Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What Happens if the Hunters Were the Hunted?

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I recently attended another excellent forum at May Day put on by 3CTC, a left-wing environmental organization here in Minnesota.  Barry Babcock of the Mississippi Headwaters Canoe Club from ‘up north’ talked to a gathering of 25 on why the ‘war on wolves’ must be stopped.  

If you haven’t heard, the extraction industries best friend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – actually Department of Exploitation of Natural Resources (“DENR”) is now handling a ‘wolf hunt’ in Minnesota.  This was pushed through by a bi-partisan group of legislators and eagerly signed by ex-Dayton magnate Mark Dayton.  Now in Minnesota up to 400 wolves will be ‘taken’ or ‘harvested,’ as they like to say in extraction-land, in two seasons each year, starting November 3, 2012.  Since there are only 3,000 wolves in Minnesota, I would imagine in about 6 years we should see complete extinction.  Of course this comes from a Federal decision that went through Congress and the Obama administration, chaperoned by the extractive industries best friend, Interior’s Ken Salazar.  Other states are now seeing the same thing.

Babcock pointed out that behind the clueless hunting groups, the politicians grubbing for cheap votes and the DENR lie the extractive players in Minnesota – the taconite, mining and lumber industries - who will benefit by removing wolves from land so it can be mined, roads put in and land cleared.  

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Of course, no self-respecting extractor will admit that he has any intention of ‘harming wolves.’  God forbid!  The DENR’s Shimek is no exception.  Congress also maintained that this would be better for the wolves. Of course, hypocrisy and logic know no bounds when involving bourgeois politicians.  Well, as Babcock carefully pointed out, the Indian reservations up north think otherwise, and now Red Lake and White Earth are both banning any wolf hunting on their land, and instead are creating refuges for wolves.  As Babcock put it, “Indians are better conservators of our natural resources than the white man.”  Especially some white men.  

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So outside the reservations, what can we do?  I listen to wolves howl outside Ely cabins, and know that, like the Cuyohoga, the buffalo and the American eagle, not everything disappears.  Though the frogs in northern Minnesota are almost gone.  Can we arm the wolves to make it a fair fight?  Well, unfortunately, wolves do not have opposable thumbs.  It worked in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” but it won’t work with wolves.  However, reading the book, “Rage & Reason” by Michael Tobias will perhaps provide an answer.  This book would turn any red-blooded American into a raging vegetarian.  Read it and weep.  The hero of Tobias’ book would lie in the woods and kill the wolf hunters one by one.  

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And I heard about it at May Day Books - the “Finn Hall” of Minneapolis

Red Frog, May 29, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Genius Does Not Finish Book


“The Pale King,” by David Foster Wallace, posthumously published 2011

Do I get to buy a T-Shirt that says, “I finished a Novel by DFW!”?  This book, over 500 pages, was published by Wallace’s wife several years after his 2008 suicide.  (See review of “Consider the Lobster,” also by DFW, below.)  It was never finished, hence the fragmented form – at least I think that is the source of the fragmented form.  It is a part memoir/part fiction story centered around Wallace’s employment for several years at an  IRS regional center in downstate Illinois.

What can we say about it?  Chapters do not hang together.   Many chapters stand alone as short stories.    The incidence of emotionally-crippled and/or intellectually-odd people is very high – much higher than the real world.  There is no real theme or point to this book, except maybe about working at the IRS is odd.  Wallace’s obsessive focus on visual and emotional hyper-detail is displayed again and again.  One can see why Wallace might have committed suicide.  The details of his presumed early life are not pleasant.  Somewhere under the layers the book is about an actual boring job, which few writers ever talk about, evidently being above that.  Embedded in many chapters are immense jokes and a subversive sense of humor.  You might say the whole thing makes fun of just about everyone, including DF Wallace, yet draping everything in a certain sadness at the same time. 

And here again, one might see the central weakness of present fiction produced by consecrated genius.  An IRS employee might find this one hard to understand, in spite of the voluminous tax jargon spread throughout the book.  As I pointed out in my review of “Consider the Lobster,” Wallace admired Dostoevsky because Dostoevsky had something to say.  After 500 pages, a non-IRS reader might also wonder what Wallace has just said. But that, I guess, is exactly what educated hipsters like.

