Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Alinsky's Tactical: Rules for Radicals

I read Saul Alinsky’s _Rules for Radicals_ (published 1971)  in the 1990s and wanted to remind myself of what my thought was then of what Alinsky wrote long before his name became a conservative slur.  Alinsky was a successful organizer and a seasoned tactician.  Alinsky, however, was not a strategist.  The difference between strategy and tactics is often confused:  Tactics are the means used to gain an objective and strategy is the general campaign plan or goal.  

Here are some of the tactically radical rules of Saul Alinsky that I noted then and now note again:

Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

Never go outside the experience of your people.

Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.

Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.

A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

Keep the pressure on.

The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.  

The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.  

Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

The real action is in the enemy's reaction.

The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction is your major strength.

Tactics, like organization, like life, require that you move with the action.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century

_The Next American Revolution:  Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century_ by Grace Lee Boggs with Scott Kurashige
Berkeley, CA:  Univ of CA Press, 2011
ISBN  978-0-520-269240-8

Introduction by Scott Kurashige

(6)  Reflecting on the limits of her prior encounters with radicalism, Grace fully embraces the feminist critique not only of gender discrimination and inequality but also of the masculinist tendencies that often come to define a certain brand of movement organizing - one driven by militant posturing, a charismatic form of hierarchical leaderhsip, and a static notion of power seen as a scarce commodity to be acquired and possessed….

Her observations of these encounters have reinforced her repeated observation that marginalization serves as a form of liberation.

(12)  The only certainty with capitalism is that it never stands still.

(15)  In words that will resonate throughout this book, we must define revolution both by the humanity-stretching _ends_ to be achieved and the beloved community-building _means_ by which to achieve those ends.

(17)  As Grace argues, echoing author Margaret Wheatley, movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass.

(25)  It is easy to unite against that which you are _against_.  Hence, the Bush era produced heightened cooperation between liberals, progressives, and radicals.  Grace directs our focus to the greater task:  defining what we are _for_ while enacting proposals to govern the whole of society.

Book
(47)  We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other.  We urgently need to bring the neighbor back into our hoods, not only in our inner cities but also in our suburbs, our gated communities, on Main Street and Wall Street, and on Ivy League campuses.

(48)  Now, in the light of our historical experiences and thanks especially to the indigenous cultures that the Zapatistas have revealed to us, we are beginning to understand that the world is always being made and never finished;  that activism can be the journey rather than the arrival;  that struggle doesn’t always have to be confrontational but can take the form of reaching out to find common ground with the many “others” in our society who are also seeking ways out from alienation, isolation, privatization, and dehumanization by corporate globalization.

(50)  In what Wheatley calls “this exquisitely connected world,” the real engine of change is never “critical mass”; dramatic and systemic change always begins with “critical connections.”
NB:  Only connect

(51)  We must have the courage to walk the talk, but we must also engage in the continuing dialogues that enable us to break free of old categories and create the new ideas that are necessary to address our realities, because revolutions are made not to prove the correctness of ideas but to begin anew.

(52)  What we urgently need are impassioned discussions everywhere, in groups small and large, where people from all walks of life are not only talking but also listening to one another.

(53)  We especially need to explain how and why the ideas of most leftists about revolution have become narrow, static and even counterrevolutionary.

The historian I have found to be most insightful about he rethinking of radical strategies mandated by the movements of the 1960s is Immanuel Wallerstein, author of _The Modern World-System:  Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixtennth Century_.

(54)  The movements of the 1960s, writes Wallerstein in _After Liberalism_, published in 1995, culminated in what he calls “the world revolution of 1968.”  Since that world revolution, he says, six premises that were accepted as axiomatic by revolutionaries since the French Revolution have become questionable:
The two-step strategy (first take state power, then transform society) is no longer self-evidently correct.
We can no longer assume that political acitvity is most effective if channeled through one party.
The labor-capital conflcit is not the only fundamental conflict in capitalism;  there are also contradictions revolving around gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality.
Democracy is not a bourgeois concept but a profoundly revolutionary, anticapitalist idea.
An increase in productivity is not an essential goal of socialism.  We need to address capitalism’s ecological and human consequences, including consumerism and the commodification of everything.
We need to reassess our faith in science and reconsider the complex relationships between determinism and free will and between order and chaos.

Next, in his little 1998 book, _Utopistics:  Or, Historical Choices of the Twenty-First Century, Wallerstein explains how 1968 dethroned both the Leninists and the Social Democrats, the two anti systemic movements that had emerged from and prevailed since the French Revolution.

(55)  The next year, in _The End of the World as We Know It:  Social Science for the Twenty-First Century_, Wallerstein assured us that uncertainty rather than certainty about the future provides the basis for hope.
NB:  Conversation between Boggs and Wallerstein at 2010 United States Social Forum in 2010 in Detroit:
https://youtu.be/2CSE0PlsyVk

(57)  I have learned over the years that _when_ you become a radical usually decides your politics.

(62)  These two notions - that reality is constantly changing and that you must constantly be aware of the new and more challenging contradictions that drive change - lie at the core of dialectical thinking.
NB:  Add Karl Popper’s Open Society where you don’t know everything.
Rojava as today’s possible Paris Commune

(67-68)  In the Black Panther Party and the rebellions of the 1960s, there was a lot of righteous anger because in the sixties we defined ourselves more by our expression than by the power that we have within us to create new loving relationships.  That is why, beginning in 1968, Jimmy and I felt that our main responsibility as revolutionaries was to go beyond “protest politics,” beyond just increasing the anger and outrage of the oppressed, and concentrate instead on projecting and initiating struggles that involve people at the grassroots in assuming the responsibility for creating the new values, truths, infrastructures, and institutions that are necessary to build and govern a new society.

(70)  By contrast, as citizens of a nation that had achieved its rapid economic growth and prosperity at the expense of African Americans, Native Americans, other people of color, and peoples all over the world, our priority had to be in correcting the injustices and backwardness of our relationships with one another, with other countries, and with the Earth.

(71)  Jimmy [Boggs] in the chapter titled “Dialectics and Revolution” in _Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century_:  
The revolution to be made in the United States will be the first revolution in history to require the masses to make material sacrifices rather than to acquire more material things.
NB:  Systemic changes to local production (swadeshi) and integration with new and existing infrastructure can provide the same (or better) quality of life with less energy and materials intensity.

(74)  Our City of Hope campaign involves rebuilding, redefining, and respiriting Detroit from the ground up:  growing food on abandoned lots, reinventing education to include children in community building, creating co-operatives to produce local goods for local needs, developing Peace Zones to transform our relationships with one another in our homes and on our streets, and replacing a punitive justice system with restorative justice programs to keep nonviolent offenders in our communites and out of multibillion-dollar prisons that not only misspend monies much needed for roads and schools but also turn minor offenders into hardened criminals.

(75)  Despite the huge difference in local conditions, our Detroit-City of Hope campaign has more in comon with the revolutionary struggles of the Zapatistas in Chiapas than with the Russian Revolution of 1917.
NB:  Zapatistas and Gandhian economics

…  Therefore, World War IV, the war in which the whole world is now engaged, is a new kind of war:  an ongoing and total war, the war of the “Empire of Money” against Humanity.  The Empire of Money seeks to impose the logic and practice of capital on everytying, to turn every living being, the Earth, our communities, and all our human relationships into commodities to be bought and sold on the market.

(79)  History is not the past.  It is the stories we tell about the past.  _How_ we tell these stories - triumphantly or self-critically, metaphysically or dialectically - has a lot to do with whether we cut short or advance our evolution as human beings. 

(89)  The struggle for independence from Britain, he insisted, should not be mainly a struggle for state power.  It should revolve around going to people at the grassroots, helping them to transform their inner and outer lives, and encouraging them to think for themselves in order to create self-reliant local communities.  Such communities should be based on two pillars:  Work that preserves rather than destroys skills while fostering cooperation rather than competition and Education whose goal is the building of community rather than increasing the staus and earning power of the individual.  Stressing the importance of human relations beyond the nation-state, Gandhi began projecting a new concept of global citizenship - one that especially appealed to Martin Luther King, Jr. 

