This is a free ZNet Update.
As always, you can add or remove email addresses for these update
mailings at the ZNet top page -- www.zmag.org/weluser.htm
In this update...
--> We first let you know about Z Magazine Online -- our new undertaking
-- and urge you to please sign up for it.
--> We then very briefly indicate some news about ZNet.
--> We then include an author interview about a new book by a ZNet
Commentator, Michael Ratner.
--> And finally, to provide additional substantive content we then
include a short essay plus a call to action from UFPJ.
Please note -- starting soon and for the duration of war crises we will
be sending messages to the ZNet Free Update list at a far more frequent
pace. These will usually be a single article or essay, however.
Z Magazine Online
Z Magazine -- the complete issue including all text and graphics -- is
now being placed online each month roughly simultaneous with its arrival
by slow mail.
At the top of www.zmag.org/weluser.htm -- you can click for the March
issue to see its table of contents, and by clicking on any article you
can sign up to get Z Magazine Online.
Z Magazine Online is a separate operation unto itself for purposes of
tracking membership, handling passwords, etc. But Z Magazine online is
very inexpensive. If you are NOT a Z Magazine print subscriber it is $18
for one year full fee and only $12 for one year low income. But it is
only $5 for a full year if you are a print subscriber. And subscribing
to it helps us greatly, in addition to getting you access to the online
version of Z, of course.
We created Z Magazine Online initially for overseas residents because
the time lag in their getting the print magazine is so great and its
cost is so high. But, the desire to have an electronic version of the
content turns out to be great in the U.S. as well, so we are making it
So please go to www.zmag.org/weluser.htm and click on the link for the
March issue of Z at the top of the page. Or go to www.zmag.org and click
the big link for Z Magazine. In either case, you can then sign up -- and
you can do it for a year, or, if you prefer, for only six months at half
the fee, as you decide!
There is all sorts of new material online on ZNet, as usual.
At the top page, www.zmag.org/weluser.htm you can access the material
including many essays on the Iraq situation, and other material as well.
For example, in just the past hour we have placed online Sustar:
Medicare; Hynes: War and Women; Solomon: Media Obedience; Jones: Bush
Goes for Kill; Gunderson: Marine Life; and Keaney: Do The Numbers.
A link you may not have noticed highlights the newly available video
offering Stopping A War, Building a Movement, with talks by Stephen
Shalom and Joanne Landy. It is part of our Z Videos series.
ZNet commentator Michael Ratner has an excellent and very timely new
book from Seven Stories Press (www.sevenstories.com) and here is his
ZNet book interview...
Against War With Iraq: An Anti War Primer
1) Can you tell ZNet, please, what your new book is about? What is it
trying to communicate?
This short, highly readable book summarizes in one place many of the
arguments against the war with Iraq. It is trying to arm the reader with
a basis for opposition to the war and provides a list of resources that
, hopefully, will get people active.
It lays out the international prohibition on the use of force, the two
exceptions permitted under the U.N. Charter, and explains the various
United Nations resolutions regarding Iraq.
It details the Bush Administrations justifications for a new war,
particularly with regard to weapons of mass destruction and points out
how its claims are misleading, exaggerated, or false.
It analyzes many of the alleged rationalizations for the war, finds them
unconvincing and proceeds to discuss what this war is really about.
It summarizes the early roots of the doctrine of preemptive strikes and
explains the war as one for oil and U.S. world domination.
The book also contains a section on the serious consequences and dangers
such a war will have for the people of Iraq, the U.S. and the rest of
2) Can you tell ZNet something about writing the book? Where does the
content come from? What went into making the book what it is?
This book was a joint effort by lawyers, staff and associates of the
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). We had an obvious expertise in
legal issues surrounding the use of force, the United Nations and the
analysis of various resolutions.
CCR has brought numerous cases against various US sponsored wars
including the 1991 Iraq war and has opposed the "no fly zones," the
embargo and other punitive measures taken against Iraq.
We felt that the legal prohibitions on the use of force are a reflection
of the moral truth that that aggressive war is no longer acceptable in
the world. We wanted to make clear that this war will be a war of
aggression no matter how the U.S. disguises it.
3) What are your hopes for " Against War with Iraq "? What do you hope
it will contribute or achieve, politically? Given the effort and
aspirations you have for the book, what will you deem to be a success?
Our hopes are that this book will be used to help stop the war, that it
will convince the unconvinced, deepen peoples reasons for opposing the
war and that it will become a tool for activists.
Every person who reads this book and is convinced to oppose this war,
and who will be active in such opposition, will be a measure of our
4) What would leave you happy about the whole undertaking? What would
leave you wondering if it was worth all the time and effort?
We would be happy if this book contributed to stopping the war with
Iraq. We hope it will make people see that the war against Iraq is only
part of a broader U.S. imperialist policy and that the Bush
administration presents a grave danger to all of us.
Books can be obtained on amazon.com or sevenstories.com
Two essays today...a short one from ZNet Commentator Betsy Hartmann
followed by a Call To Action with specific program for events in coming
days and weeks from the United For Peace and Justice Coalition
By Betsy Hartmann
Recently, National Public Radio carried a story about how State Farm
Insurance was introducing a clause in its auto policies excluding
coverage for nuclear or radiological events. Although the commentator
noted the absurdity - after all, would replacing your car be the first
thing on your mind after a dirty bomb - the effect was to normalize the
possibility of such an attack, to weave it into the fabric of the
commonplace marketplace. From car insurance to duct tape to steel safe
rooms on display at the Washington Home and Garden show, the government,
media and their corporate sponsors are rendering the unthinkable
thinkable, the surreal real, the unacceptable acceptable, and the
avoidable inevitable. In a consumer culture, preparing the populace for
war not only demands revving up patriotic zeal but convincing people
that safety is a commodity that can be bought and sold.
