Author Archives: Jim Miles

Non-violence does not have to be passive

I have just watched the video of the University of California students at Davis against the heavily armed police that is becoming prominent on many Internet sites and I am reminded, among others, of the non-violent responses of the Palestinians to their occupiers (see “Refusing to be Enemies—Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation,” Ithaca Pres, 2011). The video shows clearly the actions of the police pepper spraying passive students sitting on the ground, heads down. Following that, without any real organization of leadership, the students start slowly almost imperceptibly at first, moving forward toward the police. The resolution is that the police finally turn and leave the site. An earlier video, showing U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Shamar Thomas shaming a squad of New York city police, serves as another excellent example of non-violence actively confronting threatened or implied violence. Continue reading

Moral bankruptcy: Will U.S. veto Palestinian statehood?

This week at the UN—if the U.S. push to disable the process does not succeed—a vote will be taken on Palestinian statehood. The U.S. has already stated that it will veto any vote that supports Palestinian statehood. So why take the vote if that is the end result? Continue reading

The essential humanity of Palestinians defies those who would destroy them

What can I say about such a well written book that has not already been said: well crafted, thought provoking, illuminating, enlightening, informative. . . . most importantly Fast Times in Palestine highlights the essential humanity of Palestinians and their struggle with the constant oppression of Israeli society that surrounds all facets of their lives. In the face of overwhelming power, the message that underlies this story is the very idea of Palestinian existence. Continue reading

Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games

The many stages of imperialism are often brought into debate about whether the current U.S. foreign policy, or any U.S. foreign policy, is an imperial project. Eric Walberg’s clear and concise presentation of the “great games” centred on the ancient Silk Road from China through to Eastern Europe presents a definition of imperialism that spans all of humanities’ empires. The “Foundations . . . of imperial hegemony are financial and military-political, to ensure control of world labour power and raw materials.” This reflects my own interpretation of empire as being founded on the gathering in of wealth and power to the heartland from the hinterland, from a cultural geography perspective. Walberg uses the terms heartland and rimland, the same idea, focussing intentions on the heart of Eurasia and the surrounding countries’ resources, wealth, and manpower. Continue reading

Canada turns hard right

On May 02, 2011, Canadian electors voted in a majority government for the former minority government of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. The Conservatives won 157 out of 308 possible seats, although statistically, because of Canada’s “first past the post” system of electing representatives, they did not receive a majority of the “popular” vote. With a voter turnout of 60 percent, and the popular vote of 40 percent for the Conservatives, only 24 percent of Canadians elected the new government. Continue reading

US veto: Speaking with forked tongue

It is common within early U.S. history to describe the communications from the white settlers to the indigenous population as being done with a “forked tongue,” as described clearly by Wikipedia: “The phrase ‘speaks with a forked tongue’ means to say one thing and mean another or, to be hypocritical, or act in a duplicitous manner. In the longstanding tradition of many Native American tribes, ‘speaking with a forked tongue’ has meant lying, and a person was no longer considered worthy of trust, once he had been shown to ‘speak with a forked tongue.’ Continue reading