(92)  We must begin the shift from what [ML] King called a “thing”-oriented society to a “person”-oriented society.  “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people,” he declared, “the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

… [ML] King:  “Communism fails to see the truth in individualism.  Capitalism fails to realize that life is social.”

(96-97)  Instead of pursuing rapid economic development and hoping that it will eventually create community, we need to do the opopsite - begin with the needs of the community and create loving relationships with one another and with the Earth.

As Jimmy Boggs used to remind us, revolutions are made out of love for people and for place.  He often talked about loving America enough to change it.  “I love this country,” he used to say, “not only because my ancestors’ blood is in the soil but because of what I believe it can become.”  Shea Howell, Oakland University rhetoric professor and former director of Detroit Summer, has helped hundreds of students and community organizers appreciate what Jimmy meant:  Love isn’t just something you feel.  It’s something you do every day when you go out and pick up the papers and bottles scattered the night before on the corner, when you stop and talk to a neighbor, when you argue passionately for what you believe with whoever will listen, when you call a friend to see how they’re doing, when you write a letter to the newspaper, when you give a speech and give ‘em hell, when you never stop believing that we can all be more than we are.  In other words, Love isn’t about what we did yesterday;  it’s about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after.
                    
(99)  King was very clear that suffering and oppression are not enough to create a movement.  African Americans began the Montgomery Bus Boycott because that had “replaced self-pity with self-respect and self-depreciation with dignity.”  In other words,  a movement begins when the oppressed begin seeing themselves not just as victims but as new men and women - pioneers in creating new, more human relations and thus advancing the evolution of the human race.

(99-100) Movement builders are also very conscious of the need to go beyond slogans and to create programs of struggle that transform and empower participants… engage in “self-transforming and structure-transforming” direct action 

(100)    Confident in their own humanity, movement builders are able to recognize the humanity in others, including their opponents, and therefore the potential within them for redemption…. nonviolent struggles can become swords that heal…
NB:  Aikido

At the heart of movement building is the concept of two-sided transformation, both of ourselves and of our institutions…

Thinking dialectically is also pivotal to movement building because it prepares us for the contradictions that inevitably develop in the course of a struggle.
NB:  Open Society uncertainty, Buddhist logic

(101)  Yusef Shakur’s _The Window 2 My Soul:  My Transformation from a Zone 8 Thug to a Father and Freedom Fighter_

(103)  Ron Scott and the Coalition Against Police Brutality as well as Peace Zones for Life.
NB:  Violence interrupters and public health solutions

It promotes “community-based conflict resolution and mediation initiatives,” using methods that will allow the citizens options to submit their grievances for resolution by their neighbors or persons whom they trust;  thereby, remaining outside the police/criminal justice system and eliminating conflict within our communities.”
NB:  This can also be a two-edged sword

(111)  In a 1985 speech, he [Jimmie Boggs] had said that we needed to go where we have never gone before and focus on “creating communities.”  During the 1988 debate on casino gambling, he projected a new kind of city whose foundation would be citizens living in communities who take responsibility for decisions about their city instead of leaving these to politicians or to the marketplace and who create small enterprises that emphasize the preservation of skills and produce goods and services for the local community.     

(112-113)  Recalling how the Freedom Schools of Mississippi Freedom Summer had engaged children in the civil rights movement, we asked Detroiters to just imagine how much safer and livelier our neighborhoods would be almost overnight if we reorganized education along the lines of Detroit Summer, if instead of trying to keep our children isolated in classrooms for twelve years and more, we engaged them in community-building activities with the same audacity with which the civil rights movement engaged them in desegregation activities forty years ago:  planting community gardens, recycling waste, organizing neighborhood arts and helath festivals, rehabbing houses, and painting public murals.

By giving our children and young people a better reason to learn than just the individualistic one of getting a job or making more money, by encouraging them to make a difference in their neighborhoods, we would get their cognitive juices flowing.  Learning would come from practice, which has always been the best way to learn.  In Detroit Summer we combined physical forms of work with workshops and intergeneraional dialogues on how to rebuild Detroit, thus further expanding the minds and imaginations of the young, old, and in-between.  Instead of coercing young people to conform to the factory model of education, the time had come, we said, to see their rebellion as a cry for another kind of education that values them as human beings and gives them opportunities to exercise their Soul Power [satyagraha].
NB:  Gandhi’s Constructive Programme

(115)  Detroit Summer brought us into contact with the Gardening Angels, a loose network of mainly African American southern-born elders, who planted gardens not only to produce healthier food for themselves and their neighbors but also to instill respect for Nature and process in young people.

(115-116)  Gerald [Hairston] maintained close ties with the naitonal and local black farmers movement, which spread the vital message that “we cannot free ourselves until we feed ourselves.”  In other words, it is only when we can provide for own basic needs that we are empowered to make our own choices.

(121)  So CFA [Catherine Ferguson Academy] students now learn science by running a fully functioning on-site farm with a community garden, fruit orchard, bees, and horses, as well as ducks, goats, and chickens that provide eggs and meat for the school community.  They learn physics by buildilng and raising their own barn on the school site.  and most notably, the school is remarkably successful, graduating an overwhelming majority of teenage mothers, considered most at risk of dropping out, and sending nearly all of them to college.

Marjetica Potrc, Slovenian artist who creates visionary and practical solutions of communities around the world

(122)  They [Potrc’s projects] include a dry toilet in the La Vega barrio of Caracas, Venezuela, which reduces the amount of water used by residents while also providing a sustainable solution to the wastewater problem, and a roundhouse for earthquake victims in El Retiro, El Salvador, which is resistant to small earthquakes and can be built by as few as two people in ten hours…

(124)  In 2000 and 2001 students involved in Kyong Park’s studio at the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Archtiecture created a vision of how a prairie-like area of two and a half square miles on the Eastside of Detroit near my house could be developed into a self-reliant community.  They called this vision “Adamah,” which roughly translates to “of the Earth” in Hebrew.  Drawing from the work of Steve Vogel, dean of the architectural school, they proposed unearthing Bloody Run Creek, which had been covered over and absorbed into the city’s sewer system aroudn the turn of the twentieth century, and remaking it into a canal for both recreation and irrigation.  They envisioned greenhouses, grazing land, a dairy, and a vegetable farm to produce food;  a tree farm, a lumber sawmill, and a shrimp farm;  windmills to generat electricity;  and living and work spaces within the massive structure housing the former Packard auto plant.  They saw cohousing as well as individual housing, and schools that include community building as part of the curriculum.

(131)  In the past, working within the Marxist-Leninist tradition, we would have tried to unite them [different urban gardening groups] all within one organization, to have them following one set of leaders and subscribing to one central strategy.  But in the twenty-first century I have come to appreciate (in the words of authors Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri) the value of the “singularities” that compoose the “multitude.”  Our diversity is the source of our strength.  We are not aiming simply to impact one election or one government.  Rather, we are striving for long-term and sustainable transformation, and for that we need the wisdom that comes from many cultures, movements, and traditions.

(132)  Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen and Maria Mies, The Subsistence Perspective
pamphlet with Grace Lee Boggs ‘Another World Is Necessary, Another World Is Possible, Another World Has Already Begun

In the ensuing discussion [in New Orleans after Katrina] folks who had never heard of Adamah made proposals that seemed to come right out of the Adamah vision: community gardens to grow their own food;  grocery stores, banks, barber, and beauty shops within walking distance, green spaces with trees;  more intergenerational activities;  a small neighborhood school where, instead of the old kind of schooling for jobs, children would develop responsibility for one and other and for the community through a curriculum that engages them in community activities;  a resource center with a community theater, artists’ studios, and information about the different skills available in the neighborhood (e.g. car repair, plumbing, carpentry, tutoring).

(136)  1969 speech and pamphlet, Education to Govern by GL Boggs, Harvard Educational Review

(144-145)  Because [John] Dewey insisted that education is “a process of living and not a preparation for future living,” he called for the school to “represent present life - life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood or on the playground.”  “Our present education,” he said, "is highly specialized, one-sided and narrow.  It is an education dominated almost entirely by the medieval conception of learning."

