The Israel-Palestine Conflict-2
May 28-June 5, 2004

this page is at

Friends: The number of responses to my mailings has become more than I can deal with individually, particularly on issues related to the United States, Israel-Palestine, Zionism, anti-semitism, religion, and terrorism. Many people have strong feelings about these matters and have written me interesting, thoughtful letters. And angry letters. I want to share as much of this as I reasonably can with everyone I can reach, and to make it possible for you to write each other directly. With this in mind I will include, more than I previously have, letters or parts of letters that I get, with the e-mail addresses of the people who wrote them. If, for whatever reason, you do not want me to include your e-mail address with your comments, let me know and I'll omit it from any posting I make. And if you don't want to be identified by name let me know that too.
      A major item in today's mailing is Footnote 10, an open letter to an Arab-American friend, Farouk Barakat, who wrote me two years ago, in despair about his sense of helplessness. I'm sure he feels the same anguish now with the Israeli bulldozers destroying Palestinian homes in the Gaza town of Rafah. In today's note proper, i.e. not in the footnotes, I sketch the changes in my thinking that led to my current views on the Israel-Palestine conflict. These comments are mainly of a personal and polemical nature, but with numerous references to supporting factual material.

The larger context.

      Immediately after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, George W. Bush championed a global so-called "war against terror." On October 7, 2001, less than four weeks later, the U.S. assault against Afghanistan began with massive air strikes. And less than a year and a half after that, on March 20, 2003, the U.S. assault against Iraq started with devastating air bombardment. For the Ariel Sharon government of Israel this entire scenario was as welcome as a breath of fresh air. Now the Americans would know terror, would feel it in their guts, and would really understand what Israel was faced with.

      Not only would America continue, as it had for over a half-century, underwriting Israel's drive to rid all of historic Palestine (as of 1948) of Palestinian Arabs, but, Sharon understood, the Bush regime would back these Israeli efforts with greater, more open enthusiasm than any previous U.S. administration. Sharon was right. Trumpeting his calculated oppression against the indigenous Arab population as a struggle to end terrorism, Sharon was declared by George W. Bush to be "a man of peace." This "man of peace" had, in the course of many long years, consistently brought peace -- the peace of the graveyard -- to thousands. Long before 9-11, he had butchered his way into the lands of "Greater Israel", spilling blood supposedly "for the greater good" of Jewish Israelis1, in pursuing the Zionist dream-turned-nightmare.2

From enthusiastic supporter of Israel to adamant opponent.

      On May 14, 1948 the State of Israel was established. Freda and I, married almost three months and students at Brooklyn College, were very happy at the momentous event. Our early enthusiasm persisted for the better part of 20 years, at the end of which we were living in Brookline, Massachusetts near the local Sunday morning bagel headquarters at the corner of Fuller and Harvard Streets. I don't remember how our disenchantment grew, but some time in the late 60's we decided not to renew our State of Israel Bonds, not exactly a step of opposition -- rather of withdrawing support.

      Immersed as we were during this period with our professional lives in science, and the lives of our two daughters, we did not follow closely events in the middle east. Our major news sources were the New York Times and The Nation magazine. Nevertheless, over time we became aware that Israel was inflicting suffering on Palestinian Arabs, though we didn't realize its full extent, and remained only moderately interested.

      It is shameful but true that even two years ago I lacked a clear understanding of what was implied by fulfillment of the Zionist project.3 Religion was never a part of my life or consciousness. I regarded all religions as at the very least suspect, because they promote blind faith to the detriment of rational, critical thought. I was much more concerned, during those 35 or so years, with what the United States was doing rather than events in Israel and Palestine. However, I've always felt fierce anger -- rage -- at savage treatment of groups of people -- the Armenian genocide by Turkey early in the last century (which I first read about in Franz Werfel's The Forty Days of Musa Dagh years ago),4 Mussolini's air force strafing utterly defenseless Abyssinian villagers,5 the Nazi Judeocide,6 the U.S. government's murderous attacks: on Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota;7 on the family enclave at Ruby Ridge;8 on the religious "cult" enclave in Waco, Texas;9 and on and on. I've always sympathized with the "underdogs", whether Zapatistas, poor Haitians, European Jews, American Blacks, the Basques, the Irish of Northern Ireland, and, of course, the Palestinians in Rafah and the rest of the occupied territories in Israel-Palestine.

