You are on page 1of 96

MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00

MMW 6 – Edmond Chang

The isms were the central focus of MMW 5, but in the 19th Century all of the
isms were in their nascent state. It is in the 20th Century that we see all of
the isms come to a state of maturity. And as a result of this they come into
conflict with each other. In the 20th century we will focus a lot on the
struggles between each of these movements.

Full blown nationalistic movements vs. imperialism. The nationalist
movements trying to break away from the yoke of its colonial past
The defining struggle: communism vs. capitalist democracies (two
hegemonic ideologies going head to head against each other)
We will also see the continuing conflict between liberalism (started as the
enlightenment) and the bi-products of liberalism -–> reactionary
conservatism and religious fundamentalism. In many ways these things are
the bi-products of liberal ideas, as they came about as a reaction to liberal
aspirations. All of these struggles still define where we are today.
Examples of nationalism today: Tibet, Kosovo
The debate on immigration goes on today because some of us cling on to
liberal notions of inclusion and compassion
While others react to this with exclusion, and elitism; some people cling to
the notion that some should be a privileged group
Security vs. Civil Liberties

We will look this week on the relationship between Liberalism and World War
World War 1 was a cataclysmic event that utterly shocked the world. The war
was different from anything which people had seen. It shocked cultures and
societies to their very foundation, and in many ways represents the first test
of liberalism. Im the face of such horror, liberalism was still able to sustain
itself as a viable ideology. The war could also be seen as an implosion of
liberalism itself. The war was the final outcome of all of the contradictions
which define the liberal ideology.
There are many contradictions within enlightenment: talk of rights and
liberty, simultaneously with exclusion through different forms of repression
Liberalism’s, Liberal Ideal:
Politically liberalism stands for:
Individual rights of citizens. The idea of inherent rights (declaration of
Secondly the self determination of nation states. Each state should have the
right of self-determination.
3rd a gonvernment based on social contract.
4th, trust in the rule of Law.
5th some form of representative government.

Liberalism’s economic ideas:
Laissez fair economics: less government intervention, free and open access
to markets. Protectionism is the opposite of what liberalism stands for.

Socially Liberalism believes that each individual should have a right to
private property. Communism would be antithetical to this. Each individual
should have freedom of expression, a free press. Each individual should have
the right to privacy. Liberalism rests on the education of an informed
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang

The First World War:
Not from the point of view of military history, rather giving a feel of what
kind of impact the war had on Europe and the World.
How did the ideals and values of liberalism contribute to the war. Obviously
there are a lot of other reasons, but this is one useful thing to focus on
The Impact of this war on the European consciousness and psyche

Liberalism’s contribution to the outbreak of the war:
The liberal belief in the idea of nationalism and the right to self
determination which were core liberal ideals. From around 1912 to 1919
this pitted the Balkan nationalism against the Austro-Hungarian empire. It
inspired the Slavic speaking people to seek some kind of Unity against the
Austrians. A unity under the leadership of Serbia. On the one hand there was
Austrian Empire, on the other hand the Ottoman Empire. Liberalism added
justification to these causes, which lead to a fateful assassination of the
arch-duke Ferdinand of Austria on June 38th 1914. Many historians point to
this as the spark for the war.

He was not a lone assassin, he was supported by the Serbian state. So the
Austrians wanted to seek a punitive expedition against Serbia, and in order
to do so they needed to make sure they had the backing of Germany. On the
other hand Serbia had its own backing of the Russians. So it created a
situation with two large alliances pitted against each other. Germany and
Austro-Hungarian Empire, with the Tripple Entant on the other side,
consisting of Brittan, France and Russia.

The German Chancellor urged the Austrians to act quickly, before anyone
could respond, making it a settled issue. But the Austrians were too slow in
acting. They could not mobilize forces until 6 weeks after that assassination.

During that 6 weeks a lot of war mongering talk happened, which lead to the
mobilization of the great powers before Austria could do anything. So both
Germany and Russian forces had mobilized.
The German Schlaefen plan was to outflank the French defenses, going
through Belgium (which was neutral), to move in very quickly, overwhelm
the French, and then go face the Russians in the east. For the most part it
worked in the beginning, but because of German hesitation it ended up
becoming a two front war instead of a one front war as they had hoped.

2) We have to look closely at the role of mass media (the free media), which
was something new at this time. And for the first time the free press would
play a very important role in shaping the course of the war. The relationship
between the free press and liberalism, is the existence of a free press in a
state. Except in this case, the free press played a very important role in
inciting pro-war sentiments. It created the same kind of nationalistic fervor
that the soccer games between different European countries involve today,
but of course a lot worse. A lot of nationalistic passion and saber rattling,
which was fueled by the presence of the media. A lot of citizens were
following current events with passion and interest

In Britain, what the free press engendered was a tremendous outrage
against German militancy. They saw the Germans as a very militant
presence trying to take over the European main land. And when the
Germans went through Belgium which was supposed to be a neutral state,
angered the Brittains. In Germany there was the same kind of thing. They
said “how dare you assassinate an arch duke of one of our allies”, and this
transferred to the Russians as they were the allies of the Serbians.

They were able to raise the pitch of the fervor to such a level, that even
when governments started to pull back when they realized how dangerous a
war would be, it was too late. Because the very same propaganda that the
press used to incite war, could not be reversed. So even when the German
chancellor decided to kind of hesitant, he incited the outrage of his own
people, who were incensed that he was not acting faster.

It becomes an intricate relationship between the media and war. Which in
many ways becomes a legacy, which is synonymous with the modern era.
This bastion that liberalism celebrated so much, also becomes a thorny
presence in the modern era. And it really started in 1913

Liberalisms inherent faith in human rationality. Its inherent faith, that
somehow European Culture, European Civilization had progressed to such an
extent, that it was not possible for anything terrible to happen. A faith in
human rationality, which was a direct legacy of the enlightenment.

This created a naive and blasé attitude about war. There was even jubilation
at the outset of war, because most people felt that it would merely be a
limited and short localized conflict. Nobody had anticipated that it would take
4 torturous years to reach an end. Most believed that war was in fact
necessary, that it was a necessary casarsis which would allow Europe to self
adjust, to restructure Europe in a way which would give it more long term
stability, and that it would improve society. Kind of like a cleansing process.
Not too costly, and necessary.

Many felt that it would be the best way to secure and perhaps expand each
countries imperialistic interests.

Some historians argue that what World War 1 really represents is the
struggles of imperialism coming home. The struggles over colonies and
empire reached the home front, and the Europeans needed to settle it, at
home. The assumption was that they could do that in a short and localized
war. They would fight, and each side would get some kind of concessions.

It also came from the fact that not since the days of Napoleon had Europe
experienced war on the home continent. So the public was ignorant of the
nature of modern warfare. The public really had no idea about the
devastating nature of the machine gun, trench warfare and poison gas. The
nature of a protracted war. Human nature has a short term memory. We
very easily forget the horrors that existed even 50 years ago and we tend to
make the same mistakes. For Europe at the time the last major war on the
continent was 100 years ago, so people became complacent and were
So there was very little sense of urgency in the summer of 1914 to stop the
conflict from escalating. Everyone believed that the rationale of liberalism
would prevent the war from becoming too costly. So we see tremendous
idealism at the outset of war.

The poem by Rupert Brooke captures this sense of idealism. If one did
have to die, it was for a noble cause. The self becomes identical to the
nation. The sacrifice that an Englishman would make, to bring civilization to
the rest of the world. If he dies in a far corner of the world, it was a noble
sacrifice that he was making. Anglocentric Paternalism: This feeling that
I am bringing civilization as an Englishman to the far corners of the world.
“If I should die, think only this of me, that there is a corner of some foreign
field, that is forever England…” What we see here is the connection
between war and extreme idealism. Part of the civilizing mission that
Europeans thought they would bring to other parts of the world. But of
course the realities of war soon exposed how naive that idealism was.

War often has a paradoxical power to not only produce illusion, but also
disillusionment. At the outset of war there is usually a lot of very inflated
hope for triumph, or some naïve expectation for a quick victory. But war
also brings dissillisionment about conflicts, especially if you have a
protracted war, such as the first World War, or the Iraq war. What the
dissilusionment leads to is a very profound sense of futility, that there is not
much meaning, not only to the war, but global relations in general. The
sense of futility is really profoundly captured in Wilfred Owen’s poem
(Dolce Et Decorum Est, written in 1917 in the bloodiest period of the war).

He beginnings with putting you in the setting of the war with the gas attack
that is happening, then he talks about a dead soldier “if you could hear at
every jolt the blood come frothing from every ruptured lung…. My friend you
would not tell with such high jest, the old lie Dolce Et Decorum Est…(it is
sweet and noble to die for one’s country)” Contains no glorification of
sacrifice. The reality is very different from the idealism we saw in Rupert
Brooke’s poem. The sense of the loss of meaning at what they are doing is
conveyed by Wilfred Owen’s poem. Owen was killed in battle on Nov. 4th
1918, 7 days before the war ended.
Images can have a profound impact for or against wars.

For the most part the war was mired with a stalemate, particularly the
stalemate that took place on the Western Front. There was a stalemate in
which neither side could win. Which resulted in the meaningless loss of 10
million soldiers, 20 million wounded. The destruction of an entire generation.
The famous battle of Verdun, took 10 months and accounted for 1 million
casualties. Britain lost half a million men under the age of 30. Not only the
loss of an army, but the loss of a generation. Why such high casualties?
Much of it had to do with the new advances in weaponry, particularly the
machine gun, a new weapon which could mole down a whole platoon. A
weapon that the Europeans had first used in the quest for empire, first used
against Zulu warriors as the Gatling gun, which evolved into a machine gun
of incredible destructive capacity.

Also steam ships, another innovation that the western world first used
against its colonies, but now the technology came back to haunt Europe.

The technology which had first been used against colonies to subjugate
colonial peoples, came back to haunt Europe itself. Resulted in immense loss
of human life and natural resources.
Given all this destruction, why was there no concerted effort to stop the
madness. Why did the traditional rules of engagement not kick in
(diplomacy, compromise, concessions). Hoppsson offers a theory: “That by
this point war had really become a zero sum game” Where the only option
for either side was total victory. Partial victory was simply not enough. He
says that in the 19th century, there was all the imperialistic frenzy to carve
up the world and garner as much economic concessions as possible. Which
made a fusion of economics and politics (with economics the pursuit for
profit is unending, so political aims also became infinite). For all the
contending sides it then became an either or equation for all sides. For
example, Germany felt it could not back down, or else it would concede
naval supremacy to Britain. Britain on the other hand also felt it could not
back down, or else it would be granting German hegemony over all of
mainland Europe. While the French also in spite of their weakness also felt
they could not back down, or else they would always live in the shadow of
Germany. It meant either total victory or decline. This is why the war
persisted despite of the stalemate. Only when the US entered the war did
the stalemate start to move. The US entered because of a threat to its
shipping. It wanted to continue the profitable economy of supplying war torn
Britain, and the Germans were using submarines to knock out the US
merchant ships. By 1917 Germany had already been exhausted, it had been
stretched too thin. Had to fight a two front war, as apposed to a one front
war, and Germany was on its last gasp. They made a last offensive, failed,
and then it was pretty much over.

For a country like Britain, it also lost the best of its Generation. ¼ of all
Oxford and Cambridge men died in the conflict. The social impact created
an aversion to war. People really felt “we cannot face war ever again”. And
that sense of complacency became quite debilitating when we see the
emergence of Nazism. Instead of nipping Nazism in the bud, when it first
showed its head, people were reluctant to get involved. Also a strong sense
of Nilism: there no meaning in the world. People were in a state of shock
that a civilization that had prided itself in rationality, and in progress, and in
a sense of humanity, could succumb to such barbarism. And this shock is
really well captured in the poem from William Budley Yates, The Second
Coming written in 1920 two years after the war.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang

Are humans naturally inclined towards war and violence? If so, how can war
be avoided?

As we critique something, we should remember its only the ideas and
inspiration that are worth their salt, are worthy of our time for critique,
except certain exceptions such as Nazism.
With Liberalism, for its flaws, contradictions and hypocrisy, naive
complacency; at the same time, the failures of liberalism really are not
things we should celebrate. The failure of liberalism doesn’t leave something
better in its wake, leaves broken dreams and aspirations, a space for
totalitarian ideas, making society much more vulnerable to those tendencies.
Leaves a debilitating sense of uncertainty, crisis of meaning. While being
critical of liberalism, we have to consider what the alternative is, and in the
20th century the alternative was not very good (often).

The idea of the crisis of meaning:
After the Great War (WW1) there is growing doubt about the pillars of
western culture. The belief that progress is something which is inevitable in
the West. Instead of these things there is now a growing darker recognition
of other human inclinations, our propensity for violence, destructiveness and
irrationality. Liberalism was all about progress and rationality. After the war
these things were questioned.
Enlightenment flipped on its head, becomes under tremendous scrutiny from
artists and writers after the war. How they approached liberalism was to
see the shift in the kind of questions that they were more prone to asking.
Now the big WHY question
Before the war liberal thinkers were still very concerned with questions such
as “how can we best establish a rational and equitable civil society” “how is
it best to establish a peaceful world order”. After the war the questions
become much more skeptical, much more existential in nature “why war”
“why beauty” “why god”
These are questions which really inform Einstein’s essay “The World As I See
Our focus this week is realy going to be on these kinds of questions: the
philosophical and ideological critique of western civilization, from within
Theme of the divided self
Today we will look at the Western Civ. itself as a symbol of that
European consciousness is torn between opposing forces, the weakening of
its idealistic aspirations
The Yates poem “the best lack all conviction”
ON the opposite extreme the prominence of Western Civ’s destructive
Many of the intellectuals in Europe were caught between these poles

Niche says this is a conflict between instinct and reason. Also between the
herd mentality vs. the individual conscience
In Freudian terms, the conflict between the Love instinct and the
Destructive instinct

Niche: born in 1844 and died in 1900, doesn’t fall within our period, so why
do we discuss him? Because in many ways his thinking, his ideas would gain
prominence and find resonance with people after WW1
While he was alive his ideas were on the fringes of European philosophy.
Which was a scene more dominated by optimistic positivist thinking along
the lines of John Locke and Rousseau
Niche was too dark and morbid for people’s tastes at the time. But after the
war because of the shock and horror of World War 1, we see Niche’s ideas
moving more towards the center stage of the European consciousness (for
intellectuals and arists)
His radical skepticism found great appeal especially amongst intellectuals
and artists.
His assumptions were that he was openly anti-democratic. All of the illusions
about democracy had been shattered by the war, so Niche’s ideas seemed
more attractive. Unlike the liberal thinkers he rejected the rule of law, also
rejected peace, and saw all of those things not as progress, but the as the
demise of Western Civilization, these were signs of degeneration.
“A society that definitively and instinctively gives up war and conquest is in
decline, it is … democracy and the rule of shopkeepers. In most cases to be
assure, assurances of peace are nearly narcotics to delude the masses.”
He celebrates the “will to power” which is a creative, vital and dynamic
No wonder, that Niche would become so attractive to totalitarianism in the
20th Century.
First proposition: Niche also rejected the assumption of progress in society.
He also challenges the notion of progress that’s inherent, even in Darwin’s
theory of evolution.
Niche says no, that is false, species evolution does not equal progress.
The second proposition he makes: is that the complex higher forms actually
perish more easily. Its better to be protazoa or planktin, because those
things are more prone for survival. Their simplicity is more conducive to
survival. He talks about this in terms of the herd instinct
Following the herd, he believes, is actually a better way to assure survival.
You may be strong as an individual, but it also makes you more vulnerable
His third proposition: refined or complex culture is actually a sign of
degeneration, not a sign of progress

