Increasingly, modern historians have come to regard that bleak November “armistice” as a mere truce in a long, terrible conflict that almost sent civilization into total eclipse and that did not really terminate until the peaceful and democratic reunification of Germany after November 1989. Even that might be an optimistic reading: the post-1918 frontiers of the former Ottoman Empire (one of the four great thrones that did not outlast the “First” World War) are still a suppurating source of violence and embitterment.
That is to say: today’s War on Terror has some of its roots in the guns of August, 1914. Even Hitchens, a youthful Marxist turned Iraq War supporter, can see that the pacifists had it right in the Great War. The debut of American mass interventionism there, in 1917, only made things worse:
If General Pershing’s fresh and plucky troops had not reached the scene in the closing stages of the bloodbath, universal exhaustion would almost certainly have compelled an earlier armistice, on less savage terms. Without President Wilson’s intervention, the incensed and traumatized French would never have been able to impose terms of humiliation on Germany; the very terms that Hitler was to reverse, by such relentless means, a matter of two decades later. In this light, the great American socialist Eugene V. Debs, who publicly opposed the war and was kept in prison by a vindictive Wilson until long after its ending, looks like a prescient hero. Indeed, so do many of the antiwar militants to whose often-buried record Hochschild has done honor.
All indications suggest that Hochschild’s book is not to be missed.
We need a mass movement that can deal with climate disasters. That means training people to both protect and mobilize their communities.
By satirizing the dangers of an aging refinery, activists in Wisconsin show how local organizing can deal a blow to the oil industry and empower frontline communities.
Black, Indigenous and Appalachian communities are fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline and other projects spurred as concessions to last month’s landmark climate legislation.