Playing the terror card

      The major perpetrators of mass murder, war crimes and crimes against humanity are the world's nation-states. All states, but especially those that claim to be democratic, attempt to disguise their inhumane actions with false propaganda. Each of them tries to justify its course of action in order to maintain its legitimacy in the eyes of the people. And always, the state maintains, it is acting for the greater good of its population. The Second World War had not even ended when the U.S. began the long campaign "against the threat of Communism." When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991 the U.S. turned to "the war against drugs." And after 9/11 the cry was "the war against terrorism." Israel has long used "the fight against terrorism" as the excuse for its ongoing campaign against Palestinian Arabs. It was in this context that I wrote my open letter to Farouk Barakat a bit over two years ago,10 acknowledging that we were powerless to do anything that would have an adequate immediate effect, but suggesting efforts aiming at long-term success in changing the course of history.

      By then, April 2002, I was unequivocally convinced that Israel ought to be forced to stop its policy of subjugating the Palestinian Arabs. The U.S. could, I knew, stop Israel's aggression. But that would require a total reversal of U.S. policy. Although I had by then posted one item on this site that drew attention to Zionism as a racist ideology, the well-documented essay "Reflections on Zionism from a dissident Jew" by Tim Wise11, I had not pursued the alleged connection between Zionist ideology and Israeli racist policy. As the Bush administration galloped towards its attack on Iraq and the anti-war movement grew rapidly in the U.S. as well as globally, increasingly U.S. agression and Israeli agression were targeted together within the movement.

      A long-time close friend wrote on January 15, 2003, "I was on the last San Francisco march ... [It] was great - wonderful feeling of camaraderie. The rally was something else. An agenda going well beyond the anti-war slogans that had brought out the public. Especially disturbing to me was the 'Zionism=racism', and 'Israel has no right to exist' heard from the podium ..." My friend went on, "The sins of Israel regarding the Palestinians are legion going back at least to 1948 ... But ... working to stop the war needs to be the clear and only goal of the anti-war movement."

      I was not so sure. So last summer I started to try to get some historical understanding. It was but a few months after the second full-scale bombing of Iraq began (the first full-scale attack was in 1991; during the 12-year interim the U.S. and Great Britain had continued fairly regular though intermittent bombing). I began with Chomsky's The Fateful Triangle.12 Chomsky's study is a demanding but invaluable read for understanding the genesis of the Zionist project. His focus in The Fateful Triangle is (as it always has been) directed against the institutional machinery that largely controls public consciousness. His specialty, and in this he is unsurpassed, is in documenting the evidence that uncovers the lies. In the case of Israel, this amounts to showing that the mythology of Israel being a humane, benign, democratic state unjustly opposed by the Palestinians is baseless. Israel, he demonstrates beyond doubt, is as ruthless as any other nation-state in pursuing the goals of the dominant social forces. True, the scale of its atrocities does not "measure up" to those of larger nations, but that's a consequence of its small size and limited resources, not because it is guided by humane principles, as the propagators of the myth would have us believe.

Israeli State terror

      As Lawrence Davidson shows clearly in his recent essay (footnote 2), there's no shortage of state terror against Arabs in the occupied territories, at the same time that propagation of the myth (of a humane Israel) among Israeli and non-Israeli Jews, as well as among non-Jewish Zionists, has been a mammoth propaganda success. Naturally, among the "true believers" of the myth, work such as Chomsky's doesn't sit well, and efforts to counter its effectiveness are to be expected.13 Of course Chomsky is not the only author whose work shows compassion for the Palestinians (primarily Arabs) who suffered (and still do) the consequences of the establishment of Israel, but he is one of the most effective. Other books I've read that bear pretty directly on Middle East conflicts are, in no particular order, The Clash of Fundamentalisms14, Israel: A Colonial-Settler State?15, Culture and Resistance16, Pity the Nation17, Dishonest Broker18, Eqbal Ahmad: Confronting Empire19, The Politics of Anti-Semitism20, Paths in Utopia21, Orientalism 22, and The Origins of Totalitarianism23. A few other books that I picked up last summer but have only glanced at superficially so far are Occupied Voices24, Kibbutz: Venture in Utopia25, and Middle East Illusions26.