In one fell swoop critiqued progress, individualism, and …

You can kind of see why after the war his ideas became so attractives
He goes further to tackle the meta-naratives in Western Culture
He devides aesthetics (art) into two catagories:
The apolonian impulse (that art follows this romantic belief, that for anything
to be beautiful it must be rational, must be sensible and must appeal to the
moral conscience), a romantic notion about art
He says that is not true art, but that true art follows the Dyonesian impulse,
that art is a-moral, and lacking rationality. That art is inherently irrational
So in music he begins to talk about dissonance as true art, not harmony
In poetry he says that it is the parody of myth, that prevails over the lyrical
In painting he says that its more about multiple perspectivism rather than
the idea of linear perspective (perfectly rational reflecting their view of the
world order) he says perfect symmetry is true illusion, and that true art tries
to capture multiple perspectives
When we consider someone like Picasso, cubist paintings trying to play with
Niche categorizes three major traditions that he refers to as the great
deception on life:
The Platonic Tradition with its emphasis on the idea of absolute truth, logos.
The second is Christianity with its promise of Universal Salvation
The Enlightenment Project itself, preaching the dictatorship of reason:
everything is about rationality

Niche says that all of these traditions that really mad eup Western
Civilization were all lies, the opiate for the masses
These three things together mask the true nature of humanity, its creative,
violent and irrational impulse

For a Civilization that had almost devoured itself, and for a cultural spirit
exhausted by crisis, someone like Niche was incredibly appealing. So his
ideas found tremendous resonance especially amongst intellectuals and
One of those people would be a foremost psycho analyst: Sigmund Freud
He picks up some of Niches ideas. Tries to tap into the very impulses which
Niche had mentioned
The primitive instincts have not vanished in any individual, they are there
and repressed, but wait for opportunities to display their activity
Showed us that our intellect is a feeble thing.

The repressed but dominant traits of humanity
Civilizations which are more complex and advanced are actually more
vulnerable to self-destruction. Because such societies are so bent on
repression, that cultures like that, whenever even a small crack emerges the
whole system could explode. For Freud civilization is a complicated
phenomenon. Civilization is hardly the culmination of progress. In fact he
sees Civilization as an act of desperation to survive in spite of these
destructive impulses that we all have. An act to survive, given that we have
these destructive impulses

The Oedipal complex:
For primitive tribes, struggles came down to a simple matter. Males fighting
each other over control of females. Specifically it involves the desires of
son’s to kill the father, in order to have access to all the women that the
father controls. A very primordial instinct for violence. Because of his might,
be could reserve the right to mate only to himself. But at some point the
sexual urges of the young males take hold of them, but with the father in
the way, with the dominant male in the way, they cant, they have no access
to the females, to the women. So usually what happens is that they plot the
murder of the father. Freud points to this as the beginnings of violence. But
the problem with this, is that even after the sons take control, what they are
faced with is a vicious cycle of this violence.
So it is at this point, that Freud says we get social rules and ethics, which
come into play, in order to preserve a tribe or community from self
annihilation. In this case he says that is why early human groups establish
things like the incest taboo, to diminish the level of violence.
He is trying to establish, that the very birth of civilization is found in the
cradle of violence, it is in violence that communities and civilizations were
born. It is in that very setting that human communities were born and held
together, by the compelling force of violence. What he is point out is that
these impulses are so intrinsic to human nature, that it is impossible to get
rid of them.
To speak of getting rid of our violent tendencies is non-sense according to
Freud, those impulses are found in our very genetic makeup, part of our
Letter to Einstein which he writes “why war”, he says the problem with the
League of Nations is that it has no teeth, it has no force of its own. It’s a
laughable matter for an institution like that to not have a force of its own.
You can only forge a new world order if you have the means for even
threatening violence. The league of nations was notorious for existing
mostly in the abstract, because it could not carry out its will through force.
A very realistic/pessimistic view of not only human nature but also human
communities and what holds them together.
In his letter that he writes to Einstein “why war” he explains this in a well
known psychoanalytical model, humans basically have two dominant
One is the Eros (love) instinct, and the other is the destructive instinct
The love instinct seeks to unite, but a much stronger instinct is our impulse
to destroy and kill. These instincts even though they are so different, go
hand in hand
Love and hate, preservation and destruction, go together, they go hand in
The difficulty of isolating the two classes of instinct, is what has so long
prevented us from recognizing them
The impulse of love and the impulse of destruction are meshed together,
often are indistinguishable
Even something like religious fanaticism, your love for god can compel you
to destroy others.
Our love for something can be so powerful that it compels us to kill or
The overall argument is dark and pessimistic
He also says that often wars can be initiated by a truly righteous and noble
cause, but that cause has to be sustained by our destructive impulse.
We need to look at the subtleties of these motives
Neither Einstein nor Freud feel optimistic about humans getting rid of the
destructive impulses
You cant always blame people or hold them accountable for something which
is natural to them
We are limited in terms of pursuit of free will, because the destructive
impulse is in our very genetic makeup

The last thing:
If this death instinct is innate, how will it ever be possible to avert
catastrophic wars.
Freud ponders this from two different angles: the trick is to try to divert, to
preoccupy these destructive instincts, so that they don’t act out: try to boost
the love instinct, try to convince people that there is some value for us
caring about each other. By creating common interests and concerns
amongst people. We must combat the herd mentality. Unlike a herd of pigs,
we should not settle for happiness and the east life, we must pursue truth,
goodness and beauty. This is clearly an elitist notion about intellectuals
leading the way, as apposed to the herd of the ignorant masses.
This is a paradoxical solution to the war. In many ways both Freud and
Einstein come full circle, by suggesting the answer to civilizations problem, is
civilization itself.
All the emphasis they put on truth beauty and goodness, to us they must
ring false after what we have witnessed in the 20th century. We see that it
was in fact some of our most civilized men and cultures which committed the
worst atrocities.
Being civilized does not necessarily make us immune to violence
These ideas strike us as somewhat Utopian or Elitist, but they don’t really
take us anywhere new, they give us other ways of understanding this, but
there is no solution on how to avoid war.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
(office hours 12-2 Wednesday)

Time Space Compression article: look for examples, illustrations of what the
author is getting at, in terms of the idea of the time space compression in
the modern consciousness. Examples of art and literature and even in
technology. Because there is something which fundamentally changes about
our perception of time and space.

Frankfurt School: post-Marxist critique of capitalism, continuing the debate
with some of the problems of Capitalism. Focused on the state apparatus’,
public education, the mass media, the culture industry. Together these
apparatus shape society in a way that best conforms to the ends of
Marx tended to focus more on the production and management end of
capitalism. The Frankfurt School was more interested in what impact
capitalism had on us as consumers. The influence from the Frankfurt School
explains why From ultimately ends up rejecting some of Freud’s
assumptions. Especially that the modern sense of alienation comes form
one’s frustrated libido. Freud says that the conflict comes from our impulses
for sexual gratification. For Freud everything is about sex. But From says
even for those who have unrestricted sexual gratification that does not
necessarily bring about happiness. From Says not everything is about sex.
He wants to focus on the problem of alienation in the social and economic
structures of the culture. He says the source of modern alienation is in
industry itself. Workers become increasingly alienated from the commodities
that they produce. Factory workers seldom even experience the final
product, because of the advent of the assembly line. Sociologists refer to
this as Ford-ism, after Henry Ford’s revolutionary introduction of the
assembly line. Breaking the production process into fragmented stages, into
specific tasks that certain people would perform at certain sites. Maximizes
efficiency, minimizes any friction or slack in the production process. But the
end result is that the producers can no longer experience the full
gratification of the things they produce.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Workers also become alienated from their own labor as a commodity.
Instead of taking the interests of their labor in their own hands, they begin
to rely on unions, which dictate what their interests will be. Simultaneously,
the owners are also alienated from the very companies that they invest in.
Owners become these remote disconnected people who rely on on-sight
management to run the companies.
Another source of alienation comes from consumption and our role as
consumers. In many ways it works hand in hand with the sense of
powerlessness that workers increasingly feel.
Workers labor all day on the assembly line and have no meaning in their
work life, so all they look forward to is the leisure that they can experience
when they go home and turn on the television.
Another interesting compelling example is that on holiday weekends, people
who slave over their labor all week, the first holiday weekend they have they
end up stampeding to Las Vegas. Sitting in front of the slot machine is
alienating. The routine of amusement and leisure works as a drug to get us
through the monotony of life.
The routine of consumption, the compulsion we feel to spend money around
the holiday season or on payday, etc. According to From, consumption gives
us the illusion of being empowered. We feel that we are asserting our
individualism, but in reality it really comes down to an illusion of choice,
because we don’t realize that we are in fact manipulated as a consumerist
herd, programmed to behave in such a way. We become easily molded to
the consumption machine. This is one of the great contributions to the
Frankfurt School, to understand Capitalism from the end of the system, how
it creates a greater kind of herd mentality.
Capitalism thrives on consumers who feel independent, and who feel free.
The illusion of choice, its all in the packaging. We fall into the trappings of

Page 79-80 in the From book. A passage which is really succinct on this topic
Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow man and from nature
Lecture 5 Week 2

He has been transformed into a commodity, experiences his life force as an
investment which must produce the maximum profit. The human being has
become a product. Human relations are essentially those of alienated
automatons, each trying to stay close to the Herd and not being different in
terms of thought or actions, while everyone tries to remain close to the
herd, everyone remains utterly alone, pervaded by guilt… which always
results when…
The closer we are to the herd, the more we feel alone.

T.S. Eliott: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” – It is an imagined
romance. He is incapable of communicating with her, while at the same time
he imagines her saying that is not what I meant at all, there is an essential
breakdown in communication. The failure in communication speaks to one
thing, that this is a symbol of that sense of isolation that people feel. To kind
of compound that this woman is not even real, she is imagined, there is no
sense of prescience. Its not a dialogue, but a monologue that the character
Prufrock gives.

Marriage is a way of finding a refuge from an overwhelming sense of
aloneness. Many people are compelled to marriage for this reason. But
people should not go in search of a life partner because of the overwhelming
sense of loneliness, because this could compel you to make the wrong
choice. You have to be secure in who you are as an individual, and then find
someone else who feels the same way.
In love one has found a haven from alone-ness, now its not just one person
who is alone, its two lonely people. And this dualism is mistaken for love and
From is looking at why there are so many broken marriages in our society.
Looking at the reason which pushes people to getting married.
T.S. Eliott’s - Prufrock - Human connection is in fact a rare phenomenon, his
imagination has to work really hard to make it even seem real.
The modern society is a world bereft of love and authentic feeling.
Modernity is thousands of people close together and yet everyone is utterly
Lecture 5 Week 2

What we see in Prufrock is the emblem of that sense of alienation, where
paradoxically, the harder we try to fit in or connect, the more it underscores
how we are alone in this world. “I hear the mermaids singing each to each,
I do not think that they sing to me”
Part of the reason why it is so difficult for the modern self to love, is because
the self feels so divided and so fragmented. The sense of unity which may
have existed at some time, is now gone. The fragmentation comes across
most vividly in all the images of the disembodied parts.
Prufrock even though he was so obsessed with the imagined women, he can
never envision them holistically, he can only relate to them in fragments and
in parts.
His reality is reduced to a haphazard assortment of dismembered and
discontiguous parts.

Another way to understand this fragmentation is looking at how the concept
of time itself changes. There is no linear continuous time frame. Again time
just like the body is reduced to fragments.
“I have measured out my life in coffee spoons” – the idea that time as an
overall experience is now reduced to these fragments and shards of culture.
This is what he means by the transition from the epic ambitions to the
minutia of life. From the 19th century in Europe there were all of these
ambitions for progress, etc. In the 20th century it becomes an obsession with
trivial minute fragments of daily life. All of the grand ambitions are gone, for
better or worse. Once the big overwhelming questions in the 19th century
was how can we make society more just, how can we make the world safer.
What are the overwhelming questions according to Prufrock “do I dare
disturb the universe, to I dare eat a peach (has sexual connotations to it),
should I part my hair behind” these are the questions of culture. A lot has
changed in the European psyche

The transition from metaphor to metonymy
Metaphor: is a way of symbolization: substituting one whole for another.
Substituting something which is whole for another thing which is whole
Metonymy: is using a part to stand for the whole “the is the Achilles heal of
the team” “or the butt of the joke”, taking a part to represent the whole
Lecture 5 Week 2

Throughout art we see a shift from metaphor to metonymy. We can now only
perceive reality in terms of parts. The sense of holistic understanding is
Impotence that governs European consciousness (Prufrock is an example):
fear of sexual impotence. Also is incredibly uneasy about female sexuality.
He thinks about the skirts that trail along the floor. These images of female
sensuality or sexuality, really stress him out. He is in a very interesting way
simultaneously aroused and revolted by these things. “the arms that are
white and braceleted and bare, but in the lamp light covered in light brown
hair (yuck)”

Whatever virility be it real or imagined is forfeit in Prufrock’s world
Symbolizes the impotence of western society as a whole. The sense of
impotence leaves the door open for any new way of thinking for any
movement to come in, regardless of how misguided they are, as a way of
making up for that sense of powerlessness. Helps understand how
something like totalitarianism was so appealing
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
Realists tried to describe the landscape of dreams and the subconscious onto
the canvas
The realists were also interested in children’s art, for its innocence, they
thought there they could find the unadulterated id. Before society forms the
ego, the id is still in its very pristine state.

The surrealists were interested in capturing that

The most familiar of the surrealists is Salvidor Dali: Like many of the
surrealists he was trying to capture the shock value of art, anything
marvelous or extrodinary he would be interested in.

His painting Metamorphosis of Narcissis

The danger is to read too much into the paintings symbolism, don’t want to
overdo it

Dali: The Persistence of Memory (melting’s clocks)

Magrid wants us to think about the very relationship between reality and art
(his painting with a see through canvas with what looks like a scene out the
window behind it). He is stabilizing that very assumption that art has to be
mimetic (art has to mirror reality), he wants us to get out of that box and to
understand art as a construction, not just as a mirror of reality. Art can
construct whatever it wants to present as reality. Magrid’s work removes us
three times from reality, because it’s a painting of something which looks like
a painting of a scene outside the window.

