WMDs IN LAS VEGAS WILL SPAIN BREAK UP? GEORGE ZORNICK BÉCQUER SEGUÍN AND SEBASTIAAN FABER OCTOBER 23, 2017 SPECIAL INVESTIGATION Other People’s Money Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase bank THENATION.COM How JPMorgan Chase Paid Its Fine for the 2008 Mortgage Crisis—With Phony Mortgages! DAVID DAYEN 2 Artistic Dispatches From the Front Lines RI5HVLVWDQFH Calling Out the Climate Criminals I do not believe that the bulk of climate-change deniers in the government, from Ted Cruz to John Cornyn to Donald Trump and the rest, are actually ignorant of the scientific facts [“Climate Denialism Kills,” Sept. 25/Oct. 2]. They will quote science when it suits them. I believe the situation is worse: These people are simply in the employ of the fossil-fuel industry, which is desperately trying to suck a few trillion more dollars out of the earth before it becomes as much a part of history as the clipper ship, as will happen within the next half-century. These people are willfully poisoning the planet, and the future of their grandchildren, for the short-term gain of the Tillersons, Cheneys, et al. This is a crime against humanity, and history will see it that way. John Murphy A new Nation series PETER KUPER TheNation.com/OppArt Climate denialism alone isn’t killing us. The destabilization of the global climate system has been proceeding apace for at least the three decades since scientists like James Hansen first issued their warnings. We’ve all contributed—in our personal failure to adjust our lives to address the reality, as well as in the way we’ve enabled the control of public policy by an oligarchy that has insinuated itself into both parts of the political duopoly. While Republicans refused even to acknowledge the science, the Democrats did little more than take the few steps that their corporate donors found acceptable— while much of their base remained safely ensconced in the delusion that we were making “progress.” Trump & Co.’s denials have certainly not helped matters. (His nomination of a climate denialist to head NASA, most likely to squelch any further data gathering on climate change, is just one in a long series of overt steps to obstruct public information on the subject.) And the Trump administration’s policies can only serve to worsen the situation. But that was already untenable. The extreme weather events, the burning of a pretty sizable portion of the western United States, etc.—all of this is likely the result of what we’ve collectively been allowing to take place for many years. The question is what to do about it now. While we may already be at or beyond a climate-stability tipping point, it is our collective responsibility to do everything in our power, from this day forward, to make the necessary changes, both personal and political. We cannot be satisfied with simply changing faces in the White House— certainly not unless that means more than just a change of banner color, from red to blue. We must be committed for the long haul and, regardless of party, make our political leaders treat this as the existential crisis that it is. Roger Hoffmann A Dangerous Savior Complex Regarding Rafia Zakaria’s “White Women and the Specter of Islam” [Aug. 28/Sept. 4]: The mixing of American liberal feminism and global interventionism is a concern I have felt since the early 1970s. This article articulates a challenge, well written and argued, that feminism as presented by most mainstream media is overdue to address. I hope that those familiar with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Nomani will review them, as I intend to do. My profound appreMaggie Meehan ciation. fergus falls, minn. While American feminism deserves criticism on numerous grounds (especially its shift from its radical roots Comments drawn from our website email@example.com (continued on page 26) The Nation. since 1865 UPFRONT 10 Policing America: White Lies Matter; 11 Snapshot: Stand Your Ground 3 WMDs in Las Vegas George Zornick 4 The Catalonia Question WMDs in Las Vegas O n October 1, there were 16,000 American soldiers serving in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. But it was Las Vegas that most resembled a war zone and represented the biggest danger to American lives that day. From the punched-out windows of his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel, Stephen Paddock rained down an appalling level of destruction on a country-music concert below. Using Assault weapons with large magazines for aman enormous cache of guns, in less than 12 minutes munition are the common denominator in these killhe single-handedly massacred 58 people and injured ings. After World War II, the US Army’s Operations 527 more. It was a deadlier day than American sol- Research Office performed a study and found that the diers have ever suffered in Iraq or Afghanistan, and chief predictor of casualties was the number of shots the worst mass shooting in modern US history. fired. The military then asked the private sector to This latest slaughter demands that the country develop a lightweight weapon with a large, detachable grapple with gun-control issues beyond the debate magazine that could be used to inflict extreme damage over background checks. A more fundamental ques- on the enemy. The firearms manufacturer ArmaLite tion is at hand: How much lethal firepowanswered the call with the AR-15, which er should citizens be allowed to possess? became the military’s standard-issue rifle. COMMENT There will be a fierce debate about Now weapons very similar to the where to draw the line, but no reasonAR-15 are sold by sporting-goods stores, able person can say the Vegas shooter gun shops, and online retailers nationwasn’t well past it. Paddock had effecwide to any citizen with any level of tively assembled a small ordnance depot training, or none at all. Large magazines in his luxury hotel suite. He had at least 23 that carry up to 100 rounds are also legal, firearms and hundreds of rounds of amand ammunition sales are barely regumunition. A majority of those guns were lated. The devices that Paddock used to military-style assault weapons; some were make his weapons fully automatic are mounted on shooting platforms with scopes and tri- legal as well. Remarkably, Republicans in Congress pods and outfitted with devices that made them fully plan to make lethal weapons even more dangerous: automatic. Investigators later found 19 more guns The House may soon vote on a bill making it much and thousands of rounds of ammunition at his home. easier for citizens to obtain silencers and armorThe destructive capacity of this arsenal is stag- piercing ammunition. gering, but it is not out of line with the firepower Such measures must be blocked, but the gununleashed by other mass shooters. Omar Mateen, control movement also needs to push for action who was responsible for the 2016 massacre at the on reducing the number and kinds of weapons that Pulse nightclub in Orlando, had three weapons, Americans can possess. Creating a nationwide regincluding an assault rifle, and hundreds of rounds of istry of gun owners and their firearms would be a ammunition. He killed 49 people and wounded 68 start, along with enacting federal laws that prohibit more. Adam Lanza had only 300 seconds to shoot his more than one handgun purchase per month. Three assault rifle inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in percent of Americans already own 50 percent of Newtown before the police engaged him, but he got the guns and can let loose military-level assaults on off 154 rounds and killed 26 people. James Holmes any venue they choose: concerts, malls, elementary shot 82 people inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie schools. Background checks wouldn’t have stopped theater in 90 seconds. When Jared Loughner shot up Paddock, Mateen, Lanza, Holmes, or Loughner. a meet-and-greet with then-Congresswoman Gabby All those guns were purchased legally. But why were GEORGE ZORNICK Giffords in Tucson, he fired 33 times in 19 seconds. they allowed to be sold? Sebastiaan Faber and Bécquer Seguín 5 Asking for a Friend Liza Featherstone COLUMNS 6 Subject to Debate The Male-Gazer in Chief Katha Pollitt 10 Diary of a Mad Law Professor Citizenship on Its Knees Patricia J. Williams 11 Deadline Poet Thoughts Brought on by Trump’s Puerto Rico Tweets Calvin Trillin Features 12 Jamie Dimon and Other People’s Money David Dayen JPMorgan Chase paid part of its settlement for the 2008 mortgage crisis—with other people’s money. A Nation special investigation. 16 When Violence Comes Sasha Abramsky The armed right wants a street fight. Should the progressive left oblige? 22 A New Deal for Europe Yanis Varoufakis and James K. Galbraith The EU badly needs reform. But first it needs to be radically reimagined. Books & the Arts 27 Barbarian Virtues Samuel Moyn 32 Into the Multiverse Sue Halpern 35 The War to End All Wars Geoffrey Wheatcroft VOLUME 305, NUMBER 10, October 23, 2017 The digital version of this issue is available to all subscribers October 5 at TheNation.com. Cover illustration by Tim Robinson. 4 The Nation. 93 Average number of Americans killed with guns every day 50 Women shot dead by an intimate partner in the US in a typical month 12M Estimated number of AR-15 assault rifles in the US 50% Percentage of the world’s guns owned by Americans, who make up 5 percent of the world’s population $8B Size of the US firearms industry —Sarah Aziza “I am stunned by the level of trauma… Congress is willing to make us suffer through.” Nelba MárquezGreene, whose 6-year-old daughter was killed at Sandy Hook, tweeting in response to the Las Vegas shooting violence. When King Philip VI addressed the country on October 3, calling Barcelona’s actions “an inadmissible disloyalty” and making “an appeal for understanding and harmony,” he too ignored the elephant in the room. It could lead to the breakup of Spain. Many Spanish politicians condemned Madrid’s heavyn Spain, the day before a vote is generally re- handed crackdown. “Today is a sad day for our democraserved for reflection: no campaign ads, speeches, cy,” Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez tweeted. Rajoy’s or rallies. But on Saturday, September 30, the “repressive strategy has failed,” wrote Podemos leader night before the Catalan independence referen- Pablo Iglesias, and only served to push the deterioration dum, thousands of people in Barcelona not only of Spanish “democracy and coexistence to unprecedented reflected but made a political decision: They descended limits.” But the response that echoed most widely came on elementary schools, civic centers, and other polling from Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau: She demanded the stations to ensure that they’d be open on the morning removal of police and called Rajoy a “coward,” denouncof the referendum. Four days earlier, Catalonia’s High ing the lack of dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan Court—whose members are appointed in Madrid—had governments. “The Rajoy government has insisted on ordered police to prevent the stations from opening turning to the courts, hiding behind judges and public and to confiscate voting materials. Spain’s Constitution prosecutors to avoid its responsibility, which is to act doesn’t allow for secession, and so the Constitutional politically. Today it has gone a step further and crossed Court had suspended the referendum on September 7. all the red lines,” she said, adding: “Rajoy must resign.” On the morning of Sunday, October 1, the Interior Among the political parties pushing for independence Ministry deployed over 10,000 police officers brought in is Puigdemont’s conservative Catalan Democratic Party from the rest of Spain. Social media soon deliv(PDeCat). According to journalist Guillem ered an unending stream of videos and images Rajoy’s police Martínez, PDeCat’s endgame has always been showing police attacking voters and violently a more beneficial autonomy rather than inrepression removing ballot boxes. At the Ramon Llull dependence. Puigdemont’s call for dialogue has deeply school in Barcelona, for example, riot police appears to confirm such an interpretation, but used rubber bullets and a human blockade to his closest allies in this struggle, the Republialienated prevent people from entering the building. can Catalan Left and the Popular Unity CanCatalans. Inside, masked officers ripped ballot boxes didacy, are unlikely to settle for anything less away from citizens, who chanted: “Votarem! than independence. Meanwhile, on October 2, Votarem!” (“We will vote! We will vote!”) By day’s end, the throngs of young Catalans took to the streets to protest the Catalan Department of Health reported that nearly 900 continued presence of Spanish police. The next day, tens of people had been injured, with four hospitalizations. thousands participated in a general strike, which engulfed The intense violence from police, who shut down only every sector of Catalan society, including the soccer team 313 of the 2,200 polling stations, didn’t dissuade the pub- F.C. Barcelona, and blocked more than 50 roads. lic. According to the Catalan government, more Prime Minister Rajoy’s zero-tolerance approach may than 2.2 million of 5.3 million registered voters cast have strengthened his support among conservative Spanballots, with 90.9 percent voting Sí and 8 percent iards who reject Catalonia’s aspirations, but the repression No for an independent Catalan republic. The Cata- has hurt Spain’s image abroad and deeply—perhaps definilan Parliament had adopted a law on September 6 tively—alienated a growing majority of Catalans. Accordcalling for a declaration of independence within 48 ing to polls before the referendum, close to 50 percent of hours of the official results if the Sí vote won. Yet the 7.5 million Catalans favored independence, but more Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has been than 80 percent claimed the right to self-determination, sending mixed signals. On Monday he said that he would which Spain’s Constitution denies them. After the violence seek negotiations with Madrid: “The Catalan government on October 1, those numbers may be significantly higher. has not decided to declare independence but has rather The image of black-visored riot police clubbing peaceunderstood that it’s the moment to appeal to [interna- ful citizens will long haunt Catalonia’s collective memory, tional] mediation and, if it happens, to discuss everything,” while the triumph of the vote against all odds will shape the he said. His statement came right after the European political consciousness of generations of Catalans to come. Union refused to get involved, maintaining that “this is an Spain is now suffering its worst constitutional crisis since internal matter for Spain.” But on Tuesday, Puigdemont the attempted military coup of 1981. Constitutional resaid in an interview on BBC that independence would be form may be the only option to maintain a unified state— declared within days. which both Podemos and the Socialist Party endorse. But Even as police were beating voters, the country’s only Podemos supports giving Spain’s regions the right deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, to conduct referendums on self-determination. The 1981 declared victory. “There has not been a referendum or coup lasted mere hours; at present, the “Catalan question” SEBASTIAAN FABER AND BÉCQUER SEGUÍN the appearance of one,” she said on Sunday. “It never has no end in sight. made sense to go down this path of irrationality.” That evening, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy offered his Sebastiaan Faber is a professor of Hispanic studies at Oberlin College. “special thanks…to the security forces, the National Bécquer Seguín is an assistant professor of Iberian studies at Johns Police, and the Civil Guard,” with no mention of the Hopkins University. The Catalonia Question I COMMENT DC BY THE NUMBERS October 23, 2017 October 23, 2017 5 The Nation. L iz ne Asking for a Friend a F to eathers Lack of Means Doesn’t Justify End Dear Liza, I’m fighting for a better world, but if that doesn’t come along, I will be destitute when I can no longer work. Is it OK to stockpile suicide supplies in case of that eventuality? I don’t have family support, and most of my friends are even worse off than I am. I’m an American now living in the United Kingdom. — Temporarily Able-Bodied Dear Able-Bodied, am so sorry that you’ve been living with the pain and fear that inspired this letter. You’re right, of course: We must build better social safety nets so no one ever asks this question. But even if socialism doesn’t emerge in time for your old age, you’ll still have ways to flourish. Ann Neumann, author of The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America and a hospice volunteer, is emphatic that suicide won’t be your best recourse. She points out that even in this age of right-wing austerity, you have far more financial resources than you realize, whether from national or local governments or from charity. In the far-right United States, Social Security, Medicare, and food stamps seem likely to survive in some form; and while public assistance for the elderly or disabled in the United Kingdom is hardly generous, the poverty rate among seniors is much lower than it is here. Help is available if you seek it out. In fact, a 2014 report by Age UK revealed that a key cause of poverty among older people was the failure to take advantage of government benefits; many don’t know what they’re entitled to or are too proud to ask for it. An elder-law attorney can help you figure out what forms of assistance you’re likely to have access to (if social arrangements don’t change as much as we hope they will). Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, emphasizes that the strongest factor in aging well is a robust social network— not, perhaps surprisingly, money. Neumann agrees: “The happiest community I regularly visit is the senior center at the Red Hook Houses,” she says, referring to a public-housing project in Brooklyn. “They pool their resources and have such a sense of community. They enjoy each other so much, and they have a better quality of life than anyone.” For those of us imbued with an ethic of self- PHOTOGRAPH: BRENNAN CAVANAUGH I ILLUSTRATED BY JOANNA NEBORSKY reliance, or who are happiest reading a good book in solitude, this can be tougher than death to contemplate. “I have a horror of the collective,” says Applewhite. “In my ideal life, I’d live alone in a turret, entertaining a very handsome visitor now and then. But I realize I have to get over this. Community, community, community is the only way we are going to age affordably and comfortably.” That could mean starting to find people now who are interested in future group-living arrangements, perhaps where individuals agree to support one another financially if anyone is incapacitated, as biological families and long-term couples often do. Many find multigenerational group living to be especially rewarding. At the very least, try to develop deep ties with people who live nearby so you’ll be able to Questions? Ask Liza at help each other solve practical problems. “You have the TheNation family you are able to create,” Neumann stresses, “and .com/article/ there are places you can go to make community.” If this asking-for-aseems daunting, Neumann adds, “tell [Able-Bodied] to friend. give me a call, and we will help you find your people!” Neumann is also willing to help you find an elder-law attorney who can advise on resources. You are sadly not alone in wondering about your future economic survival. In the United States, private and public pensions are in crisis, and other neoliberal regimes have similar problems. Almost a third of Americans over 55 have no retirement savings. As you start to think about collective responses and build more community into your life, remember that most people need this as much as you do. (continued on page 8) 6 The Nation. October 23, 2017 DEAD CELEBRITIES A fter Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s death at the age of 91, fans (of the articles, we’re sure) filled Twitter with effusive praise for the man who allegedly sparked a sexual revolution. Thankfully, sharp minds stepped in to balance out the record. Here are a few highlights from Hefner’s critics: Hugh Hefner might have died but his renowned ability to build an empire on the objectification of women lives on. —@TheSamhita, editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay Wake me up when an iconic female media mogul who lived her entire life in silk pajamas dies in her mansion surrounded by boytoys. —@annfriedman, journalist Ann Friedman LOL to all the sexual revolution scholars in my mentions who think it was Hefner that gave the space to women to be publicly sexual. —@jessicavalenti, feminist writer Jessica Valenti Can you imagine women a) having something as mainstream as Playboy that catered to their erotic id and b) being able to publicly discuss it? —@rgay, author Roxane Gay Guess what: being revolutionary while also exploiting women isn’t revolutionary. —@shani_o, BuzzFeed editor Shani Hilton —Glyn Peterson Katha Pollitt The Male-Gazer in Chief It was feminism, not Hugh Hefner, that brought about sexual liberation. E ven in death, Hugh Hefner—who died in late September at the age of 91—continues to be a creep. As he arranged way back in 1992, he’ll be buried next to Marilyn Monroe, whose nude photos he published without her consent or knowledge in the first issue of Playboy. The male-gazer in chief sleeps eternally next to the world’s most fetishized sex object. The ancient toad who bullied a harem of grossed-out would-be starlets rests beside the ill-used beauty who was smart, kind, well-read, didn’t have an orgasm until the end of her life, and described herself as a “sexless sex goddess.” If only Marilyn could get up and go lie down next to someone else. Looking back, it seems incredible that Playboy was ever taken for a liberatory text, even in the stodgy 1950s. “Can man be free if woman be a slave?” the poet Shelley asked in 1818. Hefner’s answer was: Absolutely—that’s the whole point! Instead of (or in addition to) a graying, aproned wife, three kids, a boring job, and a mortgage, you could, as Hefner described the Playboy life in the first issue, “enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph, and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.” You might say that Hefner invented the toxic bachelor. Left unmentioned: You’ve still got that boring job, even if, like Hefner, you ditched the wife and kids. If you go by the ads—cars, stereos, liquor—being a playboy involved making a lot of upscale purchases. Also, poor Nietzsche. His fans are just the worst. Playboy published important fiction and reportage in its day, whether to give adults an excuse to buy the magazine, or to fill out the fantasy of “sophistication” as a (largely successful) bid for cultural respectability. Back in the day, its libertarianism extended to support for civil rights, abortion rights, and free-speech issues, which gained it many friends among the kind of people who read The Nation. Indeed, in 2015 our own Victor Navasky won a lifetime-achievement award from the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation. The list of judges and awardees is like an honor roll of the progressive great and good. Zephyr Teachout! Who knew. The stumbling block, of course, was feminism. Gloria Steinem went undercover as a bunny at Hef- ner’s New York Playboy Club and exposed the many indignities of the job. “Hugh Hefner is my enemy,” said Susan Brownmiller when she appeared with Hefner on The Dick Cavett Show in 1970, and the feeling was definitely mutual. “These chicks are our natural enemy,” Hefner wrote in an internal memo. “They are unalterably opposed to the romantic boygirl society that Playboy promotes.” How half-naked waitresses dressed in rabbit costumes and cartoons showing rape as lighthearted fun serve to promote a “romantic boy-girl society” is hard to explain. But then so are the many dark episodes of life in the Playboy Mansion: In 2014, Judy Huth filed a lawsuit claiming that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her in the mansion in 1974, when she was 15 years old; a former valet is now telling the tabloids about late-’70s “pig nights,” in which Hefner’s male friends were serviced by prostitutes. The valet also recounted instances in which Hefner—more than once!—abandoned bunnies at the hospital when their breast implants burst. In her tell-all memoir Down the Rabbit Hole, Holly Madison—one of the very young Hefner “girlfriends” featured on the reality show The Girls Next Door—painted a harrowing picture of her time in the mansion. The women living there had a 9 pm curfew and were constantly degraded and belittled, and sex with Hefner was mandatory. Even fellow “These next-door girl Kenchicks are our dra Wilkinson, who presented a much natural enemy,” more positive version Hefner wrote of events in her own memoir, admitted that of feminists “I had to be very drunk in an internal or smoke lots of weed to survive those nights— Playboy there was no way memo. around it.” You have to ignore a lot of human suffering to buy the notion that “Hef” was a funguy genius who brought us sexual liberation. “Why lionize Hugh Hefner, a pig, a pornographer & a predator too?” Bette Midler tweeted. “I once went to the ‘mansion’ in ’68 and got the clap walking thru the door.” What brought us whatever sexual liberation we BOTTOM: WIKIMEDIA CC BY-SA 3.0 / GLENN FRANCIS; ILLUSTRATION: ANDY FRIEDMAN Requiem for a Chauvinist REQUEST YOUR FREE! SAMPLES TODAY! Do you have an ostomy? If you answer “Yes”, try Brava® Elastic Barrier Strips ... FREE! Skin-friendly alternative to tape provides a secure ﬁt for greater comfort and ﬂexibility. 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It was feminism that encouraged women to consider their own pleasure, cut through the Freudian nonsense about vaginal orgasms and “frigidity,” mainstreamed female masturbation as a way to learn about one’s body, and pointed out, insistently, that women are not objects for male consumption. That last one seems a little quaint now that the most hard-core porn—stuff that makes Playboy centerfolds look like Victorian valentines—is just a click away, and important feminist thinkers and activists seem unable to say that this isn’t a good thing. It’s easier to wave away the critics of porn as Dworkinite killjoys and prudes and talk some more about freedom of speech. Actually, Andrea Dworkin had a point about pornography (a category in which she would have included Playboy) not being great for women’s equality or pleasure. Her big mistake—one of them, anyway—was to think that it could be outlawed. Even if there were OppArt October 23, 2017 The Nation. no First Amendment, porn is simply too popular, too profitable, and, especially now thanks to the Internet, too pervasive for a democratic society to proscribe it—even if we could agree on what it was. We rightly use the First Amendment to defend expression, but “it’s legal” isn’t the last word on whether it has value. After we invoke the importance of free speech—and the courts, in their wisdom, have declared many things speech that don’t involve words, like stripping and flag burning and (we’ll see) baking cakes—we can still critique the actual content. Does it enlarge our perspective, does it make for wisdom, is it just or beautiful, does it help us to be better people, more interesting, or even just more amusing? Why is it so hard to ask what kind of a world we make when we hail as heroic a man who saw women as a pair of implanted breasts with a sell-by date of their 25th birthday? It’s a conversation that Hugh Hefner did a great deal to suppress. It’s too late for Marilyn, but not for us. Now that he’s dead, let’s talk. Q (continued from page 5) Stephen Kroninger Dear Liza, How do you handle passes from friends? Must I socialize my sex life? — Radical Monogamist Dear Radical, t is a curious fact that with every great revolutionary movement the question of ‘free love’ comes into the foreground,” Engels mused in 1883. Some anticapitalist radicals—like one letter writer last month—have balked at monogamy on the grounds that other human beings shouldn’t be treated as property. Similarly, utopian communities in the 19th and 20th centuries often espoused polygamy as part of an ethic of sharing. In the 1960s, amid political turmoil, some hippies rejected monogamy as unnatural, an example of how social conformity alienates us from our desires and feelings. Whatever you think of such ideas, it makes sense that as people start to think about alternative ways of organizing society, they wonder if there might be other ways of living their own lives. For some people, the answer to the question of “free love” is an emphatic and happy “Yes!” But for you, I’m endorsing an equally emphatic and happy “No!” It’s hard to think of a better reason for turning down sex than “I don’t want to.” Having such questions in “the foreground” isn’t bad for you and your partner; after all, when conventional practices (heterosexuality, marriage, monogamy, raising kids) are more freely chosen, they tend to become more egalitarian, more driven by desire than by social or family pressure, and more satisfying. As for your friends, a polite “No, thank you—I’m flattered but monogamous” (only if you are flattered, of course!) should suffice to deflect such overtures. 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Mike Lindell Buy Now o Code: nation1 7 at: mypil Includes lo w . com 2 MyPillo w Prem and 2 Go Anywhere Inventor & CEO of MyPillow® ium Pillow s Pillows THIS OFFER NOT AVAILABLE IN STORES MADE IN THE U.S.A. mypillow.com 800-718-2974 Use Promo Code: nation17 10 The Nation. POLICING AMERICA A fter the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Americans were forced to confront the fact that whitesupremacist groups had proudly and publicly resurfaced. Now another disturbing truth is emerging: Police departments, along with correction departments and even the military, are being infiltrated by racist organizations. One Philadelphia cop, according to BuzzFeed, was outed after a photo of his tattoos—including an apparent Nazi “Party Eagle” beneath the word “Fatherland”— showed up on social media. However alarming the trend may be, it is not a recent one. Beginning in the Reconstruction era, white supremacists found a home in law enforcement, with many local police forces in the South run by officers affiliated with or sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan. Alabama’s infamous Eugene “Bull” Connor, who ran the Birmingham Police Department, conspired with KKK members to inflict violence upon Freedom Riders in the 1960s. More recently, at least three Florida police officers over a fiveyear period were found to have been involved with the Klan. Across the country, police leaders have repeatedly failed to remove avowed racists from their ranks—even after they have been exposed. When Philadelphia police refused to fire the cop with the Nazi tattoo, the department explained: “As long as you’re not violating public trust, it’s very difficult to police.” —Elizabeth Adetiba Patricia J. Williams Citizenship on Its Knees Trump is attempting to turn peaceful protest into an offense worse than treason. P resident Trump has been busily a Democrat or a Republican, for being gay or a tweeting that there oughta be a rule: woman—these are all situations that may trigger “The NFL has all sorts of rules and judicial scrutiny. By the same token, contractors regulations. The only way out for who discriminate unfairly among their customers them is to set a rule that you can’t may trigger the same kind of scrutiny. This latter kneel during our National Anthem!” point will be adjudicated by the Supreme Court in This was, of course, just one of his many forays its current term, in a complaint brought before the in response to the recent league-wide protest begun Court by Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker. Backed by Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the anthem by Trump’s Justice Department, Phillips maintains to protest inequitable and excessive instances of that his religious beliefs prevent him from making state force. Yet it seems not to matter what those wedding cakes for gay couples. Yet permitting him who are kneeling say their action meant: “We chose to opt out of antidiscrimination laws would ultito kneel because it’s a respectful gesture,” wrote San mately undermine their application everywhere— Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid in The department stores, hotels, restaurants, New York Times of his and Kaeperflorists, planes, trains, and buses. The nick’s decision. “I remember thinking long-standing norm of fair and equiour posture was like a flag flown at table public accommodation would be half-mast to mark a tragedy.” 130'&4403 rolled back to the era of Jim and Jane No matter: To Donald Trump, Crow. As Louise Melling of the ACLU kneeling in sorrow is both a sign of argues, “No bakery has to sell wedding disrespect for the rules of the game cakes. But if it chooses to sell wedding and a desecration of the American cakes it can’t turn away some customflag. If Trump were just some random ers because of who they are.” Simiarmchair grouch, that wouldn’t be so larly, terminating the employment of worrisome. But he is not a private citizen; he’s our professional athletes for expressing a view that has president, and everything he says carries the weight nothing to do with their job may be construed as a of that office. form of discrimination There are at least two grave legal implications against “who they are.” to what the president has been urging—one of The second conTo Donald Trump, private law, the other constitutional. cern is a matter of The first concern is that executive power is constitutional rights. kneeling in sorrow being used to interfere in contract relations be- Trump has repeat- is both a sign tween private parties. Yes, rich owners and their edly equated “taking a rich celebrity employees, but still: private parties. knee” with desecration of disrespect for Trump’s tweeted injunction, moreover, was de- of the American flag. the rules of ployed by a head of state against citizens whose This is quite a conceppolitical views he doesn’t like. This resembles tual leap, but it seems the game and a the sort of pressure applied by the House Un- to be one that many desecration of the American Activities Committee and its Senate of his supporters have counterpart, the Permanent Subcommittee on In- also made. Trump has American flag. vestigations, which was chaired by Senator Joseph further warned that McCarthy (and whose lead counsel, let it not be desecrating the flag must have “consequences— forgotten, was Trump’s mentor, Roy Cohn). At perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Of least 300 members of the motion-picture industry course, the Supreme Court has ruled more than were blacklisted as a result of that politically mo- once that disrespecting or outright destroying the tivated purge. Few ever recovered their careers. flag isn’t a punishable offense—and expatriation Such heavy-handed state influence has a long has been deemed “cruel and unusual punishment” history of legitimizing discrimination. After all, even for wartime desertion. It is very settled jurisone shouldn’t have to give up basic civil rights in prudence that, under the First, Eighth, and 14th deference to a service or employment contract. Amendments, a citizen cannot be alienated without A contractor who fires someone simply for being his or her clear and voluntary renunciation of that DIARY OF A ."%-"8 BOTTOM: FACEBOOK / EVANPMATTHEWS; ILLUSTRATION: ANDY FRIEDMAN The Thin White Line October 23, 2017 October 23, 2017 citizenship. Period. And yet… President Trump has suggested all sorts of wild things that once seemed unimaginable but that have now or might one day come to pass. So it’s worth thinking about this notion of revoking citizenship for peaceful political protest. After all, the concept of birthright citizenship has been present since the founding of the Republic. Slavery presented a conspicuous exception, and the Supreme Court’s infamous 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford denied citizenship to any African American, whether slave or free. The 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War to remedy that constitutional lacuna, and since then American jurisprudence has resisted all efforts to deny certain groups of people citizenship rights if they were born here. Recently, however, Republicans have moved to rewrite or revoke the 14th Amendment in order to deny birthright citizenship to so-called “anchor babies.” S N A P S H O T / N ATAC H A P I S A R E N KO Unswayed AP PHOTO Margarita De La Cruz stands inside her earthquakedamaged home in Atzala, Mexico. Authorities told the 68-year-old to evacuate; instead, she has moved into a small room in her garden. 11 The Nation. I worry that Trump has even linked taking a knee to the threat of physical danger, speculating that many team owners joined in the league-wide manifestations of dissent because they were “afraid of their players.” Moreover, I cannot easily disaggregate Trump’s unfounded sense of a threatened ownership class from the far right’s conviction that Black Lives Matter should be classified as a “terrorist” organization. It would be ironic if protests against the use of excessive force by police were used to justify expatriating people or banning political movements for being “violent.” If Trump is right that “most people agree” with him that NFL owners are cowering and kowtowing to the bullying of big black men, then, dear reader, we need to ponder that insinuation with more apprehension and less complacency than that with which the very possibility of Q Trump’s election was so laughingly dismissed. Calvin Trillin Deadline Poet Trump has suggested all sorts of wild things that once seemed unimaginable but that may one day come to pass. THOUGHTS BROUGHT ON BY TRUMP’S PUERTO RICO TWEETS We wonder just who raised this man— This lying, cheating, boastful clown. Which parent could have taught him that It’s cool to kick folks when they’re down? The Nation. SPECIAL INVESTIGATION Jamie Dimon and Other People’s Money How JPMorgan Chase paid its fine for the 2008 mortgage crisis—with phony mortgages! DAVID DAYEN Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase bank. October 23, 2017 RIGHT FROM TOP: INVISION FOR JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. / AP IMAGES / WILLIAM PUGLIANO; REUTERS / JASON REED Y The Nation. ou know the old joke: how do you make a killing on wall Street and never risk a loss? Easy—use other people’s money. Jamie Dimon and his underlings at JPMorgan Chase have perfected this dark art at America’s largest bank, which boasts a balance sheet one-eighth the size of the entire US economy. After JPMorgan’s deceitful activities in the housing market helped trigger the 2008 ﬁnancial crash that cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, and life savings, punishment was in order. Among a vast array of misconduct, JPMorgan engaged in the routine use of “robo-signing,” which allowed bank employees to automatically sign hundreds, even thousands, of foreclosure documents per day without verifying their contents. But in the United States, white-collar criminals rarely go to prison; instead, they negotiate settlements. Thus, on February 9, 2012, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced the National Mortgage Settlement, which ﬁned JPMorgan Chase and four other mega-banks a total of $25 billion. JPMorgan’s share of the settlement was $5.3 billion, but only $1.1 billion had to be paid in cash; the other $4.2 billion was to come in the form of ﬁnancial relief for homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. The settlement called for JPMorgan to reduce the amounts owed, modify the loan terms, and take other steps to help distressed Americans keep their homes. A separate 2013 settlement against the bank for deceiving mortgage investors included another $4 billion in consumer relief. A Nation investigation can now reveal how JPMorgan met part of its $8.2 billion settlement burden: by using other people’s money. “If the Here’s how the alleged scam worked. JPMorgan moved to forgive