And I did not buy it at May Day books.
Red Frog
May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Drinking Our Way to Freedom


The Minneapolis of Spectacle 

The Minneapolis 'spectacle' is not much different than any other city in the U.S.  Entertainment, food and booze feature prominently.  I was looking at the recent edition of ‘Vitamin’ – the Star-Tribune’s knock-off of City Pages.   It is filled with gluttonous and always breathless reviews of local restaurants.  Because of course ‘hip’ people do not cook.  And upcoming local rock shows and street festivals, movies, art exhibits – the list is endless.  There would not be a spare minute of your life left if you seriously indulged in each and every activity. The City Pages is not much different (being the template…) though City Pages does have local investigative journalism – the new editors scotching national journalism several years ago.  The latest Rolling Stone – a magazine I’ve been reading since issue #2 – is the ‘Big’ issue, full of more excited and enthusiastic stories for up-and-coming national rock bands, actors, software, games, writers, blah blah blah.  It is something of a cross between Time Magazine and Tiger Beat this week.   The new editor of Rolling Stone came from Details magazine, after all.   Then there was this weekend’s Art-A-Whirl in northeast Minneapolis.  Art-A-Whirl is a neighborhood party of outside concerts, open galleries, jewelry vendors and studio visitations over many blocks.  I visited the Northrup King building and the 331 Club’s neighborhood, looking for something worthwhile to buy.  The latter strip has even been featured in the NY Times, the bible of establishment ‘hip.’ 

What does it all have in common?  Well, as the current Democratic Party economic strategy goes, you attract ‘intellectual capital’ to a city by having cultural capital there for their consumption.  In other words, the Guthrie and the Vikings stadium are both economic tactics to encourage corporations, corporate executives and ‘talented’ college graduates to come to Minneapolis.  So is the growth of hipster neighborhoods – either organic ones, as in Northeast, Cedar/Riverside and Lyn-Lake, or now corporate commdification, as in Uptown.  (see the review of “Rebel Cities”, below) And it doesn’t matter if the taxpayers benefit or not - they will pay, as commanded. 

Who are the main consumers of these consumables?  Mainly young, white, now urban refugees from outstate Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, Wisconsin & Nebraska, and anywhere else Minneapolis draws from – even expensive East coast cities or failing and overcrowded California and Nevada cities.  The Art-A-Whirl is also packed with white middle-aged ladies from the suburbs.  For the ones in the Northrup King building, it was probably the first time they’d ever been in an industrial structure in their lives.  Most poignant was an old black & white photograph of the Northrup King workers who used to inhabit the building before the artists and artisans got there – filling sacks with feed, seeds and the like.  And now gone.  The artists have borrowed their authenticity, it seems.

We all enjoy our pleasures - drinking, eating, music, art, decoration, passing the time, curiosity, commingling. The question is – when does all this become only this?  Especially if there is a bit of a fire raging?  In the 4 floors of the Northrup King building I did not find one example of political art, critical art, even socially-conscious art.   Nor was there any art movements in evidence.  It is people working in various materials, using light, patterns and themes to create decorative items for your home or body.  And that is it.  Not a drop of social consciousness, nor any kind of intellectual movement - even history itself is usually missing.  Nothing but endless distraction. 

As I’ve pointed out before, entertainment is now far more effective than religion at being an ‘opiate.’  (see reviews of “Empire of Illusion” and “Society of the Spectacle,” below) That is why we have a ‘national entertainment state’ dominated by 6 large corporations.  Nor am I personally exempt from this.  While people work themselves to death every day – if they are lucky enough to have a job - on the weekends they can escape for a bit from the tedium of alienated labor or home tasks.  And for those who are unemployed or under-employed or in some kind of severe social trouble – then drinking, eating and hanging out becomes an even more aimless form of escapism.  But it is what Minneapolis is getting very good at offering.  Art-A-Whirl was created by local people, so the City or some corporations did not blow this out of their ass (unlike the Vikings stadium), and for that, it should be treasured.  But for what it reveals about our own culture?  Somewhat of a sad message.  Sort of like a victory party before the game has barely started.

If the beer money ever runs out for the unemployed?  Then look out.  Cultures usually have two themes - escapism or confrontation with reality.  And those are still our choices.