What’s the significance of all of these movements?
Lecture 5 Week 2

They all had different goals, and different temperaments But what they all
had in common was an almost messianic zeal about art, and how art can
recuperate meaning. Art has the power to save humanity, to save western
civilization from some of the very problems that we discussed:
fragmentation, alienation, impotence. Maybe art can help us better
understand the human condition. All of these movements in spite of their
differences shared that.

Last week we looked at responses to this crisis of meaning in modernity

We looked at it from many angles, the psycho analytical angle (human
propensity for aggression and violence)

We looked at the responses from literature in our reading of “The Lovesong
of J. Alfred Proofrock”
Lecture 5 Week 2

Lastly we looked at art

This week we will look at reponses to modernity from outside of the Western

China, India, decolonization in Africa

Key questions:
To what extent were democratic or nationalists movements inspired by
Western influences. What impact did Western institutions have on these
movements. It would be ridiculous to say no role at all, but at the same
time not every nationalist movement follows in the pattern of Western
models. There are also very strong indigenous and context specific aspects
to these responses.

What solutions, what determinations were made about the colonized world
at the Treaty of Versailles? One of the key changes is the implementation of
the Mandate System which divided the colonized world into three categories,
three classes. The colonies were divided into these classes according to how
the West felt about their proximity to independence: the class A colonies
were ripe for independence, with the implication that in a few years they will
be granted independence. This is what the Western powers at Versailles
Lecture 5 Week 2

The truth is that for 20 years, that whole period between the first and
second world war, not a single class A colonized country was granted
independence. Makes you really question the settlement of this mandate
system. Was it really a process towards decolonization, or was it an insidious
way of extending the lifespan of imperialism. In many ways it really just
came down to a change in what you call it, instead of calling them colonies
they were called Mandates. More a change in nomenclature rather than
substance. After Versailles imperialism was still very alive.

However, in the colonized world, with the rising intellectual class, this truth
did not escape them.

That’s what we will turn to today in terms of our coverage of China:

In 1911 the revolution took place under the inspiration of Sun Yet Sen,
overthrowing the last of the Chinese Dynasties, the Chin dynasty (who were
Manchu, so the revolutionaries made it clear that was a foreign power)

June 4th 1989, 70 years later students were massacred in Tiananmen Square

1937-1945 Sino-Japanese war. For China and Japan the second world war
began a lot earlier.

1949 the communist takeover of the mainland under Mao-Ze-Dung

The former government was forced to evacuate to Taiwan

So we have the Republic of China in Taiwan, and the Peoples Republic of
China on the mainland

The substance of today’s lecture

Dr. Sung Jet Seng and the founding of the Chinese Republic:
Lecture 5 Week 2

He spent much of his life over seas as an expatriate at first, and then in
Was raised in Hawaii

Earned a medical degree in Hong Kong, which at the time was under the
control of the British.
Because of that experience as an expatriate and an exile, he gained
tremendous exposure to Western models of government. So in that sense
his background suited him well to someone that would bring about political
In 1895 he stages the first cue against the Manchus, and he was forced into
exile for 16 years.

What he was very successful at during that 16 years was gaining the support
of Chinese expatriates, there were Chinese communities all throughout the
world, and many of them were quite well off as small businessmen, and he
was able to gain their financial support. So surprisingly the Chinese
expatriate population was pivotal in the funding and support of the
revolutionary movement.

In 1911 there was an uprising in southern China and that was the last straw
for the Chin dynasty. And that was the beginning of the Chinese Republic.

Because of his background he was well suited to synthasise Chinese ways
and Western ways.

He says the very idea of revolution was also traditionally Chinese, that the
Chinese had their own concept of revolution. He refers back to Manches, 4th
Century B.C. Chinese philosopher, who talks about Go Min, which means
revoking the mandate. Go Min gave people the right to overthrow an
emperor who did not fulfill the needs of the people. So Sun-Yet-Sen says
revolution is intrinsically Chinese

Lecture 5 Week 2

He claims that Nationalism also is a traditional Chinese idea. He points to the
experience under the Mongols and more recently under the Manchus. The
sentiment under the Chinese to through out the foreign conquerors.
He also distinguishes this nationalism from Western nationalism. He says
that unlike in the West, Chinese nationalism is non-expansionist, it doesn’t
seek imperialistic expansion, and it does not need to be vindictive towards
its enemies (he is pointing to what he saw in Europe with the peace
settlement there, how the great powers Britain and France were seeking to
destroy Germany)
He points out these essential differences

Is nationalism necessarily a Western concept? Or is it an indigenous concept

The second thing he talks about is Democracy, which he says is also not a
purely Western idea. He says the Chinese had concepts which were quite
democratic in spirit. The old idea of San Yung, according to legend the sage
kinds instead of passing the throne to their family, they selected those who
were most capable. The idea of meritocracy is also inherently democratic.

Even though China had these ideals, it did not have the physical material
institutions to implement these ideals, and for that, China had to turn for the
West. And for most of the reformers around the world, they looked to places
like France and also the Parliamentary System in Britain.

So what Sun-Yet-Seng came up with was the idea of the 5 Branch
Constitutional Republic.

There was Judicial, Executive and Legislative, and then he combined this
with two traditional Chinese institutions, the Examination System, and the
Censoring System for choosing representatives. He saw that these systems
could provide representatives to the national assembly.

What we see is Sun-Yet-Seng reconciling Western systems with Chinese
traditions, trying to find a viable balance between tradition and Western
Modern influences.
Lecture 5 Week 2

The third principle of the people that he talks about is called Livelihood
He sees an essential flaw in Western society, coming from Western
Capitalism. He saw so much social and economic disparity in Western
societies. So ambitions with their democratic aspirations, but tremendous
disparity between the rich and the poor, which he attributes to capitalism
and private industry which seeks to exploit the workers. He does not want
China to follow in that same pattern.

So how do you assure the Livelihood of all of your citizens, rather than
allowing the rich to exploit the poor. He recommended that large industries
should be under state ownership and not be privately owned. Industries such
as salt and railroads should all be controlled by the state.

This raises several questions: Is Democracy a Western concept? And is
Nationalism only a modern idea.

We see Sun-Yet-Seng borrowing and rejecting Western models. Not a
wholesale adoption, but a picking and choosing. And we see that in most of
the colonies seeking independence. In many ways the relationship between
the colonized countries and the west is an ambivalent one. They look the
West for inspiration but also see the west as the source of their problems

This is really pronounced in the so-called May 4th movement.
Lecture 5 Week 2

These movements reflect a love-hate relationship with the west. These
student movements emerge, because after the war, German colonies in
China were not returned to the Chinese, but instead handed over to the
Japanese. This created a furor amongst the young Chinese nationalists, who
protested against this and the spheres of influence that the West had in
China. Also against the Northern Warlords who sided with the Japanese and
the foreign powers for their own benefit. The students rose up against all of
these entrenched powers, they realized that Western imperialism was their
target, but ironically it was the presence of Westerners that provided the
support and refuge that they needed. The only place where these student
leaders could meet safely were in the foreign concession areas, those were
the only safe havens for them, the very areas which were symbols of
western imperialism. This image points to the very complicated relationship
with the West.

A lot of things change with this call for anti-imperialism, which also brings a
call for gender equality and social economic reforms. A marriage of anti-
imperialism, nationalism and democracy, all combined into one thing. Each
one building off of the momentum of the other.

They called for Freedom of expression, freedom of demonstration, open
trials as apposed of secret trials, gender equality and socio-economic reform.

Women calling for co-education, and the abolishment of all arranged
marriages. Women in the workforce. Also the inclusion of women in the

The also called for social-economic reform, because they saw an implicit
connection between imperialism and old-feudal structures. Feudal landlords
were supported by foreign capital and power. To attack imperialism meant
you also had to attack the old feudal structure, so there was a really
dramatic revolutionary movement that really touched on every aspect of
Chinese society.

Social Darwinism: survival of the fittest on a national and cultural level
Lecture 5 Week 2

Because of that we see the proliferation of magazines which spread around
like brushfire, which really affected the consciousness of the entire society.
The urge to bring about change through struggle

What we see here: Larger summary point:

All of these changes that we see, the West represented both the source
of these ideas, but at the same time the target.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
Incindent in 1919 in a place called Amritsar in India (Northwest corner of
India). It started out as a peaceful demonstration against a series of bills
that the British Raj had passed. These bills basically denied Indian Citizens of
very basic civil liberties, such as freedom of expression, freedom to gather,
freedom to voice protest of any kind. Striping them of all civil and political
liberties. So this crowed in Amritsar gathered in a square as a way of
protesting the Wrolatt bills. With these bills the British had the right to arrest
and try any individual they considered to be involved in sidicious acts against
the British Raj (colonial Government in India). The British response to this
peaceful demonstration: Excerpt from police report “within 30 seconds of his
arrival at the demonstration, brigadeer general Dyer ordered his troops to
open fire, and Dyer continued firing even after people tried to run away” The
square was a very enclosed space. “some women dove into a well, the only
refuge, and children ran terrified into the courtyard… not until his troops ran
short of ammunition, did Dyer give the order to stop. Over 1000 bullets were
fired, and almost every bullet hit a target.”

This all at the same time that ideas of democracy and self determination are
being thrown out in Europe. This shows the contradiction.

Powerful essay by George Orwell “Shooting an Elephant”. In many ways
what Orwell does in the piece is to capture the complex contradictions of
civilization and the brutality of imperialism.

The colonizer often resorts to savagery. Civilization and its tendency to use
savagery in maintaining its imperial interests.

This contradiction was not lost on many of the young nationalists in the
colonized world. Gandhi in the aftermath of Amritsar “The impossible man of
India shall rise to liberate their motherland, because cooperation in any
shape or form with a satanic government is sinful”

Gandhi’s very Indian approach
Lecture 5 Week 2

Some of the legacies of the British Raj, 1848 to 1947, period of direct British
control of India. During this time the British occupation absorbed almost a
full third of all of the revenue that came out of India. Went to the cost of the
British occupation of India and the cost of the British administration of India.
The revenues that the colonized people are used by the forces that are
colonizing them. While the British were in India during this time, they did
not implement any reforms or changes which would allow India or its
economy to grow, prevented industrialization on every level. Instead, as with
most colonies, the British took advantage of the raw materials in India,
keeping it as a raw material based economy. Colonized power takes raw
materials from the colonies and returns manufactured goods to the colonies,
and profits from this. Because of the civil war in the US, the British lost a
supply of cotton, so they shifted the agricultural production of India to
cotton. This undermined local industries, as when you have an economy that
is primarily based on raw materials, there is very little prospect of economic
of industrial growth. Because of that shift from food production to cotton
production, the society was much more prone to famine. The British also did
the same thing with Opium. Britain forced the Opium trade on China. So
much of the wealth of the British empire came from the export of Opium to
China. The poppies were grown in India, processed into Opium and sold to
China. Again food production was shifted to the cultivation of poppy.

This created huge famines whenever there was a drought or another
disruption in the food production.

In this case we had the full force of the British government behind this drug
trade, leaving devastating consequences for the economy of India.

Third World countries today have problems getting out of poverty because of
some of the lingering legacies of colonialism

The British made no investments in the human resources of India. No push
for education, social programs, or the training of the masses.

Viceroy of India the Marquee of Repon did try to assimilate some Indians
into the local courts, but he met with so much resistance from his peers.
Lecture 5 Week 2

This prevailing context of exploitation and of stagnation would inspire
someone like Gandhi to stand up and initiate the spadeshi “home spun”
movement. The Indians needed to rely on what they produced themselves,
instead of falling into the trap of always consuming British manufactured
goods. He said they needed to boycott the British manufactured goods that
were being flooded into India. One of the powerful symbols of this, were that
the homespun dhoti that Gandhi was famous for wearing was made by
Gandhi himself. Making your own clothing was the symbol of home rule and
self empowerment.

Homespun would become synonymous with home rule.

The dhoti would become a very powerful symbol for India’s self reliance and
self empowerment.

Part of the process of this move towards independence:

The very important concept of the Satyagraha movement, which can best be
understood as “truth force”, ones firmness in the truth, the power the
strength that you gain from persistent quest for the truth. This comes with
a code of conduct, one must always exhibit civility without fear. Cannot come
across as uncivilized barbarian, but at the same time show no fear. Exhibit
the inborn gentleness. Gandhi was very conscious of himself as the perfect
embodiment of Satyagraha. It must also include this willingness for
personal sacrifice, and most importantly the idea of non violent civil
disobedience. This comes from a mixture of sources, indigenous and
Western. Indigenous in that it reflects Gandhi’s own Hindu background,
particularly the ethic of non-killing and doing no harm to all living things.

Why was it so important to him? Because for Gandhi and a lot of people who
believed in the ethic, it was that there was a very fine line between the
killing of an animal, and the killing of a human being. Because as humans
we are experts at rationalizing the killing of other human beings, and usually
how we rationalize it is seeing other human beings as animals, as sub-
Lecture 5 Week 2

Another influence is from Thurough’s transcendentalism, which Gandhi
borrows from

The first that Gandhi talks about is the Ahmendabad strike: the paternalism
of imperialism, the workers are like children to us, we are here to take care
of the natives, they are like our children, don’t question us on our intentions
and actions. So Gandhi calls for the mill workers to strike, he makes
conditions clear, that no one must ever resort to violence, also, every
individual must maintain dignity, cannot beg for alms, cannot rely on other
peoples charity, while striking need to find a way to support yourself. Also,
never call off the strike until what was sought was gained.

As time passes Gandhi notices that the resolve on the part of the mill
workers is beginning to wane, so as a very spontaneous idea he decides to
being a personal fast. Using his own soul force as a way of resolving the
situation. He said that his intent of the fast was the strengthen the resolve
of the workers, but was actually putting moral pressure on the mill owners.
He fast for 3 days and a settlement was reached.

Another case: the Kheda Satyagraha, peasants refused to pay unfair tax, so
Gandhi game to empower the people, show them that the government was
supposed to be civil servants, not masters of the people.

He also says that there has to be total solidarity among all of the
participants of Satyagraha, even if someone can afford to pay the tax, we
cannot have anyone cross the lines.

Its not about just sitting back and doing nothing, must actively provoke the
authorities. Civil disobedience is very proactive

Step by step leading India towards independence

Forcing the government to react or look bad, and by reacting they look bad
Lecture 5 Week 2

To wage a successful civil disobedience movement, members need to
understand the difference between obedience and convenience. Never obey
laws just because they are personally convenient for us, an example was the
British requirement of having lights on bicycles, we should never obey these
laws just for the convenience of avoiding fines.

A Satyagrahi obeys the laws of society intelligently, and of his own will,
because he considers it to be his sacred duty to do so.

Gandhi is also one of the most self critical leaders in the 20th century, he
says that he made a huge mistake with some of the early movements. He
calls it a Himalayan miscalculation, he called these protests before he had a
chance to really educate the participants in the principles of civil
disobedience, he points that out as his mistake.

