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STATE POWER AND DEMOCRACY: BEFORE AND DURING THE PRESIDENCY OF GEORGE W. BUSH

A new book by Andrew Kolin

Palgrave Macmillan

January 4th 2011

$85 Hardcover

ISBN 978-0-230-10935-3

Contact: Alaina Kunin, Publicist: T 646-307-5659, E alaina.kunin@palgrave-usa.com

Torture. Secret Prisons, Wiretaps on Americans. Even with a new president in the White House, daily headlines contain disturbing revelations about how theUnited Statesconducts itself in the “war on terror”. While other books have analyzed specific, shocking issues about the war on terror, there is a surprising disconnect in them: they don’t connect the actions with the George W. Bush administration to those of previous administrations. This book is the first to do that. It shows that the bush police state didn’t commence when Bush was inaugurated. It proves, instead, that the seeds of an American police state can be traced all the way back to the founding of the republic.

Praise for State Power and Democracy:

“Since the tragic events of 9/11, the United Sates has gutted its democratic ideals in the name of security while increasing its authoritarian tendencies as part of the war on terror. This book not only rigorously takes note of how the Bush administration (and increasingly the Obama government) undermined any promise of a democracy in the United Statesbut also vividly illustrates the long trajectory of authoritarian practices and punishing policies that have been deeply ingrained in American history. Andrew Kolin provides both a powerful warning and a wake-up call about the death of democratic ideals in the United States.” — Henry Giroux, Chair, English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University and author of Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror

“Andrew Kolin exposes the persistent efforts of autocrats to suppress popular democracy. His treatment is wide-ranging, historically informed, and most relevant to the police-state transgressions occurring in today’s America.” — Michael Parenti, author of God and his Demons and Contrary Notions

“This compelling book traces the assault on democracy and the rise of a police state that reached its zenith in the George W. Bush administration. From the war on communism to the war on terror, our government has used surveillance, preventive detention, torture, and a climate of fear to consolidate its power and neutralize dissent. Under the guise of nurturing democracy at home and abroad, the U.S.government has actually undermined it. Required reading for all who seek to recapture our democracy.” — Marjorie Cohn, Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Defied the Law

Growth of State Power and the Assault on Democracy * Eroding Democracy in a Time of Crisis * Accelerating the Assault on Democracy * Absolute Power at the Expense of Democracy * A Police State * Actions Taken Against Enemies of the State * Exporting An American Police State * The Future?

Andrew Kolin is a Professor of Political Science at Hilbert College. He is author of The Ethical Foundations of Hume’s Theory of Politics (1990); One Family: Before and During the Holocaust (2000); and State Structure and Genocide (2008).

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Bonuses for Some

THE POLITICS OF EQUALITY: AN INTRODUCTION

Now in print from Zed Books: The Politics of Equality – An Introduction, by Jason C. Myers
See: http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/book.asp?bookdetail=4389

Why are socialists, communists and social democrats concerned with the distribution of wealth? Why do they place so much importance on public goods such as education and health care? To what extent does democracy matter to socialist ideologies?

In The Politics of Equality, Jason C. Myers sheds new light on questions like this, providing a readable, contemporary introduction to egalitarian political philosophy. Concentrating on ideas and values rather than on the rise and fall of parties and movements, the book offers crucial insights into a vital tradition of political thought and how it is key to our understanding of contemporary debates from Obama’s plans for a national health care programme to the recent global wave of economic state regulation.

This is essential reading for anyone interested in constructing a more just society.

Jason C. Myers is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of Indirect Rule in South Africa (University of Rochester Press), as well as numerous articles on ideology and political theory. 

Praise for The Politics of Equality

‘Myers’ Politics of Equality is a thoughtful, learned, simply-written attempt to revive a strain of political theory generally considered refuted by events: communism, socialism, social democracy, and related theories of social equality. It is, perhaps, time for such an attempt. No important political theory remains refuted for long–certainly not by events. Myers’ contributes to the revival of social-egalitarian theory in three ways: a) by making a strong case for the attractiveness of the ideal (a society of equal freedom); b) by suggesting reasonable means to approach that ideal; and c) perhaps most important, by pointing out how little the events of the la st hundred years actually count against either the ideal or the means he suggests. It’s a book that should enliven a discussion dead for too long, as good for the classroom as for circulation among thinking classes.’ – Michael Davis, Illinois Institute of Technology

