Note from the Editors

It should not be too hard to envisage what's in the US store for 2010, the last year of the XXIst century's first decade. Abroad, more military intervention in the "Arc of Instability," which now includes swaths of the African continent, with renewed calls to strike Iran, intervene in Yemen, and any country where the mythical al Qaeda is supposed to have extended its Octopus-like deadly tentacles. At home, the ratcheting of fear mongering to deflect and keep in check through increased surveillance controls the populace's anger caused by deepening economic dislocations, and the biennial charade in the media that the mid-term elections will generate to the delight of ad agencies' and networks' profits -- with in-between coverage of tawdry celebrity scandals, a few random shootings, and environmental crisis. In other words, changes we all can believe in!?!

What won't be discussed are the deep contradictions that are ravaging our socioeconomic system through overproduction and ever-expanding debt, which Michael Doliner thoroughly examines among other ever more self-evident contradictions entrenched within capitalism. Neither will the co-optation of NGOs in all fields of do-goodism by the moneyed elites that Michael Barker keeps revealing enter the conversation; and don't expect the views of Jan Baughman regarding the future of the American polity in the name of "safety" to find any echo in the main media; or, for that matter, the inanity of the policies enacted by the Establishment, which Gilles d'Aymery regularly covers in his Blips and Tidbits, as well as his stubbornly-repeated calls to move away from individualism to a system in which the collective well being of the whole takes precedence over the benefits of the few.

Then again, that is the role of a small publication like Swans, to be the incubator for ideas that can bring real change -- ideas that must come from the future, as Michael Doliner points out echoing Marx. To do so, we will rely on an increasingly diverse bevy of contributors from all over the world.

However, politics does not operate within a vacuum. It is only a part, a significant one undoubtedly, but still a part of the larger culture, which this publication will keep emphasizing with the hope that readers do connect the dots between culture and politics. Go back in time: not all cultural icons were revolutionaries but all revolutionaries espoused culture without claiming the iconic label. On that note, Femi Akomolafe waxes sardonic on all of the good things happening in the greatest country in the world, Nigeria. Art Shay takes a humorous shot at his journalist mission to screen for the kooky, single-subject topic, which in this article emerges as Lake Superior State University's annual list of banished words, while Peter Byrne pens a sobering fiction on racism in Italy. Reaching for the book, Charles Marowitz considers Robert Richardson's examination of Emerson's foray into the nature of language and the secrets of good writing, and Paul Buhle reviews the gem that emerged when left-leaning science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson and radical publisher PM Press joined forces. Silvia dello Russo and Guido Monte reach for the stars in their multilingual poetry, and we close with your letters in praise of Femi Akomolafe and Isidor Saslav, and in defense of Michael Barker's take on the ICNC crowd.

Finally, we've made some subtle structural changes to Swans Web site and welcome readers' feedback.

# # # # #

Patterns Which Connect

Michael Doliner:  The Contradictions Of Capitalism

Michael Doliner's excellent analysis of the contradictions of capitalism demonstrates why no viable economic system can depend upon the endless growth of capital.   More...


Michael Barker:  Taking Strong Action For Capitalist-Led Environmental Destruction

A critique of Maurice Strong and the United Nation's role in environmental management.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Check Your Underwear

An otherwise humorous look at the future state of airline travel, in which forbidden underwear and health benefits converge in the name of safety.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #94

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the arithmetically challenged to the challenged hyper-bloated intelligence apparatus, a panty bomber, and the scanners that were planned all along; to US unemployment, Wall Street bonuses, and the endangered UHNWIs; to moving your money from TBTF banks to community banks, and more.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Nigeria: Hip, Hip, Hurrah!

It's time to celebrate all of the good things happening in the greatest country in the world, Nigeria. Or, is it?   More...


Arts & Culture

Art Shay:  Hunting The Wild And Boring Banishees In Upper Michigan

Art Shay's journalist mission past and present includes screening for the kooky, single-subject topic, which in this article emerges as Lake Superior State University's annual list of banished words.   More...


Short Story

Peter Byrne:  Eating Abroad

A short story on racism and anti-immigrant sentiment in Italy.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Charles Marowitz:  First We Read, Then We Write

A review of Robert Richardson's examination of Ralph Waldo Emerson's foray into the nature of language and the secrets of good writing.   More...


Paul Buhle:  Kim Stanley Robinson's The Lucky Strike

A left-leaning science fiction writer, Kim Stanley Robinson, and radical publisher PM Press, join forces to produce a gem entitled The Lucky Strike.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Silvia dello Russo and Guido Monte:  Stars

Guido Monte and Silvia Dello Russo talk about the stars of Dante, Baudelaire, Canetti, and Aste...   More...


Letters to the Editor


Femi Akomolafe's article on the West's struggle over Ghana's emerging oil industry overjoys a reader; Isidor Saslav's celebration of Josef Gingold brings back wonderful memories to another; and a third lends support to Michael Barker's expose of the International Centre for Non-Violent Conflict crowd.   More...


# # # # #

Let us know if you wish to receive an e-mail regarding each new edition (twice a month) with the Note from the Editors, and please become a subscriber. See our Donate page.



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: January 11, 2010