      In addition to these few titles, there must of course be many books and other writings by Arab authors and other non-Jews which are critical of the Israeli government and the ideology of Zionism and which empathize with the plight of the Palestinian Arabs. So far as I am aware, Arab critics have not been attacked with the venom that Chomsky seems to inspire. For example, Edward Said, who was a pillar of enlightenment in support of the Palestinians, and who was always outspoken, seems to have escaped the scorn to which Chomsky is subjected. If this is true it might be that Arab opinions are dismissed by the supporters of the State of Israel, with the racist assumption, After all, what can you expect of Arabs?

Torture and terror: brutal, uncivilized weapons

      The Israelis are of course not the inventors of terrorism. The deliberate use of terror as a weapon of coercion must go back at least to the beginning of recorded history. The torturers, Americans and still unidentified "third-country participants" in the now-infamous recent Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq are terrorists. Palestinian guerrillas who attack Israeli civilians are terrorists, as are those of the much-publicized suicide bombers whose attacks do not target Israeli military but attack civilians. Paramilitary settlers and Israeli ground and air military forces who attack Palestinian civilians are terrorists. The drivers of the giant armored bulldozers who destroy Palestinian homes27 are terrorists. The practice of terrorism by governments and armed forces is so pervasive that one is tempted to think that all (or practically all) governments and military forces use terrorism. The purpose of torture is to terrorize the victim in order to gain total submission and compliance with the torturer's dictates. We will never achieve a civilized world without the total elimination of torture and human inflicted terror, itself a form of torture.

Working for a world without terror

      How can we get out of the impass that we seem to be locked into? I think we need to begin with the realization that the world is full of very wonderful people. This of course is straight anarchist propaganda.28 Not false, but true propaganda. People are not "born bad." It required a great deal of social conditioning, for example, to have American troops in Vietnam carry out the unspeakable atrocities against Vietnamese civilians epitomized by the wanton slaughter in My Lai. Such activities are not simply normal choices that a high school graduate makes instead of choosing, say, to go on to college. There is an entire cultural environment in which every one of us is shaped. Some of us are badly misshapen by it, and come to believe we live in a world of "enemies" intent on destroying "our country" or "our way of life." And that we must, if we are to survive, destroy or at least debilitate -- defang -- those terrorists before they destroy us. That is how the ruling cabal in the U.S. government without a doubt wants us to view the world of Islam. That is how the Israeli government without a doubt wants Jews to see the Arab world.

      In order to transform human society from its present disastrous state into a true civilization, we need to start with an effort at consciousness-raising. There need to be billions of people who understand the deadly reality in which all of us are now largely trapped. This has got to be a massive education effort, in which we each try to educate ourselves and each other, sharing our growing understanding, raising our common consciousness.At the same time we must think about strategies for effecting the needed changes, and work to apply them. It ought to be a vast cooperative effort, a bit analogous to the development, in the field of computer communications, of open (as opposed to proprietary) software. It's critical that we not seek to "own" ideas, but to freely share them. And it must be a global grassroots effort by ordinary, everyday people. Building the global grassroots communications infrastructure ought, I think, to be our immediate priority.

-- G.S., June 5, 2004

Footnote 1. Ariel Sharon's most notorious crimes occurred in the invasion of Lebanon in 1982-83 during the government headed by Menachem Begin, in which Sharon, as the Minister of War, planned and directed the whole atrocity. The current attack against Rafah in Gaza is minuscule by comparison, but only in scale is it less noteworthy. Robert Fisk's Pity the Nation: The abduction of Lebanon, Fourth Edition, 2002, Thunder Mouth Press/Nation Books, New York, is the most revealing and most readable account I know of. In fact, it's not just readable but gripping.

