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Tian'anmen Square, Bejing, China, 5 June 1989: "The Unknown Rebel" single-handedly halts the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989 [Jan 2005]
An East German security guard faces off with West Berliners sitting atop the Soviets' infamous Berlin Wall. Within hours after the photograph was taken Nov. 10, 1989, West and East Berliners joined in tearing down the 28-year-old barrier.
Tragedy of the commonsMuch of man's world is treated as a "commons" wherein individuals have the right to freely consume its resources and return their wastes. The "logic of the commons" ultimately produces its ruin as well as the demise of those who depend upon it for survival. The commons relationship between people and their environment was noted by Garrett Hardin in a 1968 paper published in the journal SCIENCE (162:1243-1248). This Web Page is dedicated to examining in more detail, the consequences of treating our ecosystem as a commons. http://members.aol.com/trajcom/private/trajcom.htm
Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read
By China Miéville
January 23, 2002
This is not a list of the “best” fantasy or SF. There are huge numbers of superb works not on the list. Those below are chosen not just because of their quality—which though mostly good, is variable—but because the politics they embed (deliberately or not) are of particular interest to socialists. Of course, other works—by the same or other writers—could have been chosen: disagreement and alternative suggestions are welcomed. I change my own mind hour to hour on this anyway. http://www.fantasticmetropolis.com/i/50socialist/full/ [May 2006]
- Achieving Our Country : Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America () - Richard Rorty [Amazon.com]
There are many shameful incidents in America's past: the institution of slavery, genocidal assaults on the indigenous peoples of this continent, the escalation of the Vietnam War, and so on. What should our response to such acts be? Should we regard the nation as irredeemably tainted by sin and spend our time cataloging its evils, or should we acknowledge its shortcomings and make a conscious effort to turn it into a better nation? Philosopher Richard Rorty believes that there is hope for America, but that today's Left is not meeting the challenge. He contrasts the cultural, academic Left's focus on our heritage of shame (which, he admits, has to the extent that it makes hatred intolerable had the positive effect of making America a more civil society) with the politically engaged reformist Left of the early part of this century. "The distinction between the old strategy and the new is important," he writes. "The choice between them makes the difference between what Todd Gitlin calls common dreams and what Arthur Schlesinger calls disuniting Americans. To take pride in being black or gay is an entirely reasonable response to the sadistic humiliation to which one has been subjected. But insofar as this pride prevents someone from also taking pride in being an American citizen, from thinking of his or her country as capable of reform, or from being able to join with straights or whites in reformist initiatives, it is a political disaster."
Not everyone, to be sure, is going to agree with Rorty's ideas. But his approach to civic life, which is pragmatic in the tradition of John Dewey and visionary in the tradition of Walt Whitman, is bound to provoke increased discussion of what it is to be a citizen, and his call for a renewed awareness of the history of American reformist activism can only be applauded. --amazon.com
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