THAT IS THE SOCIAL LANDSCAPE OF BALTIMORE-----EVERYTHING IS MADE TO LOOK LIKE WHAT IT IS NOT!
This is why only 17% of citizens come out to vote in a system filled with election fraud.
HOW THIRD WORLD IS ALL OF THIS? RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU KNOW DEMOCRATS DO NOT ACT THIS WAY!
I attended a typical city non-profit meeting last night on community greening. Since corporations pay no taxes and get huge subsidy and are allowing to commit massive fraud----there is no money for public works. THE MANTRA FROM THE ESTABLISHMENT----VOLUNTEER AND BE A HERO IN YOUR COMMUNITY!!!!!!! So, not only are Baltimore citizens brought to poverty and left unemployed by global corporate public policy----they are now being made soldiers of the state in giving the time and disposable income to doing all public sector work in the city! BALTIMORE PRIDE!
Each time you attend these community non-profit meeting you have a young person made to work for nothing training to spend the entire time talking about structures that could easily have been a handout and then allowing 7 minutes for dozens of people to ask questions. All these meetings occur in private non-profit space that has to be evacuated right after these meetings so there is no time to talk policy or make connections. You are required to come, listen, leave and do everything else over the internet. You are awards some cash for projects that have no public sector support and the project dies when interest dies. The intent is to make an area to be developed attractive with funds controlled by the development corporations.
Republicans love to call this government by non-profit 'socialism' painting the pols behind it as liberals-----but these are not warm and fuzzy community non-profits----they are controlled by corporations and their tax deductible 'donations'. Baltimore and Maryland created Maryland Non-Profits and Associated Granting Baltimore just as a conduit for corporations in lieu of paying taxes to control social and societal programs through these non-profits. The appointment of directors at the head of these agencies who then do what these donor corporations tell them.
BALTIMORE IS ONE BIG CORPORATE NON-PROFIT ALL CONTROLLED BY JOHNS HOPKINS AND BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT.
So, the Plantation that is Baltimore/Johns Hopkins not only has the business sector, education sector, and real estate captured----it has taken all public sector control as well.
THIS IS FASCISM AND AS TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT AND THESE STRUCTURES ARE ALLOWED TO TAKE HOLD-----IT WILL BECOME MORE AND MORE AUTOCRATIC AND REPRESSIVE. AUTOCRATIC LEADERS ALWAYS HAVE THE PEOPLE PROUD TO SERVE WITH VOLUNTEERISM AND SHOUTS OF CIVIC PRIDE WHILE CREATING MASS INJUSTICE!
This article is long so please glance through to the next article-----this is the NEW WORLD ORDER THAT HAS GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNALS CONTROLLING ITS COLONIES THROUGH THESE CORPORATE NON-PROFIT STRUCTURES.
Baltimore neo-conservatives love to call all of this corporate non-profit LIBERAL---and our new Republican Governor Larry Hogan calls Baltimore's third world conditions a product of liberal policy gone wrong when Baltimore has been under Johns Hopkins and neo-conservative rule for decades. It is neo-conservative policy that kept progressive liberalism away and created this third world mess we have today.
Detroit was brought to deliberate bankruptcy through fraud and corruption as is happening in Baltimore----remember, O'Malley and Maryland Assembly deliberately loaded Baltimore with loads of credit bond debt leverage just to implode it into bankruptcy so Baltimore can be taken to this International Economic Zone structure just as Detroit is now.
Welcome to Your New Government
Can Non-Profits Run Cities?
Story by Anna Clark New City
Photography by Marvin Shaouni
Published on Jul 9, 2012
Sue Mosey spends a lot of time telling stories. When I first met her, she breezed through two hours of narration about the behind-the-scenes practicalities of cultivating a vibrant center in the city of Detroit, a story she is clearly well-practiced at delivering to the many national journalists who come to her with questions. A few days after our meeting, I saw her again at Fourteen East, a Midtown café that opened one year ago after Mosey inspired the owner to host her new venture on Woodward Avenue, Detroit’s central corridor. Mosey was at the café to pose for photographs before meeting a potential funder for lunch, where her strategic storytelling was again called upon — this time, to inspire concrete commitments for the non-profit that Mosey leads, and which, in turn, is headlining the city’s revival.
Home to key anchor institutions — including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center — the Midtown neighborhood sits just north of the city’s downtown and riverfront. Throughout the last five years, the neighborhood has seen a remarkable revival, with independent businesses veering from national trends to open their doors and restore life in previously dark storefronts. New residents are moving into rehabilitated housing, and community gardens are thriving in what had been vacant lots. Indeed, almost no Midtown businesses were lost during the economic recession — incredible, given that Detroit entered the recession at what might politely be called a disadvantage.
Midtown’s vigor belies the narrative of Detroit as an utterly disinvested city. And coordinating the show is Midtown Detroit, Inc., a peculiarly influential community development corporation that has transformed nearly every aspect of the neighborhood. Founded in 1976 by community activists rooted in the affordable housing movement of the 1960s, Midtown, Inc. evolved along with the city. In the last two decades, the scrappy non-profit’s tactical collaborations with major anchor institutions in Detroit — including City Hall — have elevated it from the antiestablishment fringe and into the establishment itself.
While, historically, power in Detroit was synonymous with the auto industry and labor unions, both the decentralization and economic fluctuations of the car business has left space for Midtown, Inc. to make its mark on the city. These days, it provides landscaping on boulevard medians. It partners with Wayne State’s police department, which patrols the neighborhood beyond campus borders. It puts strings of lights in the trees along Woodward during the holidays. It is installing LED street lighting. And with its popular Live Midtown initiative, which offers financial incentives to employees of anchor institutions to buy or rent homes in the neighborhood, Midtown, Inc. is coming full circle, returning to the business of creating housing options. Even in a shrinking city with a high vacancy rate, Midtown’s apartments are 95 percent occupied.
The organization’s work moved Reuters to describe the neighborhood as “the centerpiece for Detroit’s revival” in an article about the construction of a 21,000-square-foot Whole Foods store on a vacant corner in Midtown. This is the first time the chain has set up shop in a distressed urban center. At the groundbreaking in May, company CEO Walter Robb told the Detroit Free Press that, “the richness that we discovered here was very encouraging. That’s special for me.”
Midtown Detroit, Inc. President Sue Mosey is often called the unofficial mayor of Motor City. Increasingly, the city’s real mayor, David Bing, depends on her and her organization to help manage the city’s neighborhoods.
The advent of Whole Foods — a retailer that serves as a stabilizer and signifier of a particular sort of bourgeoisie arrival — is a bright feather in the cap of Midtown, Inc. President Sue Mosey. Robb credited her for convincing the company to commit to Detroit, as she helped put together the complex financial deal that is backing the new store. While there are many independent grocers and farmer’s markets in the city, Mosey acknowledges that Whole Foods is a game-changer, and not just because more Detroiters will have food choices that parallel those of their neighbors in tweedy Ann Arbor, which got its second Whole Foods in 2007. The store’s opening “not only meets the need for fresh produce, but it signals that something is going on here in Detroit,” said Mosey.
With a remarkable ability to get things done in a city that has been on the brink of state emergency management, Midtown, Inc. has a reputation for being better at performing the role of government than government itself. But what are the stakes of ceding public sector work to non-profits? Some argue that if private organizations like this one aren’t making sure trash is picked up and the neighborhood is promoted as a positive place to invest, the jobs won’t get done — and neighborhood will languish. On the other hand, communities cede a certain amount of accountability when private hands, whether a community development corporation like Midtown, Inc. or a for-profit company, take charge of public services.
Is there a risk when common-good public services are — at least some of the time — defined by neighborhood borders rather than city ones? De facto or otherwise, will cities be less likely to make high-quality services and innovation available to all its neighborhoods, or will some be left (perhaps all too literally) in the dark?