(146) Teach people what will truly help them, he [Gandhi] said, not to become servants and bureacrats for the Empire but to aid them in all the little things of village life.  Education, he said, should be of the Heart, the Hand, and the Head.  It should give people an understanding of themselves and where they stand in the world and, from there, their obligations toward their neighbor.  The three main resources for this popular education, he said, are the community, the natural environment, and the world environment.

(148-149)  Transforming relations means that revolution is not about the oppressed switching places with the oppressors, nor is it about the “have-nots” acquiring the material possessions of the “haves.”  It is about overcoming the “dehumanization” that has been fostered by the commodification of everything under capitalism and building more democratic, just, and nourishing modes of relating to people.  Critical of the Marxist-Leninist and nationalist parties that had led most of the anticapitalist and anti colonial movements around the world, [Paolo] Freire insisted that what was needed to revolutionize society was not a narrow focus on seizing state power but a cultural revolution in the form of a continuous struggle to transform human relations.

(154)  [George] Siemens recommends that educators celebrate local excellence and innovations, let people teach each other, and allow students to organize themselves.  Education, in other words, serves as a model democracy.   

(168)  Every environmental group, every class in public health, should discuss them [Seventeen Principles of Environmental Justice] periodically.  Some of the most vital principles include
Principle #1:  Environmental Justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the pinterdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
Principle #7:  Environmental Justice demands the right to participate as equal partners at every level of decision-making, including needs assessment, palnning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
Principle #17:  Environmental Justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources and to produce as little waste as possible;  and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to ensure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.   

(171)  from Gar Alperovitz, _America Beyond Capitalism_:
In all, 130 million Americans are now involved in co-ops, mostly credit unions, and cooperative housing.
Eleven thousand employee-owned companies already exist in this country.  Together they involve more workers than the total membership in unions of private corporations.
The number of community development corporations (CDCs) and municipally owned utilities is steadily growing.
Since the 1960s, countless nonprofit organizations have been created to serve community needs.  Most of these are funded by foundations but many support themselves by organizing local enterprises.
The share of locally owned businesses has also increased from 30 to 60 percent.  Many of these were founded by socially conscious entrepreneurs not only to make a profit but also with the aim of protecting the environment and promoting social justice.

(174)  One of the highlights of the 2008 Allied Media Conference was an especially moving video presented by Sista II Sista, a grassroots community organization based in Brooklyn, New York.  These are people in a community, living together like family, taking care of children and of elders, dealing with each other and with conflict in new ways, not out of anger at injustice but from love for one another and for our communities.  They are not building power over others but empowering each other.  I believe that these and like-minded activists have arrived at these practices mainly because so many activists these days are female and queer.

(175)  We are creating a revolutionary alternative to the counterrevolutionary and inhuman policies of the U.S. government, but we are not subversives.  We are making the leap forward in the precious human qualities of social responsibility and creativity, now necessary and possible in the evolution of the human species.  We are creating the kind of global citizenship that Martin Luther King Jr. said every nation needs to create to preserve the best in its traditions.  We are struggling to change this country because we love it.

(176)  Beloved Communities Initiative

The BCI began with a “These are the times to grow our souls” call to those celebrating MLK’s birthday in January 2005 and continued with visits to sites that we identified as in the process of creating new kinds of communities in the United States.

(177)  We visited Will Allen’s urban farm, Growing Power, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Will is at the forefront of the urban agricultural movement, which may be the fastest growing movement in the United States.  “We’re having to go back to when people shared things and started taking care of each other.  That’s the only way we will survive.  What better way than to do it with food?” said Will, as he was honored with a 2008 MacArthur Genius Award.

(178)  These visits [around the USA] have reaffirmed my belief that the movement today, in this period and this country, is being created not by the cadres of a vanguard party with a common ideology, but by individuals and groups responding creatively with passion and imagination to the real problems and challenges that they face where they live and work.                                                                                                        

(187)  Urban Ecology:  Detroit and Beyond edited by Kyong Park (Hong Kong, Map Book, 2005) - founder of International Center for Urban Ecology [ICUE]

(189)  New econmics institutions, locations, and experiences at Democracy Collaborative http://www.community-wealth.org

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Former CEO of BP at Harvard

3/10/16
Harvard
Lord John Browne

Oil will be between $35 to $90 although oil is becoming more expensive to produce.  
North America and Europe are the biggest consumers of oil and changes there are more important for demand than China, India, and others.  Efficiency globally is driving down demand.
Renewables are about electricity
Not corporate social responsibility but radical engagement.  CSR good when it is aligned with clear business purpose but now it is detached and institutionalized.  Boards now bored with it - what boards talk about at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.  Radical engagement is listening to stakeholders on their own terms.  Unilever is one example of a company that is doing this.
30% of corporate profits depend on regulation 
30% risk [for a company] of having the wrong relationship with society “We estimated it was about 30 per cent.” As it happens, after the emissions scandal broke, VW’s stock price fell by the same amount. “That is not meant to be the perfect, single-point validation of the theory [put forward in the book],” he went on, “but it’s an interesting observation.”
30% of time dealing with regulators
2% per annum increase in performance by companies which have strong engagement with stakeholders
Talk was in support of Browne's book Connect
Every incident is handled before the incident happens based upon your preparation and engagement - vis a vis Macundo blow out.
Black Rock  [VC firm] asking for more detailed business strategies now

——————————

Asked him after the event about peak oil and he seemed to agree that peak has already happened for conventional oil.
Also asked him about stranded costs of fossil fuel carbon.  He indicated that only coal would have to be left in the ground and he wouldn’t speculate when I raised the issue of divestment.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Big Money

James Houston was the man who brought Inuit art to the world, retrieving throw-away carvings to be sold in Montreal, Ottawa, and New York back in the early 1950s.  Here is his story of how he taught Inuit people the economics of art and they taught him something else. 
(from page 276 of his book _Confessions of an Igloo Dweller:  Memories of the Old Arctic, Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston  1995 ISBN 0-395-78890-0)
While they understood the idea of barter or trade perfectly - these furs in exchange for these bullets and this kettle - helping Inuit understand the use of money was anything but simple at first.  Big Red Pedersen lent me a white fox pelt for a demonstration to the printmakers.  Next to the fur, I spread out its current value in Canadian dollars and coins then explained denominations under the watchful eyes of hunters.  I began by changing a blue five-dollar bill into five green one-dollar bills and so on.

"Only paper," they would sigh.

Paper had always been fragile and useless in their lives except to wrap a cigarette and burn it.  To dispel that thought I displayed one of their prints, a stone block or stencil, printed on paper, then laid out beside it all the various dollars it would gain.

"Bigger money can be made from printmaking than from trapping foxes," I stressed.
After one of these heand-spinningly clever monetary discussions of mine I slid home and slept as soundly as Disraeli must have slept after purchasing the Suez Canal for the British government on the strength of his financial prowess. 

Early next moring, when I went into the senlavik, print shop, I discovered on the drying line the printmakers' idea of what I had meant in my demonstration.  Hanging between two clothes pegs was a huge, chest-wide, stencilled print of a green dollar bill - the monarch's head in the center and a "one" on all four corners.  That's big money, I thought!

Perhaps the whole idea of printmaking was coming through to them.  Or was that marvelously naive piece of Inuit folk art just one of the better jokes they played on me?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Information by James Gleick

_The Information:  A History, a Theory, a Flood_ by James Gleick
NY:  Pantheon Books, 2011
ISBN 978-0-375-42372-7

(22)  He [John Carrington] finally published his discoveries about drums in 1949, in a slim volume titled The Talking Drums of Africa.

(25)  Songe, the moon, is rendered as songe li tange la manga - "the moon looks down at the earth."  Koko, the fowl, is rendered koko lonogo l bokiokio - "the fowl, the little one that says kiokio."  The extra drumbeats, far from being extraneous, provide context.  Every ambiguous word begins in a cloud of possible alternative interpretations;  then the unwanted possibilities evaporate.  This takes place below the level of consciousness.  Listeners are hearing only staccato drum tones, low and high, but in effect they "hear" the missing consonants and vowels, too.  For that matter, they hear whole phrases, not individual words.  "Among peoples who know nothing or writing or grammar, a word per se, cut out of its sounds group, seems almost to cease to be an intelligible articulation."  Captain Rattray reported.