Addendum:  Montreal, Canada is a town full of sidewalk restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs.  The French know how to enjoy life, and when the cold and snow disappear, the population surges into the streets for enjoyment. You'd think the 'pacification of the cappucino' would be working there quite well.  However, unlike their American brethren, they also know how to resist en mass.  Nearly a half a million youth, students and young workers were out on the streets of Montreal last week protesting up to 85% tuition hikes and laws which make public demonstrations over 50 people illegal without notification of the authorities ("Bill 78").  This marked the 100th day of a student strike.  Who are the authorities?  The provincial government is dominated at this time by the Liberal Party of Jean Charest.  Ah, those liberals? Don't you love them? 

Red Frog,
May 20, 2012 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pacification by Cappucino? Or Smelling the Coffee...

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"Rebel Cities – from the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution,” by David Harvey, 2012

Harvey is a British-born Marxist geographer.  He attempts in this book to unite the class struggle work-based elements of Marxism with a focus on the terrain of the ‘precariat’ – the city - and generally succeeds.  Setting up somewhat of a straw-man, he contrasts the idea that the factory/workplace is the ‘only’ and primary locus of revolution with the idea that the ‘city’ is also a locus of revolution – and without each other, they cannot succeed.  Mike Davis’ book, “Planet of Slums,” (reviewed below) and "The Society of the Spectacle" by Guy Dubord (also reviewed below) can be seen as volumes that address some of these same issues.

Harvey bases himself on the work of Henri LeFebvre, who was inspired by the Parisian Situationists of the late 1960s and early 70s.  The 1870 Paris Commune, of course, is the classic example of a combined proletarian rising with a ‘precariat’ uprising, taking over Paris and overthrowing the bourgeoisie – for a time.  Harvey cites many general strikes and revolutions based on various cities to show that the ‘city’ itself, as a geographic entity, has something special to do with revolution.   Now that the majority of the people in the world are urbanized, and human connections between city and countryside are frequent, Harvey suggests the weight of present urbanization impels the world towards revolution.  He points out that city squares – Tahrir in Egypt, Puerta Del Sol in Madrid, Syntagma Square in Athens, Pearl Square in Bahrain and our own Madison State House or Zuccotti Park in Manhattan – have been the locus of the present rebellions against capitalist austerity.   Factories have not yet joined on that scale.

Harvey knows you cannot have ‘socialism in one city’ or ‘socialism in one square’ anymore than you can have socialism in one country or one island.  So the key idea is how to spread the rebellion between squares, factories, cities and eventually nations.  While friendly to aspects of anarchism, he comes down against pure anarchist ‘horizontalism’ – which can involve a maximum of up to 15,000 people and no more.  A true revolution, even in one city, needs to deal with issues of immense scale, and here he praises Murray Bookchin for supporting ‘confederal’ assemblies of representatives.  Confederalist assemblies are similar, of course, to the Marxist idea of factory councils or regional councils – in the Russian argot, soviets.  Harvey also understands Marx was for worker control, not mere state control.  State ownership of an entity is only a prelude to worker control for Marx, not an end in itself.  Harvey suggests this idea of worker control unites both Marxists and left anarchists. 

Havey makes several valuable points.  He insists many progressives underplay the role of real estate and land issues in capitalist development, yet they are essential. Harvey describes how massive building projects – suburbs, cities, railroads, freeways, infrastructure – were and are a key method of absorbing surplus capital, and have been for years - and also underlie many capital busts. The creation of ‘suburbia’ in the 1950s and 60s was a key part of that boom.  The massive building boom in China has probably kept the world economy going since 2008, even though many Chinese office towers are empty.  70% of their economy in 2010-2011 was dedicated to building – a figure with no match in history. The 2008 crash itself was intimately connected to housing, which was 40% of the U.S. economy.  Even the 1929 crash was preceded by a bust in real estate.  Building is a Keynesian method of stimulus - and destruction.   Much present building benefits the rich of course, which is why it must be so irresistible.  Witness the grotesque makeover of Dubai City. A ski slope indoors in the desert?  Done!

He notes that, unsatisfied with soaking regular mortgage owners with profitable interest rates that triple the price of the house, with interest paid up-front for 30 years – the capitalists decided en mass to soak the poor too with sub-prime mortgages.  These are similar to payday loans or the ‘micro-finance’ movement that is impoverishing so many third-world people.  Capitalists see that even the poor can be a veritable gold mine as long as they have a dime.   

