Why the Travel Ban for US Citizens?
There are different ways to calculate the size of national economies. However one looks at the numbers, the United States is one of the world's top three largest economies. By some of the most traditional ways of accounting for GDP, the US is the world's largest economy. Only the EU economy, taken as a bloc, is larger than the US's economy. The US Dollar is the world's main reserve currency, meaning that most international business is conducted using dollars. The US, due to its level of contribution, holds veto power in institutions like the IMF and World Bank. The decisions of its Federal Reserve make waves in international financial markets. Its multinational companies are some of the largest and most powerful organizations on earth. Their operations directly employ many thousands, and indirectly thousands and thousands more. Their production activities, all along their supply chains, directly effect millions through environmental changes. They also indirectly effect millions more through the social costs associated with their production activities, and environmental changes that result. In addition to all the economic might that this leading - maybe we could even say hegemonic - position gives the US, it also possesses a military might beyond comprehension. The US also, along with an elite club, has a permanent seat and a veto in the UN Security Council. The US has the ability, through its various armed services and clandestine agencies, to project force at almost any point on the face of the earth within a very short time. Even the most remote parts of the world can have overwhelming destructive force brought right to them in short order. Targeted assassination, extraordinary rendition, secret prisons, NSA surveillance, and massive stock piles of nuclear weapons..
Then in South Africa, now in Palestine
This past May, in a relatively banal column touting the necessity of an impossible "two-state solution" former Ha'aretz editor-in-chief David Landau commented on the "specious comparison" U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made between a potential Israeli future and South African apartheid: This resort to apartheid infuriates the majority of Israelis and Israel-lovers, including those in the peace camp, and one can readily understand why. Apartheid was based on racism; Israeli Jews are not racist. They may occupy, persecute and discriminate Palestinians, but they act out of misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict. Not out of racism. His claim that because "Israeli Jews are not racist," and therefore Israel can't possibly be deemed an "apartheid" state, not only misunderstands the actual definition of apartheid, which isn't merely race-based discrimination and oppression, but also mirrors precisely the arguments made by defenders of South African apartheid in opposition to calls for equal human and civil rights. Beyond the shared "promised land" and "chosen people" rhetoric that has inspired both the Afrikaner and Zionist ideologies of racial, religious, and ethnic supremacy, so has that of land redemption through settler-colonialism and transplanting indigenous populations. The connective tissue between apartheid and Zionism is thick, and not only in that both European colonial ideologies were officially institutionalized and implemented against native peoples as government policy in 1948. Historian Donald Akenson has written, "The very spine of Afrikaner history (no less than the historical sense of the Hebrew scriptures upon which it is based) involves the winning of 'the Land' from alien, and indeed, evil forces."
The American Bankers Association's Quiet War on Students
College students and graduates around the nation are buried in debt and trying to succeed in an extremely difficult and competitive economic environment. Many people are graduating only to find out that they are unable to get the jobs they want, whether it be due to the small amount of available jobs or (more usually) the problem of 'experience,' and thus are reduced to having to work menial jobs while paying back exorbitant loans. So far, very little legislation has been passed to aid students in paying back their loans, and many are blaming politicians for this. However, the situation goes deeper and in part lies at the feet of a little known institution called the American Bankers Association. The American Bankers Association, according to their website, is "the voice of the nation's $14 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $11 trillion in deposits and extend nearly $8 trillion in loans" and believes that "Laws and regulations should be tailored to correspond to a bank's charter, business model, geography and risk profile." While it is quite obvious that the ABA is an organization that works in the interest of the bankers, they have an interesting history with regards to student loans and how they have actively fought against the interest..
Revisiting Errico Malatesta
A Review of "The Method of Freedom"
For those who do not know, Errico Malatesta (1853-1932) was one of anarchism's greatest activists and thinkers for over 60 years. He joined the First International in 1871 and became an anarchist after meeting Bakunin in 1872. He spent most of his life in exile from Italy, helping to build unions in Argentina in the late 1880s and taking an active part during the two Red Years after the war when Italy was on the verge of revolution (the authorities saw the threat and imprisoned him and other leading anarchists before a jury dismissed all charges). Playing a key role in numerous debates within the movement - on using elections, participation in the labour movement, the nature of social revolution, syndicalism and Platformism (to name just a few), he saw the rise and failure of the Second International, then the Third before spending the last years of his life under house arrest in Mussolini's Italy. The length of Malatesta's activism within the movement is matched by the quality of his thought, and this is why all anarchists will benefit from reading him. Before The Method of Freedom, we had his classic pamphlet Anarchy, Vernon Richard's Errico Malatesta: His Life and Ideas (a selection of snippets grouped by theme) and The Anarchist Revolution (articles from..