‘Overuse has made it easy to forget the transformative, everyday makeup of concepts like “freedom” and “justice.” But the fabric of modern life (the 8 hour workday; vacations, public schools, sidewalks, safe food and water) is a legislated, created product, no less a result of human design than a building or a city. The Politics of Equality offers a readable entry into the history of egalitarian political theories invaluable for students of political science, economics, or anyone interested in how id eas are transformed into politics – and eventually, reality.’ – John Bowe, Author of Nobodies: Modern Slave Labor in America

‘Jason Myers’ The Politics of Equality is insightful, historically informed, and ideologically balanced, a commanding discourse on the theory and practice of democracy.’ – Michael Parenti, author of Contrary Notions and God and His Demons

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Peter McLaren

ACADEMIC REPRESSION

http://www.akpress.org/2010/items/academicrepression

Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex

Peter McLaren (Editor), Steven Best (Editor), and Anthony J. Nocella II (Editor)

The extreme repressive attacks on Churchill, Finklstein, Fontan, Best, Massad, the “Dirty Thirty,” and many others represented in this book demonstrate the repressive logic of “US democracy,” whereby political elites, the mass media, and the education system establish and police the parameters of acceptable discourse. Churchill became America’s own Salman Rushdie terrorized by the fatwa of the right. Unprecedented for the media coverage given to a professor (in a mass media culture that virtually ignores substantive ideas in favor of spectacle and sensationalism) the Churchill affair was, however, just one of many cases of attacks on academic freedom that eerily evoke the tyranny of the McCarthy era where actors were blacklisted and professors were fired for having even liberal views or showing dissent against state repression. While there has been much research on political repression carried out by the Bush administration, FBI, and various law enforcement agencies, there has been little discussion on political 
repression in academia and how the shockwaves of 9/11 have reverberated throughout academia. This anthology brings together prominent academics who contribute original essays commissioned for this volume. The writers are known and respected figures in their respective fields, and many have experienced academic repression first-hand.

This volume aims to be a cogent intervention in debates over free speech, culture wars, and academic freedom. Given that the importance of free speech to academic life, and the crucial role universities play in the intellectual life of cultures as a whole, a volume addressing the political environment of universities in the current period promises to make a significant contribution.

Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex (AK Press), is a much needed book on a topic that has seen little attention. Since 9/11 the Bush Administration has ventured to every campus influencing and forcing change by administration to handover faculty, staff, and student work to be flagged as possible signs of threatening behavior. While there have been numerous books on academic freedom, that topic is outdated and something that arguably does not exist on U.S. campus soil anymore. This volume addresses not only overt attacks on critical or radical thinking, it also – following socioeconomic trends unfolding for decades – engages the broad structural determinants of academic culture. Slowly but surely, the university is being transformed from a space for free thinking, experimentation, and philosophical education in the broadest sense into a narrow, restrictive, utilitarian institution that serves the technical needs of corporations, government, science and technology, and the military. Thus, as emphasized by numerous contributors, the ultimate cause of repression is not the academy itself, but contemporary capitalist society as a whole, which strongly shapes the structure, function, and priorities of higher education. This volume shows that while universities are crucial sites of socialization in capitalist ideologies and utilitarian performance, they are not monolithic citadels or homogeneous systems of thought that grind out in assembly-line fashion each and every student into the service of capitalism. For just as universities can train tomorrow’s FBI and CIA agents, so they can breed the next generation of radicals, resisters, saboteurs, and revolutionaries.

The university is a contested political space for three reasons. First, it is home to a diversity of viewpoints, ranging from far-right to far-left, from Christian to Muslim, from white to black, Indian, or Chicano/a, from speciesist to animal liberationist, and from heterosexual to gay/lesbian. Second, despite broad and growing trends of repression, there are varying degrees of tolerance for the discussion of non-mainstream or radical ideas in classrooms and campus life. Third, however uncritical, conditioned, and conformist some students might be, they have the potential (often actualized) to discuss, debate, and think critically about issues such as US colonialism, slavery, sexism, and speciesism, and professors, staff, and students – consciously or unconsciously – cannot socialize all of them into their own worldviews and politics.

— Nocella, Best, and McLaren

About the Editors:
Anthony J. Nocella, II is completing his doctoral work at Syracuse University. He is a Visiting Scholar of SUNY Cortland’s Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice (CEPS) and is teaching classes in Sociology and Criminology at Le Moyne College.

