Note from the Editor

Let's start with some forthcoming events left unreported in the main media: Antiwar demonstrations: January 18, 2003; in Washington DC, San Francisco, and over 12 countries around the world. -- Do you recall Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s deep opposition to the Vietnam War? He was convinced that the war was immoral and harmful to the fight against poverty at home, in the USA. Today, about 33 million Americans live in poverty (that's 8 million more than 25 years ago), of whom 12 million are children. Three million people are homeless (including one million children). Over 41 million have no health insurance (that's 16 percent more than ten years ago). Close to 10 million Americans are out of a job. And on, and on, and on. What do you think Dr. King would say nowadays about the US so-called preemptive war against Iraq? January 18 is both the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and the 12th anniversary of Desert Storm (Gulf War I). On this occasion the International A.N.S.W.E.R coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) has called for a massive, non-sectarian, and peaceful antiwar march in Washington, with a joint action in San Francisco. For further information about logistics (buses, tickets, directions, etc.) visit A.N.S.W.E.R.'s specific pages for Washington and San Francisco.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend. This is what grassroots political organizing is all about and what is, according to Eli Beckerman, direly needed. As Milo Clark advocates, "We do need people taking leadership!" We'll see whether these demonstrations get as poor of news coverage as those of October 26, 2002, but Deck Deckert provides a clue. If the paucity of real news in the past year offers some guidelines, chances are that they won't. But then, we all know that the game is rigged in the first place as Philip Greenspan shows in his piece. Not only are we constantly being 'spinned' we are also oh-so gullible...and if you don't believe it take a look at Michael Stowell's work on the famous S.U.V.'s -- more than half of the 16 million plus vehicles sold in the U.S. each year (Michael's mode of transportation, by the way, is a bicycle!) or read Jan Baughman's piece to see another of the perpetual shams perpetuated by the U.S. government.

What a culture, friends, what a culture! We are readying ourselves to use Weapons of Mass Destruction (e.g., DU, cluster bombs, and more) against a country that has never done us any harm and has no WMD to speak of, so that we can drive our S.U.V.'s and increase the hole in the ozone layer (people in Punto Arenas, Chile, thank us deeply...). Yes, we are strong and invincible, so we are told, but a culture that focuses on myths, consumerism and a warrior caste is not just flawed, it is rotting, reduced to offering Unsolicited Commercial E-mail, or Spam, on the lighter side (see Alma Hromic's piece) and death to the many, on the darker. This invincibility is running short and is on its last leg, hence the destruction spread all over the world. It's a dying, moribund system. As Daniel Quinn suggests, we'll quietly, peacefully walk away from it and it will wither away.

Excuse the emotional outburst...

Take a moment to laugh and read our Swans' Infamous Predictions. Then, you must read (truly, please do) C. Day Lewis' poem and the excerpt of "The Making of a Radical" by Scott Nearing. Indeed, Milo Clark is correct, "We do need people taking leadership!"

Enjoy this edition. As always, form your OWN opinion and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.


Patterns Which Connect

Eli Beckerman:  Onions And Mini-Onions

For some unconscionable reason, the wealthiest and most influential people in this country are content with the lopsided nature of our society. Worse, they actively pursue widening the gap, keeping US at a safer and safer distance. This power struggle plays out in numerous ways, but in at least one of these actualizations, WE have the unbalanced power. Unfortunately, we just don't use it.   More...


Deck Deckert:  All The News We Choose To Print

Picking the biggest news stories of the year has become as traditional a part of New Year's as the dropping of the ball in Times Square -- and a lot less significant. Each year the media names the stories they claim were most portentous and pat themselves on the back for their superb coverage.   More...


Milo Clark:  Actuality Is. . .

The milk over which we are not to cry has been spilt.

The horses after which we lock the barn door are loose.

Whoever heard of Carolyn Raffensperger, you know, the lady architect who went to law school to learn how to deal with spilt milk and loose horses. A Mennonite, pacifist, large scale organic farmer now on a roll out of Ames, Iowa.   More...