the mortgages of tens of thousands of home- allegations owners; the feds, in turn, credited these canceled loans are true, against the penalties due under the 2012 and 2013 settlements. But here’s the rub: In many instances, JPMorgan JPMorgan screwed was forgiving loans on properties it no longer owned. The alleged fraud is described in internal JPMorgan everybody.” documents, public records, testimony from homeown— former ers and investors burned in the scam, and other evidence congressman Brad Miller presented in a blockbuster lawsuit against JPMorgan, now being heard in US District Court in New York City. JPMorgan no longer owned the properties because it had sold the mortgages years earlier to 21 third-party investors, including three companies owned by Larry Schneider. Those companies are the plaintiffs in the lawAs CEO and chairman suit; Schneider is also aiding the federal government in a of America’s largest related case against the bank. In a bizarre twist, a company bank, Jamie Dimon associated with the Church of Scientology facilitated the was paid $28 million apparent scheme. Nationwide Title Clearing, a document- in 2016. processing company with close ties to the church, produced and ﬁled the documents that JPMorgan needed to claim ownership and cancel the loans. JPMorgan, it appears, was running an elaborate shell game. In the depths of the ﬁnancial collapse, the bank had unloaded tens of thousands of toxic loans when they were worth next to nothing. Then, when it needed to provide customer relief under the settlements, the bank had paperwork created asserting that it still owned the properties. In the process, homeowners were exploited, investors were defrauded, and communities were left to battle the blight caused by abandoned properties. JPMorgan, however, came out hundreds of millions of dollars ahead, thanks to using other people’s money. “If the allegations are true, JPMorgan screwed everyILLUSTRATION BY TIM ROBINSON 13 body,” says Brad Miller, a former Democratic congressman from North Carolina who was among the strongest advocates of ﬁnancial reform on Capitol Hill until his retirement in 2013. In an unusual departure from most allegations of ﬁnancial bad behavior, there is strong evidence that Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO and chairman, knew about and helped to implement the mass loan-forgiveness project. In two separate meetings in 2013 and 2014, JPMorgan employees working on the project were speciﬁcally instructed not to release mortgages in Detroit under orders from Dimon himself, according to internal bank communications. In an apparent public-relations ploy, JPMorgan was about to invest $100 million in Detroit’s revival. Dimon’s order to delay forgiving the mortgages in Detroit appears to have been motivated by a fear of reputational risk. An internal JPMorgan report warned that hard-hit cities might take issue with bulk loan forgiveness, which would deprive municipal governments of property taxes on abandoned properties while further destabilizing the housing market. Did Dimon also know that JPMorgan, as part of its mass loan-forgiveness project, was forgiving loans on properties it no longer owned? No internal bank documents conﬁrming that knowledge have yet surfaced, but Dimon routinely takes legal responsibility for knowing about his bank’s actions. Like every ﬁnancial CEO in the country, Dimon is obligated by law to sign a document every year attesting to his knowledge of and responsibility for his bank’s operations. The law establishes punishments of $1 million in ﬁnes and imprisonment of up to 10 years for knowingly making false certiﬁcations. Dimon signed the required document for each of the years that the mass loan-forgiveness project was in operation, from 2012 through 2016. Whether or not he knew that his employees were forgiving loans the bank no longer owned, his signatures on those documents make him potentially legally responsible. The JPMorgan press ofﬁce declined to make Dimon available for an interview or to comment for this article. The Nation. Nationwide Title Clearing declined to comment on the speciﬁcs of the case but said that it is “methodical in the validity and legality of the documents” it produces. Federal appointees have been complicit in this as well. E-mails show that the Ofﬁce of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, charged by the government with ensuring the banks’ compliance with the two federal settlements, gave JPMorgan the green light to mass-forgive its loans. This served two purposes for the bank: It could take settlement credit for forgiving the loans, and it could also hide these loans—which JPMorgan had allegedly been handling improperly—from the settlements’ testing regimes. “No one in Washington seems to understand why Americans think that different rules apply to Wall Street, and why they’re so mad about that,” said former congressman Miller. “This is why.” L auren and robert warwick were two of the shell game’s many victims. The Warwicks live in Odenton, Maryland, a bedroom community halfway between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and had taken out a second mortgage on their home with JPMorgan’s Chase Home Finance division. In 2008, after the housing bubble burst and the Great Recession started, 3.6 million Americans lost their jobs; Lauren Warwick was one of them. Before long, the Warwicks had virtually no income. While Lauren looked for work, Robert was in the early stages of starting a landscaping business. But the going was slow, and the Warwicks fell behind on their mortgage payments. They tried to set up a modiﬁed payment plan, to no avail: Chase demanded payment in full and warned that foreclosure loomed. “They were horrible,” Lauren Warwick told The Nation. “I had one [Chase representative] say, ‘Sell the damn house—that’s all you can do.’” Then, one day, the hounding stopped. In October 2009, the Warwicks received a letter from 1st Fidelity Loan Services, welcoming them as new customers. The letter explained that 1st Fidelity had purchased the Warwicks’ mortgage from Chase, and that they should henceforth be making an adjusted mortgage payment to this new owner. Lauren Warwick had never heard of 1st Fidelity, but the letter made her more relieved than suspicious. “I’m thinking, ‘They’re not taking my house, and they’re not hounding me,’” she said. Larry Schneider, 49, is the founder and president of 1st Fidelity and two other mortgage companies. He has worked in Florida’s real-estate business for 25 years, get- The alleged shell game put JPMorgan hundreds of millions of dollars ahead— with federal permission. After the housing bubble burst in 2008, 3.6 million Americans lost their jobs; millions more lost their homes. October 23, 2017 ting his start in Miami. In 2003, Schneider hit upon a business model: If he bought distressed mortgages at a signiﬁcant discount, he could afford to offer the borrowers reduced mortgage payments. It was a win-win-win: Borrowers remained in their homes, communities were stabilized, and Schneider still made money. “I was in a position where I could do what banks didn’t want to,” Schneider says. In fact, his business model resembled what President Franklin Roosevelt did in the 1930s with the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, which prevented nearly 1 million foreclosures while turning a small proﬁt. More to the point, Schneider’s model exempliﬁed how the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama could have handled the foreclosure crisis if they’d been more committed to helping Main Street rather than Wall Street. The Warwicks’ loan was one of more than 1,000 that Schneider purchased without incident from JPMorgan’s Chase Home Finance division starting in 2003. In 2009, the bank offered Schneider a package deal: 3,529 primary mortgages (known as “ﬁrst liens”) on which payments had been delinquent for over 180 days. Most of the properties were located in areas where the crisis hit hardest, such as Baltimore. Selling distressed properties to companies like Schneider’s was part of JPMorgan’s strategy for limiting its losses after the housing bubble collapsed. The bank owned hundreds of thousands of mortgages that had little likelihood of being repaid. These mortgages likely carried ongoing costs: paying property taxes, addressing municipal-code violations, even mowing the lawn. Many also had legal defects and improper terms; if federal regulators ever scrutinized these loans, the bank would be in jeopardy. In short, the troubled mortgages were the ﬁnancial equivalent of toxic waste. To deal with them, Chase Home Finance created a ﬁnancial toxic-waste dump: The mortgages were listed in an internal database called RCV1, where RCV stood for “Recovery.” Unbeknownst to Schneider, the package deal that Chase offered him came entirely from this toxic-waste dump. Because he’d had a good relationship with Chase up to that point, Schneider took the deal. On February 25, 2009, he signed an agreement to buy the loans, valued at $156 million, for only $200,000—slightly more than one-tenth of a penny on the dollar. But the agreement turned sour fast, Schneider says. Among a range of irregularities, perhaps the most egregious was that Chase never provided him with all the documentation proving ownership of the properties in question. The data that Schneider did receive lacked critical information, such as borrower names, addresses of the properties, even the payment histories or amounts due. This made it impossible for him to work with the borrowers to modify their terms and help them stay in their homes. Every time Schneider asked Chase about the full documentation, he was told it was coming. It never arrived. Here’s the kicker: JPMorgan was still collecting payments on some of these loans and even admitted this fact to Schneider. In December 2009, a Chase Home Finance employee named Launi Solomon sent Schneider a list WIKIMEDIA CC BY 2.0 14 October 23, 2017 of at least $47,695.53 in payments on his loans that the borrowers had paid to Chase. But 10 days later, Solomon wrote that these payments would not be transferred to Schneider because of an internal accounting practice that was “not reversible.” On another loan sold to Schneider, Chase had taken out insurance against default; when the homeowner did in fact default, Chase pocketed the $250,000 payout rather than forward it to Schneider, according to internal documents. Chase even had a third-party debt collector named Real Time Resolutions solicit Schneider’s homeowners, seeking payments on behalf of Chase. In one such letter from 2013, Real Time informed homeowner Maureen Preis, of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, that “our records indicate Chase continues to hold a lien on the above referenced property,” even though Chase explicitly conﬁrmed to Schneider that it had sold him the loan in 2010. JPMorgan jumped in and out of claiming mortgage ownership, Schneider asserts, based on whatever was best for the bank. “If a payment comes in, it’s theirs,” he says; “if there’s a code-enforcement issue, it’s mine.” REUTERS / STEVE MARCUS T he shell game entered a new, more farreaching phase after JPMorgan agreed to its federal settlements. Now the bank was obligated to provide consumer relief worth $8.2 billion— serious money even for JPMorgan. The solution? Return to the toxic-waste dump. Because JPMorgan had stalled Schneider on turning over the complete paperwork proving ownership, it took the chance that it could still claim credit for forgiving the loans that he now owned. Plus the settlements required JPMorgan to show the government that it was complying with all federal regulations for mortgages. The RCV1 loans didn’t seem to meet those standards, but forgiving them would enable the bank to hide this fact. The Ofﬁce of Mortgage Settlement Oversight gave Chase Home Finance explicit permission to implement this strategy. “Your business people can be relieved from pushing forward” on presenting RCV1 loans for review, lawyer Martha Svoboda wrote in an e-mail to Chase, as long as the loans were canceled. Chase dubbed this the “pre DOJ Lien Release Project.” (To release a lien means to forgive the loan and relinquish any ownership right to the property in question.) The title page of an internal report on the project lists Lisa Shepherd, vice president of property preservation, and Steve Hemperly, head of mortgage originations, as the executives in charge. The bank hired Nationwide Title Clearing, the company associated with the Church of Scientology, to ﬁle the lien releases with county ofﬁces. Erika Lance, an employee of Nationwide, is listed as the preparer on 25 of these lien releases seen by The Nation. Ironically, Schneider alleges, the releases were in effect “robo-signed,” since the employees failed to verify that JPMorgan Chase owned the loans. If Schneider is right, it means that JPMorgan relied on the same fraudulent “robo-signing” process that had previously gotten the bank ﬁned by the government to help it evade that penalty. On September 13, 2012, Chase Home Finance mailed The Nation. Millions of Americans could have kept their homes if the federal government had helped Main Street rather than Wall Street. As CEO, Jamie Dimon is potentially legally responsible for JPMorgan’s apparently phony mortgages. David Dayen is one of America’s foremost financial journalists. Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud appears in paperback in November. 33,456 forgiveness letters informing borrowers of the debt cancellation. Schneider immediately started hearing from people who said that they wouldn’t be making further payments to him because Chase had forgiven the loan. Some even sued Schneider for illegally charging them for mortgages that he (supposedly) didn’t own. When Lauren and Robert Warwick got their forgiveness letter from Chase, Lauren almost passed out. “You will owe nothing more on the loan and your debt with be cancelled,” the letter stated, calling this “a result of a recent mortgage servicing settlement reached with the states and federal government.” But for the past three years, the Warwicks had been paying 1st Fidelity Loan Servicing—not Chase. Lauren said she called 1st Fidelity, only to be told: “Sorry, no, I don’t care what they said to you—you owe us the money.” JPMorgan’s shell game unraveled because Lauren Warwick’s neighbor worked for Michael Busch, the speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. After reviewing the Warwicks’ documents, Kristin Jones, Busch’s chief of staff, outlined her suspicions to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. “I’m afraid based on the notiﬁcation of loan transfer that Chase sold [the Warwicks’] loan some years ago,” Jones wrote. “I question whether Chase is somehow getting credit for a write-off they never actually have to honor.” After Schneider and various borrowers demanded answers, Chase checked a sample of over 500 forgiveness letters. It found that 108 of the 500 loans—more than one out of ﬁve—no longer belonged to the bank. Chase told the Warwicks that their forgiveness letter had been sent in error. Eventually, Chase bought back the Warwicks’ loan from Schneider, along with 12 others, and honored the promised loan forgiveness. N ot everyone was as lucky as the warwicks. In letters signed by vice president Patrick Boyle, JPMorgan Chase forgave at least 49,355 mortgages in three separate increments. The bank also forgave additional mortgages, but the exact number is unknown because the bank stopped sending homeowners notification letters. Nor is it known how many of these forgiven mortgages didn’t actually belong to JPMorgan; the bank refused The Nation’s request for clarification. Through title searches and the discovery process, Schneider ascertained that the bank forgave 607 loans that belonged to one of his three companies. (continued on page 20) The choice: Freedom activists in Selma confronted police brutality with nonviolence; facing white supremacists in Charlottesville, some protesters fought back. WHEN VIOLENCE COMES Who provides the better answer to far-right thuggery: Martin Luther King Jr. or antifa? SASHA ABRAMSKY R LEFT FROM TOP: AP PHOTO; SIPA USA VIA AP PHOTO; RIGHT: REUTERS / STEPHANIE KEITH October 23, 2017 The Nation. oger stone, a longtime friend and political adviser to Donald Trump, made headlines on August 24 when he warned that any attempt to impeach Trump would effectively trigger a civil war. Despite this president’s near-record-low approval ratings, Stone said that impeachment would unleash “a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen.” Any politician who dared vote for impeachment, he added, “would be endangering their own life.” Stone wasn’t advocating such bloodshed, he halfheartedly asserted, merely predicting it. But coming from a man so close to the president, the message seemed clear enough: If threatened with removal from ofﬁce, Trump might encourage his gun-toting supporters to start shooting people, up to and including members of Congress. In the United States, of course, the far right is heavily armed. During the Obama years, distaste for the nation’s ﬁrst black president helped drive a massive increase in gun purchases, with aggregate sales averaging over 1 million a month during his administration. Prodded by the National Riﬂe Association, most states now have open-carry or concealed-carry laws, meaning that extremist groups can and do turn up in public spaces armed for battle. Plus the number of whitesupremacist groups is growing rapidly, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which now tracks more “The than 900 hate groups. Stone’s apocalyptic bluster came as no surprise to election of Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color of Trump has Change, a nonproﬁt group based in New York that works to change corporate behavior around race and social jus- not just tice. No modern American politician has exploited the se- emboldened ductive power of violence quite like Donald Trump, and racists; they Robinson recognized the potential consequences of this early on. After the 2016 election, he and Color of Change have been created a strategy document for the approaching era of activated.” resistance. The victory of a “change the rules” candidate — Keeanga-Yamahtta like Trump, Robinson wrote, could rapidly unravel “long Taylor, Princeton professor held principles” in the United States, including the rule of law. The big question was: What should we do about it? That question has only grown more urgent over the past several months, as seen most dramatically in “You need 500 the deadly clashes that erupted in the wake of white- people to defeat Nazis supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virgin- nonviolently; if you only bring 50, there ia, which culminated in a man reported to have long- will be a fight.” standing Nazi sympathies killing an antiracist protester — James Brady of Greenpeace and injuring 19 others by plowing into them with his car. With far-right groups and individuals clearly itching for a ﬁght, should progressives and leftist radicals respond in kind, as the antifascist activists known as “antifa” have done in several cities over the past couple of years? Or should they hold true to the philosophy of nonviolence that most progressives, at most moments in American history, have favored? More a concept than an organization, antifa has no membership, no central committee, no president, and no one who can say yes or no to particular strategies. Instead, it’s the coming together of groups of people who are convinced that direct action—including physical violence—is the necessary response to the resurgence of fascist groups in America. Cornel West explicitly thanked antifa activists for saving his and other religious leaders’ lives during the mayhem in Charlottesville. “We would have been crushed like cockroaches if it were not for the anarchists and 17 the antifascists” who shielded them from an approaching group of white supremacists, West said. Yet the acceptance of street ﬁghting as a legitimate political tool is an idea that many on the left reject, on both tactical and ethical grounds. Antifa’s actions, says Noam Chomsky, are “a major gift to the right, including the militant right, who are exuberant.