The stereotyped long tails flap along, their redundancy overcoming ambiguity.  The drum language is creative, freely generating neologisms for innovations from the north:  steamboats, cigarettes, and the Christian god being three that Carrington particularly noted.  bUt drummers begin by learning the traditional fixed formulas.  Indeed, the formulas of the African drummers sometimes preserve archaic words that have been forgotten in the everyday language.  For the Yaunde, the elephant is always "the great awkward one."  The resemblance to Homeric formulas - not merely Zeus, but Zeus the cloud gatherer;  not just the sea, but the wine-dark sea - is no accident. In an oral culture, inspiration has to serve clarity and memory first.  The Muses are the daughters of Mnemosyne.
NB:  Alfred Lord, Singer of Tales

(39)  Oral people lacked the categories that become second nature even to illiterate individuals in literate cultures:  for example, for geometrical shapes.  Shown drawings of circles and squares, they named them as "plate, sieve, bucket, watch, or moon" and "mirror, door house, apricot drying board."  They could not, or would not, accept logical syllogisms.  A typical question:

In the Far North, where there is snow, all bears are white.  Novaya Zembla is in the Far North and there is always snow there.  What color are the bears?

Typical response:  "I don't know.  I've seen a black bear.  I've never seen any others... Each locality has its own animals."

By contrast, a man who has just learned to read and write responds, "To go by your words, they should all be white."  To go by your words - in that phrase, a level is crossed.

(166)  "A word is a tool for thinking, before the thinker uses it as a signal for communicating his thought," asserted in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1873.

(229) Looking at correlations extending over eight letters, [Claude] Shannon estimated that English has a built-in redundancy of about 50%:  that each new character of a message conveys not 5 bits but only about 2.3.  Considering longer-range statistical effects, at the level of sentences and paragraphs, he raised that estimate to 75% - warning, however, that such estimates become "more erratic and uncertain, and they depend more critically on the type of text involved."  One way to measure redundancy was crudely empirical:  carry out a psychology test with a human subject.  This method "exploits the fact that anyone speaking  a language possesses, implicitly, an enormous knowledge of the statistics of the language."

(247)  Information is surprise.
NB:  Surprise is an attitude.  It does not have to be novelty.

(266)  Later, he [Claude Shannon] wrote thousands of words on scientific aspects of juggling - with theorems and corollaries - and included from memory a quotation from E. E. Cummings:  "Some son-of-a-bitch will invent a machine to measure Spring with."

(280)  To the physicist, entropy is a measure of uncertainty about the state of a physical system:  one state among all the possible states it can be in.  These microstates may not be equally likely, so the physicist writes  S = -∑ p sub i log p sub i.

To the information theorist, entropy is a measure of uncertainty about a message:  one message among all the possible mesages that a communications source can produce.  The possible messages may not be equally likely, so Shannon wrote H = -∑ p sub i log p sub i

It is not just a coincidence of formalism:  nature providing similar answers to similar problems,  It is all one problem, to reduce entropy in a box of gas, to perform useful work, one pays a price in information.  Likewise, a particular message reduces the entropy in the ensemble of possible messages - in terms of dynamical systems, a phase space.

(298)  Crick's Central Dogma:  "Once 'information' has passed into protein it cannot get out again.  In more detail, the transfer of information from nucleic acid to nucleic acid, or from nucleic acid to protein may be possible, but transfer from protein to protein, or from protein to nucleic acid is impossible.  Information means here the precise determination of sequence."

(337)  The Kolmogorov complexity of an object is the size, in bits, of the shortest algorithm needed to generate it.  This is also the amount of information.  And it is also the degree of randomness - Kolmogorov declared "a new conception of the notion 'random' corresponding to the natural assumption that randomness is the absence of regularity."  The three are fundamentally equivalent:  information, randomness, and complexity - three powerful abstractions, bound all along like secret lovers.

(343)  As [Gregory] Chaitin put it, "God not only plays dice in quantum mechanics and nonlinear dynamics, but even in elementary number theory."

Among its lessons were these:
Most numbers are random.  Yet every few of them can be _proved_ random.
A choice steam of information may yet hide a simple algorithm.  Working backward from the chaos to the algorithm may be impossible.
Kolmogorov-Chaitin (KC) complexity is to mathematics what entropy is to thermodynamics:  the antidote to perfection.  Just as we can have no perpetual-motion machines, there can be no complex formal axiomatic systems.
Some mathematical facts are true for no reason.  They are accidental, lacking a cause or deeper meaning.

(361)  On the contrary, it seemed that most logical operations have no entropy cost at all.  When a bit flips from zero to one, or vice-versa, the information is preserved.  The process is reversible.  Entropy is unchanged;  no heat needs to be dissipated.  Only an irreversible operation, he argued, increases entropy.

(362)  In every case, Bennett found, heat dissipation occurs only when information is _erased_.  Erasure is the irreversible logical operation.  When the head on a Turing machine erases one square of the tape, or when an electronic computer clears a capacitor, a bit is lost, and _then_ heat must be dissipated.  In Szilard's thought experiment, the demon does not incur an entropy cost when it observes or chooses a molecule.  The payback comes at the moment of clearing the record, when the demon erases one observation to make room for the next.

Forgetting takes work.

(365)  It [qubit] is not just either-or.  Its 0 and 1 values are represented by quantum states that can be reliably distinguished - for example, horizontal and vertical polarizations - but coexisting with these are the whole continuum of intermediate states, such as diagonal polarizations, that lean toward 0 or 1 with different probabilities.  So a physicist says that a qubit is a _superposition_ of states;  a combination of probability amplitudes.  It is a determinate thing with a cloud of indeterminacy living inside.  But the qubit is not a muddle;  a superposition is not a hodgepodge but a combining of probabilistic elements according to clear and elegant mathematical rules.
NB:  Buddhist logic:  yes, no, not yes, not no, neither yes nor no, both yes and no.  I have discovered that when you use Buddhist logic as the responses in a poll, readers like don't understand the question? and none of the above.

(369)  In quantum computing, multiple qubits are entangled.  Putting qubits at work together does not merely multiply their power;  the power increases exponentially.  In classical computing, where a bit is either-or, n bits can encode any one of 2 to the n values.  Qubits can encode these Boolean values along with all their possible superpositions.  This gives a quantum computer a potential for parallel processing that has no classical equivalent.

(389)  onomastics "is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names."

(395)  A gigabyte also encompasses the entire human genome.  A thousand of those would fill a terabyte.

(399)  Elizabeth Eisenstein The Printing Press as an Agent of Change

(477)  Aunger, Robert, ed.  Darwinizing Culture:  The Status of Memetics as a Science.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2000

(479)  Bikhchandani, Sushil, David Hirshleifer, and Ivo Welch.  "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change as Informational Cascades."  Journal of Political Economy 100, no. 5 (1992);  992-1026.

(487)  Goody, Jack.  The Interface Between the Written and the Oral.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1987.

(492)  Lynch, Aaron.  Thought Contagion:  How Belief Spreads Through Society.  New York:  Basic Books, 1996.

(495)  Ong, Walter.  Interfaces of the Word.  Ithaca, NY:  Cornell Unviersity Press, 1977
Ong Walter.  Orality and Literacy:  The Technologizing of the Word.  London:  Methuen, 1982

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hope Dies Last

_Hope Dies Last:  Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times_ by Studs Terkel

(xvii)  Thomas Paine:  "Freedom has been hunted round the globe;  reason was considered as rebellion;  and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think.  But such is the irresistible nature of turth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing... In such a situation, man becomes what he ought.  He sees his species, not with the inhuman idea of a natural enemy, but as a kindred.

(xxii)  The cold war had begun.  For professional patriots at home it had become boom time in domestic as well as foreign affairs.

(xxvi)  The Wobblies referred to their antagonists as scissorbills, "capitalists with holes in their pockets."

(31)  On the radio, on V-E Day, we listened to Norman Corwin's _On a Note of Triumph_.  All the networks shut dowm to listen to it.

