing to If you like a post, please share it with others.

--Kamran Nayeri
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404. ‘Safety Myth’ Left Japan Ripe for Nuclear Crisis

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