As Harvey describes it, the bourgeoisie configures cities and regions (Haussmann’s reconfiguration of Paris or Robert Moses grand demolition of old New York) by destroying working class and poor neighborhoods through demolition, gentrification, and walling off upscale and vital bourgeois downtowns by freeways or other barriers from proletarian and poor neighborhoods.  Manhattan is becoming a gated community – and for good reason - four of the richest 10 zip codes in the U.S. are in Manhattan.  Anyone who experienced the street battles in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA during the 2008 RNC knows how the I94 freeway ditch protected downtown St. Paul and the conventioneers.  Although the giant fence cage didn’t hurt. 

The ‘right to the city’ means the right of the residents to democratically control their urban world, according to Harvey.  Right now, as we know, our mayors and city council members are mostly whores to real estate developers, giant corporations and mega projects dedicated to corporate suits, like the new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis.  Instead, struggles around homelessness, foreclosure, gentrification, segregation, disaster relief, living wage struggles, city counsel elections, stadiums, historical preservation, rent control, urban gardens, co-ops or ‘peoples’ businesses, high and trivial fines, voting rights, use of tax money, corporate welfare, high housing prices, road issues, rip-off businesses, tenants rights, waste disposal, recycling, alternative transport, mass transit, eminent domain, high utility prices, march and camping permits, even crime and police brutality, are all based on ‘right to the city’ issues.  Though of course, they can all end up, as frequently happens, alone, as tiny reformist struggles unconnected to any greater movement.  The point is to unite them. 

Harvey is at pains to integrate his theory of the city with ‘traditional’ Marxism.  Like many authors writing now, he is adding to and updating Marx for the present, not merely regurgitating the ‘bible.’  What Marx saw in England – the methods of the capitalist economy – has now spread across the world.  But according to Harvey, Marx never developed his theories of land rent, credit and commodification sufficiently.  In Marxist terms, while surplus value is extracted at the point of production, later in the life of the worker, a series of additional parasites – landlords, mortgage bankers, shop-keepers, pawn brokers, contractors, real estate developers, payday lenders, gamblers, financial advisers, etc. – attempt to ‘legally’ steal even more of the worker’s pay check.  And get another chance to get a slice of 'surplus value."  This many times happens on the terrain of the city.  Capitalists take advantage of their control of the land in the form of rents, mortgages and products – he cites ‘wine’ as an example of land used to gain ‘monopoly rents’ (i.e. higher than normal payment for ownership of a certain piece of property) – to extract additional profits.  This ‘fictitious capital’ and the credit system that make it possible are essential parts of the circulation of capital, and not something outside of it, or irrelevant to it. 

Harvey points to the commodification of ‘authentic’ neighborhoods, or authentic places, through tourism, real estate speculation, gentrification and corporatization, as an important issue for capital.  Capital has to keep in touch with many cultural issues in order to commodify them – and still not completely kill them through sterility, through Disneylandification. Even paying attention to a city's fashion ideas and businesses can build profitable 'cultural capital.'  This is a delicate balancing act, as seen in some hipster neighborhoods that become overloaded with ‘urban entrepreneurialism.’  This is almost what has happened to Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood, which is now a fake upscale copy of an actual urban neighborhood. And down the river, the character of New Orleans French Quarter is changing because of forces like tourism and MTV.

In Harvey’s view then, workers that exist on a local, geographic level attain increased importance – taxi drivers, construction workers, mothers, home workers, delivery truck drivers, street vendors, the unemployed, temp workers and others.  As I suggested in the 1980s, organizing shops on a geographic basis in ‘advanced’ capitalist countries – in industrial parks, office parks and downtowns – irrespective of the company – might make more sense at times than just concentrating on separate companies alone.  Large factories and work-sites continue to disappear - just look at the recent closure of our local Ford plant in St. PaulHarvey suggests unions organize communities, not just work-places, and thus reinforce both struggles.  In this book, Harvey studies the history of the rebellions in Cochabamba and El Alto, Bolivia, which did just that.  These rebellions changed the face of Bolivia and Latin America, but he knows there is no ideal road map.  Understanding these issues may, at the right time, allow the working class to reclaim the cities they built. 

And I bought it at May Day Books!
Red Frog
May 15, 2012





Monday, May 7, 2012

Something's Happening Here ...