(44)  Admiral Gene LaRoque;  When other countries are involved in war, they talk about when war comes.  We Americans talk about when we _go_ to war, because that's what we do:  we go _somewhere else_ to war.  We are going to war with increasing frequency.  The American public seems very happy about it because, I think, they are not aware of how frequently we go to war, and how powerfully our military influence is felt throughout the world.

(45)  They [the American public] want the excitement and the pleasure of fighting a war, as long as we go somewhere else.

(48)  Paul Tibbetts:  "My edict was as clear as could be.  Drop simultaneously in Europe and the Pacific.  Because of the secrecy problem, you couldn't drop it in one part of the world without dropping it in the other."

(51)  The Hiroshima bomb did not make a mushroom.  It was what I call a stringer.  It just came up.  It was black as hell, and it had light and colors and white in it and gray color in it and the top was like a folded up Christmas tree.

(53)  Unknown to anybody else - I knew it, but nobody else knew - there was a third one.  See, the first bomb went off, and they didn't hear anything out of the Japanese for two or three days.  The second bomb was dropped, and again they were silent for another couple of days.  Then I got a phone call from General Curtis LeMay [chief of staf of the Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific].  He said, "You got another one of those damn things?"  I said, "Yessir."  He said, "Where is it?"  I said, "Over in Utah."  He said, "Get it out here.  You and your crew are going to fly it.  I said, "Yessir."  I sent word back and the crew loaded it on an airplane and when they got it to the California debarkation point, the war was over.

(70)  Tom Hayden:  So this is the last stage.  You know what that is?  To be an elder.  The problem with the sixties, as I look back, was a problem of the elders.  It was always defined as a problem of youth, a crisis of youth.  But really that was how the elders defined it.  The real problem was that the elders weren't there.  The elders missed the point entirely.  I live now with one goal:  to try to learn to be the kind of elder who was missing when I was a kid.

(80)  Arlo Guthrie:  We have used up most of our humanity in inhuman ways.  That's the great disaster.  So we end up weak instead of strong.

(83)  I remembered the day it ended.  We were protesting the buiding the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire.  We had been at a bunch of these things for the last decade - civil rights, ban the bomb, stop the war, clean the water, whatever - and we had laways marched down these streets and boulevards singing the usual songs, "We Shall Overcome," "I Ain't Gonna Study War No More" songs.  All of a sudden, I saw a placard that somebody was holding.  It said:  _Lesbians Plumbers from Albany, New York, against nuclear power_.  Although it was funny and wonderful in some ways, I also realized that this was the end.  Now people were using these events to justify who they were and not simply to end the nuclear threat in the area.  And I think I was right.

I remember the last time the Names Project quilt, the AIDS quilt, was unfolded in Washington, DC.  I was there, I spoke, I'm walking down the street, and they were playing canned music.  I thought to myself:  _Isn't it interesting?  None of these people could possibly have been at the civil rights demonstrations or anywhere else where live music played such an important role.  If they had been, they would have _known_ the power of playing our own music.  And they've totally missed the opportunity.  We're playing canned stuff over the speaker systems as if we were all supposed to sing along with a record._  I thought, _What a shame._  I felt my world had ended in some ways;  that that time of the sixties was definitely over.  The great tragedy of these times that we're living in is that we have given up the voice of the average guy and we now listen to the people who profit from canned stuff.

(90)  JK Galbraith:  As things now stand, we allow enormous incompetence and enormous compensation to those who have power.  I see that as a great unsolved problem of our time.  And since it is all quite legal, I call it the likelihood of innocent fraud.

(109)  Ken Paff, Teamsters for a Democratic Union:  That was a good time to be coming up, the sixties.  We believed that ordinary people could change things.

(115)  In TDU, when our organizers go out and travel, we stay in people's homes.  Most labor organizers stay in hotels.  We started doing that to save money, but if I had a million dollars, I still wouldn't change it.  That's what builds a movement, when you start bonding with people.  I see new people coming up all the time in the Teamsters, warehouse workers and meatpackers and truck drivers and UPS part-timers that sort the packages in the middle of the night, those that are willing to put in their own time, that are willing to risk a lot, and fight as a democratic group, not where greed is king but where solidarity is king.

(123)  Roberta Lynch:  See, hope to me is about possibility.  You feel that things can happen.

(129)  Tom Geoghegan:  I was a child of the Warren Court.  In law school at that time, we were studying the great decisions of the Warren Court, Brown vs Board, all the way up to cases lke San Antonio vs Rodgriguez, where lawyers were saying that the equal protection clause prohibited denial of equal protection for people of different incomes.  It was a movement from racil civil rights to economic rights.  It was a very exciting time.  Wages were still going up.  Equality of income was increasing in the lates sixties and early seventies. It was the end of the Great Society.  It was still the era of the activist.  That's why the idea of full employment was so wonderful back then.  Full employment meant the cornucopia. Then the country turned around and went in the other direction.  What really has driven the country, in the twenty-nine years since I began practicing, as been the decline of orgainzed labor, which means the increase in inequality of income, which means people dropping out of the process, which means people not voting, which means people giving up, which means resignation.  In some ways, it's been interesting because you try to be contrarian.

(135)  Tim Black:  Incidentally, my slave name, Black, comes from the family of Hugo Black, the Supreme Court justice.  Hugo Black's father was my grandfather's slave master.  My grandfather was Hugo Black's father's personal servant.  He was called a body servant.  So he had special privileges.  Hugo Black and my father continued to have a friendly relationship through their childhoods.  When Franklin Delano Roosevelt nominated Hugo Black for the Supreme Court, I said to my father, "How could he do this with an ex-Ku Klux Klansman?  My father, who didn't like white people in general, put his cigar out of his mouth and said, "He'll be all right."  I thought my father had lost his mind.  But he kenw Hugo Black, and history will record that Hugo Black was all right, better than all right.

(139)  I used to say in my classes, black and white:  "How do you stay sane in an insane society?"  The community concept is one way - the feelings of security, of trust, of sharing.  Otherwise you would think that you're crazy and they're sane.  As I look at the break down in every institutional aspect of the black community, it is a precursor of the coming breakdown in the family, I see the breakdown in the community churches, I see the breakdown in the schools where the teachers have almost no relationship with one another, or certainly with the families of these children.  I see it in the commercial institutions that have almost no relationship with the community.  There is a breakdown of the spirituality of a community.  No one has responsibility for anyone else except to the bank, to the corporation.  The nation has no meaning.  The corporation has the meaning.  So what we see in the black community, we can begin to discern in the larger white community. 

(148)  Reverend Will D Campbell:  When I went there [University of Mississippi], there was a poll taken.  Seventy-five percent of the student body said they would not object to a black graduate student coming there.  But three months after Brown vs Board, that same poll showed like ten percent.  You can trace it to the organization of the White Citizens' Council.  Had that not happened, there would have been some murmuring, but people were already saying, "We're law-abiding people and this is the Constitution, this is the Supreme Court.  What can we do?"  They would have worked it out.  But when people like Jim Easland and that crowd started screaming, "Never!" and organized the White Citizens' Council, that negated Brown vs Board.  To this day it still doesn't work.  Six-year-old black children always played with the little six-year-old white children.  There wasn't anything they could do about that.  I grew up playing with black children.  Nobody thought anything about it.  I'd spend the night down at Leon's house, sleep on a pallet with him.  But you wouldn't have that after 1954, and you don't have much of it today.

(150)  When 9/11 happened, I was in Jackson, Mississippi.  I went downstairs.  The lobby was just filled with people, and everyone was glued to the television.  I saw this little girl pulling on her mothers skirt, and her mother was just hysterical watching the television.  teh little girl kept saying, "What'd we do?"  A little child, when they're punished, they know they;ve done something bad.  "What'd we do?"  I thought, _That may be the most profound question, the question that no politican in this country has tried to answer._  the only thing they say is, "What are we going to do about it?"  The little girl was asking the right question.  We've done a lot.  the thousands of people who die every day from starvation.  I'm not saying that we as a nation caused it, but we as a rich nation could, by God, have prevented a great deal of it, and stll can.  And our policies in the Near East, for God's sake...  I don't know what the answer is between the Palestinians amd the Israelis, but I know goddamn well the answer is not to go over there and bomb the hell out of Baghdad.

