Nov 24, 2008

Discussion on, A Call: Build Popular Power Bloc at Obama Inauguration

this is taken from the Kasama site. the posting of the "Call" and discussion is not an endorsement of the Call. This is being posted in the spirit of discussing analysis and approaches of activity under the emerging Obama era. 3 excerpts. The first, from the actual call:

"Perhaps, as people working to build a world from below without electoralism or statecraft, we also need to listen on January 20. It is neither the time nor the place to critique hope or excitement on the part of people who have engaged in grassroots struggles in so many ways and won a substantial victory. The inauguration marks a watershed event in the often cruel history of these United States, and the whole world will be watching, hoping that we’ve done just a little to grapple with the legacy of slavery, lynching, segregation, displacement, and racism in general, both of the personal and institutional varieties.

There’ll be a true rainbow coalition on the streets of DC, made up of exactly those people who the libertarian Left has always aligned itself with and always should: those who are not radicals but who have been exploited, oppressed, and relegated to powerlessness. So instead of breaking things, if we’re serious about building visionary social movements, doing meaningful anti-racism work, and honoring those who have resisted and dreamed before us, we should break bread with those millions globally who will feel moved by Obama’s inauguration—many of whom were also moved enough to participate politically (well beyond voting) for the first time in this election."

The second from Chuck Morse:

"To set the context, the anarchist movement is diverse, heterogeneous, and politically divided between social democrats drawn to anarchism because they see protests as an effective means of influencing social policy (as a form of lobbying) and revolutionaries seeking to reconstruct economic, political, and social relationships along egalitarian lines. The conflicts between these two wings rarely occur openly: indeed, the differences are mostly fought by proxy, especially in debates over vocabulary and symbolism (remember the endless kilobytes spilled over the relative merits of “diversity of tactics”?).

As I see it, this call is a quite transparent attempt to strengthen the social democratic tendency within the movement by leading anarchists to passively participate in the inauguration–which is a major symbolic event in the constitution and reproduction of the American nation-state–and to celebrate Obama’s assumption of power. The Call puts this pretty clearly: the purpose is to join in the “celebratory spirit of the day . . . rather than protest.

And how could anarchists possibly take this stand?"

The last from Mike Ely who administers Kasama:

"We need to “divide things in two” about Obama: the fact that a Black man can become president does mean that some thing have changes, profoundly, through struggle over the last hundred years. It would have been unthinkable to have a Black president — for many people even a year ago! And people can celebrate that change (in consciousness, in civil society, in the objective norms)…. and they will. But there are class differences in that celebration: because for some more educated and bourgeois sections of the people this means a further removal of “glass ceilings” — while for those at the bottom it does not touch most of the most difficult oppressions they face. (I.e. there is still a border, there are still no jobs, there are still the murderous police, there is still the U.S. cruise missiles landing in villages etc.)

So while there is celebration of the progress over a century, it is quite another matter to have (or promote!) illusions about the policies and nature of this new government — all the talk of hope and change really goes over into dangerous territory.

And this is especially true when we look at everything (as we must) from the point of view of the planet, from humanity as a whole. And in that regard, i am struck by how little this Call has any sense of a SYSTEM dominating the world that is brutally oppression literally BILLIONS of people (grinding their lives and hopes to dust). Where is the imperialism of the US? The empire? the profound inequalities between nations, enforced by the global military?

Isn’t that a vision we need to bring to the fore: rather than a focus on a highly selective and perhaps-misunderstood presentation of “peoples history”?"

read the whole discussion

Nov 23, 2008

Expose 'Em, Out 'Em: Portland, Oregon Nazis on display

Posted on Portland Indymedia:

Rose City Antifa is pleased to bring you this album containing photos of local members of Volksfront, the most significant neo-Nazi organization in our state. The vast majority of these photos are from 2008 events in Oregon which occurred after the release of Volksfront prospect "Red" (AKA "Big Red") from prison.

Those who have been following the Volksfront organization will see plenty of familiar faces in this collection. It should be noted that Randal and Abbie Krager?pictured in many of these photos?no longer seem to live in Portland. Our deep condolences go out to the state of Florida, especially those people living near Lakeland...

We encourage anyone with additional information about the individuals pictured here to contact us directly. Our voicemail number is (971) 533 7832. You may also email fight_them_back@

Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:

Woman slain as she tried to leave KKK ceremony

This photo provided by St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office shows Raymond Foster, the head of a Ku Klux Klan chapter from Bogalusa, La. Foster was booked into St. Tammany Parish jail in Covington, La., with second-degree murder charges in the death of a woman in rural St. Tammany Parish on Monday after she tried to back out of a KKK initiation ritual.

(AP Photo/St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office)

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writer – Wed Nov 12, 9:17 am ET

NEW ORLEANS, La. – An Oklahoma woman who was lured over the Internet to take part in a Ku Klux Klan initiation was shot and killed after the

ritual went awry, and the group tried to cover it up by dumping her body on a rural roadside and setting her belongings aflame, authorities said.

But the plan failed: By Tuesday, a local Klan leader sat in jail on a second-degree murder charge, and seven others were charged with trying to help conceal the crime.

"The IQ level of this group is not impressive, to be kind," St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain said Tuesday.

