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Chomsky and Enlightened Law

Date: 04/13/2014
Blogger:
Howard Friel

Many thanks to Jim Hicks of the Massachusetts Review, Amanda Minervini of Salem State University, and Adam Sitze of Amherst College for their very engaging comments about my book, and for the time they took to read it and write about it.

I would like to focus on the assertion by Adam Sitze (in Part One) that Chomsky’s work contains a contradiction due to what Sitze refers to as “the imperial premises” of international law that underlie “the anti-imperial desires that animate [Chomsky’s] criticisms.”

The main focus of Chomsky’s references to international law throughout his work has been UN Charter Article 2(4), which prohibits the threat and use of force by states in the conduct of their international relations. The prohibition against force is widely viewed as the cardinal rule of international law and a peremptory (incontrovertible) norm of international law...

Conversations After Reading Friel (Part Five)

Date: 03/29/2014
Blogger:
Amanda Minervini and Adam Sitze, with Jim Hicks

Link to Part One
Link to Part Two
Link to Part Three
Link to Part Four

V. On Torture Warrants and Kill Courts

Jim Hicks: We can’t end this conversation without saying something about how Friel ends his book. The gesture of Dershowitz towards the authorization of torture courts is a way to get this discussion, he says, out into the open. The labeling of a similar possibility, of having kill courts, is a way of describing what our foreign policy is currently engaging in, although it’s not yet happening in any court discussions that I know of. For me, it made sense for Friel to end the book with a chapter on this topic, because it does seem to me the most dramatic and horrendous symptom of a...

Conversations After Reading Friel (Part Four)

Date: 03/22/2014
Blogger:
Amanda Minervini and Adam Sitze, with Jim Hicks

Link to Part One
Link to Part Two
Link to Part Three

IV. On the Subject of Apartheid

Jim Hicks: In framing our next discussion around Friel’s useful comparison, and drawing out of the parallel, between apartheid in South Africa and the recent history of Israel and Palestine, because of the subject of Adam’s work, I was no doubt mainly thinking of hearing what he would have to say on this. But once again, contemporary events have drawn us in, and now this topic is a topic for all of us academics. I just came back from the MLA, and I’ve been a member of the American Studies Association for a number of years as well, and, well, let me just repeat that so this comparison is now part of all of our discussions. In the exchanges leading up to today’s conversation,...

Conversations After Reading Friel (Part Three)

Date: 03/09/2014
Blogger:
Amanda Minervini and Adam Sitze, with Jim Hicks

Editor's Note: After attending a launch event for Howard Friel's Chomsky and Dershowitz: On Endless War and the End of CIvil Liberties, we asked a couple of friends of MR to sit down for conversation about the book and the crucial issues it raises. What follows is the third of a five-part discussion.

Link to Part One
Link to Part Two

III. The View from Outside

Jim Hicks: In...

Conversations After Reading Friel (Part Two)

Date: 02/26/2014
Blogger:
Amanda Minervini and Adam Sitze, with Jim Hicks

Editor's Note: After attending a launch event for Howard Friel's Chomsky and Dershowitz: On Endless War and the End of CIvil Liberties, we asked a couple of friends of MR to sit down for conversation about the book and the crucial issues it raises. What follows is the second of a five-part discussion.

Link to Part One

 

II. The Metaphor of the Lion

Jim Hicks: Well, we’ve already come close to a second point I wanted to discuss, because I...

Conversations After Reading Friel (Part One)

Date: 02/22/2014
Blogger:
Amanda Minervini and Adam Sitze, with Jim Hicks

Editor's Note: After attending a launch event for Howard Friel's Chomsky and Dershowitz: On Endless War and the End of CIvil Liberties, we asked a couple of friends of MR to sit down for conversation about the book and the crucial issues it raises. What follows is the first of a five-part discussion.

I. The Logician vs. the Lawyer

Jim Hicks: As you both know, I was simply fascinated with the way Howard Friel sets up his new book’s central argument. I think that the issues summarized by its subtitle—“On...

The War, in a Footnote

Date: 02/17/2014
Blogger:
Ulvija Tanovic'

Folks who follow this magazine will have noted that we keep closer tabs than most on events in the former Yugoslavia. Here MR Contributor Ulvija Tanović reports from streets of Sarajevo on the protests that have lit up cities around Bosnia-Herzegovina over the past week—a revolt that began on the thirty-year anniversary of the 1984 Winter Olympics.

“Who sows hunger reaps anger!” says the writing on the wall of the Sarajevo Canton Government building, next to a shattered window. After years of peaceful protests that were consistently ignored by the powers that be, a week ago Friday people finally succumbed to violence, hurling stones ripped out of the pavement at government buildings and setting them ablaze with Molotov cocktails. Then they stood back and...

In Memoriam: Stuart Hall, 1932-2014

Date: 02/14/2014
Blogger:
Lisa Henderson

Stuart Hall, a beloved cultural theorist and political activist whose work reached so many people across so many borders, died Monday in London, at the age of 82. Since then, colleagues, friends, readers and even opponents have sought to recognize his contributions to their thinking, their understanding, and their political projects. Memorial statements are perforce incomplete, and thankfully the archive of Hall’s work is extensive—in his writing, his long history on British television, in documentary and educational films featuring him (including several from the Media Education Foundation directed by University of Massachusetts professor Sut Jhally). A number of recent filmed interviews capture Hall’s continuing dialogue on post-Thatcher politics, the neoliberal economic settlement, the past and future of cultural studies—a field Hall co-founded—and the intimate and...

Life in Vivid Color: Catherine Reid’s Falling into Place

Date: 02/10/2014
Blogger:
Jeff Wasserboehr

Falling into Place
Catherine Reid
Beacon Press, February 2014

 

Presiding over Catherine Reid’s lyrical collection of essays, Falling into Place, is a naturalist who questions both the great web of technology and the old-fashioned policies that still dominate in twenty-first century America. Under the spell of this book, I felt as if I were entering into a truly wild world. Much like the black-and-white denizens of the film Pleasantville suddenly experiencing their lives injected with color, I, too, encountered a new world, one brimming with all the brilliance of the universe. Such is the wilderness of western Massachusetts that Reid, an MR contributor (Vol. 46 Issue 2...

Farewell to a Righteous Banjo Picker

Date: 02/03/2014
Blogger:
Aaron Hellem

Over the years, you’ll find the magic made by the right song at the right place at the right time.
                                                                      -- Pete Seeger

Anyone who finds themselves discovering the banjo in any way, be it as participant or observer, knows the name of Pete Seeger, the righteous banjo picker who practiced his own form of protest and pacificism through his own style of playing, a blend of two- and three-finger picking style varied with a clawhammer flair. Long legged with his long-necked banjo he played stages for years, preaching through his music love and peace and justice. Armed only with his banjo, he made the world a better place and, especially for us banjo players, left behind a legacy and a lasting repertoire.

When I was first learning how to play the banjo, one of the first instructional manuals I picked up was Pete Seeger’s How to Play the Five String Banjo. I was bewildered. I still...