George Orwell says that in many ways Gandhi was incredibly important, but
that his failure was that so many of these changes centered around himself
as an individual. All these changes really came down to the charisma and the
discipline of one man, the shortcomings is that he didn’t leave behind any
institutional reforms. It was too much based on his own personal charisma.

When you have such a charismatic leader that brings about change through
the pure force of his personality, and yet is unable to establish permanent
institutional changes.

The other article that we read had to do with post-independence India. This
is where the professor hopes we can see the links between India’s colonial
legacy and some of the challenges that modern India faces.

The first one is malnutrition, a contradiction between India being one of the
fastest growing economies in the developing world, and yet still having a
lingering problem of malnutrition and hunger in the lower classes.
Lecture 5 Week 2

In 1982 one third of the population was regularly going to bed at night
hungry and malnourished. And yet there was not much government or world
response to this. This is because persistent malnutrition does not have the
same dramatic effect as a famine or an outbreak of starvation. It happens
quietly on a daily basis, so that people pretty much can ignore it. Persistent
orderly hunger does not upset the system. The system goes on in spite of
the trends.

Headline conscience: not only in the elite India, but all around the world, we
can tolerate the quiet bellow the radar inequalities all around the world. We
can tolerate malnutrition and poverty, even in some cases genocide, as long
as those things do not reach our living rooms as headlines. Things that
happen quietly, bellow the radar, the elite or the Western world can tolerate.
Because they do not affect the headline conscience. Our conscience only
seems to come into play when we see something as part of a headline.
When it doesn’t shove itself in our face, we can, and we will look the other
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
Idea of self empowerment as it applies to the third world.

In the non-western world we are talking about persuits of empowerment.
Empowerment in a very lose sense, sometimes as it applies to nations and
sometimes as it applies to individuals.

Look at some of the similarities and differences between Imperialism and
Neo-Colonialism (defines the post 1945 World)

In the post 1945 World there is a general trend towards de-colonalization
that took place in Africa and Asia. 40 new independent states were created.

Part of today’s lecture aims to show you that independence sovereignty,
nationhood, these are very complex realities full of contradictions and
hypocracy. Full of the old colonial constraints.

These movements were inspired by nationalism and self-determination, the
very concepts which Woodrow Wilson tried to preach at the end of World War
1. It took 2 or 3 decades for Wilson’s dreams to come about. But another
way of looking at it is that it’s a reflection of the gradual maturation of a
small educated elite which emerged in these societies and cultures, and
indigeneous elite class which had been exposed to western ideas and

San Yet Sen was a physician trained in Hong Kong, Ghandi was a British
trained Lawer, Co-Chi-Ming was a French and Russian trained political
organizer. In the 1920s he joined the French Communist party in Paris, in
1943 he went to Moscow and learned the intricacies of politics. There were
hundreds of others in a similar situation. Exposure to Western Culture
certaintly played a key role in these independence movements. The great
irony is that they use that to turn against the west. Many of these people
fought against Japan and Germany in World War 2 as colonial subjects. That
participation in World War 2 left a very profound affect on some of these
nationalists. It made them feel more empowered, their participation made
them feel that they also had a stake in shaping the new world order.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Education and participation in World War 2 were very important factors for
inspiring these nationalists to assert themselves in the fight for their own

Most fortunately most of these transitions were fairly peaceful, kind of
similar to the experience that India had in 1947. The transition itself from
the British Raj to Indian Independence, relatively speaking was peaceful. But
usually even in the peaceful transitions, the aftermath would usually lead to

Why some of these newly independent states almost immediately
experienced bloody civil wars.

Even in the fight for independence, there were several cases where the
transition was quite bloody. One example is French Indo-China (Laos,
Cambodia and Vietnam)

In 1945 Ho-Chi-Min calls for national independence iin Vietnam. During
World War 2 he made it clear to the Vietnemese people that the French had
pretty much acquiesced to Japan, they did not participate in any local
resistance against the Japanese occupation, instead they served as Japanese
puppets. The French same Vichy government which decided to work with
the Nazis rather than appose them.
Lecture 5 Week 2

The great hypocrisy was that even though they did not resist the Japanese,
after the war the French stepped back onto the scene and wanted to have
control back. This was incredibly irritating to the Vietnamese nationalist. Ho-
Chi-Men says that besides this spine-less betrayal by the French, the
administration in Vietnam made sure that a middle class would never rise up
or prosper. This was done by denying any form of universal education. They
kept the population illiterate, in 1949 illiteracy was at 80 percent. The French
also made sure that they supported a very small elite, about 3 percent of the
population which controlled almost half the land in Vietnam. All of these
factors would come back to haunt them. This institutionalized inequality
would come back to haunt them.

The very bloody war of independence lasted for 8 years. (that was before
the Vietnam War)

French defeat came in 1954, that was the end of the French presence in
Indo-China. The defeat of the French led to independence and to the
creation of North and South Vietnam. The North under Ho-Chi-Min with its
communist government, and the south more aligned to the West. The US
gave their support to the more traditional and conservative South Vietnam
government (an aspect of the Cold War)
Lecture 5 Week 2

You would think that after this disaster in Vietnam, they French would realize
that the age of imperialism was at an end. But apparently the lesion of
Vietnam did not hit home hard enough. They shoed the same kind of
intransience in Algeria. This is where the first call for the Intifada took place
in Algeria against the French imperialists. Much if this intransience was due
to the stubborn will of one man, Charles de Gaul, who now insisted that
France could not afford to lose another colony. So they fought a very
protracted quagmire of a war. It was also fueled by a group of French
settlers, who were notorious for their racism towards the native Arabs. They
were kind of like the Afrikaners in South Africa. They had a vested interest in
staying in Algeria and remaining the Elite there. This made France continue
to suppress the nationalist movement. As this conflict progresses, one
colonial subject, Frantz Fanon, could not help but notice the contradictions of
French civilization. Here you have a civilization which had in fact been
responsible for the modern sense of revolution, the battle cry of democracy,
the chant of Fraternity, Equality and Liberty. The contradiction between that
claim and yet right before Franz Fanon’s eyes the brutal realities of
suppression. He was appointed head of a psychiatric ward in Algeria. His job
was to treat all of these mental cases that came before him. He saw that
these cases did not reflect personal psychosis, but instead reflected a
systematic dehumanization, cases of madness and schizophrenia where the
products of imperialism. That’s why he writes his very famous letter of
resignation, because he can no longer stomach the hierocracy of the French.

During the war he fought to liberate France from totalitarianism, believing in
what the French democracy stood for. And yet after the war he sees how the
French acted in some ways just like the Nazis did in Algeria.

He becomes one of the most powerful authentic voices of decolonization and
of national independence movements.

His book “Wretched of the Earth” which he wrote while he was dying.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Fanon was convinced by several truths, one was that he believed that there
was an absolute necessity for violence in fighting against the oppression of
imperialism. He says that a system founded on violence (like imperialism)
can only be confronted with violence. He says all these Western ideas about
humanity, and tolerance and love for ones fellow man, and individualism.
These are all ideas hammered into the heads of colonized people as a way of
disempowering them. All these lofty ideals that imperialists use to basically
disempower the colonized people.

P. 103 in the reader (left hand side second paragraph) “We must leave our
dreams and abandon our old beliefs and friendships from the time before life
began. Let us waste no time in…”

The abstract notion of man with individualism, tolerance, etc. is basically a
big lie, because as that discourse is taking place, men are being murdered
by the imperial system. His writings are a little extreme and radical, but
you can see the truth in the contradictions he is pointing out. Lofty ideals on
one hand and yet brutal realities on the other.

Fanon also believed that decolonization is not about looking at the past and
getting the white man to compensate for the past, its rather about looking
towards the future.

P. 100 of the reader, left hand side middle of the page “I as a man of color
do not have the right to see to know to what respect my race is superior or
inferior to another race…” I have neither the right nor the duty to claim
restitution for the sufferings of my ancestors, true liberation comes form
looking ahead.

By the same token decolonization cannot look to the colonial past for
answers. The decolonized state cannot just simply try to mimic the West as
a solution, because he says that’s futile. And at best it can just be an
obscene caricature of the West. Mimicry is not the way to go, nor is trying to
play catch-up with the West (because neo-colonialism tries everything in its
power to prevent that). For Fanon decolonization has little to do with the
past or the West. It is self-empowerment on one’s own terms.
Lecture 5 Week 2

The methodology of Gandhi’s movement was distinctly Indian, even though
it was inspired by western liberal ideas.

Independence and empowerment are easier said than done. There are all
kinds of subtle obstacles in the way.

Neo-colonialism is how after these states gained independence, they were
still restrained by colonialist structures

In theory, neo-colonial states have all the outward appearance of
independence and of sovereignty. But in reality, the economic systems and
political policies of these states are all for the most part controlled from the
board rooms of Western countries. Behind this illusionary independence lies
the power of a consortium of banks, and multi-national organizations.
Imperialism in this new cloak that we call neo-colonialism is less
transparent. Decisions are no longer made in colonial administrative offices,
but in the boardrooms of western companies. This is a much more insidious
form of colonialism. Its less accountable than imperialism. At least at the
time of imperialism, the imperials had to answer for how they were
administering the colonies. Now there isn’t that same accountability.

In turn, the neo-colonial states have no agency or organization where they
can turn to address an injustice. Neo-colonialism relies on financial leverage
as a way of dictating its needs and demands.

Financial leverage from afar rather than political administration that is right
on site.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Much of this leverage comes in the form of “aid”. And this is the key idea
after World War 2, foreign aid. It is not solely about altruism, for the most
part it is not about altruism. Much of this leverage is administered through
agencies like the IMF or the World Bank. What they do is provide huge
loans to the so-called third world. The question is where do these loans go?
What is the agenda behind these loans? They do not come with no strings
attached. Usually these loans are aimed for investment in raw material
industries. This is to further exploitation, but does not lead to development
or a self-sufficient economy. Instead they maintain small dependant still
non-diversified economies. Often they are cash-crop or single raw material

Economies that are not meant to ever really thrive on their own. This
assures that the price for raw materials from the non-western world remains
low. This assures that the developing world cannot compete against the
manufacturing capabilities of Europe. It keeps systems of inequality intact.

Now there are low-paying manufacturing jobs in the third world, while high
tech and services are supplied in the West.

There is very little investment in education from these loans, because of the
fear of an educated class. Because when people are educated they point out
the injustices and inequality. Safer to keep people uneducated. In most
cases the trick is just to assimilate a very small minority elite. With 70-80
% illiteracy.

Much of the aid also comes in the form of military aid, helping to keep in
power the puppet rulers who will help to protect neo-colonialist interests.

Dictators which the western world will support, so that they can keep some
of these systems of inequality in place, at the expense of the masses.
Lecture 5 Week 2

No wonder when you have 2/3 of the world population living with constant
chronic hunger and starvation while the rest of the world lives their
comfortable suburban lives, while the world is clearly shaped by this
disparity between the haves and have nots. So many states look for an
alternative, and in many cases that alternative is socialism, an attempt at
self empowerment.

During the Cold War they saw the spread of communism, but didn’t
understand why.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00

Phenomenon called Mass Society: one of the defining markers of the 20th

Contrasting modernity from more traditional setups

In the traditional world (19th century and earlier) people had other forms of
affiliation, they drew their identity from many different sources: domestically
there was the extended family (clans, maybe even a tribal basis). There
were elders who you could turn to for guidance. Socially, especially in
Europe, people were divided into the three estates: the clergy, the nobles,
and the commoners. People drew their social identity from that, and also
from Religion from their faith, from what parish you belonged to or what
church you attended. All of these being sources of communal identity.

Politically there would be some village leader or a feudal lord.

Professionally people identified with their guilds. So if you were a shoemaker
your identity would be associated with that particular guild. In the traditional
world there were all of these sources of identity which people could look to.
This is what is distinctive between the modern world and the traditional
world. In the modern world the individual has more freedom and autonomy
to choose his or her own affiliation. We can choose our own affiliation, what
political party to be part of, etc. They can also chose their own economic
affiliation. They can chose to leave the guild and to make wallets instead of
shoes. They have freedom as consumers, they can decide how they want to
use their money. There is also of course the freedom of social mobility, not
confined to one of the three estates. You can decide to move up in society
with your wealth. Also religious freedom, more opportunity to choose your
own faith.

The shift from traditional affiliation, to modern individuality.

The key question is whether this new sense of individualism implies
autonomy. Does the semblance of free will imply true consent?
Lecture 5 Week 2

In many ways consent, free will, individualism, autonomy: these are true in
theory but questionable in substance.

Even in a capitalist democracy, the mass society, these concepts are
questionable concepts.

In the reading from John Maynard King’s peace, talking about another
historian named Commons who broke European Civilization down to three

The first is the epic of scarcity, from begning up till around the 15th Cenutry.
IN this time period there is a minimum of individual liberty. With a maximum
of communalistic, feudalistic, and monarchic control (maximum political

The second epic is the epic of abundance, from the 16th to the 19th century.
With the Renaissance, Humanism in Europe, also the age of exploration.
Europe expanding and bringing back tons of wealth into society. In this
period you begin to see an increase in individual civil liberties, and a
decrease in coercive control. There is a democratization of society in this
period of abundance. As this period climaxes in the 19th century we see the
triumph of systems like Laissez-fair, and the triumph of liberalism.
Lecture 5 Week 2

The third epic is the epic of stablization, where liberalism and laissez-fair
are all debunct, they are concepts which will end up being discredited.

You begin to see some degrease in individual liberty, the sense that you
cannot let individualism and democracy just run wild. A sense that you have
to restrain it somehow by curbing peoples civil liberties somehow. The way
this is achieved in this third epic of civilization is not by going back to the
political coercion, but more through different types of economic measures.
Using economic incentives and pressures to ensure greater conformity,
which assures greater stabilization. Conformity is also something which
requires collective identification, but in the modern world, those traditional
sources of identification are gone. So what do you use in its place? In many
ways its things like consumption, and different types of leisure, making sure
people are enjoying the same things. We get the sense of that from the
poem by Audin “The Unknown Citizen”: references to the things he does.

Its not through political coercion that society achieves conformity, but its
things like leisure and consumption which achieve a mass society. There is
not some dictator telling us what to do, but its in more subtle ways that we
become homogenous, with our individualism being curtailed.

In Western Democracies, Mass Society has a fundamental economic basis to
it. This is very different from totalitarian regimes like Fascism or Stalinism
which have a lot of political coercion in place. Mass society is through more
subtle forms of economic manipulation.

