Many thanks to Ronald Horn for his generous financial contribution.


Note from the Editors

The US government avoided a shutdown this weekend in an 11th hour drama, agreeing to a 6-month budget with nominal cuts, and managing to avoid the silly (yet destructive) ideological hits to Planned Parenthood, the EPA, and the like. However, these battles were merely punted down the road and the silliness is sure to reach new lows when the negotiations resume. For a serious, non-silly analysis of what's wrong with our financials one should turn to our resident economist, Gilles d'Aymery, whose Martian blips explain the problems, starting with the obscene fact that the top 1% of Americans controls half of the wealth, and including keen insights from Michael Yates and an admission, from the mouth of the Mediator in Chief himself, that change will never happen from the top down. Time for outrage, indeed! For a primer on the implementation of real change, we turn to Michael Barker's article on Dr. Kurt Schock, who researches people power and nonviolent change; though as Barker points out, Schock misrepresents the US role in the "people's" uprising in Manila in February 1986. Louis Proyect, however, sets the historical record straight when it comes to the Battle of Algiers and the lessons of Yugoslavia. Circumstances allow us to publish these two excellent 2005 analyses, as well as his Marxist approach to the problems of aging that, unfortunately, is even more relevant today.

Political silliness is not only an American tradition. Fabio De Propris, who lives under the circus tent of Silvio Berlusconi, reviews a staged "reality" program televised courtesy of a president who happens to control three national channels. From Silvio's fantasyland we travel to India courtesy of Peter Byrne and writer William Dalrymple, who examines the sacred facets of the country in his book Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. Isidor Saslav takes us to Chicago, the venue from which George Bernard Shaw conquered America, and Charles Marowitz transports us to dreamland, as he considers the many permutations of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Finally, turning from Shakespeare to another legend, Stendhal, Raju Peddada presents Part II of his repository of magnificence for the French writer, and we close with a letter to the editor on Francesca Saieva's tantalizing promise in the French Corner to further trace the evolution of Italo Calvino's commitment to civic values.

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Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #108

A few selected issues that landed on the editor's desk, from the top 1% who control half of America's wealth; the spot-on words of Bob Herbert, Michael Yates, Joseph Stiglitz, and Mark Bittman on the exploited masses; Barack Obama's own words on why change won't happen from the top; to the sane advice of the beloved and late Philip Greenspan, and French diplomat and intellectuel, Stéphane Hessel.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Barker:  People Power Leashed: Kurt Schock on the Ousting of Dictators

Critical review of Kurt Schock's research on people power in the Philippines.   More...


Louis Proyect:  A Marxist Approach To Problems Of the Aging

Louis Proyect recounts his mother's move to a nursing home and proposes that we think about ways that elders can be reintegrated into society rather than dumped in institutions far from sight, no matter how benign.   More...


European Political Vaudeville

Fabio De Propris:  Berlusconi's Reality Show Goes Sour Off Screen

The Italian author reviews the staged televised "reality" that occurs when the president (Berlusconi) owns three national television channels.   More...


Film Review

Louis Proyect:  Looking Back At The Battle Of Algiers

On colonialism, France and the battle of Algiers and the similarities to the U.S. and Iraq today, and what it will take for countries to enjoy full national sovereignty without Western intervention.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  India Nine Times Over

Unlike Western travel writers who focus on India's growing economy, William Dalrymple examines the sacred facets of India in his book Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India.   More...


Louis Proyect:  The Lessons Of Yugoslavia

It is essential for those committed to world peace to become familiar with the sorry history of so-called humanitarian intervention in Yugoslavia, since the same characters who orchestrated American strategy in the period are now in the driver's seat.   More...


Arts & Culture

Isidor Saslav:  Celebrating Shaw's Chicago Century

Shavian expert Isidor Saslav describes how it was through Chicago that George Bernard Shaw conquered America.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Variations On A Midsummer Night's Dream

Playwright and critic Charles Marowitz considers the many permutations of A Midsummer Night's Dream.   More...


Raju Peddada:  A Repository of Magnificence: Stendhal's The Red and The Black - Part II

Part Two of the author's celebration of Stendhal and his Guernica, The Red and The Black.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Peter Byrne on Francesca Saieva's tantalizing promise in Swans French Corner to further trace the evolution of Italo Calvino's commitment to civic values.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: April 11, 2011