The woman, whose identity was not released, was supposed to be initiated near the village of Sun, La. and then return to her home state to find other members for the white supremacist group, Strain said. It wasn't clear what rites awaited her at the campsite, but authorities believe the initiation had begun by the time the shooting happened. Strain said the group's leader, Raymond "Chuck" Foster, 44, shot and killed her Sunday night after a fight broke out when she asked to be taken back to town.

Foster was charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bond. Capt. George Bonnett, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said he doesn't know if Foster has an attorney. Seven others — five men and two women ages 20 to 30 — were charged with obstruction of justice and were held on $500,000 bond at the St. Tammany Parish jail. All eight of the suspects live in neighboring Washington Parish, but Bonnett said he couldn't immediately identify their hometowns.

Authorities said some of the suspects tried to destroy evidence by burning the woman's belongings along with other items. At the campsite, investigators found weapons, several flags and six Klan robes, some emblazoned with patches reading "KKK LIFE MEMBER" or "KKK SECURITY Enforcement."

Strain said the woman arrived in the Slidell, La., area last week and was met by two people connected to the Klan group and taken to the campsite on the banks of the Pearl River, about 60 miles north of New Orleans.

"We haven't completely sorted out if they finished the initiation," Bonnett said, adding he wasn't aware of any other KKK-related cases during his three years with the department. "I assume that they had started it, but I don't know if they were finished." Authorities said the group's members called themselves the "Dixie Brotherhood." Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League, said the Dixie Brotherhood appears to be a small, loosely organized group of people.

"This is not what I would call an established Klan group," he said. "The Klan has a pretty high association with violence. Some of these guys are just crooks, sociopaths."

But the sheriff said the public shouldn't feel endangered.

"I can't imagine anyone feeling endangered or at risk by any one of these kooks," Strain said.

Leaked BNP Member List Map

from Ben Charlton's website,

As various news organisations have been reporting, the membership list for the British National Party has been leaked online. It seems a court injunction kept this quiet for some time, but the list has well and truly escaped - currently hosted on bittorrent and the wikileaks site.

To all those who have been emailing me abuse since I took down the map: Let me make it absolutely clear. My map did not reveal the details or specific location of any BNP member, it merely gave an approximate location based on postcode to give an idea of how many BNP supporters live in your area.

read more

Fallout from published BNP membership list

Radio DJ Rod Lucas axed after appearing on BNP membership list

A male police officer in Merseyside and a radio DJ are the first alleged BNP members to face consequences after the far-right party's full membership list was leaked online.

TalkSport radio said this morning that it had "no plans to use" chat show presenter Rod Lucas, who covered late-night shifts for the station this year, after he was listed among more than 12,000 BNP supporters on an internet blog posted on Sunday night.

read more

Entire BNP membership list goes online

from, Lancaster Unity:

November 18, 2008

Before reading this, you should appreciate that there are very strict limitations on what we are allowed to print and we intend to stay strictly within the law in the comments that we allow.

Having said all that, this breach of data security is startlingly bad for the BNP, not simply for the fact that the party has lost data - almost everyone seems to have managed to do that recently - but for the nature of that information.

Not only does the data, now available online, include the entire membership list with full names (and former names where there have been changes for any reason), addresses, contact numbers, email addresses and in many cases the member's age, particularly where those members are under eighteen. Yes, that's right. This list includes members as young as fourteen, male and female. Where a family membership is bought and paid for, the whole family is listed.

As if this isn't bad enough, the notes that are attached to many of the entries leave a lot of the members open to difficulties in their jobs, some of them being in the armed forces or the police and the BNP too - an illegal combination, and where not illegal, frequently frowned upon. Other members are noted as construction managers, receptionists, district nurses, lay preachers, police officers, company directors and teachers among many others.

Like this wasn't enough, the BNP has also listed hobbies or interests where for some reason they are deemed relevant. Thus we have short-wave radio hams, amateur historians, pagans, line-dancers and even a witch (male).

The contributors to nazi sites, many of whom are also members of the BNP, are suddenly in a frenzy, expecting to be outed at any moment. Here's just one comment from the North-West Nationalist blog:
'I've just had a call, I'm on it to. I want my fucking member money back, like has been mentioned here, I could lose my fucking job. I'm bloody angry.'
Not surprising really. I'd be pretty pissed off too.

Curiously, there are quite a number of BNP members abroad, presumably ex-pats or those working abroad temporarily - Australia, the USA, United Arab Emirates, Sao Paulo, Spain and the Netherlands were some that I noticed. Isn't the BNP opposed to foreign workers? I'm sure it was last time I looked.

One final thing (for the moment, because I'm sure this one will run and run): the list appears to include the December rebels. At first, I took this to mean that the membership list was a year out of date but after a good look through, it's become clear that by keeping a running list (as opposed to a clean list each membership year) the party is able to claim a much larger membership than it in fact has. Some of the additions to the list are as recent as September of this year, indicating that some of the members listed - though how many is anyone's guess - are not in fact members at all. The implication is pretty clear (to me, at least) - BNP members are being defrauded when they have been told that the membership is growing exponentially. Take off all the dead members, those who have resigned (many still listed along with their reasons for leaving) and the most recent batch of rebels and the size drops considerably.