StruggleBurnt-out buildings, abandoned lots, teeming garbage and a heavy-handed police presence. That was what Sen. Robert F. Kennedy saw on his tour of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn in February 1966. The impoverished community was the site of one of the decade’s first riots in 1964, as well as a major gerrymandering lawsuit in 1965. Community activists called for “substance, not studies,” as put by Elsie Richardson, Kennedy’s tour guide. Richardson and her team worked with Kennedy’s staff to hone plans for Bed-Stuy’s revival and 10 months later, after another rough summer punctuated by violence (including the "thing" that kept secretary Dawn from riding the bus home last season on Mad Men), Kennedy announced the nation’s first community development corporation.
Known as the Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Service Corporation, it pioneered a new model for public-private community development that prioritized both local leadership and professional management. Kennedy, along with Republican Sen. Jacob Javits, laid the groundwork for community development corporations with a special amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The new CDC was not only for Brooklyn’s sake; in his speech, Kennedy spotlighted a seven-point program that he said would serve as a standard-bearer for community development nationwide.
“The program for the development of Bedford-Stuyvesant will combine the best of community action with the best of the private enterprise system,” Kennedy told a group of neighborhood residents assembled at local public school to hear about the initiative that he debuted alongside Javits and Mayor John Lindsay. “Neither by itself is enough, but in their combination lies our hope for the future.”
“Before the advent of CDCs, ‘unless you were super-rich, you had zero control over space.’”
Built out of the organizing structure of churches, unions and block associations, CDCs were envisioned as a way for citizens to have direct control over their neighborhoods while leveraging the tools of government and business. Since 1967, the first CDC, now called the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, has constructed or renovated 2,200 housing units and helped bring more than $475 million in investments to central Brooklyn. Meanwhile, the East Los Angeles Community Union formed in 1968 and was also funded through the Kennedy-Javits legislation. It is now the largest CDC in the country: It builds homes, operates a family of businesses and supports college education for Latino students. Another original CDC, the Mississippi Action for Community Education, was led by a founding team of civil rights activists, including Fannie Lou Hamer, to develop affordable housing for Delta citizens.
Once the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development started providing incentives, CDCs took off nationwide, though there is no single legally binding definition of a “community development corporation,” which partly explains the range of their structures, purposes and effectiveness. However, state and federal incentive programs in the 1970s led CDCs to focus more tightly on affordable housing, according to Sam Butler, a board member of Community Development Advocates of Detroit.
“I see it as a social justice issue,” said Butler about the origin of CDCs. Before the advent of CDCs, “unless you were super-rich, you had zero control over space.” In this way, CDCs literally changed the landscape of cities.
AdaptationsSue Mosey came to what was then called the University Cultural Center Association in 1988. Coleman Young was in his 15th year as Detroit’s mayor (he’d remain in office through 1993). As Mosey describes it, there was not much going on in the city: Few were investing, and fresh ideas were rare. While the city’s prosperous past was visible in its strong institutions — including a world-recognized symphony orchestra, the Henry Ford Hospital and the College for Creative Studies — the neighborhoods that housed them waned. In fact, the mixed-use area now known as Midtown did not exist. The CDC that now bears its name had not yet coined the term to unify the disparate community.
“How do you build institutions when the neighborhood is a real liability?” That was the question Mosey said she faced when she was brought in as Midtown, Inc.’s community development director. (Three years later, she became executive director.) Her strategy was to focus on pivotal projects that she felt held the potential to improve the neighborhood while benefitting institutions and bringing lasting good to the city. First step: Getting the neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places so redevelopment projects could qualify for federal tax credits. The move jump-started investment in a place that had been without it for years.
“By the time I came, whole blocks had been removed with urban renewal, which made everything unstable,” Mosey said.
One way to describe Midtown, Inc. is to say that it curates development. The non-profit supports carefully chosen projects expected to contribute to a coherent and creative community. It offers stable assistance and a wealth of resources throughout a sometimes-chaotic development process. Through partnerships with local funders and foundations, as well as key city departments, it has seeded at least 40 projects in Midtown — some of them new construction, but the majority historic rehabilitations. By instigating smaller, local development, Mosey said the community demonstrates that “there is a market here.”
At a time when neighborhoods nationwide are struggling to rebound from years of recession, Midtown is experiencing steady growth. New residents and businesses, such as the Avalon Bakery on W. Willis Street, are setting down roots.
Though it remains a neighborhood-based organization — albeit a large and well-funded one comprised of more than 100 stakeholders — the influence of Midtown, Inc. is amplified in the context of a cash-strapped city. In 2009 — the same year General Motors and Chrysler received government loans, and when a parcel survey revealed that about one-fourth of the city’s residential lots were undeveloped or vacant — the organization reported revenue of about $3.4 million almost entirely in contributions and grants (by last year, that number had more than doubled to over $7.5 million).
And Midtown, Inc. amplifies those funds: In January 2009, it received $2.5 million in grant money over two years to leverage $34 million in governmental and private funds that would collectively revitalize the Sugar Hill Arts District, a two-block neighborhood with a rich history in jazz music that had been blotted out by urban renewal programs of the 1960s.
Today, the district is home to the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, as well as a contemporary art museum and a rehabilitated building designed for artist residences and studios, featuring solar power, geothermal heating and water reclamation. These projects hold disproportionate resonance in a city where officials scrambling to keep the lights on don’t have the time or money for bold plans.
Midtown, Inc.’s success has made Mosey something of a rock star among those in the economic development circuit. “Fantastically powerful” is how Jennifer Bradley, a Brookings Institution fellow focusing on Great Lakes metropolitan areas, describes the organization, and Mosey herself. [Disclosure: Bradley is a previous Forefront contributor. – Ed.]
“They are a great model for an engaged, creative and adaptive institution, and it’s great to see [Mosey] get recognition for that,” Bradley said.
“People have heard about what’s happening [in Midtown], and the work they’ve done is a large reason why there’s so much investment in that neighborhood,” Bradley added. “They had a good vision for what was possible.”
Mosey is not the only contemporary inheritor to the CDC legacy, adapting urban revival to the considerably more market-based reform happening today. But the rising influence of CDCs parallels broader trends in local government that have resonance and relevance beyond the borders of any particular neighborhood.
The Partnered GovernmentUniversity Circle sits on the east side of Cleveland and, like Detroit’s Midtown, is home to key civic institutions, including Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Orchestra and the University Hospitals system. It is served by University Circle, Inc., a CDC that has come to characterize itself as a “community service corporation” in order to better represent the scope of its programming.
The roots of the non-profit corporation extend back more than half a century. It began as a development foundation in 1957 tasked by the Cleveland City Council with being a “service organization to all institutions.” Initially, the foundation functioned as a land bank to assist institutions in expansions. It soon came to develop collaborative services, providing parking, transportation, public safety programs and neighborhood landscaping in order to buoy the area’s cultural and medical centers. In 1970, the foundation re-formed as University Circle, Inc., partly to better bridge the relationship between their community and its bordering neighborhoods, many of them low-income.
Today, UCI (and the Cleveland Foundation, one of the CDC’s biggest supporters) is persistent in characterizing the community it serves not as University Circle, but as “Greater University Circle” in order to suggest a porous border. Along the region’s Euclid Avenue corridor, UCI is responsible for $3 billion in projects, said organization president Chris Ronayne. It has hosted a private police force for decades that employs 25 officers, including plainclothes detectives that patrol the neighborhood and respond to both institutions and residences. UCI operates a bus line and has worked for years to make area streets more welcoming with new pedestrian signage and redesigned intersections that feature pervious concrete, reclaimed timber benches, native plants and a custom-built LED light fixture that doubles as an art piece.
The growing influence of today’s CDCs, particularly those in cities that are strapped for cash, speaks to larger trends of governments outsourcing what had once been their own jobs. There is some precedent for this: For years, non-profit conservancies have “adopted” city parks in Detroit in order to provide consistent maintenance and programming that City Hall could not, unintentionally resulting in a diffused system of authority for parks and recreation in the city. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is about to take over management of Belle Isle, a large and popular city-owned park in the Detroit River.
“[I] don’t want to make it seem like the city is not supportive of our work to the degree that they can be,” Mosey added. “[It’s] just very limited capacity versus many years ago when, for instance, the City Planning Department had specific project managers assigned to work with local community organizations.”
