FUNDRAISING TIME: We have gone a long way toward reaching our modest 2009 fundraising goal, but we are not yet there. Please help us reach it. Be there for us now as we will be here for you next year. Oh, it may mean little, but have you ever received a hand-written thank you note -- whether you send $10 or $200 -- from any other publication to which you've sent your hard-earned money? The care with which we put Swans together 26 times a year equals the attention we have for each of you. So, shall you or shall you not help this publication, which is deeply and intrinsically rooted in the rich terroir of solidarity, stay alive? A quaint word indeed -- solidarity; but it's a word (and an attitude) that may well come back to the forefront of human consciousness as the world is further challenged by a dire structural and ecological crisis. You do understand the difference between the public good and the private interests, don't you? And you know where Swans stands on that difference, right? So, please help. Donate now! Our heartfelt gratitude to Roger Baker, Louis Wilker, Beverly Holley, Roland Chrisjohn, Ernest Boyd, James Farmelant, Ranganathan Ravishankar, Richard Brand, Paul Buhle, Michael DeLang & Phyllis Feigenbaum, Michael Jerro, Aleksandra Krilic, Karen Moller, Deborah Eage, and Gregory Adler for their generous contributions.


Note from the Editors

Oops, we missed the Thanksgiving consumption orgy, and steered clear of the Black Friday consumer stampede -- a sign of GDP un-Americanism par is our continued opposition to the Afghan and Iraqi invasions and occupations. Of course, when Americanism (or white Westernism, for that matter -- aka, supremacism) is defined as war without end, consumerism to death, and self-centered navelism (aka, the "hidden hand" of the nonexistent free-market paradigm, and the sum of the selves that miraculously delivers the wisdom of the whole -- ask the Redwoods or the Bluefish tunas...) we are indeed un-American. That's why money is hard coming...but that's another story, which both Don Durivan and Louis Proyect consider in their generous perspectives on why Swans is worthy of your financial support. Please read their words and click on "Donate" before moving on to resident political economist Gilles d'Aymery's shocking statistics on the state of the US economy, some global rankings that may surprise you, a shout-out to the Redwood Credit Union, and more.

If you wonder why liberal philanthropists don't throw their monetary weight behind Swans, Michael Barker's essay on a typical "humanitarian" foundation that has played a key role in sustaining our psychopathic capitalist world order will give you some insight. In Africa, where the corrupt elites are in cahoots with their Western partners, magnate Mo Ibrahim established a generous award to promote excellence in African leadership; this year there were no suitable candidates, as Femi Akomolafe laments. Writing from India, Jay Tripathi considers the repression of Kashmiris under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act; and as world leaders prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Martin Murie invokes the extinct Dodo to send a Dickensian message to the "deciders" who are bargaining our planet's future.

On a lighter note, Art Shay shows off his new Talking Atomic Watch, accurate to a billionth of a second and quite possibly equipped to set off remote explosive devices, while Steve Shay has some doggone intelligent marketing advice for General Motors. Peter Byrne revisits photographer Robert Frank, whose seminal book The Americans appeared 50 years ago; while Charles Marowitz reviews Bill Cain's imaginative play on the life of Shakespeare and Geddeth Smith's biography of American theater's Walter Hampden. From the French Corner, Marie Rennard finds it necessary to give a refresher course on freedom of the press (in French), and also shares a poem (in English). We close with the passionate poetry of Jeffrey Klaehn and your much-appreciated impassioned letters on the death of our dearly missed Priam, and more.

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

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Your Attention, s'il vous plait

Don L. Durivan:  A Fundraising Appeal

Don Durivan makes a compelling case for donating to Swans to keep this unique, original, multicultural voice not heard in the mainstream media going.   More...


Louis Proyect:  Why you should contribute to Swans

[ed. This is not a Swans piece per se. Louis Proyect wrote this piece on his Blog. You will be re-directed to the original location. From there, once you have read his generous appeal on Swans behalf and visited his Blog further, please come back to Swans.]   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #92

A few researched statistics that landed on the Editor's desk, from the state of the US economy and its standing in terms of poverty, inequality, and the like in comparison to the 30 member-countries of the OECD; how US cities rank in the world; to more uplifting tidbits on Elisabeth Ludlam and the Redwood Credit Union, and some extraordinarily beautiful fireplaces.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Barker:  The Russell Sage Foundation And The Manufacture Of Reform

An examination of how liberal philanthropy coopts dissent and promotes reformism.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Mo Ibrahim Africa Leadership Award

In 2006 Mo Ibrahim established a generous award to promote excellence in African leadership; unfortunately, this year there were no suitable candidates.   More...


Indian Subcontinent

Jay Tripathi:  Kashmir And AFSPA

The author writes about the repression of Kashmiris under the "Armed Forces Special Powers Act" (AFSPA) promulgated in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) State by the Indian governmemt.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  The Return Of The Dodo

The extinct Dodo appears as the Ghost of Plundered Planet, Present and Past with a message for those in power and the people who protest the policies that are destroying the environment.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Art Shay:  My Atomic Talking Watch

Art Shay shows off his new Atomic Talking Watch, accurate to a billionth of a second and quite possibly equipped to set off remote explosive devices.   More...


Steve Shay:  Pet Project

Perhaps General Motors would sell more cars if they named their models after America's first love, the dog.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  Never On Time: Robert Frank And The Americans

Robert Frank, with his immigrant curiosity, captured the essence of America in his photographs, particularly with his seminal book, The Americans.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Shakespeare Refertilized

A review of Bill Cain's imaginative play on the life of Shakespeare, Equivocation.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Charles Marowitz:  Geddeth Smith's Walter Hampden

Geddeth Smith's biography of the Dean of the American Theatre Walter Hampden provides a detailed history of the early American theatre.   More...


Le coin français

Marie Rennard:  Liberté de la Presse, la nécessaire piqûre de rappel

Libre de nommer les patrons des chaines publiques, indissolublement lié par l'intérêt aux magnats de la presse privée, servi par une "police du web", Nicolas Sarkozy tente d'imposer partout son bon plaisir.   More...



Marie Rennard:  He's Gone

A poem for the unconsolable loss and fathomless sorrow of a small baby.   More...


Jeffery Klaehn:  Our Lips Are Barely Touching

A poem of passion, playfulness, and suspense.   More...


Letters to the Editor


An outpouring of empathy and condolences from fellow dog-lovers around the world on Gilles d'Aymery's story of the joyous life and heartbreaking death of Priam; doing right by Stuart Dybek; and Swans on Belgrade's payroll? The other side of the Yugoslav tragedy raises its ugly head again.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: November 30, 2009