This is a reorganized—or, rather, organized for the first time— record of nearly a year’s worth of immediate reactions to the world. These bits of writing originated between January and November of 2014. My thanks go to the great radio host Lila Garrett for suggesting that I publish such a collection (though all blame is my own for what I’ve chosen to include).
This year has been busy, globally and personally. My wife Anna and I welcomed our second little boy into the world. Oliver joined his big brother Wesley with great enthusiasm. I dedicate this book to Anna, Wesley, Oliver, and our dog Tilly.
During the course of a year, I write many activist emails, lengthy reports, and strategy arguments. I produce many radio shows. Plus, of course, tons of social media posts and emails, etc. None of that is included. Also I’m usually working on full-length books, but not this year. My writing energy this year has been broken into pieces, the pieces that make up this collection.
I always write a great many essays, book and movie reviews, and other blog posts. What follows is drawn from these relatively short — sometimes very short — creations. Some have been written as “news” for news outlets, others as “opinion” columns, but most purely for my own purposes and from a point of view that has no use for the news/opinion distinction.
I’ve organized articles by topic and, for the most part, kept them in chronological order within each section. I begin with a section aimed at suggesting what I think we need to be talking about more than we are. I close with a section pointing toward directions in which we might move forward. In between, the topics include the earth, justice, a selection of wars currently underway, and finally a section on war culture.
I would love it if the reader finished this book with some thoughts firmly in place on why and how we should move from a culture of violence to one of nonviolence. As I was putting this book together I happened upon an article1 (not by me) titled “UN Ambassador Warns Against Intervention Fatigue.” It began: “Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, warned the American public against a kind of intervention fatigue, emphasizing that U.S. leadership is needed now more than ever amid global threats from Ebola to the Islamic State. ‘I think there is too much of, “Oh, look, this is what intervention has wrought” … one has to be careful about overdrawing lessons,’ Power said.” The article seemed to suggest that if you look too closely at what bombing Libya did to Libya you won’t be supportive enough about bombing Syria. I guess I agree. I just favor looking, eyes wide open.
I welcome your thoughts at davidswanson.org. —David Swanson, November 2014
1 http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/11/un-ambassador-warns-against- intervention-fatigue/99485/