It's been suggested that the party's former treasurer John Walker is responsible for posting the list up publicly. We wouldn't know but by doing so, the poster has stuck a stick of dynamite under Griffin's rear end. The consequences and the repercussions may be interesting to watch.

Just as a complete aside, I should point out that we do not have a copy of this list, nor do we want one. The information we had was obtained online and appears suddenly to have been removed, at least for the moment...

Defend Polish Antifascists

from a friend of antifascist list. -CAlexander

OK, the text below is written in a rather soft, legalistic way because it's also meant for the mainstream. The situation is that most of the seasoned anarchist activists managed to avoid getting IDed, but a lot of young kids who read about the action in the paper or on the internet were IDed and are being called in to the police. They're trying to get them to talk, to admit to being guilty, to take big fines... So we are making a campaign. The more international e-mails and letters sent, the better. The part underneath the stars may be reposted anywhere.

No Repression for Standing up to Fascism!

Once again, the Polish state protects fascists and antisemites.

On November 11, the far-right antisemitic group ONR (Radical National Camp) held a march in Warsaw. The group is known for violent attacks on homosexuals, extreme nationalism and antisemitism.

ONR organized protests during the "March of the Living", an annual march where Jewish teens (and others) from all over the world go to the Auschwitz death camp. During their protest, some of the people held signs that said "Heil Hitler" or had other nazi and antisemitic slogans. It also organizes annual commemorations of a pogrom in Myslenice. Various formal organizations, including political parties, religious associations and the like have appealed to the authorities on numerous occasions to uphold the laws forbidding the public propagation of fascism and antisemitism but this is usually to no avail.

Often the marches of ONR lead to counterdemonstrations but these are normally accompanied by strong police measures against the counterdemonstrators. ONR has also adopted the tactic of not disclosing the real location of their marches much in advance, which would make it difficult for people inclined to register a legal demonstration to do so. In addition, the police do not usually allow counterdemonstrations in the same place.

This year a counterdemonstration could not be organized and instead a group of people decided to conduct a civil disobedience by vowing to stand in the street in front of the march and not let them pass. The action was nonviolent in nature. Many people not involved in any political movement before came to the action.

The people were surrounded by police and released much later. Many passerbys who were not part of it got caught in the police cordon. Other pedestrians spontaneously joined the antifascists.

Despite the fact that ONR is a hideous criminal organization, it is those who have stood up to the spread of fascism and antisemitism, who have decided to publically manifest their disapproval who are likely to be criminalized. Several young people have been summoned to police stations and, after refusing to testify, were threatened with court cases if they did not agree to accept fines.

The fines are quite high - several times higher than usual for such a misdemeanour. It is clear what tactics the police and using and why.Clearly the police are trying to intimidate and come down hard on young protestors, some of whom have never been to a demo before.

We are calling on people to send a letter to the Interior Ministry and the President of Warsaw asking them not to repress the antifascists for their action of conscience.

A sample letter is attached below, but please add something from yourself and modify them so that not all the letters are the same!

People who have sent letters by mail or fax are asked to send copies to:

Anarchist Solidarity group is also preparing help with legal aid. People wishing to make contributions should contact them to obtain bank details: or

November 11 Solidarity Group


to: Grzegorz Schetyna
Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration
Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji
ul. Stefana Batorego 5, 02-591 Warszawa
fax (0-22) 845-00-20
to: Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz

President of Warsaw

Urząd Warszawy

pl. Bankowy 3/5,00-950 Warszawa

Fax: 022 595 30 52


We are writing to express our concern over the increase in fascist and antisemitic marches in Poland. We believe it is the duty of citizens to protest against the spread of far-right extremism and hate. On November 11 in Warsaw, people took and stand against fascism and antisemitism and they may now face heavy fines or have court cases. The state should not help fascism and try to punish those who resist. We ask that there be no punishment for the antifascists.


Ruling Class thinking Pt.2

Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World

November 20, 2008

The international system—as constructed following the Second World War—will be almost unrecognizable by 2025 owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalizing economy, an historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from West to East, and the growing influence of nonstate actors. By 2025, the international system will be a global multipolar one with gaps in national power continuing to narrow between developed and developing countries. Concurrent with the shift in power among nation-states, the relative power of various nonstate actors—including businesses, tribes, religious organizations, and criminal networks—is increasing. The players are changing, but so too are the scope and breadth of transnational issues important for continued global prosperity. Potentially slowing global economic growth; aging populations in the developed world; growing energy, food, and water constraints; and worries about climate change will limit and diminish what will still be an historically unprecedented age of prosperity.

Executive Summary

Historically, emerging multipolar systems have been more unstable than bipolar or unipolar ones. Despite the recent financial volatility—which could end up accelerating many ongoing trends—we do not believe that we are headed towards a complete breakdown of the international system—as occurred in 1914-1918 when an earlier phase of globalization came to a halt. But, the next 20 years of transition to a new system are fraught with risks. Strategic rivalries are most likely to revolve around trade, investments, and technological innovation and acquisition, but we cannot rule out a 19th century-like scenario of arms races, territorial expansion, and military rivalries.