European Working Classes Having an Effect in Electoral Arena

 United Kingdom - The recent by-elections in the United Kingdom showed the Tory Conservatives and their Liberal bed-fellows (true bi-partisanship, that!) lost many local counsel and mayoral elections to the New Labor Party, only holding the mayoralty of London.  The Tory/Liberal austerity lockup is a wonderful model for our own Republicans/Democrats – and it is failing, as it should, in the face of massive cuts to government spending and jobs.
 The Netherlands - In the Netherlands the rightist “Freedom” Party’s withdrew from the pro-austerity block government, which led to the resignation of liberal Mark Rutte, Dutch PM for the “People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy.”  New elections will be held in the summer, in which the Netherlands Labour Party, which opposes the Eurozone pact, will be running.     
Greece - The anti-austerity Left Block in Greece came in second in the elections, called the “Coalition of the Radical Left,” containing:
·        Synaspismos (SYN): the largest, a feminist, euro-Communist, social-democratic, ecological organization.  
·                    Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), a Trotskyist organization.
·                    Movement for the United in Action Left (KEDA) (a split from the Communist Party of Greece)
·                    Active Citizens (a social-democratic political organization associated with Manolis Glezos)
·                    The minor Unitary Movement (a social-democratic PASOK splinter) joined the Coalition in March 2012.
·        Anticapitalist Political Group (ΑΠΟ): another Trotskyist organization.
·        Communist Organization of Greece (KOE): a Maoist organization.  
·        Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI):
·        Ecosocialists of Greece: Eco-Socialists
·        Movement for the United in Action Left (KEDA): A communist organization.
·        Radical Left Group Roza
·        Radicals (Ριζοσπάστες): A democratic-socialist organization.  
·        Red (Κόκκινο): Another Trotskyist organization.  
·        Renewing Communist Ecological Left (AKOA): a democratic-socialist, euro-communist group. 
·        and several independent leftist activists
The Greek Communist Party did not take part in this coalition, which has its roots in convergence activities since 2004.  This throws into doubt any deals made by the Conservatives allied with PASOK.  
 France - And most significantly in France, Germany’s bosom buddy in the austerity drive, even ‘right-wing’ voters who had backed the National Front threw their votes to the Socialist Hollande, as voting for Sarkozy, even given his immigrant bashing, would mean supporting Euro-austerity. 
Germany - Meanwhile in Germany, Merkel’s “Christian Democratic Union” had a poor electoral result in Schleswig-Holstein this weekend.  That province is a typically safe area for the CDs. 

Every bourgeois commentator on both sides of the Atlantic is wetting their pants, predicting doom for the Euro or the banks.  After installing pro-banking technocrats in Italy, Greece and Spain almost overnight last year, the ruling classes are now losing control of the electoral processes. That might be because eight of the 17 Eurozone nations are already in recession and unemployment across the bloc rose to 10.9 percent in March — its highest ever.

However, the bourgeois commentators tout ‘reality’ – which actually means that the bankers and the markets control the price of national bonds, and can drive them into the toilet, thus undermining any government's fight against austerity.  Simply put, to counter this, the debts must be forgiven or canceled, or countries should follow the path of Argentina, and declare they will not pay their debts to the bankers and bondholders.  Argentina is now in better shape than any country that chose to wear the debt straitjacket. 

Progressives might take note of new left formations in Europe.  The French Anti-Capitalist Party, Refoundation in Italy and the Greek Left Coalition all indicate that small-group efforts are not sufficient to respond to this crisis.  Myriad small left groups, each pursing its individual interests, have kept the U.S. Left weak and divided, and continue to keep them from serving as a pole of attraction for large groups of people.  It is time for a United Left Block here in the U.S. to create a structure to the left of the Democratic Party in the streets, the neighborhoods, the workplaces and in elections.

Red Frog
May 7, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Tenure Killer


“The Holocaust Industry – Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering” by Norman Finkelstein, 2nd Edition, 2003

This is an example of a book that kills tenure.  Finkelstein was famously denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago for publishing this book.  Which only proves what most self-censoring academics already know - there are political litmus tests for professors too.  After reading this book, you certainly know this was not from a case of scholastic weakness.