The CDC shift from a focus on brick-and-mortar to more comprehensive services is a national trend, according to Tom Kingsley, senior fellow at the Urban Institute. Kingsley, however, suggests that most CDCs aren’t taking on public services because “most of them don’t have the resources to take on those responsibilities, even if they wanted to. And they’d be in a strange liability situation if they try to take on the delivery of big urban services. By law, a city is still responsible for this.”
Kingsley is right about the law. But the fact remains that Midtown, Inc. and UCI have more resources for public services than their respective cities do. And so, after making an agreement with the city, they are doing it. But where does it leave the other neighborhoods in Detroit and Cleveland that still depend on City Hall for services and programming? Will service delivery for all citizens become uneven, and civic accountability even more obscured? And is it any concern of Midtown, Inc. and UCI — or should it be?
UCI’s Chris Ronayne acknowledges worries. But in his mind, they stem simply from fear of the unknown. “Times have changed,” he said. “Desperate times call for — innovative measures. Last I looked, the city budgets could use some help.”
True. But also true is that the dominating influence of a handful of non-profits can create a sort of civic hierarchy that exaggerates differences — you could call it inequalities — between neighborhoods. This unintended consequence can be seen in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, where a recent scuffle over a housing program administered by Midtown, Inc. has raised questions about keeping private organizations and unelected leaders like Mosey accountable to the communities most affected by their work.
Bike through Corktown and you’ll find the hollow park where Tiger Stadium once stood and the Michigan Central train station that has been empty since 1989, fascinating urban explorers and photographers ever since. Like its busier neighbor Midtown, Corktown is home to a number of energetic small businesses, but it also has more expansive vacant space and famously pothole-riddled roads. In July 2011, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, a public-private coalition of corporate and civic leaders, announced a significant expansion to the housing incentives made popular in Midtown, which subsidize rent and mortgage payments. With $5 million available over five years, the expanded program — which, though created and marketed by DDP, is run by Midtown, Inc. — targets not just downtown and Midtown, but also the bordering neighborhoods of Eastern Market, Lafayette Park and Corktown.
The incentives came as sudden news to those already living in Corktown, said Jeff DeBruyn, former president of the neighborhood’s resident council and president of Imagination Station of Roosevelt Park, a non-profit arts group in Corktown that has transformed two of the neighborhood’s abandoned homes into art spaces. DeBruyn fears the program will have a significant impact on the neighborhood’s makeup and how much rent current residents pay. “Nobody in North Corktown knew about it. Nobody had heard anything,” DeBruyn said. “They just announced it without talking to any of us. They don’t ask, or listen.”
Mosey said that only two people in the expanded incentives program have moved to Corktown so far, out of about 160 participants. (To date, more than 450 people overall have taken advantage of Detroit residency incentives.) Corktown has fairly little housing and rentals available, she said, and “when it comes on the market, it moves quickly.”
“So whether our folks move in or not, the housing is strong there and will fill and rents will go up,” Mosey said. “I am sure the homeowners in Corktown who represent most of the folks in this neighborhood would welcome higher housing values which come with more market demand.” She added that while rents and property values might not be as low as some would like when the neighborhood strengthens, avoiding opportunities to raise market value is “not a very good long-term strategy, I would say.”
The key way that CDCs establish themselves as representatives of their community is by allotting a certain number of seats on their board to residents, said Jamie Schriner-Hooper, executive director of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan. But of course the appointed residents are vetted for a shared organizational philosophy, and in practice, not all board members have equal influence over the organization’s direction. Midtown, Inc. lists 24 members of its board on its website. While some may be residents of affected neighborhoods such as Corktown, none are identified as such; instead, each are identified by their professional affiliation with a local anchor institution or business. No Corktown businesses are listed as affiliations of the Midtown, Inc. board (or the DDP board, for that matter). So, if the primary way that CDCs stay accountable to their neighborhood is by representation on its board of directors, Corktown is out of luck.
As far as community accountability goes, Chris Ronayne in Cleveland said that careful contracts and MOUs ensure good-faith community partnerships. He said that UCI has a “pretty interactive dialogue with the constituency,” in part through online comments, and many residents know UCI staff much better than they know their city workers or representatives. “I get calls a city would,” Ronayne said. “Calls about graffiti and trash removal.”
Mosey detailed six city departments and committees that Midtown, Inc. works with. The city’s Planning Commission staff is “helping us with a critical rezoning of our neighborhood to special districts zoning which will encourage more mixed-use development,” she said. The City Planning Department “provided loan dollars [utilizing federal funds] to numerous Midtown developments. They are also working to update zoning standards for Woodward Avenue with input from us and other organizations impacted.”
Both Ronayne and Mosey emphasized that their interest in building vibrant neighborhoods is directly linked to their interest in cultivating vibrant cities. In Cleveland, University Circle bills itself as “the neighborhood without borders,” as it works to provide security, transportation and marketing.
“All of this together is aimed at enhancing the Circle and branding it in terms of a diverse, broad neighborhood that lures people in, rather than shuts people out,” said Ronayne.
Perhaps what most illustrates how the reach of these CDCs extends beyond their core corridors is Midtown, Inc. urging anchor institutions to tip more of their purchases to Detroit vendors. Mosey said that, over the last year, they have tipped about $6.8 million in new procurement investments in the city, a number expected to grow in the coming years. What’s more, Midtown, Inc. has recently expanded the very definition of the neighborhood it serves — in a merger last year with New Center Council, another CDC, it came to take responsibility for a further 60 blocks of the city (including the block where I live and work).
Almost LostCities in dire straits make it possible for large CDCs to gain huge influence. On April 4, less than 24 hours before a deadline that would give unprecedented control of the city to an emergency manager, the Detroit City Council voted for a consent agreement with the state of Michigan. Under the new deal, a financial advisory board with members appointed by the governor, mayor and council will review all budget matters and grant approval of union contracts. It’s designed to support a city struggling under crushing debt: Detroit owes more than $12 billion in long-term pension and benefit obligations, and as a shrinking city, it is gasping under a loss of property tax revenue even as it must provide services to over 139 square miles.
The consent agreement is nonetheless controversial: It squeaked by on a 5-4 vote and just last month, a lawsuit challenging the agreement filed by the city attorney — against the wishes of the mayor—was dismissed in court. Despite concerns about the city ceding control to the state — which, for many residents, echoes morally bankrupt urban renewal polices of the 20th century that decimated neighborhoods of primarily African-American and immigrant communities — the agreement sidesteps receivership, which would put all power to sell assets, eliminate departments and gut contracts into the hands of an appointee of the governor. (This would be under Michigan’s new emergency management law, which continues to make national headlines.) Relying on private groups like Midtown, Inc. makes it possible for the city of Detroit to avoid some of the most immediate and painful consequences of its financial problems.
In Cleveland, the city’s credit rating on $248 million of debt was downgraded one notch last year by Fitch Ratings: The concerns came down to the city’s lack of savings, combined with its shrinking population and lethargic economy. According to the Plain-Dealer, the city “has been borrowing about $30 million a year with general obligation bonds to pay for city projects and improvements.”
Representatives of both UCI and Midtown, Inc. told me that they are not interested in replacing City Hall, even as they take the lead on many of its services. Rather, they mean to work mutually. Mosey calls Detroit’s Department of Public Works a particularly important partner and ally to, for example, facilitate street repaving and administer streetscape and greenway funds. Ronayne is careful to call UCI’s work “adjunct, or additive to city services in a city that is stretched.”
“The city should look to us as a provider,” he added. “We could be agents for cities.”
As Ronayne sees it, the old world way of thinking is: Local-state-federal. That has slipped away. Now, he says, the thinking is neighborhood-regional-global.
“We can provide the very hands-on work, the eyes on the street, the corner view,” Ronayne said. “And cities need to outsource that to organizations like us, because they have bigger fires to fight.”
But if CDCs and other non-profits are going to take on more and more public services, then they have a proportional amount of responsibility to be democratically structured. That means that both transparency and meaningful community accountability are crucial.