Reverend Will D Campbell:  His most celebrated book is _Brother to a Dragonfly_. 

(153)  Lloyd King:  We may learn to live together as brothers, but nobody fights like brothers fight.  Brothers know how to fight dirty;  they push each other's buttons.

(158)  Mel Leventhal:  One of the most important facts about civil rights workers in Mississippi is we didn't realize how _impossible_ it was.  You don't think in terms of the negatives. A lot of it's got to do with youth.  Without youth we can't get anywhere.

(159)  This was the beginning of the so-called black power slogan.  One of the ironies of the civil rights mvoement, to me, is that while it was going on there was great concern that America would see the movement as being led by whites, and black peopel as not really involved.  I'll be damned if history hasn't turned that on its head.  You look at the historians and the people writing about the movement, it's like no whites were involved....

History is being rewritten to eliminate all the white people who participated in the movement.  [Chuckles]  They're being written out.  This is terrible for America, because you're not going to have progress without these coalitions.  It was white and black together;  we've lost that.

(174)  Deborah Bayly:  When I graduated, I came back and started teaching in the public schools.  I loved it.  You can't work with kids if you've lost your hope.

(180)  Quinn Brisben:  I came to the conclusion, fairly early on, that there never had been a normal time, that the good old days never were, the golden age never existed;  that you can only go forward.  There is no back.  So the only thing you can do is try to make the forward as good as possible, and not be too terribly disappointed when you get it.

(192)  Andrew McNeil:  What was I hoping for as a kid?  [Laughs]  I hope to really, really love someone for my whole life.  I hope for a family.  I hope for a chance to be myself as much as I can.

(205)  Dierdre Merriman:  No alcoholic has hope.

(215)  John Donahue:  Some people who are better off have the luxury of losing hope.  But poor people never lose hope.  They can't afford to.  That's the only thing they can hold on to, and that's where hope springs eternal.  

(217)  Now, here's the connection with the homeless.  A guy who was in a shelter in Northampton, Massachusetts, Ron St Pierre, a homeless heroin addict, fell in love with his case manager, and she straightened him out.  They started a coffee-roasting business with homeless people.  It's called Café Habitat in Northampton.  Last summer, I took them down to the cooperative in the mountains of Panama, and they're now importing the coffee, roasting, it and packaging it, and I have here for you a package of Coalition Café.

(219)  But it also conincided with Reagan's Make America Strong:  increase the military budget fifty percent, decrease social programs over ninety percent.  And especially decrease public housing.  That was the beginning of the end of public housing.  That began modern homelessness.

In the eighties, when the coalition started, a homeless person was a man.  In the nineties, it was a woman of color.  In the millennium, children, just like at the turn of the nineteenth century.  In the new millennium, the average age of a homeless person is nine years old.  This has to do with welfare reform and the demoliton of public housing.

(233)  Mike Gecan _Going Public_ Boston:  Beacon Press, 2002

(237)  So I just went on to CAP, the Citizen Action Program, and from there to IAF[Industrial Areas Foundation].  Ed Chambers was reorganizing organizing.  He had a couple of insights.  One was that you had to build organizing through institutions.  You couldn't just organize with people around causes, because if the cause lost or won, the thing would evaporate.  You had to have some kind of institutional base.  His second big insight was to have a systematic training of leaders.  Just as with actors and actresses, you have to keep working at that craft.  

(240)  There was a woman named Alice McCollum, a mother of ten, a single mother, black, lived in a terrible apartment.  A lovely person, great sense of humor.  That's a big part of lfie, by the way.  Big thing in organizing, mostly missed.  That's what the ideologues never quite get.  Good people like to laugh, it's not all grim, and its not all of us and them and they're the devils and we're the angels.

(241)  About half the people asked the most beautiful question you could hear in organizing:  "What do we do next?"  The other half went back to their lives and never forgot that experience.

The more experiences people have like that, you don't have to tell them, "Now you got power."  They _know_ it, they _feel_ it.  We got all of these local issues that were important unto themselves, but the  most important thing was what was happenign to the people.  They were feeling effective and they were having fun, and they were beginning to see that they could do things, and they were getting wild and interesting reactions from people in power they never imagined they'd get.

(243)  Linda Stout:  She is the executive director of the Peace Development Fund, Amherst, Massachusetts.

(253)  Green Belt Movement and cleaner cookstoves?

(259)  Francis Moore Lappé:  Hope is an act, hope is in action.  Hope is not something we find, hope is something we become.  It took on a whole different meaning to us.

(260)  To create genuine community, we have to overcome our fear of losing community.

(295)  Maggie Mortningstone:   If you're in the middle class, if you're not very poor or very rich, I think you have a bigger capacity for hope because you have less stress in your life.  If you don't have a lot, then you're worried about getting something.  If you have a lot, then you're worried about keeping it.  But if you have just a little bit, then you can just live.

(319)  Kathy Kelly:  I don't think I picked up again that things could hcange until I fell in with these people who would just say, "Look, I'm responsible.  It's not what are the leaders going to do, it's what am _I_ going to do?  Am I going to take the weapons out of my own personal budget?  Am I going to personally take resonsibility to put a plate of food in front of somebody who's hungry?  Am I going to have a crash room in my home and take a homeless person into my home?  So we couldn't always be asking the government to solve problems;  we'd change these patterns of lifestyle ourselves.  And then find out it's not hard.  It's interesting and easy and attractive.

(322)  I think we said the St. Francis peace prayer:  "Lord, make me a channel of your peace.  Where there is darkness, let me sow light, where there is sadness, joy, where there is despair, hope..." 

Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat

_What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat_ by Louise Richardson NY: Random House, 2006 ISBN 1-4000-6481-3
(xii) ...I am struck by how futile counterterrorist policies are likely to be when they are based on a view of terrorists as one-dimensional evildoers and psychopaths.
Another good book on understanding terroristic motives is _Terror in the Name of God_. Oddly enough, both are written by women who teach at Harvard and have been studying terrorism since before 9/11. Too bad "real men" don't listen to women and laugh at Harvard intellectuals.


(xiii) My view of the world [having grown up in Ireland], in other words, is very different from that of my American children, who have learned to assume that the majority is right and that, as demonstrated by the War of Independence, the Civil War, and the world wars, the good guys win the wars.

(xix) I have emerged from my academic shell, therefore, to argue in this book that we cannot defeat terrorism by smashing every terrorist movement, an effort to do so will only generate more terrorists as has happened repeatedly in the past. We should never have declared a global war on terrorism, knowing that such a war can never be won. We should never have believed that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hyssein were working together against us. Our objective should not be the completely unattainable goal of obliterating terrorism; rather, we should pursue the more modest and attainable goal of containing terrorist recruitment and constraining resort to the tactic of terrorism.

(xxi) Al-Qaeda spokesman: Al-Qa'ida can take over the enemy's means and use them against him, while the enemy cannot do the same. The mujahedeen can do this because they have come to understand the enemy's mentality and how his society functions; yet the enemy has no way of deterring the believer or influencing his mentality.

(xxii) When terrorists act, they are seeking three immediate objectives: they want to exact revenge, to acquire glory, and to force their adversary into a reaction. There are the three R's of revenge, renown, and reaction.

(6) The final and most important defining characteristic of terrorism is the deliberate targeting of civilians... They insist that those who pay taxes to a government are responsible for their actions whether they are Russians or Americans... Terrorists, by contrast, rarely have illusions about their ability to inflict military defeat on the enemy. Rather, they seek either to cause the enemy to overreact and thereby permit them to recruit large numbers of followers to that they can launch a guerrilla campaign, or to have such a psychological or economic impact on the enemy that it will withdraw of its own accord. Bin Laden called this the "bleed-until-bankruptcy plan."
NB: Sorta kinda like the "slow bleed" strategy the Republicans like to say the Democrats are for. Another example of great minds thinking alike?
(9) Unless and until we are willing to label a group whose ends we believe to just a terrorist group, if it deliberately targets civilians in order to achieve those ends, we are never going to be able to forge effective international cooperation against terrorism.

(16) The second common claim [of terrorists] is that no other strategy is available.