Essentially, Finkelstein’s political mistake from the DePaul Administration's point of view was to look at Jewish people and Jewish politics from a class point of view. It is no secret that especially well-off Jews during World War II collaborated or dealt with the Nazis in order to save their own skin.   Every Jewish community saw this phenomenon. And it might even be said that control led to much of the passivity in the general Jewish population.  At the time, their name was ‘Judenrat.’

This same strata controls Israel today, especially through the Likud Party, and their ideology became Zionism.  Left-Zionism has all but lost credibility.  Zionism, which was first allied with British imperialism, made the transition to U.S. allegiance, especially after the 1967 war.  Today, Zionism and U.S. imperial policies are identical, though the rhetoric occasionally varies. The “holocaust industry,” as Finkelstein calls it (as distinct from the actual Nazi holocaust) is part of the ideology of present-day Zionism, which basically contends that Jewish people are allowed to do anything they want in order to prevent ‘another holocaust’ in Israel. The rightist Likud is the most aggressive in promoting this ideology, but even Labor ultimately believes it. In other words, all Jews are united due to the Holocaust – so Jewish bourgeois class rule becomes invisible.  It's all Jews against everyone else.  Trotsky, in his opposition to Zionism, called Palestine a ‘death trap’ for Jews.  And indeed, Palestine/Israel has brought almost 70 years of additional war, occupation and misery to Jews and especially Palestinians. This is not what a real 'promised land' looks like.  The greatest threat to Israel right now is the very aggressive policies of Zionism - a self-inflicted wound which guarantees more years of continued strife.

Finkelstein discusses the ideology of the Holocaust industry, which contends that the Holocaust is unlike any other event in history – beyond logic, beyond history itself.  Other examples of ethnic cleansing or liquidation are discounted. In other words, Jews are the ‘best’ at suffering – as well as everything else, so it becomes an essential component of Israeli nationalism.   An example of the consequences of this position is that organizations that make up the Holocaust Industry do not recognize the liquidation of the Armenians by the Turks as an example of genocide, and opposed efforts in the U.S. Congress to make the Armenian question important in U.S. / Turkish relations.  It is also reflected in the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., where almost no one but Jewish people are mentioned throughout the whole exhibit, even though millions of others perished in camps or mass executions.  The Industry instead extends the definition of a ‘Holocaust’ survivor to any Jewish person involved in World War II and even beyond that – and no one else. 

Of course behind every political rationale is a materiel interest.  Finkelstein goes into excruciating detail on the reparations negotiations conducted by the Holocaust industry.  It is an industry because many of the sponsoring organizations, lead by its CEO, Eli Wiesel, made huge amounts of money through negotiations with Switzerland, Germany and others.  And the kicker here is that much of the money does not go to the dwindling ranks of actual holocaust  ‘survivors’ but to the organizations themselves, for education, expenses, legal costs – and salaries.  Finkelstein is especially humorous in explaining how the numbers of ‘holocaust survivors’ are always estimated upwards, as are the alleged amounts of non-survivor money deposited in, for instance, Swiss banks, all without much actual evidence. Finkelstein describes the Swiss banking industry being forced to go through a $.5B audit, which found far fewer Holocaust survivor accounts than the Holocaust Industry was demanding. And then the audit was thrown out.  Self-righteous U.S. politicians were key in allying with the Industry in what Finkelstein calls an extortion attempt against the Swiss banks.  The Industry also went after Germany with doctored numbers, even though Germany was already paying reparations to actual individuals.

Finkelstein makes the acerbic point that if so many Jewish people survived the holocaust, as per the figures by the Industry, then perhaps the Holocaust was not so destructive!  He insists it is just another form of holocaust denial. 

Did the Holocaust industry make the same demands for an audit and reparations of U.S. or British banks regarding survivor account assets left in the U.S. or Britain?  Of course they didn’t.  Yet as much money was deposited in U.S. banks by deceased Jews as in Swiss banks. And here we can see the craven politics behind this so-called dispassionate and ethical attempt to help survivors.  Essentially nothing must touch the American behemoth and its Israeli ally.  As Finkelstein points out, do the same U.S. government or political figures who block with the Industry on these European reparations consider reparations for slavery or Native American indigenous people or the millions of U.S.-caused dead in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia?  Of course not.  A double-standard is the permanent hallmark of ‘humanitarian’ imperialism. Only useful on certain occasions.

And I bought it at May Day Books!
Red Frog, May 5, 2012