Letters to the Editor

(November 20, 2006)


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Author's Clarification: Aleksandar Jokic's The Unbanality of Genocidalism

Dear Editor,

The article "The Unbanality of Genocidalism" published in the last issue of Swans was meant to serve as an extended summary of my longer essay "Genocidalism" from The Journal of Ethics (2004). Very soon after the publication of the latter essay due to some fortunate circumstances I was able to continue research and explore other facets of the international phenomenon of "genocidalism" in cooperation with Maître Tiphaine Dickson who was lead counsel for the defense in one of the first UN trials prosecuting genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Several coauthored articles resulted from this cooperation, and several of those points developed as part of our joint research venture found their way into "The Unbanality of Genocidalism." I wish to acknowledge in particular that Maître Dickson's research is responsible for the James K. Gasana table representing casualties of the Rwandan conflict and the reference to the "Genodynamics" research Web site. These are excerpts from a forthcoming coauthored piece: "Globalization and Genocidalism: Fictional Discourse Without Borders (for Fun and Profit)," Sociological Review (Belgrade) 2006.

Best regards,

Aleksandar Jokic
Assistant Professor, Portland State University, Department of Philosophy, Portland, Oregon
Director, Center for Philosophical Education, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, California
Editor, Stoa -- International Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy - November 13, 2006


Vive les Démocrates! Why defend oneself when one is not attacked... Wait, one may feel attacked... Reason, or emotion?

To the Editor:

Gilles d'Aymery's article in the last issue, and his editor's response to my letter, make me feel I should defend myself. I've worked in radical parties and movements several times in my life. Nothing much came of them, and I would venture to predict, nothing much will come of them, until America goes through another Depression or something comparable.

In the pages of this journal I have read a lot of forceful and intelligent criticism of the American state, but nothing about any concrete third-party programs or activity. Milo Clark, very intelligently, recently dissed the sustainability movement in Hawaii. Sustainability happens to be one little niche, in my area, where concrete things are actually being accomplished. Through existing political institutions! My point is this: it seems elitist to stand aloof from the politics that we do have, in favor of a purer one that doesn't exist yet.

I guess you disagree with my suggestion that Bush's policies represent a distinct danger, not to combat which would be foolish and self-destructive. Consider the following list taken from Phillip Greenspan's current article on the elements of fascism, and tell me which ones are systemic (that is, bipartisan) and which are uniquely associated with the current Republican administration. I think you'll find that there's quite a difference between the parties on these measures, and a real danger in allowing the current administration to stay in office.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism

5. Rampant sexism

6. A controlled mass media

7. Obsession with national security

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together

9. Power of corporations protected

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption

14. Fraudulent elections.
I find ten out of the fourteen purely associated with Bush's administration, only four (items 10, 9, 6 and 4) systemic -- that is, they arose under and are supported by both political parties.

Even if you're not concerned with the danger of fascism in the Bush administration (and I don't know how you can't be), it's intellectually dishonest to claim that the Democrats and Republicans are indistinguishable on these issues.

Robert Wrubel
Sausalito, California, USA - November 6, 2006

Gilles d'Aymery responds:

Bob Wrubel is a respected and valued occasional contributor to Swans. I have no reason to attack him and he should not feel the need to defend himself. I wrote an opinion that had little to do with any individual, even though I did refer to a couple of them indirectly. Individuals are used as examples of the point I wish to make. They are not targets. I respect their views. I disagree with them (their views). Persuasion is as much about reason as it is about emotion. I focus on reason and hope that people would not let their emotions do the talking. (I'll readily confess to being too emotional at times... Nobody's perfect.)

Here again, respectfully: I disagree with Bob's take of the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans on the 14 points listed by Phil Greenspan. But for #11, for which I would give the benefit of the doubt, all the other points are fully embraced by a majority of the Democrats. People need to study the voting patterns in Congress. In addition I would suggest that instead of using the word fascism to describe the situation in the U.S. one would be better served by a different expression, like "authoritarian -- or increasingly militarized -- corporatism." Most Americans visualize fascism through a Hollywood prism with images of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Use the word and most often the reaction is one of disconnection. They close their mind and discount, or ignore the argument.

Anyway, the Democrats have won the midterm elections. We now have a couple of years to evaluate their policies and judge how little (or much) they differ from the Republicans.


Euro Commies in Anderson Valley?