(24) As today's terrorists have learned, random violence has a much bigger impact than discriminate violence, because if nobody is selected then nobody is safe.

(25) The extraordinary brutality of the Sicarii/Zealots can be attributed in part to their religious conviction but also to the fact that there were several different groups of Zealots and Sicarii operating simultaneously in pursuit of the same ends. These groups competed with one another to demonstrate the superiority of their commitment and to claim leadership of the movement. This same dynamic of intraterrorist competition has continued to fuel terrorist violence and is particularly evident today among Palestinian groups.

(35) Far from being isolated from those around them, Lenin's cadre of revolutionaries exploited popular grievances as a means of consolidating their support. It did not matter to Lenin that the complaints might be from nationalists, aspiring landowners, or others unsympathetic to his cause. What did matter to the ultimate pragmatist was that animosity toward the authorities made them potentially sympathetic to subversives, whose political powerlessness left them free to make empty promises. Lenin's key contribution to terrorist strategy, therefore, was the importance of exploiting every fragment of local alienation for its own ends. It is very clear from reading bin Laden's public statements that he has taken this lesson to heart. He criticizes the United States for everything from support for Israel to the deployment of troops in Saudi Arabia to its refusal to sign on to the international criminal court to profiteering by the Halliburton Company.

(36-37) The point here is that the greater brutality of terrorists reflects a greater brutality in political life generally. The nineteenth-century terrorists were more restrained and more discriminating than their twentieth-century successors. Their abandonment of the combatant/noncombatant distinction, however, occurred after the distinction had been profoundly challenged by the conduct of states during the world wars.

(40) Rove told the New York Conservative Party, "Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: we sill defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: we must understand our enemies." The public's desire to understand - which does not mean to sympathize or empathize with - the causes of the terrible violence wreaked upon us constitutes one of the strongest elements in the American counterterrorist arsenal.

(44-45) The sociologist Mark Juergensmeyer asked Dr Abdul Aziz Rantisi, one of the founders of Hamas (assassinated by Israel in April 2004), in what way he thought Hamas was misunderstood. He said, "You think we are the aggressors. That is the number one misunderstanding. We are not: we are the victims." Bin Laden, characteristically, phrase it more dramatically: " The truth is the whole Muslim world is the victim of international terrorism, engineered by America and the United Nations."

(46) One Italian activist put it this way; "We shared the idea that the armed struggle, besides its historical necessity, was also an occasion to build human relations which had to be, I don't know how to say, absolute, based on the readiness to die, the opposite of everyday life, of the individualization of a capitalist society."
NB: living an authentic life
(56) What appears to drive some people to violence is not their absolute levels of poverty but rather their position relative to others... Previously one compared oneself to others nearby, but the contrast between American wealth and Arab poverty is now being broadcast daily into people's tiny homes. The world's very poorest people, preoccupied with survival, do not even realize the extent of their relative deprivation.

(57) Part of the success of many Islamist groups, especially well-established groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, is due to their understanding of the recruitment potential of social services. These groups painstakingly built up their support by attending to the social needs of their potential recruits far more effectively than governments did. They established hospitals, schools, and orphanages.

(58) It is not enough to provide education if you do not provide the means to employ those you have educated.
(
61) A great many terrorist groups have controlled their behavior and the extent of the casualties they have been prepared to inflict out of a desire not to alienate their core constituency... Religious groups are different. If one's audience is God, then one does not need to worry about alienating him.

(65) Yet he [Reagan] too withdrew in the face of attack. This exploded the myth for many in the Middle east that there was any essential difference between Democrats and Republicans in the United states. Both were paper tigers. To this day, Osama bin Laden repeatedly invokes the American withdrawal from Lebanon after the attack on the Marines as evidence of American cowardice and unwillingness to fight.
NB: Reagan killed us. He was the first US President to stick his tail between his legs and run away from terrorists. We should not let the Republicans forget it, as they have. (76-80) Secondary Motives - exacting revenge, generating publicity, achieving specific concessions, causing disorder, provoking repression Reinforcing organizational dynamics - making a show of strength
All of these secondary or more immediate motives can be subsumed under three motivations: Revenge, Renown, Reaction.

(85) Bin Laden, for all his carefully choreographed statements and all the colorful descriptions of the iniquities of the West, has completely failed to articulate a positive political alternative. Like other revolutionaries before him, therefore, he appears to be more enamored of the revolution itself than of the new world it would herald... A striking and quite surprising aspect of most terrorist movements is now little of their attention is devoted to describing the new world they intend to create... Terrorist leaders today also appear altogether more interested in the process by which the present system will be destroyed than in the functioning of the new system... But if one does not have a coherent vision of the future, then one's means are more likely to be determined not by the needs of the society one is trying to create but rather by the iniquities of the society one is trying to destroy.

(93) The larger the number of casualties, the more innovative the tactic, the greater the symbolic significance of the target, the more heinous the crime, the more publicity accrues to the perpetrators.

(98) Terrorists, no matter what their ultimate objectives, invariably are action-oriented people operating in an action-oriented in-group. It is through action that they communicate to the world. This phenomenon has been called "propaganda by deed." Action demonstrates their existence and their strength. In taking action, therefore, they want to elicit a reaction.

(100) So long as there is a reaction, therefore, the terrorist purpose is served... In an effort to try to ensure the safety of their citizens and to demonstrate their competence, governments invariably react strongly, and often forcibly. Moreover, if governments do not act, not only do they jeopardize their won political survival, but they run the risk that terrorists will feel compelled to commit ever-larger atrocities in order to elicit a reaction.

(101) Part of the genius of terrorism, therefore, is that it elicits a reaction that furthers the interests of the terrorists more often than their victims.

(105) From 1981 to 1999, suicide attacks took place in seven countries, Since 2000, they have taken place in about twenty.

(106) Suicide terrorism is unsettling to us because it does not quite fit the popular image of terrorists as self-serving evildoers. In willingly taking their own lives, terrorists are staking a claim to moral superiority that is quite incompatible with our notion of their moral depravity... Suicide terrorism has been growing in popularity precisely because it has proven to be an effective means of exacting revenge, attaining renown, and eliciting a reaction. As with terrorists generally, the necessary components for suicide operations are a disaffected individual, a supportive and enabling community, and a legitimizing ideology.

(106-107) ...in every known martyrdom operation, a group plays an essential role in planning the terrorist attack and in training, sustaining, and supervising the volunteer. The average martyrdom operation requires a support cast of about ten others. Societies the world over reserve their highest honors for those who have given their lives for their country. Public squares everywhere are filled with monuments to those who have been victorious in battle. Suicide terrorists seek honors like these, and their handlers make sure that they get them.

(107) The most frequently cited precursors to contemporary suicide terrorists are the Jewish Sicarii in the first century and the Islamic Assassins in medieval times. Both showed complete disregard for their own lives, and the Assassins in particular had a culture of martyrdom reminiscent of the culture one finds today in the Gaza Strip.

(113) The idea of suicide terrorism traveled from Iran to Lebanon, but from Lebanon it spread a long way. A number of Tamil insurgents received training in Lebanon in the early and mid-1980s and took the tactic back to Sri Lanka. Moreover, the Israeli decision to deport 415 Palestinian militants to Lebanon in 1992 had disastrous unintended consequences as the Palestinians learned the value of the tactic from Hezbollah. In this way the skill set was transferred from Shiite (Iran and Hezbollah) to Sunni (Hama and later al-Qaeda) Muslims, as well as to secular Palestinian and Tamil groups. The modern phenomenon of suicide terrorism, therefore, can be traced to teh Lebanese Civil war of 1973-1986.

(117) A PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] spokesman made the same point: "We do not take depressed people. If there were a on-in-a-thousand chance that a person was suicidal, we would not allow him to martyr himself. In order to be a martyr bomber you have to want to live."
NB: Choosing death makes a life authentic
(118) There have been more suicide attacks in Iraq alone in the years since the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003 than in the rest of the world since the tactic was first adopted in 1981. In May and June 2005, there were more suicide attacks in Iraq than had been recorded by the Israleis since the tactic was first used in Israel in 1993.

(125) The most expensive suicide operation in history was the 9/11 attacks, and they cost an estimated $500,000 while inflicting tens of billions of dollars in damage, quite aside from the enormous human costs.