In this model one of the key goals for capitalism democracy is to find a
viable balance between social stability and economic equality. This is in fact
the main point of Keynes short little essay “Am I A Liberal” he is trying to
point out that there has to be a new direction for liberalism. A new direction
which tries to find this middle ground between social justice and stability. In
some ways he is trying to revamp liberalism, giving it a new kind of
orientation. This kind of challenge is most evident in the piece by Eleanor
Roosevelt. She was very committed to justice and global understanding.
Lecture 5 Week 2

In her piece, Eleanor argues that her husband left a legacy which included
taking certain risks in order to preserve democracy. There is almost a
defensive tone in her piece, against people are saying that what FDR did was
just like socialism. People who thought it was socialism creeping into the
capitalist democracy. Roosevelt says these were risks which had to be taken
in order to preserve our system. Things like the New Deal and Social
Security. Giving benefits to the handicapped and the elderly. These things
are about taking certain measures to preserve democracy. You can no longer
have capitalism operate in its traditional ways, there needs to be a new
consciousness, otherwise the alternative is some form of totalitarianism,
either extreme left or extreme right. In order for democracy to survive, it
needs to be modified, even if it means applying some programs which look
socialist. Eleanor Roosevelt’s view is that its about empowering and
rewarding the individual. Her vision is one of a kinder and gentler capitalism,
one that is not callous to the needs to the majority. Capitalism which uses
economic justice as a means of assuring social stability.

These are gestures of philanthropy, but are also pressure valves to release
the pressure which is inherent to capitalism. If a leader is able to make
these kind of modifications, its very hard for revolution to take place in a
liberal democracy.

This is where Walter Lipmann comes in, he says that as long as democratic
leaders can maintain some level of social moral. Keeping the moral so that it
is not so low that it compels us to take to the streets. If the leaders can
maintain some level of social moral, some semblance that they are taking
initiatives to solve the problems, it buys them time.

Lipmann “it takes stupendous and persistent blundering, plus infinite
tactlessness to start a revolution from bellow” you need leaders who are
completely oblivious to what public sentiment is, in order from a revolution
to break out from bellow.

Why is mass society so impenetrable to systematic change? Why is it so
immune to much more radical changes.
Lecture 5 Week 2

We want to look at various sources of conformity and consent in our society.

Sources of conformity and consent:

What are some of the constraints to a pure democracy?

Even from the ancient Athenian times, there has always been tremendous
anxiety about a pure democracy.

In 1830 ______ says that “America is defined by a tyranny of the majority,
which stifles individual creativity.” “In America there is such pervasive
equality, that it even tolerates mediocrity” “Because of this men of brilliance
and excellence are often overshadowed”

This harps back to Plato and Socrates, who did not really trust the majority.
These anxieties are built into the very constitution of our country. Something
like the electoral collage, that’s what its all about, safeguards against the
danger of the majority.

Anxiety about allowing democracy to run wild and individualism to operate
without constraints.

In the modern era we see certain mechanisms which create the manufacture
of consent.

Consent does not come from within each individual, but it is manufactured
and shaped.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Walter Lipmann was one of the first in the US to begin to use this
perspective to look at mass society. Many of his ideas are about the notion of
manufacturing consent. He distinguishes public opinion from public affairs.
He is talking about a notion of a group mind. An ideology that absorbs a
large group of people. Public opinion that is derived from different forms of
manipulation, outside manipulation, not something which comes from within
individuals. “Public affairs” is the realities of global affairs. He says there is a
very serious disconnect between public opinion, and our understanding of
public affairs. He argues that in a democracy you cannot be guaranteed that
every individual represents a realistic self sufficient and self governing
individual, we are all to some extent or another manipulated by the media,
by our education, and by propaganda.

These are some of the things which prevent us from a true understanding of
global or public affairs. Lipmann mentions several constraints to that:

Here are some of the constraints to that understanding:

The political manipulation of public opinion, talking primarily about the use
of symbols (in a very broad sense). One very obvious symbol that political
leaders exploit is the concept of patriotism, the flag. What it means to be
patriotic, and what it means to be “un-American”. Political leaders can also
use social scapegoats. They can point to greedy landlords when there is a
housing problem, instead of looking to the problem of the whole system.
They can point to lobbyists, but yet lobbyists still have the most power in our
government. Other convenient scapegoats: illegal immigrants. Instead of
tackling the problem of unemployment as a systemic problem, you can
easily point to immigrants as a scapegoat, stealing your jobs. People on
welfare “they are sucking up our wealth” instead of looking at the systemic
problem which produces poverty and unemployment.

As long as leaders can placate certain groups, they are safe.

In a democracy a leader has to appear to want to create a kinder and
gentler nation. A leader who can seem compassionate.
Lecture 5 Week 2

The next thing is the media’s manipulation of public opinion:
There is this traditional assumption that the free press would be the cure all
for democracy. If you have a free press it keeps everything in check. But all
of us know by now, that is far from the truth. That the press is inherently
going to be biased and dependant on certain factors. The notion of the free-
press as a cure for democratic problems is debunk.

Lipmann says that we don’t have to see this as some form of sinister
conspiracy, it doesn’t have to be that. Instead we can see this as simply a
natural phenomenon of a capitalist democracy.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
Unlike communism (Marxism), Fascism was not born out of ideology, rather
the ideology was born out of a movement. Marxism was an ideology which
the movement of communism was based on.

Italian nationalism and German nationalism was something which fascist
leaders exploited.

Fascist’s rather than appealing to the proletariat, saw small business owners
and small property owners as its power base.

In who they draw their support from, fascism and communism are different.

Fascism defines itself by attacking other ideologies. Mussolini attacks
democracy saying that by nature people are unequal, and this you cannot
allow the majority to rule. He also attacks liberalism, which led to World War
1, he calls it a discredited religion. Mussolini attacks communism as being
too focused on material issues (the rights of the proletariat, the workday,
etc), he says that’s all too materialistic, fascism focuses more on intangible
virtues, such as heroism, and holiness. He is much more concerned with
intangible values, rather than material issues.

Another aspect of Fascism is its emphasis on the use of brute force as a way
of gaining power. Many of Mussolini’s fascist followers were refered to as the
men in black, they were local militias, paramilitary groups, which dressed in

What Mussolini was able to do with these men in black in 1922, was to use
force as a source of intimidation, he forced the king to appoint him as prime
minister. Once he came to power, he dissolved all of the other political

In respect to the idea of individual freedom, Mussolini made it very clear that
individuals can have some liberties, but that the state has every right to
deprive people of useless and harmful freedom. He believes there are many
civil liberties which jeopardize the security of the state.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Instead, he very bluntly claims that the nation has a need for authority, for
direction and order.

An excerpt from Mussolini has to say about this “the truth evident now to all
who are not warped by liberal dogmatism, is that men have tired of liberty.
They have made an orgy of it, liberty is today no longer the chasete and
austere virgin for whom the generations of the first half of the last century
fought and died…” Order, hierarchy and discipline

“fascism stepping on the corpse of the goddess of liberty” shows how facism
sees itself in relation to liberalism.

Both Stalinist Russia, and Fascist Italy both rely on the notion of grabbing
consent, or the compulsion of consent through power. Rather than
manufacturing it.

Mass societies: democratic capitalism - manufacturing of consent, or
totalitarianism - compulsion of consent. What do both of these systems do
to the idea of individualism, and the empowerment of the individual. What
happens to the capacity of the individual to empower himself or herself.
What kind of room is there in these systems.

Hitler’s Germany, and the prelude to another World War

How another war broke out a mere 20 years after the first World War.

Was this war inevitable? Was it something that had to happen? (There are
historians who argue that the Second World War was a continuation of the
unfinished business of the First World War)
Lecture 5 Week 2

Germany in the inter-war years:

The Weimar Republic, a system which basically accepted the terms of the
Treaty of Versailles. A group of German liberals, social democrats who came
together. They accepted the terms of Versailles, because they felt they had
to. They established a new constitution for Weimar Germany.

There were essential flaws with the system they set up:

One is that it was a constitution which invited instability. They allowed even
very small parties to hold seats in the parliament. Prevented a stable and
reliable majority from being had by any party. All of the coalitions did not
inspire trust in the government.

They gave the president the power to appoint and remove the chancellor,
which was meant to balance the previous problem.

Article 48 granted the president emergency powers, to rule as a dictator
when necessary. They are precisely the key factors which later allowed Hitler
to come to power. To pursue his goals all within the legal framework of this

For the most part the Weimar Republic was interested in restoring domestic
stability and economic recovery.

We see a general move towards compromise after the French occupation of
the Ruhr Valley. After that, all sides seemed willing to compromise. So there
were several treaties: 1924 the Dawes plan, meant to minimize the pressure
on the Germans to make these repayments (we can adjust reparations
according to what Germany can repay). The Locarno Treaty, all sides agreed
to accept the existing borders, symbolized wish on all sides for reconciliation.
This move was capped by the Kellogg-Briand pact, everyone agreed to say
that war would not be tolerated as a form of national policy.
Lecture 5 Week 2

General mood was of reconciliation and compromise. But this euphoric mood
on the diplomatic front did not at all correspond to the public sentiment on
the ground. This was especially true in Germany. Most historians agree that
the key event that tipped the balance between compromise and nationalism
was the Great Depression. With the Great Depression all of the antipathy
towards Versailles was able to dominant the thinking of the Germans. Its
precisely in this climate that Hitler begins to enter the scene.

Hitler enters the scene around 1923, in the wake of the French occupation of
the Ruhr Valley. Because of the financial crisis which ensued, Hitler pointed a
finger at the Weimar Republic, that they were betraying the German people.
Hey slowly rose to prominence on what was known as the 25 point platform.

They repudiated Versailles and everything it stood for.

Stood for the unification of the German and Austrians.

Anti-Semitism (already existed in Germany, Hitler was just working off
traditional biases)

They called for replacing all large department stores (they were knocking off
the small businesses), part of the Nazi platform was to restore small
businesses. (the powerbase of the Nazis was small property owners)

In 1923, Hitler saw the momentum and initiated the Bier Hall Putsch, it
failed, but gave him celebrity status.

While in prison he wrote Mein Kampf

Discussed social Darwinism, applying Darwinian ideas to society (and race).

Confusion between the evolution of species, and the purity of race.
Lecture 5 Week 2

People wanted to believe that just because Hitler reminds them that a
dormouse can only mate with a dormouse, that a blonde haired Arian male
can only mate with a blonde haired Arian female.

No dilution of racial purity. Poisoning the bloodline

Not allowed propagation of the weaker races. Not let them have the
opportunity to propagate their race. He sees it as an insult to nature itself

Divides humanity into three categories:

1) the founders of civilization

2) the bearers of civilization

3) the destroyers of civilization

Hitler believed that true genius was inborn, and that the German people had

He was able to use all of this mythmaking for his propaganda

He talks about Volk philosophy as apposed to the elite philosophy. Focuses
on militant nationalistic values, and dynamic ways of change.

What is missing is any talk about rationality or intellect. Hitler brushes those
things aside, instead wants to make a rustic appeal. He is always appealing
to the lowest common denominator. He is not trying to appeal to intellectuals
or well educated people.

He says that the Nazi party should appeal to the Volk instinct that slumbers
or lives in the heart of god knows how many Germans. This instinct that
millions of Germans have.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Not only does he appeal to the lowest common denominator, but he appeals
to the basic instincts of humanity.

A good leader must be able to take into account, both the weakness, and
bestiality into account. A good leader should be able to exploit that which
makes us beasts.

Hitler sees himself, or sees a great leader not as someone with heroic virtues
or high intellect, but he sees the great leader as someone who is a
psychologist. A good leader is a good psychologist, who is able to tap into
what people are thinking or feeling. A good leader is also an agitator. One
who can move the masses, not through persuasion, but through agitation.

A good leader who is going to agitate the masses, must be skilled in using
radical inflammatory rhetoric.

He says that part of the affect of using radical inflammatory rhetoric is to
weed out all of those people who are simply jumping on the bandwagon. To
weed out the closet liberals, who cannot stomach a lot of the things Hitler
has to say. That’s they way he wants it, because he does not want the Nazi
ideology to be watered down by people who are not fully committed.

He wants to keep membership in the Nazi party very exclusive, only the
diehard racists can remain. Anyone who’s conscience may get in the way of
this, he doesn’t want them to be part of it.

Hitler was effective in his time in Germany, this kind of talk appealed to a
tremendous amount of people. He knew what to tap into, that’s the most
scary lesion we need to understand for our own times, we need to be aware
of demagogues who are equally skilled in exploiting peoples fears. These
people become more prominent when there is a crisis.

In the late 20s early 30s we begin to see Germany really crumbling, when
the Great Depression hit, it destroyed whatever remnant of civilization and
rationality there was left.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Hitler’s rise to power was tied closely to the economic crisis

Clear correspondence between the level of unemployment and the
membership in the Nazi storm troopers

As a society we cannot ever feel invulnerable to such things, because at
some point there will be a major crisis, and how will people like us react in
such a situation

Once Hitler comes to power in 1933, he had so much popular support that
the aging president Hindenburg had no choice but to appoint Hitler as
Chancellor. Hitler then combined the power of the president and Chancellor
to himself.

He used article 48, the clause that gave the president dictatorial powers, he
immediately exercised that. He used the attempted burning of the Reichstag
to use article 48.

Then he purged his rivals, cleansed the whole political scene

Also on the international front, he immediately withdrew from the League of
Nations. Then he began to militarize Germany.

Several important precedents for totalitarian expansion were set in the early
30s, one was the Japanese invasion in Manchuria. Japanese established a
colony in Manchuria. They tried to use it as a base for their future conquest
in Asia. The League of Nations ignored the Chinese appeal to do something
about this, that sent messages around the world to the totalitarians about
how the League would react. Then Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, and the
League still didn’t react. This gave confidence to the totalitarians, that the
League wouldn’t react to their actions.

The most immediate goal was Lebensraum for Germany.

Invasion of Poland was the final straw that lead to WW2
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
A series of events that gave the Facist states the impression that the league
of nations was not going to preserve and protect the national sovereignty of
other states (Chechoslovakia, etc)

The darkest and most tragic episode throughout the 20th Cenutry, and
perhaps in the whole history of humanity.

Atrocities commited in WW2 represent a corsing of the threshold of

The technology at our disposal combined with the instinct to kill made the
events so horrible

Beginning with talking about Japanese atrocities in China, the Nanjing

The Japanese had established a public colony in Manchuria (Manzogkwo)

From that northern base they embarked on a fullscale invasion of the rest of
China, began in 1937, they swept south very quickly, and by December of
1937 they were able to enter the Chinese wartime capital of Nanjing.

Prior to Iris Chang’s book The Rape of Nanchang this was an issue that few
people knew about outside of China. Still in Japan today there is resistance
to acknowledging this issue in their textbooks. Iris Chang committed suicide,
spending 10 years researching this pushed her to the edge of despair

In the span of 6 weeks December to January in 1937 over 300,000 Chinese
were killed in this one city alone, mostly civilians. 20,000 of these victims
were women, who were for the most part raped before their death. These
20,000 women who were raped ranged from ages 10 to as old as 70. The
Japanese forced fathers to rape their own daughters, sons to rape their own
mothers. All as a way of creating a spectacle of amusement for the Japanese
soldiers. The book offers eye witness testimony of the Japanese engaging in
bayonet practice on live prisoners and pregnant women
Lecture 5 Week 2

There was a fascination and culture around beheading. In some of the
testimonies from Japanese officers who were there, he described these
beheadings: they felt these were necessary baptisms by blood, as a way of
propelling each soldier into a realm of savagery and insensitivity, which
allows them to be more affective soldiers.