Activism Under the Radar Screen

Michael W. Stowell:  The World According To My Bicycle

I have been able to enjoy a lifestyle that has allowed me to abandon the internal combustion engine and all of its trappings; to fly freely along on the breeze as content as any anarchist could possibly be. My main mode of transportation for the last five years has been a bicycle, a Trek, that I won with the purchase of three one-dollar raffle tickets benefiting the "Green Bicycle Program" (free bikes on the streets) in Arcata, California.   More...


Slices of U.S. Society

Alma A. Hromic:  Spam Glorious Spam

The other day I received no less than three of those proliferating e-mails from various widows, associates, nephews, lieutenants, friends, children and secretaries of assorted dead or imprisoned leaders or wronged royalty from the Congo, Nigeria, Western Arab Emirates and a number of other countries which look like they had been invented for the express purpose of perpetuating this money scam. I was seriously tempted to answer all three of them, detailing the offers the others had made and stating that I would allow them to go away and think about it and accept the bid that gave me at least 50% of at least $30 million. All others need not apply any longer.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Tax Relief for America's Workers

Over the past year or more I've taken to task the Great Bush Tax Cut Sham; the US budget surplus squandered in the form of $300 to $600 'refunds' in the name of stimulating the economy. Was the US economy stimulated? Was your personal economy improved? Do you even remember how you spent the money?   More...


Boss Men Over the Ages

Philip Greenspan:  From Kings To Corps: Futile-ism To Crapitalism

The game is rigged. We've been sold a bill of goods and most of us are not aware of it. All those moral codes and values that we are taught, the laws that guide us and that we live by are the means for the society -- meaning government, or more appropriately, 'Big Brother' -- to control us. Does it work? Hell, yes!   More...


Swans' Definite Predictions

Swans:  2003 Predictions

Poking fun at the punditry and other luminaries this year could be a tough assignment. Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond have left the scene. Jesse Jackson has yet to jump on the campaign bandwagon and Al Gore has yet to reinvent himself; Trent Lott is poor material -- one does not shoot at ambulances anyway (except if one is the IDF, which we are not); the pope, walking cadaver on saintly crutches, can't enjoy his favorite choirboy anymore; Dianne Feinstein's rotten smile brings Dracula to mind and Gray Davis' colorless features makes one long for Arnold Schwarzenegger; Sam's toupee has given way to a younger gigolo on ABC's This Week and the talking heads keep on talking; deep-frozen David Brinkley is no where to be seen and Enron has replaced ADM to general public indifference; not even Viagra can resuscitate Bob Dole from his latest senator's husband (re)incarnation; poor George Soros, now a convicted felon, has become a pariah; Kofi Annan's marionette-like stature is a satire all by itself; catatonic Bill Bennet competes with Pat Robertson for the moral Tartuffe of the year award; Clinton and Lewinsky are passé; George and Laura are phlegmatic; and Katie Couric joins Halle Berry in the Oprah Winfrey Hall of Bores!   More...



C. Day Lewis:  Consider These, for We Have Condemned Them

Consider these, for we have condemned them;
Leaders to no sure land, guides their bearings lost
Or in league with robbers have reversed the signposts,
Disrespectful to ancestors, irresponsible to heirs,
Born barren , a freak growth, root in rubble,
Fruitlessly blossoming, whose foliage suffocates,
Their sap is sluggish, they reject the sun.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Scott Nearing:  The Making of a Radical (Excerpt)

Let me illustrate with the true story of a young American couple, "John" and "Mary." Both were working in the labor movement. He was steady-going and a plugger; she was vivid, energetic, active.   More...



– If you wish to receive an e-mail regarding each new rendition (twice a month) with the Note from the Editor and the URL to each article, please send an e-mail with "Subscribe Swans" in the subject line. Please also include your first/last name in the body of the message.



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


Created: January 10, 2003