… When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it’s the toughest and most brutal who win—and we know who that is.” In many ways, this debate revives an age-old conundrum on the left. From mid-19th-century abolitionists to suffragettes in the early 20th century, from union organizers in the 1930s to civil-rights and antiwar activists in the ’60s, the question has been argued repeatedly: In the face of violence unleashed by the state, by capital, or by right-wing groups, how should the left respond? The question continues to resurface in American history because, our national mythologies notwithstanding, violence has been a deﬁning characteristic of that history from the start. The enslavement of African Americans was enforced with violence, as was the subjugation of Native Americans. There have been armed extremists on the right—the Ku Klux Klan, the White Citizens’ Councils, the John Birch Society—as well as armed insurrectionists on the left: the early anarchists, the Weathermen, the Black Panthers. The right, however—those promoting and defending embedded racial, religious, economic, and gender inequities—has resorted to violence both more frequently than the left and on a far larger scale. In the 1920s, “the Klan had 4 million members and had strong political inﬂuence in several states,” says Michael Kazin, a professor of history at Georgetown University. In the 1950s and ’60s, freedom activists learned to their bloody dismay that many law-enforcement ofﬁcials formally responsible for protecting their right to peaceably assemble were, under cover of darkness, also members of the Klan. What makes today’s moment different from other chaotic eras in American history is that now, it’s not grassroots zealots or two-bit local politicians who are encouraging violence, but rather the president of the United States himself. Trump started ﬂirting with violence during his campaign—saying that he would pay the T rump, the reality-tv maestro, may be using the theatrics of violence to divert attention from the rest of his presidency—his assault on regulatory structures, his lack of legislative accomplishments, his Russiagate legal perils—as Marshall Ganz, a senior lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and others have argued. But smokescreen or not, the threat to civil society is all too real: Trump’s aggressive rhetoric has given extremists nationwide the impression that they, too, are now free to act on their hate. On May 20, a white supremacist in Maryland fatally stabbed Richard Collins III, a Bowie State University student and recently commissioned second lieutenant in the US Army. Six days later, two men were stabbed to death in Portland, Oregon, after defending a Muslim woman from a white supremacist. In Montana, Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte physically attacked a journalist from The Guardian who had asked a question that he didn’t like; Gianforte handily won election the next day. In Louisiana, Republican Congressman Clay Higgins advocated a holy war against “Islamic horror,” urging: “Kill them all, for the sake of all that is good and righteous.” In Mississippi, Republican State Representative Karl Oliver called for “lynching” anyone who took down a Confederate statue. “You have what used to be more of a fringe element being given cover to operate in the open air,” says Alicia Garza, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. Like numerous anti-Trump activists, lawyers, academics, and journalists, Garza regularly receives death threats. “We can’t call the police for support,” she says, “so how do we protect “The only option left is for black people to disrupt the systems that keep us oppressed.” — Black Lives Matter spokesperson Cornel West has called antifa activists lifesavers; Noam Chomsky deemed them “a major gift to the militant right.” Sasha Abramsky is a frequent contributor to The Nation and the author, most recently, of Jumping at Shadows: The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream. ourselves? All of us are having to take additional precautions, given that we’re in the crosshairs of a different kind of administration than we’ve ever seen in this country.” Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Princeton University professor of African-American studies, gave a commencement speech in May at Hampshire College in which she called Trump a “racist, sexist megalomaniac.” A few days later, Fox News and other right-wing media outlets started criticizing her, and online trolls barraged her with threats. Taylor says she received two speciﬁc death threats and more than 60 hate e-mails, leading her to cancel a number of public appearances. “This is a dramatic escalation,” Taylor says. “The election of Trump has not just emboldened racists; they have been activated.” T his was exactly the kind of violence that Rashad Robinson at Color of Change expected to see after Trump’s election. To plot a counterstrategy, Color of Change partnered with MoveOn, the progressive think tank Demos Action, and the National Domestic Workers Legacy Fund early in 2017 to convene the “Fightback Table.” Consisting of representatives from about 50 civil-rights, environmental, immigrant-rights, and social-justice organizations, the Fightback Table began to hold regular meetings in Washington and New York. Participants discussed nonviolent ways to fight Trump, including strategizing a rapid response to defend the Affordable Care Act, mobilizing in the wake of the Charlottesville outrage, and organizing protests and political campaigns to protect vulnerable immigrant populations, among other actions. Drawing on Color of Change’s particular expertise, the Fightback Table has also explored strategies to embarrass business interests into separating themselves from Trump’s agenda. “We’re getting more and more traction at forcing corporations to not play both sides, to not be neutral in this moment,” Robinson says, noting that many businesses distanced themselves from the administration after Trump’s “both sides were at fault” response to the events in Charlottesville. Color of Change had already been lobbying ﬁnancial companies to stop processing payments for far-right groups selling fascist paraphernalia on their websites. In August, PayPal, American Express, and several other credit-card companies announced that they would stop working with nearly three dozen such groups, imposing a ﬁnancial squeeze that could drain them of resources over time. REUTERS / LAWRENCE BRYANT legal bills for anyone who roughed up protesters, hinting that “Second Amendment people” should assassinate Hillary Clinton if she became president. As president, Trump has blasted journalists in particular as “very bad people,” even tweeting a doctored video showing him at a WWE wrestling event slamming an opponent labeled “CNN” to the ﬂoor. Trump also gave a presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, the ex-sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who terrorized Latinos and others in a jail that Arpaio gleefully described as a “concentration camp,” and who violated the separation of powers by defying a federal judge’s order to stop racially based policing. And, of course, Trump found it impossible to issue a swift, unequivocal denunciation of the swastika-waving neoNazis who invaded Charlottesville armed with riﬂes, clubs, knives, and body armor. REUTERS / JOSHUA ROBERTS October 23, 2017 The Fightback Table is pursuing other, similar tactics, while also working to broaden the antifascist coalition. “The corridors of power, whether Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Capitol Hill, or Hollywood—we’ll be pushing them to use their leverage to ﬁght back against Trump,” Robinson says. “We’ll be leveraging people power to push legislatively,” as well as to promote “cultural change [and] people showing up for peaceful protest. We need to build alliances not just with progressives, but with the moderate center-right [and] folks of good faith on the right.” “The most important principle is strength in numbers, and not leaving it to the most targeted communities to be the only ones standing up to these forces,” argues Naomi Klein, the author of No Is Not Enough and a contributing editor at The Nation. “The more cross-movement alliance-building we do, the stronger progressive forces are in the face of state and vigilante violence.” One silver lining of Trump’s rise to power is the collaboration it has encouraged among progressive groups that had previously remained isolated in their respective issue silos, maintains Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace. “I’ve dreamed of this unity and solidarity across the left!” she says. “This level of solidarity is how we get through this.” For example, Unstoppable Together is a nationwide coalition of trade unions, faith-based organizations, legal activists, and others who are strategizing how to resist authoritarian policies and also stand up—peacefully, publicly, and with all due speed—to the violent energies unleashed by Trump. The Highlander Center in Tennessee, which was instrumental in nonviolent training during the civil-rights era, has recently ramped up its efforts as well. “We have to make sure we’re skilled up on nonviolence and de-escalation training,” Leonard says. Having long been targeted by state and vigilante violence internationally, Greenpeace is now educating a new generation of organizers in the United States on the most effective responses to violent provocation. During a justconcluded “Summer of Resistance,” Greenpeace says, it trained 2,000 people in 14 cities on the theory and techniques of nonviolent action. “Be awake but not afraid” is one guidepost, Leonard says. Another is to “engage with opponents outside of their areas of strength. If they have the guns, don’t shoot [guns]!” “You want to lead with a more compelling vision of the future than your adversaries have,” explains activisttrainer James Brady of Greenpeace, adding that you also need lots of people to show up and put skin in the game. “People misunderstand what nonviolence means. It means you try every possible means at your disposal to change the course of a conversation. If you want to shut down a group of neo-Nazis with nonviolence, you need 500 people. If you only have 50 people, you’re going to have a ﬁght.” But a ﬁght is exactly what’s needed, antifa advocates reply, using as analogies the antifascist battles of the 1930s and the antiracist and antifascist struggles in Europe in the 1980s. “It’s an act of self-defense, community defense, and minority defense to shut them down by any means necessary,” says journalist Natasha Lennard, who has written extensively on the networks of activists who come together The Nation. 19 under the “antifa” banner. “Quite often the property damage is aimed toward disruption. Make a venue aware that if they fall prey to this free-speech myth and have white supremacists speak, there’s a promise of disruption.” Writing in The Nation on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, Lennard quoted a New York City antifa group’s declaration: “If Trump tries to register Muslims and engage in mass deportations, a Change.org petition is not going to stop it.” Jeff Rousset, a longtime grassroots organizer in Philadelphia and Boston, disagrees. He argues that the antifa strategy invites catastrophe and “could actually accelerate the rise of fascism. It makes conservatives feel that they are under attack, and then they side with the extreme right.” “This is not about who controls the most violence; it’s about who controls the legitimacy of the political space,” insists Erica Chenoweth, the co-author of Why Civil Disobedience Works. Chenoweth cites Martin Luther King Jr.’s advocacy of nonviolent yet uncompromising resistance to state and vigilante violence. By maintaining discipline in the face of relentless abuse, the movement that King led attracted mass support and ultimately helped to deliver such substantive victories as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Just so today, Chenoweth maintains, progressives should use “innovative techniques” that push progressive goals while avoiding the street ﬁghts Satire, sought by the armed right. The Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter crossemployed one such technique after the National Riﬂe movement Association released a video exhorting that only “the alliances, clenched ﬁst of truth” could save the country from the anti-Trump resistance. Over images of protest marches and sheer and street violence and mentions of our ﬁrst black presinumbers dent, an NRA spokeswoman snarled words like “assasare making sinate,” “burn,” and “terrorize” before calling the NRA “freedom’s safest place.” Fighting ﬁre with ﬁre, Black fascists Lives Matter released a video that was a mirror version look small. of the NRA’s. Over images of white vigilantes and police killings, a Black Lives Matter spokeswoman declared that “the only option left is for black people to disrupt the systems that keep us oppressed and build the kinds of communities in which we want to live.” “In chaos is when change happens,” says Jo Ann Hardesty of the NAACP’s Portland, Oregon, chapter. Hardesty helped organize the chapter’s “Freedom Summer White people have 2017” training session on nonviolent direct action, which to show up; targeted she regards as the path to power. “Talk to people not on communities must their political afﬁliation but their values—neighbor to not face state and neighbor, friend to friend, community to community.” vigilante violence This movement-building is starting to pay off. alone. 20 The Nation. Wherever fascist groups have mobilized recently, broad coalitions of opponents have taken to the streets in far larger numbers. One week after Charlottesville, tens of thousands marched peacefully in Boston against a handful of fascists. In San Francisco, a large, mainly peaceful crowd marched, sang, and danced against white supremacy in general and Trump in particular. Satire, humor, absurdism, as well as the sheer numbers of energized people showing up on the streets—all are being used to make fascists look small. T he trump era is host to many tragedies and many absurdities. When its history is written, the normalization of political violence should rank high on the list. Democracy survives when a community or a country makes powerful and sustained efforts to resolve its differences peacefully. It dies when individuals try to impose their visions through force and to consolidate power through intimidation. In 2017, we stand on a precipice. President Trump has all but endorsed violence against the media, against political opponents, and against marginalized racial, religious, and sexual groups. He has (continued from page 15) The lien-release project overall allowed JPMorgan to take hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement credit. Most of the loans that JPMorgan released—and received settlement credit for—were all but worthless. Homeowners had abandoned the homes years earlier, expecting JPMorgan to foreclose, only to have the bank forgive the loan after the fact. That forgiveness transferred responsibility for paying back taxes and making repairs back to the homeowner. It was like a recurring horror story in which “zombie foreclosures” were resurrected from the dead to wreak havoc on people’s ﬁnancial lives. Federal ofﬁcials knew about the problems and did nothing. In July 2014, the City of Milwaukee wrote to Joseph Smith, the federal oversight monitor, alerting him that “thousands of homeowners” were engulfed in legal nightmares because of the confusion that banks had sown about who really owned their mortgages. In a deposition for the lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, Smith admitted that he did not recall responding to the City of Milwaukee’s letter. If you pay taxes in a municipality where JPMorgan spun its trickery, you helped pick up the tab. The bank’s shell game prevented municipalities from knowing who actually owned distressed properties and could be held legally liable for maintaining them and paying property taxes. As a result, abandoned properties deteriorated further, spreading urban blight and impeding economic recovery. “Who’s going to pay for the demolition [of abandoned buildings] or [the necessary extra] police presence?” asks Brent Tantillo, Schneider’s lawyer. “As October 23, 2017 used his bully pulpit to sow fear, discord, and division, perhaps hoping to provoke his opponents as well as his supporters into embracing violence. In that case, Trump may calculate, the political middle might tolerate him as a strongman who restores “law and order” by cracking down on dissent and sweeping the streets clean of riffraff. This is how demagogues have always operated. The challenge for the resistance is to douse the ﬁres of violence that Trump is fanning while building a powerful, inclusive opposition that doesn’t need physical force to succeed. On a pragmatic level, violence from the left would likely lead to a law-and-order crackdown, as it did in the 1960s, when Richard Nixon tapped into the latent racism and cultural fears of the “silent majority.” Moreover, any lurch toward violence would deprive progressives of the moral high ground— vital territory to hold in turbulent times. Although we certainly must stand ﬁrm against the Trump regime, we must do so peacefully, gracefully, and without compromising our movement’s potential or our core values. Fascism is peculiarly good at making people act shamefully; in resisting Trump, we must remain peaceful in the face Q of violent provocation and keep faith with who we truly are. a taxpayer, it’s you.” Such economic fallout may help explain why Jamie Dimon directed that JPMorgan’s mass forgiveness of loans exempt Detroit, a city where JPMorgan has a long history. The bank’s predecessor, the National Bank of Detroit, has been a ﬁxture in the city for over 80 years; its relationships with General Motors and Ford go back to the 1930s. And JPMorgan employees knew perfectly well that mass loan forgiveness might create difﬁculties. The 2012 internal report warned that cities might react negatively to the sheer number of forgiven loans, which would lower tax revenues while adding costs. Noting that some of the cities in question were clients of JPMorgan Chase, the report warned that the project posed a risk to the bank’s reputation. Reputational risk was the exact opposite of what JPMorgan hoped to achieve in Detroit. So the bank decided to delay the mass forgiveness of loans in Detroit and surrounding Wayne County until after the $100 million investment was announced. Dimon himself ordered the delay, according to the minutes of JPMorgan Chase meetings that cite the bank’s chairman and CEO by name. Dimon then went to Detroit to announce the investment on May 21, 2014, reaping positive coverage from The New York Times, USA Today, and other local and national news outlets. Since June 1, 2014, JPMorgan has released 10,229 liens in Wayne County, according to public records; the bank declined to state how many of these were part of the lien-release project. Both of Larry Schneider’s lawsuits alleging fraud on JPMorgan Chase’s part re- main active in federal courts. The Justice Department could also still ﬁle charges against JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, or both, because Schneider’s case was excluded from the federal settlement agreements. Few would expect Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department to pursue such a case, but what this sorry episode most highlights is the pathetic disciplining of Wall Street during the Obama administration. JPMorgan’s litany of acknowledged criminal abuses over the past decade reads like a rap sheet, extending well beyond mortgage fraud to encompass practically every part of the bank’s business. But instead of holding JPMorgan’s executives responsible for what looks like a criminal racket, Obama’s Justice Department negotiated weak settlement after weak settlement. Adding insult to injury, JPMorgan then wriggled out of paying its full penalties by using other people’s money. The larger lessons here command special attention in the Trump era. Negotiating weak settlements that don’t force mega-banks to even pay their ﬁnes, much less put executives in prison, turns the concept of accountability into a mirthless farce. Telegraphing to executives that they will emerge unscathed after committing crimes not only invites further crimes; it makes another ﬁnancial crisis more likely. The widespread belief that the United States has a two-tiered system of justice— that the game is rigged for the rich and the powerful—also enabled the rise of Trump. We cannot expect Americans to trust a system that lets Wall Street fraudsters roam free while millions of hard-working taxQ payers get the shaft. WHAT ADULT DIAPER COMPANIES DON’T WANT MEN TO KNOW... MEN’S LIBERTY ™ IS SAFER, MORE COMFORTABLE, AND REIMBURSED BY MEDICARE! If you’re one of the 4 million men in the U.S. who suffer from urinary incontinence, you know adult diapers can be a real pain in the rear. They’re bulky and uncomfortable. They ﬁll up fast and overﬂow. They trap moisture, causing infections. Plus, they’re expensive! You can pay as much as $300 each month out of pocket. That’s thousands of dollars each year, since they’re not covered by Medicare. COVERED BY MEDICARE! I can keep doing what I want to do, without having to worry about running to the bathroom or changing my clothes. 