This is a story with no clear outcome, as illustrated by a series of vignettes we use to map out divergent futures. Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor, the United States’ relative strength—even in the military realm—will decline and US leverage will become more constrained. At the same time, the extent to which other actors—both state and nonstate—will be willing or able to shoulder increased burdens is unclear. Policymakers and publics will have to cope with a growing demand for multilateral cooperation when the international system will be stressed by the incomplete transition from the old to a still forming new order.

Economic Growth Fueling Rise of Emerging Players
In terms of size, speed, and directional flow, the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way—roughly from West to East—is without precedent in modern history. This shift derives from two sources. First, increases in oil and commodity prices have generated windfall profits for the Gulf States and Russia. Second, lower costs combined with government policies have shifted the locus of manufacturing and some service industries to Asia.

Growth projections for Brazil, Russia, India, and China indicate they will collectively match the original G-7’s share of global GDP by 2040-2050. China is poised to have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country. If current trends persist, by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading military power. It also could be the largest importer of natural resources and the biggest polluter. India probably will continue to enjoy relatively rapid economic growth and will strive for a multipolar world in which New Delhi is one of the poles. China and India must decide the extent to which they are willing and capable of playing increasing global roles and how each will relate to the other. Russia has the potential to be richer, more powerful, and more self-assured in 2025. If it invests in human capital, expands and diversifies its economy, and integrates with global markets, by 2025 Russia could boast a GDP approaching that of the UK and France. On the other hand, Russia could experience a significant decline if it fails to take these steps and oil and gas prices remain in the $50-70 per barrel range. No other countries are projected to rise to the level of China, India, or Russia, and none is likely to match their individual global clout. We expect, however, to see the political and economic power of other countries—such as Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey—increase.

For the most part, China, India, and Russia are not following the Western liberal model for self-development but instead are using a different model, “state capitalism.” State capitalism is a loose term used to describe a system of economic management that gives a prominent role to the state. Other rising powers—South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore—also used state capitalism to develop their economies. However, the impact of China following this path is potentially much greater owing to its size and approach to “democratization.” Nevertheless, we remain optimistic about the long-term prospects for greater democratization, even though advances are likely to be slow and globalization is subjecting many recently democratized countries to increasing social and economic pressures with the potential to undermine liberal institutions.

Many other countries will fall further behind economically. Sub-Saharan Africa will remain the region most vulnerable to economic disruption, population stresses, civil conflict, and political instability. Despite increased global demand for commodities for which Sub-Saharan Africa will be a major supplier, local populations are unlikely to experience significant economic gain. Windfall profits arising from sustained increases in commodity prices might further entrench corrupt or otherwise ill-equipped governments in several regions, diminishing the prospects for democratic and market-based reforms. Although many of Latin America’s major countries will have become middle income powers by 2025, others, particularly those such as Venezuela and Bolivia which have embraced populist policies for a protracted period, will lag behind—and some, such as Haiti, will have become even poorer and less governable. Overall, Latin America will continue to lag behind Asia and other fast-growing areas in terms of economic competitiveness.

Asia, Africa, and Latin America will account for virtually all population growth over the next 20 years; less than 3 percent of the growth will occur in the West. Europe and Japan will continue to far outdistance the emerging powers of China and India in per capita wealth, but they will struggle to maintain robust growth rates because the size of their working-age populations will decrease. The US will be a partial exception to the aging of populations in the developed world because it will experience higher birth rates and more immigration. The number of migrants seeking to move from disadvantaged to relatively privileged countries is likely to increase.

The number of countries with youthful age structures in the current “arc of instability” is projected to decline by as much as 40 percent. Three of every four youth-bulge countries that remain will be located in Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly all of the remainder will be located in the core of the Middle East, scattered through southern and central Asia, and in the Pacific Islands.

New Transnational Agenda
Resource issues will gain prominence on the international agenda. Unprecedented global economic growth—positive in so many other regards—will continue to put pressure on a number of highly strategic resources, including energy, food, and water, and demand is projected to outstrip easily available supplies over the next decade or so. For example, non-OPEC liquid hydrocarbon production—crude oil, natural gas liquids, and unconventionals such as tar sands—will not grow commensurate with demand. Oil and gas production of many traditional energy producers already is declining. Elsewhere—in China, India, and Mexico—production has flattened. Countries capable of significantly expanding production will dwindle; oil and gas production will be concentrated in unstable areas. As a result of this and other factors, the world will be in the midst of a fundamental energy transition away from oil toward natural gas and coal and other alternatives.

The World Bank estimates that demand for food will rise by 50 percent by 2030, as a result of growing world population, rising affluence, and the shift to Western dietary preferences by a larger middle class. Lack of access to stable supplies of water is reaching critical proportions, particularly for agricultural purposes, and the problem will worsen because of rapid urbanization worldwide and the roughly 1.2 billion persons to be added over the next 20 years. Today, experts consider 21 countries, with a combined population of about 600 million, to be either cropland or freshwater scarce. Owing to continuing population growth, 36 countries, with about 1.4 billion people, are projected to fall into this category by 2025.

Climate change is expected to exacerbate resource scarcities. Although the impact of climate change will vary by region, a number of regions will begin to suffer harmful effects, particularly water scarcity and loss of agricultural production. Regional differences in agricultural production are likely to become more pronounced over time with declines disproportionately concentrated in developing countries, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural losses are expected to mount over time with substantial impacts forecast by most economists by late this century. For many developing countries, decreased agricultural output will be devastating because agriculture accounts for a large share of their economies and many of their citizens live close to subsistence levels.

