For five weeks in the late spring of 2006, we toured the eastern half of the United States to promote two books–"Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out" (Nation Books, 2005) and "Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity" (AK Press, 2006)–and to get at least a cursory impression of sectors of the movement in this country. We viewed each of the twenty-eight events not only as book readings but as conscious political conversations about the state of the country, the world, and the movement.
Gregory Rodriguez opined in a July 16th Los Angeles Time op-ed that Democrats should listen to Barack Obama’s recent remarks on faith and "tear down the party’s self-imposed wall between religious faith and politics" even though it would most likely offend the small block of secularists whom the party "appease[s]". Neither of these calls are new: a theme of public discourse since the 2004 election has been Democrats’ inability to steal religious voters away from Republicans. According to this narrative, Democrats are beholden to a small but overwhelmingly powerful secularist block that leads them to adopt stances that drive out liberal Christians and shun belief in the public sphere. Yet upon closer examination, both Rodriguez and Obama’s positions are just sermons directed at straw men.
While hitchhiking across Paraguay a few years ago, I met welcoming farmers who let me camp in their backyards. I eventually arrived in Ciudad del Este, known for its black markets and loose borders. Now the city and farmers I met are caught in the crossfire of the US military's "war on terror."
It has become broadly accepted that controlling the spread and use of small arms is vital in establishing genuine human security. The abuse of small arms is directly related to the violation of the right to life. In practice, it is small arms which are killing today both in armed conflicts and in domestic and community violence.
The multiple dimensions of the problem of the unrestricted flow and wide availability of small arms range beyond the confines of arms control and disarmament. Nevertheless, it was in the structure of the UN’s disarmament division that "The UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA) was drafted in 2001.
Today's street gang killers in Somalia were barely 10 years old when I first came to Mogadishu in 1988. Since heavy fighting broke out again in Mogadishu in early May 2006, far more than 300 people have been killed and many more have been injured. Somalia has been the focus of repeated US attention. One might have thought that after the complete failure of the "Black Hawk Down" or officially the "Operation Restore Hope" mission in 1993, the US would have decided to call it quits in Somalia. They have not. (1)
Eugene Jarecki may not be
Eugene Jarecki may not be