Note from the Editor

A National Library with inestimable manuscripts and books burnt to ashes, treasures of humanity's history looted and ravaged in museums...I know it's old news, already passé. Still, wasn't the meaning of civilization once upon a time about keeping culture and the arts at the forefront of human endeavors? In a speech for the opening of the British Museum's exhibition The Museum of the Mind, Ben Okri, the Booker prize-winning author of The Famished Road, said that we had "lost great swathes of our past." He added, "[W]e may well be on the verge of a new dark age, when even the so-called highly civilised nations no longer know what the most enduring things are. And stand by and watch as darkness creeps upon us, unsuspected." For him, "[T]he end of the world begins not with the barbarians at the gate, but with the barbarians at the highest levels of the state. All the states in the world." (The Guardian, April 19, 2003.)

That the search for the truth, like the WMDs we went to destroy, has gone MIA is totally inconsequential. We're moving on. There are more tyrants to remove and more FTAs to sign (Free Trade Agreements). An FTA here -- say Singapore (the kind of "democratic" model we like) and a delayed FTA there -- say Chile, for they did not side with the good guys and like the French need punishment. That we invaded Iraq to enforce UN resolutions without the approval of the UN Security Council is unreservedly irrelevant since the UN has long been a lifeless body and a new world order is being laid out at the barrel of overwhelming guns. War and commerce have become the two organizing principles of our society. Killing and consumerism, the two pillars of our modernity, have replaced art and culture. A brave new world, indeed!

There will always be highly-paid "intellectuals" and careerists to praise our rightfulness, mythologize our troops, find post-facto justifications to all our actions, denounce opponents or dissenters as mere deviant drones, and condemn foreign governments that dare to resist the worldwide neo-liberal onslaught. To observe the social democrats who like to refer to themselves as democratic socialists -- the Cruise Missile Left à la Marc Cooper, Todd Gitlin et al. -- and the anarcho-utopians of the Albert-Shalom ZNet creed join ranks with the Establishment to accuse Cuba -- Fidel the "Great Satan" -- of totalitarianism for defending its laws and its independence is a potent (and sad) indication of the poor state of affairs that exists within the various components of the so-called loyal opposition. In light of the gigantic and conscious societal destruction occurring in the U.S. right under our eyes, year after year, this alignment and synchronization to the tune of the elites is mind-boggling (though explainable, as Louis Proyect shows). This week, I read a story about parents, teachers and friends who are selling their blood plasma to raise money for next year's local school budget (The Oregonian, April 22, 2003). This is happening in Eugene, Oregon, USA -- not Cuba! To grasp the moral bankruptcy of some of the positions held by these "progressive" intellectuals one need only read John Bart Gerald's essay.

There is much to explore in this edition, from Ed Herman's review of the similarities between the Vietnam and Iraq wars to Deck Deckert who's taking on the media, and more (you absolutely must read the poetry). Swans is a tiny drop in the vast ocean but we will keep attempting to emulate the concluding words of Ben Okri: "We need a new kind of sustained and passionate and enlightened action in the world of the arts and the spirit."

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


America/Iraq: Myths and Realities

John Bart Gerald:  Responding To A Criminal War

We're moving toward a resistance situation in all the countries of the world now because one powerful country has claimed global domain.   More...


Edward S. Herman:  From Vietnam To Iraq

There are, of course, important differences between the US invasions of Vietnam and Iraq.   More...


Deck Deckert:  The Tasteful War And Other Media Lies

How is it that the American people see black as white?   More...


Deck Deckert:  They Kill Reporters, Don't They?

During the nearly forgotten war on Yugoslavia, NATO warned the Serbian TV network that its Belgrade offices would be blown up unless the station broadcast six hours of US programming every day to counter Serb 'propaganda.'   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Louis Proyect:  The Cuba Petitions

Sharing very little in common ideologically, a number of individuals have recently signed petitions attacking the Cuban government for what they regard as cruel and excessive measures against a hijacking and the USA-funded political opposition on the island.   More...


Milo Clark:  Conscious Destruction Of A Human Construct

A great crime against humanity is in process.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Scott Orlovsky:  Art Influences Life Influences Art...

How can postmodern global culture not generate Americans that possess finely tuned critical faculties and broadly ranged spiritual polytheism in the 21st century world?   More...


Solutions Under the Radar Screen

Philip Greenspan:  Keep Protesting

Keep Protesting to Disclose the Truth and Expose the Profiteers!   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Mac Lawrence:  War: The Lure, the Madness, the Way Through

In thinking about war, I keep asking myself: What can possibly lead humans to do such horrible things to one another?   More...



Richard Macintosh:  Morons And Madness

It's hard to tell the morons from the mad, these days,
Or the mad from the morons,
Madness and idiocy merging, as the case may be.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Self- [de] termination

Between determination and termination, a simple "de" or in Spanish "of"
reordered into termination of self in the name of democratization: a
little magic trick of deconstruction, applied by the post-imperialist
Imperialists who will democratize civilization's cradle into a cradle for
consumerism:   More...


Sabina C. Becker:  Cuisine Américaine

Forget French wine—
we are teetotallers.
All's we get drunk on these days
is power.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On Gulf War II, simplicity, our collective work and those darn little typos.   More...



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Created: May 6, 2003