Dear Gilles:

I just discovered your site. Congratulations. Lots and lots of stuff there, read through some. Seemed sort of like a European take on America -- never would have thunk Euro commies right here in Anderson Valley.

You know, maybe 20 years ago, my wife and I gave serious consideration to immigrating to New Zealand. Then I thought I couldn't learn to forgo politics, you know, foreigners criticizing the natives and their sacred cows is considered to be extremely bad manners everywhere (hence the American and French reputations for being arrogant and insensitive tourists). Also, I was told, not much rock and roll in New Zealand.

Anyway, how'd you wind up here? How'd you wind up feuding with [Anderson Valley Advertiser Editor, David] Severn, a fellow pinko traveller? Just curious, sensing there may be an interesting story there. AVA readers love gossip and ideological, what?..struggles. Not to mention colorful characters. So, if I've tweaked your interest, let me know and I'll buy you a beer or a sody pop.

Peace, Justice and humor,
Pat -- everybody calls me Pat except my Mexican compadres, who call me Patricio.

Bruce Patterson
4mules Productions
Boonville, California - November 8, 2006

[ed. Bruce Patterson, a Vietnam Vet, has been a hard-working logger and rancher for some 30 years before focusing on his talented writing. His acerbic work -- a blend of irony, humor, libertarian socialism, and no holds barred-prose, is regularly published in the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Patterson's book, Walking Tractor, And Other Tales of Old Anderson Valley, is a fascinating read. If you like nature and the old American West with its roughness and friendliness, this is a Xmas present par excellence. You can order it through the Web at 4mules Productions.]

Gilles d'Aymery responds:

After almost a quarter century in the country it's becoming harder and harder to criticize the natives and their sacred cows without criticizing oneself first. No worry though, I've lost my reputation long before I reached these shores, assuming I had any in the first place.

David Severn, "fellow pinko traveller?" Are you kidding or humoring me?


Hmm, Need to Remove Western Union from the Donate Page...

Dear Editor,

I tried to send you money after reading Phil Rockstroh's article in www.uncommonthought.com today. I tried to send you money via Western Union. I just wanted to send $10.00 but it would have cost me $32.00 total!!!

I will just send you a check.

Thanks -- glad I discovered your site.

William G. Whitlatch
Portland, Oregon, USA - November 5, 2006


Barbara Lee's Real Name?

Dear Editor,

I should be interested in the birth name of Barbara Lee. I am suspicious of the falsity of her name as a line of clothing which was available in the early fifties had that trademark name. I can find a birth date of 7/16/48 making her 60 yrs. of age, but I can find nothing about her name at birth in El Paso, TX.

John E. Alexander
Oakland, California, USA - November 10, 2006

[ed. No idea. Suggestion: Mr. Alexander should contact Barbara Lee directly.]


The Curiosity of an Almost-Anthropologist: Gilles d'Aymery's The Democratic Salvation And The Idiotic Left


I have a couple of questions.

1. Why does Gilles d'Aymery call people he talks to members of his "flock"? Does he think of himself as a religious leader?


2. Why does he use adolescent names like "Republicrooks" and the "Democraps"? It sounds like the sort of stuff Rush Limbaugh says. Does he believe he neede [sic] to use words like this to reach the flock?


Andrew Austin
Associate Professor
Social Change and Development
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA - November 6, 2006

[ed. Gilles d'Aymery is neither religious not a leader, just the publisher and co-editor of Swans whose regular contributors are members of the "flock," as in a "bevy of Swans." Incidentally, Andrew Austin is the Marxist for Democrats the author referred to in his article. Austin, as this letter indicates, is a very serious man.]


Nuclear Issues: Interview with Dr. James Gordon Prather

Dear Editor,

We're a little bit late getting out of the gate this morning -- this show, at two hours and twenty six minutes, was too large a file for my software to handle, requiring some last-minute adjustments to keep it intact. And, thankfully, a crisis was averted. (My technical know-how is becoming pretty amazing, even to me :-))

About that time: it is a long show, but I think it's worth listening to Gordon as he talks about nuclear weapons and arms control. If it's too much for one sitting you can always listen in smaller increments. What stands out for me, having listened more than twice, is the conviction Gordon brings to the subject that nuclear weapons should not be used, especially not on civilians. To some, this may seem counter-intuitive, coming from a cold warrior who was the chief scientist in the Department of the Army under Reagan, among other senior positions, but I think it makes perfect sense. And this perspective adds a bit of depth to our understanding of how it is that so many leading Reagan conservatives have become, in today's topsy-turvy world, leading dissidents.

