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E-M:/ 10/2/03 Lansing State Journal story Links eco-terrorism with 'anti-capitalist'



EMers,

Two years ago I taught a class at Michigan State University called, "Global Diversity and Interdependence."  I had 250 students. It was a blast, and I got high marks in student evaluations.

Our central text for the course was "Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism," See an on-line version of this regularly updated text at:
http://faculty.plattsburgh.edu/richard.robbins/legacy/

A central point of the class (and the book) is that most Americans do not know much about capitalism, even though we are immersed in it. We analyzed capitalism, discussed its relationship to Michigan, East Lansing, MSU, and to their everyday lives. Most scholars would agree that such a discussion is warranted in an educational environment, particularly in this higher learning we call college.    

Well, yesterday, October 2 the Lansing State Journal ran a front page story (with a burning building) titled, "Radical group steps up 'eco-terrorism.'  Adjacent to the story was a burning building with the caption, "If you build it, we will burn it." The caption was not sourced. Remarkably, there was a blocked quote from Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, which said, "
Now they are moving from a save-the-wilderness focus to an anti-capitalist focus."

The story had no sources who explained the relationship between capitalism and the environment, and I'm sure that many readers came away with a disturbing association that being anti-capitalist is linked to eco-terrorism.

I searched the LSJ website and found no links to their front page story. But I noticed it was an AP story so I looked up the author's names and found that it was published in Wednesday's Slate. See it at:

http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2003/10/01/eco_terror/

I find it convenient that Gannett Publishers, the foremost (near-monopoly) capitalist newspaper publisher in the world, would push this point of view. Meanwhile small business papers like Lansing's excellent City Pulse (which regularly publishes articles critical of Big Capital) is under fever competition from Gannett's NOISE, which many view as an attempt to put the Pulse out of business.

See Richard McCord's "The Chain Gang: One Newspaper versus the Gannett Empire" to learn more:
http://www.system.missouri.edu/upress/fall2001/mccord.htm

Brian McKenna