Steven Best is Associate Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Peter McLaren is Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BOOK:

This courageous and chilling book reminds us that the Academy is always a context for intellectual exchange and political struggle. Don’t miss it! — Cornel West, Princeton University

This book takes us into the Corporate University, and it’s not a pretty sight. From firing critical thinkers to putting students in debt, the system is failing America. Time to take it back by fighting for free higher education. — Jim Hightower, populist speaker and editor of the “Hightower Lowdown”

The university should be a place of freedom not a battlefield where the military industrial complex is launching its most violent attack yet on the future of education. Nocella, Best, and McLaren shows us that education must be protected if we want peace and social justice for the world. Read now! — Cindy Sheehan, Peace Activist and Founder of “Gold Star Families for Peace”

To the litany of claims by academics that the university is a safe haven for intellectual and political dissent, this book offers a convincing counter-argument. Academic Repression is a long overdue collective study of the long and sorry history of violations of academic freedom, iconoclastic thought and political dissent in US institutions of higher education. The editors have assembled an impressive group of scholars who, often through personal experience as much as analytic acuity, have supplied us with commentary as much as documentation of the central thesis of the book. This book should be required reading in all of the social sciences, humanities and education courses. —
Stanley Aronowitz, author of “The Knowledge Factory: Dismantling the Corporate University and Creating True Higher Learning”

Absolutely and utterly indispensible as we chart a way forward and attempt to finally turn the page on an era best left in the dustbin of history. It’s a first round knock out. — Dave Zirin, author APHOS

For over half a century, matters of knowledge and education have been central to the political struggles shaping our world, and the university has been a primary battleground. This collection is a chilling and powerful survey of contemporary battles, their stakes and possibilities. We should all be scared, and we should all concerned enough to take a stand. — Dr. Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Using the tired canards of anti-semitism, terrorism and radicalism, rightwing zealots are carrying out a merciless campaign of ideological cleansing on American campuses, often with the shameful complicity of university administrators. Academic Repression takes you to the frontlines of this fierce battle for the mind, telling stories of
purges, institutional cowardice and resistance. Here at last is a strategic plan for how to fight back against the New McCarthyites. Read it twice and then throw the book at them. — Jeffrey St. Clair, author Born Under a Bad Sky, co-editor of CounterPunch

Freedom of speech in the academy is a cornerstone of democracy — fascism always creeps closely behind intellectual repression, and we are not immune from the virus. If you want to understand how rocky our freedoms are today, pick up this book, read it, and join the fight to end censorship in all of its imperialist forms. — Joshua Frank, co-author with Jeffrey St. Clair of the forthcoming Green Scare: The Government’s New War on Environmentalism

The powers-that-be are uncomfortable with academic freedom because when one investigates any political, social, economic or even scientific issue thoroughly, a leftwing analysis will tend to emerge. Thinking is dangerous for them. This book is full of the stories and observations of some of the greatest thinkers alive today. — David Rovics, Singer-Songwriter

The editors have drawn together a diverse and competent group of scholars to assess critically the climate of academic repression. This is an essential book for anyone with a deep concern for the future of the academy. It will help raise awareness of crucial issues that face the universities. We ignore this challenge at our peril. — Dr. Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, Director, Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice, SUNY Cortland

As the editors and contributors of this valuable collection make clear, American academia has long been a combat zone, and never more than today. Eternal vigilance, and constant struggle, remain the watchwords if the free expression of thought upon which a good society depends is to be realized. — Joel Kovel, author of “Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine”

—————————————————

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE BOOK:

William Armaline

John Asimakopoulos

Bill Ayers

Liat Ben-Moshe

Michael Bérubé

Carl Boggs

Marc Bousquet

A. Peter Castro

Ward Churchill

Dana Cloud

Sumi E. Colligan

Maria E. Cotera

Christian Davenport

Victoria Fontan

Takis Fotopoulos

Henry Giroux

Adam Habib

Joy James

Robert Jensen

Richard Kahn

Caroline Kaltefleiter

Doug Kellner

Mark LeVine

Bill Martin

Peter McLaren

Micere M. Githae Mugo

Mechthild Nagel

Cary Nelson

Michael Parenti

Emma Perez

Mark Rupert

Rik Scarce

Deric Shannon

Stephen Sheehi

Amory Starr

Gregory Tropea

Ali Zaidi

Howard Zinn

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THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 14 JULY 2009

A message from Rich Gibson

Dear Friends

Below is a call for nominations for the Rouge Forum Steering Committee from Community Coordinator Adam Renner–and below that more resources on the system of capital versus education, including analyses of the National Education Association Representative Assembly.

