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Subscription October 2017

Todd Chretien - Red October: The Russian Revolution

The upheaval and regime change in Russia in 1917 “shook the world” in the words of journalist John Reed. In place of the feudal czarist monarchy came radical revolutionaries. A civil war ensued pitting former regime elements against the communists. In addition, a number of countries, including the U.S., Britain and France didn’t like what they saw and heard from Lenin, Trotsky and the other Bolshevik leaders. They invaded Russia in an attempt to destroy the revolution and bring back the old order. Churchill said the Russian Revolution must be “strangled in its cradle.” They didn’t succeed. A few years after Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin takes over the country. His rivals are sent into exile, jailed or killed. The dictatorship calcifies. In 1991 the Soviet Union ends. The centenary of the revolution has sparked renewed interest in its history.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native America: From Genocide to Resistance

The centuries-long genocidal policies of the U.S. settler-colonial regime has largely been omitted from history. The ferocity and savagery of the U.S. attack on Native Americans is usually turned on its head. The colonists were the victims. They had to defend themselves against the heathens. The sheer hatred for indigenous people manifested in genocide. George Washington called them “beasts.” Jefferson declared, “We will destroy them all.” The notorious Indian killer Andrew Jackson said, “They must disappear.” Jump to Barack Obama who pronounced “America was not born a colonial power.” Really? Native Americans are still here. They have survived. The coalition of many nations resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock was inspiring. Though the pipeline is being built the resistance generated a consciousness and awareness about the situation of indigenous people and land and water issues.

Henry Giroux - Orwell, Huxley & the New Authoritarianism

George Orwell and Aldous Huxley are two of the great figures of the 20th century. Their novels, 1984 and Brave New World focus on authoritarianism. Both draw grim pictures of totalitarian rule but in each book the dictatorship to effect control deploys different techniques. For Orwell it’s straight out force. His dark image is brutal state oppression—“a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” Big Brother is watching your every move. You can be arrested at any time. Endless war is in the background. Whereas, in Huxley’s dystopia, societal control is achieved by more subtle means such as entertaining diversions, staged spectacles and the directed pursuit of manufactured needs and desires. People are infantilized. They are to be concerned with trivia like shopping, celebrity divorces and scandals leaving them with little time or interest to challenge power.

Richard Heinberg - Building Resilience in a Post-Carbon Society

David Suzuki, the renowned Canadian environmental activist, author and broadcaster, says, “If you fly over a forest and look down, you'll see every green tree and plant reaching to the heavens to absorb the ultimate energy source: sunlight. What a contrast when you look down on a city or town with its naked roofs, asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks, all ignoring the sun's beneficence! Our economic systems don't often encourage the most efficient and least harmful ways of providing necessities. They aim for the quickest, easiest, cheapest and most economically profitable paths. We can do better than that.” Indeed we can and we must if we are going to leave a habitable planet for future generations. Yet as Dr. Suzuki observes, “We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone's arguing over where they're going to sit.”

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