New technologies could again provide solutions, such as viable alternatives to fossil fuels or means to overcome food and water constraints. However, all current technologies are inadequate for replacing the traditional energy architecture on the scale needed, and new energy technologies probably will not be commercially viable and widespread by 2025. The pace of technological innovation will be key. Even with a favorable policy and funding environment for biofuels, clean coal, or hydrogen, the transition to new fuels will be slow. Major technologies historically have had an “adoption lag.” In the energy sector, a recent study found that it takes an average of 25 years for a new production technology to become widely adopted.

Despite what are seen as long odds now, we cannot rule out the possibility of an energy transition by 2025 that would avoid the costs of an energy infrastructure overhaul. The greatest possibility for a relatively quick and inexpensive transition during the period comes from better renewable generation sources (photovoltaic and wind) and improvements in battery technology. With many of these technologies, the infrastructure cost hurdle for individual projects would be lower, enabling many small economic actors to develop their own energy transformation projects that directly serve their interests—e.g., stationary fuel cells powering homes and offices, recharging plug-in hybrid autos, and selling energy back to the grid. Also, energy conversion schemes—such as plans to generate hydrogen for automotive fuel cells from electricity in the homeowner’s garage—could avoid the need to develop complex hydrogen transportation infrastructure.

Prospects for Terrorism, Conflict, and Proliferation
Terrorism, proliferation, and conflict will remain key concerns even as resource issues move up on the international agenda. Islamic terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025, but its appeal could diminish if economic growth continues and youth unemployment is mitigated in the Middle East. Economic opportunities for youth and greater political pluralism probably would dissuade some from joining terrorists’ ranks, but others—motivated by a variety of factors, such as a desire for revenge or to become “martyrs”—will continue to turn to violence to pursue their objectives.

In the absence of employment opportunities and legal means for political expression, conditions will be ripe for disaffection, growing radicalism, and possible recruitment of youths into terrorist groups. Terrorist groups in 2025 will likely be a combination of descendants of long-established groups—that inherit organizational structures, command and control processes, and training procedures necessary to conduct sophisticated attacks—and newly emergent collections of the angry and disenfranchised that become self-radicalized. For those terrorist groups that are active in 2025, the diffusion of technologies and scientific knowledge will place some of the world’s most dangerous capabilities within their reach. One of our greatest concerns continues to be that terrorist or other malevolent groups might acquire and employ biological agents, or less likely, a nuclear device, to create mass casualties.

Although Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is not inevitable, other countries’ worries about a nuclear-armed Iran could lead states in the region to develop new security arrangements with external powers, acquire additional weapons, and consider pursuing their own nuclear ambitions. It is not clear that the type of stable deterrent relationship that existed between the great powers for most of the Cold War would emerge naturally in the Middle East with a nuclear-weapons capable Iran. Episodes of low-intensity conflict taking place under a nuclear umbrella could lead to an unintended escalation and broader conflict if clear red lines between those states involved are not well established.

We believe ideological conflicts akin to the Cold War are unlikely to take root in a world in which most states will be preoccupied with the pragmatic challenges of globalization and shifting global power alignments. The force of ideology is likely to be strongest in the Muslim world—particularly the Arab core. In those countries that are likely to struggle with youth bulges and weak economic underpinnings—such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Yemen—the radical Salafi trend of Islam is likely to gain traction.

Types of conflict we have not seen for awhile—such as over resources—could reemerge. Perceptions of energy scarcity will drive countries to take actions to assure their future access to energy supplies. In the worst case, this could result in interstate conflicts if government leaders deem assured access to energy resources, for example, to be essential for maintaining domestic stability and the survival of their regimes. However, even actions short of war will have important geopolitical consequences. Maritime security concerns are providing a rationale for naval buildups and modernization efforts, such as China’s and India’s development of blue-water naval capabilities. The buildup of regional naval capabilities could lead to increased tensions, rivalries, and counterbalancing moves but it also will create opportunities for multinational cooperation in protecting critical sea lanes. With water becoming more scarce in Asia and the Middle East, cooperation to manage changing water resources is likely to become more difficult within and between states.

The risk of nuclear weapon use over the next 20 years, although remaining very low, is likely to be greater than it is today as a result of several converging trends. The spread of nuclear technologies and expertise is generating concerns about the potential emergence of new nuclear weapon states and the acquisition of nuclear materials by terrorist groups. Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the specter that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers. The possibility of a future disruptive regime change or collapse occurring in a nuclear weapon state such as North Korea also continues to raise questions regarding the ability of weak states to control and secure their nuclear arsenals.

If nuclear weapons are used in the next 15-20 years, the international system will be shocked as it experiences immediate humanitarian, economic, and political-military repercussions. A future use of nuclear weapons probably would bring about significant geopolitical changes as some states would seek to establish or reinforce security alliances with existing nuclear powers and others would push for global nuclear disarmament.

