Stories by contributor

By Contributor on June 20, 2014

By Stephen Zunes

The dramatic rise of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—which even al-Qaeda deemed too extreme to remain part of its network—is a tragedy by any measure.  It would also be tragic if we allowed the very forces that created this mess to explain it away.

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By Contributor on June 18, 2014

For Chris Kobayashi and her husband, Dimi Rivera, it all started with Japanese cucumbers. "In 1997 we said, 'OK, let's grow Japanese cucumbers, but let's grow it organically.'"

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By Contributor on June 17, 2014

Given its fragile and unusually rich ecology, the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i seems ill-suited as a site for agricultural experiments that use heavy amounts of toxic chemicals. But four transnational corporations -- Syngenta, BASF Plant Science, DuPont Pioneer, and Dow AgroSciences -- have been doing just those kinds of experiments here for about two decades, extensively spraying pesticides on their GMO test fields. As a result, the landscape on the southwest corner of the island has become one of the most toxic chemical environments in all of American agriculture.

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By Contributor on June 16, 2014

The island of Kaua'i, Hawai'i, has become Ground Zero in the intense political battle over genetically modified (GMO) crops in the United States. But the fight isn't just about the concerns over GMO technology. It's also about chemical pesticides.

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By Contributor on June 05, 2014

"When I despair I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, think of it - always!"- Mahatma Gandhi

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By Contributor on June 05, 2014

I am a superpredator.

At least that is how criminologists would have described me when I was a teenager.

I was sentenced for my role in a first-degree murder when I was 13, just before the superpredator theory came into being.

A handful of criminologists, using apocalyptic language, claimed that kids would be responsible for a dramatic increase in violent crime during the 1990s. Such kids would be impulsive and remorseless. Black and Latino youth would be the center of that explosion in violence, according to the theory.

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By Contributor on June 04, 2014

On this 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the remnants of the pro-democracy movement in China are hard to find.

What began as a peaceful demonstration at Tiananmen Square in Beijing ended in a bloody massacre of students and civilians as army tanks rolled down the Avenue of Eternal Peace to suppress the voices of democracy on June 4, 1989. Among those who lost their lives were high school and university students, teachers and professors, office workers, retirees and people from all walks of life.

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By Contributor on May 30, 2014

One of the most frequent questions I get about the food system is what to make of the fact that Walmart sells organic food.

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By Contributor on May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou represented the quintessential African-American voice in American art, though she spoke for all: women, men, children, the world.

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By Contributor on May 28, 2014

"Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room."

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Malala Yousafzai meets with the Obamas. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

When Yousafzai left the White House, she was whisked away to speak at the exclusive private school that the...

Mauldin cartoon from the Chicago Sun-Times depicts Fidel Castro musing to a portrait of Karl Marx, "I'll bet you never had to deal with Cubans."

From our 1963 archive, this piece explores the tension between the United States and Cuba after the Bay of Pigs...

Chris Christie excoriates a teacher in front of a crowd.

It’s become difficult for Christie to continue to blame his failures on teachers and their unions; and yet, like a...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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