“I believe strongly in ground-up community development,” said DeBruyn of Detroit’s Corktown. But in neighborhoods where large organizations are less intimately engaged with residents, DeBruyn has struggled to carve out avenues for effective grass-roots programs that operate outside their influence. He has tried a resident’s council, and a Better Building for Michigan initiative: “Really organic, ground-up programs.” But, he said, it “seems that institutions of influence, the foundations and powers that be, not only don’t support them, but do everything possible to actively thwart them.” If neither the CDC nor the city is making it a priority to partner with residents in the leveraging of public services and neighborhood visioning, where are the people who want to contribute to the making of their community to turn?
“We could be agents for cities.”
As an alternative, DeBruyn pointed to the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, a thriving organization in a northwest neighborhood that is somewhat overlooked as one of Detroit’s “success stories.” It is home to more than 14,000 people, 92 percent of them African-American, most of them homeowners. At GRDC, local residents make up a well-run, well-organized management team. GRDC develops vacant homes, provides home repair for low-income residents, maintains vacant property, organizes a community safety patrol and hosts a neighborhood garden and farmer’s market. Volunteers are the fuel that makes these programs possible. And it does all this through constant engagement with its citizens: Besides employing residents in its management, it hosts well-attended open houses and community visioning sessions and shares the results online. Its board of directors is comprised entirely of neighborhood residents.
As with Midtown, Inc, UCI and CDCs across the nation, GRDC has expanded beyond the brick-and-mortar work so that it can be more responsive to a complex community. Even with a City Hall that is struggling to remain viable, GRDC has proven effective. It has facilitated more than $20 million in new investments since 1989 in an area that is barely two square miles, even though it is well outside Detroit’s main business corridor and lacks the anchor institutions that enhance Midtown and University Circle. It does this work without detaching from concrete community engagement and democratic process, with residents actively participating in the stabilization and revitalization of their neighborhood. Its example is a stark reminder that the “ends justify the means” is not a viable excuse for shifting services for the public good to systems where the public does not participate.
Thanks to Mosey’s work and that of peers like GRDC, thousands of new residents are making a home in Detroit. But as the city’s numbers continue to grow, and Detroiters make a habit of stoop-sitting and block parties, the question will be how Mosey intends to create space for these newly engaged residents — not only in Midtown’s historic homes, but also in its decision-making apparatus.
Let's take a look at what the Clinton Initiative and Bush neo-cons have been doing since the Reagan/Clinton neo-liberal capture of both Republican and Democratic Parties. The neo-cons are the war/security/spying/surveillance/and oil and energy branch of the global corporate tribunal and the neo-liberals are the Wall Street banking/corporate economic zone/food and water branch. Together they are the world trade tribunal that pretends all of this is free trade and open market. THEY ARE THE GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL PARTY CAPTURING ALL POLITICS IN THE US.
THAT IS THE SOCIAL LANDSCAPE OF BALTIMORE-----EVERYTHING IS MADE TO LOOK LIKE WHAT IT IS NOT!
They took US politics by using a simply political strategy from the playbook of Leo Strauss-----TELL THEM WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR AND THEN DO WHAT YOU WANT. Everytime we elect a pol pretending to be progressive and they serve right of center----that is Leo Strauss working against the American people. Leo started as the neo-con ideal political philosophy---but neo-liberals embraced him as well. University of Chicago is the center of Leo Strauss neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism and who worked at University of Chicago? Obama, who is the epitome of Leo Strauss. Had the American people understood Obama's past as it understood Hillary's in 2008----we would have understood the Democratic primaries had no Democrat running----only global corporate tribunal candidates working against the American people.
IF YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT GLOBAL CORPORATE RULE IS FASCIST----PLEASE READ UP ON FASCISM. HITLER STIRRED UP NATIONAL PRIDE AND THEN TOOK ALL GOVERNMENT TO CORPORATE CONTROL AS IT DID THE NATION'S CONQUERED.
Keep in mind that real Republican conservatives hate Bush neo-cons as much as real progressive liberal labor and justice hate Clinton neo-liberals because none of this has anything to do with national pride or national sovereignty and the US Constitution.
Neocons: the Echo of German Fascism EDITOR'S CHOICE | 28.03.2015 | 09:00
'Rather than continuing with this “strategy,” driven by our own modern Conservative Revolutionaries and entailing the eventual bankrupting or destruction of the nation, it might be more prudent for Americans to demand that we go back to the original national security strategy of the United States, as expressed by early presidents as avoiding “foreign entanglements” and start abiding by the republican goals expressed by the Preamble to the Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”'
Remember during the Presidential campaign when media stated that Obama's mother worked in Malaysia and Obama lived there for a while? Well, this was at a time when the US was installing neo-liberalism in Malaysia. Remember when the media told us Hillary went to Myanmar to sell the Generals on opening former Burma? Well, the Generals are bringing Economic Zones to Myanmar and the Generals are about to become rich. This is what TPP seeks to bring to the US and indeed, Obama and Congressional neo-liberals teamed with Bush neo-cons made Obama's terms in office about building the structures needed for installing TPP----and states like Maryland are busy with their own International Economic Zones-----THIS WILL NOT END WELL FOR ANYONE---WE NEED AMERICAN MIDDLE-CLASS TO WAKE UP AND USE YOUR VOICE ----
China was one of the earliest countries to implement SEZ. It created the first SEZ in the early 80's under the government of DENG XIAPING. This is the most popular SEZ in the world. Today there are more than 3000 SEZ's in the world spreading across 120 countries. They account for over 600 billion dollars in exports and generating close to 50 million jobs all over the world.
Following the Chinese examples, Special Economic Zones have been established in several countries, including Brazil, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Cambodia, and North Korea.
Economic Zones only exist in developing nations because they are third world in needing autocratic structures and no Rule of Law protecting citizens and environment from abuse and exploitation-----THAT IS WHY WHEN THEY COME TO THE US AMERICA HAD TO HAVE MOVED TO SECOND WORLD AND WITH TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT----THIRD WORLD STATUS.
Special Economic Zones in Myanmar
Posted on June 28, 2013 by ASEAN Briefing By Collin Baffa
Jun. 28 – Myanmar has seen rapid economic growth following its recent democratic and economic reforms, which included the repealing of Myanmar’s export taxes, decreasing import taxes and providing greater access for foreign direct investment. FDI into Myanmar increased from US$300 million in 2009-10 to US$20 billion in 2010-11, with its GDP rising from a rate of 5 percent in 2009 to over 6 percent in 2012.
Modern-day slavery rife in Malaysia’s electronics industry
Report says a third of migrant workers in industry are trapped in debt bondage and have their passports illegally withheld Women work at an electronics factory in Malaysia. A report says forced labour is used in the supply chains of many household brands. Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Getty Images Annie Kelly
Wednesday 17 September 2014 11.01 EDT
One-third of migrant workers in the Malaysian electronics industry, which produces goods for some of the world’s best-known brands, are trapped in forced labour, a form of modern-day slavery, according to new research.
A report by Verité, an NGO working on supply chain accountability, found that forced labour is present in the supply chains of a wide cross-section of household electronics brands, which use Malaysian factories to produce billions of pounds worth of goods every year.
The NGO interviewed more than 500 workers and concluded that debt bondage and the illegal confiscation of passports and documents were the main drivers of this “systemic” forced labour, which traps workers in low-paid jobs and prevents them from returning home.
Once in the workplace, migrant workers face further exploitation and abuse due to their inability to leave. Verité’s investigations found that workers were forced to live in cramped and dangerous accommodation, that female workers experienced sexual abuse by their supervisors, and migrants were forced to work excessive overtime under the threat of losing their jobs, which would leave them saddled with large debts they couldn’t pay off.
A large number of multinational companies from the US, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea use Malaysia as their manufacturing base. In 2013, more than $2.6bn (£1.6bn) of investment originated from overseas.
“What was most shocking to us was that this was happening in modern facilities, some of which were owned and operated by major international brands,” said Dan Viederman, chief executive of Verité. “This work has led us to conclude that forced labour in this industry is systemic and that every company operating in this sector in Malaysia faces a high risk of forced labour in their operations.”