A More Complex International System
The trend toward greater diffusion of authority and power that has been occurring for a couple decades is likely to accelerate because of the emergence of new global players, the worsening institutional deficit, potential expansion of regional blocs, and enhanced strength of nonstate actors and networks. The multiplicity of actors on the international scene could add strength—in terms of filling gaps left by aging post-World War II institutions—or further fragment the international system and incapacitate international cooperation. The diversity in type of actor raises the likelihood of fragmentation occurring over the next two decades, particularly given the wide array of transnational challenges facing the international community.

The rising BRIC powers are unlikely to challenge the international system as did Germany and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries, but because of their growing geopolitical and economic clout, they will have a high degree of freedom to customize their political and economic policies rather than fully adopting Western norms. They also are likely to want to preserve their policy freedom to maneuver, allowing others to carry the primary burden for dealing with such issues as terrorism, climate change, proliferation, and energy security.

Existing multilateral institutions—which are large and cumbersome and were designed for a different geopolitical order—appear unlikely to have the capacity to adapt quickly to undertake new missions, accommodate changing memberships, and augment their resources.

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—concentrating on specific issues—increasingly will be a part of the landscape, but NGO networks are likely to be limited in their ability to effect change in the absence of concerted efforts by multilateral institutions or governments. Efforts at greater inclusiveness—to reflect the emergence of the newer powers—may make it harder for international organizations to tackle transnational challenges. Respect for the dissenting views of member nations will continue to shape the agenda of organizations and limit the kinds of solutions that can be attempted.

Greater Asian regionalism—possible by 2025—would have global implications, sparking or reinforcing a trend toward three trade and financial clusters that could become quasi-blocs: North America, Europe, and East Asia. Establishment of such quasi-blocs would have implications for the ability to achieve future global World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. Regional clusters could compete in setting trans-regional product standards for information technology, biotech, nanotech, intellectual property rights, and other aspects of the “new economy.” On the other hand, an absence of regional cooperation in Asia could help spur competition among China, India, and Japan over resources such as energy.

Intrinsic to the growing complexity of the overlapping roles of state, institutions, and nonstate actors is the proliferation of political identities, which is leading to establishment of new networks and rediscovered communities. No one political identity is likely to be dominant in most societies by 2025. Religion-based networks may be quintessential issue networks and overall may play a more powerful role on many transnational issues such as the environment and inequalities than secular groupings.

The United States: Less Dominant Power
By 2025 the US will find itself as one of a number of important actors, albeit still the most powerful one, on the world stage. Even in the military realm, where the US will continue to possess considerable advantages in 2025, advances by others in science and technology, expanded adoption of irregular warfare tactics by both state and nonstate actors, proliferation of long-range precision weapons, and growing use of cyber warfare attacks increasingly will constrict US freedom of action. A more constrained US role has implications for others and the likelihood of new agenda issues being tackled effectively. Despite the recent rise in anti-Americanism, the US probably will continue to be seen as a much-needed regional balancer in the Middle East and Asia. The US will continue to be expected to play a significant role in using its military power to counter global terrorism. On newer security issues like climate change, US leadership will widely perceived as critical to leveraging competing and divisive views to find solutions. At the same time, the multiplicity of influential actors and distrust of vast power means less room for the US to call the shots without the support of strong partnerships. Developments in the rest of the world, including internal developments in a number of key states—particularly China and Russia—are also likely to be crucial determinants of US policy.

2025—What Kind of Future?
The above trends suggest major discontinuities, shocks, and surprises, which we highlight throughout the text. Examples include nuclear weapons use or a pandemic. In some cases, the surprise element is only a matter of timing: an energy transition, for example is inevitable; the only questions are when and how abruptly or smoothly such a transition occurs. An energy transition from one type of fuel (fossil fuels) to another (alternative) is an event that historically has only happened once a century at most with momentous consequences. The transition from wood to coal helped trigger industrialization. In this case, a transition—particularly an abrupt one—out of fossil fuels would have major repercussions for energy producers in the Middle East and Eurasia, potentially causing permanent decline of some states as global and regional powers.

Other discontinuities are less predictable. They are likely to result from an interaction of several trends and depend on the quality of leadership. We put uncertainties such as whether China or Russia becomes a democracy in this category. China’s growing middle class increases the chances but does not make such a development inevitable. Political pluralism seems less likely in Russia in the absence of economic diversification. Pressure from below may force the issue, or a leader might begin or enhance the democratization process to sustain the economy or spur economic growth. A sustained plunge in the price of oil and gas would alter the outlook and increase prospects for greater political and economic liberalization in Russia. If either country were to democratize, it would represent another wave of democratization with wide significance for many other developing states.

Also uncertain are the outcomes of demographic challenges facing Europe, Japan, and even Russia. In none of these cases does demography have to spell destiny with less regional and global power an inevitable outcome. Technology, the role of immigration, public health improvements, and laws encouraging greater female participation in the economy are some of the measures that could change the trajectory of current trends pointing toward less economic growth, increased social tensions, and possible decline.

Whether global institutions adapt and revive—another key uncertainty—also is a function of leadership. Current trends suggest a dispersion of power and authority will create a global governance deficit. Reversing those trend lines would require strong leadership in the international community by a number of powers, including the emerging ones.