Was there any purpose behind these atrocities? What was it all for? What it
involved was on both sides the idea of crossing the threshold of humanity,
on the side of the victim it meant dehumanizing them so that it doesn’t
matter, because in your mind they have been effectively dehumanized, they
are no longer human, equivalent to smashing an ant. It dehumanizes the
perpetrator as well, desensitizes them from the killing itself. From both ends
we see this idea of humanity being compromised in extreme ways.

What we see here is that such acts of violence and atrocity creates a
rationale of its own, a cult of cruelty, a self perpetuating phenomenon, there
is no end necessary, no end has to justify the means, because the means
themselves become justification. Its almost irrelevant to ask why they did it,
they did it because it was part of the mentality that was developed. There
was no concrete objective behind such acts.
Lecture 5 Week 2

It’s a fine line between killing a fly and killing a human, as Gandhi talked
about all life being sacred. You can rationalize killing in any form if you want

Competition among officers for how many beheadings they could commit in
a day.

Read “The Banality of Evil”: sometimes evil doesn’t come across in
transparent ways, sometimes there is a certain mundane-ness to it which
catches us off guard

Moving on to the holocaust in Europe: the German policy of Lebensraum.

The goal was to eliminate close to 30 million Slavs to make room for
Germans in Eastern Europe. To either kill them or move them. Hitler’s plan
was to relocate all the surviving Slavs to Siberia.

Even though this policy was never implemented, over 6 million Russians
(estimated) died at the hands of Hitler

Other target groups of the Nazi ideology were Gypsies, Poles, and
Communists. They had many many target groups.

Of course the most concerted effort was in creating a Europe free of Jews
Lecture 5 Week 2

In January 1942 there was a conference for the German high command at
Wannsee. This is where the earliest plans for what to do with the Jews were
established. The Germans estimated that around 11 million Jews were in
Europe. At one point the plan was to deport them all to Madagascar. But that
was an impractical solution, so they made concentration camps the solution.
They used the healthy ones for labor first. The plan here was for all the
Jewish communities to pay for the cost of transportation themselves; either
through labor, or the wealthier Jews would pay for everyone else.

In the minutes from the Wannsee conference, there was concern for the
mixed lineage group; those who have some Jewish blood in them. For them,
depending on how much Jewish blood they had in them, they would use the
strategy of sterilization, making sure they would wipe out any traces of
Jewish blood in the population. The ones who had more Jewish blood would
be immediately sterilized.

The minutes from the meeting at Wannsee are horrible enough, but after
Wannsee Hitler decides to change the policy himself, and to seek the final
solution: the elimination of all Jews. As a result of this policy, 6 million Jews
were killed on concentration camps from 1943 to 1945. From the
concentration camps, only 1 million survived.

Elie Wiesel’s book Night : does not focus as much on the psychology of the
perpetrators. Rather, he takes us through the process through which the
victim themselves becomes dehumanized, through no fault of their own, but
when you undergo such gruesome suffering, you lose any sense of yourself
as a human. A living death worse than death itself. He takes us through his
own journey, the year 1943 where Jews in Hungary were still living under an
illusion of normalcy. There were already accounts of Jews being relocated to
camps, never being heard from again, but yet in his town and in many towns
in Hungary, people still clung on to this illusion of normalcy. He talks about
his father still being preoccupied with community affairs, his mother
worrying about matchmaking for his older sister. People going on with their
lives, not wanting to face the realities taking place not far away. Even when
they Jews were confined to the Ghettos, most of them clung to the hope that
human reason, human decency would prevail.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Even in the Ghettos, neither the German nor the Jews ruled the Ghetto, it
was illusion. We are all susceptible to the power of illusion. When we do act
it can be too late.

This illusion is shattered when they are gathered in the trains and taken to
Auschwitz. A rude awakening for everyone. What they feared the most
became reality. One of the most powerful moments in this account is when
he is separated from his mother and his sisters.

Wiesel is so terse in the way he talks about this, eight words that separated
me from my mother, men to the left, women to the right, form that point on,
he would never see his mother and his sisters again. The horror of course
would not end with that, the most poignant moment is when he sees the
children lining up outside the furnace. “Never shall I forget that night, the
first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times
cursed, seven times sealed, never shall I forget that smoke, never shall I
forget the faces of the Children who’s bodies were turned into smoke against
a clear blue sky…” “it murdered my god and soul”

He describes how the experience pushes everyone to the brink of humanity,
where every individual becomes merely a stomach yearning for the next
days ration of bread and soup. No mind, heart or feeling, only the stomach
and its constant craving for bread and soup.

Even in the midst of this hell, he gives us some glimpses of humanity. When
he talks about the Cappo (those in charge of the barracks), trying to console
him when he thought his father would be selected. One moment is as they
are being forced to march through the snow (45 miles or more), he
describes this very graphic scene of the dead and the dying lying in the
snow, and people suffocating each other because of the weight of the
bodies. He describes a friend he knew who was a violin player, and the
image of music from Beethoven rising up form the pile of dead bodies.
Lecture 5 Week 2

An ironic image of just how much civilization had been destroyed, or a
glimpse of civilization through that music, still surviving in the midst of this

For the most part, not withstanding some of these brief glimpses of hope, we
see victims completely losing their faith and their sense of humanity. One of
the themes he comes back to again and again is how humans are forced to
violate the most sacred bond in life, that between child and parent. He talks
about examples were sons beat up their fathers for a simple morsel of
bread, or sons abandoning their fathers in the snow because they couldn’t
keep up. His own situation where his father is pummeled to death in the
bunk bellow while he was above him doing nothing. This is not an account
where he sees himself as heroic, he survived but he failed the one that he
loved the most, because he saw his father being pummeled to death and did
absolutely nothing. He is also not saying that he was exceptional, he said
this is what the horrors did to people. His father’s last words were his name
being called out.

He is chronicling not only his own experience, but reminding us that as
human beings we have potential to be incredibly loving and compassionate,
but also have the potential to be reduced to nothing.

What we want to look at is: why so many people who seem perfectly sane
and potentially compassionate were able to cross this threshold of humanity,
to follow Hitler and his distorted vision of racial purity.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
If we point to larger forces, forces of conformity, its easier to avoid individual

What agency do we have as individuals to resist that, also what
responsibility do we have to resist such forces

Passages for passage IDs on midterm will be in the review guide,
study it!


The global implications of the Cold War

The symbolic significance of Berlin - the fate of Berlin was intertwined with
the shaping of the Cold War itself

Berlin really highlights the important role that perception played in the Cold
War: the idea that if the enemy perceives you as being weak, or lacking
resolve, then they are more likely to attack. So against any rationality, the
US decided to stand firm in defending Berlin. Strategically it was almost an
impossibility to succeed if the Russians had attacked, but symbolically it was
important to hold that stand.


“What to do when the Russians come”: the authors imagine a scenario
where the Americans or British had been overrun by the Soviets

Imagined scenario of the life we would all have if the Russians had over-run
us. It sounds playful, but at that point it was serious. But was it realistic?
Was it plausible that such a thing could have happened? In retrospect when
we look at the nature and potential of the Soviet Bloc, the answer to that is

Such a scenario was not possible, the Soviet Union was weak from within
and could not assert itself in such a way.
Lecture 5 Week 2

It also points to that everything about the Cold War had to do with
perception, and little to do with the reality of how strong each side was.
What was most important was the perception that each side had of the
other. That is what shaped the reality of the Cold War.

Each side viewed the other as diametrically apposed, as absolutely anti-
thetical to itself. The total opposite of what its own system represented.

The Soviet Union imagined itself as the champion of proletariats all around
the world: wishful thinking and a highly inflated sense of its important. Also
saw itself as the vanguard of anti-colonial movements in the Third World
(equally self deceiving) It saw itself as the most potent challenge to the
West. Given that the Soviet Union had advanced so quickly from being a
backwards country to a heavily industrialized country. Some countries looked
to the Soviet Union as a model of shedding the shackles of their colonial
past. The Soviet Union regarded US Capitalism as a global virus, exploiting

America saw itself (National Security Council memo of 1948) as the
custodian of Western Civilization. Europe was weak, England, France were
still desperately trying to recover. The only survivor of Western cultures was
America, and had an important responsibility to safeguard this tradition. Saw
itself as the champion of democracy, free markets, and the ideas of liberty
and justice for the individual. It viewed the Soviet Union as an inherently
despotic and militant expansionist regime. The Soviet Union came across as
an inherently expansionist power: if we do not contain them, they will
overrun us. “The soviet union is animated by a fanatic faith antithetical to
our own”

The enemy was inflated beyond belief. The danger and threat of the enemy
is often over-inflated

In the same way that the Cold War was all consuming in the 50s 60s 70s,
the ideology of the War on Terror has the same impact on our policies and
society today
Lecture 5 Week 2

In 1950 America saw itself now as the necessary leader of the Free World.
Many Americans did not want a war so soon after WW2, but the argument in
NSC42 was that if we acquiesce in anyway, it will only lead to greater
consequences, so America had to assume this role, even if reluctantly. This
is where we see the policy of containment. What did containment entail
according to NSC42?:

1) First of all, massive aid to Western Europe, the best way to contain
capitalism is to build up Western Europe.

2) Then to provide assistance to countries like the Taiwan, Philippines,
Japan, Iran. All the places that the US regarded as being on the frontier of
the conflict, as a bulwark against communist expansion.

3) Also giving loans to underdeveloped countries which became the disputed
territories in this conflict

4) Massive military aid to NATO members

All part of the attempt to create a “healthy international community” making
them more resistant to communist ideology

At this time there was still a strong argument from the isolationist side:
people asked, why should the US bear this financial and military burden?
Why should the US sacrifice so much to protect other countries?

This was a question of lively debate until the Korean War broke out. The
Korean War changed everything, as the Secretary of State at the time said
“The Korean War came along and saved us”. The Korean war was the pivotal
factor which changed public opinion to support this new role by the US.
Galvanized congress to fund massive defense spending and foreign aid.

Also the Sino-Soviet pact played a role in getting the US population to
support America’s new role
Lecture 5 Week 2

Sent the role to Americans that communism was on the move towards world

More and more credence given to the so called domino affect: the idea that
a defeat of free institutions anywhere, is a defeat everywhere. Anywhere
that communism makes an advance, becomes a defeat for Western
Civilization and democratic free states everywhere.

At the same time there is a strong belief that the Americans need to contain
the communist threat not on the battlefield, but on the ideological front: to
win an ideological victory. Everyone knew that an actual military conflict
would be catastrophic. At all costs avoid a total war with the Russians.

If conflict was necessary, it was important to keep them local and self
contained. Never allowing them to expand or explode beyond their particular

Even when the opportunity came for the Chinese nationalists on Taiwan to
retake mainland China, the US made sure that that would not be allowed to
happen. There was a lot of debate about why the US positioned the 7th
Fleet in the Taiwan Strait at the time. The conventional idea was that they
were there to prevent the Communists from attacking Taiwan, but now
people think they were really there to prevent the nationalists from retaking
China. Because if the Korean war was able to explode into an east Asian war,
it would be a much bigger conflict, not something the US wanted to see.

The policy was to try to contain the Russians first ideology, and then if there
are conflicts, keep them local and self contained

The war was not so cold for soviet satellites, or third world countries

The Cold War was a long peace for the Soviets and Americans, but it
contributed to bloody and costly conflicts all over the world

Lecture 5 Week 2

The collateral casualties of the Cold War:


The Korean War created the 4th largest casualty count in any war for
Americans, 142,000 casualties. Not even counting the casualties on the
Korean side, which were in the millions

Part of the Problem with the Vietnam war, was that the US confused a
national liberation movement, with the global expansion of communism.
Because of the conflict of ideology, the US had a tendency of viewing every
conflict struggle as an expansion of communism. Foremost the Vietnam war
was a national liberation movement. They were getting support from the
Soviets, but they had no one else to turn to really. This war had more to do
with national liberation, than of the actual Cold War ideological conflict.
This miscalculation becomes much more prevalent in the Western
Hemisphere, in America’s backyard. The most well known example is the
case of Cuba.

What we often overlook were Castro’s overtures to the US in overthrowing
the dictator in who was in Cuba before the revolution, Castro was more
connected to the US than the Soviets, his initial overtures were to the US,
and not the Soviets. But the US turned him down because of its traditional
support for the entrenched elite and privileged class in these countries in the
Caribbean and Central and South America. Then Castro turned to the
Soviets for help when the US turned him down.


The US coordinated a military coup in Chile against Alliende. And supported
a Junta, a military oligarchy with Pinochet.

Why is there this pattern? The whole fear of a domino effect explains this
pattern, but also the support of the elites in these countries
Lecture 5 Week 2
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
Existentialism: god has become obsolete

Jean-Paul Sartre “Can a truly contemporary person not be an atheist?” given
the horrors seen in the 20th century is it still even possible to believe that
god exists. He was a very disillusioned man of faith, his conclusion is that
god is not the ultimate reality of everyone’s life. We should not just follow
an external code out of fear. He is saying that that should no longer be the
source of morality, rather that it should be based on a personal code that we
maintain through compassion.

This is a reflection of the existentialist attitude towards religion (also with
Elie Wiesel)

Jean-Paul Sartre was the most articulate spokesperson for existentialism.

Now humanity is in a state where we are condemned to be free
He says that now in our existence we have no more excuses, we cannot turn
to other sources of authority or influence, and say “that’s what made me do
it”, can no longer defer to god, or ideology, or society and its system as an
excuse for your actions. Cannot even turn to human nature and say “that’s
just human nature”. Can only point to yourself for all your choices and
actions. In that sense existence becomes one where excuses are no longer
possible. Every individual is utterly responsible for the choice to act or not
to act. Sometimes even when we choose not to act that is a choice with
implications we have to be accountable for.

This notion of human accountability is what Jean-Paul Sartre is talking
about, making each person accountable for choices and decisions. In this
way it’s a very specific challenge to psycho analysis, particularly Freudian
psycho analysis. Because for Freud everything can be explained by our inate
passions. That things are built into our DNA. Existentialism says that there
is no such thing as a predisposed psychological constitution. Existentialists
do not buy into that, instead they believe that our psyche is what we will it
to be, each individual wills their psyche to be
Lecture 5 Week 2

Existence precedes essence we are thrust into existence from the
moment of birth, and from that point on we create ourselves moment by
moment, day by day. There is no such thing as a natural essence that
shapes us. We are shaping ourselves from day to day.

“there is no human nature, since there is no god to conceive it, not only is
man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also what he wills himself ot
be after this thrust towards existence” everything is about personal will and

Another existentialist says “man is the future of man”

This philosophy provoked attacks from other traditions: particularly the
Marxist tradition. Marxists would look at this and say that existentialism was
preaching a passive way of dealing with life, that the philosophy is too self-
indulgent, what about solidarity, and the collective will.

