Note from the Editor

Let's travel from reality to fantasy; from past to present; from prose to poetry. Stephen Gowans dissects the harsh reality of the jungle laws imposed and enforced by the lion known as the USA, from fighting undeclared wars to holding undeclared prisoners — "battlefield detainees" in junglespeak. Our aggression is nothing new or unique. Milo Clark describes our lust for war and the patterns connecting US and Russia's parallel histories in one piece, and the writers of history and historical fiction in a second. Is there any hope for change, given the patterns which keep repeating? We can learn from the Zapatistas how to change politics and not just the politicians, according to Michael Stowell who shows the struggles of indigenous peoples.

But if reality is a little overwhelming, take a lesson from Alma Hromic. She explains the power of fantasy fiction in our lives and culture. An expert opinion indeed, as Hromic just released a fantasy novel, Changer of Days, reviewed in this rendition by Jan Baughman. And what was once an extraordinary fantasy world is now mere technologic reality, writes Deck Deckert, but these technologies are not without their problems.

Finally, a moving poem from our contemporary house poet Sandy Lulay, and two historical poems with a contemporary contrast.

If, as the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction, then allow us to be a strange voice and walk a different path. After all, the only way not to play a game is to not play, isn't it? We hope you enjoy this issue. As always, please form your OWN opinion and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow... Another truth, however strange it may be!


Cutting to the Chase

Stephen Gowans:  On What Authority?

"One more," shouted the reporter, trying to hold White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer's attention. "By what authority, then, by what international authority is the United States shipping these people from their home country to Guantánamo Naval Base in Cuba?   More...

Stephen Gowans is a writer, a political activist and a Swans' columnist.


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  Peace, an Illusion of Power

We was had, is had and most likely will continue to be had. My recent excursions into Russian history reveal patterns and parallels etched deeply into Russian being which reach forward to now.   More...


Milo Clark:  History, from Historians to Hobbesians

We are told that people want peace above all. And yet, invariably, those who hold power choose war. If there are, let us say, three sides to conflict, then naming those sides, if you will, determines attitudes among those whom we are told want peace and invariably get war.   More...

Milo Clark is a Swans' founding member, advisor and columnist.


Fantasy in the Face of Reality

Alma A. Hromic:  On Fantasy

Most fiction is about a battle between Good and Evil. The Evil may be a sadistic schoolteacher or Adolf Hitler, but this is still Evil, and it is balanced by a protagonist who presumably seeks to overcome it.   More...

Alma Hromic is an acclaimed poet and novelist, and a Swans' columnist.


Jan Baughman: A Book Review:  "Changer of Days," Volume I, by Alma A. Hromic

I was thrilled and awestruck when a copy of Changer of Days arrived, courtesy of the author, Alma Hromic, whose writing has captivated me since her first appearance on Swans and my reading of Letters from the Fire.   More...

Jan Baughman is a Biotech scientist and Swans' co-editor.


Ya Basta!

Michael Stowell:  Renewing the Earth

What has become Humboldt County, in northern California, was land so isolated by redwood rainforest and indomitable beaches that European colonizers were kept away until just 150-odd years ago.   More...

Michael Stowell is chairperson of the City of Arcata Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Commission, CA, and a Swans' columnist.



Deck Deckert:  Man vs. Machine

Once it was humans vs nature and nature almost always won. Then humans discovered tool making and little by little, nature began to yield. The tools evolved into machines, ever more powerful machines, machines capable of battling nature nearly to a standstill.   More...

A former copy, wire and news editor, Deck Deckert is a freelance writer and a Swans' columnist.



Sandy Lulay:  Oasis

The whisper after life,
The death.
Where are you when
These winds blow dry,
Too long?   More...

Sandy Lulay is Swans' in-house poet.


Brown & White: A Very Present Contrast

Henry Labouchère:  The Brown Man's Burden

Pile on the brown man's burden
To gratify your greed;
Go, clear away the "niggers"
Who progress would impede;   More...


Rudyard Kipling:  The White Man's Burden

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;   More...



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Created: February 10, 2002