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T October 23, 2017 The Nation. he american new deal of franklin roosevelt’s first two terms combined the goals of financial stabilization, reconstruction, conservation, and employment—jobs for the jobless; public works; power systems and new industries, especially in the South; soil conservation and reforestation to battle the Dust Bowl; and a potent mix of regulations and insurance to assert public power over high finance. Europe today needs all of these. Its overgrown banks, haunted by the specter of insolvency, are pushing households into foreclosures and evictions across the continent, and at an accelerating scale in the most depressed countries. States are bankrupt and will only become more so as the European Central Bank begins to tighten under pressure from German savers crushed by negative interest rates. Like America 80 years ago, Europe has a vast periphery. In its South, there is a semi-permanent Great Depression, whereas in the East there is great need for new and renewed industries, transport networks, housing, and Any retreat social investments. Above all, Europeans need jobs. Unlike the United States in the 1930s, Europe is to the also facing the menace of disintegration, as the absence nation-state of a democratic federal system has spawned a crisis of legitimacy. Paralysis in the face of deindustrialization will only and chronic unemployment is breeding a toxic politics benefit the throughout Europe, with a postmodern form of fascism xenophobic threatening some countries and a sense of hopelessness elsewhere. Europe has not yet suffered ecological calami- forces of ties comparable to those in the past few weeks in Texas, the ugly Florida, and Puerto Rico; but they are coming, in the form of droughts, rising sea levels, and (most immedi- right. ately) unstoppable waves of refugees from conﬂict and climate change in the Middle East and Africa. The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) has therefore proposed a European New Deal (END), inspired by FDR but designed for European conditions. Chief among these is the sad fact that the European Union is a weak and limited thing—a confederacy, more or less. The crisis has made it virtually impossible even to discuss the creation of a US-style federation in Europe, with full powers to budget and mobilize for the emergencies at hand. European polities are so alienated by the authoritarian incompetence of the current leadership— Yanis Varoufakis exempliﬁed by the crushing of the Greek government in (above) is the 2015 and the heavy-handed approach of the European former finance Commission to Brexit—that an increase in central powers minister of Greece (“more Europe,” as they say) would almost certainly meet and co-founder of heavy resistance. So it is necessary to work within existing the Democracy in charters and treaties to bring about stabilization by means Europe Movement of a European New Deal before hope is restored and the 2025. James K. Galbraith (below) creation of new, democratic, federal, pan-European instiis a professor at tutions—even a proper European Constitution—can be the University of discussed sensibly and with cool heads. Texas at Austin To this END, we have proposed the following pro- and an adviser grams for all European countries, independent of whether to DiEM25. they are in the European Union or the eurozone: UÑÑÅiiÑÓÅ>ÈÓ ]Ñi`ÑLçÑ>ÑiåÑ>iVçÑå ÈiÑ>ÑÈÑ to provide a continent-wide infrastructure focusing on the green Energy Union and the technological sovereignty that Europe desperately needs. UÑV VÑ>`ÑÈ V>ÑÈÓ>Lë>Ó ]Ñ°ÅV°>çÑÓÅ ÞÑ a jobs-guarantee program to offer employment to all Europeans seeking work in their home countries. The jobs should pay a decent moderate wage keyed to naILLUSTRATION BY CURT MERLO 23 tional conditions, ending the involuntary migration ﬂows within Europe that have been the cause of much discontent, and tied to a food-and-energy-stamps program and to social housing. UÑÑÞäiÅÈ>Ñ`ä`i`ÑÓ>ÓÑå Þ`Ñ> åÑÞÅ °i>ÑVÓzens to share in the returns of capital and automation, democratizing the economic sphere and preventing the next crisis of low aggregate demand due to the workerdisplacement effect of artiﬁcial intelligence. Specifically for the eurozone, we propose a series of therapeutic policy interventions whose great advantage is that they need no European Union treaty changes, but can be implemented under a broad interpretation of existing rules: UÑÑÈÓi°LçÈÓi°ÑL>ÑÞ ÑÓ>ÓÑ²>³ÑiÞ>ÓiÈÑÓiÑVÅiation, by the Roosevelt administration, of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and (b) restructures all of Europe’s problem banks, placing them under effective social control. UÑÑ°Å Å>ÑLçÑåVÑÓiÑÞÅ °i>Ñ iÓÅ>Ñ>Ñi`ates between states and money markets to reduce their total debt burden, but without money-printing or making Germany pay for, or guarantee, the public debt of deﬁcit countries. UÑÑ >°ÓiÅÑ §§riÑ °ÞLV`iLÓÑ ÅiÈÓÅÞVÓÞÅÑ w>VÓçÑ for unpayable legacy debts (e.g., Greece’s). How are these programs to be funded in the absence of a federal treasury or a central bank with a suitable remit? The Green Transition Works Authority will be funded by a combination of (a) the European Investment Bank, which has the capacity to issue the necessary bonds, while the European Central Bank can stand by in the secondary markets ready to purchase the EIB’s bonds, bolster their value, and reduce the interest payments; and (b) a continent-wide carbon tax. For economic and social stabilization, we propose the creation of a European Equity Depository, into which the following income streams will ﬂow: proﬁts from the ﬁnancial assets purchased by Europe’s central banks (in the context of their monetary operations); other centralbank proﬁts; and a pan-European inheritance tax. Finally, a percentage of shares from every corporate initial public offering and capital increase should be socialized and transferred to the European Equity Depository. The accumulating dividends, plus levies on the derived distribution of intellectual-property rights and on common-knowledge monopolies, will then fund a universal basic dividend. Then there is the euro. The currency shared by 19 of the EU’s member states cannot be preserved in its current form, resembling as it does the gold-exchange standard, whose 1929 collapse led to the Great Depression. The euro has political and symbolic importance, both for its champions and its foes, but monetary systems are tools, not ends in themselves. So the euro must either adapt or cease to exist. The reality is that Europe created a common currency with an inﬂexible central bank and no federal state; that arrangement has ended in a predictable debt deﬂation. 24 As a result, already the European monetary system is falling apart. There are countries (Denmark and Britain) that will never join the euro. There are others (Sweden, Poland, and Hungary among them) that are supposed to join in the future but apparently have no intention of doing so. And then there are Cyprus and Greece, which under capital controls have a de facto dual-currency system, since a euro in a Cypriot or Greek bank cannot be exchanged freely for a euro in paper or in another country’s banks. Lastly, some countries in the eurozone would be better off outside, including rich countries like Finland. Given these realities, the vision of a comprehensive continental currency is not going to be realized. The European establishment must accept that false hope is bad strategy. Work should begin now on a new round of monetary reforms for Europe, giving the indebted countries of the region degrees of freedom without which the grapes of wrath will continue to “grow heavy for the vintage.” To this effect, DiEM25’s European New Deal is proposing a moderate, technically simple reform: the creation of a public digital-payments platform in every eurozone country. Using the existing digital platform of their nation’s tax ofﬁce, taxpayers would be given the opportunity to purchase digital tax credits, which they could use to pay one another or to extinguish future taxes at a substantial discount. These credits would be denominated in euros but transferable only between taxpayers of a single country, and would thus be impervious to sharp capital ﬂight. Meanwhile, governments would be able to create a limited number of these “ﬁscal euros,” to be given to citizens in need or for the funding of public projects. Fiscal euros would allow stressed governments to stimulate demand, lessen the tax burden, and, ultimately, reduce the crushing power of the We need European Central Bank. In the long term, these public digital-payment platforms can form a managed system a panof country-speciﬁc euros that work like an International European Clearing Union, a modernized version of John Maynard Keynes’s 1944 vision of what the Bretton Woods system network of rebel should have been like—but, tragically, was not. D iem25’s european new deal provides, we believe, the best chance for holding the European Union together. But should it be held together? Many progressive voices in Europe (and beyond) have been calling for the disbandment of the EU, due to its irredeemably neoliberal architecture, and a return to the nation-state as the realm in which democratic politics can be rebuilt before a new internationalism can spring up again, this time on solid foundations. They point, in much the same way as Burkean Brexiteers did, to the absence of a European demos on which a pan-European democracy can rely. DiEM25 begs to differ. Societies in Europe are facing four major socioeconomic challenges with the hallmarks of climate change. Just as global warming can never be addressed at the national level, even though local and national action is imperative, the same applies to the crises of (a) public debt, (b) banking, (c) exceptionally low investment (relative to savings), and (d) rising poverty. These will either be dealt with effectively at a European level or not at all, thus ensuring that any retreat to the nation-state will only beneﬁt the xenophobic, militantly parochial forces of the ugly right. Beyond the practical need for a pan-European ap- October 23, 2017 The Nation. cities, rebel prefectures, and rebel governments. proach, DiEM25 embarks from something the left used to understand well: When Marx and Engels adopted their slogan “proletarians of the world unite,” they were not rejecting the importance of national culture or of the nation-state. Instead, they were rejecting the idea of a “national interest” and the view that struggles must prioritize the realm of the nation-state. The notion that we must return to a one-nation/one-parliament/one-demos frame of mind would puzzle the left’s 19th-century pioneers, as it would puzzle progressives of the early and mid-20th century, who dreamed of, and struggled for, a transnational republic from the Atlantic to as far east as possible. The left, lest we forget, traditionally opposed the bourgeois belief in a one-to-one relationship between a nation and a sovereign parliament. We counterargued that identity is something we create through political struggle: class struggle, the struggle against patriarchy, the struggle to smash gender and sexual stereotypes, and emancipation from empire, racism, xenophobia, and the practices of mass surveillance. In today’s Europe, this spirit is not well served by calling for the split of the EU into neatly delineated national realms. DiEM25’s alternative approach is to issue a call to arms to all Europeans to join in what we term “constructive disobedience.” First, we offer a well-thoughtout policy agenda for every nook and cranny of Europe, to be implemented at a pan-European level; then, when the establishment predictably turns it down, we embark on massive disobedience, including governmental disobedience (which is what one of us practiced when representing Greece in the Eurogroup in 2015). In this sense, DiEM25’s European New Deal is the constructive part, which should inspire Europeans regarding what can draw us together into a single, transnational progressive agenda, so that we can organize the disobedience necessary at the local, national, and panEuropean level. This is the way forward for progressives seeking practical solutions to problems that wreck the lives of the many across our continent. DiEM25, therefore, by calling for a pan-European campaign of disobedience with the transnational elites in order to create the European demos that will bring about Europe’s democracy, is in tune with the left’s traditional approach. In this Gramscian spirit, DiEM25 insists that our European rebellion should happen everywhere, in towns, regions, nation-state capitals, and in Brussels, without prioritizing any level over any other. The European New Deal, therefore, is a practical policy agenda for bringing together a pan-European network of rebel cities, rebel prefectures, and rebel governments into a progressive movement that becomes hegemonic in Italy, in Greece, in England—indeed, anywhere in Europe. O f course, one may cheekily ask: “why stop at the European level? As internationalists, why don’t you campaign for worldwide democracy—for an International New Deal?” Our answer is that we are doing precisely that (see the July 6 New York Times op-ed by Yanis Varoufakis, “A New Deal for the 21st Century”). Ideally, DiEM25 should link up with a October 23, 2017 The Nation. Democracy in the Americas movement, which Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution” could spark, as long as it extends beyond the US-Mexican border to include Latin America. And then onward to the Democracy in the Middle East, Democracy in Asia, and Democracy in Africa movements. But given that history has, for better or worse, delivered an internally borderless European Union, with common policies on the environment and a variety of other realms, progressives must defend our really existing absence of borders, the existing EU commons of climate-change policy, even the Erasmus exchange program that gives young Europeans the opportunity to mingle in a borderless educational system. Turning against these splendid artifacts of an otherwise regressive EU is not consistent with what the left ought to be about. So, yes, the European Union should and must be saved, and here are just a few of the reasons why: UÑÞÅ °iÑ>ÈÑ° ÓV>Ñ>`ÑÈ V>ÑÈÓ>`>Å`ÈÑw ÅÑ`i VÅ>VçÑ>`ÑÞman rights, as well as for health and safety and the environment, that will not be respected if the continent splits back into national ﬁefs. In this respect, the cases of Poland and Hungary are already disturbing enough. UÑ ÓiÅ>Ói`Ñ °Å `ÞVÓ Ñ iÓå ÅÈÑ >ÅiÑ iwxViÓ]Ñ >`Ñ °>ÅÓÑ wÑ ÓiÑ warp and woof of modern economic life. Disrupting them is extremely costly, as the experiences of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia showed. UÑwÓiÅÑ>ÑLÅi>Þ°]ÑÓiÑÈ>iÅÑV ÞÓÅiÈÑ wÑÞÅ °iÑåÑLiÑÞÈÓÑ>ÈÑ vulnerable to speculative movements of their currencies, the caprices of international investors, and the vagaries of their local oligarchies as they were before the European project got under way. UÑ* °Þ>Ó Ñ äiiÓÈÑV> ÓÑLiÑÈÓ °°i`]Ñ>`ÑÓiçÑå Þ`ÑLicome even more toxic politically if new barriers and electriﬁed fences were built. The evidence for this is clear in Britain in the wake of the Brexit vote, and in Austria, Hungary, and elsewhere. In the long run, europe needs a democratic governing structure, a proper budget, and the consolidation of many functions now maintained at the national level, with savings in some areas (the military), more uniform and effective protection of the weaker European citizens, greater effective sovereignty at the state and municipal level, and—last but not least—a common approach to the postcapitalist forms of production and distribution made inescapable by new technologies and the energy and environmental crisis. But this will be possible only after European peoples come to appreciate the continent as a constructive force in their lives—as a visible, palpable, useful presence. And that cannot happen until the structure and ideologies of European economic management have been changed, until there is a full escape from the dysfunctional molds in which those ideas were initially framed. Is this politically difﬁcult? You bet! But Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have shown that clear, sensible ideas—brave enough to challenge the entire existing system, but not unprecedented or utopian—can persuade large numbers of people. Europeans are ready for this. They know that Europe is in danger because it is undemocratic and, consequently, misanthropic when faced with crisis. Europe now needs an antidote to Euro-TINA: the toxic doctrine that “there is no alternative” within the European Union— except, perhaps, disintegration. That is what the Democracy in Europe Movement, DiEM25, and its European New Deal are about. And this is why we are determined to take our agenda to Q ballot boxes all over Europe by 2019. 25 26 October 23, 2017 The Nation. The Nation. 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Letters are subject to editing for reasons of space and clarity. SUBMISSIONS: Go to TheNation.com/submission-guidelines for the query form. Each issue is also made available at TheNation.com. Printed on 100% recycled 40% post-consumer acid- and chlorine-free paper, in the USA. (continued from page 2) to the mainstream), this stunning attack on American feminism is way off the mark. First, “right-wing feminism” is an oxymoron: Kellyanne Conway, Ann Coulter, and Pamela Geller are not feminists by any stretch. Second, the alliance between feminism and military interventionists to “liberate” Muslim women is a fantasy, the Feminist Majority Foundation notwithstanding. I have spent my long personal and professional life fighting for women’s rights, and I know of no feminist who supports military intervention, much less to rescue Muslim women. Third, if feminists imagine gender equality as a value “inherently and essentially belonging to white and Western society,” why are we fighting mightily to install gender equality in Western culture, where it clearly doesn’t exist? Finally, the author seems fixated on feminist antipathy toward Islam and its oppression of women, but she fails to note that feminism far more often condemns expressions of the Christian religion— evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, the Baptist Church, etc.