Sartre says that for existentialism, individual subjectivity is only the starting
point, its not the end, its just the starting point. If you start form individual
subjectivity, then you understand that each perosns actions will always affect
others. Its not about each individual being an island, but if you start from
individual accountabilitiy, then you are more prone to realizing that what
ever action you take or don’t take has an impact on others. For him
individual accountability becomes a form of collective accountability and

Once you realize this, and individual is less likely to rationalize his or her
transgressions by saying something like this “maybe at least not everyone
else is doing what I do”.. Rationalizing an action that we commit by thinking
“maybe not everyone else is doing what I choose to do”.. An example of how
many people rationalize driving a Hummer, they have an inner consolation
that most people do not drive Hummers too.. Or people who out of lazyness
through trash out of the window of their cars. Inside they are glad that they
think not everyone does that.
Lecture 5 Week 2

“not everyone is doing this, so its ok if I do it, just my doing it wont make a
big difference”

We also have to be wary of how we rationalize our own cowardice, we when
witness an act of injustice and think “someone else will do something about
it, I don’t need to get involved”. When we come across victums, many of us
are prone to saying “others will take care of it”, that is a rationalization of
cowardice that existentialism is warning us about.

Looking at this from a more critical angle:

Especially when we step back and realize that this philosophy and the
philosophers who espouse it, always tended to be these western
philosophers living in pretty comfortable settings. So is this philosophy
existentialism inherently a philosophy of the privileged. If we through in
things like poverty, and issues of race, class, gender, conflict, etc. IN some
ways these realities limit the kinds of choices we can make

Does this ideal of existentialism apply equally to a poor Burmese cyclone
victum as it does to a philosophy professor comfortably nestled in some
quaint college town.

Does it apply equally to a young man in Gaza who has no hope of an
education or for a decent job. Does it apply equally to him as it does to a
well educated American college student with very genuine aspirations to
make this a better world.

These existential choices that Sartre is talking about, separated from the
reality of the world is kind of a blindness. The situation you are in will
inevitably limit the choices you can make.

Lecture 5 Week 2

What Fromm has to say about this: he says that humanity has this age old
need for connection. There are several ways we try to come out of our
seperateness and our aloneness. The first way he talks about is people who
rely on drugs or alcohol as a way of putting them in some kind of trance,
almost a state of oblivion, where they no longer recognize the seperation
between themselves and others. in the ancient world the relied on orgies to
create this effect.

In the mass society we try to fit in with the herd so that we dont feel so

Fromm says this is equally problematic and he says “if I am like
everbody else, having no feelings or thoughts that make me different….
Then I am saved from my own seperation.” In other words, if I conform
to all the ways of society I can fit in, I can blend and feel I am part of a

Fromm says both of these solutions are a kind of fusion, of integration
with others that lack integrity, because both involve giving up the self
in order to feel connected. And his main idea is that that is absolutely
the wrong way to go, he says in order to feel truly connected to others
we much firmly stand in our connections, he calls it “standing in love.”
He makes a distinction between standing in love, and falling in love
(the typical way we think about love). The term falling in love implies
that you are giving yourself up, willingly bowing down to the object of
your love. Fromm says the secret behind true connection, is in
standing in love, not falling. That you love others as a well grounded
individual. He says that we are only capable of authentic love for
others, when we can preserve our integrity of who we are. Fromm
says so many of the failed relationships come precisely because we
give that up, we give up the self for the object of our love.
Lecture 5 Week 2

There are two ways in which this works, one is a kind of massocistic
love, where you present yourself as a martyr for love, you sacrifice
yourself to the other, forfeiting your own identity in order to win over or
keep a loved one. The way Fromm says it, its as if someone who says
“she is everything to me, I am nothing”. Basically an individual follows
a pattern of self erasure. The second form he talks about that is
dangerous is sadistic love, a person who is consuming the other.
Instead of giving oneself completely to the other, a sadistic lover will
consume the other by controlling, exploiting and even humiliating the
other. The basic idea behind sadistic love is that you try to change the
other person according to your own terms, what you desire. Both
these forms represent this idea of falling in love. Eaither you allow
yourself ot fall, or you expect the other person to fall. This is where
Fromm and existentialism come together.

Standing in love is where you preserve your individuality, integrity and
dignity, and you expect the same from the other.

If we apply this idea to not just human relationships, but also how we relate
to a belief, a religion, a system of some kind. If we can remember to stand
in our relationship with all these things, then that is the existentialist

His overall point: he says that if we can all adhere to this existentialist
approach to love in dealing with those who are immediately around us, then
perhaps it can also shape our relationship with our community and the

Standing as an individual in relation to the rest of humanity.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
Mostly talking today about the student movement in the 60s

(to what extent can grassroots music bring about lasting social change?)

The decade of the 50s was an affluent society, America emerged as the
undisputed superpower. TV shows such as Leave it to Beaver or Father
Knows Best, depicted the livestyle of a comfortable upwardly mobile and
suburban middle class. They tended to be white, educated (thanks to the GI
Bill, a way to help the veterans of WW2 get an education when they came
back) This mainstream society was fearcely anti-communist in the 50s, but
for the most part apathetic about everything else. Many of the social
problems that were already quite evident in the 50s, this mainstream society
pretty much ignored, because much of the focus was on the threat of the
spread of communism. At the same time this mainstream middleclass was
fully invested in the Status Quo.

Herbert Marcuse refered to this as democratic totalitarianism.

A society of apparent homogeneity, maintained through mass consumption.

The affect of this politically was a very pervaisive sense of political apathy.
People were for the most part content to defer the making of public policy to
the politicians. Their own craving for material goods superceded the need for
direct political participation. They were quite willing to just let the politicians
take care of things.

Overall the 50s have a sense of contentment and apathy as a result of the
economic prosperity that some people enjoyed, but definitely not all

Globally and domestically there were large groups exluced from this so
called American Dream.

Global inequalities were quite conspicuous at the time, in the 50s while
America was this incredibly affluent society, other parts of the world were
starving. World Hunger resulted from decoloization problems as well as bad
leadership in the third world.
Lecture 5 Week 2

An overall depletion of natural resources world wide, much of it because of
the inballence in trade relations where the industrialized world would exploit
the raw materials of the third world.


The Domestic Inequities:

There is this white middleclass, educated mainstream society. But at the
same time there were many disenfranchised groups within this system. They
who suffered similar economic and civil disparities, almost as if in America
there was also a third world that people pretty much overlooked and
neglected. This group included blacks, chicanos, asians, women, the gay
community, and student groups. In the 50s, many of these issues or
problems remained dormant. People weren’t overtly addressing them. The
disenfranchised groups themselves were still in a strong state of
disempowerment, not standing up for themselves. But everything changed in
the 1960s:

Three realities that contributed to this:

1) the virulent racial discrimination and the racial violence that became quite
apparent to everyone (to this educated class too), to the point that no one
could really ignore it anymore. Racial discrimination and violence in the
south was one of the realities that galvanized people into protest, it was an
important catylist for social protest.

2) the growing threat of nuclear annihilation as a result of the cold war arms
race. People became much more conscious of how each day we live on the
brink of extinction if something awful were to happen.

3) US involvement in Vietnam beginning in 1959, at first involvement was
minimal, but by the early 1960s the Vietnam war became known as a living
room war. Images of bodybags started to infiltrate American living rooms
through TV. This galvanized national consciousness about this ongoing war.
Lecture 5 Week 2

These three factors pointed to the stark contrasts within the American
system. A system which had professed to be a champion for individual
freedom and rights, as well as for peace and justice. But it became apparent
that there were stark contrasts and hypocriticism.


Rock and Roll music:

Ralph Gleason: “for the reality of whats happening in America, we must go
to rock and roll, to popular music” had to look at rock and roll to understand
the changes in society going on. Almost like a modern revival of the ancient
Dionesian impulse, the ancient orgiastical tradition. He connects the rock
and roll thing going on to the ancient Greek Dionesian tradition. He says
that changes in our musical styles will also have an impact on society and
politics. This is how Gleason wants to present the emergence of Rock and
Roll in the 1960s.

He talks a lot about Bob Dylan as a pioneer of this new movement. He was
someone who very importantly took poetry out of the classroom into the
streets. His born name was Robert Zimmerman, but he took on the name of
the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, of who’s poetry he was inspired by.

Bob Dylan becomes an icon of this new change.

He presented anti-establishment of a political kind. In his poetry and music
he presented a range of social issues. For example the nightmare visions of
a nuclear apocalypse “a hard rain is going to fall”. Also we know Bob Dylan
for his many anti-war songs “blowing in the wind”. He also addresses the
complexities of the issue of race, which is hard to do in the framework of a
song “only a pawn in their game”.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Gleason makes an interesting point about why the music industry would take
on someone who was so radical, who’s lyrics were so anti-mainstream. There
was a marketing incentive behind it, they thought that they were just
marketing a new baby folk singer, someone who would just entertain, but
they did not realize that they were in fact cultivating a tiny demon of a poet
who would inspire a whole generation of musicians who would become the
prophets of this counter cultural movement.

Today a lot of the social protest is embedded in popular music, which has
pros and cons to it.

Amongst this new group of prophets of counter culture was the group The
Beatles. They offered anti-establishment of a non-political kind.

The Beatles were offering a non-political challenge to the mainstream, they
were challenging the mainstream precisely because they were so authentic
and so true that they offered a kind of pure exuberance about life. Most of
the rest of the music of the time was carefully packaged to appeal to the
mainstream. The Beatles enter the scene offering something radically new
and authentic. What they were celebrating was the same joy of life that one
finds in the African American gospel tradition. John Lennon said he was
inspired by black American music.

What made The Beatles very different from some of the other groups of the
time, is that they celebrated this spirit without at the same time trying to be
black. At this time there was a lot of assimilation, black groups who end up
assimilated, their style their music, into mainstream culture. The music
industry is packaging them in a way so that they appeal to the mainstream.
Then you have the problem of racial appropriation, where white singers
begin to sing in a way so that they sound black, they imitate the African
American music tradition. The Beatles avoided that, they resisted that, their
authenticity made them much more influential.

(same thing going on with Rap music today, started out as protest music,
but has been assimilated to be mainstream)
Lecture 5 Week 2


Tom Hayden: “Port Huron Statement” trying to provide a platform for a
grassroots democratic movement, which would allow the majority to be
more directly involved in public policy. He articulated some core values of
what was at the point known as a Student Democratic S…. (SDS)
Economically what it affirmed, was the dignity of all workers, and also the
social responsibility of industry. This is something which our corporate
industry at least proclaim to have now, but in the early 60s this was a much
more radical idea, to call corporate America to be more accountable. Socially
what SDS called for was non-violence as a basic condition and for individuals
to have free and autonomous decisions.

Whats really interesting is what he has to say about the role of the college

He raises for us an interesting question: what role should a university play in
society? Should it be a hotbed for social protest? The catalyst for social
change? Is social change more likely to come out of a college campus? Or is
it more likely to come out of the streets? Or should universities remain
these protected sanctuaries for learning and training? That was the
argument for Universities then and now. Students should be protected from
anything that could be distracting.

Hayden in this peace argues that this is kind of a utopian vision of the
university. That such an institution does not exist in reality, there is no such
thing as this protected sanctuary. He says the reason for that is: all you have
to do is look at the huge influx of government and corporate funding for
universities, so that the campus can no longer be a disinterested site, no
longer objective site for academic inquiry. Because of how intimately
connected universities are connected with industry corporations and the
Lecture 5 Week 2

He also says that the institution itself, rather than encouraging intellectual
inquiry actually encourages social conformity. It engenders a concern for
one’s economic status. The campus is a place where you do a lot of
networking for your future considerations, you come to the university to
meet the people for your personal and professional future. (meet your wife
or husband at university, and also make networking connections for your

Instead of inspiriting intellectual cultivation, what students focus on are:
grades (the honors you can earn and win), and then what he calls the med-
school rat-race (law-school, grad-school as well. people who are here looking
at these 4 years as a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself).

It’s a very blunt incrimination of both university administrators, professors,
and students. All of us buying into this system of conformity, instead of
really pursuing something that will perhaps enhance or expand the way we
look at things.

In the 60s there was a very provocative controversial essay written by Jerry
Farver. The essay was called “The Student as a Niger”.. describing the
student teacher relationship as akin to the master-slave relationship.
This piece really shook a lot of peoples minds: “the general timidity that
causes teachers to make niggers of their students, causes a more specific
tendency, the fear that the teachers have of their students” Being a
professor is being in a very vulnerable position, so they must flaunt their
authority, they have to overcompensate for their insecurity by asserting their
authority on their students. It’s a very very harsh crititique of the teaching
profession in the University. His point is that this kind of relationship, even if
its true to some extent, does not really engender true learning, because the
teacher does not treat his or her students as equals. It’s a relationship based
on hierarchy and domination.

In the Hayden piece, he continues this attack, not only by pointing to
professors, but the whole administration. “Our professors and administrators
sacrifice controversy to public relations” Public relations PR comes first,
anything which is remotely controversial you put aside.
Lecture 5 Week 2

When students exhibit passion, that is called un-scholastic

The university becomes a sterilized place that cannot encompass dissention,
controversy, and the true incentive for change.


The UCSD Guardian: article about the new policy on free-speech:

What this is, is the new university policy towards non-affiliates (people not
associated with the university) being allowed to talk or project their ideas on
library walk. It’s a very interesting, complex and controversial issue. The
Universities position is that students don’t want to be disturbed. A professor
rationalizing why this policy is important “personally I don’t want to hear the
Jesus Freaks ranting all the time, people want to enjoy their lunch in peace
and not to be harangued”

On the other hand, the same person says “if Bush decides to bomb iran,
there should be the free spontaneous… its not about the depth of disruption,
but how long it goes on, is this going to be going on all day, or once and a
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
Civil Rights movement for Racial Equality:

The Civil Rights movement was really born in 1954 with the landmark
supreme court decision: Brown vs. Board of Education

The supreme court ordered all schools at all levels to immediately de-

Even though this was a supreme court ruling, many states in the south
continued to resist this ruling. There were many schools in the south that
basically ignored this ruling. At one point President Eisenhower had to send
in the national guard to enforce this ruling.

There was this major landmark law passed, but at the same time many
states and local regions continued to resist.

Historians of the Civil Rights movement refer to this ruling in 1954 as the
event that rocked the boat, really shook the nation.

It forced America to confront the elephant in its cosy living room. The issue
was there but was until then largely un-aknowledged.1955 Mont

From 1954 on there was a momentum that built up in the civil rights

1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott – Rosa Parks (she made the choice very
consciously, and she had prepared for it, she had already participated in
other civil rights activities, and had educated herself on some of the legal
matters, she knew exactly what she was doing, it speaks not just to her
courage, but her rationality in making the decision)

March on Washington 1963 Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech

-Civil Rights Act in 1964
Lecture 5 Week 2

-Voting Rights Act in 1965 (not talked about as much, but equally as
important) up to this point certain regions had imposed a poll tax on
anyone who wanted to vote. This effectively kept out many poor blacks in
the south who could not afford to pay the poll tax. Many regions had also
imposed a literacy requirement for voting. Not to speak of the sometimes
subtle and sometimes very overt threats that blacks had to face
whenever they even entertained the notion of voting. What the voting
rights act did was to categorically make all of these things illegal.

