Note from the Editors

With the New Congress rolling up its sleeves and getting to work on changing the course, it's an appropriate time to examine what direction one should expect. Following the oil trail and energy policies that lead to Iran, Gilles d'Aymery provides a cogent analysis of the underlying issue that few dare utter. Yet until we acknowledge why we are repeatedly waging war, the antiwar movement will continue fighting the wrong battle. In Dick Cheney's words today on Fox News, "This is an existential conflict. It is the kind of conflict that's going to drive our policy and our government for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years." Translated by Aymery, "Iran and Iraq are the last two countries that must be brought under control in order to secure the so-called Greater Middle East for the next two or three decades, until we work out alternatives to petroleum depletion..." Philip Greenspan, too, examines the ever-expanding war and corresponding profits it brings to the defense sector, a system that is bound to implode. Case in point, Milo Clark's overview of the industrial expansion and retractions of first England, then the U.S., with China next in line. In light of all the above, it is understandable that Hezbollah, demanding a unity government in the spirit of its Constitution, is being shunned and will have to prove itself politically -- see Mohammed Ben Jelloun's excellent overview.

But enough about war. Among our New Year's Resolutions, we want to offer alternatives not merely complaints, and bring more culture and humor to the fore. Charles Marowitz accomplishes the latter in the form of his own resolutions, ranging from adopting a kindler, gentler attitude, to ending his campaign to be adopted by Angelina Jolie. (We'll review his success at year-end.) As for culture, two book reviews are provided by Martin Murie on The Letters and Communiqués of Subcomandante Marcos and The Zapatista Army, and Mr. Marowitz on Moss Hart: A Prince of the Theatre. Michael Doliner explores the unforgettable character of Rick in Casablanca and the contemporary heroes on the screen who mirror to varying degrees his existential morality, and Peter Byrne shares a short story that's a not-so-fictionalized tale of xenophobia.

On the activist front, Karen Moller gives an inside look at the 1960s feminist movement in Britain and how women's roles have evolved to the present, and Joe Middleton updates us on the growing movement toward Scottish independence. Finally, Gerard Donnelly Smith offers a somber poem on the fall of Saddam Hussein and how history will judge those involved with his demise, and we close with your letters from all over the map; both pro and con; on Satan and France; and much more.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


Patterns Which Connect

Gilles d'Aymery:  Oil, The Elites, And The Commons

Opponents of the current Bush administration's policies who take to heart the famous words of iconoclastic muckraker I.F. Stone -- "If you want to know about governments, all you have to know is two words, 'governments lie.'" -- too often ignore that powerful people can be quite sincere and honestly believe in the policies they formulate and implement.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  When And How Might It End?

Over three hundred antiwar protests took place in the U.S. on New Year's Day, the day after 3,000 GIs had been killed in Iraq. Spread out on two blocks of Main Street in Nyack, NY, on that chilly and drizzly evening were approximately seventy-five individuals, ranging in age from the teens to the nineties.   More...


Milo Clark:  Implosions 2007?

Viewed from historical perspectives, the England of Adam Smith and Charles Dickens has some strategic relationships with nineteenth century America that, in turn, share some features with 21st century PRChina.   More...


Middle East

Mohammed Ben Jelloun:  Hezbollah's Democratic Demands

In his Friday speech on December 1, 2006; that is, on the first sit-in day in the ongoing Lebanese Anti-Government Protest, Sheikh Abd Al-Ameer Kablan, the vice president of the Shi'i Council in Lebanon, made it clear that the opposition's demands were of a "consociational" nature; "we are for consociational participation not majority/minority participation," he said.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Charles Marowitz:  My New Year's Resolutions

1- When being assailed by a telemarketer just as I am sitting down to dinner, instead of shrieking "Fuck off bitch, get a life!" and slamming down the phone, I will gently inquire whether they feel constantly invading the privacy of hard-working Americans is a fruitful activity for a grown-up.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Martin Murie:  Durito

Subcomandante Marcos sent a short story to a ten-year-old girl in Mexico City. It's about a beetle who had stolen his tobacco. Marcos followed a trail of tobacco, found a beetle sitting at a desk, smoking a pipe and studying a bunch of papers.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Jared Brown's Moss Hart: A Prince Of The Theatre

At the heart of Jared Brown's mesmerizing biography of Moss Hart: A Prince of the Theatre lies the mystery of his subject's unshakeable and destabilizing depressions which, with extraordinary self-restraint, Hart managed to keep under control while executing all his professional duties.   More...


Arts & Culture

Michael Doliner:  As Time Goes By

The situation at the end of the film Casablanca is exquisitely complicated.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Visitors Out Of Season

He eased the car off the road and onto the track that went toward the beach. Both of them had been surprised that the tips they'd been given by their travel agent had for once been a wild understatement. The heel of Italy did have an aura of peace and remoteness from danger.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Karen Moller:  From Innocent Rebellion To Militant Feminism

The early fledglings of the feminist movement at the end of the Sixties in Britain were very self-aware and amusing, much less antagonistic, and more united than in other countries. It carried much of the color and vivacity of swinging London with it.   More...


Joe Middleton:  Unity Of The Scottish Independence Movement

Tony Blair has said independence would be "disastrous" for Scots, however the truth is somewhat different as was revealed recently by Blair's cabinet colleague, the former Foreign Secretary and current leader of the House Jack Straw, in an interview with the BBC.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Fall Of Saddam Hussein

We counted down the second, before reprieve interrupted
The moral debate, then the drunken conversation moved on
Until someone with a wireless phone announced
We'd missed the dance:   More...


Letters to the Editor


On the indoctrination of US military recruits, which includes one of our own; Swans' critical -- and accurate -- analysis of the destruction of Yugoslavia, moving on to Iraq and Iran; pro-oil criticism and solar energy alternatives; and more, from Satan to France.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: January 16, 2007