Some uncertainties would have greater consequences—should they occur—than would others. In this work, we emphasize the overall potential for greater conflict—some forms of which could threaten globalization. We put WMD terrorism and a Middle East nuclear arms race in this category. The key uncertainties and possible impacts are discussed in the text and summarized in the textbox on page vii on relative certainties. In the four fictionalized scenarios, we have highlighted new challenges that could emerge as a result of the ongoing global transformation. They present new situations, dilemmas, or predicaments that represent departures from recent developments. As a set, they do not cover all possible futures. None of these is inevitable or even necessarily likely; but, as with many other uncertainties, the scenarios are potential game-changers.

• In A World Without the West, the new powers supplant the West as the leaders on the world stage.

• October Surprise illustrates the impact of inattention to global climate change; unexpected major impacts narrow the world’s range of options.

• In BRICs’ Bust-Up, disputes over vital resources emerge as a source of conflict between major powers—in this case two emerging heavyweights—India and China.

• In Politics is Not Always Local, nonstate networks emerge to set the international agenda on the environment, eclipsing governments.

Nov 20, 2008

...something on the election

from Nick Paretsky,

Some radical leftists are probably trying to figure out to relate to an
Obama presidency and understand the significance of the first
African-American President in history for an analysis that has made the
institution of white supremacy a critically defining feature of
American capitalism. There may be some disorientation on the left. Many
on the Left no doubt look to an Obama presidency as creating an opening
for progressive change, e.g., Howard Zinn’s piece at Znet, “Obama’s
Historic Victory.” At you can find more skeptical, and
maybe more realistic appraisals of the Obama candidacy and the shape of
his coming administration.

To MAR: So, what are your thoughts? (I’m not a member of BTR or 3-W-F,
incidentally.) Are you being sarcastic when you say Obama’s election
represents a “vibrant exercise of multi-racial democracy”? And what is
a “Middle American Radical”?

Another way of thinking about this claim about Obama and “multi-racial
democracy” can be found in J. Sakai’s argument about the
“desettlerization” of U.S. empire, in his essay, “The Shock of
Recognition,” in the collection, Confronting Fascism, written as a
response to D Hamerquist’s, “Fascism & Anti-Fascism.” Sakai sees a
transnationalization, or globalization of the “U.S.” empire which is
partly registered by the growing presence of people of color in high
levels of the state apparatus – e.g., Rice, Powell, and others in the
Bush Administration. He argues that this globalization of empire is
disrupting the system of white-skin privilege, which creates the
potential for a white fascist mass movement: while white preference
will be around for a long time, “the big guys are sending a message
down to ordinary white men. It’s like a bomb. In the new globalized
multicularal capitalism…the provincial, sheltered white settler life of
America is going to be as over as the white settler life of the South
African 'Afrikaners’ is” (pp.96-97).

Sakai’s reasoning about globalization's undermining of white
privileges, and fascism, is in accord with a lot of what’s been said on
on 3-W-F. Sakai also makes me think of Obama in terms of this new,
“multicultural, globalized capitalism.” (I put US in quotation marks
above because of the view, advanced by Hamerquist, that a global ruling
class is ascendant and that the concept of “US imperialism” is
increasingly inadequate in a globalized capitalism. Hamerquist’s
position is of course also controversial.)

Ruling Class thinking on the makings of future revolts

NYTimes: The Formerly Middle Class

"Over the past decade, millions of people in these societies have climbed out of poverty. But the global recession is pushing them back down. Many seem furious with democracy and capitalism, which they believe led to their shattered dreams. It’s possible that the downturn will produce a profusion of Hugo Chávezes. It’s possible that the Obama administration will spend much of its time battling a global protest movement that doesn’t even exist yet...

It will be the loss of a social identity, the loss of social networks, the loss of the little status symbols that suggest an elevated place in the social order. These reversals are bound to produce alienation and a political response. If you want to know where the next big social movements will come from, I’d say the formerly middle class."

by David Brooks

November 18, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

At the beginning of every recession, there are people who see the downturn as an occasion for moral revival: Americans will learn to live without material extravagances. They’ll simplify their lives. They’ll rediscover what really matters: home, friends and family.

But recessions are about more than material deprivation. They’re also about fear and diminished expectations. The cultural consequences of recessions are rarely uplifting.

The economic slowdown of the 1880s and 1890s produced a surge of agrarian populism and nativism, with particular hostility directed toward Catholics, Jews and blacks. The Great Depression was not only a time of F.D.R.’s optimism and escapist movies, it was also a time of apocalyptic forebodings and collectivist movements that crushed individual rights.

The recession of the 1970s produced a cynicism that has never really gone away. The share of students who admitted to cheating jumped from 34 percent in 1969 to 60 percent a decade later. More than a quarter of all employees said the goods they produced were so shoddily made that they wouldn’t buy them for themselves. As David Frum noted in his book, “How We Got Here,” job dissatisfaction in 1977 was higher than at any time in the previous quarter-century.

Recessions breed pessimism. That’s why birthrates tend to drop and suicide rates tend to rise. That’s why hemlines go down. Tamar Lewin of The New York Times reported on studies that show that the women selected to be Playboy Playmates of the Year tend to look more mature during recessions — older, heavier, more reassuring — though I have not verified this personally.