Thousands of people from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Vietnam and other countries travel to Malaysia every year for work. According to a 2010 Amnesty International report, many enter the workplace at least $1,000 in debt, after being charged high fees by recruitment agents. The vast majority of workers interviewed by Verité were found to have been charged excessive fees by recruitment agencies, both in their home countries and in Malaysia.
Verité’s investigation revealed that 77% of migrant workers had to borrow money for recruitment fees. Some 95% of those interviewed said they didn’t feel they could leave their jobs until they had paid off their debts. Their situation was made worse after a 2013 change in Malaysian law made it possible for employers to pass on the cost of a per-capita levy the government charges on the use of foreign labour to the workers themselves, increasing their debt by almost $400.
The interviews revealed that although it is illegal under Malaysian law, more than 90% of workers had their passports taken by managers at their place of work or by recruitment agents, with most saying they were unable to get them back.
This year the US state department downgraded Malaysia to the lowest tier of its Trafficking in Persons report, which ranks countries on efforts to end modern-day slavery.
In the report, the state department criticised Malaysia for widespread abuse of its 4 million migrant workforce. Most of the electronics workers interviewed by Verité said they had been detained, harassed, blackmailed or threatened by immigration officials, police or the much-feared Rela, Malaysia’s voluntary citizen security corps, which is charged with rooting out illegal migrants.
Verité refuses to name brands it found to be using forced labour to produce goods, because it fears that would be counterproductive to its mission to create greater accountability in supply chains.
“We didn’t go into this research looking to name and shame,” Viederman said. “What we are concerned about is that the use of forced labour is absolutely systemic and that any company that produces or sources electronics from Malaysia must work to ensure that they are proactively taking actions to eliminate that risk.”
The important thing to remember ----this is easily reversed. They want you to believe all of this is a done deal but two election cycles and we can be rid of these corporate pols working with this global corporate tribunal. TWO ELECTION CYCLES OF RUNNING REAL PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES AGAINST CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS IN ALL PRIMARIES. I know elections are rigged but if people engage in politics ----if 90% of Baltimore citizens become voters and candidates----we have critical mass to keep elections free and fair. It is the neglect of the political process that has allowed very bad people to gain power.
'Clearly, if we have both Republican and Democratic Presidents asking, and Republican and Democratic Congresses voting for trade pacts that they negotiate in secret and then vote on as immutable faits accompli — pacts which surrender US sovereignty over worker safety, food safety, environmental protection and other laws passed by our elected Congress, we do not have a democracy at all. We have a government that is the property of the multinational corporations that have financed the passage of these treacherous trade pacts.
There is a direct causal link between these trade pacts and the ongoing destruction of America’s working class (euphemistically called the “middle class” in a nation that is still terrified at talking in terms of class and that even has trouble uttering the word “capitalism”). The more the government surrenders its right to pass laws in the public interest, in order to increase the profits of corporations, the fewer jobs there will be that pay a decent living in the US, and the worse American living standards will be.
More importantly, these trade deals expose the ugly reality that American democracy is essentially dead. At this point, to restore any sense of public control over Washington it will take a revolution by the public — one that would involve ousting all the millionaires in Congress, and removing private money entirely from campaigns.
America is not being threatened by Muslims. It’s not being threatened by black helicopters from the UN either. The America that was founded in blood in 1776, and that has been handed down to us through almost two and a half centuries, is threatened by giant corporations loyal only to wealthy capitalist owners, and by a political class that has decided it’s much more profitable to legislate in favor of those fat cats with their fat wallets than to legislate in favor of the people who voted them into office.
Get out your pitchforks'!
Clinton neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons are the same politicians with the same goals. That is why from Reagan Clinton to now Bush Obama we have one string of right of center politics with the American people losing at every turn. As the blurb above states---we are not under threat by Muslims----we are being looted by VISIGOTHS and taken by global corporations. None of this has to do with religion folks----and it is why nations of the world want to strike back at the US---and it is all over global markets.
Obama’s Drones in the Global War on Terror
Illustration by Bronwyn Seedeen Posted July 6, 2013
By Rashad Seedeen
Updated August 4, 2013 (see below)
May 23, 2013 – In a speech at the National Defense University, US President, Barack Obama outlined the future direction of his controversial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone campaign. Drones are remotely-controlled vehicles that carry out surveillance and assassination missions. Even though drones have been around for a long time, and were employed to carry-out surveillance, assassination and military activities during George W. Bush’s time as President, under the Obama administration missions have increased six-fold. Furthermore assassination missions outside of war-zones are secretly signed off by Obama in what has been aptly termed his, “kill-list”. In his speech he indicated the potential for greater transparency, government oversight (a judicial court that also signs-off on assassinations) and engagement with the Muslim world. However, he did not indicate an end to drone attacks nor did he introduce actual policy on how he would address the growing concern of drone attacks.
Johns Hopkins Students Protest University’s Drone Research Program
Written by: Rachel Monroe | Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 10:36am
Photo by Casey McKeel
On February 27, during General Stanley McChrystal’s lecture at Johns Hopkins, the exterior of the building was illuminated with large-scale projections. But instead of advertising the lecture inside — the first in this year’s student-organized Foreign Affairs Symposium — the projections showed injured children and images of warfare. “JHU Research at Work: Reckless, Wrong, Illegal,” read the words projected on the building’s facade.
The projections were coordinated by the JHU Human Rights Working Group and Luminous Intervention, an artist group that creates large-scale, politically-minded outdoor projections. The groups joined forces to protest the university’s involvement in developing drone technology for the Pentagon.
McChrystal pioneered the use of drones in Afghanistan, but earlier this year he seemed to warn the administration against relying on them. “What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world,” he told Reuters in January. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes … is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one…[drone warfare creates] perception of American arrogance that says, ‘Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'” (Excerpts from these quotations were also included in the rotating series of projections.)
The Human Rights Working Group has created a petition calling for the cessation of Pentagon-funded drone research at the university. “We are worried that our country is leading the way to a new type of warfare in which most of the killing will be done by remote control. Allowing government leaders to dispatch robots rather than soldiers is lowering the threshold of war, making the world a much more dangerous place. Moreover, the drone program has been a covert operation, with little accountability or transparency. The involvement of Johns Hopkins in this program has also been shrouded in secrecy, and little is known about it outside the cloistered grounds of the APL (even President Daniels is not allowed to view its Pentagon contracts),” they note.
Clinton neo-liberalism is the same as Bush neo-conservatism----naked capitalism fueled by winning at any cost----shake these bugs out of the rug by running for office at all levels in Democratic primaries against Clinton neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons.
Below you see a very long article about this history of neo-conservatism. I am not interested in Hitler and the Israeli state----I am working to educate on American politics and policy. To understand the big pictures we must understand the politics moving our local institutions of power. Baltimore is a picture of neo-conservatism----yet, all of its pols run as Democrats and pretend to be progressive. All of this shape-shifting let's us know something is not right.
Baltimore is filled with citizens able to bring politics back to focus on building the domestic economy with small businesses and equal protection and Rule of Law. Stop allowing Hopkins to reduce people's ability to work and move up the economic ladder to doing as they say!!!! These are not smart people----they do not have good solutions----they simply live for advancing their own financial interests!!!!
Remember, US corporations are no longer US---they are multi-national-----and the amount of money that will be spent protecting markets of these global corporations not even American anymore will be huge. Imagine the Roman Empire expansion and people paying taxes just to be protected from invaders---and you have today's mix. The US has enough wealth and military power to protect itself from outside invaders while keeping its economy domestic----WE THE PEOPLE CAN CONSUME ENOUGH TO FUEL OUR ECONOMY IF WE ARE NOT IMPOVERISHED AND LEFT UNABLE TO HAVE A FIRST WORLD QUALITY OF LIFE.
The citizens of Baltimore are interested in simply having jobs and feeding and shelter for their families----that is why these bad pols keep shouting jobs, jobs, jobs. We need people to be as interested in what kind of jobs and what kind of society all live in---and that means educating on public policy and knowing your politicians and the goals of policy!
