Note from the Editor

Welcome to Swans 2004, sure to not disappoint; for with made-for-television election antics, more US "nation building" and "peace through war," more beef industry revelations, the real state of the economy unveiled, the number of children left behind calculations, we should have plenty to write about, and more poetry to soothe... So let the debates and caucuses begin, as nine indistinct Democrats attempt to distinguish themselves from each other and the failing systems (health, education, environment, etc.) they, along with the man each hopes to replace, have helped to create. The man from Hope to the man of Crawford, same old story...

Those failing systems have brought cognitive dissonance to Phil Rockstroh, and change is something every atom that comprises his creative and eloquent body is screaming for, as he asks how it came to pass, this broken and betrayed relationship between him and his country. The discordance between the view of the world from the ground, and that from the top of the power pyramid was exposed in Colin Powell's New Year editorial published in The New York Times. 2004 according to Powell is best described as a drug-induced fantasy world, not to mention factually inaccurate, (no worry, Swans will correct the mistakes that The Times did not) but gives us an insight into the policies and world vision of American corpocracy, whose destructive doctrines not only wreak havoc on other countries, but within the U.S. as well. Manuel García, Jr. provides a deeply and carefully thought-out analysis of the impact that the war on Iraq has and will have on Americans.

Real political change is not going to happen on its own, but more and more people are fighting tirelessly for it. Peter Miguel Camejo, a man of convictions, shows how to make a difference. We are pleased to unveil his latest endeavor, the Avocado Education Project (AEP). Read Camejo's "Avocado Declaration," which analyses the history of the two-party system and pointedly makes the case for ending it, compares and contrasts (with little to contrast) the Republican and Democratic parties, and debunks the "anyone but Bush/lesser evil" arguments that will only increase as the US 2004 presidential election day closes in. Change can happen. We just need to walk the talk and stop playing the game!

Excuse the emotional outburst...

On the literary side, Louis Proyect provides a book review of Alan Furst's Red Gold, a spy novel in the setting of the Gaullist resistance and the Communist Party underground during WWII, and Vanessa Raney adds poetry on the love of man, not country. For those still catching up after the New Year, we are republishing our review of 2003 and our 2004 Infamous Predictions™.

Sad news in the dawn of this "new" year: Richard Macintosh, a steadfast Swans columnist and congenial man, had a near-fatal heart attack two days ago. He is fighting for his life as you read this. Our thoughts go to his wife Jacque, and our sincere wishes to Richard for a full recovery.

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.


America: Myths and Realities

Phil Rockstroh:  America, How Did It Come To This?

I must simply come out and say it. I can no longer hold back because of the fear of appearing hysterical, or foolish, or both. My relationship with you -- the United States of America, land of my birth, the country that I have loved with the animal grace of a child (but that later would disillusion me as if I was some fledgling lover, shattered by the cleaving ardor of impossible expectations) -- has become strained, perhaps irreparably broken.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Colin Powell's Delirious Prophecies

Being under heavy sedation due to a bad case of flu combined with a dental or periodontal infection, this observer deeply empathizes with US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's health condition. Mr. Powell is recuperating from prostate cancer surgery and must have ingested lots of painkillers to alleviate his post-surgical discomfort. The question is whether he was under the influence of morphine or medical marijuana when he wrote his January 1, 2004 New York Times Op-Ed, "What We Will Do in 2004," for the towering views he presented looked far and apart from the situation we lowlanders see on the horizon -- undoubtedly a difference of altitude, if not attitude.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Manuel García, Jr.:  Effects Of Iraq War On American Citizens

Imagine a future, eight years hence, based on a continuation of present-day trends. A political commentary of that time might be something like the following: Working Americans had been robbed of their savings and of any economic future by a wholesale financial swindling and artificially accelerated concentration of wealth and corporate power, all resulting from government policies they had no influence over.   More...


Greens: Solutions Under the Radar Screen

Peter M. Camejo:  The Avocado Declaration

The Green Party is at a crossroads. The 2004 elections place before us a clear and unavoidable choice. On one side, we can continue on the path of political independence, building a party of, by and for the people by running our own campaign for president of the United States. The other choice is the well-trodden path of lesser evil politics, sacrificing our own voice and independence to support whoever the Democrats nominate in order, we are told, to defeat Bush.   More...


Peter M. Camejo:  The Avocado Education Project

Announcement of a new project created by Peter Miguel Camejo and friends.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Louis Proyect:  Alan Furst's Red Gold

When I was in a writer's workshop at NYU over twenty years ago, the instructor said something that has stuck with me over the years: there are perhaps no more than ten plots in creative writing that are simply recycled over and over. One of the most familiar is the "road" plot that puts a couple of characters out on a river or highway, where they meet adventures of one sort or another. This would include "Huckleberry Finn" as well as Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." It would also include the movie "Thelma and Louise."   More...



Vanessa Raney:  Strengthened By

What is nation
but a notion
to assign a
place of relevance
or status that
invokes us
in yearning
for one voice
regardless of
race, class
gender   More...


Letters to the Editor


On Zimbabwe, the Cuban revolution, bicycles and SUVs, Phil Rockstroh's humor, and the Grand Guignol.   More...



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Created: January 6, 2004