—insofar as they oppress women. Feminist expressions of concern for the plight of women in traditional Islam and traditional Christianity are legitimate, not the use of women as “victim, escapee, or pawn.” Rosemary Agonito empowerment being put forward by women like Kellyanne Conway, Ann Coulter, Pamela Geller, and others. When people say “right-wing feminism” is an oxymoron, they exclude it from analysis and preclude an investigation into how it corrodes progress toward the goal of gender equality. You deploy the same tactic when you say that, since you don’t personally know feminists who support military intervention, none exist. As I point out in my latest book, Veil, women like Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler, and Meryl Streep all signed a letter to President George W. Bush asking him to “take emergency action to protect the lives and secure the future of Afghan women.” Moreover, the continuation of the struggle to install equality within Western society does not preclude its export to lesser feminists elsewhere; in fact, as I show, the export of these ideas has become crucial to the struggle at home. Finally, I am “fixated” on feminist antipathy to Islam and Muslim countries because the deafening feminist silence on the co-option of gender equality by those pushing a war agenda has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan women and has all but destroyed grassroots feminism within these contexts. The fact that I am “fixated” while you are not is precisely the problem. Rafia Zakaria Rafia Zakaria Replies Carrying a Tune Thank you, Rosemary Agonito, for your letter and for reading the article. I must say that I find the tendency to discard terms like “right-wing feminism” onerous, not least because it prevents the rest of us from considering and evaluating the duplicitous models of Regarding Puzzle No. 3439 [Aug. 28/Sept. 4]: I assume both Joshua Kosman and Henri Picciotto are fine musicians since, despite eight anagrams of A, E, I, N, R, S, T, there were no “tin ears.” Carolanne Steinebach syracuse, n.y. chicago twisp, wash. Books & the Arts. BARBARIAN VIRTUES James Scott has spent a lifetime documenting the horrors of the modern state. But does he miss the freedoms only it can afford? P eople are going paleo; it is the height of trendiness. Edit wheat out of your diet, the multiplatform advice goes, especially if you want lower blood pressure or rock-hard abs. James C. Scott says there is much more at stake. Grain is not just bad for one’s health; it is the fruit of a ghastly disaster long ago that brought with it the domestication of other plants and animals, and even of ourselves. Worst Samuel Moyn teaches law and history at Yale. His new book, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in April 2018. by SAMUEL MOYN of all, it is bound up with the origins of that most baleful thing, the state, which has bred horrors from its beginnings, propagating vast moral and material hierarchies and the murderous violence of resource wars over the ages. What began with fire, the state set ablaze: Grain cultivation, according to Scott, helped inaugurate the “Anthropocene,” in which humanity continues to change its own environment beyond all recognition. The “bounty” of civilization under the auspices of the state has proved to be a lie, and it is going to take a lot more than giving up gluten for life to improve. In his sparkling new book, Against ILLUSTRATION BY TIM ROBINSON Against the Grain A Deep History of the Earliest States By James C. Scott Yale University Press. 336 pp. $26 the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, Scott makes his case by tracing, step by unholy step, how human beings were led first into the agricultural fields and then into the domain of the state, bringing a vast set of conscripts into the army of supposed advancement. Starting with the fire that introduced “landscaping,” Scott tracks how we domesticated not merely herd animals to do the grunt work of agriculture but also many human 28 beings—notably slaves, who for a long time were conceived as beasts of burden within the human domain. In its own fashion, even the new ruling class became herdlike, tame animals who recast every facet of life in the grim service of their crops, which grew their humans as much as the other way around. With its dramatic leap backward into ancient Mesopotamia, Against the Grain is a departure for Scott, who before now has stuck much more closely to his expertise in 20th-century Southeast Asia. Yet the new book is also a kind of fulfillment. Like all of Scott’s work, it forces you to reconsider your most basic commitments about freedom and politics in response to his caustic doubts. But if his career reaches a climax in this book, it also makes clear the need to resist his conclusions—and not only for the sake of your daily bread. F or decades, Scott has cut a remarkable and unique figure in the academic landscape. No one provides a better model of how to operate in the modern university and reap the benefits of its learning, while transcending the worst shortcomings of compartmentalization and wooden thinking. Trained as a political scientist, Scott has since departed from any single field, refusing cramped horizons for the sake of free inquiry. He has developed a model of social theory that combines insightful description with grand speculation, allowing his books to flit across diverse areas and, in turn, to be widely read. Above all, he has a preternatural gift for illustrating the power of states and the creativity of those responding to them with details from everyday life. And his disarming style makes him most enjoyable company—even when he is accusing civilization of evil, extolling “barbarian” virtues, and telling his readers that they have had the bad luck to be born amidst the moral ruins, mesmerized by the distracting grandeur of the states that enslave them. Scott was born along the Delaware River in small-town New Jersey in 1936. He grew up a follower of Franklin Roosevelt, like his father, who was a country doctor. After his father’s early death, Scott attended a Quaker school on a scholarship and went to Williams College, before spending a year traveling around the Burmese countryside and in Paris as a representative of the National Student Association. Scott opted for a doctorate in political science at Yale in the early 1960s, and his first work was dutiful but undistinguished. A disciple of the now-forgotten scholar Robert Lane, who argued that the best in- October 23, 2017 The Nation. sights into the ideology of groups depended on interviewing their members in-depth, Scott went to Malaysia and applied Lane’s method to the country’s new postcolonial elite. What became his first book, Political Ideology in Malaysia, was a monument to the sort of derivative and workmanlike scholarship that his whole subsequent career has attempted to topple. When Scott’s debut was published in 1968, it was the height of the Vietnam War. He had taken a job as a professor of Southeast Asian politics at the University of Wisconsin and put himself at the center of the campus antiwar movement. As with so many others of his generation, the war was decisive for his intellectual life. It made him critical of American power abroad, and in later years he would still recall his contempt for his fellow political scientist Samuel Huntington, who had advanced the theory that the displacement of peasants from their homes would make them more compliant—effectively an argument that the American forces should bomb the Vietnamese into resettlement. Many Southeast Asia experts, unsurprisingly, were in the vanguard of academic resistance to the war, and Scott’s political views from this period—gained through teach-ins and amid fractious faculty politics—pervade his scholarship. Even when he is writing about ancient Mesopotamia, Scott is not far from his youthful preoccupations, labeling the origins of civilization a “late-Neolithic multispecies resettlement camp.” But the larger lesson he drew from Vietnam was to be skeptical of the theories and practices of modernization of all stripes, including those of Marxism. When one looks at the sweep of postcolonial history, including the genocidal sequel to the American involvement in Cambodia, capitalist and communist states alike reveal themselves as recipes for cruelty. Scott soon left Wisconsin to return to Yale, where he has taught for decades. On arrival, he published The Moral Economy of the Peasant (1976), his first book in a remarkable series of classics. In their interpretations of European history, Karl Polanyi and E.P. Thompson had argued that before capitalism, there existed a premodern “moral economy” organized by the lower classes that centered on the importance of a subsistence minimum. People demanded—of one another and their political masters—the fulfillment of basic needs and organized their lives around this demand. Scott globalized Polanyi’s and Thompson’s claims by attributing the same ethics to peasants everywhere—including the Southeast Asian peasants so visibly in revolt in the 1960s. Beyond seeking basic subsistence, Scott also claimed, the peasants neither desired nor sought modern affluence or material equality; they treated the politics of the state not as a world to win, but rather as an officious interference with their own premodern selfinsurance against disaster or, at most, as a backstop when their own strategies failed. The trouble, Scott explained, was that modern rulers, colonial or postcolonial, mainly interfered, often stoking massive uprisings. The lesson was plain: Outsiders should either stay out of the way or concentrate on helping peasants help themselves. The book marked Scott’s break with political science as usual and, perhaps above all, his development of a winningly independent style that has since emerged more and more clearly. Scott’s political ambition was to save the depiction of a premodern moral order in Polanyi and Thompson from what he apparently believed was their own devotion to state-centered forms of social democracy (in Polanyi’s case) or socialism (in Thompson’s). In showing how political authorities were most interested in taxing peasants, rather than guaranteeing their basic livelihoods, Scott may have already been harboring a deeper skepticism about the state. But he had not yet become an anarchist—after all, in Scott’s picture, good political authority could indeed respond if collective self-insurance broke down (usually because harvests failed). Scott’s study of the peasantry was a transitional book: It was both more professional in its tone and less concerned with the implacable rivalry that he has since taken up between the state and its opponents. I t must have been around this point that Scott started reading one of his most enduring influences, the French anthropologist Pierre Clastres. Clastres, who died in a car accident in 1977, was an anarchist who wrote studies of “primitive” life based on his time among South American tribes. According to Clastres, states of all kinds were pretty much equally bad, however different they were from one another, and all portended the climacteric of 20th-century totalitarianism. Primitive humans, somehow in advance, already knew enough to preserve themselves from the inevitably slippery slope into the horror of the state. A peasantry self-insuring against starvation, then, looked like it was far gone down the road to perdition and already condemned to a life of penury under a political authority destined to become terroristic sooner or later. Scott DAVE ZIRIN An award-winning journalist, popular podcast host, proliﬁc author, and the ﬁrst sports editor in the history of The Nation, Dave Zirin was the ﬁrst national reporter to cover professional quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s act of protest during the national anthem. Dave regularly brings his unique take on sports, race, gender, and politics to national television audiences. On the cruise, he’ll share insights gleaned from locker rooms, grassy ﬁelds, and the front lines of protest; he’ll discuss why the world of sports seems to be exploding with social activism and share his inﬂuential theories on the fragile, toxic masculinity of Donald Trump and his racist base. We’ll also be joined by Victor Navasky, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Stephen F. Cohen, John Nichols, Joan Walsh, Eric Liu, George Goehl, and award-winning entertainers William Bolcom and Joan Morris. AI-JEN POO PATRICIA J. WILLIAMS DORIAN T. WARREN CALVIN TRILLIN KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL Holland America | MS Westerdam Ports of call in Mexico: Cabo San Lucas | Mazatlán | Puerto Vallarta A full list of speakers can be found on our website: nationcruise.com 30 differed in personal style, shunning the more melodramatic features of Clastres’s vision in favor of a plainspoken and well-researched scholarship. But he embraced the main thrust of Clastres’s argument and, armed with his insights, he now broke through to the subject of his mature inquiry: state oppression and ordinary resistance. Scott’s study of resistance came in two remarkable books: Weapons of the Weak (1985) and Domination and the Arts of Resistance (1990). With the memory of Vietnam receding and the high tide of peasant revolt going out, Scott concluded that it was a rare thing for agrarian miseries to explode into revolutions, which always devoured their own children in any case. When the state held all the cards, most often peasants were thrown back on their own creative attempts to game the system. After two years in a small village in Malaysia, Scott reported back in Weapons of the Weak with an extraordinary inventory of peasant “infrapolitics.” These were “prosaic” forms of opposing power, such as “foot dragging, dissimulation, false compliance, pilfering, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, sabotage, and so forth.” Scott warned against romanticizing these prosaic forms, for their effect was always defensive in nature and usually softened the blow of state power without capturing or reimagining it. But his new books on “the arts of resistance” marked a shift in Scott’s own politics: If, in his earlier work, he had referred to peasant defiance as “an alternative moral universe in embryo,” he now lost faith in any real form of redemptive politics. Scott was not alone in this. Many ’60s radicals, by the 1980s, had given up on their radical dreams of emancipation, and future intellectual history may record how Scott’s work played a role in helping them to recover, especially on the far left after its identification with Marxism. Scott still claimed a vestigial affiliation with Marxism by casting peasant resistance as “class struggle,” but he no longer believed in a historical exit from it, especially since the struggles for national liberation around the world were going south. But it was in another pair of works, Seeing Like a State (1998) and The Art of Not Being Governed (2009), that the stigma Scott applied to “certain schemes to improve the human condition” through government gained its most sophisticated expression. In the first, Scott’s most admired book, he offered an empirical survey married to homespun social theory to show that states around the world, whether capitalist or communist, developed or postcolonial, were projects of subordination. They pioneered unprecedented forms The Nation. of making social life “legible” and therefore easier to control. In the second book, which begins with an epigraph from Clastres to the effect that history is not so much about class struggle to win control of state power but rather about struggles against the state itself, Scott furthered these arguments. Returning to Southeast Asia, The Art of Not Being Governed vividly depicted how states established iron control in agricultural areas, while those who resisted these encroachments climbed up into highlands beyond their reach. Like all of his other work, Scott’s portrait of the panoptic ambitions of states—an emphasis that led many readers to liken him to Michel Foucault—was so potent because it was not mere declaration or denunciation but extraordinary description. It was so well-done that it seemed unanswerable as a criticism of governmental tyranny. The parade of horrors to which 20th-century states everywhere led—from the great leaps forward under communism to only slightly less repressive ventures under capitalism, and from global-development schemes to African “villagization” under postcolonial authority—made it hard to imagine celebrating them ever again. B ut if you view history as an unalterable dialectic of state oppression and ordinary resistance, inevitably you will also wonder how it got started—and whether it was inevitable. This genealogical task is the central ambition of Scott’s new book. He mentions Clastres only once in Against the Grain, but a remark by one of Clastres’s friends applies perfectly to it: Scott has “the audacity of someone who wants to get to the root of evil and cut.” The story Scott hopes to tell, he explains, will make a start toward a “twelve-step recovery program” from the common belief in the beneficent rise of the state, including the benefits of “civilization” even in its modern form. Since the book deals not only with the ancient world but what is now the Middle East, Scott disarmingly presents himself as a poacher attempting to provide an outsider’s digest of the already established scholarship in the field. But a lot more is going on in Against the Grain than a book report: Scott believes that he has made several advances thanks to his outsider status, and he has unmistakably imported a prior intellectual project—the prosecution of the state—into the literature about how the first examples of it were born. Surprisingly, in the first half of the book, Scott demonstrates how many things— including the invention of agriculture itself— October 23, 2017 were brought about without necessitating the rise of state power. In the beginning, Scott writes, was fire, which domesticated not merely the landscape but humanity itself. Yet the die was not cast here. The same was true of the rise of sedentary communities, which Scott is convinced took place in wetlands that did not commit their denizens to widespread agriculture and did not necessarily develop into states. Scott even applies this disaggregating argument to the rise of a more intense crop cultivation, which he argues began episodically as part of the wetlands mix and may have occurred elsewhere too. After a chapter on what he calls the “domus complex”—in which stable groups of humans gathered themselves and an assortment of nonhuman animals—Scott turns to the central puzzle of his book: How did the state come about? Interpreting what is known about the ancient kingdom of Uruk (where Gilgamesh may have ruled), Scott ends up casting little light. He observes that the concentration of human beings in increasingly agricultural circumstances was certainly a precondition for the founding of the state, with its political hierarchies, extractive taxation, and mass service. But the gathering of more people in one place did not necessarily birth states. Instead, Scott defers to a traditional explanation on this subject: that it was when these agricultural societies began to falter in the face of aridity that the “assembled population” of the early domus began to transition to something like the state. Like Clastres, he contends that no one wanted this to happen, and so it must have occurred with “a pistol at their collective temple.” Drought was probably the weapon in question. That Scott presents as his major finding that eons separated the development of cultivation and the rise of the state not only cuts against any conclusion that the pathways into state bondage were inevitable; it also goes far to undermine Scott’s entire outlook. The fact that nothing about the innovations of fire and agriculture and “incipient urbanism” necessarily required states and their iniquities means that many of the good things “civilization” has brought are indeed separable from its greatest evils and therefore do not necessarily deserve the opprobrium implied by both the title and the argument of his book. Though Scott does not observe it, the first half of Against the Grain reads like a paean to a different style of agricultural civilization in the making: the best of a stateless hunting-and-gathering society tweaked in the name of bread. It also suggests a lesson that Scott would never draw: October 23, 2017 that the state itself has never been given on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. He acknowledges that there is no decisive moment when the state emerged and no single feature that defines it. In his challenge to the