Please glance through this article:
Neocons: the Echo of German Fascism
EDITOR'S CHOICE | 28.03.2015 | 09:00
With the Likud Party electoral victory in Israel, the Republican Party is on a roll, having won two major elections in a row. The first was winning control of the U.S. Congress last fall. The second is the victory by the Republicans’ de facto party leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s recent election. As the Israeli Prime Minister puts together a coalition with other parties “in the national camp,” as he describes them, meaning the ultra-nationalist parties of Israel, it will be a coalition that today’s Republicans would feel right at home in.
The common thread linking Republicans and Netanyahu’s “national camp” is a belief of each in their own country’s “exceptionalism,” with a consequent right of military intervention wherever and whenever their “Commander in Chief” orders it, as well as the need for oppressive laws to suppress dissent.
Leo Strauss, an intellectual bridge between Germany’s inter-war Conservative Revolutionaries and today’s American neoconservatives.
William Kristol, neoconservative editor of the Weekly Standard, would agree. Celebrating Netanyahu’s victory, Kristol told the New York Times, “It will strengthen the hawkish types in the Republican Party.” Kristol added that Netanyahu would win the GOP’s nomination, if he could run, because “Republican primary voters are at least as hawkish as the Israeli public.”
The loser in both the Israeli and U.S. elections was the rule of law and real democracy, not the sham democracy presented for public relations purposes in both counties. In both countries today, money controls elections, and as Michael Glennon has written in National Security and Double Government, real power is in the hands of the national security apparatus.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership role in the U.S. Congress was on full display to the world when he accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. Showing their eagerness to be part of any political coalition being formed under Netanyahu’s leadership, many Congressional Democrats also showed their support by attending the speech.
It was left to Israeli Uri Avnery to best capture the spirit of Netanyahu’s enthusiastic ideological supporters in Congress. Avnery wrote that he was reminded of something when seeing “Row upon row of men in suits (and the occasional woman), jumping up and down, up and down, applauding wildly, shouting approval.”
Where had he heard that type of shouting before? Then it came to him: “It was another parliament in the mid-1930s. The Leader was speaking. Rows upon rows of Reichstag members were listening raptly. Every few minutes they jumped up and shouted their approval.”
He added, “the Congress of the United States of America is no Reichstag. Members wear dark suits, not brown shirts. They do not shout ‘Heil’ but something unintelligible.” Nevertheless, “the sound of the shouting had the same effect. Rather shocking.”
Right-wing Politics in Pre-Nazi Germany
While Avnery’s analogy of how Congress responded to its de facto leader was apt, it isn’t necessary to go to the extreme example that he uses to analogize today’s right-wing U.S. and Israeli parties and policy to an earlier German precedent. Instead, it is sufficient to note how similar the right-wing parties of Israel and the U.S. of today are to what was known in 1920s Weimar Germany as the Conservative Revolutionary Movement.
This “movement” did not include the Nazis but instead the Nazis were political competitors with the party which largely represented Conservative Revolutionary ideas: the German National People’s Party (DNVP).
The institution to which the Conservative Revolutionaries saw as best representing German “values,” the Reichswehr, the German Army, was also opposed by the Nazis as “competitors” to Ernst Rohm’s Brownshirts. But the Conservative Revolutionary Movement, the DNVP, and the German Army could all be characterized as “proto-fascist,” if not Fascist. In fact, when the Nazis took over Germany, it was with the support of many of the proto-fascists making up the Conservative Revolutionary Movement, as well as those with the DNVP and the Reichswehr.
Consequently, many of the Reichstag members that Uri Avnery refers to above as listening raptly and jumping up and shouting their approval of “The Leader” were not Nazis. The Nazis had failed to obtain an absolute majority on their own and needed the votes of the “national camp,” primarily the German National People’s Party (DNVP), for a Reichstag majority.
The DNVP members would have been cheering The Leader right alongside Nazi members of the Reichstag. DNVP members also voted along with Nazi members in passing the Enabling Act of 1933, which abolished constitutional liberties and dissolved the Reichstag.
Not enough has been written on the German Conservative Revolutionary Movement , the DNVP and the Reichswehr because they have too often been seen as victims of the Nazis themselves or, at worst, mere precursors.
The DNVP was the political party which best represented the viewpoint of the German Conservative Revolutionary Movement. The Reichswehr itself, as described in The Nemesis of Power by John W. Wheeler-Bennett, has been called a “state within a state,” much like the intelligence and security services of the U.S. and Israel are today, wielding extraordinary powers.
The Reichswehr was militaristic and anti-democratic in its purest form and indeed was “fascist” in the term’s classic definition of “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.” Mussolini merely modeled much of his hyper-militaristic political movement on the martial values of the Reichswehr.
German Army officers even had authority to punish civilians for failing to show “proper respect.” In its essence, the viewpoint of the DNVP and the Conservative Revolutionaries was virtually identical to today’s Republican Party along with those Democrats who align with them on national security issues.
These groups have in common a worshipful attitude toward the military as best embodying those martial virtues that are central to fascism. Sister parties, though they may all prefer to be seen as “brothers in arms,” would be Netanyahu’s “national camp” parties.
German Conservative Revolutionary Movement
The Conservative Revolutionary Movement began within the German Right after World War I with a number of writers advocating a nationalist ideology but one in keeping with modern times and not restricted by traditional Prussian conservatism.
It must be noted that Prussian conservatism, standing for militaristic ideas traditional to Prussia, was the antithesis of traditional American conservatism, which professed to stand for upholding the classical liberal ideas of government embedded in the U.S. Constitution.
Inherent to those U.S. constitutional ideas was antipathy toward militarism and militaristic rule of any sort, though Native Americans have good cause to disagree. (In fact, stories of the American conquest of Native Americans with its solution of placing them on reservations were particularly popular in Germany early in the Twentieth Century including with Adolf Hitler).
Historians have noted that when the German Army went to war in World War I, the soldiers and officers carried with them “a shared sense of German superiority and the imagined bestiality of the enemy.” This was manifested particularly harshly upon the citizens of Belgium in 1914 with the German occupation. Later, after their experience in the trenches, the Reichswehr was nearly as harsh in suppressing domestic dissent in Germany after the war.
According to Richard Wolin, in The Seduction of Unreason, Ernst Troeltsch, a German Protestant theologian, “realized that in the course of World War I the ethos of Germanocentrism, as embodied in the ‘ideas of 1914,’ had assumed a heightened stridency.” Under the peace of the Versailles Treaty, “instead of muting the idiom of German exceptionalism that Troeltsch viewed with such mistrust, it seemed only to fan its flames.”
This belief in German “exceptionalism” was the common belief of German Conservative Revolutionaries, the DNVP and the Reichswehr. For Republicans of today and those who share their ideological belief, substitute “American” for “German” Exceptionalism and you have the identical ideology.
“Exceptionalism” in the sense of a nation can be understood in two ways. One is a belief in the nation’s superiority to others. The other way is the belief that the “exceptional” nation stands above the law, similar to the claim made by dictators in declaring martial law or a state of emergency. The U.S. and Israel exhibit both forms of this belief.
The belief in German Exceptionalism was the starting point, not the ending point, for the Conservative Revolutionaries just as it is with today’s Republicans such as Sen. Tom Cotton or Sen. Lindsey Graham. This Exceptionalist ideology gives the nation the right to interfere in other country’s internal affairs for whatever reason the “exceptional” country deems necessary, such as desiring more living space for their population, fearing the potential of some future security threat, or even just by denying the “exceptional” country access within its borders — or a “denial of access threat” as the U.S. government terms it.
The fundamental ideas of the Conservative Revolutionaries have been described as vehement opposition to the Weimar Republic (identifying it with the lost war and the Versailles Treaty) and political “liberalism” (as opposed to Prussia’s traditional authoritarianism).
This “liberalism,” which offended the Conservative Revolutionaries, was democracy and individual rights against state power. Instead, the Conservative Revolutionaries envisaged a new reich of enormous strength and unity. They rejected the view that political action should be guided by rational criteria. They idealized violence for its own sake.
That idealization of violence would have meant “state” violence in the form of military expansionism and suppression of “enemies,” domestic and foreign, by right-thinking Germans.