The Rouge Forum is a group of educators, students, and parents seeking a democratic society. We are concerned with questions like: How can we teach against racism, nationalism and sexism in an increasingly authoritarian and undemocratic society? How can we gain enough real power to keep our ideals AND teach? Whose interests do schools serve in a society that is ever more unequal? We want to learn about equality, democracy and social justice as we simultaneously struggle to bring those into practice.
 
Needless to say, work toward these goals in the spirit of justice, demands organization.  The Rouge Forum is now more than 10 years old. Over the first decade of its existence, members have built an international network of around 4500 professors, teachers, students, artists, and other social service workers.  We have engaged in actions, put on conferences, written papers, and built the capacity of our community.  We have done these things with no attachment to any hierarchy or any official organizing strategies.  Wanting to keep the horizontal nature of such a network while also desiring to better coordinate our actions, the RF is currently accepting nominations for the 09-10 Steering Committee.
 
Members of the Steering Committee will be expected to actively promote the 2010 conference and attend where possible, help develop and actively participate in Regional RF Chapters, attend the Fall Steering Committee retreat, promote the RF at other conferences, seek out like-minded people and organizations to link the RF with, provide essays for the Rouge Forum News where possible, and build the capacity of our community by support of its members.Please send your nomination to Adam Renner at arenner@bellarmine.edu by August 15, 2009On the Education for Liberation Front:  

In particular this steering committee will be crucial toward the formation of Regional Chapters, mentioned in the list above.  We would like to see regular meetings of the regional chapters and work toward some type of coordinated action (e.g., a one day freedom school, a teach-in, a one-day retreat for teachers, an evening panel/speaker on a coordinated topic, a protest action, etc. as a lead up to the 2010 conference and as a preview of more focused, coordinated, and regular actions in the future). Perhaps in organizing more locally/regionally, we can spend more time face to face, as well as enacting nation/world – wide coordinated actions.

 

 

Two great, censored, photos of Arne Duncan, teaching: http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_cartoons.html?id=601

Detroit Schools May File Bankruptcy, Could Void Contracts–Using the GM Model:
http://www.freep.com/article/20090709/NEWS01/90709050/Bankruptcy-considered-for-DPS
If a bankruptcy judge allows this unprecedented school bankruptcy, it could mean wages slashed in half, pensions and health benefits gutted. If it happens in Detroit, it sets the stage for many others.

Substance News on the Wrap-up of the National Education Association Conference:
http://www.substancenews.net/

Vote: Should 11,000 CSU Faculty (all of them signed a loyalty oath) take a 10% Pay Cut? The Union Bosses don’t know. “NOTE: The CFA Board did not take a position on how members should vote.” http://www.calfac.org/furloughvoteinfo.html

The State of US Unionism:

Union Hacks Slug it Out–Solidarity Forever: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/business/09labor.html?em
but nothing will stop them from uniting for a free lunch with The Obmagogue:
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/union-leaders-to-meet-with-obama-next-week/?scp=1&sq=van%20roekel%20obama%20stern&st=cseThe International Scene:

Mediations, a left journal from South Africa, with many fascinating critiques:
http://www.mediationsjournal.org/

 

Parenti on Obama and the coup in Honduras which sparked a nation-wide school strike:
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/08-3

Obamagogue (of  the AIG, Madoff, Enron,  Martha Stewart, etc, USA) lectures Africans on Corruption:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-obama-africa12-2009jul12,0,7755225.storyStiglitz on Auditing the $3 Trillion Wars: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/07/auditing_the_iraq_war_and_its.html
Thanks to Amber, Brian, George and Sharon, Susan O and H, Joe, Mark, Jesus, Donna, Candace, Lance, Sheri, Ken, Barb, Matthew, Bill, Jane W and friends, Mike L and A, Perry, Kathryn, TC, Tony H, Hilda, Marisol, Brit, Della, and Bill.

 

Good luck to us, every one.

Rich Gibson

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