If you have time, thanks very much for listening.

The podcast entry is here:


Best Regards,

George Kenney
Electric Politics
Bethesda, Maryland, USA - November 3, 2006
[Ed. George Kenney is a principled US citizen who resigned from the State Department in the early 1990s in opposition to the US policies in the former Yugoslavia.]


Farewell, Ashley Howes

To the Editor:

In response to a somewhat exhaustive series of quotations from both Zionist, British Parliamentary and other related sources, all demonstrating that indeed part of the reason for the US's entry in WWI was a function of Zionist political lobbying, Gilles d'Aymery again can only reply with overly-simplistic hyberbole, thus:
Here we go again, a "group" of 15,000,000 people down to a few banking families are controlling the world.... One short excerpt from one book becomes an evidence of wrong-doing and world manipulation by the said "group...." What else to say? Ashley Howes may wish to read The Politics Of Anti-Semitism, Part II: Stereotypes And Other Canards - Gilles d'Aymery - May 2004.
The point of the 15,000,000 is simple: this is a tiny number of people relative to the overall world population. It is to their credit that they can muster so much support and influence, of course, but pointing this out does not mean that I was or am claiming they "control the world." Gilles d'Aymery keeps putting words in my mouth in order to avoid any of the points that were made. In fact, I stated clearly that I was not espousing a "controlling the world" scenario; clearly this is too subtle for some to absorb.

I took a look at the article Aymery referenced, but couldn't get through it all, since essentially it makes endless specious arguments along the lines of his rebuttal. The fact is, as my excerpt clearly demonstrated citing many key players (though by no means all) in the dynamic, the Zionist lobby in 1916 played a significant part in bringing the U.S. into WWI. He asked for corroboration of this in terms of the "historical record" and I provided it from many sources, (albeit collected by one author in one book as he points out).

Whether this has anything to do with "the Jews are running the world" conspiracy theory (seemingly the only issue that he feels it might involve) is beside the point and again I repeat from the last letter: "So although it is surely quite silly to maintain that one group is controlling the whole world (as he seems to be implying I have been doing), it is no less absurd to deny a long lineage of influence at the highest levels which the historical record clearly shows."

The question arising from his response, however, as I intimated in the last letter is: "why does pointing out this simple historical fact make [him] so uncomfortable as to oblige [him] to resort to such underhand debating tactics?"

In response to Mr. Jacob Amir: you bolster my main thesis quite nicely by pointing out that the whole "mess" is the fault of the Arabs who refused to go along with both the U.S. and the USSR. From this point of view, you are correct. If they had gone along with the world vote as they were supposed to have done, then perhaps none of the ensuing mess would have occurred. Perhaps. However, for a world organisation based on the premise of defending the sovereignty of nations and peoples, to use plurity in committee voting procedures to force a people to give up their land and history in order to welcome in a foreign population is highly questionable, as the ensuing "mess" so clearly demonstrates. More importantly, to think that one can impose a new country without the welcoming participation and support of the people in whose region such a country is to exist, and then to insist that any resistance to this idea constitutes some sort of outrageous negativitism that deserves whatever punishment it gets, is the height of arrogance.

Clearly it would have been far better to wait a little longer after WWII and soften the Arabs up more to the idea rather than forcing the issue with back-room arm-twisting in international corridors of power in order to provide ostensible (if not actual) legitimacy for the enterprise. The results of this overly self-centred and greedy approach speak for themselves. You can blame all this on the Arabs if you like, of course, but whilst doing so please never forget this simple, basic fact: if you hadn't decided to invade their territory in the first place, none of this "mess" would have happened; so you have to take responsibility for the determination to establish the state at the time and in the manner you did. This includes, lest we forget, the many blatantly "terrorist" tactics employed in early 1948 long before substantive resistance was mounted by any local or pan-Arab agency; such tactics constitute the record in terms of how Israel chose to "say hello" to her new neighbours. Given such a beginning, UN mandate or no, is it any wonder that the fruit now blossoming from such aggressive seed is so truly bitter?