The Conservative Revolutionaries called for a “primacy of politics” which was to be “a reassertion of an expansion in foreign policy and repression against the trade unions at home.” This “primacy of politics” for the Conservative Revolutionaries meant the erasure of a distinction between war and politics.
Citing Hannah Arendt, Jeffrey Herf, a professor of modern European history, wrote: “The explicit implications of the primacy of politics in the conservative revolution were totalitarian. From now on there were to be no limits to ideological politics. The utilitarian and humanistic considerations of nineteenth-century liberalism were to be abandoned in order to establish a state of constant dynamism and movement.” That sounds a lot like the “creative destruction” that neoconservative theorist Michael Ledeen is so fond of.
Herf wrote in 1984 that Conservative Revolutionaries were characterized as “the intellectual advance guard of the rightist revolution that was to be effected in 1933,” which, although contemptuous of Hitler, “did much to pave his road to power.”
Unlike the Nazis, their belief in German superiority was based in historical traditions and ideas, not biological racism. Nevertheless, some saw German Jews as the “enemy” of Germany for being “incompatible with a united nation.”
It is one of the bitterest of ironies that Israel as a “Jewish nation” has adopted similar attitudes toward its Arab citizens. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently proclaimed: “Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe.”
Within Israel, these “Conservative Revolutionary” ideas were manifested in one of their founding political parties, Herut, whose founders came out of the same central European political milieu of interwar Europe and from which Netanyahu’s Likud party is descended.
Author Ernst Junger was the most important contributor to the celebration of war by the Conservative Revolutionaries and was an influence and an enabler of the Nazis coming to power. He serialized his celebration of war and his belief in its “redeeming” qualities in a number of popular books with “war porn” titles such as, in English, The Storm of Steel, The Battle as an Inner Experience, and Fire and Blood.
The title of a collection of Junger essays in 1930, Krieg und Krieger (War and the Warriors) captures the spirit of America in the Twenty-first Century as much as it did the German spirit in 1930. While members of the U.S. military once went by terms such as soldier, sailor and marine, now they are routinely generically called “Warriors,” especially by the highest ranks, a term never before used to describe what were once “citizen soldiers.”
Putting a book with a “Warrior” title out on the shelf in a Barnes and Noble would almost guarantee a best-seller, even when competing with all the U.S. SEALS’ reminiscences and American sniper stories. But German philosopher Walter Benjamin understood the meaning of Junger’s Krieg und Krieger, explaining it in the appropriately titled Theories of German Fascism.
Fundamental to Junger’s celebration of war was a metaphysical belief in “totale Mobilmachung” or total mobilization to describe the functioning of a society that fully grasps the meaning of war. With World War I, Junger saw the battlefield as the scene of struggle “for life and death,” pushing all historical and political considerations aside. But he saw in the war the fact that “in it the genius of war permeated the spirit of progress.”
According to Jeffrey Herf in Reactionary Modernism, Junger saw total mobilization as “a worldwide trend toward state-directed mobilization in which individual freedom would be sacrificed to the demands of authoritarian planning.” Welcoming this, Junger believed “that different currents of energy were coalescing into one powerful torrent. The era of total mobilization would bring about an ‘unleashing’ (Entfesselung) of a nevertheless disciplined life.”
In practical terms, Junger’s metaphysical view of war meant that Germany had lost World War I because its economic and technological mobilization had only been partial and not total. He lamented that Germany had been unable to place the “spirit of the age” in the service of nationalism. Consequently, he believed that “bourgeois legality,” which placed restrictions on the powers of the authoritarian state, “must be abolished in order to liberate technological advance.”
Today, total mobilization for the U.S. begins with the Republicans’ budgeting efforts to strip away funding for domestic civilian uses and shifting it to military and intelligence spending. Army veteran, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, exemplifies this belief in “total mobilization” of society with his calls for dramatically increased military spending and his belief that “We must again show the U.S. is willing and prepared to [get into] a war in the first place” by making clear that potential “aggressors will pay an unspeakable price if they challenge the United States.”
That is the true purpose of Twenty-first Century Republican economics: total mobilization of the economy for war. Just as defeated German generals and the Conservative Revolutionaries believed that Germany lost World War I because their economy and nation was only “partially mobilized,” so too did many American Vietnam War-era generals and right-wing politicians believe the same of the Vietnam War. Retired Gen. David Petraeus and today’s neoconservatives have made similar arguments about President Barack Obama’s failure to sustain the Iraq War. [See, for instance, this fawning Washington Post interview with Petraeus.]
What all these militarists failed to understand is that, according to Clausewitz, when a war’s costs exceed its benefits, the sound strategy is to end the costly war. The Germans failed to understand this in World War II and the Soviet Union in their Afghan War.
Paradoxically in the Vietnam War, it was the anti-war movement that enhanced U.S. strength by bringing that wasteful war to an end, not the American militarists who would have continued it to a bitter end of economic collapse. We are now seeing a similar debate about whether to continue and expand U.S. military operations across the Middle East.
While Ernst Junger was the celebrant and the publicist for total mobilization of society for endless war, including the need for authoritarian government, Carl Schmitt was the ideological theoretician, both legally and politically, who helped bring about the totalitarian and militaristic society. Except when it happened, it came under different ownership than what they had hoped and planned for.
Contrary to Schmitt’s latter-day apologists and/or advocates, who include prominent law professors teaching at Harvard and the University of Chicago, his legal writings weren’t about preserving the Weimar Republic against its totalitarian enemies, the Communists and Nazis. Rather, he worked on behalf of a rival fascist faction, members of the German Army General Staff. He acted as a legal adviser to General Kurt von Schleicher, who in turn advised President Paul von Hindenburg, former Chief of the German General Staff during World War I.
German historian Eberhard Kolb observed, “from the mid-1920s onwards the Army leaders had developed and propagated new social conceptions of a militarist kind, tending towards a fusion of the military and civilian sectors and ultimately a totalitarian military state (Wehrstaat).”
When General Schleicher helped bring about the political fall of Reichswehr Commander in Chief, General von Seekt, it was a “triumph of the ‘modern’ faction within the Reichswehr who favored a total war ideology and wanted Germany to become a dictatorship that would wage total war upon the other nations of Europe,” according to Kolb.
When Hitler and the Nazis outmaneuvered the Army politically, Schmitt, as well as most other Conservative Revolutionaries, went over to the Nazis.
Reading Schmitt gives one a greater understanding of the Conservative Revolutionary’s call for a “primacy of politics,” explained previously as “a reassertion of an expansion in foreign policy.”
Schmitt said: “A world in which the possibility of war is utterly eliminated, a completely pacified globe, would be a world without the distinction of friend and enemy and hence a world without politics. It is conceivable that such a world might contain many very interesting antitheses and contrasts, competitions and intrigues of every kind, but there would not be a meaningful antithesis whereby men could be required to sacrifice life, authorized to shed blood, and kill other human beings. For the definition of the political, it is here even irrelevant whether such a world without politics is desirable as an ideal situation.”
As evident in this statement, to Schmitt, the norm isn’t peace, nor is peace even desirable, but rather perpetual war is the natural and preferable condition.
This dream of a Martial State is not isolated to German history. A Republican aligned neoconservative, Thomas Sowell, expressed the same longing in 2007 in a National Review article, “Don’t Get Weak.” Sowell wrote; “When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.”
Leo Strauss, Conservative Revolutionaries and Republicans
Political philosopher Leo Strauss had yearned for the glorious German Conservative Revolution but was despondent when it took the form of the Nazi Third Reich, from which he was excluded because he was Jewish regardless of his fascist ideology.
He wrote to a German Jewish friend, Karl Loewith: “the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l’homme [inalienable rights of man] to protest against the shabby abomination.”
Strauss was in agreement politically with Schmitt, and they were close friends.
Professor Alan Gilbert of Denver University has written: “As a Jew, Strauss was forbidden from following Schmitt and [German philosopher Martin] Heidegger into the Nazi party. ‘But he was a man of the Right. Like some other Zionists, those who admired Mussolini for instance, Strauss’ principles, as the 1933 letter relates, were ‘fascist, authoritarian, imperial.’”