Footnote 2. "Welcome to Their Nightmare: Orwell and Kafka in Israel/Palestine", by Lawrence Davidson, April 3, 2004. Available at

Footnote 3. A brief indication of the territorial implications of carrying out the Zionist goals is in Footnotes 5 and 6 of the paper "The Israel-Palestine Conflict-1", at

Footnote 4. In Pity the Nation, pp.59-60, Fisk writes of "the victims of the first European Holocaust, the Armenians. The Turks ... used none of the sophisticated machinery that the Nazis were to employ ... less than 30 years later. The one million Armenians slaughtered by the Turks in 1915 were shot or knifed to death, the women often raped before being murdered. There are no ash pits, no identified mass graves. Tens of thousands of Armenians died of thirst and starvation after being forced into the north Syrian desert on the long march south ... To this day the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge the slaughter, even though the killings continued after 1915. Perhaps 75,000 more Armenians were butchered during Turkey's 1918 invasion of the Caucasus. As many as a quarter of a million more may have died between 1919 and 1922." Fisk footnotes this information as follows: For some of the most detailed statistics, see Armenia: The Survival of a Nation by Christopher J. Walker (New York, St Martin's Press, 1980), especially p. 230.

Footnote 5. Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922, promising to reestablish Italy's imperial glory. On October 2, 1935 Italian troops invaded the Kingdom of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in East Africa, and the Italian Air Force went into action, bombing defenseless villages that lacked any modern arms.

Footnote 6. The term Judeocide is used by Tariq Ali in his The Clash of Fundamentalisms (see footnote 14). It has the advantage over the term Holocaust in that it does not suggest that there has been only a single holocaust, that perpetrated by the Nazis against European Jews. What the indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered from the European invasion and subsequent colonialism was clearly also a holocaust, one involving tens of millions of deaths. And what the Armenians suffered at the hands of the Turks is also "worthy" of the awful label. Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, 2001, identifies 'the Holocaust' as an Americanism, i. e. a term that had its first use in the U.S. or was coined by Americans. Its definition for this term: "the systematic, genocidal destruction of over six million European Jews by the Nazis before and during World War II."

Footnote 7. This infamous massacre of about 150 Lakotas, American Indians, on December 29, 1890 by a cavalry unit of the U.S. Army, was a response to their disobeying a prohibition against performing a ritual so-called "Ghost Dance" that the Indians believed would lead to their victory over the whites, who would be vanquished. It took place at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Footnote 8. On August 21, 1992 a federal force of U.S. Marshals, FBI and BATF agents conducted a murderous assault on the remote mountain cabin homestead of Randy and Vicki Weaver and their four children in Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Their 14-year-old son Sammy was shot dead. The next day FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi killed Vicki as she was standing in the doorway of the cabin holding her 10-month-old child, and shot Randy in the back. Some info at

Footnote 9. The compound of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, a religious group, was raided on February 28, 1993 by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A standoff followed the initial exchange of fire until, on April 19, 1993, armed federal forces destroyed the buildings. At least 86 members of the comopound died. Some info at

Footnote 10.
Subject: Reply to your note yesterday
Mon, 01 Apr 2002 21:40:33 -0700
From: George Salzman <>
To: Farouk and Edith Barakat <>
CC: (80 other addresses)

Oaxaca, Monday April 1, 2002

An open letter to Farouk Barakat

Dear Farouk,

      I have your e-mail from yesterday with its painfully brief message,
            My dear friends
            I feel really helpless
and the Washington Post article it accompanied:

      I wish it were possible to do something immediate that would be helpful, to stop the savage Israeli government assault on the Arab peoples of the occupied territory and its non-stop repression of Israeli Arabs. This particular atrocity is especially painful to you, whose family had to leave Palestine when you were but a child, but it is 'only' the latest unacceptable butchery of innocent people by state terrorists. And as the Post article said,

"Bush and his senior advisers dispatched Powell to deliver a message that many observers, including Israelis and Palestinians, saw as a green light for [Israeli Prime Minister] Sharon.

