September 2015
Volume 28
Number 9



left Box

Z Magazine is an independent monthly magazine founded in 1988. Our mission is to publish in depth articles that critique society's political, economic, social life and institutions. We see the race, class, and gender dimensions of personal life as equally important in understanding current circumstances and as necessary for developing visions and strategies for progressive change.






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Recent ZMagazine

Joel Chaffee: Events and Other Items of Interest

Events EDUCATION – The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) will host its 25th annual conference in New Orleans, October 1-4. Contact: LGBTQ – The 27th annual Out On Film Festival will take place October 1-8, in Atlanta. Contact:; IROQUOIS – The 2015 Conference on Iroquois Research will be held October 2-5, Read more…

Paul Buhle: Two Books On Labor

An old question: is there a vital “workerism,” self-guided and instinctively radical, apart from socialist, communist or other left-wing political groups and can it make great reforms, even hold power in a workplace or city or national state?

Robert Hunziker: America’s Purple Politics

America’s illusory two-party system is so badly corrupted and perverted with such lowly debauchery, undermining any semblance of democracy, it is like a reign of terror that has emerged underneath people’s noses. There is no election when both parties are one. It’s Purple Politics buttoned up. Deep down, people understand this rigged system only too well.

John Malkin: Master & Slave

Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act overturns over 150 years of domestic law that prevents the U.S. military from carrying out domestic policing.

Jeremy Kuzmarov: The Revival of American Militarism

Jimmy Carter’s illness has prompted an array of retrospectives of the man and his presidency both positive and negative. Missing from many of these commentaries is the fact that his presidency was crucial to the revival of American militarism after Vietnam, even though Carter wants to be remembered as a peace president and spoke out Read more…

Denny Riley: The Saturday Before

On the Saturday before the Sunday of the Pride Parade, the Pride Celebration happened in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza and the surrounding grid of streets. From a stage in front of city hall live music blasted out over rows and rows of canopied booths where it appeared everything was for sale but washers and dryers. Booths purveyed savory ethnic dishes and ballpark food, healthy and not so healthy beverages, clothes, crafts, trinkets, sunglasses, hats, books, posters and miniature icons from India and little pipes

Ellen Isaacs: Hurricane Sandy Is Still Drowning The Poor

It is a few months short of three years since Hurricane Sandy barreled down on NYC. The flooded subways have new barriers. The submerged hospital generators are back in order. The boardwalks along the shore are up and trod by beachgoers once again. But what of the thousands of poor renters, most on public assistance, who lost their homes that day? I don’t know all their stories. I only know one intimately, and it is not a happy story.

Sean Posey: Mainstreaming Domestic Terrorism

In April 2009, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report leaked to the public entitled “Right Wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” was released within months of President Obama’s inauguration, sketching the broad strokes of a nascent white nationalist backlash

Yohannes Woldemariam: Caring About Animals, Dehumanizing African Asylum Seekers

What is yet to enter the public discourse is Western complicity for the circumstances that generate refugees. The contributions of the U.S.-British “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq and the U.S.-British-French “Mission Accomplished” in Libya to the refugee exodus is rarely acknowledged.

Peter Rugh: Not For Sale

When I was a teenager I used to skip class, nestle under a desk in my high school’s library where the school administrators wouldn’t find me and open up a tattered copy of Leaves of Grass. The way Walt Whitman wrote about America was so blithe and idealistic, operatic, and direct that I had to read the words aloud, which I did in a low voice so no one would overhear me

Kathy Kelly: Let It Shine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna’ let it shine! This past summer, collaborating with Wisconsin activists, we decided to feature this refrain on signs and announcements for a 90-mile walk campaigning to end targeted drone assassinations abroad, and the similarly racist impunity granted to an increasingly militarized police force

Carl Finamore: Banks Displacing People

we know making money often means subverting the general good as in displacing thousands of poor seniors and moderate-income families from their homes. And that, we must insist, makes it our business.

John M. Laforge: Mass Destruction for the Whole Family

These nuclear war theme parks are part of a deliberate attempt to trivialize nuclear weapons and to dumb down popular understanding of their environmental and human health legacy

Edward S. Herman: After All We Did For Them in Fallujah!

any sensible person should recognize that a U.S. leadership that stands firmly with Saudi Arabia, and had earlier supported Saddam Hussein when he was attacking Iran, couldn’t be expending resources for any democratic objective

Paul Street: Posing as the Great Emancipator

What’s behind Obama’s supposed late-presidency epiphany on the evil of racially biased mass imprisonment? What drove the president’s “sudden desire to look like the Great Emancipator” (Margaret Kimberly)—this even while he offers close to nothing in the way of actual liberation

Eva Golinger: The Secret Agenda Behind the Venezuela-Guyana Conflict

It all began in 1835 when the British Empire sent a German-born naturalist and explorer to conduct geographical research in the South American territory it had colonized and named British Guiana. In the course of his explorations, a map was drawn that well-exceeded the original western boundary first occupied by the Dutch and later passed to British control.