Preparing the populace for war also requires a narrowing, if not
outright suspension, of basic ethics. Thus, in the Sunday New York
Times (3/9/03), whether or not to torture Al Qaeda operatives such as
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is presented as a practical dilemma rather than a
moral one: Does physical torture yield more information than
psychological pressure and 'normal' interrogation techniques such as
sleep and food deprivation, temperature extremes, enforced nakedness,
and denial of painkillers to wounded prisoners? The Times even hints
that Mohammed's two young sons might be tortured to elicit information
from their father. Gone is any sense of the inhumanity of torture.
Instead, if we want to keep our own hands clean, we can send prisoners
to other countries where torture is allowed. In the name of fighting
terrorism, the government creates an export economy of torture.
While the approach of war makes such desensitizing strategies more
obvious, it is important to remember that the normalization of the
national security state is an ongoing process. Well before 9/11, the
massive incarceration of poor men and women of color, intensified
repression of immigrants and growing collusion between different
branches of law enforcement and the military constituted a de facto
'homeland security' policy - a prison-military-industrial complex that
has unfortunately become as American as apple pie and sanctioned by both
political parties. Phrases like "three strikes and you're out" portray
cruel and unusual punishment as just a commonly accepted rule of a
baseball game. That last week the Supreme Court failed to overturn
California's three strikes law reveals how injustice has become our
favorite national pastime.
In his famous song, "Stand Up for Your Rights," Bob Marley sang that
"you can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people
all of the time." The growing strength of the anti-war movement
testifies to this fact as more and more people wake up from the
normalizing nightmares about war beamed into our homes every day.
However, we must not only challenge war overseas, but the ongoing war at
home which will continue whether or not there is an attack on Iraq.
Both kinds of war are deeply connected and vital for the survival of the
real nightmare, the national security state.
Betsy Hartmann is the director of the Population and Development Program
at Hampshire College and the author of the novel The Truth About Fire, a
political thriller about the Far Right.
A Call to Action from United for Peace and Justice:
Step Up the Struggle for Peace!
Reclaim Our Capitol, Take Back Our Democracy!
Beginning Now: An Emergency Campaign of Lobbying and Nonviolent Direct
Action to Stop the War and Fund Schools, Jobs, Health Care and Other
Startiing Now: An Immediate Campaign of Sustained Action for Peace and
It is clear that we are entering the final stages of the struggle to
stop an all-out war on Iraq. The world peace movement in the tens of
millions has delayed it and profoundly transformed the political context
of the Bushites' decision. War, though very close, is not a certainty.
The question is, what do we do in the United States with this last
chance for action?
MIllions around the world have said "No!" to war on Iraq--and still Bush
won't turn back. We have written letters, sent email, made phone calls,
participated in delegations, rallied, marched, walked out--and still the
Congress refuses to uphold their constitutional duty to decide on
matters of war as representatives of the people. Resources for human
needs are being cut, our rights are under attack, and our democracy is
being betrayed. We have no choice but to RAISE THE BAR OF OUR RESISTANCE
and rise up to the challenge of reclaiming our democracy and defending
the promise of freedom from tyranny--including the greatest tyranny of
all: WAR. We must take action to demand that our elected officials
represent our interests and vote no to war. The time has come to bring
the new voices of democracy to the Congress: if they won't uphold the
Constitution and represent the people, WE WILL.
Thus, we call upon the hundreds of thousands of people who have actively
participated up to now in this historic, nonviolent uprising for peace
to take part in an:
Emergency Campaign of Lobbying and NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION to Stop the
War and Fund Schools, Jobs, Health Care and Other Human Needs.
Our demands are clear:
-Publically oppose the war and take action to stop it. Stand with your
-Repeal Bush's war authorization and REVOTE on Iraq policy.
-Reallocate the people's money from the military to needed domestic
Our plan is clear:
1) March 10-14: Week of Lobbying and Preparation:
a) Tuesday, March 11--Phone, fax, email your Congressional reps to
demand that they represent our interests and say no to war. We want them
to publicly support repeal of Bush's war authorization and legislation
to incrase human needs funding.
b) Thursday, March 13, organize community delegations to your
representatives' offices to deliver these demands in person and declare
your intention to take nonviolent direct actions if they refuse to
uphold the constitution and support the popular demand for peace.
c) organize transportation to D.C. for the March 17th mass nonnviolent
direct action (arrive on March 15th for the march on the White House or
at the latest by March 16th am) or organize local nonviolent action
training and prepare local legal support and solidarity.
2) March 15-21: Week of Sustained Action for Peace and Justice,
Including Nonviolent Direct Action
-In Washington, D.C.
A) Converge in D.C. on Saturday, March 15th or by the morning of Sunday,
March 16th for nonviolent action training and action planning
B) Monday, March 17th, engage in mass nonviolent direct action to stop
the war and to reclaim democracy. This will be a kick-off of an ongoing
campaign of nonviolent resistance. If we must, we will TAKE THE STREETS
AND FILL THE JAILS until they listen to the people's will for peace!
-Nationwide (if you can't make it to D.C.):
A) Complete training andn legal preparation for nonviolent direct action
by Sunday, March 16th;
B) Monday, March 17th, begin a campaign of nonviolent direct action to
demand Peace, Justice and Democracy.
*Details to be detrmined locally.*
If we must we will sit-in, occupy, obstruct and FILL THE JAILS until
they listen to the people's will for peace!
*If war begins before March 17th or during the following week, we urge
ongoing nonviolent direct action:
While the Bombs Fall, NO BUSINESS AS USUAL!
Together, we have the power to stop this war and change history!
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