inevitability of the state after fire and even agriculture, Scott misses the chance to develop a theory of the variety of governments, not only in the past but also in the future. However, Scott remains so stricken by the sheer evil of the state that he turns in the balance of his book to critically interpret the accoutrements of the Mesopotamian state, accentuating the negative. It vastly transformed agriculture (emphasizing governable cereals), erected walls (as much for confinement as protection), invented writing (“a new form of control” by the budding technocracy), expanded slavery (to convert humans from free spirits into pack animals), and declared war without end (since prisoners were easy prey for the increasingly necessary bondage and drudgery). In its early phases, much-vaunted “civilization”— backed as it was by the instruments and violence of the state—was not a pretty picture. It was a golden age for only one group, Scott opines in a virtuoso chapter: the barbarians who subsisted along its periphery, and who could make their nonstate lives even better than before by poaching what the state had brought about. For those in the state’s clutches, however, life was tedious monotony and servile hierarchy. No wonder that, in another provocative chapter, Scott suggests that when early states self-destructed, it was not necessarily a bad thing, despite all the chaos and disorder that have given their “collapse” a bad name. The term “dark ages,” Scott explains, is merely a bit of civilized slander. The freedom that people enjoyed once the flame of civilization went out actually made them better off. Not yet schooled by outside examples in maintaining the conditions of their own continuity, early states were often experiments that regularly failed—until a more enduring oppression set in, enabling later states to speed along the path to a more complete and irrevocable modern domination. S cott’s view of the state has always been attractive to some leftists, who have found solace in his depiction of the microscopic possibilities of flouting a state power that they cannot overthrow. But Scott has also proved popular with another group: economic libertarians. They understand that he is their ally. Reading him with a squint, they appreciate his vociferous critiques of state power as abetting their own The Nation. dreams of freedom. Scott is visibly nervous about this fan club, since even after he gave up any flirtation with Marxism, he has always viewed “free markets” as breeding their own sorts of hierarchy and oppression. Still, the elective affinity of antistatists is far from incidental to understanding the limits of Scott’s project. Both anarchists and neoliberals have combined in our time to obscure the fact that, to date, the state has been the most successful technology known to history for imagining and institutionalizing liberty and equality, even though it has often failed and has never worked perfectly. Scott rarely mentions the forms of social justice that only modernity and its states have permitted and put into practice, however faulty and outweighed by state crime and excess they are. Instead, he has sought to project an immemorial dialectic between the state and its enemies onto the whole of human history. This has made him one of the greatest teachers of how costly modernity has been; yet it has also caused him to obscure the fact that modern states could strive not simply for civilizational splendor, but also for the freedom and equality of all. Because the state has never developed on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, modern humans have attempted to make it serve their emancipation rather than their oppression. As if modern capitalism were not distinctive in a host of ways, Scott instead emphasizes that the age-old regimentation of human beings marching to the “metronome” of the crop cycle set up the basic template for it. Analogously, the liberty and equality that so many moderns have taken to justify government as an agent of progress are little more to Scott than pretexts for more oppression. He sees no escape other than the flight that barbarians and mountain men have tried since the state arose. Correspondingly, Scott’s vague suggestions of the “egalitarianism” of nonstate peoples—and especially, in his new book, of our hunting-and-gathering ancestors—are never seriously defended. Where Clastres had the courage of his convictions and lionized primitive torture and war as the price of ostensible equality and freedom (in a particularly vivid scene, for example, he depicted the expulsion of a homosexual as part of the package of prestate life), Scott’s rosy suggestion that life was peachy before bread came is never argued, except by showing the alternative to 31 be terrible. Scott covers war once the state appeared, and slavery too, but he only glancingly acknowledges that they were endemic among the hunter-gatherers who came before. In his revulsion at state oppression, Scott also says little about the forms of social oppression that government does not impose, even though they have always been part of human existence and have often been a worse taskmaster (perhaps especially for women). But in the end it is not so much that Scott is unfair to what people have long glorified as civilization, since he shines a powerful light on its dark side. It is not so much, either, that he romanticizes the lives of those who were dismissed as “savages” by their often murderous enemies, dazzlingly highlighting strategies of resistance by ordinary people past and present. In fact, Scott’s case for the prosecution, and his attempt to bear witness to those defending themselves against states, have always been the most arresting and unforgettable features of his work. But when he turns judge, Scott condemns civilization according to standards that are civilization’s— and modernity’s—own, without ever reflecting on this fact. “Philosophers who have examined the foundations of society have all felt the necessity of going back to the state of nature,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau once remarked, “but none of them has reached it.” A sometime primitivist like Scott, Rousseau wanted to overturn his predecessor Thomas Hobbes’s depiction of pre-state life as nasty, brutish, and short, by showing that civilized life had produced the evils superimposed on the natural condition of humanity. But two can play that game. What if the very standards by which its inhabitants find their civilization still wanting are owed to civilization itself? If freedom and equality are things that only a specific set of events in the modern history of the state has allowed us to value, then Scott’s project to go back before its origin to find earlier expressions of them is a projection onto our ancestors, not the discovery of an alternative world to be won by turning our backs on modernity. And it is surely no excuse to give up the task of saving our civilizations and states in the name of the modern values only they have allowed propounding. Yet Scott is so enamored with the versatility of our hunting-and-gathering an- 32 October 23, 2017 The Nation. cestors—especially when compared with the monotonies of grain cultivation—that he never thinks to describe how they interpreted the freedom and equality he assigns to them. He never confronts the possibility that only a new kind of state could make new kinds of ideals possi- ble, including his own. His fascinating presentation of human self-domestication is a highlight of Against the Grain. But like Clastres—and, more indirectly, Friedrich Nietzsche before him—Scott is implicitly judging the state wanting by criteria that are unthinkable without its rise. He not only ignores the tremendous defects of “uncivilized” life, but he also fails to reflect on the absence in it of the ideals of liberty and equality that alone could justify his admiration. Scott is a product of the modern state who does not Q care to know it. INTO THE MULTIVERSE In Nicole Krauss’s new novel, the worlds of fact and fiction blur K abbalists explain creation as the deliberate retreat of God to make space for the rest of us. “When it arose in God’s will to create the world, He first withdrew Himself and in the void that was left, He created the world,” explains Rabbi Menachem Klausner, the persistent, shambling resident theologian in Nicole Krauss’s protean new novel, ForSue Halpern is the author of the forthcoming novel Summer Hours at the Robbers Library. She is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College. by SUE HALPERN est Dark. “This is why,” Klausner continues, “the rabbis tell us that a broken heart...has a vacancy, and the vacancy has the potential to be filled with the infinite.” Brokenness and attempted repair animate Forest Dark. Krauss presents two stories that run parallel to each other in alternating chapters, never intersecting or overtly acknowledging the other. That the stories never ultimately merge is as much a philosophical as a narrative choice: Though we live among others and even derive meaning from them, Krauss sugILLUSTRATION BY TIM ROBINSON Forest Dark By Nicole Krauss HarperCollins. 304 pp. $27.99 gests, all constructions of the self are, in the end, solitary. Forest Dark’s first story concerns an aging New York lawyer, Jules Epstein, who is in the midst of an existential reckoning. Written in the third person, Epstein’s story serves as an anchor for the febrile, fantastical second account, narrated by a writer named Nicole who, like October 23, 2017 the Nicole who has written this book, is a successful middle-aged novelist who has been living in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. Both Epstein and Nicole have left New York for Tel Aviv, he ahead of her, and both have decamped to the massive beachfront redoubt of the Tel Aviv Hilton. Epstein’s life “unspooled from [Tel Aviv],” the city of his birth, and he has been drawn back after the death of his parents. Nicole, whose domestic life is unraveling and whose work life is faltering, is there, ostensibly, in search of a story: She’s heard that someone fell to his death from a balcony at the hotel, a place where she’d spent summers as a child. It’s an odd story to chase, though the metaphor of the falling man makes a certain emotional sense. It also leaves the reader wondering: Was it Jules Epstein? Epstein is a familiar type, a thickskinned, tough-talking, combative, selfmade, fabulously wealthy Jewish New Yorker. Belief is anathema to him—he’s a realist, with a realist’s fetish for the tangible, which often comes down to the things that he can buy. Which is why, when Epstein leaves his firm, divorces his wife, and starts divesting himself of all the things by which success is measured, people think he is ill, or depressed, or nuts. How else to explain his sudden lack of interest in money and the monuments to himself that he has built with it—the museum-quality art collection, the Bentley, the upscale real estate—to remind himself and others that he is important and real? And who is he to those around him if not a man of great means, a writer of checks in large denominations to philanthropies and family members? It is poignant and instructive to watch them want nothing more for Epstein than for him to stay the same. Epstein meets Klausner, the Kabbalist rabbi, at a charity dinner in New York, and then again—by chance?—on the plane to Israel. Epstein assumes he’s just one in a long line of supplicants looking for a donation to a pet project, and he is not wrong. Klausner is organizing a reunion of the descendants of King David, one of whom, according to the rabbi, is Epstein himself. Epstein could make him disappear by opening his checkbook, but, uncharacteristically, he does not. Instead, he finds himself in a cramped car, traveling to Safed in the northern Galilee to celebrate the Sabbath with Klausner and his followers in a house near one occupied by Isaac Luria, one of the most influential mystical thinkers of the 16th century. When 33 The Nation. Epstein asks the rabbi why he named the place Gilgul—“it sticks in the throat a little, if you ask me”—Klausner tells him it’s because the name he really wanted, (“Livnot U’Lehibanot—to build and be built”) was already taken by the Hasidic meditation retreat, funded by the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach, down the street. Krauss is having fun here, as she often does with Epstein. Whatever else is changing in him, his sense of irony remains intact. “What was it with religious Jews and their plastic bags,” he muses, driving through Safed. “Why did these people who had been wandering for thousands of years not invest in more reliable luggage?” Gilgul, which means “cycle” or “wheel” in Hebrew, has another meaning altogether in Kabbalah: the transmigration of the soul to a higher spiritual plane. Whether Epstein is capable of such a journey, or even interested in one, is questionable: He’s come to Israel to find a suitable memorial for his parents, and he does, eventually, commissioning the creation of a massive forest. Yet his parents, Sol and Edie, were two people “who went perpendicular to everything and parallel to nothing, who couldn’t let be and had something to say about everything,” and through whom Epstein learned “that he could be ruthless.” In Israel, however, the fight has gone out of him, and he’s surprised to find that without it, there is little inside him. But absence, vacancy—as Klausner, paraphrasing Luria, has instructed him—is the precondition for creation. Strip away artifice, and there is the soul. A nd what of Forest Dark’s other main character, who may or may not be the real and famous Nicole Krauss, the National Book Award nominee, divorced now from the equally famous Jonathan Safran Foer, himself the author, recently, of a novel about a failed marriage? All characters, even real ones, Krauss seems to be saying, are the products of self-invention. But she is playing with us too, relaying conversations with actual (Googleable) people, providing photographs of actual (Googleable) buildings, and including bits of her actual (also Googleable) history. Yet this is hardly an exercise in creative nonfiction. Though facts are stitched into the fabric of the narrative, they exist to unsettle the reader, not to ground the story. If anything, they give it an otherworldly feeling, where it’s often impossible to know if the events that seem made up might actually be true, too. Nicole has recently become obsessed with the “multiverse,” the idea that there are a multitude of worlds, an infinite number of them, each with its own physical laws: [I]n a multiverse, the concepts of known and unknown are rendered useless, for everything is equally known and unknown.… Since Descartes, knowledge has been empowered to a nearly unimaginable degree. But in the end it didn’t lead to the mastery and possession of nature he imagined, only to the illusion of its mastery and possession.… The more he talks about following a straight line out of the forest, the more appealing it sounds to me to get lost in that forest, where once we lived in wonder, and understood it to be a prerequisite for an authentic awareness of being and the world. Conventions—like marriage, like narrative structures, like the very idea of a universe—bind. Multiverse cosmology appeals to Nicole because it allows for anything and everything, eliminating the categories of rational and irrational and nonrational and offering, instead, access to dimensions of consciousness otherwise denied. She’s experienced the multiverse herself: once in her youth, and then—surprisingly, and with great clarity—as an adult, coming through the door of her house and knowing, with certainty, that she “was in the house already. I was myself, I felt utterly normal in my own skin, and yet at the same time I also had the sudden sense that I was no longer confined to my body.” As readers of Forest Dark, we inhabit the multiverse too: There is Nicole the writer, and Nicole the narrator, and no border between them. Krauss’s disquisitions on metaphysics, cosmology, and etymology, which can be challenging to read, are central to Nicole’s story. Here is a woman who has been married for 10 years, who is the mother of two children, and whose life, bounded by those two realities, no longer makes sense. She is having trouble sleeping. She is having trouble writing. And writing itself has begun to feel like a contrivance—safe, in its way, but forsaken. “More and more,” Nicole observes, it had felt to me that in the things I wrote, the degree of artifice was greater than the degree of truth, that the cost of administering a form to what was essentially formless was akin to the cost of breaking the spirit of an animal that is too dangerous 34 The Nation. The Kindle List Best Seller Available at amazon.com Ofﬁcers and troops wanted to overthrow our government and make Washington king or military dictator. No man is immune to absolute power’s seduction, not even our country’s father. On March 15, 1783, with our Republic at stake, he stood alone... “Extensively and accurately researched... John Ripin Miller’s novel makes George Washington come alive in one of our nation’s most exciting and decisive moments.” —William M. Ferraro, managing editor, Papers of George Washington, University of Virginia Available at amazon.com to otherwise live with.… The more I wrote, the more suspect the good sense and studied beauty achieved by the mechanisms of narrative seemed to me. I t should come as no surprise, then, that Forest Dark doesn’t follow a standard narrative path. Near the end, Krauss asks: “At what moment does one fall out of a marriage?” Her answer—“I think I left mine by falling out of time…having given up any attachment to sequence”— describes the design of the novel itself. Nicole’s story in particular is nonlinear and disorienting, as facts are superimposed on fiction and as fiction challenges credulity. Having traveled to the Tel Aviv Hilton in search of a story that no one can corroborate—a story that may or may not have happened—she ends up in the company of an elderly man named Eliezer Friedman, who may or may not have worked for the Mossad. Friedman is eager to meet Nicole—like many in Israel, he knows her work—and when he does, he tells her a story that may or may not be true: that Franz Kafka did not die in Vienna of consumption at the age of 40, as everyone believes; nor was he buried in a grave in Prague next to the father he despised. Instead, says Friedman, those stories were fictions that allowed the writer to emigrate to Palestine under an assumed name, take up residence first on a kibbutz and later in a cottage on the edge of the desert, and live out his days as an unassuming and unrecognized gardener. Meanwhile, October 23, 2017 Friedman adds, Kafka’s unpublished work has been moldering away in an apartment in Tel Aviv. Friedman’s unlikely tale is tied to an indisputable fact: the protracted lawsuit between the State of Israel and Eva Hoffe over Kafka’s papers. Hoffe had inherited them from her mother, Esther Hoffe, who, as Max Brod’s personal secretary, had inherited them from Brod, who, as Kafka’s close friend, had been instructed to burn them, unread, upon the writer’s death. Brod, who emigrated to Palestine in 1939, failed to abide by those instructions, instead shepherding much, but not all, of Kafka’s work into print. Esther Hoffe, likewise, may or may not have abided by Brod’s instructions, selling the original manuscript of The Trial for about $2 million and then leaving the rest of the papers to Eva and her sister. It was around then that the Israeli government intervened, arguing that Kafka’s papers were national treasures that deserved to reside in the national archives—and not in the suboptimal conditions of Eva’s small Tel Aviv apartment. (In an interview with Haaretz earlier this year, she did call it “a kennel.”) To add further veracity to Friedman’s story, Krauss has included a grainy photo of Hoffe’s Spinoza Street apartment building. The windows are gated and wrapped in wire mesh, “the sort used to cage small animals.” And, she goes on, “the bay of windows, meant to allow for a kind of open sunroom, was grotesquely imprisoned by the rusted bars and filthy cage, patched or reinforced at the corners by the energetic attentiveness borne of paranoia.” Friedman has driven over there and left Nicole in the car while he goes inside. When he comes out, he’s got a beat-up suitcase that may or may not contain Kafka’s papers, as well as a proposal for Nicole: to complete one of Kafka’s unfinished manuscripts, a play that Friedman would like to turn into a film. It’s an audacious request on top of a crazy—but plausible?