Jeph Bennett: Forget Big Oil; Big Food Aims for the Gut

Introducing Big Food: giant corporations that steal land from the world’s poor to profit from current massive corrupt farming subsidies and future global drought

Ramzy Baroud: Islamic Pretense and Upcoming Wars in Libya

Libya is currently split, politically, between two governments and, geographically, among many armies, militias, tribes and mercenaries. It is a failed state par excellence, although such a designation does not do justice to the complexity of the Libyan case, together with the root causes of that failure.

Pete Dolack: Dump the Kid And Get Back To Work

The presidential campaign season is well underway in the United States, and never in human history will more money be spent to say less. And only 16 more months to go. A perennial favorite of the worst electoral system money can buy is the race among the candidates to be the most in favor of motherhood and apple pie

Andrew Cockburn: Kill Chain: The Rise of High-Tech Assassins

Jeremy Kuzmarov reviews Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn: “Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor of Harper’s magazine, provides a chilling history of American high-tech-warfare and assassination missions and their pitfalls exemplified in this incident dating to the Vietnam War.”

Liz Carlisle: Lentil Underground

Mike Reizman reviews Lentil Underground: “if lentils are grown as part of a diverse sequence of crops that keep weed pressure at bay farmers don’t need to use any chemicals.”

Joel Chaffee: Monthly Free Listings

Events and book/films of interest to progressives and others

Andrew Gavin Marshall: Between Berlin And a Hardplace

They just wanted to take a bat to them,” said former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, referring to the attitude of European leaders towards debt-laden Greece in February 2010, three months before the country’s first bailout. Geithner, Treasury Secretary from 2009 until 2013, was attending a meeting of the finance ministers and central bankers of Read more…

Vincent Emanuele: Reflections From Indiana

On Wednesday, July 29, 2015, the Bernie Sanders campaign organized house party meetings across the U.S. One estimate placed the number of meetings at 3,300, with over 100,000 people attending.

Noam Chomsky: Cold War II: Containing Iran

These are exciting days in Washington, as the government directs its energies to the demanding task of containing Iran in what Washington Post correspondent Robin Wright, joining others, calls “Cold War II. During Cold War I, the task was to contain two awesome forces. The lesser and more moderate force was “an implacable enemy whose Read more…

Jon Greenberg: Race Curriculum Controversy

In 2001, I was hired to help open the Center School, a small school in Seattle Public Schools, and I began teaching the Race Unit in 2002. Drawing in part from a district-wide training on racism called Courageous Conversations, the Race Unit established safe norms for racial dialogue

Lisa Barron: Dangerous Liaison: The Ties That Bind Hollywood And The Pentagon

in the Nicholas Cage film Windtalkers, the Marine Corps strong-armed producers into deleting a scene where a Marine pries gold teeth from a dead Japanese soldier, which was a historically accurate detail

Jamie Tarabay: Hollywood And The Pentagon: A Relationship of Mutual Exploitation

The U.S. military offices usually ask to see the entire script, not just the parts that relate to military involvement and, based on the entire script and the portrayal of the troops, will move it forward in the approval process.

Uki Goni: Argentine Women Call Out Machismo

The term “femicidio,” which encompasses the murder of women by domestic violence, in honor killings and in other categories of hate crime, has now entered our everyday language in Argentina. “The cause is our country’s macho culture,”

Kathy Kelly: An Interview with Kathy Kelly

Earlier this year, the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research (PIPR) interviewed the recently released peace activist, Kathy Kelly

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo: Unionists Try to Save South Africa From Becoming a Failed State

This interview takes place in the aftermath of the South African government release of the investigation into the Marikina massacre in which 34 platinum mine workers, protesting low wages and environmentally unsafe conditions were killed by police.

Paul Street: The Real Cost of Being Poor

Serious debates over what the minimum wage should be in various U.S. locales and jurisdictions should start with information on what it actually costs to live in the different places where Americans live.

