Note from the Editor

Do you recall the vision thing of G.W. Bush Sr., the end of ideology and the New World Order in the early nineties? Then followed the age of globalization, the bridge to the next century, the infinite expansion and the end of history of the Clinton gilded years. Now it's the axis of evil, looming enemies, faith-based generosity, runs on the bank, frightened future and silenced citizenry. Visionary times, indeed... Yet, there are people with strong convictions and faith in the power to dream, imagine, think; mental attitudes that lead to creative actions. One is Robin D.G. Kelley, a professor of History and Africana Studies at New York University. We are honored to publish his challenging words of hope which Gilles d'Aymery introduces. Add thinking, as Milo Clark shows, to dream and imagination and you'll get uplifting results through down-to-earth actions. Michael Stowell has the story, an inspiring one at that.

Or you can keep repeating the past, sit on your sofa and watch dead-serious anchors on national TV read matter-of-factly that the official US policy is to remove Saddam Hussein from power and that the policy makers consider the preemptive use of a nuclear weapon an acceptable option. Well, of course, since the authorities know what's best, why bicker? In India and Pakistan, people in the streets demonstrate in favor of war and when asked if they understand the consequences of a potential nuclear exchange, they shake their heads in disbelief. No they don't, and they don't particularly care. Don't we all have to die anyway? Say, "Kill them all. God will find his own!" And up goes the screaming signs, "We Want War!" Aleksandra Priestfield and Alma Hromic provide two compelling views of the consequences; but then, as Steve Gowans points out, one seems to care only about one's own. The other side is invisible to the heart and mind. Milo Clark, with the help of historian John Lukacs, offers some context for these contemporary days when humans seem to be increasingly flirting with barbarity.

Obviously, none of the views presented here -- sometimes called dissenting views -- ever make the news. When not accused of "abetting the terrorists," they are belittled or better yet, simply ignored. They don't exist, see -- it's so convenient. Instead, the group-thinking Officialdom will present the good graciousness, macho views of a Rumsfeld or the paternal guidance of a Cheney. Watch the Networks and see the same, identical, stories. Soon, you'll hear the discussion among the experts, rehashed by the pundits, over which kind of nuclear warhead is acceptable. A slam dunk! If you wonder about this state of group thinking in the main media, then read Deck Deckert, an old media watchdog who was once in the very bowels of the beast. So, it's just one step away from seeing that anything goes, even the most flagrant contradictions and hypocrisies, as Gowans shows in his "Unpleasant Truths."

In memory of June Jordan, the Black radical, civil rights activist and writer whose untimely death last week saddens us all, we are publishing one of her recent poems. On the lighter side, if you like fantasy novels, you'll enjoy the excerpt of Alma Hromic's first volume of "Changer Of Days." And then, having journeyed through this entire rendition, go back and read again Robin Kelley's article and buy his book. His message of hope is in many ways quite visionary.

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


The Power of Dream, Imagination, Thought and Action

Gilles d'Aymery:  Invent The Future (Introduction to Robin D.G. Kelley's essay)

It's been a long time in coming and I've waited years to finally read and reread an article where line after line, paragraph after paragraph, I kept saying yes, yes again, and again, yes, yes, yes. There, in front of my eyes, was a vision! At last, a vision!   More...


Robin D.G. Kelley:  Finding The Strength To Love And Dream

I am at a crossroads. I spent more than half my life writing about people who tried to change the world, largely because I, too, wanted to change the world. The history of social movements attracted me because of what it might teach us about our present condition and about how we might shape the future. When I first embarked on that work, nearly 20 years ago, the political landscape looked much clearer: We needed a revolutionary socialist movement committed to antiracism and antisexism. Buoyed by youthful naiveté, I thought it was very obvious then.   More...


Milo Clark:  Newthink

In time before Swans [pre 1996, ed.], I wrote a series of pieces under the rubric of "Thinking about thinking about..."   More...


Michael W. Stowell:  Where's The Fiddle?

"This case is not just about me or Darryl or Earth First!," Judi Bari said. "This case is about the rights of all political activists to engage in dissent without having to fear the government's secret police."   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Aleksandra Priestfield:  Shiva, Come Home

How prophecy sometimes turns in a circle and comes true in unexpected forms. At the test of the first nuclear 'device' (not bomb; they were very careful not to call it a bomb at the time) in Nevada, one of the fathers of the atomic weapon, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, was heard to murmur eight words: "I am become death, the shatterer of worlds."   More...


Alma A. Hromic:  And What Will They Tell Them For Fairy Tales...?

Again, my child? That story? But it is late, and you can never go to sleep, after... but all right, then. Children need their horrors, I suppose.   More...


Stephen Gowans:  Pillar Of His Community, Destroyer Of Others

Young, fit, his hair closely cropped, he strode from the church, his family's Bible nestled under his left arm. His lawyer says he's haunted nightly.   More...


Milo Clark:  Differences, Patterns . . . Barbarity

John Lukacs' many books appear to be enjoying a reviving audience. Prices for his used or out-of-print books have jumped (,, In writings for Swans, I have often referred to Lukacs.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Deck Deckert:  Controlled News; Dying Democracy

Which came first, the loss of democracy or the loss of a free press? I suppose a case can be made for either proposition, but as an old news hound, I hold to the latter.   More...


Deck Deckert:  If The Media Were Liberal...

The sun circles the earth. The earth is flat. The media is liberal. Ancient people can be forgiven for once believing the first two propositions. Their own senses appeared to confirm them; they knew what they saw.   More...


Stephen Gowans:  Unpleasant Truths

"Mr. Bush, it becomes increasingly evident, is a man of principles -- provided those principles don't obstruct other priorities," said Canada's The Globe and Mail on June 12.   More...



June Jordan:  April 10, 1999

The enemies proliferate
by air
by land
they bomb the cities
they burn the earth
they force the families into miles and miles of violent exile   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Alma A. Hromic:  The Oracle

[Ed. Excerpt from Alma Hromic's novel, "Changer Of Days,"]

They could smell it before they actually saw it. A pervasive aroma of fish met them some way from the village, and it was soon obvious why -- they passed the great flat stones where the fishermen laid out the fish to dry in the sun some hours before the caravan actually laid eyes on the village itself. al'Tamar said the winds usually carried the smell away from the village when the catch was brought here, which was why the spot had been chosen -- else it would have been impossible to inhabit the village unless it was with cauterised noses.   More...


Letters to the Editor

Conspiracies Galore

It's so dark out there that even the UFOs and god cannot light the sky... Humans are evil. That's why we need police and military, to defend ourselves from... ourselves. Take a premise and run with it, you'll have a field day, especially if the "proof" can be found in the main media that otherwise is loathed as untrustworthy. Have it both ways. Enjoy! Indeed, it would be an amusing discussion if the object was neither a diversion nor so fundamentally reactionary. It is both. By the way, reactionaries are not found only on the right of the ideological spectrum.... Finally, who said, "Irrational people can be quite rational in defending their irrationality which they have long concluded was rational!"? This editor did. Enough already.   More...



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Created: June 22, 2002