(126) "What the rank and file [of Hamas] seemed to live and die for, in the end, was neither hospitals nor politics nor ideology nor religion nor the Apocalypse, but rather an ecstatic camaraderie in the face of death on the path to Allah." _The Road to Martyr's Square- by Anne Marie Oliver and Paul Steinberg
NB: Small group loyalty is always what keeps an army going. You fight for your buddies not the flag not your country.
(141) One of the most striking things that changed on that day [9/11], therefore, was that for the first time terrorists had succeeded in killing very large numbers of people, the kind of casualties that had previously occurred only in interstate or civil warfare. Historically, terrorists have not taken the opportunities available to them to murder on a grand scale. They have not needed to. They could further their objectives and inflict widespread terror without inflicting widespread casualties. The most frequently cited aphorism making this point was made by the RAND analyst Brian Jenkins in 1974: "Terrorists want lots of people watching, not lots of people dead."

(143) We are not very familiar with the writings of Frantz Fanon, who wrote of violence as liberating, as necessary to the perpetrator as a means of freeing himself from oppression. This is not the instrumental violence of the robber or Mafia member. This is expressive violence to cleanse the soul.

(163) Padilla has been held as an enemy combatant, the only American citizen arrested in this country to be so classified. two years after his arrest, the Justice Departmenjt revealed that in fact he had not been planning to deploy a dirty bomb but instead to blow up some apartment buildings. The plan had apparently been a modest one that involved Padilla and an accomplice renting two apartments. They then planned to turn on the natural gas and set off conventional explosive devices simultaneously in both buildings. As an enemy combatant, Padilla has not yet been brought to trial. In the minds of most Americans, however, he has been incarcerated for planning a dirty bomb attack on this country... Bin Laden has long understood the essential role of terrorism as communication.

(167) It is not quite true, therefore, that, in the words of President Bush, "September 11 changed our world.' Rather it was our reaction to September 11 that changed the world. Americans suffered a terrorist attack unprecedented in its scale and destructiveness and in so doing lost their sense of security and their sense of perspective. The fear engendered by the attack was out of proportion to the threat we faced. We believed that we now faced a powerful enemy driven by irrational religious fanaticism and determined to use weapons of mass destruction against us. In fact, our enemy was much less powerful than we thought, demonstrated a persistent capacity for rational behavior, and had concrete political as well as religious motivations, and its interest in weapons of mass destruction was driven more by a desire to intimidate us and defend itself against us than by the desire to deploy them in the United States.

(170) When the history of the immediate post-9/11 years comes to be written, it will be seen as a period marked by two major mistakes and two major missed opportunities. The mistakes were a declaration of war against terrorism and the conflation of the threat from al-Qaeda with the threat from Saddam Hussein. The missed opportunities were the opportunities to educate the American public to the realities of terrorism and to the costs of our sole superpower status and the opportunity to mobilize the international community behind us in a transnational campaign against transnational terrorists.

(172) The phrase "war on terrorism" had also been fairly widely used much earlier by the press to describe the efforts by Russian, European, and eventually American governments to stop assassination attempts by international anarchists in the late nineteenth century.

(173) [response to 9/11] An undersecretary of defense later explained that the United States had been "so busy developing its war plans that it did not have time to focus on coordinating Europe's military role." A year after the attack, NATO held a summit meeting in Prague. Lord George Robertson, the secretary-general of NATO and former British defense secretary, had very high hopes for the meeting. The plans for the summit envisioned the adoption of a comprehensive package of measures to combat terrorism and even the creation of a NATO Response Force, a technologically advanced, flexible, and interoperable force that would be available for immediate deployment following a decision by the NATO Council. Robertson hoped that NATO would become the focal point of the international fight against terrorism and demonstrate that NATO had changed to adapt to the new security environment.

(177) The ultimate goal of any war must be to deny the adversary what it is that he wants. Terrorists want to be considered at war with us, so to concede this to them is to grant them what they want, instead of doing our utmost to deny them what they want.

(184) The tactics of the Argentinean, Brazilian, and Chilean military governments, however, are simply not available to democratic governments. Those governments eradicated insurgent terrorism but in so doing replaced it with what was in effect state terrorism, the wanton abuse of force. No government could practice such tactics and remain a democracy, since the rule of law is replaced by the rule of force.

(185) On the basis of its extensive experience, the British military devised what were known as the Thompson Principles, six principles of counterinsurgency warfare. These are: 1. The primacy of the political 2. Coordination of government machinery 3. Obtaining intelligence 4. Separating the insurgent from his base of support 5. Neutralizing the insurgent 6. Postinsurgency planning

(197) By using the extreme language of conviction that bin Laden uses, by declaring war, even a crusade, against him in response to his war against us, we are mirroring his actions. We are playing into his hands, we are elevating his stature, we are permitting him to set the terms of our interactions. Given that he has a very weak hand and we have a very strong one, we should not be letting him set the parameters of the game.

(198) There is no greater affront to terrorists than to be ignored. They deliberately attempt spectacular attacks in an effort to gain attention. The risk of ignoring a terrorist action, of course, is the fear that it might incite the terrorists to carry out even more devastating attacks in order to get attention. So ignoring terrorist is not a feasible option, especially in a democracy, in which the public demands action in the face to atrocity. By pursuing terrorists like the criminals they are, however, outside the limelight and with painstaking and necessarily covert action, one can undermine their effectiveness without raising their profiles.
(203) Six Rules for Counteracting Terrorism
Rule 1: Have a defensible and achievable goal

(204) Due to the impact of our response to 9/11 on al-Qaeda, and in particular the fact that the movement now has many of the characteristics of a diffuse and inspirational ideology rather than a military organization, even if we were to capture the remainder of those responsible we would not have defeated terrorism. As a result, our task today is in many ways more difficult than it was in fall 2001. Rather than having the objective of the defeat of terrorism, today our goal should be to contain the threat from terrorists.

(206) Rule 2: Live by your principles

(208) Rule 3: Know your enemy Our post-9/11 counterterrorist campaign has actually been fairly successful in this regard.
NB: Despite the best efforts of the neocons to shout this idea down in the public square.
(213) The costs of wars are such that participants feel they need to continue fighting to justify the costs already borne. wars and terrorist campaigns tend to be prolonged by an unlikely alliance of hawks on both sides and generally require an alliance of doves on both sides in order to make peace.

(215) Rule 4: Separate the terrorists from their communities

(218) If al-Qaeda believes that its greatest strength is the popular support it enjoys among the Muslim populations, our energies should be focused on undermining that support. On the contrary, almost everything we have done has served to strengthen that support.

(223) By its humanitarian efforts to alleviate the suffering caused by the tsunami in Indonesia, the United States has undermined popular for terrorism against the United States.

(224) Rule 5: Engage others in countering terrorists with you

(227) Today we are in the curious position in which behind-the-scenes cooperation is actually better than anyone cares to admit publicly. The unpopularity of the U.S.-led war on terrorism is such that allied governments have no desire to publicize the degree to which they are helping us, preferring instead for the cooperation to take place quietly. Small groups of French and German special forces, for example, are in Afghanistan and Pakistan searching for the remnants of the al-Qaeda leadership but without announcing this fact for fear of domestic unpopularity. It cannot be in our interest for our allies to conceal the extent to which they are helping us.

(231) Rule 6: Have patience and keep your perspective

(232) The language of warfare connotes action and immediate results. We need to replace this language with the language of development and construction and the patience that goes along with it.

(235) The situation of opium production, however, is a good deal worse. Afghanistan had 82,000 hectares of land cultivating poppy in 2000, when the Taliban banned opium production. The ban was a near-complete success, and the amount of land under poppy cultivation dropped to 7,600 hectares in 2001. In 2004, there were 131,000 hectares of land under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. Eighty-seven percent of the world's opium production now takes place in Afghanistan, up from 12 percent at the time of the U.S. invasion.

(237) The most recent attacks in London, Madrid, and the Netherlands all suggest that the Muslim diaspora in Europe will produce the next wave of terrorist attacks.
_Terrorism, Freedom and Security: Winning Without War_ by Philip Heymann Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003