Strauss was intelligent enough when he arrived in the U.S. to disguise and channel his fascist thought by going back to like-minded “ancient” philosophers and thereby presenting fascism as part of our “western heritage,” just as the current neocon classicist Victor Davis Hanson does.
Needless to say, fascism is built on the belief in a dictator, as was Sparta and the Roman Empire and as propounded by Socrates and Plato, so turning to the thought of ancient philosophers and historians makes a good “cover” for fascist thought.
Leo Strauss must be seen as the Godfather of the modern Republican Party’s political ideology. His legacy continues now through the innumerable “Neoconservative Revolutionary” front groups with cover names frequently invoking “democracy” or “security,” such as Sen. Lindsey Graham’s “Security Through Strength.”
Typifying the Straussian neoconservative revolutionary whose hunger for military aggression can never be satiated would be former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame and practitioner of the “big lie,” who returned to government under President George W. Bush to push the Iraq War and is currently promoting a U.S. war against Iran.
In a classic example of “projection,” Abrams writes that “Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world.” That can as truthfully be said of his own Neoconservative Revolutionary ideology and its adherents.
That ideology explains Bill Kristol’s crowing over Netanyahu’s victory and claiming Netanyahu as the Republicans’ de facto leader. For years, the U.S. and Israel under Netanyahu have had nearly identical foreign policy approaches though they are at the moment in some disagreement because President Obama has resisted war with Iran while Netanyahu is essentially demanding it.
But at a deeper level the two countries share a common outlook, calling for continuous military interventionism outside each country’s borders with increased exercise of authority by the military and other security services within their borders. This is no accident. It can be traced back to joint right-wing extremist efforts in both countries with American neoconservatives playing key roles.
The best example of this joint effort was when U.S. neocons joined with the right-wing, Likud-connected Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in 1996 to publish their joint plan for continuous military interventionism in the Mideast in “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which envisioned “regime change” instead of negotiations. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How Israel Outfoxed U.S. Presidents.”]
While ostensibly written for Netanyahu’s political campaign, “A Clean Break” became the blueprint for subsequent war policies advocated by the Project for the New American Century, founded by neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan. The chief contribution of the American neocons in this strategy was to marshal U.S. military resources to do the heavy lifting in attacking Israel’s neighbors beginning with Iraq.
With these policy preferences goes a belief inside each country’s political parties, across the spectrum but particularly on the Right, that Israel and the United States each stand apart from all other nations as “Exceptional.” This is continuously repeated to ensure imprinting it in the population’s consciousness in the tradition of fascist states through history.
It is believed today in both the U.S. and Israel, just as the German Conservative Revolutionaries believed it in the 1920s and 1930s of their homeland, Germany, and then carried on by the Nazis until 1945.
Israeli Herut Party
The Knesset website describes the original Herut party (1948-1988) as the main opposition party (against the early domination by the Labor Party). Herut was the most right-wing party in the years before the Likud party came into being and absorbed Herut into a coalition. Its expansionist slogan was “To the banks to the Jordan River” and it refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Kingdom of Jordan. Economically, Herut supported private enterprise and a reduction of government intervention.
In “A Clean Break,” the authors were advising Netanyahu to reclaim the belligerent and expansionist principles of the Herut party.
Herut was founded in 1948 by Menachem Begin, the leader of the right-wing militant group Irgun, which was widely regarded as a terrorist organization responsible for killing Palestinians and cleansing them from land claimed by Israel, including the infamous Deir Yassin massacre.
Herut’s nature as a party and movement was best explained in a critical letter to the New York Times on Dec. 4, 1948, signed by over two dozen prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt.
The letter read: “Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the ‘Freedom Party’ (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.
“It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. (…) It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents. …
“Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.”
According to author Joseph Heller, Herut was a one-issue party intent on expanding Israel’s borders. That Netanyahu has never set aside Herut’s ideology can be gleaned from his book last revised in 2000, A Durable Peace. There, Netanyahu praises Herut’s predecessors – the Irgun paramilitary and Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, a self-declared “terrorist” group. He also marginalizes their Israeli adversary of the time, the Hagana under Israel’s primary founder and first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
Regardless of methods used, the Stern Gang was indisputably “fascist,” even receiving military training from Fascist Italy. One does not need to speculate as to its ideological influences.
According to Colin Shindler, writing in Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right, “Stern devotedly believed that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ so he approached Nazi Germany. With German armies at the gates of Palestine, he offered co-operation and an alliance with a new totalitarian Hebrew republic.”
Netanyahu in his recent election campaign would seem to have re-embraced his fascist origins, both with its racism and his declaration that as long as he was prime minister he would block a Palestinian state and would continue building Jewish settlements on what international law recognizes as Palestinian land.
In other words, maintaining a state of war on the Palestinian people with a military occupation and governing by military rule, while continuing to make further territorial gains with the IDF acting as shock troops for the settlers.
Why Does This Matter?
Sun-Tzu famously wrote “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
When we allow our “Conservative Revolutionaries” (or neoconservative militarists or proto-fascists or whatever term best describes them) to make foreign policy, the United States loses legitimacy in the world as a “rule of law” state. Instead, we present a “fascist” justification for our wars which is blatantly illicit.
As the American political establishment has become so enamored with war and the “warriors” who fight them, it has become child’s play for our militarists to manipulate the U.S. into wars or foreign aggression through promiscuous economic sanctions or inciting and arming foreign groups to destabilize the countries that we target.
No better example for this can be shown than the role that America’s First Family of Militarism, the Kagans, plays in pushing total war mobilization of the U.S. economy and inciting war, at the expense of civilian and domestic needs, as Robert Parry wrote.
This can be seen with Robert Kagan invoking the martial virtue of “courage” in demanding greater military spending by our elected officials and a greater wealth transfer to the Military Industrial Complex which funds the various war advocacy projects that he and his family are involved with.
Kagan recently wrote: “Those who propose to lead the United States in the coming years, Republicans and Democrats, need to show what kind of political courage they have, right now, when the crucial budget decisions are being made.”
But as Parry pointed out, showing “courage,” “in Kagan’s view – is to ladle ever more billions into the Military-Industrial Complex, thus putting money where the Republican mouths are regarding the need to ‘defend Ukraine’ and resist ‘a bad nuclear deal with Iran.’” But Parry noted that if it weren’t for Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, Kagan’s spouse, the Ukraine crisis might not exist.
What must certainly be seen as neo-fascist under any system of government but especially under a nominal “constitutional republic” as the U.S. claims to be, is Sen. Lindsey Graham’s threat that the first thing he would do if elected President of the United States would be to use the military to detain members of Congress, keeping them in session in Washington, until all so-called “defense cuts” are restored to the budget.
In Graham’s words, “I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts.”
And he would have that power according to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s “unitary executivetheory” of Presidential power, originally formulated by Carl Schmitt and adopted by Republican attorneys and incorporated into government under the Bush-Cheney administration. Sen. Tom Cotton and other Republicans would no doubt support such an abuse of power if it meant increasing military spending.
But even more dangerous for the U.S. as well as other nations in the world is that one day, our militarists’ constant incitement and provocation to war is going to “payoff,” and the U.S. will be in a real war with an enemy with nuclear weapons, like the one Victoria Nuland is creating on Russia’s border.
Today’s American “Conservative Revolutionary” lust for war was summed up by prominent neoconservative Richard Perle, a co-author of “A Clean Break.” Echoing the views on war from Ernst Junger and Carl Schmitt, Perle once explained U.S. strategy in the neoconservative view, according to John Pilger:
“There will be no stages,” he said. “This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there . . . If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now.”
That goal was the same fantasy professed by German Conservative Revolutionaries and it led directly to a wartime defeat never imagined by Germany before, with all the “collateral damage” along the way that always results from “total war.”
Rather than continuing with this “strategy,” driven by our own modern Conservative Revolutionaries and entailing the eventual bankrupting or destruction of the nation, it might be more prudent for Americans to demand that we go back to the original national security strategy of the United States, as expressed by early presidents as avoiding “foreign entanglements” and start abiding by the republican goals expressed by the Preamble to the Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”