These acts brought about concrete changes.
Lecture 5 Week 2

The strategy of civil disobedience was used, which is now used more and
more by disenfranchised groups (this formula was used by Ghandi in

1) Collection of facts concerning injustice

2) Negotiation (it was important to always work within the system, not to
topple it, he did not want to get rid of the system but to work within it.
Use civil protest to force the local authorities to come to the
negotiation table)

3) Self-purification
- Ghandi’s Satyagraha (“truth force”)

4) Direct action

Dr. King said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere” the
isolated cases together create an endemic problem

The argument of deferral by White Moderates
-View of non-black ministers
• Protests are “unwise and untimely”
• Law and order argument
- The Urgency of Action
• “wait” means “never”
• Unjust vs. just laws
Lecture 5 Week 2

- The problem with the white moderates (a white majority that is often
silent on these issues, its much harder to gauge where exactly they stand,
and when you can count on their support. King calls this the appalling
silence of good respectable society.

Segregation still exists, but it comes about through different means

Since 1954, thousands of schools have in fact been experiencing re-

Jonathan Kozol’s student of Inner City Public Schools

The demographics of our typical inner-city schools:
In Los Angeles, Blacks and Hispanics make up 84 percent of all these inner-
city public schools. In some sectors there might be 1 percent white students.
In Chicago the number is 87 percent, in Washington D.C. its 94 %.

Most of our inner-city public schools are still heavily segregated.

The disparity between what it costs to educate each student in public
schools. Looking particularly at the metropolitan New York City area. He
found that it costs around 8000 dollars to educate each student in the inner
city’s, on the outskirts of the cities it costs 12000 per student each year. In
the wealthy suburbs, the cost per student is 18000 per year. The difference
between the poorest and richest areas is 10,000 dollars per year.

What does this discrepancy translate to. How does it affect the actual
education. Because of how much we invest in each student, it creates
schools of despair rather than hope

One condition of this is the very dilapidated condition of a lot of the public
schools in poor areas
Lecture 5 Week 2

One administrator pointed out to him that such decay and disrepair would
never happen to white children. Much of this reflects our neglect of the black
and Hispanic students that make up the majority of these schools. The
schools breed a daily sense of frustration futility and despair.

Not only is the infrastructure in disrepair, but the curriculum in the schools is
also disempowering. How is it disempowering, he points to two things: 1) for
the most part the schools have become institutions which emphasize
discipline and control, its really just about managing the students so that
there is almost no tolerance for spontaneity, personality or their own
individual imagination. Everything is about managing order, creating future
citizens that will conform to order in whatever way necessary. That is a long
term, debilitating disempowerment. The second way is the focus on
standardized testing, to test them to the point of absolute boredom. The No
Child Left Behind Act was a disaster, because it promoted standardized
testing as the only means of measuring success.

When students reach the age where critical thinking becomes a necessity,
then the students are totally unprepared for this.

Education based on utilitarian values rather than intellectual values. Many of
these poor schools have very limited electives, any electives that even
remotely relate to college preparation fill up so quickly that most people
cannot enroll in them. Therefore many are pushed to take courses such as
sewing, hairdressing, and how to deal with life problems. This which have
nothing to do with college preparation, nothing to do with cultivating your
mind in a more intellectual way rather than a practical way.

That is why the dropout rates at these inner city public schools is often
above 50 %

After 50 years, what he points out is that our schools are still separate, and
still unequal.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00
On the same day that the Chinese sent tanks into Tianemen Square, Poland
had its first free elections since before the The first breach in the communist
block is referred to as a breach that occurred in Poland. Pope John Paul the
2nd returned to his native country, Poland. This visit had a very powerful
affect on many levels. After this visit we see for the first time the first
broadcasts of a catholic service on Polish radio.

The origins of this movement began in the shipyards of Gdansk, where
workers went on strike. First it was in reaction to a sudden increase in meat
prices in Poland, but once the workers mobilized it began to address many
other labor issues. This is what gave birth to the very important formation of
the Solidarity movement. Solidarity came to the for around 1980. This
movement caught the attention of particularly other groups, potential
protest groups throughout eastern Europe. They wanted to see what would
happen with this. It was the first time that there was even a crack in the
system. In a very expected way the Polish government initially imposed
martial law and outlawed Solidarity. But a tidal wave had already been
created and the populist movement was too strong, so by the end of the
1980s the people in power were compelled to release many of these
Solidarity leaders. What we see in Poland is a trend that occurred in many
of the other countries. You have the old Communist Regime losing favor
and losing their rational to rule, they step aside to be replaced by some of
the younger communists who come in with an intention to reform, but in all
of these cases it is too little too late, people wanted a lot more change than
just specific reforms, they wanted to change the entire system. We get this
trend of old guard getting replaced by younger communists who in turn are
toppled from power in a non-violent way by populist movements. We see
that same pattern in Hungary, in East Germany, and the velvet revolution in
Chezchoslovakia in 1989, and all for the most part they were peaceful. The
only place with a more violent outcome was Romania.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Now we can look back at 1989 and think that the transition was inevitable,
but it could have very easily gone the other way, it could have gone the way
it did in China in Tiennamen square, but fortunately that did not happen, and
the reason that did not happen were mostly as a result of the changes that
had been put in place by Gorbachev (the leader of the USSR in the 80s), but
1989 many of his reforms were already in place. Two that would stand out
were his idea of Parastroika, the idea of restructuring the Soviet Economy to
allow for some free enterprise within the system, because everyone
accepted that it wasn’t working. He also initiated a reform called Glassnos,
the idea of the government for the first time being open to debate and even
criticism of the party. All of these very major changes. Gorbachev made it
very clear that everyone can voice their views, particularly their dissent
about previous communist mistakes. These internal reforms that Gorbachev
had started to initiate in the Soviet Union certainly had reverberations all
around eastern Europe.

As for the Soviet foreign policy, it was referred to as the Sinatra doctrine
(like the song my way). What this meant, was that the Soviets, for the first
time after creating this Warsaw Pact, for the first time would allow its
eastern European satellites to go their own way and to determine their own
future. They made it very explicit and publicly announced that the Soviet
Union would not under any circumstances intervene in the domestic affairs
of these satellite states. The made it quite clear that they would not do that
again as they had in 1969, etc.

This became basically a license to the potential protesters, the populist
movement in these countries, to voice protest, knowing that the Soviets
would not get involved. Without this Soviet Crutch, the Crutch of Soviet
support, the communist regimes in Eastern Europe really had very little to
stand on. Once these movements occurred there was very little means for
them to effectively suppress them, not on their own.
Lecture 5 Week 2

Gorbachev was quite intent on reform within the Soviet Union itself. But
there was also another argument that perhaps the Soviets felt they were
willing to give up their external empire, as a means of assuring the
possession of their internal empire (the Soviet Republics such as Ukraine and
so on). Later declassified evidence points to the fact that the Soviet Union
had become so weak that it simply could not mount a sustained suppression
of these movements.. The whole system was financially insolvent. They
simply could not afford to get involved.

These are some of the major changes that lead to the collapse of
Communism in Eastern Europe, and very soon after that in the Soviet Union

The text by Alperovitz and Bird, they are looking at some of the
implications of the collapse of communism. They look back and point to the
Cold War as a source of major distraction. It kind of kept, particularly
America, distracted from some of the real domestic problems in this country.
They point to the increase in child poverty rates in the US, which by the late
80s was 2 to 3 times higher than the rate, proportionally, of other Western
Democracies. At the same time there was astronomical disparity in wealth in
this country. They give some interesting figures which have only gotten
worse. As they are writing in 1990, the census shows that the top 5 % of the
society, earned as much as the bottom 60 % combined. The top 5 %
possessed nearly half of the total assets in the country (The US).

From generation to generation the top wealthy group is a group that is not
easily penetrated. They have insulated themselves through relying more on
private education, and these very exclusive social clubs. Also, social
demarcation, such as the interesting ritual of the debutant party. The
Debutant party is a huge indulgence, what all these things do, is to create
the barriers which insulate this upper class. This class has become a very
entrenched, very insulated and incredibly powerful segment of our society.
That this American dream of upward mobility is only true in a very limited
extent when you look at the higher echelons of the social ladder.
Lecture 5 Week 2

In terms of foreign policy, the media was also quite distracted from real
problems. During the 80s there was a very high increase in the social
economic gap between social classes in the Third World too.

The main argument that Alperovity and Bird are making, is that with all
these signs of turmoil and decay in America itself, what this points to is that
the collapse of communism, does not necessarily imply the triumph of
capitalism. The collapse of communism does not necessarily point to the
triumph of capitalism, because it is fraught with problems and issues. Not
only does it not point to triumph, but also does not point to validation.

The collapse of communism is not anymore about an either or proposition.
Nor is it about the debate about how to produce wealth, which was the
central disagreement between capitalism and communism.

Now the question is what is the most equitable way of distributing wealth.

In many ways, at least with the most successful economies, we see the
combination or hybridization of both capitalist and socialist methods.

Most of all we can point to the Scandinavian countries, which in many ways
are model societies.

An equitable “Third Way”?

The Scandinavian countries are deeply invested in comprehensive and
activist social programs. Critics call them welfare states, but what they have
resulted in, they all rank in the top 10 when it comes to the human
development index (an index that many global institutions or organizations
use to gauge the health of a society, not just physical health, but quality of
life) these four countries are always in the top 10. They are also in the top
10 when it comes to GDP per capita. Also in the top 10 when it comes to the
purchasing power of each individual per capita. Also they are most
importantly in the top 10 when it comes to the equitable distribution of
Lecture 5 Week 2

How do we measure the degree of equality in the distribution of wealth.
Usually the Gini coefficient is relied on

In this system, an index of 0 would mean that there was total equality. A
score of 1 would mean total inequality. Another way of understanding it, is
that if a country has a Gini coefficient of 0.5, that means that if half of the
population had 0 income, the other half would have all of the income.

Japan has the most equitable distribution for a very populated country

The US has a very unequal distribution of wealth for such a wealthy country

Japan points to some very interesting trends

Japan, is the leader in terms of equitable distribution of wealth, but also has
the largest trade surplus of any country, 112 billion, which is double the
figure of the next highest exporter, which is the EU. Japan has the second
largest economic output, second only to the US. There is a tremendous
difference in terms of how the wealth of the US and Japan is distributed.

How did Japan do this? How did a losing side after WW2, in the matter of
half a century do this?

One of the things initiated in Japan in the 1960s was a ten year plan to
double Japan’s GDP. The way it did this was through tarrif protection.
Having high enough taxes on imports, so as to control imports, to limit them
to protect local manufacturers. Secondly, the government working hard to
create a favorable foreign exchange, sometimes driving down the value of its
own currency in order to make its exports more appealing. Third by
developing high tech industries through concerted government support and
subsidies. The government doing everything it can to make sure that this
economic growth would take place. This lead to what some people call
Japan Inc. The country itself acts like a conglomerate corporation. The state
itself became intimately involved in economic development. Did not take a
laissez fair stance, instead did everything in its power to catch up with the
Lecture 5 Week 2

This lead to a miraculous outcome, over a span of almost 2 decades, almost
every year Japan was able to maintain a double digit growth rate. Which is
pretty incredible. Every year it is growing at a rate above 10 percent. They
were able to do that for 2 decades in a row. This economy slowed down a
little bit in the 1970s due to the global energy crisis, but the Japanese
economy simply got leaner and meaner as a result. They shifted their focus
from heavy industry to high tech industry. Shifter from heavy industry to
pharmaceuticals and social services. Changed directions as a way of
responding to the global energy crisis. At the same time one of the Achilles
Heals of the Japanese system was its propensity to pollute. At the end of the
70s they introduced environmental policies, and stipulated that every
company had to have a qualified energy manager. Since the 70s Japan has
also been an incredibly green economy.

The government recruited the best and the brightest, and gave these
technocrats the power to dictate economic policy. Experts who knew what
they were doing were in charge of policy, rather than politicians.

Other reasons that this system works:

There is this distinction that Dori makes between Allocative efficiency vs.
Production efficiency.

Allocative efficiency has more to do with accounting. Use whatever options
are available to maximize short term returns. What this means is, if need
be, use downsizing, fire people. Or mergers can help increase your
profitability. Sometimes you file for bankruptcy only so that you can escape
some financial consequences and then rebound. Most of all, the allocation
efficiency entails liquidating assets, because American corporations are share
holder dominated. If they can take the money out of the company its better
for the shareholder, less emphasis on investment in the corporation itself.
Lecture 5 Week 2

In Japan its very different there is the Production efficiency model, which
plans for long term development, and cultivates a work place focusing on
fairness in social economic arrangements. Making sure that the salary for the
people working on the assembly lines are not THAT different from people
working in the board rooms. Putting the emphasis on fairness in social and
economic arrangements. In this model, instead of constantly hiring and firing
depending on where the market is going, it focuses on training and
retraining its lifetime employees. The company invests in the individual,
and in tern the individual invests himself back in the company. This
cultivates company loyalty. And allows for leaders to make better and more
efficient decisions, because of the emphasis on making decision in a
collective manner. Not just people in the boardrooms talking on their own, or
managers talking on their own. But rather creating a quality assurance
circle, where the assembly line worker would sit down with the top managers
and together come up with the best plan. So that management and labor are
working in a concerted fashion, without a cap in communication.

Another aspect was the savings mentality.

Critics of Japan say it’s a very homogenous boring system which doesn’t
allow much room for individuality. But the reality is that Japan has the
lowest infant mortality rate, the highest life expectancy, and the most
equitable income distribution rate.


The readings for today are must reads (read them)


Now lets look at the flip side the other side of this, poverty in the third
Lecture 5 Week 2

The SAP initiative, had a direct impact on the spike in poverty in the third
world in the 80s. SAP: IMF, and the World Bank mandated conditions that
they imposed on third world countries. The reason they could impose this on
these countries was the deep debt the countries were in to dictate what they
would do in their economies. It was a means of forcing a globalized
capitalism on these third world countries. It coincides perfectly with the
economic ideology that we now refer to as Reagonomics. The trickle down
effect of wealth. That if you allow the rich to get as rich as possible, there
will eventually be a trickle down effect of wealth. Its about laissez fair,
privatization and free trade. All of this was imposed on the third world
countries in Africa and in Latin America. These countries were asked to
abandon their state directed developments. They were also asked to devalue
currency so that it would be more favorable to American imports. Also asked
to remove all of the protective tariffs on western imports. They were asked
to cut back subsidies on local farms. The IMF through these SAPs said to
trust in privatization, don’t trust in government initiated support. They were
also asked to scale back social programs such as healthcare and education,
and overall there was a general downsizing of the public sector.
MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 30/09/2009 06:36:00