This recession will probably have its own social profile. In particular, it’s likely to produce a new social group: the formerly middle class. These are people who achieved middle-class status at the tail end of the long boom, and then lost it. To them, the gap between where they are and where they used to be will seem wide and daunting.

The phenomenon is noticeable in developing nations. Over the past decade, millions of people in these societies have climbed out of poverty. But the global recession is pushing them back down. Many seem furious with democracy and capitalism, which they believe led to their shattered dreams. It’s possible that the downturn will produce a profusion of Hugo Chávezes. It’s possible that the Obama administration will spend much of its time battling a global protest movement that doesn’t even exist yet.

In this country, there are also millions of people facing the psychological and social pressures of downward mobility.

In the months ahead, the members of the formerly middle class will suffer career reversals. Paco Underhill, the retailing expert, tells me that 20 percent of the mall storefronts could soon be empty. That fact alone means that thousands of service-economy workers will experience the self-doubt that goes with unemployment.

They will suffer lifestyle reversals. Over the past decade, millions of Americans have had unprecedented access to affordable luxuries, thanks to brands like Coach, Whole Foods, Tiffany and Starbucks. These indulgences were signs of upward mobility. But these affordable luxuries will no longer be so affordable. Suddenly, the door to the land of the upscale will slam shut for millions of Americans.

The members of the formerly middle class will suffer housing reversals. The current mortgage crisis is having its most concentrated effect on people on the lowest rungs of middle-class life — people who live in fast-growing exurbs in Florida and Nevada that are now rife with foreclosures; people who just moved out of their urban neighborhoods and made it to modest, older suburbs in California and Michigan. Suddenly, the home of one’s own is gone, and it’s back to the apartment complex.

Finally, they will suffer a drop in social capital. In times of recession, people spend more time at home. But this will be the first steep recession since the revolution in household formation. Nesting amongst an extended family rich in social capital is very different from nesting in a one-person household that is isolated from family and community bonds. People in the lower middle class have much higher divorce rates and many fewer community ties. For them, cocooning is more likely to be a perilous psychological spiral.

In this recession, maybe even more than other ones, the last ones to join the middle class will be the first ones out. And it won’t only be material deprivations that bites. It will be the loss of a social identity, the loss of social networks, the loss of the little status symbols that suggest an elevated place in the social order. These reversals are bound to produce alienation and a political response. If you want to know where the next big social movements will come from, I’d say the formerly middle class.

Nov 17, 2008

Election spurs 'hundreds' of race threats, crimes

Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama." Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.

There have been "hundreds" of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

One was in Snellville, Ga., where Denene Millner said a boy on the school bus told her 9-year-old daughter the day after the election: "I hope Obama gets assassinated." That night, someone trashed her sister-in-law's front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door, Millner said.

She described her emotions as a combination of anger and fear.

"I can't say that every white person in Snellville is evil and anti-Obama and willing to desecrate my property because one or two idiots did it," said Millner, who is black. "But it definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with, and makes you wonder what they're capable of and what they're really thinking."

Potok, who is white, said he believes there is "a large subset of white people in this country who feel that they are losing everything they know, that the country their forefathers built has somehow been stolen from them."

Grant Griffin, a 46-year-old white Georgia native, expressed similar sentiments: "I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change.

"If you had real change it would involve all the members of (Obama's) church being deported," he said.

Change in whatever form does not come easy, and a black president is "the most profound change in the field of race this country has experienced since the Civil War," said William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina. "It's shaking the foundations on which the country has existed for centuries."

"Someone once said racism is like cancer," Ferris said. "It's never totally wiped out, it's in remission."

If so, America's remission lasted until the morning of Nov. 5.

The day after the vote hailed as a sign of a nation changed, black high school student Barbara Tyler of Marietta, Ga., said she heard hateful Obama comments from white students, and that teachers cut off discussion about Obama's victory.

Tyler spoke at a press conference by the Georgia chapter of the NAACP calling for a town hall meeting to address complaints from across the state about hostility and resentment. Another student, from a Covington middle school, said he was suspended for wearing an Obama shirt to school Nov. 5 after the principal told students not to wear political paraphernalia.

The student's mother, Eshe Riviears, said the principal told her: "Whether you like it or not, we're in the South, and there are a lot of people who are not happy with this decision."

Other incidents include:

_Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head." Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.

_At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."

_Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

_Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted "assassinate Obama," a district official said.

_University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur. "It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork," Houston said.

_Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.

_Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.

_A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted 'Obama.'

_In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying "now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."

Emotions are often raw after a hard-fought political campaign, but now those on the losing side have an easy target for their anger.

"The principle is very simple," said BJ Gallagher, a sociologist and co-author of the diversity book "A Peacock in the Land of Penguins." "If I can't hurt the person I'm angry at, then I'll vent my anger on a substitute, i.e., someone of the same race."

"We saw the same thing happen after the 9-11 attacks, as a wave of anti-Muslim violence swept the country. We saw it happen after the Rodney King verdict, when Los Angeles blacks erupted in rage at the injustice perpetrated by 'the white man.'"

"It's as stupid and ineffectual as kicking your dog when you've had a bad day at the office," Gallagher said. "But it happens a lot."


Associated Press writers Errin Haines, Jerry Harkavy, Jay Reeves, Johnny Taylor and researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.