—revisionist history, and she does not reject it out of hand. Instead, her fevered, dissociative response— which takes place over days, deep in the Judaean Desert and possibly in Kafka’s abandoned cottage—effects a metamorphosis of consciousness rather than form. Nicole (the character) doesn’t turn into a large insect, but she does emerge as Nicole (the writer) not only with a story to tell, but with a way to subvert the telling—and so to create this work of imagination and revelaQ tion and reparation. October 23, 2017 35 The Nation. A New York demonstration against World War I in 1915. THE WAR TO END ALL WARS The ardent but flawed movement against World War I by GEOFFREY WHEATCROFT I ALAMY n words oft quoted and all too true, George Kennan called the outbreak of war in August 1914 “the great seminal catastrophe” of the last century. It led to the deaths in battle of more than 10 million men, the collapse of four great multinational empires, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, years of further violence, a crisis of democratic government, the rise of fascism, Hitler’s assumption of power in Germany, and then a new and more terrible war with Geoffrey Wheatcroft is an English journalist and author. His books include The Controversy of Zion, The Strange Death of Tory England, and Yo, Blair! He is finishing a study of Churchill’s life and afterlife. scores of millions dead. You might say that Gavrilo Princip, who fired the first shot on June 28, 1914, had much to answer for. Over the weeks that followed the assassination at Sarajevo, one great European power after another was dragged in: the Central Powers of Germany and AustriaHungary ranged against the Entente of France, Great Britain, and Russia. But one great power stood aside—if such a power it was. No American troops had ever fought in Europe, and the US Army, while adequate for the purposes of extirpating the indigenous inhabitants and beating up the Mexicans, barely existed beside the larger European armies. All the same, in the halfcentury between Civil War and Great War, War Against War The American Fight for Peace 1914–1918 By Michael Kazin Simon & Schuster. 400 pp. $28 the population of the United States had more than doubled, from 38 million to 92 million—more numerous than any European state save Russia—while an explosive industrial revolution saw coal production double in the two decades before 1914 and the production of crude steel increase sevenfold. These were the raw materials of modern war. Whether the American people liked it or not, their country looked like a great military power waiting to be born. Many did not like it. Apart from a deep 36 traditional aversion to war, and the unforgotten sufferings of the Civil War, half of the country’s industrial workers were European immigrants or the children of those immigrants. As President Woodrow Wilson said, “the people of the United States are drawn from many nations, and chiefly from the nations now at war.” When the First World War began, well-informed observers reckoned that more Americans, if forced to choose, would rather fight against than for that Entente. German Americans were then nearly a tenth of the population and had no desire to fight against their ancestral homeland; millions of Irish Americans didn’t want to fight for England; and nor did many Russian-born Jews want to fight on the side of the czar, whose persecution they had fled. For the better part of three years, Wilson “kept us out of the war,” as the slogan for his 1916 reelection campaign claimed. But in early 1917, he decided that entering the conflict was inevitable, and Congress declared war. The vote was not unanimous—373 to 50 in the House, and 82 to six in the Senate—and it came after a bitter debate that stretched over a whole weekend, with the Senate sitting all through Saturday, and ended only with those changes in the upper house’s procedural rules that recently made possible the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee. Yes, history does come around in unlikely ways. As The Times of London had it the next day: “The size of the pacifist vote and the length of the debate were due to the unexpected revolt of Mr Kitchen [sic], the Democratic floor leader—a provincially minded Southern politician, who before now has plagued the President by his obstinate stupidity. His followers consisted of ignoramuses like himself, Socialists, extreme Radicals, and a few normally innocuous people apparently intimidated by pacifist demonstrations.” For the British, desperate to see American troops on the Western Front, House majority leader Claude Kitchin and his followers, along with those socialists and radicals, appeared narrow-minded and selfish. For Michael Kazin, they are the heroes of the story he passionately relates in his new book, War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914–1918. At the outset, Kazin says that he believes the United States The Nation. should not have taken part in the war, and his account of the failed but ardent movement that tried to prevent the country from joining it is impressive and moving, although it also presents difficulties: Kazin can more easily admire radical and feminist opponents than someone like Kitchin, a North Carolina Democrat and intransigent segregationist. Likewise, his account of what went wrong at the end of the war also poses problems: What was meant to be “the war to end wars” was followed, in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond, by five years of bloodletting that was more widespread and more horrible than the Western Front had known—and with still darker consequences. B oth sides of the debate over whether or not to enter the war included highly disparate elements. In the war party were liberals like John Dewey and the writers at The New Republic, Wilson’s favorite publication, who persuaded themselves, and then Wilson, that by entering the war, the United States could help make a better world. But it also included Theodore Roosevelt—the unlikeliest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize there has ever been if it weren’t for Henry Kissinger—who rather horribly saw battle as a form of therapy: “By war alone can we acquire those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.” On the other side, the war was opposed by the radical and progressive left, as well as a very diverse group of politicians. Robert La Follette, the famous progressive senator from Wisconsin, found himself in strange alliance with men like Kitchin, who had once organized “White Supremacy Clubs.” Along with them were the socialist Morris Hillquit, the social activist Jane Addams, and a powerful women’s movement for peace that organized marches in New York. The suffragist Helen Frances Garrison Villard and the formidable radical Crystal Eastman joined the campaign against war; sheet music for the song “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” sold 700,000 copies; and the “War Against War” agitprop exhibition in Brooklyn in the spring of 1916 attracted 5,000 to 10,000 visitors a day. Peaceniks traveled to conferences in neutral European countries that attracted like-minded people from the warring na- October 23, 2017 tions; they organized across the country, and, even after America entered the war, Hillquit managed to win more than a fifth of the vote in the New York mayoral election in 1917 on an antiwar platform. Through 1915 and 1916, the crux of the debate wasn’t the war itself but preparations for it. The National Security League was founded in 1914, supported by industrialists and financiers like Cornelius Vanderbilt, Bernard Baruch, and Henry Clay Frick; it agitated for a much larger Army and for a draft. This would remain a source of bitter contention even after the country went to war and a draft was put in place. On the other side, La Follette introduced a Senate resolution in February 1915 proposing a conference to secure “the early cessation of hostilities,” and his wife, Belle La Follette, helped found the Women’s Peace Party, which enjoyed a large following and collaborated with the International Congress of Women. But just as the peace party had feared, calls for increased “security” steadily paved the way for entering the war. Even as 1917 began, and Wilson continued to meet with Belle La Follette’s WPP activists, it was clear that the country was now headed into the conflict. Why the war began in 1914, and whose responsibility it was, are questions that have been fiercely—and inconclusively— debated in Europe for the past hundred years. So has the question of why the United States did, at last, enter the war—or why the peace movement failed. Then and since, some have discerned a dark plot involving Anglophiles like Edward House, Wilson’s political adviser and traveling representative, conspiring to take the country to war. On the whole, simpler explanations are to be preferred. For one thing, American sentiment was undeniably and radically changed by German brutality. As a German professor ruefully acknowledged at the time, “the three names Louvain [in Belgium, where a great library had been burned down by German soldiers], Rheims [where the medieval cathedral had been shelled], Lusitania [the ocean liner torpedoed by a U-boat in 1915], in almost equal measure have wiped out sympathy with Germany in America.” More than that, Wilson could plausibly claim in the spring of 1917 that his hand was forced by unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the grotesque “Zimmermann telegram” that Germany had sent Mexico promising the restoration of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in return for attacking its northern neighbor. Of course, it October 23, 2017 was the wont of Wilson and many others to persuade themselves that they supported war for the noblest motives, even if the dissenters rightly saw through that. And the dissenters warned also, as Missouri Senator William Stone said, that if the country went to war, “we would never again have the same old Republic.” His fears proved horribly prescient. Amid an ugly mood of coarse jingoism, nativism, and racism, Wilson used the war to create America’s first national-security state, including passage of the Espionage and Sedition acts and an unsurpassed assault on civil liberties. During the last year of the war and the years immediately following, there were bloody race riots, the Red Scare and the Palmer raids, the recrudescence of the Ku Klux Klan, and the flagrantly racist immigration acts passed by Congress as postwar America withdrew into its shell. The extraordinary Randolph Bourne forewarned much of this but died in 1918, before he could see the frightening accuracy of his prediction: “War is the health of the state,” Bourne had lamented. “It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense.” A s he makes clear, Kazin isn’t writing as an unconditional pacifist, nor does he think that all wars are wrong. Instead, his argument contrasts the “bad war” the United States entered in 1917 with the “good war” it entered in 1941. But this is too simple a view of both wars, in moral and political terms. The late John Grigg, a man who saw action in the second war, once made the plausible case that the First World War was the “nobler war”: At least those killed in it were almost all soldiers in uniform, whereas most of those killed during the Second World War were civilians. What’s more, many of the criticisms leveled against the First World War, notably Bourne’s warning of an allpowerful and dehumanizing state, could also be made of the second. And, indeed, they were: A few critics, like Dwight Macdonald, opposed that war not only in principle but because of the way it was being waged, notably the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians by bombing. Nor is it easy to see how, in contrast to the First World War, the second was what Kazin calls “an unavoidable conflict in which Americans were arguably fighting for national survival.” To the contrary, it The Nation. wasn’t only avoidable but avoided, at least until December 1941, at which point Hitler controlled most of Europe, the Wehrmacht was at the gates of Moscow, the Germans had already murdered a million Jews in the East—and the American embassy in Berlin remained open. Even after Pearl Harbor, it was not certain that Franklin Roosevelt would commit the country to war with Germany, until Hitler solved that dilemma by declaring war on the United States—not the other way round. Again, Kazin wants to distinguish his heroes in 1916 from the America First group in 1940. But just as the opponents of the Great War ranged from radicals to racists, so those who opposed American entry into the next war ranged from sympathizers with the Third Reich like Charles Lindbergh to Macdonald and other Trotskyists. Kazin also offers a debatable reading of why the combatant nations failed to achieve a lasting peace at the conflict’s end. He argues that “the United States won the Great War but lost the peace,” because Wilson was forced “to agree to a punitive settlement” that sowed the seeds of resentment that led to the Second World War. But an alternate case can be made, and indeed has been by some historians, that Wilson’s real error was not how he made war, but how he made peace. First, he portentously announced his Fourteen Points (the Good Lord only had Ten Commandments, observed a cynical Clémenceau) and demanded that “the relations of the several Balkan states to one another [be] determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality.” Just how difficult those pompous and ignorant words were to put into practice was soon shown, and their legacy besets us still. From today’s vantage point, Lord Robert Cecil, the English statesman and proponent of the League of Nations, seems wiser when he said, “Whether a new Europe with two or three additional Slav states will be more peaceful than the old seems to me, I confess, very doubtful.” But then, having decided to enter the war, Wilson should have followed that logic by fighting it to its conclusion. Allowing the Germans to believe that they had not been defeated, as they had, opened the way for nationalist demagogues who claimed 37 that the army had been stabbed in the back by the “November criminals,” the politicians in Berlin, and the Jews. Even then, the United States was the one power that might have prevented another and more terrible war. Adam Tooze showed in The Deluge that the European leaders were desperate for American help after the war ended: “A joint solution...was clearly necessary to escape the impasse of the age of imperialist rivalry,” Tooze writes, and the miseries that ensued for Europe stemmed from “the failure of the United States to cooperate with the efforts of the French, British, Germans and the Japanese to stabilize a viable world economy and to establish new institutions of collective security.” Those miseries began early: The violence that tore Europe apart in the Second World War started almost as soon as the first one had ended. As Robert Gerwarth relates in his new history, The Vanquished, civil war and ethnic violence had already engulfed much of Europe and beyond by the early 1920s. Reds and Whites fought each other savagely in Russia, Finland, and Hungary, and the rise of a new national Turkish state from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire was marked by extreme violence against the Greek community of Asia Minor, culminating in a hideous orgy of rape and massacre at Smyrna in 1922. Not content with murdering Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the Freikorps roamed through the Baltic states slaughtering with unimaginable brutality. As one of the Freikorps members observed, “We laughed when they told us that the war was over, because we were the war.” There may be lessons in all this, although perhaps not the ones that Kazin thinks. Arthur Koestler used to say that you can’t help people being right for the wrong reason, and it’s also possible to be wrong for the right reason. One may share Kazin’s admiration for the noble spirit of these warriors for peace while reluctantly disagreeing with them. War is hell, and whether there is such a thing as a good or just war is debatable, but some are necessary. And yet they too leave disaster in their wake. As Winston Churchill said all too truly of this war to end all wars: “Both sides, victors and Q vanquished, were ruined.” 38 October 23, 2017 The Nation. Puzzle No. 3444 JOSHUA KOSMAN AND HENRI PICCIOTTO 1`2`3`4`~56`7`8 `~`~`~`~~~`~`~` 9``````~0`````` `~`~`~`~`~`~`~` -````````~=```` ~~`~`~`~`~`~~~` q```~w``````e`` `~`~r~`~`~`~`~` t`````````~y``` `~~~`~`~`~u~`~~ i`o``~p```````[ `~`~`~`~`~`~`~` ]``````~\`````` `~`~`~~~`~`~`~` a`````~s``````` ACROSS 1 Comic Louis wearing extremely meager support for the spine (8) 5 Much obliged, Eliot hugs Williams (6) 9 In Miami, one Scottish playwright (7) 10 Skillful catcher and pitcher rejected rule involving baseball windup (7) 26 Winter conveyance made of pine surrounding large piece of ebony (6) 27 Harsh Russian region to the east of good German territory’s western border? (8) DOWN 1 Newlywed’s second-rate car (5) 2 Gave Celsius over Fahrenheit, and got it wrong (9) 3 Darned creep’s bet won, overlooking the odds (6) 4 For the most part, display colored vessel full of hydrogen? That’s just a guess (4,2,3,4) 6 Goth busted in stylish, small sneakers (4-4) 7 New York and half of London fused synthetic material (5) 8 Extra fee: sudden increase to limit burn (9) 10 Simply enter uninvited, with gold for a politician (6,7) 13 Unfortunately, Ruth declaims around 500 times in a week (9) 15 Inaccurately named creature—a kind of dog with protruding appendage—is below deck (5,4) 16 Searching for fish: a serving of tuna-and-cod sashimi? (8) 19 Say no to a thing (6) 21 Scandinavian bouquet contains roses, originally (5) 23 Sneak taking off with artist’s equipment (5) 11 Herb, in the mountains, wields each bit at least once (9) SOLUTION TO PUZZLE NO. 3443 12 Like J. & H., going after shelter (5) 13 Famous Amos doughnuts (4) ACROSS 1 pun 9 “a tax” 10 TUN(IS + I)A 14 Saint Jack, notably, getting approval for a revealing pastime? (5,5) 13 D + ONE 14 “weight and sea” 17 Foolishly unearth den below (10) 18 E’s destiny (4) 11 DIS + APP EAR 12 MAN + I + C 18 PAL + IND + ROME 19 2 defs. 21 TI(LD)E 23 L + EVIA(THA)N (naïve rev., hat anag.) 26 anag. 27 GORE + TEX 28 letter bank DOWN 1 A(WAR)D 2 ARTIS (anag.) 20 Power of misbehavior—that’s gross (5) + ANAL 3 E + ’S + CAPE 4 alternate letters 22 Prefigure a silent cost (9) 7 RO + SIN 8 anag. 13 DIP + H + THONG 24 Indisposed while traveling, risk CIA disruption (7) 25 Speaker’s blnd? (7) 5 LIT + ERA + TIM[e] 6 OR + NAME + NT 15 A + P + RIL(FOO[d])L 16 anag. 17 anag. 20 FAB + [b]RIC[k] 22 L + ENIN (rev.) 24 VI[r]GIL 25 NIX + ON (rev.) AFAREWELLTOARMS W~R~S~N~I~R~O~N ATTACKS~TUNISIA R~I~A~U~E~A~I~T DISAPPEAR~MANIC ~~A~E~~~A~E~~~H DONE~WAITANDSEE I~A~U~P~I~T~P~R PALINDROME~MARS H~~~D~I~~~F~G~~ TILDE~LEVIATHAN H~E~R~F~I~B~E~I OWNUPTO~GORETEX N~I~A~O~I~I~T~O GENERALELECTION The Nation (ISSN 0027-8378) is published 34 times a year (four issues in March, April, and October; three issues in January, February, July, and November; and two issues in May, June, August, September, and December) by The Nation Company, LLC © 2017 in the USA by The Nation Company, LLC, 520 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018; (212) 2095400. Washington Bureau: Suite 308, 110 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002; (202) 546-2239. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Subscription orders, changes of address, and all subscription inquiries: The Nation, PO Box 433308, Palm Coast, FL 32143-0308; or call 1-800-333-8536. 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