Whether or not the Jews are a race or a people, as you insist (I would agree with the latter), their approach is clearly "racist" in terms of how the word is usually used. Otherwise, how else could a multi-generational Palestinian living in the midst of the Jews in Palestine not also be considered a "Jew," since he or she lives in the "secular state" of Israel as you defined it. What hogwash! FYI, I think there is nothing wrong with a racist state necessarily, but it would have to be based on a positive sense of racism or tribalism, not a negative one. But that is the sort of distinction it is almost impossible to discuss in an intelligent, playful way, given the hysteria around all these issues nowadays.

Ashley Howes
Cape Breton, Canada - November 5, 2006

Gilles d'Aymery, slightly miffed, and exhausted by this entire issue, responds:

"Nothing wrong with a racist state necessarily". . . . An "intelligent, playful way" discussion on racism and tribalism... Excuse me? "They" don't control the world, but "they," in light of their "tiny number...relative to the overall world population," are in position of power, etc., etc., etc. That I know, white people are a minority in the world, and within that minority, a tiny clique controls all the levels of power and owns most of the wealth in the world. To follow this kind of flawed logic all whites are...are what, Howes? Ashley Howes's rants have been going on for too long. He is so entrenched in his ideology that he cannot even sleep on my comments (I posted the last edition on Sunday afternoon. Within an hour he responded. The man is relentless.)

There is no Jewish race, as there are no pagan, or Christian, or Muslim, or atheist, or polytheist, or, or, or, races. There is no Jewish people, as there are no pagan, or Christian, or Muslim, or atheist, or polytheist, or, or, or, peoples. There is, however, an Israeli state with many races and religions, which happens to have a majority of its citizens of Jewish background (and white), like there is an American state with many races and religions, which happens to have a Christian (Protestant, Catholic) majority and myriad minorities including a-religious people like me. Israel is as much, or as little depending on one's own perspective, a racist country as the USA and France are. Racism has always been a manifestation of white patriarchy.

Now, if bigots can define themselves as a Muslim nation (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, etc.) or a Christian nation (USA, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, etc., etc., etc.) for whatever reasons -- and there are many -- then I fail to understand why Israel should not be allowed to called herself a Jewish nation. It may be regrettable but not uncommon. As it is not uncommon for settlers to steal the land of natives (ask Americans, and Canadians, and Australians, and New Zealandeze, for that matter).

One could discourse at length on the merits of having had the European powers foster the birth of modern Israel -- a discourse I can entertain though I am utterly uninterested in it, but, possibly, from an intellectual perspective. The facts on the ground are there for all to see. Israel is, like it or not. Israel will not disappear without leaving in her demise a nuclear-ravaged world. Is this what the likes of Ashley Howes want? Do they have a death wish, as the hard-core Christian-right has in the U.S.? Grown-ups want to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire. They want to see an end to the Israeli abject policies in the Territories they conquered through a pre-emptive war and that they have been settling, and keep settling, for close to 40 years. They are fully aware that this conflict has much to do -- not all to do (cf. oil and age-old Western interference...see oil, again) -- with the mess in the region. They want the Israeli power brokers to realize that they have to give in on their dreams of Greater Israel (or become a binational state). They strive for peace in that part of the world.

These people are consistently being under-cut by the likes of Ashley Howes who see evil in everything Jewish, and who serve as ammunition for the likes of Jacob Amir, who use them in their propaganda that allows them to continue their project of Greater Israel.


Completely Incoherent Contribution: Gilles d'Aymery's The Politics Of Anti-Semitism, Part II: Stereotypes And Other Canards (May 2004)

To the Editor:

On the one hand, the author finds anti-Semitic sites that link "Jews" and "the media." "Is this the company you want to keep?" he asks, rhetorically.

Then he cites CAMERA.


Not only is he wrong, and incoherent, compared to the two essays he objected to, but even in comparison to mainstream commentary. Cf. Eric Altermann's "Can We Talk?" in Slate.

No one who leans on CAMERA is anything but a Zionist apologist, regardless of what they acknowledge after the fact about Israel. It's exactly like leaning on The Barnes Review for his analysis, just the other way. And yes, when Ted Rall moronically indirectly cited the Barnes Review (cited in the source he cited) for the claim that the U.S. was underreporting military casualties by 2/3s, I pointed that out to him.

Marion Delgado
Eugene, Oregon, USA - November 10, 2006

[ed. Zionist apologist, eh? The issue is whether or not the quote attributed to Ariel Sharon is a fabrication.]


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Published November 20, 2006
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