Return to Left Curve no. 27 Table of Contents
LEFT CURVE No. 27 EDITORIAL
We are facing an extremely dangerous, entirely uncertain future. The immediate focus of the crises, of course, is the frenzied drive by the Bush administration-led War Cabal to conquer Iraq with the intention of gaining firm control over the oil-rich Mideast, while providing its junior partner, Israel, the ³security² to impose a ³final solution² concerning the Palestinians. The war of aggression against Iraq is but the latest step (after the subjugation‹though hardly complete‹and occupation of Afghanistan) in the US¹s self-declared, unending ³war against terrorism²‹the goal of which is nothing less then world domination in perpetuity.* Not so long ago, anyone taking such a position would have been dismissed as some kind of paranoid Illuminati-conspiracy-theory nut-case. Yet it¹s true and such a pronouncement is unparalleled in human history. (The only similar ³policy statement² that comes to mind is the ³Thousand-Year Reich,² which ended up lasting twelve years. The Nazis also resorted to ³pre-emptive² strikes, though, back then, the same policy was rightly condemned as ³unprovoked aggression against sovereign states² and provided the legal basis for the Nürnberg Trials, the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions.) The mind boggles, unable to find words adequate enough to represent such monumental megalomania and hubris. The only consolation one can take is the sure knowledge that if there is anything that history clearly teaches it is that nothing lasts forever. Meanwhile, the corporate media by and large just parrot the lies, misinformation, deception and manipulations that the Bush regime regularly spews out as carefully hewn, multi-pronged sound bites‹while fanning fear and paranoia among the population with regular doses of (dis)information about eminent ³terror attacks² that, strangely enough, never materialize.
Yet, what is at stake cuts even deeper. It involves, not just the very real danger that the Bush policy of ³pre-emptive² aggression poses for the entire world, but also the fundamental question of the direction of global history itself. The arrogant assumption of current US policy is that the ³American Way² is the best of all possible worlds in all of history, that the US, as the world¹s unrivaled power, is shouldering its responsibility to insure, ³by any means necessary,² that all ³rogue states² and ³terrorists² are eliminated so that ³freedom, democracy and free enterprise² may prevail throughout the world. And what is this ³American Way²? It is a ³culture² that assumes that the hallmark of ³freedom² is the unhampered opportunity to acquire and consume material goods through the domination and exploitation of the world¹s resources for private pleasure‹never mind that only a small part of the world¹s population can partake of this bounty, while many sink ever deeper into poverty. It is a logical culmination of the ³project of modernity²: subjugation and exploitation of the human and natural world for the purpose of self-gratification. The entire techo-scientific world view is involved here. The most recent examples are the control, manipulation and sale, through genetic engineering, of the very code of life itself, as well as trends like the assumption that ³Artificial Intelligence² will surpass the hitherto uncontrolled course of evolution through the subordination of the life force to binary coding. The stakes are high and unprecedented and, I think, many people, however unconsciously, are aware of them. A simmering distress, miasma, suffocating psychic and physical pollution, apocalyptic foreboding, a subterranean malaise and a kind of heavy, putrid, sludge-like molten offal slithers, meanders deep within and metastasizes in the collective psyche. Yet, as the equally unprecedented, world-wide demonstrations against the US and corporate globalization demonstrate, a new movement is growing as more and more people are raising their voices in opposition to the imperial wet-dreams of Bush & Co.; and this movement from below‹outside of and parallel to the corporate system‹is the only hope there is in averting global catastrophe. It is to this hope that this journal has always been dedicated and to which the contents of this issue are offered as examples.
Lack of space prevents me from commenting on much of this issue, so I will confine myself to a few noteworthy contributions. The opening section addresses the attack against Amiri Baraka that exploded in the Fall of 2002. It well illustrates the kind of attacks that have been unleashed by the powers that be in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Baraka¹s uncompromising refusal to bow down and caw tow is in keeping with his life-long dedication to African-American self-determination and the fight against oppression. As a social phenomena, the whole episode can be seen as yet another example of how African-Americans have historically so often functioned as the rightful conscience of the never fulfilled promise of American democracy. The fact that the attack was initiated by the ³Anti-Defamation League² is a sad reminder of how the official Jewish establishment has forsaken the legacy of progressive Judaism by having, in the last few decades, openly sided with the most reactionary forces in the US. In support of the increasingly desperate plight of the Palestinians, we offer several poems inspired by the Palestinians¹ increasingly lone, valiant, daily, death-defying refusal to submit and be crushed by the criminal Israeli war machine. Of special interest is Jon Hillson¹s poem, ³This is What I Think About Suicide Bombers,² in which the author works through the disturbing phenomena of suicide bombing in relation to his own family history in the Nazi Holocaust. A moving homage to the buried atrocity of ³Jenin² is well evoked by Etel Adnan¹s poem of the same name. Jeffrey Blankfort¹s article, ³The Israel Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions,² courageously takes on a topic frequently elided by many otherwise progressive people: the reactionary role of the Israel Lobby in US politics. As Mr. Blankfort¹s article details, pat responses to even mentioning the grossly disproportionate influence of the Lobby in the US Government and mainstream media, with accusations of ³anti-Semitism² or being labeled as a ³self-hating Jew,² hardly hold up in the face of an examination of the facts‹particularly concerning the blind support given to Israel, despite the latter¹s continual violation of UN resolutions and all measure of international law and human rights. We would also like to draw the reader¹s attention to the very finely crafted poem by Khalid Mattawa, ³Nocturne on Evolution and Catastrophe.² The poem artfully weaves strands of understated, tragic narrative fragments and differentially weighted emotional chords into a delicately constructed score of verbal musicality. Similarly situated elements, though different referents, compose Jack Hirschman¹s poem ³The Darcane,² which build meditative crescendos, ebbing and flowing through the recent past into a future¹s horror vacuum of unknowing emergence‹as the sign itself (any sign) comes into question. Heideggerean themes are more explicit in Farhang Erfani¹s ³Being-There and Being-From-Elsewhere: An Existential-Analytic of Exile,² as he explores the everyday concreteness of experiential Exile, as opposed to trendy academic ³non-place² celebrations of exile, border migrations and nomadism. Also worthy of note is E. San Juan, Jr.¹s ³Spinoza and the Racial War of Terrorism,² in which Spinoza¹s work is examined‹prompted no doubt by Hardt and Negri¹s Empire‹in relation to the ³War on Terrorism.² The article contrasts the potentially liberating thrust of early modernity, as exemplified in Spinoza¹s thought, with the current US imperialist ³war² that is seen as an updated version of the old colonial racial war against non-Western peoples. Finally, attention should be drawn to John O¹Kane¹s article, ³Trading Terror, Making Democracy² in which the author critically explores what is beginning to be referred to as the ³movement of movements² that first emerged in the Seattle protests of November 1999 as a potential counter-force to the hegemony of neo-liberal corporate globalization. As I mentioned above, I have only chosen to highlight some of the contents of this issue, though everything published here we feel is well worth reading. As always, we encourage comment and contributions. ‹The Editor
*The official foreign policy position of the Bush administration released as the ³National Security Strategy of the USA² on September 17, 2002 states that the US will ³Šmaintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from ever aspiring to a larger regional or global role.² (emphasis added) See: http://www.rupe-india.org/34/agenda.html Also, see: John Pilger (New Statesman, 16/12/02).
Correction: In our last issue, Left Curve no. 26, we inadvertantly attributed the poem, Processing (p. 137) to Kelly White, whereas the actual author is Mik¹hail Deveauz. We apologize to the author for the error.