"Though an accomplished public speaker, Powell conspicuously read from a prepared text, his eyes returning to the page every few words . . ."

thereby making it manifest that Sharon's homicidal policy has U.S. government backing. It also shows that Powell, as the chief Department of State liar, can be trusted as fully as his notorious predecessor, Henry Kissinger, who's now evidentally afraid to travel outside Fortress USA, most recently deciding not to risk a trip to Brazil. They should both end up facing the International Court in the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      Unfortunately, your feeling is justified. You are helpless to do anything immediately effective, as are all of us. The most we can do is to speak out, to protest, as we have been doing all along, condemning the unending horrors inflicted on the world's peoples by the dominant social forces. Of course, protesting is not enough. I cannot console you, though I wish I could. But I do have two suggestions, the first of personal psychological value, and the second for setting in motion developments that will enable the world's people to gain control of our lives, not immediately of course but in the longer run, by gradually undermining and disabling the power of the nation-states, which are clearly the primary terrorist organizations, and the global capitalist system that they serve, and on behalf of which they perpetrate all the horrors to which we are witness.

      1. I believe it's important not to rely on corporate, government-compliant media for an accurate portrayal of events and of the reactions to them outside of the U.S., and inside as well. The vast development of grassroots, independent media is of incalculable value in helping people understand the reality in which we are living. I try not to turn to so-called 'mainstream' sources to inform myself. As time goes on more and more so-called 'alternative' grassroots sources are flourishing. To name only a few, there is the network of Independent Media Centers, at last count 78 of them, all of which can be linked to from the Global site at; the NarcoNews site of Alberto Giordano at; Flashpoints Radio at; KPFA, the Berkeley Pacifica station at; Jay's Left Directory at; and Znet at Here in Mexico there is a very high quality national daily newspaper (in Spanish) La Jornada, at, of which no counterpart exists in the U.S. It is politically left in orientation, and very reliable. Of course it highlights opposition to U.S. policy worldwide. For example, yesterday's issue shows a demonstration by Israelis in front of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, protesting, "We declare P.M. Sharon as our Enemy" -- Israeli Peace Movement. Also, recently a new Indymedia Center started in Jerusalem, which, it appears, is operated by both individuals with Jewish and Arab identities. In short, the whole world isn't crazy, although from U.S. mainstream sources it might appear to be so.

      2. The second suggestion also has a personal psychological benefit, but its potential is far greater. Like you are feeling now, I felt utterly helpless when I returned here from the U.S. on October 10, 2001, three days after the horrific bombing of Afghanistan began. Individual acts of terrorism, as inhumane and frightening and destructive as they may be, and sometimes are, like those of September 11, are nevertheless minuscule in their impact as compared to state acts of terrorism. They are frequently carried out in desperation, by individuals who are relatively weak, which is not to excuse them but to recognize their scale compared to the gigantic campaigns of terror planned and deliberately and mercilessly executed by nation-states.

      For about two months I was depressed by my inability to do anything to stop the bombing. And then I gradually picked up again the socially constructive work that had occupied my efforts earlier. That change of focus was personally very healthy. Instead of experiencing horror and a sense of impotence, I then experienced ‘only’ the horror of the actions I couldn’t stop. My efforts were, and are, to try to contribute to the development of a global grassroots infrastructure, with highest priority on the communication and information part of that infrastructure. I am convinced that as long as the world is dominated by the system of global capitalism and the nation-states, its enforcers, there will continue to be untold horrors, one after another, in endless succession.

      My efforts are therefore twofold, to try to persuade people that this viewpoint is correct, and second, to actively take part in the long-term task of hollowing out the dominant infrastructure by contributing to the transfer of material wealth out of corporate and government control and into the grassroots infrastructure. The overall strategy is in an essay that has had significant impact on my thinking and which is posted at The Preface gives a good introduction to the author’s thinking.

      A key paragraph of the Preface is the following:

      "A further assumption I make is that it is impossible to defeat our ruling class by force of arms. The level of firepower currently possessed by all major governments and most minor ones is simply overwhelming. It is bought with the expropriated wealth of billions of people. For any opposition movement to think that it can acquire, maintain, and deploy a similarly vast and sophisticated armament is ludicrous. I have nothing against armed struggle in principle (although of course I don't like it). I just don’t think it can work now. It would take an empire as enormous and rich as capitalism itself is to fight capitalists on their own terms. This is something the working classes of the world will never have, nor should we even want it."