Ramzy Baroud: An Opportunity in the Iran Nuclear Deal

Despite the saber rattling, the fiery speeches, and all the chest-thumping that has lasted for many years, Israel had lost its battle to lead another regional war against a formidable enemy in the Middle East.

Nizar Visram: Greek Austerity & African Patronage

The current situation in Greece resembles the debt peonage that many African countries have been subjected to for decades. They suffered the consequences of the so-called structural adjustment under the supervision of the international finance institutions and the result was economic and social devastation.

Edward S. Herman: Nasty Legacies

It was amusing to see Peter Baker refer to the Democratic Party legislators’ threat to President Obama’s possible “legacy” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), often described in the media as a “free trade” agreement, although Baker here makes it only a “trade deal” (“A Trade Deal And a Legacy,” New York Times, June 15, 2015). Read more…

Dan Glazebrook: Purging Al-Qaeda: The Assassination of Nasir al-Wuhayshi

Given the West’s strategy of co-opting sectarian militias as proxy armies for its coming wars against Libya and Syria at this time, it was clear which of these men would be best suited for resurrecting the old “jihadi”-imperialist alliance. It is no coincidence, then, that just as these wars began to get underway, Bin Laden was taken out and his organization effectively handed over to Zawahiri

Marian Wang: Georgia is Segregating Troublesome Kids in Jim Crow South

Georgia has been illegally and unnecessarily segregating thousands of students with behavioral issues and disabilities, isolating them in run-down facilities and providing them with subpar education, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Pete Dolack: Speculators Circling Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s governor may have said the commonwealth’s debt is not payable, but that doesn’t mean Puerto Ricans aren’t going to pay for it. Vulture capitalists are circling the island, ready to extract still more wealth. You may already know the drill: capital is sucked out by corporate interests that pay little in taxes, and speculators swoop in

Staughton Lynd: American Gandhi

American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century By Leilah Danielson Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014 Review by Staughton Lynd and Andy Piascik American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century is the most comprehensive and thoroughly- researched account of the life of A.J. Read more…

Edward S. Herman: Soft Power Dictatorships

The New York Times is a very good newspaper, except where ideology and party line demands intrude. Unfortunately these intrusions occur often and are of great importance.

Ellen Isaacs: From Baltimore to Palestine

The increasingly militarized attacks on rebellious neighborhoods in the U.S. seem more and more like armed forces brought to bear on Palestinians in the Middle East.

Jane LaTour: Feminism Unfinished; What Women Want

Two terrific books have arrived at the same time and serve as complementary entry points to a similar topic. Feminism Unfinished…

Eric Laursen: Why Things Are Going to Get Worse…And Why We Should Be Glad

Ask 50 people when the capitalist era began, and you’ll probably get close to 50 different answers, ranging from Italy in the 15th century to England in the 18th.

Nizar Visram: EU’s Military Strategy to deepen Mediterranean Tragedies

More than 800 migrants died on April 19 this year when their overcrowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast. The tragedy sent soaring this year’s Mediterranean death toll which was by then around 1,500

Andrew Breiner: Why We Should Spend Billions More On Trains

Getting cars off the roads would help combat climate change and improve air quality. Government policy could make this happen. From Acela to Alaska, U.S. train travel offers a practical, affordable, and green alternative to travel by car and plane.

Amien Essif: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google

If you were airdropped blindfolded into a strange town and given nothing but a bus ticket, to where would you ride that bus? You might be surprised to learn that there’s only one good answer, and that’s the public library

Lawrence Wittner: The Sad Case of Start-Up NY

For several decades, state and local governments have been showering private businesses with tax breaks and direct subsidies based on the theory that this practice fosters economic development and, therefore, job growth. But does it?

John Potash: The Baltimore Riots, Resident Info Beyond Mainstream Media

Despite the nearly 24-hour-a-day national television coverage of the situation in Baltimore, there was much the media didn’t cover. Some of these omissions, or facts only mentioned once and never repeated, appeared against the media owners’ more right-wing political agenda.

Peter Bohmer: Police Shooting in Olympia, WA; It Can Happen Anywhere

At 1:15 AM on May 21, on the west side of Olympia, Washington, white police officer Ryan Donald shot two young unarmed Black brothers, Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21.

Karima Bennoune: The Women’s Court

From 1991 through 2001, a series of conflicts, including the Bosnian War, were fought on the territory of the Former Yugoslavia. During that time, ethnic, sexual and economic violence against women was rampant and rape was used as a tool for “ethnic cleansing.”

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