      At the moment I’m trying to help a small indigenous community in the mountains of Oaxaca establish an indigenous university there. If you want to read a little about it, it’s at

      You might also be interested in an essay of mine, “Building a Global Grassroots Infrastructure-5, Mutual Aid and Mutual Trust”, which is at

All the best to you and Edith,

Footnote 11. Wise, an American Jew, says, in part, "Although one can argue with the claim made by some that Zionism and racism are synonymous--especially given the amorphous definition of 'race' which makes such a position forever and always a matter of semantics--it is difficult to deny that Zionism, in practice if not theory, amounts to ethnic chauvinism, colonial ethnocentrism, and national oppression." His essay, well worth reading, is at

Footnote 12. The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians, Updated edition, Noam Chomsky, 1999, South end Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Footnote 13. One such effort to besmirch Chomsky and his work is the booklet, "The Hidden Alliances of Noam Chomsky", by Werner Cohn, 1988, Americans for a Safe Israel, 114 East 28th Street, New York NY 10016. Cohn begins with the dramatic assertion that Chomsky is, in a certain sense, the most important patron of the neo-Nazi movement of our time. About Cohn, the booklet says he "was born in Berlin and educated in New York. He currently lives in Canada and is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of British Columbia."

Footnote 14. The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity, by Tariq Ali, 2003, Verso, London, first paperback edition.

Footnote 15. Israel: A Colonia-Settler State?, by Maxime Rodinson, 1973, Pathfinder Press, New York.

Footnote 16. Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward W. Said, interviews by David Barsamian, 2003, South End Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Footnote 17. See footnote 1. I can hardly recommend this work too highly. See footnote 12 in my paper, "The Israel-Palestine Conflict-1: Edward, I was wrong about Sharon", at

Footnote 18. Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine, by Naseer H. Aruri, 2003, South End Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Footnote 19. Eqbal Ahmad: Confronting Empire, interviews with David Barsamian, 2000, South End Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Footnote 20. The Politics of Anti-Semitism, Edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, 2003, Counterpunch and AK Press, respectively at PO Box 228, Petrolia California 95558 and 674A 23rd St, Oakland California 94612-1163.

Footnote 21. Paths in Utopia, by Martin Buber, 1958 edition, Beacon Press, Boston.

Footnote 22. Orientalism, by Edward W. Said, 1994 Vintage Books edition, Random House, New York. I've read just a bit more than the first half of this partly very difficult book. Said was, as a former collaborator with J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked to my wife and me about 'Oppie', "He is oh-so-cultivated!" Parts of Orientalism are straightforward and easy to understand, others sections were for me an obscure jungle of unfamiliar literary and cultural references of which I could not begin to make coherent sense. A barbarian in the palace.

Footnote 23. The Origins of Totalitarianism, New edition with added prefaces, 1967, by Hannah Arendt, Harcourt Brace & Co. San Diego.

Footnote 24. Occupied Voices: Stories of everyday life from the second Intifada, by Wendy Pearlman, 2003 Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, New York.

Footnote 25. Kibbutz: Venture in Utopia, by Melford E. Spiro, 1956, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Footnote 26. Middle East Illusions, by Noam Chomsky, 2003, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, PO Box 317, Oxford, OX2 9RU, UK.

Footnote 27.
Today I received an e-mail again asking for help to stop the home demolitions::
Subject: 18 Rafah houses today - earlier this week 23
Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc)
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004 15:57:36 +0200

International release, Thursday, June 3:




The world's attention went in another direction, and the bulldozers are back. But maybe, so short after Rafah was in the spotlight, your renewed protest would again help stop them ...

Footnote 28.
Anarchist propaganda. The theme 'Building a true civilization' is the focus of the essay, "Building the Global Grassroots Infrastructure: a task both local and global", at It begins "... We take as our starting point the assumption that all people are human beings, that all of us experience pain and suffering, and that the true measure of a civilization is how successful it is in minimizing the avoidable suffering of each person.
      "A second assumption is that humans are not born to be 'bad', that is, we are not a 'genetically flawed' species biologically programmed to do harmful things to one another. This is a basic assumption of anarchism. It follows, if one accepts this assumption, that the harmful things people knowingly do to one another are a consequence of social conditioning, i.e. of the social conditions in which we live."

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